New York solo act Marlene Mendoza piques interest with her moody, heavy-slanted tunes polished with domineering vocal work. Her latest single, the anthemic alt-rock gem “Karma” finds Marlene at her top form. The instrumental backing comes close to background decoration, but only because Mendoza’s vocals are front and centre, commanding attention and driving the song from drawling verses to soaring, churning choruses. On further inspection, you find the song broadening as the tight drums and melodic guitar work – all expertly, impeccably produced – worm their way towards eager ears.

With the new track headlining Marlene’s profile, she’s taking this perfect opportunity to salute some killer female rockers that have come before her. From the fitting Hayley Williams to the less genre-simpatico Lady Gaga, Marlene gives many due props to the leading ladies from her heavy-rock world and beyond. Take in Marlene’s newest track and allow her to introduce you to some of the premier ladies in music via this Women of Rock instalment.

1. Maria Brink (In This Moment)

“She’s such a badass. I love her style, attitude, and artistic vision. The first song I heard of hers was “The Promise,” and was hooked ever since. Her screams are insane and her singing is awesome, which has inspired me to do the same for my sound.”

2. Amy Lee (Evanescence)

“I heard Evanescence at a very young age and just loved how mesmerizing Amy’s voice and music was. The combination of piano, rock riffs, and a soothing voice with hard-hitting, emotional lyrics has definitely inspired my sound.”

3. Lacey Sturm (Flyleaf)

“Her voice is super unique and big. You can hear every emotion that she portrays in her songs through her voice, which has inspired me to do the same in my sound. She’s the first solo woman to top the hard rock albums, which paved ways for other women such as myself to keep striving.”

4. Hayley Williams (Paramore)

“She is the epitome of my teenage years. I remember seeing them live at a festival and being inspired to want to perform on stage. She has a lot of energy and knows how to perform for huge crowds. I love that throughout her career she is not afraid to be who she is and to experiment with various genres; a huge inspiration.”

5. Lady Gaga

“Although she doesn’t really do the same music as I do, she has inspired me to continue doing music. I even played one of her songs on guitar for my high school’s talent show. I would say she inspired me to be better and to give it all musically. Knowing too that she is a fellow New Yorker, I understand where she comes from, as well as her hard work and dedication to music.”

Artwork for “Karma” by Marlene Mendoza