It’s easy to take a modern woman of rock and roll with a raspy voice and a killer stage presence and compare her to Janis Joplin. It’s a comparison frontwoman, songwriter, and guitarist for Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard, has heard often since the band’s debut in 2011. While Brittany respects the artists she’s compared to, she wants to have her own identity, and it’s hard to deny her that. She’s a grand mixture of rock and soul, delivering songs that will put you in your feels by way of a voice that can go from wall-rattling strong to soft and subtle, and more often than not, she does this barefoot—a look that has become her “thing” since a show that involved Howard forgetting her shoes and not wanting to wear flip-flops on stage.
Furthermore, Brittany isn’t here for the accolades, or the fame; she’s here for the music. “Even if nobody cared,” Howard told Newsweek, “I’m still going to make music.” As far as advice for other girls who want to rock, Brittany told BET, “If somebody really wants to do this — let’s say it’s a brown girl — if she really wants to do this, can’t nobody tell them not to do it. Ain’t nobody in this world can tell her, ‘You can’t do that’ — because if she wants to do it, she’s gonna do it.”