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Tayla Parx’s Top 10 Trailblazing Women of LA

Updated: Jun 5

Read as GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and actress Tayla Parx breaks down her Top 10 trailblazing women who have forever changed LA's art, food, and music scenes.

Photo Courtesy Tayla Parx

Hey Angelenos!

We’re thrilled to introduce a very special guest editor (and an old friend) to our blog today. She’s penned hits for artists like Khalid and Normani, Anderson Paak, and Janelle Monáe (just to name a few), toured with Anderson Paak and Lizzo, and has been featured in publications like Vogue, Paper, Forbes, NYLON, Billboard, Glamour, and many more.... the incredibly talented, GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and actress known for reimagining genre, gender, and popular music as a whole - Tayla Parx !

Since our paths first crossed in 2016, Tayla has consistently shifted perspectives on stage as a performer, behind the scenes as a songwriter, and on screen as an actress. With countless hit songs under her belt and starring roles in iconic films like 'Hairspray', television shows like 'True Jackson, VP', and even contributions to beloved video game franchises like 'The Sims' and 'The Walking Dead', Tayla's work has garnered critical acclaim and resonated with audiences worldwide.

Her solo career began with the 2017 mixtape 'Tayla Made' and singles like “Runaway” [feat. Khalid]. Her 2019 debut album, 'WE NEED TO TALK', featuring tracks like “I Want You” and “Easy,” established her as a boundary-breaking artist. Tayla then went on to make history as the first female songwriter since 2014 to have three simultaneous top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 with Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” and “thank u, next,” and Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes.”

As an avid foodie, Tayla can often be found in the kitchen working on new recipes when she isn't on set or in the studio whipping up pop hits. She understands that food and music share a unique power: both can bring people together, evoke deep emotions, and create lasting memories. 

Read on to discover her love letter to LA, and learn about The Top 10 boundary-breaking women that inspire Tayla and have transformed LA's art, food, and music scenes.

Welcome aboard, Tayla- and take it away!



Dear Los Angeles,

You are the heartbeat of creativity and innovation, the city where dreams come alive. Your streets, stretching from the sunny beaches of Santa Monica to the bustling energy of downtown, are a testament to the power of community in shaping cultural landscapes. You are not just a place; you are a vibrant, living entity fueled by the diversity of your inhabitants.

LA, your unique blend of cultures and backgrounds has created an environment where artistic expression thrives. Your rich tapestry is woven from countless threads, each adding its own color and texture to the collective experience. This dynamic, ever-evolving cultural scene is a product of your diversity, where change and innovation are not just welcomed but celebrated.

In your embrace, community means more than just being neighbors. It's about shared experiences, mutual support, and the collective effort to push boundaries and redefine norms. This unity has been the driving force behind your emergence as a global cultural powerhouse. Here, the individual and the collective are inextricably linked, each achievement a testament to the strength of the community that nurtured it.

Your influence is particularly evident in the realms of art, music, and food. Artists draw inspiration from the myriad cultures that coexist within you, blending them into groundbreaking works. Musicians tap into your rich sonic landscape, fusing genres and creating sounds that resonate worldwide. Chefs and culinary innovators experiment with a vast array of flavors, crafting dishes that reflect your multicultural essence.

I am continually inspired by the iconic women who have walked your streets and shaped your history. Edith Head, Ruth Asawa, Alice Coltrane, Joni Mitchell, Eve Babitz, Toni Basil, Carmen McRae, Diana Ross, Barbara Carrasco, and Linda Ronstadt—these trailblazers broke barriers and set new standards in their fields. Their stories remind us that behind every great achievement lies a network of support, collaboration, and shared aspirations.

LA, you are a city where the strength of community lies in its diversity, and together, we achieve greatness. As a woman of color finding my path in the music and entertainment scene, I am constantly inspired by the legacy of these incredible women. They have paved the way for future generations, including myself, to dream big and strive for excellence.

My new album, "Many Moons Many Stars," is a tribute to you, Los Angeles, and the vibrant, diverse communities that make you so special. I can't wait to share it with you all and continue this journey of creativity and innovation together.

With all my love,

Tayla Parx

My Top 10 Trailblazing Women of LA:

#1. Edith Head (1897-1981) - Costume Designer

Edith Head was an unparalleled force in the world of costume design, earning eight Academy Awards over her illustrious career. Her influence extended beyond the silver screen, impacting fashion and style in everyday life. Working on iconic films such as "All About Eve" and "Roman Holiday," Head's designs helped define the visual aesthetics of Hollywood's Golden Age.

Edith Head surrounded by sketches in her office at Paramount. Photo from the National Archives.

#2. Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) - Sculptor

 Ruth Asawa, a Japanese American artist, created intricate wire sculptures and public art installations that challenged traditional notions of sculpture. Her work continues to inspire artists to explore new mediums and techniques.

Ruth Asawa with her husband Albert Lanier and daughter Aiko in front of a sign they designed and painted for her parents’ farm in Anaheim - 1949. Photo from the Ruth Asawa estate.

#3. Alice Coltrane (1937-2007) - Jazz Musician and Composer

 A pioneering force in jazz, Alice Coltrane, an African American musician, brought a unique spiritual and experimental approach to her music. Her work in Los Angeles, particularly at her ashram in Agoura Hills, blended Eastern spirituality with jazz, creating a sound that was both innovative and deeply transformative.

Alice Coltrane. Photo from

#4. Joni Mitchell - Singer-Songwriter

Joni Mitchell's poetic lyrics and genre-defying music made her one of the most influential singer-songwriters of her time. Her time in Los Angeles was marked by the creation of several groundbreaking albums, including "Blue" and "Court and Spark," which continue to resonate with audiences today.

Joni Mitchell at her home in Laurel Canyon - 1970. Photo by Joel Bernstein.

#5. Eve Babitz (1943-2021) - Writer and Artist

Eve Babitz was an essential chronicler of Los Angeles culture. Her writings captured the essence of the city's bohemian lifestyle, and her art reflected the vibrant, often chaotic energy of LA. Babitz's work remains a vital part of the city's cultural history.

Eve Babitz - 1997. Photo by Paul Harris.

#6. Toni Basil - Choreographer and Musician

Best known for her hit song "Mickey," Toni Basil was a multifaceted artist who made significant contributions to both music and dance. Her choreography work, particularly in film and music videos, left a lasting impact on the visual and performing arts in Los Angeles.

Toni Basil dancing at The Trip on the Sunset Strip back in 1964. Photo from Toni Basil’s FB page.

#7. Carmen McRae (1920-1994) - Jazz Singer

With a career spanning over five decades, Carmen McRae, an African American jazz singer, was a pivotal figure in jazz. Her performances in Los Angeles and collaborations with other jazz legends helped cement the city's reputation as a major hub for jazz music.

Carmen McRae with Ella Fitzgerald and Brock Peters at the Cocoanut Grove in 1970. Photo by Frank Edwards.

#8. Diana Ross - Singer & Actress

Diana Ross is an iconic legend known for her groundbreaking role as the lead singer of The Supremes, the best-charting female group in history, which paved the way for future generations of female artists. As a solo artist, she achieved tremendous success with numerous chart-topping hits and critically acclaimed albums, becoming a symbol of glamour and empowerment. Her influence extends beyond music into acting and philanthropy, solidifying her status as a cultural icon and trailblazer in the entertainment industry.

Diana Ross talking with a Young Michael Jackson on stage, Los Angeles, 1969 Photo by California State University Northridge. University Library. Special Collections & Archives. Tom & Ethel Bradley Center

#9. Barbara Carrasco - Artist and Muralist

A prominent figure in the Chicano art movement, Barbara Carrasco, of Latino descent, used her work to address social and political issues affecting the Latino community in Los Angeles. Her murals and public art pieces remain powerful symbols of resistance and cultural pride.

Barbara Carrasco in front of her mural “L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective” at Union Station - 1990. Photo by Harry Gamboa, Jr.

#10. Linda Ronstadt (b. 1946) - Singer

 Linda Ronstadt's versatile voice and ability to cross musical genres made her one of the most influential singers of her time. Her success in Los Angeles, where she recorded many of her iconic albums, paved the way for future generations of female musicians.

Linda Ronstadt at Irv’s Burgers in West Hollywood (from her “Living in the USA” album) - 1978.

These ten women exemplify the transformative power of creativity and community in Los Angeles. Their contributions have not only shaped their respective fields but also enriched the cultural fabric of the city, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to build upon. As a woman of color who has found her own path in the music and entertainment scene, I am continually inspired by these trailblazers. Their stories remind us that the strength of our communities lies in their diversity, and that together, we can achieve greatness.


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