There is no doubt that women have come a long way in many different fields including music. Over the years, Billboard has celebrated women in music and this year is no different.
Billboard’s 13th Annual Women in Music event will honor Ariana Grande, SZA, Janelle Monáe, Cyndi Lauper, Kacey Musgraves, and Hayley Kiyoko. Each singer will join the history of icons who have been previously honored including Selena Gomez, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. Here’s how these phenomenal women have contributed their talents to help shape music along the years.
Ariana Grande is a star on her own terms, never bending to any particular musical trend or path in the industry. She consistently stands up for herself and her decisions in a world that often isn’t hospitable to that sort of strength in young women. Over the course of her career, Grande has claimed the top spot several times with her hits like “No Tears Left to Cry,” “God Is a Woman,” and most recently, “Thank U, Next.” It’s safe to say she absolutely deserves to be Billboard’s Woman of the Year 2018.
SZA will be given the rule breaker award, which recognizes female artists who use their music and platform to defy traditional industry expectations and advance a powerful message for young people. As a dynamic new voice with an uncompromising songwriting vision, the first lady of Top Dawg Entertainment has consistently upended the expectations of a modern R&B star while scoring Grammy nominations, multi-platinum hits from herCtrl album.
Janelle Monáe’s insatiable drive to incorporate new, untold stories into her artistic projects, while synthesizing classic funk, soul, R&B, jazz, hip-hop, and rock. In the past decade, Monáe has worked to redefine how a black woman can be represented in popular culture. Her album Dirty Computer peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and at the same time, she shows she has no limit in exercising her creative ways.
The entire world recognizes the power of Cyndi Lauper’s pop music, and just as crucially, she has used her undeniable talent to soar beyond music, create positive change in modern society and become a true Icon. Lauper has delivered endless classics in her four-decade career. On top of her accolades as a Grammy, Tony and Emmy winner, she is also an active humanitarian and advocate. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of theTrue Colors Fund, which Lauper co-founded to end youth homelessness among the LGBTQ community.
Kacey Musgraves has been tapped to receive the innovator award, which recognizes female artists who challenge musical convention, create positive change and contribute new ideas both in and outside of their creative work. With her third Top Country Albums-topping release, Golden Hour, Musgraves has evolved her traditional country sound with daring vision, becoming an in-demand live act while serving as an advocate for inclusion and tolerance
Hayley Kiyoko will collect the rising star award as an up-and-coming artist whose cultural impact and exceptional talent have demonstrated a clear path to success. By serving as a progressive pop symbol and a spokesperson of the LGBTQ community, Kiyoko has proven that her artistic future is bright through her bold debut album, Expectations, self-directed music videos, and powerful live shows.
Each of these talented women is not only creating a legacy in their respective genre but have also shown us how to be fearless, unstoppable and unapologetically ourselves.