Each year Billboard celebrates the incredible and far-reaching contributions women make to the world of music. In 2013 many talented, brave, and thoughtful women–artists, executives, journalists and music lovers alike helped turn the past 365 days into one of the richest years in music history to date. This year Billboard chose two incredible musicians to honor: Janelle Monae as the Rising Star, and P!nk as Woman of the Year.
Both women took the stage to share their messages of hope and encouragement. After Christina Perri performed a beautiful rendition of her single, “Only Human,” Janelle Monae spoke about her experiences as the granddaughter of a cotton picker and the daughter of a custodial worker. She noted her black and white dress code is an ode to the hard work of the women in her family who made it possible for her to get to where she is today.
Monae’s strongest message was that of community. “We don’t all have to take the same coordinates to get to the same destination,” she said with fervor. A champion of alternative pathways to success and achievement, she celebrated the differences amongst the women in the crowd and the world of music that make it such a rich, diverse space.
Lauren Mayberry, the lead singer of Scottish electro-pop band and previous Artist of the Week, Chvrches then performed. Her presence was made only more valuable given the strength with which she has spoken out against the objectification of female artists on the Internet in recent months.
Following their performance, the Woman of the Year took the stage. P!nk credited her success to her courage to be emotional, and championed her audience to do the same. Connectivity and feeling are the drivers of her motivation, she noted, “The feedback, the letters that I read–there are so many amazing connections. I’m a performer; it’s the connection that motivates me. I need to know that my pain connects with your pain.” It was a touching moment to watch her then interact with the final performers of the event, singer/songwriters Tegan and Sara who covered one of P!nk’s biggest hits, “Pill.”
Pepsi is proud to have two of Billboard’s 2013 Women in music honorees on our team. Bozoma Saint John and Ellen Healy were named #18 on the list for their monumental contributions to the music industry. We are infinitely proud of them and all of the incredible ladies who make the arts the focus of their lives. Congratulations!