Taylor Swift and rising star Nicki Minaj headlined a list of Women in Music industry that was topped by Atlantic Records’ Julie Greenwald, who appeared alongside boss Lyor Cohen, CEO of Warner Music.
Billboard editorial director Bill Werde said he was repeatedly asked why Billboard still ranks its Women In Music honorees, which was expanded from 30 to 40 this year. “We believe in taking an editorial stance to keep the industry striving to work harder,” he said.
That sentiment was echoed by Minaj, who told ABC News’ Robin Roberts during an onstage Q&A that she dealt with a lot of rejection before reaching her current place in the pop culture stratosphere. “I’ve had a lot of doors closed in my face,” she said. “I’m no different than any struggling artist that just tried one last time.”
Friday’s event fell on a particularly busy day for Minaj, who debuted her new single “Roman In Moscow” from her upcoming album “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” on iTunes just minutes before walking the red carpet. She also revealed plans for a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll made in partnership with Mattel, to be auctioned off next Wednesday at Divine Design’s five-day gala in Beverly Hills on CharityBuzz.com.
Minaj told Roberts that the new album is “so much fun from beginning to end” and will explore multiple genres. “It’s … grimy,” she said.
Although Swift and Minaj never shared the stage at Billboard’s event, a career highlight for both artists from 2011 was performing Minaj’s “Super Bass” at Los Angeles’ Staples Center earlier this year. Minaj credits Swift’s early praise of the song, and subsequent shout-outs on radio and tweets to her fans, as having a direct impact on the song’s path from “Pink Friday” bonus cut to her highest-charting single to date. “I just saw her last week, and I told her, ‘This is not something I’m saying to the cameras. This is something you had a hand in.’ This just shows the power of her words.”
Both honorees had important people to thank for helping them in their way to the top. Swift credited her parents with teaching her the importance of personal responsibility and integrity in her career. “It’s just easier to stand by the decisions you’ve made [yourself],” she said, noting that she sits in on every management and publicity meeting to make sure she’s on the same page as her team on every decision.
And Minaj had a message for the room of fellow honorees at the end of her acceptance speech. “To everyone out there, I am so proud of you for showing me this can be done. You can be your own boss, and make your own music, and project an image you believe in and keep good morals and all that good stuff.”
The event closed with a performance by S-Curve recording artist Andy Grammer, who paid tribute to Swift with an acoustic version of her hit “Mine” and dedicated his own single “Keep Your Head Up” to Minaj and the rest of this year’s honorees. [Source]