We were just as horrified as you when the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released their annual stats about inclusion in the music industry at the start of the year.
The USC think tank's findings were unfortunate; in 2017, the research showed that men were dominating pop music, with women representing only 16.8% of popular artists on the top charts. It was a six-year low, showcasing how "women are pushed to the margins or excluded from the creative process" in music-making.
To combat this bleak statistic, we found we actually didn't have to look far at all for strong examples of women in the pop sphere — encompassing stylistic diversity that includes genres like R&B, hip-hop, and electronic — who were pushing boundaries and shaking things up with their virtuosic art.
Below, 100 women across all spectrums who are revolutionizing pop, and the face of music as we know it for the better, this year and beyond. Click through and listen to a special playlist curated by PAPER editors, featuring all 100 pop stars.
Julia Michaels has long written for all your faves, and the list is almost too exhaustive by this point to name here. Last year, the emotionally in-touch songwriter aired out her "Issues" as a fully-formed star on her debut Nervous System EP, and her Scorpionic confessions proved fruitful: Michaels was twice nominated for Grammys. She's only continued to rise, releasing the chic, moody, and trap-inspired cut, "Jump" with Trippie Redd, which is climbing charts and entering hearts one stream at a time. Did I mention that she's not even 25 yet? It's OK to feel a little jealous. — Michael Love Michael (Photography: Ryan Duffin for PAPER)
Story by Michael Love Michael, Vrinda Jagota, Justin Moran, Jael Goldfine, Katie Skinner, Talia Smith