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.
Yaeji is a New York City-based musician and DJ who uses the soundscape of icy electronic house music to tell personal stories. Sometimes, Yaeji's songs are related to her experiences as a Korean-American. Other times, they explore the depression that can settle in at crowded spaces, something she knows all about as a New York native on the move. What's so energizing about Yaeji's music, which includes songs about introversion at the club like "Raingurl" and a rapped cover of Drake's "Passionfruit," is how hard it is to classify. Like a millennial playlist, she switches up her flow effortlessly between singing, rapping, and whispering, sometimes in Korean; other times in English. And her musical inclinations encompass pop, rap, R&B, and dance music. This year and since she burst onto the scene, Yaeji's existence within mostly white electronic music circles as an Asian-American woman is a revolution unto itself. Yaeji isn't hiding, and she certainly doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon, and why should she? — Michael Love Michael (Photo via Yaeji)
Story by Michael Love Michael, Vrinda Jagota, Justin Moran, Jael Goldfine, Katie Skinner, Talia Smith