Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Kelsea Ballerini and More Stars Reflect on Women Who Empowered Them
In honor of International Women's Day, Apple Music asked visionary female artists about the women who inspire them and the music that moves them
Who run the world? Girls.
In honor of International Women's Day on Monday, Apple Music asked Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Kelsea Ballerini and more visionary female artists about the women who inspire them and the music that moves them — and PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at what they said.
Cardi remembered the late Whitney Houston and her 1993 hit "I'm Every Woman" for representing "every woman like me: wife, mother, daughter, stripper, provider, sister, boss, mogul."
"This song is for all those powerful women in the world," she said. "I just love it. Makes me feel good and smile when it comes on."
Ballerini meanwhile thanked fellow country-pop crossover star Shania Twain for inspiring her and "thousands and thousands of women to be bold and be brave and be sassy and do it with grace and do it with authority."
"You are to me the epitome of a true artist and a girls girl, and I look up to you in every way," she said. "Getting to know you the last few years has been one of the biggest honors of my career."
"Sometimes you gotta teach a man a lesson," Lynn sad. "I would have done it, then wrote about it. I can get spitting mad at a man just listening to it!"
Lynn also said that she'll "never forget" the first time she saw Tanya Tucker sing "Delta Dawn."
"She was a little girl and all the sudden this powerful voice came out of her," she said. "I fell in love with her and forever since then when I think of Tanya, I think of that song."
"It hurts my heart every time I hear [that song]," she said. "I think that being able to be vulnerable is the most independent thing someone can be at times, and I commend her for her honesty and transparency in this song. We can all relate to her and that's why we all love her."
Cara Delevingne applauded Beyoncé for "changing the narrative on being a powerful, female boss," as did famed songwriter Diane Warren. Warren worked with Beyoncé on the 2011 song "I Was Here," which she called "one of my favorite songs I have ever written."
"It is about wanting to truly leave your mark in this life," Warren said. "It's about wanting to make a difference, in the world, in someone's life. Having Beyoncé bring it to life was a dream come true because she has lived every word of it and makes you believe that with every single note she sings. I was here. I lived. I loved."
Colombian singer-songwriter Karol G put the spotlight on emerging artists Kali Uchis, Yendry and Nathy Peluso for their "strong identity and defined style, [which is] hard to find in other artists." She added that they're all "strong women with strong character with whom I identify with" and their their music is a "fusion of innovative sounds, in which each artist presents full freshness compared to what we hear today."
Rock star St. Vincent remembered the late Billie Holiday saying, "long live the genius spirit of Billie Holiday that will live on forever through her transcendent work." She also praised Sister Rosetta Tharpe, calling her "an early guitar legend."
"When people ask me about my favorite guitar players, I say look no further than Sister Rosetta Tharpe," she said.
Remi Wolf called Erykah Badu "one of the strongest and most creative artistic voices and musicality in the game."
"I put on 'Didn't Cha Know' specifically when I need to be lifted out of a funky mood," she said. "It never fails to somehow heal a little part of me."
In addition to talking about the women who inspired them, each of these artists created a new Apple Music playlist filled with the songs that matter most to them. Currently live is Grande's "Who Runs the World" playlist of 103 handpicked songs from artists like Britney Spears, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and Rihanna.
"There are so many lenses through which we can explore female empowerment in music: confidence, celebration of self, flexing the way men do, sexual liberaton, healing from heartbreak, uplifting one another, and just all around challenging the definition of what women and girls 'should' be," Grande said. "The women and songs in this playlist (and sooooo many countless others ... might need to make a second playlist tbh) have empowered millions of listeners worldwide."
British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks also added that "'women in music' is not a genre ... there is a plethora of exciting, special and wildly different music being made by women — now and always."
On International Women's Day on Monday, Apple Music Radio and Apple Music TV will feature incredible female voices, stories and musicianship for a full 24 hours, back to back.
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