Gay Rights, Small Biz and Health Care Are on the Minds of Music's Biggest Artists
With Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a tight race leading up to election day on Tuesday, musicians from many genres tell Billboard about the issues they care about the most this year. In the video below, Katy Perry, J ason Aldean, Mary J. Blige, Tom Petty, Miley Cyrus, Miranda Lambert and many more share their thoughts -- and remind fans to vote.
Equal rights is top of mind for Katy Perry and Fun . "Equal rights, whether it's being able to be equal in love and being treated equally whether you have ovaries or not," is top of mind for Katy Perry, who has performed at Obama reelection rallies this fall. "We're really focused on gay rights and it's a really important moment for that," Fun.'s Jack Antonoff says.
, Tom Petty and Miranda Lambert say the economy is key at the polls this year. Aldean speaks of "watching the price of our dollar continue to drop and us owing every other country all this money instead of trying to keep everything in house and take care of our own people."
Lambert and Petty are focused on the small business aspect. "One thing that I am really proud of is that's I am able to be a small business owner and that I am able to give people jobs, jobs that they love and I have a job that I love," Lambert says.
"I would like to see small business return," Petty says. "And there's only one reason there's not small business: because a corporation moves in on the same street, there's cheaper labor that they outsourced to another country, and mom and pop are out of work."
Mary J. Blige, All Time Low , and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready put health care at the top of their issues list this election. "That's the most important," Blige says, "Because there's nothing worse than people being sick [who] cant get what they need."
Pearl Jam's McCready, a longtime Crohn's disease sufferer and advocate who recently made a pro-voting video supporting Obama's "Affordable Care Act" (aka ObamaCare), spoke to Billboard off camera about the healthcare issue. "When I meet parents that have kids that are suffering from juvenile diabetes or Crohn's or a myriad of other diseases and they don't have cash to take cake of it and they've been denied coverage many times because they have a preexisting condition it just makes me crazy; It makes me furious. We are in America, we should be able to do something about this kind of a crisis. And it feels to me like ObamaCare is that answer right now."
Motion City Soundtrack's Justin Pierre, who also spoke to Billboard off camera, echoes Perry and Fun., saying "I'm championing for equal rights for all, whether it's sexual orientation, gender equality, racial equality all into one," he says. "I do believe that if we treat some people better than others, I don't see how we can move forward or do anything worth a damn. I know that's probably a little idealistic or Ghandi-esque, but it comes down to equality for me."
Ryan Seacrest and Miley Cyrus are among the many music stars who feel that the act of voting itself is the crucial point in this election. "This is my first time that I'm ever going to be able to vote," says Cyrus. "It's important to know you make a difference in where you live, making this country what it is. It's important for young people to know that their input means something and they do have a choice."
"I think the biggest issue is that we should show up to vote," says Seacrest. "Each individual has their most important concerns and issues, some are obvious and some are not so obvious. But I think the message that I want to send out is go out and vote. You gotta make sure your voice is heard."
"Form your own opinion based on your life," says All Time Low's Rian Dawson, "Rather than on someone whose music you might like."
"I'm voting," says Miranda Lambert, with a smile.