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Just last year, pop superstar Hayley Kiyoko took to the Billboard Women in Music stage to accept the Rising Star Award. But on Thursday night (Dec. 12), the singer-songwriter returned not to take home an award, but to take over as host.
Kicking off Billboard Women in Music 2019, Kiyoko started off by thanking the crowd for being here, and by making it clear that she would be handling things much differently this year. "Last year ... I was just a hot sobbing mess," she said. "This year, I am contractually obligated to keep it together."
The "Girls Like Girls" singer gave a shoutout to a few of the night's honorees throughout her speech, including Woman of the Year Billie Eilish, Trailblazer Brandi Carlile and Woman of the Decade Taylor Swift, thanking all of them for helping make the industry a safer, happier place for her to make music in. "I am so grateful for the women in our community that made space for me, and let me know they had my back," she said.
Kiyoko made sure to use her speech to call out the lack of representation for women al throughout the industry. "Women are not given the same space in the industry as men. We're underrepresented as producers, songwriters, label heads," she said. "But we see each other, and we are helping each other be seen."
After giving shoutouts to many other powerful women in the industry, like YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Recording Academy president Deborah Dugan, the star quoted one of her favorite people when speaking about the future of women in music: "As I was writing this speech, my dad said, 'The world is my oyster, and we're just making big beautiful pearls.'"
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