Halsey was honored with the Rising Star Award at Billboard Women in Music 2016 on Friday (Dec. 9), with Debbie Harry presenting the honor to the singer-songwriter. The award recognizes an artist for her chart dominance and exceptional, unconventional talent.
“She’s connecting with a new generation of music fans,” said Harry, praising her Badlands album as “her singular truth, as only she can tell it. … I know she will be sharing her story for a long time to come.”
“This is crazy! I’m not very good at giving speeches, so everything I thought I was going to say just disappeared out of my brain,” said the honoree, who thanked her team of women.
After recalling her initial belief that the music industry was ruled by men — “I was very wrong, and I’m happy to be very wrong about that” — she explained her hopes for the industry in the coming year: to embrace more female performers, writers, producers and executives, and “most importantly, to prove to all these young women that they can follow their dreams in music, and that they don’t need anyone in a suit to hold their hand.” She then performed her hit “Colors.”
Halsey is one of several 2016 Women in Music honorees, headlined by “Woman of the Year” recipient Madonna and “Icon” Shania Twain. Also honored this year are Andra Day (“Powerhouse”), Meghan Trainor (“Chart Topper”), Maren Morris (“Breakthrough Star”), Kesha (“Trailblazer”) and Alessia Cara (“Rule Breaker”).
Billboard’s Women In Music airs Dec. 12 on Lifetime.