Billboard announced Monday (Nov. 19) that it will honor SZA, Kacey Musgraves and Hayley Kiyoko at its 13th annual Women in Music event in New York City on Dec. 6, in conjunction with the release of its “Women in Music” issue.
SZA will be given the rule breaker award, which recognizes female artists who use their music and platform to defy traditional industry expectations and advance a powerful message for young people. As a dynamic new voice with an uncompromising songwriting vision, SZA has consistently upended the expectations of a modern R&B star while scoring Grammy nominations, multi-platinum hits from her Ctrl album and a prime slot on Top Dawg Entertainment’s best-selling Championship Tour.
Musgraves has been tapped to receive the innovator award, which recognizes female artists who challenge musical convention, create positive change and contribute new ideas both in and outside of their creative work. With her third Top Country Albums-topping release, Golden Hour, Musgraves has evolved her traditional country sound with daring vision, becoming an in-demand live act while serving as an advocate for inclusion and tolerance.
Finally, Kiyoko will collect the rising star award as an up-and-coming artist whose cultural impact and exceptional talent have demonstrated a clear path to success. By serving as a progressive pop symbol and a spokesperson of the LGBTQ community, Kiyoko has proven that her artistic future is bright through her bold debut album, Expectations, self-directed music videos and powerful live shows.
“In their respective genres, SZA, Kacey Musgraves and Hayley Kiyoko are creating necessary space for more personal, authentic expression,” says Ross Scarano, Billboard’s vice president of content. “It makes for provocative, perspective-shifting work that is challenging traditional notions of songwriting in R&B, country and pop music. We’re lucky to have three iconoclasts in one room together.”
The newly-announced award recipients will join Ariana Grande — named Billboard’s Woman of the Year — Janelle Monáe, who is being honored with the trailblazer award, and Cyndi Lauper, who will receive the icon award at the event, which also honors the most powerful female executives in the industry.
The 13th annual Women in Music event’s red carpet pre-show will be broadcast live on Twitter from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST on Dec. 6.