Billboard’s annual Women in Music event was packed with performances, impassioned acceptance speeches and so much more. While most of the celebration was captured on camera and will air on Lifetime Monday (Dec. 12), here are some behind-the-scenes moments — everything from rising stars praising Billboard‘s Women of the Year Madonna, to upcoming album reveals.
After Madonna‘s fiery Woman of the Year acceptance speech, Halsey went backstage to thank the icon who has paved the way for so many women, saying, “Everything you said, I feel like I needed to hear.”
Republic Group president Charlie Walk sang Hailee Steinfeld’s praises at the start of the luncheon (she hosted the event). “I never had her audition — we just signed her because we believed in her,” he told Billboard. “And she has overdelivered and is growing immensely in the music space.”
Executive of the Year Bozoma Saint John revealed that her form-fitting Discount Universe bodysuit used to belong to rapper Eve, who wore the outfit on tour this summer and auctioned it off to benefit Malaika DRC (for which she’s an ambassador).
Why would I want to be serious on the red carpet when I’m having so much fun?? The credit for my look goes to: — by @vjollcabroja —- by @negar_ali_kline — by @therealeve ‘s closet (like for real. The real E.V.E —-) — by @stuartweitzman Belt by @alexandermcqueen —- by @mayvennhair —- by moi #executiveoftheyear #womeninmusic
Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels recalled his early days as a DJ in New York City. “Madonna is one of the first artists where I remember people swarming the DJ booth and requesting her all the time,” he told Billboard.
Halsey sang along to every word of “Scars to Your Beautiful,” which honoree Alessia Cara performed before accepting the Rule Breaker award.
“That’s MY look!” Charli XCX said jokingly while standing in the back of the crowd and watching a montage honoring Billboard’‘s Icon Award recipient Shania Twain flash across the screen. Charli was pointing to the hooded leopard skin outfit that Twain made famous in the “That Don’t Impress Me Much” video from 1998 — back when Charli was just 6 six years old.
Rock icons Joan Jett and Debbie Harry hugged and caught up during a commercial break.
Regina Spektor, who attended as a guest of Loeb & Loeb lawyer Debbie White, beamed with pride when telling Billboard that the video for her song “Bleeding Heart,” an ode to youth, was directed by her husband Jack Dishel.
Madonna’s BFF Debi Mazar yelled “We love you!” to her friend when she had to pause for an emotional moment during her acceptance speech.
Billboard‘s Breakthrough Star Maren Morris revealed she’s already planning to begin the follow-up to her debut album, HERO, in early 2017 — despite just releasing the record six months ago. “We’re planning a few weeks for me to just sit down and have a month to reflect on what’s happened and write,” the Best New Artist Grammy nominee said on the red carpet. “So that will be happening in the next few months.”
After presenting Kesha with the Trailblazer honor, Charli XCX walked her backstage to their dressing area, as they had their publicists exchange info, promising to “get in touch.” “It will never happen if we don’t,” Kesha said, before her publicist passed her card to Charli’s. Perhaps a songwriting collaboration is in the stars?
?Andra Day stuck around to take photos with fans after the show. A fan thanked her for her contributions to the Hillary Clinton campaign, to which she said that she wished she had done more, given the election results.