The 2019 Music Biz Awards were held on Tuesday evening (May 7), at Nashville’s JW Marriott and Bebe Rexha was one of two women recognized. As the singer took the podium to accept her honor for breakthrough artist, she called out for change within the music industry.
“If I can leave you with one thing: we need more women executives in the music business,” she told the audience of music business professionals. “I don’t see many women executives. Women executives get paid 30 percent less than men and only 15 percent of women in the music business actually run labels. The number is really staggering.”
She went on to share that 86 percent of the songs on the radio in the U.S. are by men, adding, “That needs to change.”
“I will be letting you know that one day I will be running one of the biggest record labels. I will be that female,” she promised. “Women deserve a chance and I will make space for them. Women will be equal to all the fuckin’ men. We need more fuckin’ women in higher spots so pay ‘em extra, give ‘em time, respect them. Women are the ones that have always taught me the most important information in my career.”
— Music Business Association (Music Biz) (@MusicBizAssoc) May 8, 2019
Peter Frampton was also in attendance and accepted the chairman’s award for sustained creative achievement. The singer, who earlier this year announced his final tour after being diagnosed with a rare degenerative muscular disorder called Inclusion-Body Myositis (IBM), shared his gratitude for the honor.
“My passion is obviously guitar playing. It’s been a long journey. Thick, thin, more thin, then a little more thick. Dues must constantly be paid,” he addressed the audience. The singer said he and his band have been in the studio and already recorded four albums due to his recent health diagnosis.
“I’ve never recorded this much in my life, but I have to do that right now because this year will be my final tour. Unfortunately, it’s not because I want to stop. It’s not my choice. We all have our battles. I am having some health problems, but I really am the luckiest guy because my passion for my music has kept me going through many, many years of up and down, up and down, sideways,” he explained. “Whatever has been thrown at me…it’s all part of this lifelong dream. I live every day playing my guitar, writing music, recording and performing. I’m constantly realizing my dream thanks to so many people that I know and so many people that I don’t know. Thank you all so much. The support and love I have received since I announced my health issue has been absolutely overwhelming…Thank you for this incredible award. I don’t deserve it, but I thank you dearly.”
Additional honorees at the Music Biz 2019 Conference Awards Dinner Ceremony included Kane Brown, who along with Rexha received the breakthrough artist award; Darius Rucker with the Harry Chapin memorial humanitarian award; Richard Storms and Alayna Alderman, Record Archives store owners, with the independent spirit award; The Orchard co-founder Richard Gottehrer with the outstanding achievement award; and Randy Goodman of Sony Music Nashville with the presidential award for outstanding executive achievement. Giles Martin, son of Sir George Martin, accepted his father’s induction into the Music Biz Hall of Fame on his behalf.
Luke Combs was on hand to perform his No. 1 hits “Beautiful Crazy” and “She Got the Best of Me.” The 2019 Music Biz Conference runs May 5-8 in Nashville.