Time released its prestigious list of the 100 most influential people of the year yesterday and several musicians were included
The directory Time 100 features the greats and good of 2021, from Donald Trump and Liz Cheney to Elon Musk and Simone Biles. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were chosen to adorn the cover.
The list contains “extraordinary leaders from around the world working to build a better future,” said Edward Felsenthal, CEO and editor of TIME, in a statement. “They are disruptors, fixers, doers, iconoclasts, problem solvers – people who, in a year of crisis, have jumped into the fray.”
The world of music was obviously well represented, across several different categories. Take a look below at every musician included in this year TIME 100.
Dolly Parton (Icons)
The never-ending country music legend was featured by Miley Cyrus in the Icons category, calling Parton “the definition of humanitarian.” “Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like Dolly Parton? I never did,” Cyrus wrote. “Dolly is not only my idol because of her incomparable career, she is also my role model because of her unwavering morals and values.”
She went on to note Parton’s wonderful selfless accomplishments, including donating $1 million to COVID-19 vaccine research as well as her ongoing support of the queer community. “People look to Dolly for advice, and she knows it. She carries that responsibility with the same grace and pride as she wears a two-piece Nudie suit. She recognizes how impactful her choices will be as one of the most iconic and powerful voices in country music, and she leaves no one behind.
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Billie Eilish (Trailblazers)
The trailblazing pop star was featured by another artist who dominated 2021, Megan Thee Stallion. “Billie Eilish is a unique soul, with a voice, style and attitude all her own,” the rapper wrote. “I first met Billie at the Grammys this year. She had already achieved world stardom, which might make some people have airs about them, but not Billie.
She was so real and laid back, even though her personality is so big. He is a rare spirit who speaks from his unassuming heart. I knew I had found a kindred spirit that night. One who is strong, but still learning and growing. A woman who defends herself and defends women everywhere.”
Timbaland and Swizz Beatz (Titans)
The production legends were honored for their groundbreaking series Verzuz, a virtual DJ battle that was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Singer Brandy discussed the couple’s impact: “During the pandemic, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz created Verzuz, a streaming series that showcased so many talented artists. It’s such a great experience, and with millions of viewers tuning in to watch the battles live on Instagram, it’s clear that it’s also something people really needed – the show got us through a difficult period.
I go back a long way with Timbaland and Swizz Beatz: as a hip-hop head in the 90s, Swizz’s work spoke to me. And Timbaland is one of my favorite producers of all time. When they asked me to go to Verzuz for a battle with Monica, an incredible artist, last year, I was very nervous because I didn’t want it to be competitive; I like to share the light. But they assured us that it would be a fantastic experience. It was exactly that. I didn’t want the night to end.
Angelique Kidjo (Titans)
The Beninese singer-songwriter and activist was introduced by Alicia Keys. “The grace she exudes towards her fellow creators and towards humanity is a reflection of her drive, kindness and generosity,” she wrote. “Angelique is as real as she comes.” Its inclusion in TIME 100 comes after representing the African continent at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, performing “Imagine” with John Legend, Alejandro Sanz and Keith Urban.
Kane Brown (Artists)
The rising country star was honored by Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish, who cited Brown as a wonderful role model for the next generation of country artists. “Kane Brown has this unquantifiable ‘it’ factor,” he said. “He’s so laid back and doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he also really cares about his job and about other people.”
Rucker continued, “I’m sure there are kids looking up to Kane right now, just like when I watched Charley Pride. Kane sets the bar so high for the next generation. I hope the kids will see it and think now, “I can do this.”
Bad Bunny (Artists)
The Puerto Rican superstar was discussed by fellow reggaeton artist J Balvin who recalled seeing Bad Bunny’s rise to the top. “I met Bad Bunny in Puerto Rico about five years ago. Benito was an up-and-coming artist then, making a lot of noise on the streets and on SoundCloud. When I saw him, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s another weirdo like me. I’m not the only one now.
Balvin ended by noting his friends’ enormous impact on Latin culture. “He’s an artist, period. A real artist. Now it is at its peak, taking Latin culture to another level. The records he broke are incredible. He is different. Special. People wait for someone to die to say, “Oh, that was a legend. But I say to Benito now: you are one of the greatest artists in the history of Latin music.
Lil Nas X (Artists)
Kid Cudi paid tribute to his fellow rapper noting the similarities between the two artists. “Lil Nas X is a new spin on some of the themes I was riding on when I started: being true to yourself and not caring what anyone says. What he does is what we need right now. To have a gay man in hip-hop doing his thing, smashing records, that’s huge for us and for black excellence. The way he’s not afraid to hurt people at ease is so rock ‘n’ roll. He’s a real rock star.”
Cudi continued: “When I saw the tweet about Nas Montero not featuring black male artists, and he replied that “maybe a lot of them just don’t want to work with me”, that made me sad. There’s a homophobic cloud over hip-hop, and he’s going to break that. We must stay with him. I’m going to do whatever I have to let him know—you have my support. When we do our song together, even if the video is trippy, let’s be sexy with it.
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