On Saturday, December 7, 2019, Variety recognized the 2019 Variety Hitmakers issue honorees at an invitation-only celebratory event called Variety’s Hitmakers Brunch sponsored by Citi at Soho House West Hollywood.
Celebrating the year in music, the Hitmakers issue recognizes the artists, writers, producers, publishers, managers and executives who helped make — and break — the 25 most consumed songs of the year. This year, for the 3rd annual celebration, Variety’s editors selected Billie Eilish as Hitmaker of the Year, who graces the cover of the current issue.
Citi’s Global Consumer CMO, Jennifer Breithaupt, also presented acclaimed singer and songwriter Julia Michaels with the special Voice of Impact Award – honoring her varied contributions towards supporting gender equality in the music business throughout her career. Earlier this year, in partnership with the Association of National Advertisers, Citi launched an initiative called #SeeHerHearHer as a call for brands and marketers to join in the effort of advancing gender equality in music.
Photo Credit: Variety
Variety’s 2019 Hitmakers Honorees:
- Billie Eilish – Hitmaker of the Year: Coming off a whirlwind 2019 for the 17-year-old singer and songwriter, Billie Eilish’s single “Bad Guy” is the 5th most consumed song of the year and has been streamed almost a billion times on Spotify. Eilish writes nearly all of her material in collaboration with her multi-instrumentalist brother and producer Finneas, who is also featured on Variety’s Hitmakers list.
- BTS – Group of the Year: The record-breaking septet has solidified their status as global superstars, rounding out one of the largest stadium tours of the year and releasing a string of top-selling singles.
- Ellie Goulding – Decade Award: From her 2010 cover of Elton John’s “Your Song” to “Love Me Like You Do” from “50 Shades of Grey” to this year’s “Close to Me” with Diplo and featuring Swae-Lee, Ellie Goulding’s staying power spans a decade of undeniable hit songs.
- Megan Thee Stallion – Breakthrough Artist: The husky-voiced, no-holds-barred rapper has grown to become one of hip-hop’s buzziest figures on the back of “Hot Girl Summer” featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign.
- Swae Lee – Crossover Award: Sharing top billing with Post Malone on “Sunflower,” the second-most consumed song of 2019, follows successful turns as a featured artist — Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode,” French Montana’s “Unforgettable” — and a cross-genre collaborator for Madonna, Diplo and many more.
- Ryan Tedder – Songwriter of the Year: With credits on hits by Adele, Beyonce and Taylor Swift, the Grammy-winning songwriter helped orchestrate the Jonas Brothers’ comeback with insta-smash “Sucker.”
- Louis Bell – Producer of the Year: Credited on four of the year’s most consumed songs — Post Malone’s “Wow.” and “Sunflower” with Swae Lee; Halsey’s “Without Me;” and Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker” — the sound of 2019 is Lou’s inescapable production.
- YG – Hook of the Year: The smooth Spanish-guitar strut of “Go Loko,” featuring Tyga and Jon Z and produced by Mustard, was the soundtrack to the streets and came courtesy of the west coast rapper’s faith in his collaborators.
- Jody Gerson – Executive of the Year: Just ahead of her five-year anniversary as head of Universal Music Publishing Group, the industry’s top-ranking female executive scored the most points on the consumption board in 2019.
- Jason Owen – Manager of the Year: From a home base in Nashville, he’s launched the careers of award-winning artists Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay, Little Big Town and Midland.
- Republic Records – Label of the Year: For the third year running, the Universal Music Group company rules song consumption in 2019 as home to Ariana Grande, Post Malone and the Jonas Brothers.
Variety has been the seminal voice of the entertainment industry for 114 years and counting. Featuring award-winning breaking news reporting, insightful award-season coverage, must-read feature spotlights and intelligent analysis of the industry’s most prominent players, Variety is the premium news source for the business of global entertainment. Read by a highly engaged audience of industry insiders, Variety’s multi-platform content coverage expands across digital, mobile, social, print, branded content, events and summits. In 2019, Variety’s “Actors on Actors” received its third Emmy. “Actors on Actors,” an interview special that features pairings of prominent actors discussing their craft, is produced by PBS SoCal in partnership with Variety Media, LLC. Follow Variety on Facebook facebook.com/variety; Twitter, @variety; Instagram, @Variety. The Variety Group – Variety, Variety.com, Variety Insight, Indiewire, LA 411, NY 411 – is owned by Variety Media, LLC, a division of Penske Media Corporation
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