Tag Archive: Taylor Swift

FEMINISTS VS. FEMINISTS So You’re a Celebrity Who Calls Yourself a Feminist. Now What? [Reposted from The Cut]

By Ann Friedman

February 25, 2016
1:21 p.m.


It’s been less than a week since Kesha became a celeb-feminist cause célèbre. On Friday, a New York court ruled that the glitter-strewn pop star would not be released from her contract with Sony — despite her insistence that producer Dr. Luke assaulted and abused her.

Famous feminists swung into action. Over the weekend, Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to Kesha. Kelly Clarkson, Fiona Apple, and Lady Gaga tweeted their support. Sky Ferreira ’grammed herself with a poster that read, “Kesha, I am so angry for you. They were wrong.” And then there was Demi Lovato, who tweeted “Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak out about something and then I’ll be impressed.”

Swift’s fans cried foul, interpreting the tweet as a swipe at her hefty donation. On Instagram, Lovato clarified, “I didn’t shade Taylor… I’m just tired of seeing women use ‘women empowerment’ and ‘feminism’ to further brands without actually being the ones that have the uncomfortable conversations.” She later added, “All I want to see is women coming together and making a difference.” (Lovato, for the record, supports a dozen or so causes, most notably mental health and addiction, and recently met with the White House drug czar. You’ll have to decide based on your own feminist politics whether you feel she’s advancing the cause of “women empowerment.”)

This exchange was familiar to many non-famous feminists. Most of us have had our values, actions, or intentions challenged by someone who fundamentally agrees with us — a conflict that arises not in spite of the fact that we all embrace the feminist label, but because we do. I’d like to welcome pop stars to the wonderful world of low-key intra-feminist fighting. Most of us who call ourselves feminists have very different ideas about what that means in practice. It’s a natural consequence of feminism being an ideology rather than a formal organization whose members share agreed-upon tenets. Things get complicated quickly. Some feminists would even quibble with Lovato’s implied definition of feminism as centrally about “women empowerment,” preferring to prioritize a bigger concept like “gender justice” instead.

The stakes are higher for celebrity feminists, though. Their words and actions are closely tracked—which I’m sure feels restrictive at times, but also translates to more power. They’re the faces of charitable causes, the financial forces behind campaigns, and headline-makers who can attract media attention by merely walking to buy a latte. We all make decisions that contradict our beliefs in little ways, but celebrities are more subject to criticism for their missteps. Sure, I might listen to “Blurred Lines” in private, but I’ve never had to decide whether to rub my butt up against Robin Thicke on national TV. With great power comes great responsibility, as they say.

“It’s been disturbing to see how much blowback Demi Lovato got for her tweets because I think she was right on,” says Andi Zeisler, author of the forthcoming book We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. “If you’re going to be all about female empowerment, it’s not always going to be cute. It’s not always going to be convenient. For the most part, feminist celebrities are engaging with feminism not as an ethic that is complex and evolving, but as this static brand identity.”

Over the past few years, there’s been a noticeable uptick in celebrities talking about feminism. At the 2014 VMAs we watched Beyoncé power-pose in front of the word “FEMINIST.” That same year, we listened to Emma Watson address the UN about gender inequality. We heard Miley Cyrus’s proclamation that she was “one of the biggest feminists.” Even some famous men have embraced the term. Fashion magazines run features like “25 Inspiring Women Who Changed the Face of Feminism” alongside links to articles about “diet pills that work.” By now, the label is mainstream. But, as Lovato seemed to be asking, what about the politics that go along with it?

I’m not interested in the inevitable beef over “who is the real feminist.” I’m not interested in making sure all celebrity women embrace the label or live their beliefs in a specific way. I love that it is cool for celebs to speak up in defense of women. And I agree with Roxane Gay that stars like Taylor Swift are more like brand ambassadors who provide soft introductions to feminism, not the movement itself. But at what point is the mainstream feminist conversation sophisticated enough that we start expecting more from people who embrace the label? And what does “more” look like?

Perhaps it looks like old-fashioned political activism. It’s easy to tweet #FreeKesha. It’s harder to educate yourself about the policies that harm domestic violence survivors in your state, and to use your fame or wealth to demand your legislator improve them. This week, Lena Dunham penned a vociferous defense of Kesha in Lenny Letter, connecting the singer’s plight to that of non-famous abuse victims who struggle to keep their jobs and houses. She also praised the chorus of celebrities supporting the singer. “It wasn’t long ago that women in the public eye didn’t have a loose-enough leash to reach out and support one another, for fear of losing all they had worked so hard to create,” wrote Dunham. “Instead they quietly watched on their televisions, hoping they wouldn’t be next. Those days are over. They are fucking done.”

Indeed, thanks to social media and a generally more feminist culture, they’re free to speak up. But those celebrities still have to work within industries renowned for their sexism and racism. After Watson’s much-lauded 2014 UN speech, the actress’s next role was announced: She would play Belle in an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast — a Disney-fied fairy tale about a kidnapped woman who falls in love with her brutish captor. “How deep can celebrity feminism really go if it has to stop short of interrogating the systems that create cultural products that are influential?” Zeisler asks. If Dunham is to be believed, individual celebrities have more freedom than ever to speak out about injustices within their industries. But one also has to assume that there is still some price to be paid for calling attention to predatory producers or racist casting choices. Watson hasn’t said much about stepping into the historically fraught role of a Disney princess, but some of her fans made the feminist leap for her. “There is no doubt that this adaption of Beauty and the Beast will portray Belle as a powerful, strong, independent woman,” wrote an optimist at Bustle. I suppose we’ll see for ourselves soon enough.

As the stigma of the feminist label fades, we’re at a turning point. The mainstream press is less interested in who’s calling herself a feminist, and has turned its attention to infighting, like the perceived squabble between Swift and Lovato. Bobby Finger, who blogs about tabloids for Jezebel and co-hosts the Who? Weekly podcast, says that when you see feminism pop up in Us Weekly or InTouch, “it typically happens only if there’s a feud about feminism between two women.” His co-host Lindsey Weber adds, “It’s turned into FEMALE vs. FEMALE with ‘feminism’ coming into play when they don’t agree. Or when they ‘subtweet’ each other.”

Celebrities’ task — and ours — is to turn the conversation toward questions of action. How does feminism inform their professional choices? What does feminism look like in their daily lives? What specific issues or problems are they actively working to solve, and how is that work influenced by feminism? We’re watching the first generation of mainstream-famous feminists figure out how to live their politics in real time. Of course it’s going to be conflicted and messy, heavy on the rhetoric and light on the action. That’s how it was for me as a newly minted feminist, and I’m grateful that there is no tweet-trail of my evolution. But if there were, it would include prompts — not unlike Demi Lovato’s — from friends and mentors who encouraged me not only to think deeper about my politics, but to act on them decisively.

Chetti is a pop-soul singer and songwriter based in NY. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Chetti’s music reflects her upbringing, her values as a person and an artist, and of course, her hometown. She recently released her debut EP “In The City.”

Chetti: Our Responsibility As Artists

Things have changed so much for women in the music industry over the years. A business that was once dominated by a male force has now become a business in which there is a balance of power. Some of the highest paid entertainers are women and many have broken the mold even further by becoming female rappers.

As a female pop artist, I feel we have to keep in mind that we are making music for the masses, and that being said, we are molding the minds of so many. Not very many female artists are considering that young people are listening to their music and mimicking their every move. For that, I feel that female artists should really take into account how their own actions may translate to a person that might not have enough experience or knowledge to make the right decisions for him or herself.

I think Taylor Swift is doing a beautiful job of this. She’s been super creative and artistic and she talks about adult subject matter in a classy way. She’s an artist for all ears, and that’s huge for women. It’s easy to fall into the groove of being overtly sexual, mainly because it corrals easy attention. Disclaimer: I am not mother Mary. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being sexy, but I do think everything is best in moderation.

I feel that it’s our responsibility to promote being the best versions of ourselves we can be – to encourage women to continuously better themselves, to learn, to experience, to dream, to adventure, to love and to always remember that we can be as many things as we please. We are limitless. That is what I feel will bring about longevity and respect and inspire people who listen to our music.

I want to be the type of woman and artist that mothers encourage their daughters to look up to and their sons to marry, and from there set an example for the women that will come after me. I believe the presence of women in music should represent an indistinguishable force, one of complete substance. We have an immense power and we need to apply as much positivity and light as we can – we hold the future in our hands.

Visit Chetti at


Hello! My name is Alison. I’ve been passionate about country music since I was very young. I got to know music by following styles – rock, southern rock and the country music styles of today – and by cruising through the USA. I’ve also bought a lot of CDs! In recent years, I started broadcasting the “Les News de Nashville” on the Big Cactus Country presented by my friend Johnny Da Piedade. You can read my blog post on the Big Cactus Country site as well as here on the HorizonVU Music Blog and SHOP!

Big Cactus Country Radio Show!!! The best of American Country presented by Johnny Da Piedade and Alison Hebert! The BCC is a syndicated radio Show presented by Johnny Da Piedade and Alison Hebert broadcast weekly more than 250 times. The BCC network is 120 affiliated radio stations in France, Reunion Island, St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec and more.

The Grammy Awards! You never heard much about them before [France], but this year the French Daft Punk have won several Grammys in their class, so now you know what I’m going to talk to you!

January 26, marked the 56th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California! Each music category is represented -rock, techno, pop music, electronic music, metal, country music and many other styles!

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves

But as what we’re interested in, of course, is country and the artist who stands out in 2014, is the singer Kacey Musgraves. She walked away with two Grammys, one for Best Country Album, “Same Trailer Different Park”, but also for Best Country Song with the title “Merry Go ‘Round “!

The former lead singer of rock band, Hootie & the Blowfish, Darius Rucker, won the award for Best Country Solo Performance with the hit “Wagon Wheel” and even the duo The Civil Wars who are husband and wife in life, walked away with the prize, the Best Country Duo, with the single “From This Valley”. Forget disputes that threatened to ruin their careers.

Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker

The Civil Wars

The Civil Wars

For the Americana part, actor-turned singer and musician Steve Martin accompanied by Edie Brickell took the Grammy for Best American Roots Song with “Love Has Come For You”, a song in the same style as the superb duo Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell who took the prize for Best Americana Album for “Old Yellow Moon”.

Edie Brickell and Steve Martin

Edie Brickell and Steve Martin

Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris

Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris

And finally, in the Bluegrass category, Del McCoury Band walks away with the award for Best Bluegrass Album for “The Streets Of Baltimore”.

Del McCoury Band

Del McCoury Band

As a sideshow, Kacey Musgraves came to sing her latest hit “Follow Your Arrow” with her group all dressed in bright costumes, all against a backdrop of neon-shaped cacti.

Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong

Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong

Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes

The other Texan, Miranda Lambert, was presented on stage with Billie Joe Armstrong, who is none other than the singer and guitarist of rock band Green Day. They all paid tribute to Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers duo who passed away on January 3 with the song “When Will I Be Loved.” Young Hunter Hayes also took the opportunity to interpret his new novel single “Invisible”, Keith Urban appeared live with Gary Park Junior, and Taylor Swift appeared alone at the piano!

Keith Urban

Keith Urban

Then came the icing on the cake with the arrival on stage of a great plateau of the real stars of Country music: Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard along with Blake Shelton on a medley of classics, “Highwayman”, “Okie From Muskogee”, and “Don ‘t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”! Thrills guaranteed!

Willie Nelson, Chris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Blake Shelton

Willie Nelson, Chris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Blake Shelton

Hello! My name is Alison. I’ve been passionate about country music since I was very young. I got to know music by following styles – rock, southern rock and the country music styles of today – and by cruising through the USA. I’ve also bought a lot of CDs! In recent years, I started broadcasting the “Les News de Nashville” on the Big Cactus Country presented by my friend Johnny Da Piedade. You can read my blog post on the Big Cactus Country site as well as here on the HorizonVU Music Blog and SHOP!

Big Cactus Country Radio Show!!! The best of American Country presented by Johnny Da Piedade and Alison Hebert! The BCC is a syndicated radio Show presented by Johnny Da Piedade and Alison Hebert broadcast weekly more than 250 times. The BCC networtk is 120 affiliated radio stations in France, Reunion Island, St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec and more.

The nominations for the CMA Awards 2013 are here!

This year and for the sixth consecutive year, the humorous Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will be the duo presenting the 47th Annual CMA Awards, i.e., Awards presented annually by the Country Music Association. This event will take place on November 6th in the famous arena in Nashville, Bridgeston Arena, and will be broadcast live on the ABC television network.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood

From the list of nominated artists, Sheryl Crow and the duo Florida Georgia Line have released albums last week. There are three superstars that stand out winning the most nominations;

Seryl Crow and Georgia Florida Line

Sheryl Crow and Georgia Florida Line

The singer who became 100% Pop, Taylor Swift, the newcomer Kacey Musgraves and Blake Shelton. Taylor was nominated six times in the categories: Singer of the Year, Album with “Red”, single, music event and video of the year with “Do not Care Highway”, the song she sings with Tim McGraw, and we can’t forget the supreme prize, Entertainer of Year, i.e., Artist of the Year!

It’s a nice surprise for Kacey Musgraves who happens to prevail in the categories of Female Vocalist of the Year, New Artist, Album of the Year for “Same Trailer different Park” and add to that two award nominations for single and song of the year with “Merry Go Round”.

As for the men, it is the redneck Blake Shelton who takes 5 nominations: Best singer, album of the year with his latest album “Based On A true Story” and two nominations for the single, which was also considered an event of the year “Boys Round Here” as performed with the Pistol Annies.

Pistol Annies

Pistol Annies

Blake Shelton is nominated for Entertainer of the Year competing with Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and unbelievable, but true, Mister George Strait.

Left to Right: Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan

Left to Right: Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan

George Strait

George Strait

Members of the CMA, have finally managed to vote en masse for a true superstar of country Music: George Strait, who has just signed a contract extension at MCA, the label with five key new albums coming .

Even if The King of Country Music will be retiring, we did not stop listening to the radio. Does he win the CMA Artist of 2013 just before getting his retirement money? To find out, stay tuned!

The Nominees!

Entertainer Of The Year
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Blake Shelton
George Strait
Taylor Swift

Male Vocalist Of The Year
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

Female Vocalist Of The Year
Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

New Artist Award
Lee Brice
Brett Eldredge
Florida Georgia Line
Kip Moore
Kacey Musgraves

Vocal Duo Of The Year
Big & Rich
Florida Georgia Line
Love and Theft
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

Vocal Group Of The Year
The Band Perry
Eli Young Band
Little Big Town
Lady Antebellum
Zac Brown Band

Album Of The Year
“Blown Away” – Carrie Underwood
“Red” – Taylor Swift
“Tornado” – Little Big Town
“Based On A True Story” – Blake Shelton
“Same Trailer Different Park” – Kacey Musgraves



Today we’re talking with Lucy-May. Lucy-May is a fast-rising British country-pop singer widely heard on radio performing her debut single “Paper Heart” produced by Greg Fitzgerald.

We had the pleasure of meeting Lucy-May at the 2013 CMA Summit just last month. Lucy-May took her influences from the 60s – following the Motown Sound and The Beatles. She was surrounded by music at home and pursued the performing arts at the Brit School where she grew evermore attached to country music with it’s melodies and simple, heartfelt storylines. She’s been active in London on the live scene at both public and private events, and she’s currently working on her album scheduled for release the is year!

Lucy-May , thanks so much for joining us. You’ve had a good amount of success around the U.K. and in London and your single “Paper Heart” has gotten great airplay especially on BBC2. Is there anything we missed in our intro that you’d like to share with us?

L-M: I think just that although I was brought up on 60’s music, and do have a love for it, I have always enjoyed listening to all kinds of music and like a wide range of genres.

We know you’ve been drawn to country, and the stories the music tells, but how did you evolve from Motown and The Beatles to where you are today? What do you like about the music? The beat?

L-M: Over the last couple of years I have gigged in restaurants and bars, singing a wide range of covers. One of those was “Crazy” by Patsy Cline and every time I sang this song I felt I had a connection with the lyrics and the emotion I could put in to my performance. Other people also noticed this and would request more Patsy Cline songs. This was the start of my love of country music.

Besides Motown greats and The Beatles are there any particular influencers or mentors that have left a lasting impression on you?

L-M:As stated before, my biggest country influence is Patsy Cline but I have always loved the sound of Dusty Springfield and her style. More recently, I have listened to the likes of Leanne Rimes.

You’ve been working with producer Greg Fitzgerald. Are there any particular musicians you’ve been working with either live and/or on your album you would like to mention?

L-M: Greg has been amazing to work with on “Paper Heart” and the album. There have been musicians that have played on my tracks and are all very talented but Mike Gazzard has done an outstanding job on “Paper Heart”. I have been fortunate to have Bruce Bouton from Nashville play guitar on one of my tracks for the album. He has also played for Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift.

Okay, let’s have a look and listen to Lucy-May and “Paper Heart”!

Super! HorizonVU Music follows and works with a good number of female artists and many our Blog followers are young women looking to a career in music. Can you pass along insights as concerns getting to where you’d like to go in the business as a woman – does gender make a difference?

L-M: I would say that whatever gender you are in this industry it is tough. There are a lot of ups and downs and it is a lot of hard work. Never give up!

Looking out onto the horizon, what’s next for Lucy-May? The album release is schedulled for later this year. Any special projects you’d like to work on beyond the album?

L-M: I would love to go on tour and perform the songs from my album so that more people get to hear them and hopefully connect to them.

My final question – just can’t resist – do you have any superheroes? Who and why (or why not)?

L-M: I wouldn’t say that I have a superhero as such, but definitely would say my biggest hero is my dad! He has supported me from day one.

That’s great! I would say that dad counts as a superhero! Lucy-May, thanks so very much. All the very best of luck to you, and we hope to see you in Paris!

Visit Lucy-May at http://lucymayofficial.co.uk as well as Facebook, twitter and YouTube

Stephanie Griffin01Well, once again, I’m loose on the Blog. Recently, I had the good fortune to be introduced  Stephanie Griffin. She’s an eighteen year old musician singer/songwriter from the U.S. (Connecticut).  A student at Quinnipiac University pursuing a major in Communications & Media Studies and minor in music, she’s  been playing piano since she was eight and guitar since since was thirteen. She started writing songs at the age of twelve.

It’s clear that her true passion is music and a music industry career. Over and above  Stephanie’s talent as folk, folk-rock artist, she’s sends of the off the kind of electricity you like to feel  from young artists with talent,  head on shoulders and energy to deliver.

Hi Stephanie! Thanks for taking time out to talk with us.  We’ve given you a bit of an introduction. Is there anything I missed?

SG: No problem, Phil.  I think you picked up on the main points. I am orginally from Hamden, Connecticut. I moved to Wallingford, Connecticut [about twenty minutes away] when I was ten. I seem to have always had an interest for music since I could talk. I remember singing all the time and even dancing to Motown music around my house.  Whenever my teachers from elementary school would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always responded with the clever response: a singer. Yet, once I started songwriting, I thought I would like to song-write as a career as well.

From Motown to acoustic  – that’s a journey!  Tell us a bit about your musical development. Formal training,  your current view toward your development and what you really would like to do in music.

SG:  The only real formal training I had with voice was through middle school and high school in my chorus classes. I regret not being able to have formal lessons with my voice, yet, I’ve learned many important skills  singing through school. For example, I have learned  the importance of diaphragmatic breathing, pronunciation, and singing in a higher voice. When it came to guitar, I took lessons over a summer learning the basics of a guitar, like how to hold it, strum, finger-pick, etc.  As for the future, I would like to go into the music industry as a music journalist or find a career in radio or music production.  I would like to song-write as a career as well.

Tell us about your major influences…where did your interest in music start and what made you Stephanie?

SG:  My first major influence when it came to my passion for music was my mother. I remember her always playing the piano, guitar, and singingto me. In a way, she was a big inspiration for my musical traits. Other influences include Taylor Swift, Hayley Williams, Christina Aguilera, and Mariah Carey.  All of whom have unique voices and styles that I have tried to incorporate into my own musical style.

We’ve all had our good days and bad days in the music business…putting the tough days aside,  what do you consider to be the high point along your career path?

SG:  The best moment in my musical path so far has been picking up the guitar and starting to write music. Whenever I’m going through something in my life, I could most likely get a song out of it. Song writing has been my way to express myself and my emotions. I know it will be something I don’t give up as a musician.

You  have performed many songs…your favorite? Which video do you consider to be your best so far – the one you most want our readers to hear and see.

SG: I have performed many covers and originally pieces. My favorites include anything by Taylor Swift or Sugarland. I suggest the readers to check out my YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/stephii17xo to view videos from when I was at least fifteen to now. The video I recorded recently is just a rough recording of my original song “Erased”. The song is about a break up, where one person pretty much erases every memory of the other person. Towards the end of the song, the other person pretty much redeems themselves and learns to be okay after the separation. “Erased” is also one of my favorite original songs to date.

Very cool! Let’s take a time out to watch the video…”Erased”

Great! thanks for sharing your work work with us.  Before we let you go, I want to back up and “return to the future”.  We covered off on your interests in being a singer/songwriter, but we know you azre culivating other interests as well such as being in the industry in the industry as a music journalist or even  finding a career in radio or music production. Sum it all up for us. What’s ahead for Stephanie?

SG:  My dream has always been to perform. Yet, being realistic, I believe I can find as much success being behind the scenes of future music. I’m very interested in working in the music and focusing on production and songwriting. In the career of music journalism, I could also focus on promoting future musicians and writing about them. I am confident though that my major and minor will prepare me well enough for a career in the music industry. I always want to keep music in my life and want to follow a career that I will enjoy every day.

Stephanie Griffin, thank you again. We wish you the best of luck going forward and hope you’ll keep us in mind here at HorizonVU Music!!!

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