Yesterday Variety released their 2008 Women’s Impact Report that spotlights women from all areas of entertainment who have made a lasting impression on the industry this year. The publication is featuring a new category this time around called “Defying Convention,” and of the seven women who made the list, four were recording artists. From bluegrass to hip-hop to R&B, these four ladies are poster children for unorthodox success.
While she is the most Grammy-honored female recording artist in history, and her vocal work on the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack contributed to $7 million in sales, country radio still doesn’t play Alison Krauss’ music. She attributes her success to her live shows and word of mouth. (I would add “crazy talent” to that list.) She told Variety that Dolly Parton was her role model because “she is who she is, wherever she goes.”
Her career mantra: “Go where you are inspired, toward what moves you, to that lyric that keeps you up at night.”
After hovering around stardom in the late ’90s, writer’s block kept Erykah Badu silent for nearly a decade until she released New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) in February. Her musical stylings blew critics and producers away. The former because it did away with traditional song structure, and the latter because she recorded the whole thing with Mac’s GarageBand software at her home. With the success of New Amerykah, Badu signed a two-album deal for music to be released later this year.
Her career mantra: “I’ve always wanted the best for the people in my life. Except for Bombita: She was in the fifth grade with me. And she can die.”
The cast and crew of the indie flick Once spent 17 days and $120,000 making their little film. It was, by any standard, an incalculably good investment. In 2007, the film grossed over $20 million, and Markéta Irglová (who wrote the music and starred in the film) won the Oscar for best song, “Falling Slowly.” Rather than taking up residence in Hollywood with her newfound fame, Irglova returned to Europe to continue touring with her partner Glen Hansard. “This song was written from the perspective of hope,” she said during her Oscar acceptance speech, “and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are.”
For 25 years, Madonna has been breaking out of every box people try to put her in. This year has been no different. After leaving Warner Brothers and signing on with her touring company LiveNation, Madonna has made over $400 million from performances, and sold out 90% of her upcoming “Sticky and Sweet” tour. Hard Candy became her seventh number one album. When she’s not perfecting her show, she runs a London-based film production company.
Her career mantra: “My career mantra and personal mantra are the same: Don’t let anyone tell you your dreams can’t come true.”
What do you think of their music? And which other woman would you like to see on this list?