Billie Eilish has been named Variety‘s Hitmaker of the Year, capping off a whirlwind 2019 for the 17-year-old singer and songwriter. The Darkroom/Interscope Records artist will be feted at the third annual Hitmakers Brunch, sponsored by Citi, to be held on Dec. 7 in Los Angeles. Eilish will also grace the cover of Variety’s all-music Dec. 4 issue with an extensive interview and new photo shoot inside.
In addition, Variety has recognized Universal Music Publishing Group chairman/CEO Jody Gerson as executive of the year; Jason Owen, whose clients include Kacey Musgraves and Dan + Shay, as manager of the year; and Republic Records as label of the year. Rounding out the event, Citi and Variety will also present an award to a female artist who has used her influence to support women in the music business.
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The Hitmakers franchise celebrates the year in music, recognizing the writers, producers, publishers, managers and executives who helped make — and break — the 25 most consumed songs of the year as compiled by BuzzAngle Music. Eilish’s “bad guy” is the fifth 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.
Additional honorees in the print edition include:
Ellie Goulding – Decade Award: From her 2010 hit “Lights” from her debut solo album of the same name 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 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.
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.
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, Kelsea Ballerini, 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, Taylor Swift, Drake, The Weeknd, Post Malone and the Jonas Brothers.
The Hitmakers celebration brunch will be hosted by Chris Booker, host of the AMP Morning Show on L.A.’s 97.1 AMP Radio.
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