There's no denying that 2019 has been a major year for female musicians. Taylor Swift's Lover became 2019's best-selling album in the 48 hours after its release and Ariana Grande became the first artist since the Beatles to occupy the top three spots of the Billboard 100 chart simultaneously. It's likely that we're about to see women win big at tonight's MTV Video Music Awards, where women have already dominated the nominations for Best New Artist and Artist of the Year. Aforementioned pop superstars Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift are already tied for most nominations, at 10 apiece, including Video of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop.
Each year, the VMAs highlight rising as well as established talent. With the show just hours away, here's a guide to eight of the breakout female artists who have earned their first nominations this year—from "Bad Guy" singer Billie Eilish to feel-good phenomenon Lizzo and international stars like K-Pop group Blackpink.
1. Billie Eilish
Though Billie Eilish has been releasing pop singles and EPs since 2016, this year saw the release of her first full album: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Last week, she made headlines when her throbbing pop tune Bad Guy overtook Lil Nas X's viral hit Old Town Road atop the Billboard 100 chart. While pop titans Grande and Swift were each nominated in 10 categories, Eilish followed closely with nine nods of her own, for Video of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist, Push Artist of the Year, Best Pop, Best Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, and Best Cinematography.
Since releasing her breakout album Cuz I Love You in April, rapper and R&B queen Lizzo has had everyone abuzz. Truth Hurts, the singer's 2016 sleeper hit single has earned a devoted fanbase (Hillary Clinton, for one). In addition to hitting icon status for her numerous scene-stealing fashion and beauty moments in the spotlight, Lizzo has also been an outspoken advocate for size representation, self-love, and mental health. The singer is nominated for Best New Artist and Push Artist of the Year.
Spanish singer Rosalía has become a worldwide sensation for her catchy nuevo-flamenco songs. She spent the better part of this summer making headlines for dancefloor-bait singles and cool-girl fashion in equal measure. In 2019, she's followed up her first two albums Los Ángeles and El Mal Querer with a host of popular singles and EPs. It's no wonder she's nominated for Best New Artist, along with Best Latin and Best Choreography with J.Balvin for their hit single, "Con Altura."
4. Ava Max
In 2018, Ava Max became something of a pop sensation thanks to the release of tongue-in-cheek single "Sweet but Psycho." While she cut her teeth by releasing singles on SoundCloud, Ava Max is presently at work on her first studio album. Fittingly, she's nominated for the Best New Artist VMA.
R&B wunderkind Gabriella Wilson is the 22-year-old behind the stage name H.E.R. Wilson originally used the moniker to obscure her identity and keep the focus on her music. Her gambit seems to have worked; breakout album H.E.R. earned Wilson two Grammys, for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance. "21," her most recent release, is a soulful ode to hard-earned success. H.E.R. is nominated for Best New Artist and Push Artist of the Year, as well as Best R&B with Bryson Tiller for their collaboration on her song "Could've Been."
Going double platinum on "Love Lies" with Khalid was just the start for Normani. Since breaking from her girl-group days with Fifth Harmony, the 23-year-old has made a name for herself as a solo artist whose inimitable sound has cultivated her an ardent fanbase. These days she's touring with Ariana Grande and garnering social-media praise for her memeable "Motivation" video. She's nominated for Best R&B for "Waves," on which 6lack is also featured.
7. Ella Mai
An R&B star from across the pond, London-based singer Ella Mai won her first Grammy this year for her catchy EP track, "Boo'd Up." She went on to remix the hit with Nicki Minaj and collaborated with fellow VMA nominee H.E.R. on "Gut Feeling," a track from her debut album. But it's her song "Trip" that earned her a VMA nomination for Best R&B.
The women of K-Pop ensemble Blackpink recently scored a different video win, with their YouTube channel becoming the most viewed Korean channel thanks to over 7 billion views of their music and tour videos. This past spring, the group made their festival debut as the first all-woman ensemble of K-Pop musicians to perform at Coachella. Their single "Kill This Love," from the 2019 EP of the same name, earned the performers a nomination for Best K-Pop.
Originally Appeared on Vogue