Variety’s Hitmakers Brunch Recognizes Top Music Industry Talent
The recent seventh annual Hitmakers brunch hosted by Variety honored the artists, writers, producers, and music executives behind the 25 biggest singles of 2023. This glamorous event took place on Saturday at NYA West in Los Angeles. The prestigious Film Song of the Year Award was proudly received by Billie Eilish and her brother and collaborator, Finneas, for their hit “What Was I Made For” from the Barbie soundtrack.
Eilish, donning a blue satin Dodgers jacket as a tribute to Bernie Taupin, the category’s presenter, gave a brief acceptance speech. On the red carpet, she spoke with Variety’s Tiana DeNicola, confirming statements made in her newly-published Variety Power of Women profile in which she professed attraction to women.
Eilish confessed that she is “still scared” of women and expressed discomfort at having to label her sexuality, stating “I’m just like, why can’t we just exist?” This revelation caused a stir among fans due to her romantic link to Jesse Rutherford and her previous allusions to her fluid sexuality in her art.
Barbie’s presence was felt throughout the awards event, with Ryan Gosling humorously introducing super-producer Mark Ronson as the recipient of the Soundtrack Award. Gosling created a new term “Kenergy” to describe Ronson’s ability to elevate others, humorously comparing him to Ken from Barbie. Ronson, overwhelmed by the accolade, knocked over his trophy during his speech in light of Joan Baez’s presence and the weight of the moment.
Legendary singer-songwriter Joan Baez then presented boygenius with the Group of the Year Award, acknowledging their musical prowess in an endearing moment that celebrated powerful female artists. Maren Morris, the recipient of the Changemaker Award, spoke out on her political beliefs within the country music community and the influence of past female pioneers on her career, emphasizing the importance of resilience and bravery.
The awards event also served as a preamble to the upcoming Grammy Awards, with Olivia Rodrigo winning Storyteller of the Year and SZA being honored with the prestigious Hitmaker of the Year award. SZA expressed gratitude for being recognized as a hitmaker after years of being told she wouldn’t make radio hits, highlighting the importance of perseverance and support from the industry.
The Hitmakers brunch was a powerful celebration of musical talent and resilience, showcasing the impact of the music industry’s top influencers.