Were There Better Candidates for the AMA's Artist of the Decade Award?

The American Music Awards (AMAs) are only three weeks away and the nominees have officially been announced! There’s a wide array of awards, including “Artist of the Year”, “Favourite Music Video”, “Favourite Social Artist”, but the most prestigious one has to be “Artist of the Decade”. As you might’ve guessed from the title, the winner has already been decided. The awards organization broke the news on Twitter on Wednesday, October 30th, adding that Taylor Swift has “won more AMAs than anyone in this decade”. In fact, if she wins two of the five awards she’s nominated for this year, she will surpass Michael Jackson for the most AMAs won. Ever. So that’s an impressive statistic, right? Although, it is important to remember that even though Taylor has won a whopping 23 awards in total, it is said that this number isn’t taken into consideration when choosing who to give this awe-inspiring title.

A decade is a long time, so I wanted to show some appreciation to artists who have been undoubtedly influential throughout these 9 years of music. Therefore, I’ve decided to put myself in the judges’ shoes and emphasize three incredible women who have shaped the pop music industry into what it is today, dedicating the ending to honourable mentions who have also made important contributions to this musical era.

  1. 1. Lady Gaga

    The first artist I want to mention is a woman whose visual and artistic presence undeniably marked the first half of the 2010s pop - Lady Gaga. Provocative, unexpected, daring – these three words best describe what we saw when she dropped her first singles Just Dance and Poker Face. Her second album Born This Way peaked atop the US Billboard 200 and paved her way towards stardom, defining her as a powerful artist. Even though her image has changed throughout the years, she's been consistently feeding the charts with hits like Bad Romance, The Edge of Glory and Million Reasons. Jazz, electronica, techno-pop – you name it, she’s done it! She has left a long-lasting mark in the music industry by being true to herself, her music and her way of expression. Her influence lies in the fact that she’s not afraid of change - in fact, she embraces it and it’s striking how her art grows with her and her audience – from Telephone to Shallow, from fiery to elegant, Lady Gaga is a force to be reckoned with.

  2. 2. Rihanna

    Determined, authoritative, strong and so much more – there aren’t enough words to encompass Rihanna’s stage presence. Even though she earned the title of a worldwide star before the start of 2010s, I like to believe that her “moments to shine" took place in the current decade. It's safe to say that this has been the decade of her transformation into an independent woman, an artist that will be remembered for years to come. She was my first favourite singer back in 2009 when music videos dominated YouTube. My impression of what strength in femininity was formed from her music videos and live performances, from her quiet elegance in Take a Bow and Stay to powerful self-expression in Love on the Brain and FourFiveSeconds. Her distinctive voice and compelling lyrics have undeniably shaped the idea of a strong woman, challenging the standards and stereotypes set before her rise to the top in her music.

  3. 3. Beyoncé

    Finally, there is one more woman who managed to redefine herself in this decade, taking the world by storm (and by surprise!). Dropping an album with no prior warning, Beyoncé proved her consistent influence and power over the industry, practically controlling the first half of this decade. Just the numbers from the release of Beyoncé in 2013 would be enough of a reason to include her, but she didn’t stop there – a Super Bowl performance that reunited Destiny's Child, a worldwide tour with her husband Jay-Z as 'The Carters' highlighter her determination to mark this as her decade. And, get this, she fulfilled a line from Run The World - “Strong enough to bear the children/Then get back to business” by doing just that! Beyoncé proves that her career and motherhood are two inseparable things that have only made her stronger. Is there anything this woman can’t do?

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Before I leave you with your thoughts about what this musical era meant to you, I wanted to include a few artists that are both my guilty pleasures and that I believe deserve more recognition. Some, for example, work behind the scenes and have contributed more to the songs you hear on the radio than you might think – artists like Jon Bellion (written and co-written songs for Zedd, Rihanna, Eminem and Jason Derulo), Ed Sheeran (One Direction, BTS, Justin Bieber) and Sia (Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Katy Perry).

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Others have had less time in the “mainstream limelight" in terms of standardized appearances - Lana Del Rey’s rise to fame started in 2012 and her recent album release shows incredible vocals and brings you to a different world. Harry Styles, on the other hand, has so far released only one album, but his live performances are artistic masterpieces and his authenticity gives hope for people of all backgrounds.

In the end, we can muse about other candidates all we want, but the fact still stands – Taylor Swift will have the honour of receiving the Artist of the Decade award on 24th November in Los Angeles. The evening is going to be full of amazing performances, so don’t miss this annual celebration of music!