How Kacey Musgraves, Pink, Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande Live the Empowerment They Promote in Their Lyrics

Kacey Musgraves, Pink, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande International Women's Day
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ET celebrates the female forces in music in honor of International Women's Day.

Happy International Women's Day!

All across the globe on Sunday, womanhood will be celebrated with this year's campaign theme of #EachForEqual, a call to action for a more gender-balanced world. In celebration of the annual holiday, ET is highlighting the inspiring female forces in music, film and TV who constantly use their platforms to lift others up and inspire change.

To kick things off, we're taking a look at how some of the most popular women in music right now are living and breathing the empowerment they promote in their lyrics.


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Fearless. Badass. Unapologetic. Those are just a few ways to describe the 40-year-old pop star, but the same can be said about her music. Since her rise to fame in the early 2000s, what you see with Pink has always been what you get.

She's always been true to herself and never afraid to tackle the controversial topics. On 2001's Mizzundaztood it was all about self-image and speaking out against the public's impossible beauty standards. "Tired of being compared to damn Britney Spears, she's so pretty, that just ain't me," she sings on "Don't Let Me Get Me."

In 2008, after she briefly separated from husband Carey Hart, she empowered fans everywhere to throw a middle finger up to situations that are beyond one's control. "So, so what. I'm still a rock star, I got my rock moves, and I don't need you," she belted out in the breakup anthem "So What."

And in recent years, it's been about politics and the impossibility to escape the various issues that are dividing our nation. 2017's Beautiful Trauma seemingly addressed these concerns with songs like "What About Us?"

"The world, in general, is a really scary place full of beautiful people," Pink previously said of the song. "Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful – like I said in the song, 'billions of beautiful hearts' -- and [then] there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

Pink's latest album, Hurts 2B Human, was released last spring, and the political spectrum was a reoccurring theme. "Walk me home in the dead of night, I can't be alone with all that's on my mind," she sings in "Walk Me Home," the debut track she released last year."So say you'll stay with me tonight, 'cause there is so much wrong going on outside."

In addition to her music, Pink and her husband (who, yes, she's still writing songs about!) are constantly standing up for each other on social media, especially when it comes to the "parenting police." They've been called out for everything from allowing their son, Jameson, to ride with Hart on his dirt bike to temporarily dyeing daughter Willow's hair shades of purple and pink. But just like with her music, Pink continues to unashamedly be herself, encouraging others to ignore the negativity and follow in her footsteps.

"Happy Early International Women's Day!" Pink wrote last year in celebration of the holiday. "May we all continue being the badasses we are! haha! I think we should take the week ladies." Preach, girl!


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First, she told us to "Just Dance." Then, she encouraged us to put on a "Poker Face." The 33-year-old singer has been empowering fans around the world since she hit the scene in 2008, and due to her unconventional lyrics and can't-be-ignored presence both on and off stage, the world has listened.

And they haven't stopped listening. In fact, even more people have got on board with Gaga over the years, with the release of songs like 2011's "Born This Way," which Gaga described as a "freedom" song for women and the LGBTQ community, and 2016's "Million Reasons," highlighting the heartbreak and hope one often feels when they're in a relationship.

But despite having nearly 35 million followers on Instagram and a type of confidence that can't be touched, the singer has revealed her many insecurities through her work. With her latest project, A Star Is Born, she bared it all... stripping away her signature style, wiping off her makeup and stepping out of her comfort zone for the film she co-starred in with Bradley Cooper. 

"This has been a very transformative time for me," Gaga told Variety. "As an artist, there's always a feeling of 'Am I good enough? Am I making something honest? Am I making something true?' There is a sort of stagnant sadness in me, wondering if I'm enough. Today I [do] not see that. I saw something different. I saw a clarity. I saw a truth."

Gaga co-wrote and produced most of the songs from the soundtrack, including "Shallow," which won the singer her first-ever Oscar and gained international appeal. "We are living in a time where there's so much conversation about women's voices being heard," Gaga said when asked why she thinks the ballad has become so popular. "Men listening to those voices. And also, men not listening to those voices. Women being silenced in very public ways, like Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford with Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh being appointed [to the Supreme Court] is basically like telling every single woman in the country that’s been assaulted, 'We don't care. Or we don't believe you.'"

"To me, that conversation is what makes the song successful and beautiful and why people cry when they hear it," she continued. "It's because that man and woman connect, and they are listening to each other."

Now, as she embarks on her next album, Gaga says her only goal is to be victorious. "I only want to win now," she exclaimed. "Because I want that kid who feels like me, that misfit or outcast that didn't belong, to win."


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2018 was a whirlwind year for the 25-year-old singer, who released her first studio album, Yours Truly, just five years ago. She seemed to be on cloud nine when she struck up a romance with Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson that May. The two quickly became engaged and even moved in together in a lavish apartment in New York City.

All of that came tumbling down fast, however, when Grande's ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, tragically died in September 2018. Grande and Davidson eventually broke up and called off their engagement one month later.

But as Grande so perfectly puts it in her hit single "Thank U, Next," she "learned through the pain" and "turned out amazing." The brunette beauty channeled all of her emotions into writing and released what is arguably her best work of all time -- her latest album, Thank U, Next -- in early February.

"Knew you were perfect, after the first kiss, took a deep breath like, 'hoo,'" she sings on "Imagine," which was seemingly written about Miller, while she croons "You don't wanna leave me, but I'm tryna self-discover, keep me in your orbit and you know you'll drag me under" on "NASA," which fans believe is the brutally honest truth about her relationship with Davidson.

Of course, sharing her emotions through song is nothing new for Grande. It's something she's done from the start of her music career and a reason why so many of her loyal fans find her relatable. Prior to Thank U, Next, the Boca Raton, Florida, native dropped her Sweetener album, which includes the hit "No Tears Left to Cry." The track was written following the heartbreaking bombing she witnessed at her concert in Manchester, England, in 2017 that left 22 people dead.

"When she found out fans of hers had died, she was so sad," Grande's manager, Scooter Braun, explained on the Big Questions With Cal Fussman podcast. "I mean, she cried for days. There was nothing that could stop us. She felt every pain. Every face that they announced, every name -- she wore it on her sleeve, like, every bit of emotion, because that's who she is."

While Grande was initially reluctant to record new music during this tumultuous time, "No Tears Left to Cry" became the unofficial anthem that so many of those still struggling from the tragedy needed. Its lyrics provided the perfect amount of hope, love, comfort and kindness, while at the same time encouraging others to "dance and live ya best life," as Grande expressed.


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While Grande took fans on a musical journey of her roller-coaster ride of a year, Musgraves gave us "Butterflies" with her third studio album, Golden Hour, released in March 2018. The country star co-produced the album and co-wrote all 13 of the tracks with Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, scoring her four nominations at this year's GRAMMYs, including Album of the Year and Best Country Album. She took home all of them.

And if you've listened to the album, there's no surprise why Musgraves received the recognition she did. The singer worked on the album during a pivotal moment in her life -- getting ready to turn 30 and finding love with her now-husband, Ruston Kelly, after feeling lost for so long.

"Going into making the record, I was kind of in a bit of a confused place," Musgraves said while talking to The Boot at the time. "I didn't have a lot of confidence, and I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I just knew I wanted to change it up, and work with different people -- even though I love the people I worked with before -- and I just wanted to find that thing that made my soul really happy again."

"All these wonderful people, my husband, getting married, leaving my twenties, looking ahead to my thirties -- [I'm in this] really open-hearted, positive time," she added. "The music is directly inspired by that."

Musgraves plays with all sorts of emotions on Golden Hour, singing about the heartbreaking circumstances of "thinkin' 'bout the time that's slipping" and only having "a couple friends" in her inner circle on the tracks "Mother" and "Lonely Weekend," respectively.

Still, despite the lyrics that will make anyone shed a tear on the first listen, Musgraves somehow makes us feel empowered through the music. She cures the broken hearts with songs like "Rainbow" and "Butterflies," written about her real-life experience of believing in love again after years of failed relationships.

"I was just coastin', never really goin' anywhere," she sings on the latter. "Caught up in a web I was gettin' kinda used to stayin' there. And out of the blue, I fell for you."

"Cloud nine was always out of reach, now I remember what it feels like to fly," she continues. "You give me butterflies."

Through their music, Musgraves, Grande, Gaga and Pink made us feel all the feels, and for that, we are grateful. In the words of Pink, let's "Raise a Glass" to these amazing ladies who continue to empower us on so many levels!