Harry Styles has been named Variety’s Hitmaker of the Year for his critically acclaimed second studio album “Fine Line.” The British breakout will be featured in the fourth annual Hitmakers issue, with an extensive interview alongside original photography from Parker Woods, to be released Dec. 2. This year’s Hitmakers event will be held virtually Dec. 3.
Variety will also honor artists Roddy Ricch as breakthrough artist of the year, Lewis Capaldi as songwriter of the year, Maren Morris with the crossover award and Mustard as producer of the year.
The Hitmakers franchise recognizes the writers, producers, publishers, managers and executives who help make — and break — the 25 most-consumed songs of the year, as compiled by Alpha Data. Of the 25 most-consumed songs of 2020, Styles has two hits — “Adore You” and “Watermelon Sugar” — that continue to grace playlists and radio.
“This year has been a game-changer for the music business,” said Shirley Halperin, Variety’s executive editor of music. “But the industry has persevered, with artists, creators and executives releasing and promoting new songs under incredibly challenging circumstances. Our Hitmakers issue and video program celebrates those artists and the people behind the scenes who are making sure the music gets heard. A heartfelt congratulations to all on this momentous accomplishment.”
In addition to Styles, Variety will honor:
Roddy Ricch — Breakthrough Artist of the Year: The Grammy-winning Compton-based rapper’s hit “The Box” has been a prime kickback anthem since its release, charting at the top of The Hot 100. Ricch’s collaborations include the late Nipsey Hussle, Mustard and DaBaby.
Ron Perry — Executive of the Year: Nearing his third anniversary as head of Columbia Records, Perry has signed up-and-coming rapper 24kGoldn, whose song “Mood” topped charts in July, and R&B duo Chloe x Halle. The industry executive also garnered a Hitmaker nod in 2017 for his work on The Weeknd’s “I Feel it Coming.”
Lewis Capaldi — Songwriter of the Year: The Scottish singer-songwriter earned recognition with his hit “Someone You Loved,” which garnered him a Grammy nom and two Brit Awards, one for song of the year. The single became the longest-running top 10 U.K. single of all time by a British artist.
Mustard — Producer of the Year: Mustard’s work on YG’s “Go Loko,” named last year’s hook of the year, and “Ballin’” with Roddy Ricch, marks the producer’s distinct West Coast contemporary hip-hop production style.
Wassim “Sal” Slaiby — Manager of the Year: As the current CEO of the XO label and manager of the label’s primary artist, The Weeknd, Slaiby has guided the R&B artist through his successful decade-long career and counting.
The Weeknd — Hook of the Year: The fast-paced catchy chorus of the electropop track “Blinding Lights,” off of the artist’s fourth studio album “After Hours,” features upbeat ‘80s synth influences. In addition to The Weeknd, the song was produced by Oscar Holter and Max Martin.
Maren Morris — Crossover Award: The country music artist’s collaborations include indie rock artist Hozier on “The Bones” and Zedd on the electronic track “The Middle.”
Additional honorees will be announced at a later date.
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