Impact of Pop Music Artists: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift

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It seems as though people have worshiped artists/celebrities for as long as they have been around, but what is it that makes them so desirable and makes their music speak out to the world? Fans from all over the world are inspired by artists like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift. But not just by their music which is great pop tracks by themselves that have everything you want from a commercial pop track, from a catchy chorus with a great melody line and meaningful lyrics that have a story behind them to a beat you can easily find yourself bobbing your head along to. But also their sense of fashion, music taste, daily activities, and pretty much everything else in between. For this essay, I will be focussing on Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift’s influence on the teenagers of today’s generation, and what it is that makes them so desirable and pop icons to the world.

Ever since releasing her debut album The Fame back in 2008, which won her commercial success and got to number one in six different countries and number two on the United States Billboard 200, Lady Gaga’s glamorous ‘Warholian exploration’ sense of style, “Who dressed like an alien empress” (Brian Hiatt, Lady Gaga: New York Doll, 11.06.09) soon influenced teenagers all over the social media platforms and even other artists that grew to fame before Gaga like Britney Spears who originally Telephone, a track of Gaga’s featuring Beyonce on the album The Fame Monster was actually written for her not Beyonce, but anyway copied Gaga’s video with the scene of the car in her track I Wanna Go. ( And influenced other artists like Charlie CXX or Katy Perry. 2008 was becoming quite dull full for pop music, and with the release of Poker Face and Just Dance, which are repetitive in the catchy mesmerizing chorus’ and driven with one of that classic disco style synth throughout was going to be the soundtracks to everyone’s summer during those years. These tracks gave that same old sound in the charts that we were hearing everywhere a facelift and brought this outrageously dressed singer who was full of new ideas into the light, bursting with all this energy while performing.

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“Gaga did for my generation what Bowie did 20 years earlier” (Brian O’Flynn, The Guardian, 10.05.18)

Her lyrical content in her album Born This Way, which blew up the charts hitting the top track on iTunes, is all to do with loving yourself whoever you are and “Don’t be a drag be a queen” (Lady Gaga, Lyrics). Brian O’Flynn is one of her many ‘monsters’ or fans that truly took in the words and turned his whole life around. Has been one of many to change their views on life, “Her otherness made my own otherness feel more aspirational than painful. In a world of utter darkness, her presence was my only light” (Brian O’Flynn). Since the beginning, Lady Gaga has made her mark for being different. Her inspiration comes from Madonna, Queen, David Bowie, and Michael Jackson. Besides her music and style, she has a strong attention to social issues that need to be addressed and has had a heavy impact on so many people's lives. Having a female pop star standing in support of the LGBTQ community has always been a thing, Lady gaga’s vocal advocacy for queer people is almost unparalleled in pop. Across her career, Stefani Germanotta or Lady Gaga has actively spoken against anti-gay legislation, campaigning in 2010 against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell with an energy-filled delivered speech ( Not only has she been speaking up for the gay community she even started her own nonprofit, Born This Way foundation moments after the release of Born This Way, in a bid to tackle bullying and abandonment. During the peak of her fame, Gaga was ready to give it all up to support the LGBTQ community. Behind the outrageous costumes, eye-grabbing videos and hectic productions Born This Way is about equality and really touched on something real. The sociopolitics of the song aside took in the quest for equality’s jump to the mainstream. Drag is all about borrowing cultural references to construct a persona for yourself. When Gaga reinvented the revolutionary queer spirit of her influences Bowie and Prince for the youth of the noughties, she was also performing a drag of her own. This Community feels like they owe Gaga nothing less than their identities.

“Camp is a part of who we are. It’s not something that we have to try to be” (Lady Gaga, Twitter, 20.05.19)

Teenagers around the world have grasped onto Gaga’s addictive hits, crazy outfits, and messages of acceptance, giving her global icon status in a matter of months. Every artist has their fans but Gaga has something different. There would no longer be a divide between the people listening to music and the ones that created it. Gaga engages with her fans on a personal level, she sends them messages and even sang with her fans outside her apartment in New York. Giving her fans the nickname “Monsters” they soon elevated her to a godlike status where everybody looked up to her. Soon to be nicknamed by a fan “Mother Monster” she soon adopted this name. There have been many Lady Gaga ‘ copycats’ since her coming to fame. This was obviously bound to happen because she was heavily changing the pop scene quite rapidly. One artist that really shows a similar persona to Lady Gaga is world-renowned pop singer/songwriter Sia. It wasn’t until her sixth album 1000 Forms of Fear, her single Chandelier, and her intriguing decision to shield her face using various long wigs that she became a phenomenon. However, even with a number of viral music videos Chandelier Hit 2 billion views on the streaming platform YouTube, and hit singles Sia never quite reached the commercial consistency of early Gaga. Even other pop icons like Christina Aguilera adopted the whole persona of Gaga including the fashion style, this started to cause public speculation over whether or not the 5 Grammy Award holder was copying Gaga. Which can be seen here Also part of Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the world ( Gaga basically broke the comfort zone in pop music and soon artists like Rihanna and Beyonce soon follow her. Gaga and her crew of producers knew exactly what they were doing, creating these number-one hits for this singer from New York into the world of pop music. The release of The Fame is quite clear that Gaga changed the course of her career and did so quite rapidly, not only in her own career but sending pop music straight in the right direction. She has not only changed pop music forever but Gaga does a lot of work in fashion, taking a big part in her career. With that completely born performer/artist in her, she is always pushing out of that box of the normal. Critics have often burdened her with the reputation of being a cheap imitation of the past artists she’s inspired by, but fashion and music are meant to be inspirational, and yes if you’re inspired by somebody you are likely to inherit some of their ways. Her concepts and style are still individual to her. Lady Gaga will always be a major pop culture icon in years to come.

“But she was an immediate hit among pop fans, who became enthralled by her inherently flamboyant sense of style, increasingly creative music videos, and refreshing determination to push boundaries in a pop arena that was actually quite cool at the time, but not particularly weird” (Jake Hall, 29.09.17, Lady Gaga Pioneered Online Fandom Culture As We Know It).

Taylor swift is also another big influential artist hitting the Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the world ( She quickly became one of the most influential artists of her generation in terms of her impact on the industry and pop culture with her attitude that she sings with or her award-winning hairstyles that have been endorsed by a number of hair product companies. Taylor Swift mainly sings about feeling lonely and having that feeling of rejection in high school in the song You Belong With Me ( with a thirty-three million view count on YouTube and well over 2 million hard copies sold. From her hairstyle to her clothes, teenagers start to replicate her look and persona due to her lyrical content and music videos. She’s very relatable to people when singing about love, heartbreak, rejection, and topics that any teenager can understand. She doesn’t pretend to be something she’s not, and this is what people love about her. Her strong persona has given a lot of drama during her career, one being the whole fiasco when music sales start to shrink into the abis she pulled a move that was not expected at all and pulled all her music out of the streaming platform Spotify. Swift's fans are so devoted to her that buying her albums isn’t a problem. They will follow her anywhere.

“When I put my music on Spotify. Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things. I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that.” (Taylor Swift, Time Magazine)

Just like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift has nicknamed her fans too, they are either referred to as “Swifties” or “Taylor Nation” and have all stayed loyal to her whole career of evolving music, these artists have obviously grown up and changed their image progressively with their age but that is what the fans love. Not all people like Swift’s music as it is setting a bad example for her younger fan base. It has also been claimed that she has become some sort of negative role model for the youths that desperately look up to and aspire to be like her. Taylor Swift may be made out in the media to be bad news for younger fans, for the main reason being to do with her many relationships with other men. Though Swift may be far from a perfect role model, she remains by many means an influential positive role model for the youths of this generation.

Like a number of artists Justin Bieber came to fame because of YouTube and his song Baby with a whopping 44 million views, but soon after came the haters saying people who were listening to these tracks had a bad taste in music. He has always been criticized and undermined. He himself has consistently made a mistake one after another. Although he has a lot of hate around him, he is still a big name in pop culture today. Bieber sings about money and girls and he shows off a lot. Maybe we wouldn’t hate Justin Bieber so much if we could see what he’s singing about his reality just like Gaga or Swift But his reality is money obsessed and superficial. Instead of picking on certain things we should actually look into these topics and understand the person behind the artist more. A recent example of the impact that music has made on today’s culture is a song by The Chainsmokers called #SELFIE which pretty much hits the nail on the head with the lyrics being a commentary about today’s generation and the social media culture of today. Our culture is evolving quicker than it ever has, at this day new genres and styles are being created, whereas this wasn’t so much the case when say rock was leading the charts.

Music can really go anywhere and for pop music, we have seen all types of surprises with multiple artists' music. The effects of music have changed from the way studying is done to the development of slang. When listened to, pop music can really set you in a mood or can affect the one you’re in. Common slang that is used in popular songs slips into the vocabulary of teenagers worldwide. Mediums like MTV and other various music channels reach out to teenagers which inspires teenagers to express themselves if it's musical, appearance, or vocabulary it is happening. As we can see this is not so much a bad thing as artists of our generation like Lady Gaga have really changed many people's lives. Songs have a powerful grip and effect on society. Popular culture is reflective of what we are consuming as a society. We get more and more songs about money and hypersexualization because this is a money-obsessed society.

“Popular Culture exists because of Capitalism, You follow the contemporary trends and it becomes a part of your consumption and your social context. One singer isn’t the representative of the entire popular culture, but all of our perspectives, lifestyle, and desires, are.” (Adrija Ghosh, Atwood Magazine, 28.07.17)

The impact pop music artists have had on people’s lives and the influence they have had on popular culture today including radio, television/film, and slang has been huge. Music is in everybody's everyday life ranging from all types of mediums they are listening from, from their portable music devices like phones and iPods, a busker on the street you walk every morning to get to work, or just a television commercial where music is used to grab your attention and advertise the companies products they are selling, usually with the backing track to a pop song that has a catchy chord progression and a recognizable sound. Music is always there in the background even if you’re not noticing it. If you walk down one of London’s busiest streets like Oxford street you can see the majority of people there are zoned into their music, you may see somebody taking a slow walk listening to a mellow pop track or a rushing individual that has hard pulsating synth-heavy pop tracks that accompany them, making them take a faster pace walk listening to the beat getting them from A to B quicker than they would have had if they weren’t listening to music. The world has developed side by side with its popular music scene, it comes as a standard part of our lives. As we can see by Lady Gaga and her ‘Monsters’, Justin Bieber’s ‘Beliebers’ and Taylor Swift’s ‘Swifties’, these fans who involve themselves deeply in the music and lyrical content are having positive effects on their daily lives, giving them motivation need especially young people who are uncomfortable with how they feel, it helps a lot. Music will always be there to help motivate us we can count on that. It’s not just popular music that supports and promotes acceptance of criticism and allows people to take risks safely, other arts like dance do their bit and invite anybody to express themselves.

“Art and music have been considered to be basic human needs and humankind and art are complementary. It is believed that one cannot function without the other and that is how serious it is. Music is used in life to encourage, enjoy, mourn, make merry and so on, hence music is unavoidable in life” (Sylvan, 2002).

Just like television/film or the internet, music doesn’t always have a good influence on people, it can also have a bad impact or destructive influence if misused. Artists in the Rap genre and subgenres talking about drug misuse and promoting violence through their lyrics and music video content like Tekashi 6ix9ine recently pleaded guilty to helping a gang commit murder just to “increase my own standing in Nine Trey” (6ix9ine), Nine Trey being a set of the Blood Street Gang from New York established in 1993.

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Impact of Pop Music Artists: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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