We hail the musicians who didn't just build great careers for themselves, but also helped others to reach their full potential.
The R&B star has been a key player in Justin Bieber’s career from the start, even beating Justin Timberlake in a bidding war to sign him in 2007. We’re guessing his role as mentor to “the Biebs” may have kept him pretty busy over the years.
The Fleetwood Mac legend has consistently championed female artists including Courtney Love, Sheryl Crow, Vanessa Carlton and Haim. “I want every woman in the world to meet her,” Alana Haim once said. “Every time I see her I feel like I can lift a bus and throw it across the world.”
Dre gave Eminem his big break by signing him in the late ’90s and has since exec-produced all of his albums. “He believed in me when not many others did,” Eminem said in 2010. “It would have been a lot easier for Dre to dismiss me like most people did: ‘What’s with the white guy from Detroit that raps with a funny voice?’ But he didn’t. He stepped up to the challenge because he saw something in me.”
Hova has signed loads of great artists to his Roc Nation management stable over the years. But he really earns his place on this list for his pivotal role in the rise of Rihanna (remember his guest rap on ‘Umbrella’?) and for taking a young Kanye West under his wing. That last one can’t have always been easy.
Having Dolly as her godmother has been a huge help to one Miley Cyrus. “I watch people like Dolly,” Cyrus said a few years ago. “Dolly knows what she is. She’s smart. She’s not just a blonde with big titties — she is a genius under there.”
Iggy Pop credits the Thin White Duke with saving him from “certain professional and maybe personal annihilation”, while Trent Reznor said Bowie’s death earlier this year felt “like the loss of a mentor, fatherly figure [and] someone looking out for you”. Rock legend Peter Frampton has also hailed Bowie’s role in his career, saying: “He gave me help when I most needed it.”
In the ’80s, the Purple One helped to launch or further the careers of Sheila E, Sheena Easton, Wendy & Lisa and Vanity 6. More recently, he served as a more informal mentor to artists including Janelle Monáe, Lianne La Havas and Laura Mvula. “He spent time putting my name out,” Mvula recalled earlier this year. “I can’t tell you the amount of times I’d go places in the world and people would say, ‘I know your music because of Prince.'”
Elton has been a massive supporter of fresh talent for decades – and Robbie Williams credits him with helping to kick drug addiction in the ’90s. He even turned last month’s Apple Music Festival gig into a mini-showcase for rising stars Christine and the Queens, Gallant, Rosie Lowe and Parker Millsap.
The young Michael Jackson studied Ross’s vocal technique and stage movements, and the Supremes singer became a mentor to him when they were both signed to Motown in the ’70s. MJ even named Ross as a guardian to his children in his will.
The Mercury Prize winner has recently become ambassador for The Levi’s Music Project, an initiative designed to promote music education and encourage giving back to local communities. “I want to show the young generation that success is not something you search for externally, it is from within,” he says. “[I want to] help people to understand that all your thoughts and ideas can become reality with a bit of hard work and dedication.”
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