Using Music as a Platform for Voting Activism

by The Cowl Editor on February 13, 2020


Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift Step Up

by Grace Whitman ’22 A&E Staff

Music and politics have gone together for as long as we can remember. Whether it is through artists choosing to endorse political candidates, or through their lyrics, like in Shawn Mendes and Khalid’s song “Youth,” musicians use their platform to promote political views and better the world. With the primary elections coming up, there is no better time to register to vote than right now. 


Even at her young age, Grammy Award Winning 2020 Best New Artist Billie Eilish has taken a leap into politics. Eilish teamed up with HeadCount, a non-partisan organization whose goal is to use the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy. 

HeadCount helped fans at her Where Do We Go World Tour register to vote for the 2020 elections. Although she just recently became eligible to vote, Eilish is passionate about inspiring her generation to go vote and participate in the democratic process.  HeadCount’s other touring partners include Maroon 5, Jay-Z, Panic! At The Disco, Harry Styles, Halsey and hundreds of others.  

Especially after the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena during her 2017 Dangerous Women Tour, Ariana Grande has been committed to using her platform for good. Grande’s Sweetener World Tour broke HeadCount’s all-time voter registration record with 33,381 in December of 2019. In an interview with Elle Magazine, Grande said that the role of artists is to “not only help people and comfort them, but also push people to think differently, raise questions, and push their boundaries mentally.” 

Although she had been private about her political views growing up in the spotlight, Taylor Swift has recently revealed where she stands. In her new Netflix documentary Miss Americana, Swift highlights how she refuses to stay silent, especially given the number of people she can influence. 

“Every time I didn’t speak up about politics as a young person, I was applauded for it,” she says. “It was wild. I said, ‘I’m a 22-year-old girl—people don’t want to hear what I have to say about politics.’” Now, at 30 years old, Swift is using her platform to fight for the history she wants to be made. 

Although Swift may have risked her reputation when she endorsed two Democratic congressional nominees in Tennessee, she ultimately inspired approximately 65,000 people to vote, according to In her Instagram post on October 7, 2018, she wrote, “Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first, you need to register, which is quick and easy to do.”

Additionally, Swift released a brand new song exclusively for the documentary called “Only the Young.” With the intention of inspiring the next generation to vote and make a difference in our world, Swift’s song is a message of hope and faith in the new generation. 

As mentioned before, music and politics have gone hand in hand for decades. In 1971, the 26th Amendment gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. Do not let this right go to waste.  Heed the call and make your voice heard in these elections. Be sure to request an absentee ballot if necessary.