Here's how Rihanna, Janet Jackson, and more legendary performers influenced these artists.
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Great musicians move us with their vocal abilities, songwriting talent, technical skill, and often something more elusive. Their work in turn influences their fellow artists, present and future, and paves the way for new possibilities.

We reached out to Mickey Guyton, Lucky Daye, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Victoria Monét, and more artists to ask about some of their most important influences and inspirations. Here's what they had to say.

Celebrating Art Mickey Guyton & Whitney Houston
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Mickey Guyton

Mickey Guyton has been charting her own path in country music for years, while also uplifting Black singers in the genre. Most recently, she sang the national anthem at Super Bowl LVI. The Texas native tells EW that Whitney Houston has been a major source of inspiration, calling her "one of the most incredible voices."

Celebrating Art Victoria Monet & Janet Jackson
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Victoria Monét

Victoria Monét already had an enviable songwriting career working with Ariana Grande and Chloe x Halle before she began releasing her own music. She sees herself in Janet Jackson as she came up, especially since they are both soft-spoken. Monét loves how Jackson "can captivate a room without yelling." You can see the legend's influence in Monét's song "New Love," which is deeply influenced by Jackson's "That's The Way Love Goes."

Celebrating Art Duckwrth & OutKast-
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Duckwrth

Duckwrth is a vibrant performer with a unique sound, so it's no surprise he's been inspired by the iconic hip-hop duo Outkast, who are known for both their hit songs and their colorful presence. "It influenced my whole life, my style," Duckwrth says. "Even like with the way I write, I feel brave in myself in being alien and being creative as hell."

Celebrating Art Joyce Wrice & Mariah Carey
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Joyce Wrice

Joyce Wrice fell in love with Mariah Carey's voice at a young age. "She made music that was very uplifting and empowering as well as super fun to dance to," Wrice says. Her debut album, Overgrown, owes a debt to Carey's Butterfly. You can see it in the cover art, the melodies and production, and even the inclusion of rap features.

Celebrating Art Kiana Lede & Alicia Keys
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Kiana Ledé

For Kiana Ledé, Alicia Keys was one of the first R&B singers she listened to where she was "conscious of melody and lyric." She recalls, "I remember being 12 and crying to 'Lesson Learned' in the park thinking about love and heartbreak." Ledé tries to be as vulnerable as possible in her music because of how Keys' music touched her.

Jasmin Savoy Brown & Olivia Dean
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Jasmin Savoy Brown

Actress Jasmin Savoy Brown has started to release her own music, and tells EW that Olivia Dean is a source of inspiration. "It's exciting to see someone who looks like me making the kind of music I want to hear," Brown says of them both being young multiracial artists. In fact, the Yellowjackets breakout has an unreleased song called "God Damn It" that's "very much inspired" by "Crossroads," which Brown had on heavy rotation in summer 2020.

Celebrating Art Nija & Usher
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Nija

Singer-songwriter Nija remembers listening to Usher's music on the radio and her mom's CD player as a kid, and her first concert was a stop on his 8701 tour. In particular, Usher's unique delivery has influenced her own style. "Especially on Confessions, he does this thing where he sings like a rapper," Nija says. "He's very wordy, but his melodies are all over the place, and that's definitely what I do a lot in my music."

Celebrating Art Dexter Darden & Luther Vandross
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Dexter Darden

When Saved by the Bell star Dexter Darden's voice changed and became deeper, his mom introduced him singers like Luther Vandross. "Luther was always so captivating to me because he wasn't dancing, he had a nice suit on, whatever he was wearing, but he could command a whole entire audience and stage with just his voice," Darden says.

Celebrating Art Kendra Jae & Rihanna
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Kendra Jae

Rising star Kendra Jae looks to Rihanna, who has remained true to herself ever since she came on the music scene. "She was very unapologetic about everything that she did," Jae says, "and I think as a young Black artist myself that is something I try to hold as such a high priority."

Celebrating Art Tristan “Mack” Wilds & Lauryn Hill-
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Tristan Mack Wilds

Tristan Mack Wilds has worked in TV and music and is making his way to Broadway. One of his sources of inspiration is Lauryn Hill, whose résumé includes singing, rapping, acting, and more. "She's the one who showed me that you don't have to stay in one box," he says, "especially if someone tries to put you in one."

Celebrating Art Lucky Daye & Bob Marley
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Lucky Daye

Since his debut EP in 2018, Lucky Daye has been releasing R&B music that resonates with people, as evidenced by his six Grammy nominations. The New Orleans-born singer cites Bob Marley as a big influence, especially how the reggae legend was able to tap into his emotions to share messages that were heard around the world.

Celebrating Art Dyllón Burnside & Usher
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Dyllón Burnside

Pose star Dyllón Burnside is deeply inspired by Usher's work. "His music, it transcends genre," he says. "It's epic. It's dramatic. All the things that I endeavor to put in my music." Burnside also sees how some of his other heroes, such as Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye, influenced Usher.

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