Icons. New-age divas. Kid stars. Elle Magazine’s Music issue covers it all.

The May 2011 issue, which features Gwen Stefani on the cover, features women whose impact has transformed the music industry and those who are just getting started.

Among the many artists who are profiled, Jennifer Hudson, Willow Smith, Nicki Minaj and the legendary Aretha Franklin get a special spotlight. Here are excerpts:

Aretha Franklin

On wardrobe options for her tour: “I am going to rock this [size] 16. Sixteen probably sounds large to girls who wear 10s and 12s, but I love it, because it looks good on me.”

Jennifer Hudson

On the changes in her life: “My surroundings and my lifestyle are different, and it’s like, what part of Jennifer is the same as 10 years ago? The only thing I have to hold on to is my voice.”

Nicki Minaj

On being a rapper: “I always wanted to play with the boys. I didn’t want to be a pawn in their game or have a sidekick role. I wanted to be more of a lead character – a superhero.”

Willow Smith

On her full length album: “It’s going to be a party beat. I think you’re gonna like it!”

Pick up the May 2011 issue of Elle Magazine for more.

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