The plant-based diet is on the rise worldwide, more and more people are trying to eat without animal products and so there are also more and more musicians who have committed themselves to the vegan lifestyle, openly communicate this and even incorporate it into their songs. Here we give you an overview of the vegan movement in music.
The list of musicians who now live purely plant-based is as diverse as the music itself. Whether it's superstars like Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Moby, Alissa White-Gluz, Travis Baker, Morrissey, A$AP Rocky, Leona Lewis, Ariana Grande, Stevie Wonder, or acts that don't yet have a wide reach, they're all championing the vegan movement. Whether in their music, interviews, at award shows, or on social media, they're all trying to get the vegan movement on everyone's lips.
The impact of artists who eat a vegan diet is significant
The artists play a very decisive role in the vegan movement because, through their fans, who may have no contact with a purely plant-based diet at first, they can be important door openers into the world of animal-friendly nutrition. In doing so, artists have the opportunity to recondition subjects who may be prejudiced in advance and set the best example themselves.
A good example of this is Billie Eilish, who has been talking about her purely plant-based diet ever since she came out in public. She and her brother Finneas were born into a vegetarian family and, by their own statements, have never eaten meat. In the case of Billie Eilish and Finneas, it was their mother Maggie Baird who brought veganism into the family.
Billie has lived vegan since she was 12 years old. By the way, she discovered her favorite vegan chocolate while on a tour in Berlin. Since then, a dream came true for the US-American musician, in which she launched her own vegan chocolate with the vegan organic chocolate manufacturer discovered in Berlin. “Like us, Billie is a true change-maker at heart. She has been vegan for years, is aware of environmental, animal and climate change issues and speaks out in public. As a result, she is a role model for many young people and raises awareness of these important issues” explains Andreas Mayer the common ground behind this cooperation.
"Access to nourishing plant-based food is a human right.“
Billie's mother Maggie May Baird is still involved as a vegan climate activist today. She is the founder of "Support and Feed" a non-profit organization that advocates for the nutritional shift towards an all-plant-based diet. Their mission is to take action for a global shift to an equitable, plant-based food system to combat food insecurity and climate crisis. "Support and Feed“ takes a holistic approach to food insecurity by offering nourishing and planet-forward meals to as many people as possible. Through their meal donation program, they now have dozens of children who see plant-based food as enjoyable and healthy.
One aspect that is not only close to the hearts of Maggie May Baird and her prominent children is the connection between climate protection and veganism. According to the German Federal Environment Agency, a vegan diet produces around 40 per cent fewer CO₂ emissions. In concrete figures, a vegan emits 610 kilograms less carbon dioxide per year compared to someone who also eats meat, milk and cheese. According to studies by the WWF, this is one-fifth of the climate footprint in Germany that we can save by adopting a vegan lifestyle. And even the United Nations already declared that a switch to a vegan diet is urgently needed to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis.
Vegan food on tour can significantly reduce the CO2 footprint
And so, more and more artists and festivals are discovering an important lever for reducing their CO2 emissions at live shows through all-vegan catering. German musician Leslie Clio is setting a good example by exclusively serving vegan food on tour. Another essential factor on tour is not only vegan food for the crew, but also for the fans. For example, the world's largest animal rights organization PETA called on the band Coldplay in an open letter to serve exclusively vegan food on their eco-friendly 2022 world tour. For many festivals, a vegan food offering for their visitors is now standard, even if only very few have dared to take the step toward purely plant-based cuisine.
PETA is constantly striving to anchor animal rights in the youth movement with provocative campaigns, dedicated artists and a worldwide network, and music plays an important role in this. PETA ZWEI is the name of the German branch of the youth animal rights movement, which also exists in other parts of the world, such as the USA. PETA ZWEI concerts are regularly presented in Germany, for example. The German punk rock band ZSK has been taking PETA ZWEI's street-teams on tour for many years, educating concertgoers about a vegan lifestyle.
Veganism has been anchored in music for centuries
While PETA is known for its provocative campaigns and dogmatic approach, many people generally find it difficult to engage with the issue of animal welfare and, for example, watch documentaries or consume the content of social media feeds that show brutal scenes of animal abuse from factory farming, music as a medium offers many opportunities here. The animal rights movement has been rooted in music for many decades. Its roots are dirty, loud and anarchistic.
In the eighties, many radical political groups like the ALF, the animal liberation front, formed in the haze of the punk, hardcore and squatter scenes. The philosophy of these militant animal rights circles: is a clear demarcation between humans and animals and thus also between human and animal rights is not possible. Therefore they reject every kind of keeping and use of animals as illegitimate - to renounce animal products results as a logical consequence, even if vegan as a label was not widespread at that time. The punk band "Conflict", which also came deeply from the anarchist-influenced milieu, dedicated an EP of its own to animal lovers in 1983 with "To a Nation of Animal Lovers". At the same time, the Straight Edge movement was emerging in Washington, D.C., around the hardcore scene. Primarily it was about the renunciation of alcohol and drugs, the vegan way of life is considered here as an add-on.
New wind in the view of music and veganism brings the animal rights music documentary "Taking Notes", for which in 2022 a crowdfunding campaign was successfully completed and in which producer and director Chris Hines portrays the vegan movement in music with the help of musical greats such as Moby, Kat Von D, Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari or Gabrielle Alpin. Chris Hines himself became an animal rights activist through music and founded HTF Magazine, which specializes in music, entertainment and veganism.
In summary, it can be said that today there are many ways and approaches through music to a plant-based lifestyle and you have the opportunity to choose from a colorful bouquet of musical sources of inspiration to inspire yourself - should you not yet live vegan - to more sustainability, animal & climate protection.