100 Women We Love: Class of 2011

photo by Andrew Zaeh

Millions of fans—and Cee-Lo Green—can’t be wrong about Vicci Martinez. The soulful, powerful singer, a finalist for Team Cee-Lo on NBC’s breakout series The Voice, has been writing music and performing for half of her 26 years. The Tacoma, WA native’s achievements include reaching the semi-finals on CBS’ Star Search, winning a ticket to Hollywood on American Idol (and turning it down because she wanted to mature further as an artist) and independently releasing six albums. “I just hope to inspire people to be okay with who they are, who they love, and how they love—and to do things that will inspire others to do the same,” says Martinez, who won a 2009 OutMusic Award for Outstanding Folk/Country Song with Blair Hansen for their song “Break Away.” The most rewarding part of her career so far, she adds, is “knowing that my message and purpose is actually rubbing off on others. I love getting messages from people that say they are taking that leap of faith, and doing what makes them happy and passionate in life. That’s why I do what I do!” –KL