Keynotes

Keynotes present diverse, visionary speakers who deliver the most powerful new ideas in the ever-evolving worlds of film, culture, music and technology. These speakers are the center of the SXSW Conference and exemplify the spirit, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial drive that SXSW cultivates.


Michelle Obama - SXSW 2016. Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SXSW

Michelle Obama - SXSW 2016. Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SXSW

About Keynotes

 

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The fulcrum of each day’s SXSW Conference programming, each hour-long Keynote is a presentation of a compelling, timely topic by one of the world’s most inspired thinkers.

Relive some of the exciting Conference Keynotes from past seasons below including Roger McNamee (Interactive, Olivia Wilde (Film), Shirley Manson and Lauren Mayberry (Music), Bozoma Saint John (Convergence), and more.

Stay tuned for more SXSW programming announcements throughout the season at SXSW News.

For more big-name speakers at SXSW, browse the Featured Speakers page.

2021 Keynotes

 

2021 SXSW Keynote Willie Nelson - Photo by Pamela Springsteen

Willie Nelson

With a six-decade career, Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In recent years, he has delivered more than a dozen new albums, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestsellers book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, been honored by the Library of Congress with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the annual Luck Reunion food and music festival during SXSW, launched his cannabis companies Willie’s Reserve and Willie’s Remedy, and graced the covers of Rolling Stone and AARP The Magazine. For 2019, he released Ride Me Back Home, a new studio album that captures a reflective upbeat journey through life, love, and time’s inescapable rhythms viewed from Willie’s inimitable perspective. In January 2020, the title song received the GRAMMY Award for Best Country Solo Performance, making it his 10th GRAMMY win. In July 2020, Willie’s next set of 11 newly recorded songs released on his album First Rose of Spring – an atmospheric soulful showcase of beautifully-written songs and poignant performances. September 2020 brought a memoir with his sister and pianist Bobbie Nelson titled, Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of The Family Band. In February 2020, he will release That’s Life, an album with 11 new studio performances of standards and classic made famous by his friend Frank Sinatra. These creative endeavors as well as new songs and performances that add to his classic catalog, find Willie Nelson rolling at an artistic peak, writing and singing and playing with the seasoned wit and wisdom that comes from the road.

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