The rocker announced the news on Monday.
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The rocker announced the news on Monday.
[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
In November 2015, Justin Bieber celebrated the release of his album Purpose with an intimate show at L.A.’s Staples Center, where he performed a few songs, answered some questions, and skateboarded onstage. He was emotional that night, choking back tears while talking about how he had “lost [his] place” in the world for a while.
Almost five years later, Bieber delivered his Purpose follow-up, Changes, and marked the occasion with another special launch party on Friday night (February 14). This time, he took over a private indoor skatepark called The Berrics, just three miles southeast of Staples and situated behind a row of unassuming warehouses. The Spotify-hosted event transformed the airy space into “House of Changes,” billed as a “carefully curated epicenter of all things Bieber.” Everywhere you looked, there was some installation or dessert or piece of merch to discover. So when your eyes would eventually wander over to the small pack of skaters rolling up and down the ramps, it was only with a shocked double-take that you noticed Bieber himself.
The man of the hour was dressed down in a yellow Drew House hoodie and a beanie, grinding and board-sliding around the tiny park and blending in with the pack of fellow skaters whom he would fist-pump after doing some cool trick. His manager Scooter Braun was sitting on a bench watching him, his friend and Drew House co-founder Drew Good was hanging out by a DJ who played Changes over the speakers, and his videographer Alfredo Flores was vibing along to the music while capturing JB on film.
A small contingent of superfans chosen by Spotify were invited to the event, and when they weren’t watching Bieber on his board, they were exploring the immersive, Changes-themed zones that filled the room. Upon walking in, fans grabbed a white t-shirt from the “Off the Rails” portal entry — at each subsequent stop, they could pick up different Changes decals to customize their tees. The “Intentions Room” let fans bring their own written “Intentions” to life in a visual display. On the walls, they penned things like, “Learn to love myself” and “Help others.” Bieber himself even wrote, “My intention is to be the best family man I can be.”
From there, fans jumped into the massive “Plush Pit,” which was filled with human-sized stuffed teddy bears reminiscent of the Drew House mascot, Theodore. Other cute photo opps included the “Changes Motel,” a kitschy rendering of a vintage motel room, and a red-lit photo booth where you could make your own Changes album cover that was then printed and fit into a physical CD case.
On the other side of the skatepark was the “Yummy Banquet,” based on the single’s delicacy-filled music video. A bar served custom cocktails like the vodka-based “Running Over” and the tequila- and mezcal-filled “Yummy.” Dancers in full-body food costumes — a piece of bacon, a bunch of grapes, etc. — shimmied and shook around tables upon tables of frosted donuts, gelatin cakes, and macaroons with smiley faces on them.
Every now and then, I glanced back over at Bieber, who remained skating, smiling, occasionally busting out a little dance move, and consistently looking happy and comfortable. Unlike that Purpose event almost five years ago, the evening felt authentic and relaxed — there were no tears, probably minimal nerves, and zero pressure for Bieber to “perform.” As he tells us on the new album, he’s been “going through changes”; he’s wifed-up, got a mustache, and feeling healthier. Last night made it clear: the changes are good ones.
By Daniel Head
“Heartbreak dance music” is how Vincint, the Philadelphia-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter describes his music. His ecstatic, high-energy pop gives you, in his words, “the feeling of having your heartstrings pulled while your ass can’t stop moving.” It’s a means to move with joy through your pain.
His new EP, The Feeling, out today (February 14), is a journey of grappling with the waves of emotions during heartache. The power of Vincint’s voice — first in the spotlight in 2018 on Fox’s singing competition show The Four — and the infectiousness of his performances make you feel each pang and triumph. It’s something he wrings out of his own experiences and the ones of those closest to him.
After Vincint wrote The Feeling’s final (and title) track, his mom asked, “How do you feel now that it’s finally done?” He responded, “I feel upset and lonely, but also so joyful and so emotionally driven to give this to people because I think it’s going to help them because it really helped me,” he told MTV News. His mother replied, “That’s the feeling,” and thus, The Feeling was complete.
After a secret show at SoHo’s Gospel collective space in New York City, MTV News sat down with the budding superstar to unpack it — all the love and loss, and his music’s intersection of grief and joy.
MTV News: Give me a little bit of your start. Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to sing?
Vincint: My dad was a singer, and so that was the reason that I got into all of it. He had a gospel group called Christian and Gospel Singers. And they were always in my house, always singing, always drinking. It was wild. But it was my first introduction into music, and so that was the door opening for me. I was a shy kid, so I didn’t tell anyone that I could sing until I was maybe seven or eight. And my dad happened to bring me to a choir audition.
MTV News: Wait, so where were you singing up until that point? Were you just whispering in your room?
Vincint: Yeah, I would be in the back of my dad’s Cadillac and I’d be humming along to the radio and he’d [hear and] then I would stop. It seemed just very stressful for me. Just a lot of people looking at you all the time. It’s not my thing. Well, it wasn’t.
MTV NEWS: Yeah, I was going to say, it’s a little different now.
Vincint: But he brought me to a choir audition and I was singing the solo for this all-boy choir in Philadelphia and the whole room got quiet. And then I was like, oh. And If I could do that, maybe I’ll do that forever. And so that kind of kick-started everything. I started writing songs when I was 12. They weren’t great, but they were songs.
I looked into Berklee [College of Music] and I told my parents that I applied to maybe three or four colleges, but I only applied to two. I applied to Berklee and I applied to [University of] Notre Dame and I got into both, but I told them that I got into one so I could go to the one that I wanted. And so I went to Berklee and that’s where my musical mind kind of opened up… and kind of molded my pen in the way that I think about love and depression and anxiety and everything. I kind of found my voice in college.
MTV News: When you’re writing, do you write as the experiences were happening or are you calling back on a relationship or what was going on in a friend’s life as you wrote it?
Vincint: “The Feeling” was the only one I called back on. Usually for all of these songs, I was walking around and I put it in my phone and every day something new would come. Another instance was with “Save Myself.” I wrote with Brandon [Colbein] and Ryan Hartman and the producer Tidal, and we were sitting and talking about how labels were trash, how every time we’ve gone for a deal, they’ve just kind of tried to take control of us, and we’re like, I’ll do it myself. So songs come from different places. I was writing the EP, but I lost my dad, and that is a big part of a lot of the songs. Like in “Simple,” he’s a huge part of that song for me.
MTV News: Is it safe to say that you and your passion and goals have been met with various barriers because—
Vincint: Of course. It’s because of the way that I look, my sexuality, sometimes my gender because pop is for pop girls. I’ve been in situations where, because of my sexuality, it’s not even a conversation that I can be a part of something. That’s unfortunate because you’re missing out on something great because of a fear that it may not be accepted by a mass amount of people when you’re wrong.
I was on a television show. Most of my fan base is not gay men. It’s 20- to, I think, 38-year-old women from the Midwest. I don’t make music for one group of people. I don’t want to make music for just Black people, for white people, or for gay people, for straight people. I make music for people to listen to and feel better.
MTV News: Do you think the autonomy and command over your image and musical direction is an issue that queer artists of color, queer artists, artists in general are, face regularly?
Vincint: Yeah, because people don’t know what to do with us sometimes, but I think the issue is they have to do something with us to fit some kind of mold. When, if you look around in the world that we’re in today, there is no guide to making a pop star or making someone successful. There’s so many routes to doing it. They just have the platform to literally make someone great, if they just understood that you just have to let them be themselves. It works out, like what I’m doing on my own works out. And so I think many people get into the fold of thinking that they have to change. And if they don’t change then they’re never going to be as successful as an Ariana Grande or a Taylor Swift. And also that’s a whole different machine in and of itself.
MTV News: That reminds me of the story you told about when you were an undergrad at Berklee and it was your RA who was encouraging you to do whatever the hell you wanted to — which then reminded me of Tyler, the Creator’s Grammys press-room speech. He felt that being placed in an urban category is the new N-word.
Vincint: You’re not wrong. We were talking about this last night. If I were to win a Grammy, they would call it urban pop. And it’s like, seriously, no, it’s pop. But we’re trying to change it. Whenever anyone is like, “What do you do?” I sing pop music. I make really good pop music and it’s just pop music. Listen to the music.
MTV News: That’s such a statement of confidence and says so much about your belief in yourself. How did you get to that place?
Vincint: My mother. It’s just fully and completely my mother. She says this phrase that Maya Angelou’s mother said to her: “I raised you, so when you leave this house don’t let anyone raise you. You’ve been raised.” You know what’s right. So just do right and you know what feels right to you. And so I know what I want. So if I make a misstep, it’s because I made that misstep, and I can take ownership of that. So when I want something, I know what I want.
Remember when Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas stunned the world with their cover of the Beatles’ “Yesterday” at last weekend’s Oscars? We called it a “moving” and “beautiful” performance, but Eilish has another word for it: “trash.”
In a FaceTime interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe on Friday (February 14), the 18-year-old appeared from her bed and revealed that she’s been under the weather since the Academy Awards.
“I was sick for all of the Oscars, I bombed that performance,” she said. “That was trash.” Lowe, for the record, did not agree with Eilish, but conceded that she’s allowed to be her own toughest critic.
Further reflecting on the glitzy awards show, Eilish admitted that she felt like a fish out of water in the “scary” Hollywood environment — especially on the heels of last month’s Grammys, where she was the belle of the ball. (In case you forgot: She took home five awards that night and made history as the youngest artist to sweep the four major categories.)
“At least the Grammys wasn’t as scary because it was, like, artists, and it felt like my people,” she said. “It was like, ‘Oh, look, a bunch of artists!’ And I knew a lot of them already and I’d met them and they knew of me. But the Oscars, I’m like, these are movie stars.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Eilish discussed her gorgeous, somber James Bond theme song, “No Time To Die,” which arrived on Thursday. She said the idea to record a song for the 007 franchise came two years ago, and she and Finneas had “subconsciously” been working on it ever since. “Two years ago we were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be crazy to make a song for the Bond movies? Wouldn’t that be dope?'” she said.
While the thought process for “No Time To Die” took a while, the recording session was super quick. “We got a piece of the script, like the first scene, and then we wrote the song immediately,” she dished. “We wrote it in thee days and we wrote it in Texas and we recorded it in a bunk on the bus in a basement in the dark.”
And the rest is history. Listen to Eilish’s “No Time To Die” here, and check out her interview with Lowe above.
Last week, the pair released “Calling On Me,” a dancehall-pop ode to real love that “conquers all.” On the track, Paul proclaims, “I’ll be there to give you what you need / I’ll support your calling selflessly.” Tove echoes his devotion on the hook, singing, “Calling, calling, calling, calling on me / Forever running to you / I’ll be, I’ll be, I’ll be, I’ll be on time / Like you expect me to.”
In the accompanying video, the dancehall legend and the Swedish singer dance in front of alternating backdrops displaying all corners of the planet: the starry cosmos, a sandy desert, a glacial ocean, and a bustling cityscape. The message is clear: No matter where in the world they are, they’ll answer the call from the ones they love.
“Calling On Me” is Paul’s first single of 2020. In a statement about the new track, he said that it’s “a dope song reflecting the real side of love. If you love someone, the energy doesn’t ever change. They are able to call on you at all times. I’m proud to have such an amazing vocalist like Tove Lo be on the track with me.”
Tove, meanwhile, has already had a super busy year. In January, she released a pair of new singles, “Bikini Porn” and “Passion And Pain Taste The Same When I’m Weak,” and then followed up with a steamy video for the Sunshine Kitty standout “Are U Gonna Tell Her?“
Get immersed in Paul And Tove’s gorgeous new video above, and see it all day long on mtvU and MTV Live.
Harry Styles is back, so soon after releasing Fine Line, with an awesome cover of legendary singer Joni Mitchell‘s 1970 tune, “Big Yellow Taxi.” He performed it today (February 14) on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2. It’s as if to say that his valentine this year is our planet.
Requesting access to stan even harder.
Look around you. If you don’t’ see pavement, look out of the nearest window. Smell the smog in the air. Our planet’s crying out for our help, and we have to answer it — soon. Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” said something similar when it was released five decades ago. The touching guitar-driven number was written when Mitchell made a trip to Hawaii and was alarmed by the juxtaposition of the sea of concrete and beautiful, natural green mountains.
This morning, Styles wisely performed this rendition. With a guitar in hand and surrounded by the show’s instrumentalists, Styles etched the painful realization in everyone’s mind that we’re making the world uglier with each chopped-down tree.
Check out Styles’s awesome cover up above.
As the great scholar Liz Lemon once said, “Love is weird. And sometimes gross.” And, while there are surely some of you for whom today meets flowers, chocolates, and romantic candle-lit dinners with your old so-and-so, there are surely many of you who will spend today alone and justifiably bitter. Well, good for you that Moaning’s latest song and video “are perfect for everyone feeling like shit this Valentine’s Day,” the band says.
Despite what images the title may conjure, “Fall In Love” is about the anxiety of love. “If we fall in love, I will lose you,” sings Sean Solomon, who also created the track’s animated visual. In a statement, Solomon says, “The song is about being afraid to fall in love because of expecting heartbreak.” He also admits, “It’s a bummer of a song lyrically but it’s pretty fun to dance to!” —Bob Marshall
“Intentions” (ft. Quavo)
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like showering your partner with compliments
Blush-worthy line: “Picture perfect, you don’t need no filter / Gorgeous, make them drop dead, you a killer”
Drag that old MP3 of “Here Comes the Bride” into the trash. Instead, cue “Intentions,” the ode to partners that swings its saccharine sound like a bouquet of flowers and flings it off into the air. You won’t be emotional, though. You’ll be too busy dancing.
Migos, Young Thug, and Travis Scott take a trip to a futuristic warehouse in the wildly disorientating new video for “Give No Fxk.” Hats off to the director for flinging the camera inside of a hurricane and letting it rattle around for three minutes and 54 seconds. There’s a lot going on, so much so that I wouldn’t blame you for stopping between verses to soak everything in.
So “Give No Fxk” is about, simply, not giving a fuck. “I got too many diamonds on I look awesome,” Quavo raps on the chorus. Fuck being conservative with your jewelry! “I got a bulletproof truck, I got the backwards doors on the Royce,” spits Young Thug. Who cares if it looks crazy! He doesn’t. Everyone here is doing their best flexing and it’s absolutely delicious. Scott has one hell of a bar with “All my colleagues say how we live outrageous/ We don’t count the days, we just count the payments” and it stings. Being up ahead of the competition has never sounded so energizing.
To match the souped-up song’s energy, the video is just as outrageous. The rappers all converge on a warehouse with ultra tacky outfits (or maybe I just don’t know high fashion) and energetically perform the tune. Sounds simple enough, right? That’s where you’re wrong. Thanks to the camera and some spectacular digital effects, the rappers all zoom around the lens like Sonic the Hedgehog. Flashing lights and digital recreations of them compound the effect to bring to your eyes something that doesn’t quite make sense. But, then again, look at the title. I doubt that they care anyway.
Migos haven’t released an album together since 2018’s Culture II, so, hopefully, this is a sign that their next project is on the way. Last summer, they shared the videos for “Frosted Flakes” and “Stripper Bowl.”
Check out “Give A Fxk” up above.
Snoh Aalegra‘s two albums both deal with, well, dealing with it. The Swedish singer’s 2017’s Feels and 2019’s Ugh, Those Feels Again both find her exploring the kind of subterranean R&B fitting for late nights when you’re up questioning what’s going on internally.
You hear it on “Whoa,” only inverted — she’s feeling euphoric about someone special. “Can I lay with you outside? Can I touch your lips with mine?” Aalegra sings over a slowly blooming backbeat courtesy of legendary R&B maestro D’Mile. It’s a nice moment, and now it’s gotten even suaver with some assistance from Pharrell. On Friday (February 14), he lent a romantic verse to a new version of “Whoa” just in time for Valentine’s Day.
“When we mix, we make the Matrix glitch,” he delivers as Aalegra backs him up. His verse feels epistolary, like a love letter to someone he’s really all about. “The only second language I speak is your body on like 5G,” P says, wrapping up the moment by making some tangible connections between music and sex — you know, what this whole thing is all about. “Two melodies that come to life / Now listen: We come to life / Put us on top each other, we harmonize.”
At the end of last year, Aalegra shared a photo of her in the studio with both Pharrell and his Neptunes collaborator Chad Hugo, who revealed they’re going full speed ahead with new music in 2020.
Aalegra is currently preparing for a tour that’ll kick off in March. While you wait for her to hit your town, listen to the new Pharrell-assisted version of “Whoa” above.
Then revisit the video for the original song, which features her smooching Michael B. Jordan. It is V-Day, after all. Treat yourself!