Ellie Goulding Stages Her Comeback With Shimmering New Song ‘Close To Me’

Ellie Goulding is back, baby! The British pop star has kept a pretty low profile over the past couple years, releasing a Kygo collab in 2017 and a holiday recording of “O Holy Night” last winter, along with a couple other one-offs. On Wednesday (October 24), however, she returned with her first proper solo single since 2015.

She’s technically not alone, though — “Close To Me” is a duet with boyish wonder Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd, and features shimmering production from Diplo. “Even though we both know we’re liars and we start each other’s fires, we just know that we’ll be alright,” Goulding sings on the defiant love song, which celebrates a wild, reckless romance. “So don’t let me down / Keep me in trouble / Born to be wild, out in the jungle.” Swae, meanwhile, pops in with a carefree, melodic verse, finding easy chemistry with Goulding over Diplo’s gleaming beats.

It’s been three years since Goulding released her third album, 2015’s Delirium, which included the massive hit “Love Me Like You Do.” Speaking to BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac on Wednesday, Goulding explained that she’s spent the time since that album taking a much-needed break, cooking, getting engaged, and just living life.

“I spent quite a lot of time on tour after I released [Delirium], and then, to be honest, I was just really tired,” she explained. “I just wanted to spend time with my family and see my friends a bit more and try to have a bit of a normal reality.”

Although a follow-up to Delirium has yet to be announced, the 31-year-old recently wiped her social media accounts clean, a move that — coupled with the new release of “Close To Me” — suggests that something big is on the horizon.

Lauren Jauregui Faces Her Evil Twin In Sultry ‘Expectations’ Video

The wait is over! Lauren Jauregui‘s debut solo single, “Expectations,” arrived on Wednesday (October 24), and it definitely exceeds expectations.

The smoky, guitar-driven slow jam showcases Jauregui’s powerful pipes and marks a clear departure from Fifth Harmony’s airy pop material. “Wish I had no expectations / I wish that I could get it through your head / With no confrontation / I really wish we could talk about it instead,” Jauregui sings, her raspy vocals rising into a pleading moan on the chorus.

Given the 22-year-old’s rebellious streak, it should come as no surprise that the video makes a similarly strong statement. A black-and-white affair, the visual finds two versions of Jauregui roaming an empty house; one wears a white dress while the other, more sinister one rocks black leather. The latter Lauren performs an eye-popping dance during the song’s ripping guitar solo, and the two finally meet in the end — to very messy, very unexpected effect.

For “Expectations,” Jauregui linked up with British producer Kid Harpoon, who’s no stranger to working with pop stars gone solo — he co-wrote and produced most of Harry Styles’s debut album. Speaking to MTV News about her new song, Jauregui said, “I went right in the studio the day after I went through something that made me upset. … I wrote it really quick, too. It was like 30 minutes.”

She added, “Just the context of it and the mood of it, I feel like is a really great introduction to the world that I’m about to give people.”

Pop Quiz: What’s Your Go-To Karaoke Song?

The TRL Pop Quiz works like this: our editors are posed a music-related question and have only 15 minutes and just 100 words to research, choose and explain their answers. This week’s question: which song is your automatic choice for karaoke?

At my last birthday party, my friends and I sang the one and only “Breaking Free” from High School Musical. Anything from HSM is a go for me because the songs are easy to sing and everyone around my age is somewhat nostalgic for them. Other good ones are “We’re All in This Together”, “Get’cha Head in The Game” and “Bop To The Top”. Plus, the fact that most people know the words without even looking at the screen makes it even more fun! –Landyn Pan

While many people get uncomfortable doing karaoke, it’s a place that feels very much like home for me. My friends and I have turned to karaoke to fill the void we have of missing singing and performing on a regular basis. I’m a huge fan of contemporary, belty ballads and I have two go-to songs: “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here” by the remix queen Deborah Cox and the show-stopping number “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls. I always wonder if a ballad will bring down the mood, but they haven’t failed me yet! –Kristen Maldonado

“Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show is my karaoke go-to. As a mediocre singer, I like a crowd pleaser that encourages other people to sing along and this fits the bill. There’s not a lot of note variation in this song and you can kind of talk-sing it — both major pluses for me, not to mention I just love the song, generally. Most important of all, I already know all the words.  Pull this out at your next karaoke night, and I guarantee every midwesterner in the joint will scream with joy. –Leah Williams

Give me a microphone, a partner and the instrumental to “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry and you’re in for a full-blown performance by yours truly. Unlike most who just want to have fun, I probably take karaoke a little too seriously. It’s my chance to pretend I’m on my world tour, captivating an audience of 60,000, and “If I Die Young” lets me give it my all and show off my vocal prowess (or lack thereof). Plus, the harmonies make it prime duet material, but rehearsals are encouraged to get it perfect. —Matt Gehring

This isn’t what you would call a crowd-pleaser, but “Young Americans” is nevertheless an anthem for our disillusioned decade, telling the sad story of two people pining for more than what their broken hearts and dashed dreams can give. They’re desperate, angry and confused, feeling betrayed by a country that had promised them a brighter future as Watergate, unpaid bills, and the ghosts of America’s past all loom large. Still, David Bowie resolves to tear through the confusion; he helps these people frantically search for their souls. Is there a more appropriate song to be belting aloud in 2018? –Gus Turner

Tyler, The Creator’s ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ Is Here To Get You In The Holiday Spirit

Now that it’s almost Halloween, it’s already basically Christmas — at least, that’s what the décor in your local pharmacy would suggest. And the holiday season means both Christmas music and Christmas movies are on their way. That includes a new take on The Grinch, this time anchored by Benedict Cumberbatch, Kenan Thompson, and Pharrell in a very key role as the narrator.

It also means new versions of beloved Grinch tunes, like, say, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” the everlasting ode to the big green guy’s devilish trickery. This time, it comes courtesy of Tyler, the Creator, whose menacing rasp perfectly captures the slinking villainy of the title character.

For the update, Tyler worked with storied composer Danny Elfman, perhaps best known for his work on many Tim Burton films (as well as for writing The Simpsons theme). The take is orchestral without being too stuffy — the kind of light and breezy, minute-and-a-half song that works well within the confines of a computer-animated film.

Tyler reportedly also wrote a brand-new song for the movie called “I Am the Grinch.” We’ll presumably get to hear all that on the film’s soundtrack.

Last year’s Flower Boy is Tyler’s most recent album, but in 2018, he’s also treated us to a “Bring It Back” remix and “Okra,” the one where he shouts out Timothée Chalamet.

Listen to Tyler’s Grinch contribution above, and prepare yourself for November 8, when The Grinch hits theaters and takes over the Christmas season.

All You Need To Know About K-Pop Group NCT 127 (Except Their Blood Type)

Thanks to K-pop’s growing visibility in the U.S., the cultural barriers that once prevented Korean artists from making it big in the West are being smashed one milestone at a time. As a result, a new generation of K-pop acts are trying to leave their mark in the history books.

NCT 127 is the latest group to bring K-pop stateside with the release of their confident English debut, “Regular.” The 10-member group just dropped their first full-length release, Regular-Irregular, a sleek concept album that weaves a dual narrative between two worlds: reality (Regular) and fantasy (Irregular). It debuted at No. 86 on the Billboard 200, making NCT 127 the second-highest charting K-pop boy band in chart history.

So what should you know about this group of Korean artists who are currently making waves abroad? Here’s a very handy guide to NCT 127:

What does NCT 127 mean?

NCT stands for Neo Culture Technology, which are not three random words thrown together but rather an ambitious concept from SM Entertainment, the biggest record label in South Korea. The project aims to localize K-pop across the globe with region-specific groups, and NCT 127 is the Seoul-based unit. (127 refers to the longitude of Seoul. #TheMoreYouKnow)

Giphy / Apple Music

The 10 members of NCT 127.

“Culture Technology” is a strategy designed by SM founder Lee Sooman. It’s essentially a way to bring Korean pop music to the world, and NCT is the modern extension of that with its ever-expanding roster of international performers.

There are currently 18 artists under the NCT fold and three established units: NCT 127, NCT Dream (a more playful rotational unit for NCT’s teenage performers), and NCT U (a rotational group where songs are assigned to members based on who best fits the track).

In June 2018, a new unit made up of NCT’s Chinese members was announced. NCT China (working title) is set to debut later this year. There are also plans to expand the NCT brand to more countries in Asia — with a particular interest in Vietnam and “V-pop” — and even Latin America.

What are their fans called?

Fans of NCT are known as NCTzens (pronounced N-citizens), and the members will often affectionately call them “Seasonies” (“Seasony is us saying that our fans are precious to us like the four seasons,” they explained.) And here’s hoping you like the color green.

So, who’s in the group?

There are currently 10 members in NCT 127. Newest member Jungwoo made his official debut with the recent release of Regular-Irregular, and here they are looking like a bunch of handsome goth time travelers for their latest comeback:

SM Entertainment

Despite being based in Seoul, the group is culturally diverse with members from the U.S. (Johnny, born in Chicago), Japan (Yuta), China (Winwin), and Canada (Mark). So let’s get to know each of them a little better.

  • Taeyong

    Real name: Lee Taeyong (nicknames: TY Track; Taebreze; Grandpa; 2D Taeyong)

    Role: Leader, Main Rapper, Main Dancer, Vocalist, Visual, Center

    Taeyong is so handsome that every Korean broadcast makes at least one reference to his “2D” good looks. (Because he looks like a manga character come to life.) But that’s the least impressive thing about this 23-year-old performer. Known for his onstage swagger and ferocious flow, TY is an integral, if not intimidating, member of NCT — he’s often featured in NCT U — and he’s a bit of a wunderkind when it comes to rapping, singing, dancing, writing, and pulling off bold looks. But offstage, Taeyong can be quite soft; he’s a perfectionist who cares for his members. And he has an unhealthy obsession with cleaning and Febreze (hence the nickname Taebreze).

    What to watch: Taeyong’s magnetic performance in NCT U’s “The 7th Sense” is a great introduction to him as an artist; and “Yestoday” finds TY laying his past regrets bare over a chill trip-hop beat. Did I mention that he’s also adorable? And very good-looking.

  • Taeil

    Real name: Moon Taeil (nicknames: Taeyomi; Strony; Shin Taeil)

    Role: Main vocalist

    The oldest (and shortest) member of NCT, Taeil says he doesn’t open up easily to his members, but he’ll be the first to get emotional when his dongsaengs (little brothers) get sappy on him. The 24-year-old vocalist chose to pursue a career as an idol over attending university in 2013, a decision he agonized over for months. He’s one of the strongest vocalists in NCT, and honestly, the honey-voiced idol was destined to soundtrack K-Dramas. And he brushes his teeth six times a day, which says a lot about his work ethic. That, and his love for acrostic poems, despite being hilariously bad at them.

    What to watch: His live vocals are insane — and he can play guitar. Not to mention, that high note in NCT U’s “Without You” is beautiful.

  • Johnny

    Real name: John Seo / Korean name: Seo Youngho (nicknames: Johnny-cal; One and Only; Daddy)

    Role: Lead Rapper, Lead Dancer, Vocalist

    Born and raised in Chicago before moving to Seoul to pursue his dream, Johnny spent nine years as a trainee at SM before debuting with NCT 127 in 2017’s “Limitless.” (At one point, he even trained alongside a pre-debut EXO.) It’s this dedication and drive that makes him such a fan-favorite among NCTzens. He’s also a natural showman — he hosts “NCT Night Night” radio along with Jaehyun — with a surprising gift for applying eyeliner under pressure.

    What to watch: That time he explained the concept of “daddy” to Super Junior’s Leeteuk is iconic (“oh, daddy”). He’s also a striking visual.

  • Yuta

    Real name: Nakamoto Yuta (nicknames: Takoyaki Prince; Osaka Prince)

    Role: Main Dancer, Rapper, Vocalist, Winwin’s #1 Fan

    Born in Japan, Yuta spent the majority of his adolescence dreaming of a professional soccer career. But after watching K-pop idol group TVXQ! perform on television, he decided to pursue singing instead. So he moved to Seoul at 17 to train with SM in 2012 and debuted four years later with NCT 127 in 2016’s “Fire Truck.” His athleticism makes him a natural dancer, and the 22-year-old performer finally got to flex his vocal talent on standout R&B ballad “No Longer.” But it’s Yuta’s savage humor and confidence that make him so alluring. After all, this is a man who says one of his hobbies is reading comments of how handsome he is.

    What to watch: Have you ever seen someone eat a lemon this way? Also, Yuta’s verse in “Fire Truck” deserves more attention.

  • Doyoung

    Real name: Kim Dongyoung (nicknames: Bunny; Wang Zeung)

    Role: Main vocalist

    Doyoung joined SM’s pre-debut training team SMRookies in 2015 and debuted a little more than a year later with NCT U. But the vocalist didn’t officially join the NCT 127 lineup until 2017 with the release of “Limitless.” He looks and sounds like an angel, but Doyoung has a very short fuse — and the members love to push his buttons. However, at the end of the day, Doyoung is the mom of NCT; he may nag, but he also gives the best hugs. It also doesn’t take much to make him an emotional mess.

    What to watch: Doyoung’s hook on “Yestoday” is a mood. His version of “Beauty and the Beast” is an even bigger mood.

  • Jaehyun

    Real name: Jung Jaehyun / Jung Yoonoh (nicknames: Memory Manipulator; Valentine Boy)

    Role: Lead Vocalist, Lead Dancer, Occasional Rapper, Mark’s Soulmate

    Jaehyun came to SM in 2013 after being scouted by the company in front of his school. He auditioned with EXO’s “MAMA” — not having a mirror, he practiced the choreography in front of his living room window — and officially joined SMRookies. He debuted with NCT in 2016 with “The 7th Sense.” With his rich voice and Disney-Prince good looks, it’s easy to see why everyone is enamored by him — from variety show hosts, to female fans, to other idols, and his fellow members (even 2D Taeyong). He’s also one of the group’s three English-speaking members, having spent four years living in Connecticut as a child. This is also why he has such a soft spot for the High School Musical franchise.

    What to watch: Time doesn’t exist; there is only Before You’ve Heard Jaehyun’s Cover of “A Whole New World” and After You’ve Heard Jaehyun’s Cover of “A Whole New World.”

  • Winwin

    Real name: Dong Sicheng (nickname: Win)

    Role: Lead Dancer, Vocalist

    There’s only one thing you need to know about NCT 127: Everybody loves Winwin, and Winwin hates everybody. (Just kidding… maybe.) Unlike some of the other members, Winwin isn’t big on skinship (platonic physical intimacy), but that doesn’t stop them from trying to initiate contact with him anyway. He’d rather watch his K-Dramas in peace. Winwin is part of NCT’s beloved China line with Chenle (NCT Dream), Kun (NCT U), Renjun (NCT Dream), and Lucas (NCT U), and he’s especially close with Renjun. (If you want to cry, then watch young Renjun’s message to his parents, in which he tells them not to worry because Winwin takes good care of him.) Ultimately, Winwin just shows his affection for his members in different ways.

    What to watch: What Winwin wants, Winwin gets — especially around Taeyong. And let’s never forget Winwin’s now-iconic verse in the English version of “Regular.”

  • Jungwoo

    Real name: Kim Jungwoo (nickname: Jungwoo-s)

    Role: Lead Vocalist, Lead Dancer

    Sweet, soft Jungwoo is the newest member of NCT 127, but he debuted earlier this year with a standout moment in NCT U’s “Boss.” Still, the 20-year-old singer gets adorably flustered whenever someone hands him a mic. But he’s always quick with a pretty funny comeback. (“Pretty funny?”) He also bears an uncanny resemblance to fellow SM idol, Taemin. TBH, it’s a little unnerving.

    What to watch: NCTzens are still recovering from this “Boss” choreography.

  • Mark

    Real name: Mark Lee / Korean name: Lee Minhyung (nicknames: Yakkan Boy; Baby Lion)

    Role: Main Rapper, Vocalist

    The hardest-working guy in NCT, Mark debuted at age 16 with NCT’s “The 7th Sense” and has since taken part in more comebacks than any other NCT member because of his prominent roles in NCT 127, NCT U, and NCT Dream. He joined SM Entertainment as a trainee in 2012 after a global audition process and became a rapper with his easy-going flow and stage charisma. But the singer-songwriter’s most endearing quality is his extreme awkwardness. How this 19-year-old Canadian manages to transform from total mess into a rap god on stage is one of life’s greatest mysteries. And he writes all of his own verses — and others’ too — even the PG-13 ones.

    What to watch: The duality of Mark Lee as revealed in these iconic verses: “That’s a long-ass ride“; “baby, is it me or are you doing something to me?“; “chewing gum / chewing gum.”

  • Haechan

    Real name: Lee Donghyuck (nicknames: Donkey; FullSun)

    Role: Lead Vocalist, Lead Dancer, Maknae (youngest member), Mark’s Other Soulmate (depending on the day)

    The youngest member of NCT 127 is a bit of a troublemaker — he thrives off chaos — but at the end of the day Haechan just wants to cuddle and make his hyungs (older brothers) laugh. The 18-year-old vocalist looks up to his idols Michael Jackson and SHINee’s Taemin when it comes to performance, and his unique voice makes him a bit of a secret weapon in NCT’s stacked vocal lineup, with key roles in both NCT Dream and NCT 127. And while his clingy personality and acute sense of humor may drive some of the other members crazy — and nearly caused Mark to leave SM altogether (don’t worry, they’ve been best friends since their childhood Mickey Mouse Club days) — it’s always with the best of intentions. And the fact that he has a personalized handshake with every member of NCT is the cutest thing ever.

    What to watch: Haechan may be known for his vocals (listen to this note in “No Longer”), but he’s also a great dancer who has a real knack for picking up choreography. His performance in Weekly Idol‘s “Dance Cover Battle” is legendary, specifically his slinky version of Taemin’s “Move.” Also, “here is Korea, man” is the sickest burn.

What NCT 127 songs should I listen to?

You can start with their latest single, the Latin-trap “Regular” (recorded in both Korean and English). But NCT 127 debuted in 2016 with “Fire Truck,” a loud, punchy hip-hop track that more or less confused Korean listeners with its frenetic production and EDM hook. Love it or hate it, “Fire Truck” is the perfect distillation of NCT 127’s vibe: bass-heavy beats, weird production, innate charisma, and energetic choreography (just skip to 2:06).

“Limitless” is easily NCT 127’s best song to date. Their styling is borderline tragic, but the production of the single is near-perfect. It’s a powerful track that actually allows their vocalists to shine as it builds to a massive chorus (not unlike their labelmates EXO’s “Monster“). And Taeil’s background vocals are mesmerizing.

The group went full pop with their slick single “Touch.” The playful song displays the group’s versatility: They can go from studded chokers and charcoal eyeliner to colorful knits and fresh faces at the drop of a hat.

And let’s not forget about their vocal line, who take center stage with NCT U’s “Timeless,” a simple ballad featuring Taeil, Doyoung, and Jaehyun that packs an emotional punch.

Finally, NCT debuted in April 2016 with NCT U’s “The 7th Sense,” a smooth hip-hop track largely influenced by Western trap music that prominently featured rappers Taeyong and Mark. It didn’t resonate with Korean listeners, but among international fans it remains one of NCT’s standout songs because of its hard-hitting hook and vibey trap beat. And all of these members (with the exception of Ten) are now in NCT 127.

What else can I watch?

Well, if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this guide and still want more NCT content, then you need to watch the group’s Korean variety show, NCT Life. There are eight seasons, so that should keep you occupied until their next release.

Cardi B Raps About Cash, Morning Sex, And Kulture On New Song ‘Money’

After a summer break that saw her giving birth to a baby girl, notching her third No. 1 single, winning a few VMAs, and getting embroiled in a heated feud with Nicki Minaj, Cardi B is back with new music. “Money” arrived on Tuesday (October 23), two days ahead of its scheduled release, because apparently Cardi just couldn’t wait to get back to the cash.

Unsurprisingly, the new banger is all about money, which Cardi has seen a lot of in the past year (the proof is in the gold-drenched cover art, for which she wears armfuls of blinged-out watches, and little else). Even so, the Bronx MC maintains that her new superstar lifestyle requires more, more, more of it: “I got a baby, I need some money / I need cheese for my egg,” she spits, sounding more confident than ever.

But as much as Cardi enjoys the finer things in life, her daughter will always outweigh a check, okurr?! “I was born to flex / Diamonds on my neck,” she raps. “I like boarding jets, I like morning sex / But nothing in this world that I like more than Kulture.”

“Money” arrives less than seven months after Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy, dropped with the force of a nuclear explosion. The new track is a cool reminder of that larger-than-life attitude that made Cardi such a revelation on breakout hit “Bodak Yellow,” and it’s a promising sign that she’s already plotting album No. 2.

Watch Joey Purp And RZA Absolutely Demolish ‘Godbody Pt. 2’ On The Tonight Show

Joey Purp’s QUARTERTHING is one of the strongest hip-hop albums of the year, led by the 24-year-old Chicago MC’s penchant for hopping from style to style, never settling in for too long on one approach. This is clear right from the beginning, when Joey teams up with RZA to break down the house on the album’s blistering second track, “Godbody Pt. 2.”

On Monday night (October 22), the pair brought the pulse-pounding cut to The Tonight Show for a grand unveiling wrapped in big percussion and howling keyboards. “I’m in the building, I’m on the building, I own the building,” Joey raps near the end. And you believe him.

The coolest part about this particular performance is its simplicity. No synchronized flames flash to the beat. Joey doesn’t bound from one end of the stage to another. In fact, he stays stone still, reciting his rhymes like a bold sermon of self while a cloud of noise rises around him.

It’s the same dedication and determination that Joey held onto while making the album. “I’m about to get in the studio at all times. Just working on everything from the studio like an office,” he told Billboard about the recording of QUARTERTHING. “So anytime someone sends me a fire beat I don’t have to book studio time. I’m just gonna be there already. That’s how I’m gonna start approaching it: structuring my schedule more like work.”

One of his collaborators, Knox Fortune, told MTV News last month that Joey did exactly that. “Joey will sit and play [NBA]2K and listen to shit I’m making or just playing in the room for three and a half of those hours, and then in 30 minutes write the best verse you’ve ever heard.”

Check out one of them in the “Godbody Pt. 2” performance above.

Normani Drops Two New Songs With Supreme Bop Maestro Calvin Harris

Linking up with ultra major bop architect Calvin Harris is always a good idea; just ask Dua Lipa, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Sam Smith — the list goes on. Another name you can add to it now, and another authority on the matter of Harris’s bop supremacy, is Normani.

The two have connected for a new pair of dance floor-ready pop tunes including “Checklist,” also featuring WizKid, and the house-influenced “Slow Down.” The latter seems of a piece with Harris’s previous 2018 house-pop hits, including “One Kiss” with Lipa and “Promises” with Smith. On both, though, Normani brings an urgent and dynamic energy that marks a high point here in the early part of the former Fifth Harmony singer‘s burgeoning solo career.

These two cuts don’t sound much alike, but both are showcases for Normani’s vocals to take center stage. On “Checklist,” she adopts a delivery reminiscent of reggae to match the fluttering rhythms, while she ramps up the speed to increase the heat on the strobe light-primed “Slow Down.”

On Instagram, she shouted out her collaborators for these two tracks. “Throughout the process of working on my album I have gotten the opportunity to get in the room with some of the most talented human beings everrrrr like ever ever!!!!,” Normani wrote, singling out Harris and WizKid, as well as Jessie Reyez and Starrah, who worked on the songs.

In the wake of 5H’s hiatus announcement in March, Normani has appeared on the sultry “Love Lies” with Khalid and the remix of Reyez’s swaggering “Body Count” along with Kehlani. And earlier this month, she popped up with Davido on Quavo’s solo effort, Quavo Huncho. She’s keeping busy, and these two new tracks are nice additions to an already packed year for Normani.

Listen to the two very different tracks above and try to choose a favorite between them, if you can.

This 20-Year-Old Artist Carves Pumpkins Of Your Faves Every Halloween

Super fans dress up as their faves for Halloween. Super duper fans carve deeply-intricate portraits of their faves and their album art into pumpkins for Halloween!

That’s the prerogative for Megan, a 20-year-old artist whose pumpkin carvings have caught the eyes of fellow stans. Megan’s IRL-to-pumpkin comparison photos often rack up thousands of likes on her Twitter and Instagram pages.

In 2017, Megan’s intricate carvings of Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift caught the eyes of fans across the internet. It was Taylor Swift, in fact, who was at the core of how this all started a year earlier.

“The pumpkin carving actually started out as a bet with my sister in 2016,” Megan told TRL over Twitter direct messages. “She told me if I could carve the cover of 1989 on a pumpkin almost perfectly she would fly with me to Austin, Texas to see Taylor Swift’s Formula 1 concert.”

Taking the bet seriously, Megan carved a perfect set of Taylor pumpkins and discovered a new, spooky talent. And yes, she got to go to that concert in Texas.

There weren’t many tutorials for the detailed, shading-based type of pumpkin carving that Megan has perfected, but with a lifelong passion for art and design, the technique came naturally.

“It’s all about carving different depths to create shading,” Megan told TRL about her method. “The more you carve out the lighter the pumpkin is, and vice versa. I mostly use an x-acto knife to do that but I also use clay modeling tools and a pumpkin drill.”

Last year’s carving of Shawn Mendes went particularly viral with more than 11,000 likes on Twitter. Not only has Megan mastered Shawn in pumpkin form, but as a fan she’s met him a few times, too.

“Not only do I love his music, but also his character,” Megan said. “He’s so genuine and real with his fans. He treats us almost like his friends.”

This year, Megan has already begun her pumpkins for Halloween, including a carving of Why Don’t We’s album art for 8 Letters that’s caught the attention of the boy band itself. Daniel responded “no way” to the pumpkin, Jonah followed her and the main band account retweeted the photos.

“I loved every song on the album,” Megan said of her newfound love for Why Don’t We. “It’s inspiring to see such young artists do what they do and be so successful.”

With Halloween quickly approaching, Megan has more pumpkin plans for 2018. “I’m planning on carving the cover of Shawn’s new album,” Megan said, “and another Taylor Swift one of her AMA performance. But I‘m also going to be carving some for a few local businesses, too.”

Watch out for Megan’s pumpkin carving talent to continue to blow minds on her Twitter and Instagram, right in time for the peak of spooky season.

Lil Wayne’s ‘Uproar’ Video Is A Party So Proper Shiggy Had To Be There

Lil Wayne was one of the stars of the BET Hip Hop Awards earlier this week. Accepting the I Am Hip Hop trophy during the ceremony, Weezy took time out to thank the off-duty police officer who saved his life after a suicide attempt at age 12. The result was a resounding round of applause and a standing O from the crowd (including folks like Busta Rhymes).

With all that in mind, it’s good to know that A) Tha Carter V has been out there for nearly a month now, and B) Wayne’s latest video for “Uproar” is a celebratory affair, complete with appearances by Swizz Beatz and by the maker of all things celebratory, Shiggy. It’s the #UproarChallenge, y’all. Join in.

When the album dropped in late September, the challenge went wide, so it only made sense that the song’s video would capture the experience. And with Wayne’s smiling face and plenty of dancers ecstatically making the song’s electricity come to life, it’s a proper celebration indeed.

That tenor makes sense given the piled-up legal battles that prevented Tha Carter V from being released for about four years. In an interview on The Tonight Show earlier this month, Weezy elaborated a bit on how the troubles sidelined his creativity.

“I’m so into what I’m doing every day, meaning my craft, that when I have to go too far into something else, I put somebody else in charge of it,” he said. “When there’s somebody else that was in charge of it messes up, then everything blows up. That’s how everything blew up. We just needed the debris to clear.”

In the “Uproar” video, there’s not a trace of debris to found. And it feels good. Check out the clip above.