Inside Sir Babygirl’s Neon World Of Offbeat Pop And Devoted Fans

By Dani Blum

There’s a neon knot of hair flopped over a guitar on the Rough Trade NYC stage. Like a follow-along dot in a children’s musical TV show, it shakes to the sounds of shredding. In three hours, the room will be packed with teenagers in muscle tees and slim men with single earrings, but right now, it’s just Brooklyn-based pop songwriter Sir Babygirl, her glowing green hair, and the guy running soundcheck. This is the ninth stop on her tour supporting the band Petal, a run which includes a missed flight in Pittsburgh where she was hospitalized for food poisoning. Though Sir Babygirl has only released four tracks of frenetic, bubblegum pop, she has amassed what she calls “an extremely sticky, tiny, cult-like following” — like the teenagers who came from Syracuse, New York, to see her in Philadelphia, or the fans who linger at her shows and cry when they see her. Her debut album, Crush On Me, comes out this week on indie label Father/Daughter. She sells CDs of it at her shows to fans who don’t even own CD players.

“I don’t want to hurt people’s ears,” she shouts to the sound guy when the amp screeches. “But, like, I want to be heard.”

Sir Babygirl, born Kelsie Hogue, has an evil plan. It starts with memes: Her Instagram is a mood board of early 2000s nostalgia and bisexuality – a grinning Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove joking about period blood, Reese Witherspoon from Legally Blonde reading a textbook labeled “Flirting W/ Girls: 101.” “I was like, I’m going to get a following that way, and then it will cross over to my music,” she says. “I’m very calculated.”

Her sound attracted the attention of Chloë Grace Moretz, who tweeted a link to Sir Babygirl’s debut single, “Heels,” in October. Her streaming numbers have stayed steady and modest since the song came out in August; right now, it has 117,000 listens on Spotify. The song is technically perfect: a pulsing pop song with lyrics about leaving a lover and coming home. The track builds into a clear, high shout: “You don’t know me anymore / I changed my hair, I changed my hair, I changed my hair.”

In the light, Sir Babygirl’s hair has shoots of pink peeking out beneath the green. We’re in the front area of Rough Trade, which doubles as Williamsburg’s staple records store, next to rows of vinyl and a DIY synth kit labeled, “TECHNOLOGY WILL SAVE US.” Her lip ring glints under string lights. Sir Babygirl is a character, she’s explaining, an absurdist version of a self. Behind the music is Hogue herself, a 26-year-old bisexual who identifies as non-binary. These identities are centered in her songs, but they’re not the only appeal.

“I’m not a better artist because I’m queer, and it’s not worthwhile music because it’s queer,” she says. “It’s worthwhile because it’s fucking good music.”

As a project, Sir Babygirl has existed for a few years. Hogue thought of the name because she’s “obsessed with the extremes,” she says. “So what’s the most absurd, colonial male term? Sir. And then babygirl, the most infantilized.”

She was torn between singing and comedy. She studied theater at Boston University, where she was “the fucking weirdo, the ostracized gay” and then moved to Chicago to try stand-up. In one set, she dumped LaCroix on herself and shrieked; she called that bit “My Morning Routine.” She paid rent by hosting at a spy–themed restaurant, asking tourists for the password in a thick European accent. The room where she sat and waited for them wasn’t heated in the winter; she complained to her boss that it was a workers’ rights violations. She was asked to leave the restaurant. Soon after, she left Chicago, moved back into her childhood bedroom in New Hampshire, and forced herself to write an album within the year.

“People think ‘Heels’ is about heartbreak,” she says. “No. I wrote it because I got fired from my fucking spy-themed restaurant job.”

Eli Raskin

When Sir Babygirl talks about her production style, she talks about songs that “sound like ballerinas fucking.” When she talks about bi visibility, she clears her throat and throws her voice a pitch lower – “I want to be one of many bi artists, not like, hem hem, hello, I’m THE bi.” And when she talks about her burgeoning success, she knows this isn’t supposed to happen – to have a cross-country tour before you put you first album out, to find the perfect production partner by posting a call for non-cis engineers on Facebook. Her A&R rep at Father/Daughter discovered her after one of his coworkers at a smaller label in Florida played “Heels” out loud in her office, curious after following Sir Babygirl’s memes.

“Nothing I’ve gotten has been off a daddy connection,” she says. “It’s been people just literally fucking with my music.”

Tonight her eyes are coated in orange eyeshadow she’s put on herself; she learned the basics of makeup from a friend who’s a legally blind makeup artist, then watched YouTube tutorials while depressed and burrowed in her apartment in Chicago. “I don’t have a pop-star budget. If I want pop-star hair or pop-star makeup, I have to do it myself,” she says. She dyes her hair every few months, but has to keep the green and pink for a while – they’re her album release campaign colors, ones she picked herself. “That’s how obsessive I am,” she says. “Nobody asked me to do that.”

Ten minutes before Sir Babygirl’s set to go on stage, she sneaks into the audience. The other band she’s touring with, Cave People, is playing something sleek and crooning on stage, and she leans near a row of backpacks against the wall, trying to go unnoticed. It’s not working. “It’s her,” a cluster of backpacks and hairspray whispers behind me. They shove forward when she comes on stage.

Sir Babygirl twitches when she sings. She wants the vibrations in her songs to hit your body a certain way, and they do, synths burbling up from the floor and into your pulse, shoulders swishing automatically. “I really want to make it a 3-D experience,” she says. Crush on Me is her love letter to Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” – crying-in-the-club music. “I wanted it to be catharsis, as opposed to inundation of trauma,” she says. “There’s motion. I want there to consistently be a driving force through it. Like there’s all this trauma, and we’re moving through it, and we acknowledge it. But we’re going to keep moving.” For all its sparkling synths and buzzy beats, Sir Babygirl’s music is flecked with pain. Screams and shrieks stab through songs. There are two reprises in the tight, nine-track album, and they both build to a hyperactive breaking point and then end abruptly. The effect is pristine chaos.

“It’s like this positive nihilism where it’s like we all understand we’re in an apocalypse,” she said. “The world’s ending. We know what’s going on. But we also deserve to escape. That’s part of the healing process.”

The last song of her set is “Heels,” and it’s the one the crowd’s been waiting for. “You can come up here,” she says to them, “really,” and there’s a pause while everyone waits to see if she’s serious. She is. Someone rustles past me, and then another, scooting themselves onto the stage while Sir Babygirl strips off a floor-length dress to reveal a millennial pink harness. She slaps her own ass. The stage clogs with twisting arms, heads jumping; a girl grabs Hogue’s hand, and they twirl. They leap so hard their eyes disappear. All I can see is hair.

Normani And 6lack Are Star-Crossed Lovers On The Moon In ‘Waves’ Video

Normani has shared the video for “Waves” her debut solo single featuring 6LACK. It mixes sexy with sci-fi in ways that seem impossible, enabling both artists to play off of each other’s strengths – Normani’s dominating seductiveness and 6LACK’s reserved smoothness. Normani’s confidence alone makes the video a winner. Check it out below.

Here’s a fun fact that you probably already know: the gravitational pull of the sun and moon on our Earth causes tidal waves. In a clever bit of creative direction, Normani and 6LACK’s new video for “Waves” takes place mostly on the moon, instead of in water. Normani begins the video by waking up lost on a beach, but over time she transitions from the deep blues of clean sea water to the star-peppered skies over the moon. Lunar rocks crowd the ground beneath her and 6LACK as they embrace while singing to each other.

“Waves” isn’t the only steamy video in Normani’s recent catalog. A few weeks ago, she released the sexy, futuristic video for “Dancing With a Stranger,” her collaboration with Sam Smith. Normani’s currently prepping her debut studio album to drop this year. She’ll have to finish it up while on the Sweetener World Tour with Ariana Grande when it kicks off in March.

Chance The Rapper’s New Album Comes Out In July – Prepare Accordingly

It seems like whenever Chance the Rapper makes news lately, it’s never for the music. He starred in Slice last year and proved that he could make it away from music if he really put his mind to it. He’s a master of philanthropic efforts for the millennial age. His last full-length body of work was 2016’s Coloring BookSince then, fans have asked the rapper endlessly when something new would be available. Yesterday, the long-awaited announcement finally came. Chance the Rapper is dropping a new album in July.

Last night, the rapper got a little theatrical with his announcement of the upcoming LP by giving a cryptic reveal on Twitter. He tweeted “July,” followed by his manager, Pat Corcoran, actually announcing that a full body of work would be coming. Chance then retweeted this to help quell the growing sea of questions growing in his mentions. After calming the tide on Twitter, Chance turned to Instagram and, while in the midst of a shopping spree at Barneys, told the world that he’s been working on music for a while now and has heard all of the requests. He ends the video saying that fans will receive the music when he’s ready to put it out. It then cuts to him saying “July” with a large smile on his face.

In 2018, Chance gave fans a couple of appetizers with the release of the songs, “The Man Who Has Everything,” “My Own Thing,” and “Work Out.” As to what we should expect on the new LP, that’s anyone’s guess. We have one thing to go off of; last August, Kanye West told reporters that he was in Chicago working on Chance’s album.

Metro Boomin and Gunna Shoutout 21 Savage In ‘Space Cadet’ Performance On ‘Fallon’

The presence of 21 Savage may have been absent from the 61st Grammy Awards, save for the sole shoutout by Swedish producer Ludwig Göransson, but it was felt on primetime television on last night’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Metro Boomin, a longtime collaborator with the rapper who’s currently being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Gunna performed “Space Cadet,” from the producer’s October album Not All Heroes Wear Capes. Metro, wearing a jacket with “FREE 21 SAVAGE” painted on the back, drew attention to the rapper’s plight on a national level. Take a look at the performance below.

A “space cadet” is, by definition, a trainee astronaut. So for the live performance of the record of the same name, it features, well, astronauts. There’s a merry band of violinists wearing space helmets like stunt doubles for Daft Punk. Leading the sound is Metro, who plays the part of the band director, similarly clad in white, sans the helmet. Because of his jacket’s “FREE 21 Savage” message, Metro Boomin remains with his back facing the audience, drilling the words into the brains of viewers over the course of the three-minute performance. Gunna, inexplicably wearing ski glasses, performs the song’s vocals, taking great care to give Metro Boomin his camera time. The message is immediately clear; Gunna’s live recital of the lyrics is cool, but it’s the powerful message on the producer’s back that deserves the brunt of the screen time.

In January, 21 Savage gave an intimate performance of “A Lot” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and added new, politically-charged lyrics at the end. “Been through some things, but I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border/Flint still needs water/People was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers,” he rapped. Five days after the performance, he was detained by ICE for being in the United States illegally. The rapper’s team later revealed that he was originally born in the United Kingdom and applied for a U Visa in 2017.

Blackpink’s Electric U.S. TV Debut Was Everything Blinks Could Ask For

K-pop girl group Blackpink took to American television for the first time in the early morning hours of February 12, much to the delight of Blinks around the world.

The girls — Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa — appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where they performed their smash hit “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du.” The song, the group’s first single off their 2018 Square Up EP, quickly became their first track to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, debuting at No. 55. And the music video also became the fastest K-pop group music video to surpass 600 million views on YouTube — and now they’re well on their way to 700 million.

Watching them perform live, you can see why.

Throughout the night, the official Twitter profile for The Late Show jokingly referred to itself as a “Blackpink stan account” and engaged with excited fans all over the world as “#BLACKPINKonLSSC” started to trend worldwide. Blinks everywhere were understandably shook.

Blackpink is only the second K-pop girl group to make an appearance on a U.S.-based late night talk show. Back in 2012, The Late Show (hosted by David Letterman) invited Girls’ Generation to perform their English track “The Boys.”

But Blackpink’s appearance on The Late Show was only the start of this week’s veritable K-pop takeover. The girls followed that appearance with an explosive morning-show debut on Good Morning America on Tuesday (February 12), where they performed “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” live from the Times Square studio.

It’s set to be a big year for Blackpink, as they dropped the first set of live dates for the North American leg of their Blackpink In Your Area 2019 world tour. They’ll take their bombastic show to Los Angeles beginning on April 17, descend upon Coachella, and will then hit the Chicago, Newark, and Atlanta areas.

It looks like 2019 is our year, Blinks! Are you ready for Blackpink in your area?

Ariana Grande Made An Alternate Version Of ‘Thank U, Next’ In Case She And Pete Got Back Together

If Ariana Grande name-dropping her exes on “thank u, next” completely stunned and stupefied you, rest assured the singer knew exactly what she was doing.

“I was very nervous to share it because I knew that as soon as people heard the names they were going to be like, ‘run that back one more time, what the fuck is she doing?'” Grande admitted in an exhaustive new interview with the Zach Sang Show, which covers everything thank u, next.

Making the song was so “scary,” in fact, that Grande ended up recording three iterations of the eventual No. 1 smash, in case the original was too “insane.” On one of those versions, the first verse had no names at all and instead addressed media speculation of Grande’s relationships, with lyrics like, “Say I’m too young” and “I’ve had too many boyfriends.”

“It still was like, OK, I’m embracing my mistakes and what I’ve done… but it was just less direct,” she said. “And everyone, including me, was kind of like, ‘this is not the version.’ But I was also trying to be protective, you know?”

Not only that, but at the time, Grande wasn’t sure if she and former fiancé Pete Davidson were going to get back together, so she recorded alternate lyrics just to be safe. She explained, “In my relationship at the time, things were up and down and on and off, and so I didn’t know what was gonna happen. And then we got back together, so I had to make a different version of it, and then we broke up again, so we ended up going with that version.”

She held back tears while continuing, “I just wanted to cover all the bases. It was a big risk and a very scary thing to do because it is my life. … And I spent a lot of time with each of those people — like, learning and shit — so it was scary to put into song.”

Even so, Grande said her exes Big Sean and Ricky Alvarez were super into the song: “Everyone that I am still in touch with has been very supportive of it,” she said.

As for what else Grande and Co. left on the cutting room floor, her co-writer Victoria Monet revealed that they recorded another version of “7 Rings” that features an incredible Ari impersonation. In the singer’s own words, it’s “three minutes of drunkenly rambling as Julie Andrews.” Now that, I think we can all agree, is something the world needs to hear.

Check out Grande’s interview with Sang above — their discussion about the alternate versions of “thank u, next” begins around the 12:20 mark.

Cardi B Sends A Message To Mac Miller After Her Grammy Win: ‘I’m Sharing This With You’

Cardi B isn’t keeping her Grammy for Best Rap Album all to herself.

The Bronx MC made history as the first female solo artist to ever win in that category, but after her flustered acceptance speech, she revealed she’s sharing the award with the late Mac Miller. In a backstage video from Sunday night (February 10), Cardi ecstatically thanked her family and fans before shouting out Miller, whose fifth and final album, Swimming, was nominated against her breakout LP, Invasion of Privacy.

“You wanna know something? I read an article that Mac Miller’s family said that if he don’t win, they wanted me to win, so I’m sharing this Grammy with you, motherfucker,” Cardi said. “Rest in peace! And thank you, everybody.”

Cardi is referring to Us Weekly‘s report that Miller’s family was rooting for Cardi B to win if he didn’t. A source close to the family told the outlet in January that they were “so moved when his nomination was announced. They are really hopeful that the Recording Academy will honor what they believe to be the most important and impactful rap album of the year. It will be a bittersweet moment for them if Malcolm wins. And if he doesn’t, they’re rooting for Cardi B.”

On Twitter, Cardi reiterated the love for Miller by sharing a screenshot of the article and writing to him, “WE WON A FUCKIN GRAMMY.”

Though he didn’t win, Miller was honored during the show’s In Memoriam segment. Even so, his ex Ariana Grande expressed her disappointment that the Recording Academy did not award the rapper, especially after his parents were invited to the show. In a series of since-deleted tweets, she wrote “trash” and “literal bullshit,” adding that she was “very upset” Miller lost while his parents were in attendance.

The thank u, next singer later clarified that she had nothing against Cardi B winning the award. In more now-deleted tweets, she said that her vulgar reaction was not directed to Cardi but to the Academy, who she already butted heads with over her own performance. “Nothing to do w her. Good for her. I promise. I’m sorry,” she wrote.

But don’t worry: Ari ended her night — which saw her win a Grammy of her own — on a “super grateful” note:

St. Vincent Delivers A Haunting Vision Of The Future In ‘Masseduction’

St. Vincent‘s new video for ‘MASSEDUCTION’ makes little sense when you’re watching it, so don’t try too hard to search for a larger meaning. After snagging two trophies at the 61st Grammy Awards last night, with one being Best Rock Song for this very tune, the singer decided to let loose the accompanying visual today that’s extremely creepy. Take a look at the doomsday-themed video below.

“MASSEDUCTION”‘s video has a ton of random moving parts that come together for a dystopian package. Over the course of its near-four minute run time, you’ll be exposed to the kind of visual content that would send post-apocalyptic enthusiasts into sensory overload; there’s the singer’s head being held up by hands while pink rings radiate from inside of it, dancing, faceless figures clad in orange jumpsuits scarier than any horror movie villains of the last decade, and a nuclear bomb’s mushroom cloud looming in the background as an imposing presence. St. Vincent’s funky tune connects these pieces together, creating a haunting, cataclysmic experience of time, down the line, that has went awry.

In addition to picking up the trophy for Best Rock Song last night, St. Vincent performed the futuristic tune with Dua Lipa on the Grammy stage in all of its peculiar splendor. Her 2017 album of the same name also won the award for Best Recording Package.

Kacey Musgraves Heals Your Sadness With A Room Full Of Flowers In ‘Rainbow’ Video

Kacey Musgraves had a legendary night at the 61st Grammy Awards, with her performance of “Rainbow” from her 2018 album Golden Hour. Soon after, she released the video for the record that’s both peaceful and soothing with its warm barrage of colors and obsession with flowers. Check it out below, take a load off.

The video spends its time showing various people in different stages of sadness. There’s the guy with a sea of empty alcohol bottles in front of him, a single mother dealing with a crying baby, an older woman washing a teacup while looking beyond her house for something bigger to be a part of, and others in need of more than just a hug. While these people bask in sorrow, Kacey is revealed to be the shining light singing her uplifting tune, gently asking the people to look on the brighter side of things. The lightning of the video is by far the most compelling part, illuminating different parts of the scenes with the colors of the rainbow. The video ends with a serene scene; Musgraves sits inside a room filled with beautiful flowers and lush vegetation. It’s the visual version of having your shoulders rubbed after a long day at work.

Last night, Musgraves’ Golden Hour won Best Country Album and Album of the Year at the Grammys. In addition to these two enormous awards, Musgraves snagged the trophies for Best Country Solo Performance for “Butterflies” and Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy.” She also took the stage and paid tribute to Dolly Parton.

Offset Releases Footage of Cardi B Giving Birth in New Album Trailer

At long last, Offset‘s oft-delayed debut solo studio album is finally around the corner. He took things a different direction from either of his Migos cohorts with the promotion of his new LP. Instead of releasing singles ahead of the project and letting the music do the talking, he’s shared a promotional trailer that features previously unseen footage of Cardi B giving birth to their daughter Kulture. Yeah, it’s that weird when you actually sit down to watch it. Find out for yourself below.

To keep it fair, the 45-second clip is pretty tasteful. There’s a smooth piano playing in the background with some footage of Offset doing what he does best; performing at sold-out venues, counting absurdly large stacks of money, and laying down fresh verses in the studio – the divine trinity of rap tasks. With 15 seconds left though, it abruptly cuts to Cardi’s face while she’s in excruciating pain, trying to push Kulture out of her body while family and a team of doctors surround her. Inexplicably, the instrumental gets louder as her screams grow in intensity, all the while the doctors tell her to push harder. Suddenly, the camera shifts to Offset who’s standing on the side of the bed, staring at the camera as if he’s in an episode of The Office. The release date is then revealed to be February 22.

Offset’s mind-boggling trailer came shortly after he appeared with Cardi at the Grammys where he stood in the audience watching her performMoney” with his tongue out. He looked like a wolf that spotted prey after a long night of hunting. It finally seems like things have settled down in their household. Just two months ago, Offset crashed the stage at Rolling Loud where Cardi performed, to ask for her forgiveness following their split.