How Selena Gomez And Julia Michaels Captured My Mental-Health Struggle In A Song

By Anna Sejuelas

Mental health bops, especially those by women, have become easier to find and groove to in the last year and a half. Take Ariana Grande’s Billboard hit “Breathin’” off her album Sweetener, which chronicles her struggle with the side effects of PTSD; Olivia O’Brien’s “Empty”, which navigates depression and self-medication; and Florence and the Machine’s “Hunger”, which originated as a poem about Welch’s experience with an eating disorder at age 17.

A new one, Julia Michaels’s and Selena Gomez’s “Anxiety,” is not only a girl-power anthem, but an honest look into what it’s like to live with anxiety on a daily basis, from how it affects relationships — friendships or romantic — to overthinking every little thing. For me, someone who’s suffered from anxiety and depression, it communicates solidarity and a recognition that I’m also allowed to feel, even when it means intense emotions often kept from societal acknowledgement.

I began seeing a therapist for depression when I was 16, learning coping skills first through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on identifying unhealthy patterns in one’s behaviors, and then through dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which involves accepting behaviors that one can’t change and creating positive alternatives through mindfulness. Therapy is not for everyone, but I find it works for me.

Gomez, likewise, has been open about her struggle with anxiety and depression and her advocacy for going to therapy: “DBT has completely changed my life,” she told Vogue in 2017. “I wish more people would talk about therapy.” She’s quick to point out the pressure women in the industry have on them to keep up appearances, to not show weakness and how it holds them back from being honest about what they feel. “We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back; the girl who’s down,” she said. “We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.”

Michaels, meanwhile, has long been outspoken about her battle with anxiety and how she also benefits from therapy, writing in an open letter to Glamour last month, “My first couple sessions, all I did was cry and panic. I didn’t realize how much emotional duress I was holding inside my body… I learned that the more toxicity I surrounded myself with, the more toxic my mind became. The more therapy I did, the more the panic became less and less. I learned that for each thing to have anxiety about, I had an association to link it to.”

With the help of many therapists over the years, I’ve developed techniques to use when I’m feeling anxious so I can ground myself and stop the chaos in my mind, even if it’s for a few minutes. But when my anxiety is at its worst and I don’t even give those coping skills a thought, my anxiety looks like ignored text messages from friends and hook-ups asking to hang out and outstanding emails in my inbox. In the first verse of “Anxiety,” Michaels shows she knows the feelings, singing, “Make all these plans with friends and hope they call and cancel / Then overthink about the things I’m missing / Now I’m wishing I was with ‘em.” Cancelling plans might seem like a good idea in the moment, but then I end up lying awake at night, sweating, my mind racing: Why did I cancel? Do they hate me? I’m such a bad friend.

When I ignore my friends because I’m anxious about conflict, it’s my anxiety swarming my mind with assumptions that isolating myself will somehow make the situation fix itself or disappear altogether: Is it even worth it to try to explain? Will it sound like I’m making excuses? This very pattern of overthinking motivated Michaels to write “Anxiety,” as she said in an interview with Beats 1 Radio. “I kind of wanna talk about these sort of things that I deal with on a daily basis,” she said. “Not just anxiety, but the fear of missing out and sort of wanting to do things but never actually having the ability to go through with anything that you want to do. It’s just a way into the mind of someone that has anxiety and has these struggles for someone that doesn’t understand it.”

On “Anxiety,” Michaels and Gomez both sing about how they were told that they could “take something to fix it” and that they “wish it was that simple.” I’ve been on three different types of anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications since I was 18 and have had both positive and negative experiences. Once I found the right antidepressant and the right dosage, I felt more in control of my emotions, as though I could get through the day without being set off by something as tiny as forgetting my locker combination or getting off at the wrong stop on the subway. But when my depression is at its absolute worst, it looks like two-months’ worth of Prozac still sitting in unopened bottles in my kitchen cabinet. It’s the realization that, after ignoring her calls and voicemails for a month, I should call my psychiatrist and set up an appointment.

“Feel like I’m always apologizing for feeling,” Michaels sings in the song’s pre-chorus. That’s exactly what anxiety does: demands we apologize in order to protect ourselves. But this openness in talking about mental health and raising awareness creates a bond between people, including Michaels and Gomez. “You’re never alone if you feel this way,” Gomez wrote in a poignant Instagram post prior to its release. For me, “Anxiety” is a declaration of just that: Michaels and Gomez are allowed to feel every emotion, no matter how messy or intense — and so are all of us.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their emotional health, head to for ways to get help.

Ella Mai And The Grammys Have Created A Constantly Evolving Video For ‘Boo’d Up’

Ella Mai‘s “Boo’d Up” poured out of car speakers across the world last summer when it established the singer as one of the industry’s strongest rising talents, and now it’s back – with a slight twist. She’s set to appear at the 61st Grammy Awards this Sunday where she’s up for two awards, so what better time than now to bring back the career-defining song? Mai has partnered with the Grammys to release what’s being called an “evolving music video.” Check it out now below. It might surprise you later.

As it stands, the visual right now is relatively simple. On an empty stage and with a piano player and background dancers in tow, Mai sings her breakout single. But if you go look at it an hour from now, it could change; to what, no one’s sure. Earlier today, the first version of the video was released and it featured a similar scene, but without background dancers, the piano player, or any colors outside of black and white. Its threshold for evolution isn’t revealed, other than a simple statement on the newly created Grammys Evolving website: “The more it’s viewed, the more it changes.”

The interesting partnership underscores Mai’s nominations for Song of the Year and Best R&B Song thanks to “Boo’d Up.” She released her debut self-titled album in October that features “Shot Clock” and “Trip.”

Fans Have Already Picked The Sleeper Hit Of Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next

Ariana Grande is capitalizing on her dominating run of the last few months with the release of her fifth studio album, Thank U, Next, today (February 8). As fans pore over the LP and post their reactions to social media, many have decided that “NASA” is the sleeper hit destined to become her next problematic relationship anthem.

“NASA” covers that feeling of having spent too much time with a significant other. Grande sounds slightly annoyed on the tune, singing, “I can’t really miss you if I’m with you / And when I miss you, it’ll change the way I kiss you” on the chorus. Everyone’s familiar with a dull headache that comes from seeing that special someone a little too much. She replicates that simmering anger and anxiety on the feathery tune, showing fans that she, too, gets tired of staring at a lover’s head. On Twitter, fans voiced their appreciation of the bop.

Fans weren’t the only ones gifting the song praise. It appears that NASA itself is feeling the record. The administration tweeted a response to being name-dropped earlier this morning. “Hey @ArianaGrande, we saw ‘NASA’ trending this morning and thought it was about one of our new discoveries. But we realized that you might need some space,” the tweet reads. We now stan an aeronautics administration.

Thank U, Next features “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored, “7 Rings,” and of course, the title track. To hear her perform her latest batch of relationship tunes as well as the crop from last year’s Sweetener, catch her on tour when it kicks off in March.

Stream the entire new album below.

A Guide to Pacific-Trap&B, Pop’s Latest Genre From Ariana Grande, Kehlani, And More

By Da’Shan Smith

Twenty years ago, on February 2, TLC released their signature smash, “No Scrubs.” Set as a guideline to warn ladies about “broke-ass” bustas “sittin’ on the passenger side of their best friend’s ride,” the hit single topped charts of multiple countries, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. “No Scrubs” contains a masterful blend of Chilli and T-Boz’s R&B vocals, a pop chorus penned by Kevin “She’kspere” Briggs, Kandi Burruss, and Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, as well as a rap verse from Left Eye. Its video matched Janet and Michael Jackson’s outworldly “Scream” with its futurist ambitions.

Last May, I ended up coining the distinct genre of the “No Scrubs” era (existing in ’90s and early-2000s female R&B) as “Electro-hop&B,” pinpointing these anthems’ intergalactic bounce. At the end of that article I concluded: “With persistent political movements for women’s rights continuing for eternity, and now a sweltering rise of Asian acts and music taking over the Billboard charts, the music industry could see a mainstream resurgence of the subgenre that once championed independent women willing to define their lives on their own terms.”

At the beginning of this year, the mainstream music scene seemed to be fulfilling that prophecy with the release of Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” and Kehlani’s “Nights Like This.” These records not only followed the Electro-hop&B leads of TLC, but also mirrored East Asian undertones present in some ’90s R&B music. At the same time, the discourse and controversy centered around whether or not Grande is benefiting from cultural appropriation (and her infamous tattoo) got me further thinking about cultural fusion in the music industry at large.

“7 Rings” and “Nights Like This” shouldn’t be fully classified as Electro-hop&B records, but rather Pacific-trap&B. Both songs have trap&B styles that align with the Bay Area and Los Angeles, California. Fused into these vibes are sonic and visual influences from various East Asian genres including J-pop of Japan, C-pop of China, and K-pop of Korea. These songs have a trans-Pacific connection, as all four regions border the Pacific Ocean.

This particular blending of genres into a massive one is nothing new to the music scene. The examples extend far and wide in this decade alone, from Far East Movement and Dev’s 2010 hit “Like a G6” to The Weeknd’s “Reminder” or Future’s “Mask Off.” The blending of hip-hop and R&B in K-pop is also evident in the discographies of 2NE1, BLACKPINK, and BTS. Rolling Stone also previously documented how notable songwriters from the R&B scene (such as Teddy Riley and August Rigo) have ventured out to writing camps for some of these artists. The following list of examples are personal picks from eight women who successfully execute the sound of Pacific-trap&B.

  • Ariana Grande, “7 Rings”

    Starting off with an ominous, tick-tocking from a marimba — leading into an interpolation of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music —“7 Rings” immediately sets a tone for the lavish. Afterwards, the looping of a Japanese shamisen underscores Grande’s “Gimme The Loot” and “Pretty Boy Swag” flow, gloating about what black cards can afford her and her friends. However, it’s the video which caused controversy: From the posh pink trap house (which 2 Chainz would later cosign in the official remix) to Japanese lettering on the single cover as well as some cultural props inside the kitchen. One can only “Imagine” what’s to come on Thank U, Next (particularly on “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored”)…

  • Victoria Monét ft/ Ty Dolla $ign, “Made In China”

    Monét has served as a key songwriter and producer for Grande, from their first collabs on Grande’s Yours Truly and My Everything to her inclusion on the “7 Rings” dream team. When Monét was making her solo start in 2014, she released “Made In China,” a love ode powered by trap hi-hats and the metaphorical meaning of the title. What drives this song is its dramatic roots in native Chinese mandopop, led by Monét’s angelic cooing, a pipa instrument, and electronic synthesizers backed by a verse from L.A.’s own Ty Dolla $ign.

  • Kehlani ft/ Ty Dolla $ign, “Nights Like This”

    Kehlani’s music comes a sense of ethereal realness, assisted by candid and vulnerable lyricism. Voyaging into her sophomore era after SweetSexySavage, the Oakland native (and mommy-to-be) continues to lean into the TLC inspirations that propelled her to pop stardom. “Nights Like This” heralds elements of city pop, Tokyo’s jazz fusion, soul, and soft rock subgenre-offshoot of J-pop. This cut is reminiscent of the futuristic vibes on TLC’s FanMail, the parent album of “No Scrubs.” It’s more than likely that while she was touring in Japan last year, Kehlani was highly influenced by the nation’s technoculture, as evident by the robotic music video.

  • Kay Cola, “D.M.T.”

    As an attendee of Kehlani’s majestic baby shower last month, Kay Cola also understands the influence of blending East Asian pop with trap. The songwriter (whose sang in the choir of Eminem’s “Not Afraid,”) has released a few indie mixtapes and EPs discussing the state of lucid dreaming. Back in 2014, she opened up about her love for 2NE1 and being a fan of K-Pop. In 2016, Kay Cola released her alter-ego EP, Lucy, which includes “D.M.T. (Discover My Truth).” The song takes a few cues from the harmony of K-pop, as she discusses a soulmate from “a past life.” Another highlight that hits these tones is “Dear God,” which features her father, Hubert Laws, playing the flute.

  • Jhené Aiko, “Overstimulated”

    On her last album, Trip, Jhené Aiko conceptually taps into healing her soul with the help of hallucinogenic drugs and psychedelia-sonics. As a descendant of multiple ethnicities, Aiko delves into some instrumentation from her Japanese heritage, including wind chimes and bells. Powered by the energetics of trap, “Overstimulated” explores the rushing side effects of her trip, a kokyū violin underscoring this song’s particular journey towards the end.

  • DaniLeigh, “Lil Bebe”

    On the official website of her record label, Def Jam, DaniLeigh describes Aaliyah and Missy Elliott (who have both dabbled in these tones via “More Than A Woman” and “Work It,” respectively) as her “biggest influences,” and her clothing style as “very ’90s driven.” When looking at the music video of “Lil Bebe,” these influences not only come to life in her bodega, sneaker store, barber shop, night club, and apartment — they’re heard on the actual track. DaniLeigh’s vocal delivery possesses a flow that matches the style of K-pop and takes inspiration from another personal fave, Rihanna. Oh, and there’s also a play-on-words remix featuring the actual Lil Baby.

  • Rina Sawayama, “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome”

    As a Japanese-born, emerging indie-pop artist, Rina Sawayama takes the futurism of Pacific-Trap&B into a rave matching the likes of fellow Brit Charli XCX. There’s a digi-tick-tocking underscoring the chorus of “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome,” where she “came here on my own” as the chorus goes. In an interview with The Fader, Sawayama mentions that “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome” explores the duality between pessimism and optimism, as well as anxiety and freedom in the internet age.

  • Lexie Liu, “Nada”

    Lexie Liu revealed to Billboard last month that when she was competing in her native reality competition show, The Rap of China, she was often criticized for pop singing rather than rapping. By the sounds of “Nada” alone, which is acidic and melodic with the help of a TB-303 bass line, her sensual style would be the perfect fit in an American market currently dominated by trap&B. The lyrics of “Nada” are half English and half Mandarin, drawing allusions to NASA spacecrafts and birds flying away from their cages. Liu gloats about hefty pockets, designer clothes, yachts, wraiths, and “flexin’ all day,” bringing everything Pacific-trap&B full circle.

Meek Mill And Drake Think It’s Cool To Crash Cars We Can’t Afford In ‘Going Bad’ Video

A lifetime ago, Meek Mill and Drake were each other’s sneering villains, taunting each other on wax and social media. Seeing them collide, literally and figuratively, in their new video for “Going Bad” can make you emotional, given everything that they have put each other through. The pair, along with video director Kid Art and countless rapper pals, have combined for one of the sleekiest visuals released this year thus far. Check it out below.

“Going Bad” is all about the feels it gives off. There’s a ton of powerful black faces in the music industry strolling through a luxurious pantheon, although there’s only one woman that appears in the video. Meek and Drake are in the center of the ruckus, of course, with the kind of suave, blank stares associated with being cooler than anyone else. Surrounding them are a number of are members of contemporary hip-hop’s brass – Nipsey Hussle, T.I., Swizz Beatz, and more – who match their stale faces in intensity. It’s never really revealed where exactly they are walking to, but it doesn’t matter. We’re all just really here to see the swaggering stroll, not necessarily where it leads.

The most visually striking part comes when Meek and Drake play chicken with expensive cars and they both lose. From the beginning, both rappers are revealed to be speeding in their respective cars to locations unknown. After Drake’s verse ends, we see what they’re doing – planning to drive full force into each other. Yikes. They collide in a mess of crumpled car metal and tire confetti before Meek begins his verse after a brief interlude, almost like this collision is a “passing the baton” moment. It could signal their inevitable reunion; they avoided each other for so long after beefing in 2015 that they are now back together, physically. Or maybe it’s just a CGI effect that Meek decided would look cool with the whole “boss” motif going on.

“Going Bad” appears on Meek’s 2018 album ChampionshipsHe’s released videos for “Intro” and “Trauma” since its release. This month, he’s embarking on a tour in support of the LP.

10 Years Ago, The Jonas Brothers Were Peak Heartthrobs at Their First Grammys

When the 51st Annual Grammy Awards touched down in Los Angeles on February 8, 2009, Lil Wayne, Coldplay, and Adele were among the evening’s biggest winners. As much applause as they received for their golden trophies, though, it paled in comparison to the deafening shrieks elicited by Grammy rookies Jonas Brothers.

At the time, the trio — Nick, 16, Joe, 19, and Kevin, 21 — were the certified kings of the teen pop world. 2008 had been their breakout year, marked by their hit third album (A Little Bit Longer, which handily debuted at No. 1), a mega-popular Disney Channel Original Movie (Camp Rock, the biggest thing since High School Musical), a Rolling Stone cover, and announcements of future tours, TV shows, and a 3D concert movie. Despite their near ubiquitousness, though, the band had been dismissed by many critics as House of Mouse-generated pop fluff, which made their Grammy nomination for Best New Artist later that year even sweeter.

“When you start in a band as an artist you say, ‘One day, I’ll be nominated for a Grammy.’ It happened, and we’re just so honored,” Nick told MTV News moments after the nomination announcement in December 2008. “As young guys, we know that this is a privilege, and we do appreciate that. We’re grateful.”

Two months later, the brothers would show up at the awards show dressed the part of future Vogue cover stars. They wore sharp designer tuxedos (Burberry and Versace, thankyouverymuch), and their doting mom, Denise, even joined them to brave the onslaught of flashbulbs that followed them down the red carpet.

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About halfway through the ceremony, Kanye West and Estelle took the mic to announce the nominees for Best New Artist: Adele, Duffy, Lady Antebellum, Jazmine Sullivan, and the definite outliers amongst the female-powered group, the JoBros. Adele emerged victorious, but as sad a loss as it was for the group, their big night was only getting started.

The Grammys are known for hosting out-of-left-field collaborations, and JB’s first and only performance on the show was no different — they busted out a medley of their A Little Bit Longer hit “Burnin’ Up” and Stevie Wonder‘s “Superstition,” accompanied by the legend himself. It opened with Wonder singing “Burnin’ Up” into a vocoder, before the trio took over in rollicking fashion.

The performance itself was just crazy enough to work — JB had busted out live renditions of “Superstition” at their own shows, so they clearly knew and loved the classic. Performing it with Wonder is a totally different story, but they tackled it with unbridled energy, as a scarf-wearing Nick and a vest-rocking Joe traded vocals, curly-headed Kevin shredded on guitar, and Nick’s puberty-ridden voice repeatedly called out, “C’mon, Steve-ay!”

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Though the brothers went home empty-handed that night, it was still a win in their book. They told Reuters the week after the show, “There’s a little disappointment, but the performance was a win for us. That was such a perfect opportunity and a perfect collaboration. … We were blown away.”

Jonas Brothers sadly never returned to the show as a group — they disbanded in 2013, though reunion rumors abound — but 10 years later, we’ll always remember the night these heartthrobs burned the Grammys up.

Ariana Grande Is Mrs. Steal Your Man (Or Woman?) In ‘Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored’ Video

Happy thank u, next day! Ariana Grande‘s fifth album arrived into the world on Friday (February 8), just in time to gloss over all that drama concerning her scrapped Grammys performance. Ever the generous queen, Ari also shared the video for the album’s closing track: the iconically titled “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.”

As previously teased, the trippy clip stars Riverdale hunk Charles Melton, who has his eyes fixed on Grande… but his hands all over model Ariel Yasmine, who’s styled to look exactly like the singer, sky-high ponytail and all. When the scene moves from a nightclub to a house party, Grande does a little Single White Female-inspired makeover by ditching her platinum wig and attempting to steal Melton away. Or is it actually the girl she was after the whole time? You’ll have to wait until the steamy makeout-in-a-pool scene at the end to decide for yourself. Let the theories begin.

As for the song itself, it finds Ari back in “7 Rings“-esque boss mode, lusting over some glossy pop-trap beats and stirring up all the drama: “Break up with your girlfriend / Yeah, yeah, ’cause I’m bored / You can hit it in the mornin’ / Yeah, yeah, like it’s yours.”

Ariana Grande Defends Her Decision To Walk Away From The Grammys

Earlier this week, a report from Variety spilled the news that Ariana Grande would be skipping out on the 2019 Grammys — not just for a performance, but for attending the ceremony altogether — after a disagreement with producers. The report alleged that Grande and the show’s staff agreed to a medley performance of her No. 1 hit “7 Rings” and another song, but that the singer pulled out when producers insisted they’d get to choose the second song.

These types of last-minute disputes often get chalked up to timing or resource constraints when insiders finally go on the record and discuss them. That’s precisely what Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich did in an AP interview on Thursday (February 7), saying that Grande “felt it was too late for her to pull something together.” Grande, however, had a much different perspective.

In a series of tweets, she defended her decision to walk away and called out Ehrlich for lying. “I can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken,” she wrote. “It was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that I decided not to attend.”

Grande elaborated on what exactly happened, saying she offered three songs for the performance (that were presumably turned down by producers). “It’s about collaboration. It’s about feeling supported,” she wrote. “It’s about art and honesty. Not politics. Not doing favors or playing games. It’s just a game y’all.. and I’m sorry but that’s not what music is to me.”

Perhaps most tellingly, Grande also tweeted that she “passed a Grammys bus with my face on it typing those,” referring to how this year’s ceremony had been hyped and advertised with her likeness.

Even if Grande won’t be at this Sunday’s Grammys, she’ll certainly be very busy for the next 72 hours. Her fifth album, Thank U, Next, drops at midnight, and she’s been rolling out teasers all day on social media. Fans also believe the album’s final track, “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored,” will hit ahead of the album’s actual release — a theory supported by a visual teaser Grande tweeted shortly after her Grammys statements.

With an appearance on the Grammys stage or not, it’s clear that this will be the weekend of Ariana Grande. Check out the album’s latest teaser below.

Khalid Teams Up With Disclosure For Adorable Ode To Young Love ‘Talk’

Regardless of what stage of a relationship you’re in, or even if you’re in one or not, Khalid and Disclosure‘s new tune, “Talk,” will give you butterflies. This ode to fresh, fast-moving relationships puts you into a special frame of mind, where when you see that literal or imaginative your heart begins to flutter. It’s almost impossible to contain the smile on your face by the end of the track. Check out the romantic ballad below.

Khalid gets a chance to explore the absurd highs and lows of his vocal range on “Talk” thanks to the funky backdrop courtesy of Disclosure (in addition to producing, they are also credited as co-writers). Khalid pleads to a partner, but there’s no negative connotation to it. He’s grasping for an understanding of the relationship’s trajectory and what to look out for because he’s never went this far emotionally. “I’ve never felt like this before / I apologize if I’m movin’ too far / Can’t we just talk? Can’t we just talk? / Figure out where we’re going,” he sings on the chorus. You just want to pinch his cheek.

“Talk” is the first single from Khalid’s upcoming album that’s set to drop in April. In October, he shared the Suncity EP that featured “Better.” He released his debut studio LP, American Teen, in 2017.

Julia Michaels And A Niall Horan Lookalike Are In Relationship Purgatory In ‘What A Time’ Video

Last month, Julia Michaels revealed news of her split with fellow singer Lauv. Now, she’s released the video for new song “What a Time,” and it looks like the memory of a relationship’s good times stings harder after it ends. If the parallels are not intentional, it’s still hard to ignore how the video echoes reality.

The video for “What a Time” creates its mood from Michaels’ collection of a thousand frowns, each one slightly different than the next. And even though Niall Horan (who sings on the track) isn’t here in the video, she sits with a Horan lookalike in a house overrun by dying plants — a clear metaphor for the quality of a previous relationship. Once, it bloomed, and now, it doesn’t.

Michaels remains expressive throughout and showcases her sorrow, but the same can’t be said about the faux Niall. His face remains in an unwavering blank stare that, when placed next to Michaels’ watery-eyed sadness, looks kind of hilarious. From beginning to end, there’s no change. Go ahead and check.

“What a Time” appears on Michaels’ latest EP, Inner Monologue Part 1. The six-track record also features the Selena Gomez-assisted “Anxiety.” She had an eventful 2018, releasing “Heaven” for Fifty Shades Freed, “In This Place” for Ralph Breaks The Internet, “Jump” in collaboration with Trippie Redd, and of course, “There’s No Way” with former lovebird Lauv.

Watch the “What a Time” video above and try to figure out where the heck the real Niall is.