Ella Mai Gives You 24 Seconds To Impress Her In New ‘Shot Clock’ Video

Riding high off her “Boo’d Up”-fueled breakout year, Ella Mai is carrying the momentum into 2019 — and she won’t be waiting around for anyone to catch up.

On Thursday (January 17), the British singer released the video for “Shot Clock,” a sleek slow jam produced by Mustard and boasting songwriting credits from Drake and Timbaland. Directed by Colin Tilley, the basketball-themed clip follows Mai as she hits the court, serves looks on the bleachers, and soaks in a cozy bathtub. All the while, she lays down the law for dudes trying to catch her eye: “You got 24 seconds, can you beat the shot clock?” she asks. “You’re gonna miss your opportunity.”

“Shot Clock” is the third single from Mai’s self-titled debut album, following “Trip” and the four-times platinum “Boo’d Up.” The latter smash earned the 24-year-old nominations for Song of the Year and Best R&B Song at next month’s Grammys. Those accolades, along with a slotted Coachella performance and a headlining tour that runs through March, proves Mai isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Guess that’s why she has to keep the shot clock running.

Sigrid’s ‘Don’t Feel Like Crying’ Is A Masterclass In Moving On From Your Ex

Sigrid is continuing to keep the good vibes rolling. After shooting down a narcissist on “High Five,” getting smacked by love on “Sucker Punch,” and, of course, keeping haters at bay with “Don’t Kill My Vibe,” the Norwegian pop star’s latest single is another upbeat act of defiance.

On Thursday (January 17), the 22-year-old dropped “Don’t Feel Like Crying,” co-written by frequent Chainsmokers collaborator Emily Warren. Accompanied by an artsy lyric video, the punchy track finds Sigrid determined to power through a breakup positively. Though she admits “my heart is aching,” she concedes, “wallowing in it would be such a waste.” The (probably only temporary) cure, Sigrid implies, is to get out and keep livin’: “It hasn’t hit me yet / And I know if I go home I’m gonna get upset.”

In a press release, Sigrid said of the anthemic new song, “There’s a romantic melancholy in the landscape. There’s a certain grace to heartache, a sort of… epic grace! I love dramatic pop songs.”

There’s much more where that came from on Sigrid’s hotly anticipated debut album, Sucker Punch, out on March 8.

Travis Scott Raps About An ‘Ass Fatter Than A Peach’ On James Blake’s New Song

Just hours before the arrival of his long-awaited fourth album, Assume Form, James Blake has prepared the masses by sharing one of its buzziest collaborations.

“Mile High” reunites Blake with Travis Scott and features additional production work from trap master Metro Boomin. The result is a perfect marriage of their distinct sounds: an atmospheric banger with Scott’s signature bass hits, Blake’s innate melancholy mood, and Metro’s hypnotic textures. Trav delivers a celebratory hook (“We just be mile high clubbing / I’m on a thousand mile running”), and his blunt rhymes (“ass fatter than a peach”) are balanced by Blake’s gentle crooning (“I found myself an imaginary friend”).

“Mile High” marks Blake’s second collaboration with Scott. The rapper and the elusive singer previously teamed up for “Stop Trying to Be God,” with Blake joining Scott to perform the Astroworld cut at last year’s VMAs. They’re a surprisingly great team, and hopefully fans will get to see them together again soon — Blake recently shared a photo of them on Instagram that looks like a possible music video teaser.

Along with releasing “Mile High” on Thursday (January 17), Blake also shared Assume Form‘s closing track, the ambient “Lullaby For My Insomniac.” Listen below, and look out for the album — which also boasts features from André 3000, Moses Sumney, And Rosalía — when it arrives on Friday.

Miley Cyrus Brought The House Down With Her ‘Heavenly’ Chris Cornell Tribute Performances

Wednesday night’s (January 16) Chris Cornell tribute show boasted no shortage of rock royalty — the late grunge icon‘s former bandmates in Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Temple of the Dog were on hand, as were Foo Fighters, Metallica, Ryan Adams, and more. But perhaps the buzziest performance of the night came from Miley Cyrus, who proved herself a chameleonic star by putting her stamp on a pair of beloved Cornell tunes.

Taking the stage at The Forum in Inglewood, California, Cyrus certainly looked the part of a grunge fan, wearing a sweatshirt bearing Cornell’s image, glossy pants, and platform boots. And as soon as she opened her mouth, she sounded the part, too. Cornell — who died in May 2017 at age 52 — had a formidable range that’s practically untouchable, but the 26-year-old pushed her vocals to the max on “Say Hello 2 Heaven,” headbanging alongside Temple of the Dog and drawing cheers from the shocked crowd.

Sharing a clip of her passionate performance on Instagram, the newly married singer wrote, “Had a heavenly experience with you tonight, Chris. We felt you and heard you…. your words and spirit filled the room…. there was an overwhelming feeling of so much love… we miss you deeply … tonight was an honor.”

Elsewhere during the nearly five-hour tribute concert, Cyrus delivered a soft but soulful performance of Cornell’s 2009 blues ballad “Two Drink Minimum.” “It’s hard to say goodbye,” she wrote alongside a clip from that cover.

In addition to her spine-tingling Cornell tributes, the past few weeks have given us Miley covers ranging from pop (“No Tears Left to Cry“) to Christmas classics (“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)“). So just remember: there’s seemingly no genre this girl can’t absolutely crush.

With WayV, All Eyes Are Finally On C-pop

By Tássia Assis

WayV, a boy group composed of members from Korean label SM Entertainment’s experimental collective NCT, debuted today (January 17) in China with their three-song digital EP, The Vision. The group benefits from the popularity of known faces WinWin, Lucas, and Ten, while properly introducing member Kun to a fixed unit and welcoming rookies Xiaojun, Hendery, and Yangyang to the ensemble. For SM, WayV represent the next step in the company’s plan to extend their reach across the globe with region-specific idol groups — but they’re also a gamble.

This is not the first time that SM Entertainment has tested the billion-dollar Chinese market, where the most popular acts have profits that average more than $17 million USD per month. In 2008, the company debuted Super Junior-M, a Mandarin subunit of popular boy group Super Junior, and promoted soloist Zhang Liyin’s first solo album, I WILL. In 2012, idol group EXO debuted with two subunits, EXO-K and EXO-M, with the intent of promoting in Korea and China simultaneously.

However, following the implementation of THAAD restrictions in 2017, which banned South Korean music and television content to be streamed in China, Hallyu’s (or Korean pop culture) world expansion took a blow that led to focusing in other markets, such as the West, Middle East, and Southeast Asia. The tensions also halted SM’s ambitious plan to debut WayV in 2018; in fact, removing the NCT label from the group’s name — they’re rumored to have been originally named NCT Vision — seemed to be a calculated decision.

In order to overcome any THAAD-related obstacles, SM’s strategy for WayV is to promote them under Label V, a Chinese company who will manage the group’s activities in China. (It’s unconfirmed whether SM will manage the group and its seven members outside of China.) Now, with the release of their new EP, curious eyes turn toward the burgeoning C-pop idol industry, making this a timely moment for a proper introduction to the genre.

C-pop is, first of all, a term much like K-pop, embracing various styles under Chinese popular music. It has three main subgenres: Cantopop (sung in Cantonese), Minnan Pop (sung in Taiwanese Hokkien), and the most popular, Mandopop (sung in Mandarin).

China tends to prefer soloists over groups, with popular solo artists Jay Chou, JJ Lin, and Jolin Tsai historically owning the market, but this hasn’t stopped K-pop idol groups from developing massive audiences in the country. Legendary boy band Big Bang has over 7 million followers on their Weibo page, while EXO’s Sehun has amassed more than 10 million fans on his profile. Many Chinese idols who work in the K-pop industry also tend to carve out successful solo careers in the country, such as EXO’s Lay Zhang and GOT7’s Jackson Wang.

Getty Images

Chinese idols Lay Zhang (left) and Jackson Wang (right)

However, the soloist trend might be starting to change. The aforementioned political tension between South Korea and China has posed obstacles for the Hallyu expansion, but also left enough space in Chinese entertainment to prompt a surge of their own productions. The country’s edition of Produce 101 drew more than 4.3 billion views in total, while Idol Producer, a similar survival show produced by Baidu’s iQiyi, garnered over 100 million votes to decide the top 20 trainees.

The enormous success of both shows has led to online commentary naming 2018 “the first year of the idols’ reign” in China. Meanwhile, several Chinese music shows, inspired by Korea’s popular weekly music broadcasts, also launched last year, including iQiyi’s Idol Hits and tech giant Tencent’s Yo! Bang, a streaming show that gives out awards based on chart results.

With so much excitement around C-pop in its home country — and deep-pocketed investors who believe idol groups might finally break out in China — the moment is certainly promising, even though the industry itself is still figuring things out. The government’s extensive internet censorship — which restricts access to most content for the rest of the world — is one of the biggest hurdles. Still, there are a slew of idol groups to look forward to in 2019. Take a look.

  1. Nine Percent

    The temporary boy band formed by Idol Producer released their first album To The Nines last November, accumulating almost a million digital sales and landing at No. 2 on the Billboard China V chart. After the survival show ended, the group was sent to Los Angeles for two weeks to further their training, where they worked with producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins and Emmy-nominated choreographer Christopher Scott. Another reality show, Nine Percent: Flower Road Journey, followed the group during their trip.

    Cai Xukun, the first-place contestant, was already a popular figure due to his activities with group SWIN S and his own solo work, and K-pop fans might know members Zhu Zhengting (formerly known as JungJung) and Justin (Huang Minghao) from the Korean version of Produce 101, where both competed. The group also includes Fan Chengcheng (known as actress Fan BingBing’s younger brother), Chen Linong, Lin Yanjun, Wang Ziyi, Xiao Gui, and You Zhangjing.

    Their latest release, “I Need a Doctor,” is a melodramatic pop song about heartache, echoing the best of *NSYNC’s lovesick anthem, “I Drive Myself Crazy.” It’s an addictive track that showcases why they’re the nation’s pick (and probably will become yours, too).

  2. Rocket Girls 101

    The winners of Produce 101 released their first EP, 撞 (Collide), in August, garnering over two million digital sales on QQ Music, China’s biggest streaming platform, as well as a double-diamond certification. Meng Meiqi and Wu Xuanyi, from K-pop group WJSN, finished in the top two spots on the show, and former The Rap of China contestant Yamy placed fifth. Completing the eleven-member set are Yang Chaoyue, Duan Aojuan, Lai Meiyun, Zhang Zining, Sunnee, Li Ziting, Fu Jing, and Xu Mengjie.

    While their debut was nearly derailed because of management issues, the girls are known for their bubbly pop songs, such as “Calorie,” a top-charting single for the movie Xihong City’s Richest Man. However, it’s “Sailor Moon,” a b-side promoted on live shows, that reveals their true potential. The song features an exciting mix of futuristic sounds and 8-bit music, with addictive “oh oh oh la la la las” and Yamy’s rap elevating the track to another dimension. The only thing missing is an official music video, but for now, the live performances do a great job displaying the girls’ charisma and skill.

  3. NEX7

    Managed by Yuehua Entertainment, the same company that represents K-pop groups WJSN (in partnership with Korea’s Starship Entertainment) and UNIQ, septet NEX7 are yet another debut to ride on the popularity of Idol Producer. All members participated on the show, with Fan Chengcheng, Zhu Zhengting, and Justin (Huang Minghao) making it to the final line-up. The remaining members are Ding Zeren (who was a former SM Entertainment trainee), Bi Wenjun, Huang Xinchun, and Li Quanzhe, and the group recently released their second album, Next to You, selling over two million digital copies on NetEase Cloud Music, another prominent music streaming service in the country.

    Because of their company’s partnerships with Korea-based agencies, NEX7 trained in the country, and their debut song, “Wait a Minute,” was in part produced by Ryan S. Jhun, who’s worked on K-pop hits like SHINee’s “Lucifer,” EXO’s “Love Me Right,” and Red Velvet’s “Dumb Dumb.” The song is an explosion of hard-hitting sounds, plagued by the hook’s unfortunate “woo woos” and “skrrrt skrrrts,” but its melodic verses make up for it, as well as the trippy, colorful visual.

  4. FANXYRED

    Having first debuted under the name Acrush in 2017, FANXYRED are a group comprised of five androgynous young women who encourage fans to pursue their own identities. Inspired by singer Li Yuchun, who is considered the mother of unisex looks in China, Lu Keran, Peng Xichen, Linfan, An Junxi, and Peng Yiyang offer a fresh approach to girl groups.

    While their re-debut under the new name is still to be announced, they currently upload dance covers of K-pop songs and other videos on their company’s YouTube channel.

  5. ONER

    Yet another fruit of Idol Producer, ONER are a quartet under Qin’s Entertainment. They debuted in August 2018 with the album 过敏 (Allergy) and were awarded Popular Group of the Year at the Tencent Star Awards in December.

    Their debut single, “Dazzle,” is an atmospheric deep-house track with an alluringly mysterious vibe. The music video — an aesthetically pleasing mash-up of neon lights, plants, and geometric objects (a C-pop twist on the iconic “SM box“) — is an entrancing experience.

Other notable projects from Idol Producer are Awaken-F, MR-X, and Tangram. Produce 101 hasn’t produced as many debuts, but some existing groups from the contestants are worth checking out, including S.I.N.G (Sing Girls), MERA, and KOGIGIRLS.

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about idol groups in China and not mention the long-standing popularity of TFBoys. Karry Wang, Roy Wang, and Jackson Yee debuted in 2013 when they were only 12 and 13 years old, and their first hit, “青春少年手册 Manual of Youth,” propelled them to widespread fame thanks to their wholesome image and patriotic message. They’re still considered one of the most popular acts in China, with over 200 million followers combined on Weibo and staggering yearly profits.

On the soloist-dominated Chinese charts, TFBoys are still one of the few exceptions, but there’s room for change as the idol industry places its bets on China. The development of their own music shows and other events create exposure to idol groups and foster fan culture, in a model inspired by the Japanese and Korean markets. With loyal and engaged fandoms of their own, Chinese groups can finally find sustainability and profit beyond one-hit wonders.

We’re only halfway through January, but WayV’s anticipated debut — in addition to the second season of Idol Producer and Youku’s rookie idol survival show, All For One (where WayV are scheduled to guest), premiering on Friday (January 18) — prove that C-pop could be the next wave to take hold of global culture.

Camila Cabello Will Take The Grammys Stage For The First Time Ever In 2019

Given the thorough roasting the Recording Academy (rightfully) received for its dude-dominated Grammys ceremony last year — as well as outgoing president Neil Portnow’s much-derided “step up” comment — 2019 is shaping up to be a brand-new year for the awards show. And it’s about time.

Not only was the list of this year’s nominees, announced in December, much more diverse and representative of female artists, but it looks like the performers will be, too. The Recording Academy announced 2019’s first slate on Thursday (January 17), and it’s led by Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves, and Janelle Monae — along with Post Malone, Shawn Mendes, and Dan + Shay.

Kacey, Post, Janelle, and Cardi are all up for Album of the Year (among others), BFFs Shawn and Camila both have two nods in the Pop categories — this will be their respective first times hitting the Grammys stage, too — and Dan + Shay are nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

Notably missing, however, are this year’s top-nominated stars: Kendrick Lamar, who’s got the most nods with eight, and Drake, who’s right behind with him seven. News of their performances may be forthcoming; the Recording Academy packaged Thursday’s announcement as “the first group of artists” set for the 2019 ceremony. And given how the show is primarily three hours of short sets (sometimes wild as hell), there’s surely more to come.

In the meantime, Alicia Keys has been announced as the show’s host, and this week, the parents of Mac Miller said they’d attend the ceremony and be there to accept the statue for Best Rap Album, should his Swimming ultimately nab the award.

See how it all goes down on Sunday, February 10, when the 61st Annual Grammy Awards hit L.A.’s Staples Center. Catch the show on CBS at 8 p.m. ET.

City Girls And Cardi B’s ‘Twerk’ Video Is Really, Really NSFW— You’ve Been Warned

Last November, City Girls set out to find the world’s greatest twerker, recruiting the best and most bodacious to be “flewed out” to Miami and compete for a $25,000 prize. (Why not?!) Today (January 16), we get to see the final result in the South Florida rap duo’s “Twerk” video, directed by Daps and co-starring the one and only Cardi B.

I cannot stress how NSFW this thing is — you’ve never seen so many butts in your life. They twerk on a beach, they twerk on a yacht, and they twerk in what looks like an industrial twerk warehouse. Naturally, Cardi and Yung Miami lord over the festivities by trading bars about their butts while covered in striped body paint (Cardi’s a twerk tiger and Miami’s a twerk zebra).

The titillating video reaches its climax when the finalists hit the dirt and show off some seriously mind-bending moves — the (very flexible) winner literally lights up a joint while twerking upside down. If that’s not worthy of $25,000, then I don’t know what is.

“Twerk” follows an exciting few months for City Girls, who appeared on Drake’s smash “In My Feelings” last year and released their first studio album, Girl Code, in November. Cardi, meanwhile, has been teasing a new album — the follow-up to last year’s Grammy-nominated Invasion of Privacy — that’s expected to arrive this year.

Kelsea Ballerini Adds A Silky Country Touch To Shawn Mendes’s ‘Lost In Japan’

Do you got plans tonight? Because Kelsea Ballerini covered Shawn Mendes‘s lovesick bop “Lost In Japan,” and it’s all you’re going to want to listen to for the rest of the day (or week or month or year).

Recorded in Nashville for Spotify Singles, Ballerini’s cover doesn’t stray too far from Mendes’s funky original, though there are a couple key differences. For one, she replaces that dramatic piano intro with some romantic strings that make the prospect of a casual international hang even more enticing. The whole thing has a subtle country vibe, though Ballerini makes a case for herself as a potential crossover queen by leaning into the breezy pop beat and flaunting her gorgeous falsetto on the “let’s get lost tonight” bridge. Mendes hasn’t publicly commented on the cover yet, but we’ve gotta think he’d approve.

Speaking about her cover choice, Ballerini gushed, “When Shawn’s record came out, ‘Lost In Japan’ immediately was my favorite. I love the soft, flirty nature of the lyrics and thought it would be fun to put a stripped, country feel to it.”

Along with that tune, Ballerini’s Spotify Singles session included a re-recorded version of “Miss You More,” from her Grammy-nominated second album, Unapologetically. Give that a listen here.

Migos’ First Move Of 2019 Is An Unfiltered Collaboration With Mustard

Never ones to sit for too long, Migos are back and reloaded for 2019. For their first move of the new year, the Atlanta superstars joined forces with Mustard (the super-producer formerly known as DJ Mustard) for a new banger called “Pure Water.”

The bouncy, upbeat track features a Quavo hook and verses from all three Migos, which is refreshing to hear after so many months of solo tracks from the trio. Offset in particular fires off some memorable bars, referencing Talladega Nights by boasting, “I’m Ricky Bobby with your bitch.”

“It sounds like a party,” Mustard said of the collab while premiering it on Beats 1 on Wednesday (January 16). “And I’m not saying like a down-south party or a trap party. It’s like Migos coming to L.A. and having a house party here.”

Speaking more about the track on Beats 1, Mustard explained that it was always intended for Migos. “At first it was just a song me and Quavo came up with, and then I was like, ‘Man, I gotta get the whole gang on here,'” he said. “With me and Quavo, it was just tag-teaming, getting everybody involved, but once it came together, it was like a match made in heaven type thing.”

“Pure Water” is the first new track from Migos since their album Culture II was released last January. Since then, they’ve made some serious solo moves — Offset’s album remains outstanding, while Quavo and Takeoff’s solo debuts dropped late last year.

As for Mustard, he said on Beats 1 that “Pure Water” is just the latest in a string of upcoming big-name features — he said he’s been in the studio with Future, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, and more. “We call them nuclear bombs, ’cause we gonna shake the whole world up. I got records, and I got a lot of them,” he said. You’ve been warned.

Bad Bunny’s Latest ‘Mía’ Performance Was A Celebratory Street Parade In Puerto Rico

As one of 2018’s breakout stars, Bad Bunny closed out the year with two staggering hits: his Cardi B/J Balvin collab “I Like It” and “Mía,” the one he linked up with Drake for. To kick off 2019, he’s keeping things going by heading down to Puerto Rico with none other than Jimmy Fallon to deliver “Mía” on the streets of Old San Juan.

To back up, Fallon brought his Tonight Show crew to Puerto Rico — still recovering from 2017’s Hurricane Maria and a lack of sufficient help from the American government — to film the entire episode, including a segment where he joins Lin-Manuel Miranda in costume as Alexander Hamilton to perform “The Story of Tonight” from Hamilton. Another segment? The street video for “Mía,” anchored by Bad Bunny’s insatiable coolness.

Fallon often invites musical guests to perform their hit songs using classroom instruments (or paper ones), and the results are usually pretty neat. But filming a street-performance music video of a song and incorporating dozens of local folks to help execute it? That’s next-level joy, even for Fallon, a guy who often falls out of his chair laughing at his guests’s remarks.

It’s all Bad Bunny’s doing, as he struts in a yellow ensemble, chewing an apple and leading the pack in front of Fallon, Black Thought, and Questlove. Pretty much everyone in this video is smiling the entire time, and folks wave Puerto Rican flags and sing along before the parade brass marches in. It’s exultant and warm.

Watch the whole wonderful thing above. Find the rest of Fallon’s sojourn to Puerto Rico — including an interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, an acoustic José Feliciano and Ozuna performance, and Fallon’s cries of fear while zip-lining — at The Tonight Show‘s YouTube channel.