As the Spice Girls prepare to go on tour once again (we’ve just got time for one last WOO), we’ve been practicing our best peace poses, frantically looking for a Union Jack dress online, and listening to the Wannabe rap on repeat because no one wants to fall short when that banger comes on, do they?
Except, when you look up the lyrics you’ll find that you actually had no idea what you were singing all along.
Warning: You’ll never be able to hear it in the same way ever again. Especially when you think of how often you’d belt it out aged seven.
We recently found out what zig-ah-zig-ah means, and that blew our minds, but wait until you hear this.
It turns out the official lyrics are: ‘So here’s a story from A to Z/You wanna get with me you gotta listen carefully/We got Em in the place who likes it in your face/We got G like MC who likes it on an/Easy V doesn’t come for free, she’s a real lady/And as for me, ha you’ll see.’
Still no idea what it all means? It’s actually a break down of each Spice Girl’s sexual preferences. And no one had any idea.
Let’s break it down.
‘We’ve got Em in the place‘ is likely a reference to Emma/Baby Spice who, apparently, ‘likes it in your face‘. Pretty self explanatory.
Then ‘we got G like MC‘ (Geri and Mel C) who ‘like it on an e‘ – this one really caught us off guard. Who knew that we’ve been unknowingly singing that for over twenty years?
‘Easy V‘ actually gets it very easy because she doesn’t come for free – ‘she’s a real lady‘, so congrats Posh.
And Mel B’s is steeped in mystery as we’ll just have to see what she’s all about.
We’ll be singing it with our new-found knowledge at the forefront of our minds in June.
The radio industry has been put under a microscope in the last year. From Vick Hope revealing that male presenters are free to literally take away their female co-host’s voices, and the controversy at Radar Radio, to Tina Daheley’s reflection on the ‘laddy’ culture that was pervasive during her time on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, the medium has been exposed for the hotbed of toxic masculinity that it often is.
Let’s hear it then, for Becky Richardson, Ami Bennett and Frankie Wells, who have decided to shake up this status quo and create Foundation.fm, the female-led radio station launching on Monday 5th November.
The women behind foundation.fm – Frankie Wells, Ami Bennett and Becky Richardson
With experience at 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and UROK Management, these three trailblazing women have combined their unique skill sets and set about nurturing new talent and showcasing the hottest names on the underground scene. The one big difference to most radio stations? Foundation.fm is a station led by women and LGTBQI+ persons.
On top of this, Richardson, Bennett and Wells haven’t just considered who will benefit from the station’s establishment, but also, how. Boiler Room and BBC Radio 1Xtra producer Kamilla will be heading up the Brunch show, which will replace the traditional concept of a breakfast show and start at 10am. That means no more missing out on celebrity guests for those of us who don’t work a the traditional 9-5.
As for presenters, with their roster including members of Future Girl Corp, DJ duo Sicaria Sounds and the women behind The Receipts podcast, Foundation.fm has an ever-growing lineup that is not to be missed.
A female-led, diverse safe space, promoting the newest and best underground talent? Come November 5th, we’re switching on and tuning in.
foundation.fm is live every day online from 10am-10pm from Monday November 5th
One of the most successful female artists in British pop history is a down-to-earth north-London girl who likes drinking G&Ts from a can. Jess Glynne talks bisexuality, music and body image with Alix O’Neill
Does any singer have a better knack for an earworm than Jess Glynne? It’s taken just three years – and one album – for the 28-year-old to hit the number-one spot more times than any other female British solo artist, trumping even the mighty Adele.
Her voice, at once smoky and powerful, first ripped through the pop landscape in 2014 on Clean Bandit’s Rather Be, and now has a share in virtually every nightclub dance floor, upbeat car-journey playlist and video montage going (she became a victim of her own success this year when customers of the airline Jet2 complained about Hold My Hand being played on a loop – Glynne apologised, despite having no personal control over the company’s sound system).
Now she’s back with album number two, Always In Between, a triumphant medley of confessional, upbeat tracks, including the hotly tipped Thursday, co-written with Ed Sheeran.
When I call her she’s in the back of a car going to the airport, en route to China to perform at an awards ceremony. Glynne may be a global pop sensation, but she’s also a hard-working north-London girl with a throaty laugh and frank take on everything from body image to bisexuality (she wrote her first album after a painful break-up with a girlfriend). The lyric from her Ed Sheeran track, ‘I don’t wear make-up on Thursdays, I drink gin from a tin’, says it all.
Tell us about your new album. Was it tough to write given the huge success of I Cry When I Laugh?
‘It took a while. Initially, I felt I was ready to write again but went in prematurely. Then, towards the end of 2017, I was like, “Right, I’m ready”, and asked if we could get a bit of space in the middle of nowhere. So they found this house for me in Sussex. We went away for a week. It was one of the best weeks of my life. I was with people I knew and people I hadn’t met before, we became like a family. I walked out with a complete album.’
Do you put pressure on yourself to succeed? I heard you originally wrote 100 songs to find your sound…
‘I’m a big fat perfectionist and have real issues with control. When it comes to a song, the production, the video, the styling, I find it hard to hand things over [but] you have to trust people. I’m hard on myself and that’s not always a good thing, but I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve got to where I am.’
Is the title of your new album a comment on your sexuality?
‘It comes from the fact that my life has been in between for the last four years. I’ve been here, there and everywhere in work, my personal life and relationships – be it with a man or a woman. The reason I chose that title is because I’ve accepted that it’s OK to not be one way or the other. I wanted to say you’re not lost by being in the middle. The sexuality thing does come into it, but that’s not only what it’s about.
You’ve previously talked about being in toxic relationships and having your heart broken. Has that made you more cautious in love?
‘Yeah, I think it would for anyone. Love is tricky. I couldn’t live without it, but it’s not something I necessarily find easy. I’ve been in relationships for years and this is the first time I’ve been single for a little minute. It’s quite nice to have a moment to yourself. If something was to come along, I’m never going to turn it away if it feels right, but just now, I’m content.’
You talk about insecurities in the song Thursday. Have you reached self-acceptance?
‘I think, entering this world, your life is kind of ripped from you, and it takes a lot of getting used to. For me, there’s a pressure to look amazing and happy all of the time. There are times when you’re tired and you’re not in the best mood and have spots on your face.’
Do you think there’s a lot of pressure on female artists to be sexual?
‘I think girls feel the need to present themselves in a sexual way. But I also feel it’s nice to make yourself feel good. Girls are sexy human beings, so why not accentuate that? You can do it in a classy way, where you’re not overdoing it. But yes, there is definitely a pressure, which I don’t think is OK. If you don’t want to present yourself as a sex symbol, you shouldn’t have to.’
You turned down the chance to audition for The X Factor when you were 15. Do you think there’s still a place for shows like that given the new conversations around mental health?
‘Shows like The X Factor create opportunities that people wouldn’t necessarily have, but if you put yourself in front of an audience you risk getting slated. You have to be prepared for both. I would never have done anything like that because I don’t think I could deal with people judging me. I didn’t want music to be a competition. But yes, I think those shows can mess with you mentally. We’re recognising now that people need to speak about their anxieties. For much of my life, I didn’t do that because I thought I’d be looked down on.’
How do you feel about social media?Do you like to take a break every so often?
‘In 2017, I deleted Instagram for quite a while. It was really nice to just have a break from looking at other peoples’ lives and worrying about whether my life was good or not. I think it’s one of the most amazing things to be able to connect with your fans and show your work, but it can have a negative effect on the way you look at yourself. [It’s important to remember] the perfection you see on screen is not the truth.’
Jess Glynne’s second album, Always In Between, is out 12 October on Atlantic
Photographs by Stephanie Sian Smith, styling by Grace Wright
‘I’m so sorry I couldn’t fix or take your pain away. I really wanted to.’
It was announced this month that US rapper Mac Miller had died of a suspected drug overdose, found dead in his California home.
There was an outpouring of love following the 26-year-old’s tragic death, with Mac having famously struggled with substance abuse for years.
Celebrities and fans came out in their thousands to pay tribute to the rapper, with the brother of his former girlfriend of two years Ariana Grande, Frankie Grande, calling him ‘a good friend’ and crediting Miller for helping him with his own addiction.
Ariana chose to stay silent, instead posting a captionless black and white photo of Miller to her Instagram.
This week however, the God is a Woman singer broke her silence, releasing an emotional statement about her ex boyfriend, alongside a sweet throwback video of the him laughing.
‘I adored you from the day i met you when i was nineteen and i always will,’ she posted in a heartbreaking goodbye. ‘I can’t believe you aren’t here anymore. i really can’t wrap my head around it. we talked about this. so many times. i’m so mad, i’m so sad i don’t know what to do. you were my dearest friend. for so long. above anything else. i’m so sorry i couldn’t fix or take your pain away. i really wanted to.’
Ariana concluded her message: ‘the kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved. i hope you’re okay now. rest.’
With a new documentary out this month, musician M.I.A. chats to film-maker Deeyah Khan about art, controversy and the meaning of wokeness
‘It’s nice to talk to somebody who’s also complicated, and I have a feeling you are,’ says M.I.A. (otherwise known as Maya) to the film-maker Deeyah Khan. Complicated is one way to describe M.I.A.’s own journey from Sri Lankan refugee living on a London council estate to one of the most provocative and genre-busting artists of her generation. Khan, meanwhile, is the daughter of Afghan and Pakistani immigrants to Norway and a celebrated film-maker and human rights activist (her latest film, White Right: Meeting The Enemy just scored an Emmy nomination). But the two women share more than their multicultural backgrounds. While Khan started out as a musician before becoming a film-maker, M.I.A. wanted to be a documentary-maker, studying film at art school before music took over. In her new documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., we’re given a glimpse of this original ambition, as a vast archive of footage shot on her own handheld camera is unearthed and edited by director Stephen Loveridge into a fascinating fly-on-the-wall journey through her early life and rise to global stardom. ‘I believe I could talk to you for hours,’ says Khan at the beginning of their chat. Over an hour later, they’re still going…
Deeyah: I’m sure people have asked you the question, ‘Are you an artist who happens to reflect the times we’re living in or are you a political artist?’
M.I.A.: I like to be a walking question mark. It’s important for me never to be in a box because that box constantly changes, and it literally pulls the rug from under your feet when you least expect it. As soon as I was comfortable being a Tamil girl living in a village in Sri Lanka, I was thrust into a new situation [and] a different box. I was the underprivileged refugee with no money, and a single parent. People constantly try to find those labels, ‘Be like this, you’re this’. Even with this documentary, it could be, ‘Oh, you’re just the representative for refugees’, but people forget within that box there are so many types…
DK: It’s tiring to embody other people’s perceptions and limitations. What I admire is that you seem to have become comfortable in your own skin quite early on. For me, that’s one thing I struggled with.
M.I.A.: So many girls struggle with that.
DK: It was hard for me to find my own voice. You always had the need to express yourself – I did too, and believe everybody does; it’s just a matter of finding what that language is going to be. It seemed like it was present in you early on, but what I didn’t realise is that you wanted to be a film-maker initially.
M.I.A.: Yeah, I tried to be a film-maker, but now my friend Steve [Loveridge, who directed her documentary] has beaten me to it.
DK: It’s incredible footage in the documentary when you go back to Sri Lanka [in 2001]. Why did you end up filming yourself as much as you did, by the way? Was it just to document?
M.I.A.: When I got to Sri Lanka, because cameras were banned there, I felt like every person I had my camera near was being put in a life-threatening situation. So, I filmed myself to try to articulate what the documentary was becoming.
DK: Have there been any implications for your family who were included in the film?
M.I.A.: My cousin, who says in it, ‘Oh, you don’t really know the war experience’ is telling me that because he’d lived in a refugee camp for 13 years from when I left in 1985. He used to say when fruit fell off a tree, they had to race the animals to get to it first. I didn’t think life could be any worse than what he’d been through. He’d suffered so much that I wanted it on tape, because it was important to tell his story. And his sister was just so broken by it; there was a generation of girls growing up in the north who didn’t want to draw attention to themselves, they didn’t want dress up nice or put new clothes on…
DK: I think it’s hard for people to understand the necessity for so many girls and women to make themselves invisible. Just recently, we’ve seen a young woman in Iran arrested for posting little videos of herself dancing on Instagram. What we, and so many women, take for granted is for others an absolute act of rebellion. But speaking of danger in general, I know that your immediate family is in England. Has your activism caused any pain or difficulties for them?
M.I.A.: My dad was already part of [revolutionary group the Tamil Tigers], so my family were used to dealing with that.
DK: Do you self-censor as a result?
M.I.A.: Yeah. When I made the Born Free video [depicting a genocide of red-haired people that was banned from YouTube], a lot of my family distanced themselves from me.
DK: That’s my favourite video of yours, actually.
M.I.A.: They were like, you just don’t need to bring that kind of attention. But even in America, successful Tamil people were being targeted and put in jail on the advice of the Sri Lankan government. Whether you were silent or not, it just didn’t matter. Now I still feel targeted if I speak about Julian Assange or the Internet or Facebook.
DK: I’ve always been curious – obviously your past hasn’t been easy. You’re the first woman of your background to have landed where you are. Has the struggle and pushback you’ve had been worth it?
M.I.A.: It’s too early to say. I value everything equally. Sometimes, I don’t see the fights as something terrible, they’re almost a necessity. When they show up ignorance, that’s when you can work towards creating understanding.
DK: The word ‘understanding’ is probably at the core of all I try to do. My obsession is to see if we can [recognise] ourselves in others, to empathise with the people who the politicians are creating so much fear around.
M.I.A.: People talk about wokeness as post-2015. The new woke demographic feel life was perfect until Trump won. But for us, the difference between Trump winning or not is like just another pebble in the pond. It’s difficult to talk about how long the timeline is when so many people go, ‘But life was great before. What are you talking about?’
DK: In America, I find a disconnect from the rest of the planet, an unwillingness to accept something else might be going on other than Trump. You speak to [a lot of] Americans and ask them about their biggest enemy, which at this point feels like 1.8 billion Muslims. And yet all they know about them is stereotypes, whereas people in Muslim countries know so much about US culture. Do you feel your politics is often dismissed?
M.I.A.: Oh yeah.
DK: In the documentary, a Sri Lankan official says, ‘She should just stick to what she is good at, which is music.’ Does that often get thrown at you?
M.I.A.: Who are they to say I can’t? If you take away that voice, you give it to a politician who doesn’t come to the war zone, he sits in an office writing orders.
DK: And artists have always been at the front line, telling these stories and raising the alarm.
M.I.A.: In Sri Lanka, women were not scared to fight. They were totally fine cutting their hair short and picking up a gun, because they had no other choice.
DK: The more successful you get, do you feel a responsibility for raising your voice even more, or are there more considerations to take into account? Does the fact that you’re a mother have any impact on the activist in you?
M.I.A.: You need to evolve in different directions. If you have respect for life, you exist in a way that understands the fundamental, basic things about what connects us as human beings [it doesn’t matter] what religion or road you take.
Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. is in cinemas from 21 September. View Deeyah Khan’s Emmy-nominated White Right: Meeting The Enemy and BAFTA-nominated documentary Jihad on Netflix
Ariana Grande’s new album Sweetener is a real force to be reckoned with and has been racking up all the accolades: snagging the coveted top spot on Billboard’s chart and blasting through Spotify’s global record for biggest opening week by a female artist. Beyond the numbers and figures however, the powerful emotion and uplifting message of the album has really made its mark and there’s also some major bops on there. As some beady-eyed fans have also noticed, the pop star has also woven some secret messages into the tracks and a new one has us tearing up at the office.
If you’ve listened to her track Breathin’ before, prepare for a new fan theory to change everything you thought you knew about the song. The song’s first fifteen seconds open with a series of ethereal chimes and right before her vocals begin, you can just about make out a quiet voice mumbling something indecipherable.
Well, one savvy fan did some investigating and realised that if you reversed the intro – there was a pretty beautiful message hidden in it.
User @arianavxnti shared their findings on Twitter, saying, ‘If you reverse the intro of breathin’ you can hear grandpa grande saying “tonight is your special night, do something magical”’
@arianavxnti kindly did the fine-tuning for us and shared a reversed version of the track, which you can listen to above. While many fans have leapt to the conclusion that the voice is the star’s grandfather who sadly passed in 2014, Ariana cleared things up on Twitter after it was drawn to her attention.
She said, ‘that voice is a random sample who started this i-’
Ariana said the voice sounded ‘like space mountain not my grandfather’ and later revealed that her songwriter Ilya Salmanzadeh had shown her the sample. She tweeted, ‘i jus liked it ! ilya pulled it up n i was like that’s sick put that in there’
Even though Grande stans may be a little disappointed their theory didn’t come to fruition, it doesn’t change the fact that Breathin’ is still a fantastic song loaded with meaning for the singer. When a fan asked her what the song was about on Twitter, she responded with one word ‘anxiety’.
With that in mind, the lyrics of the song make total sense now. The chorus is basically one big long reminder to ‘keep on breathin’’ and she seems to describe an anxiety attack in detail in the lyrics, ‘Feel my blood runnin’, swear the sky’s fallin’ How do I know if this shit’s fabricated? Time goes by and I can’t control my mind Don’t know what else to try’.
Ariana has spoken openly about her battle with post traumatic stress disorder following the Manchester bombing attack and her anxiety, which heightened after the terrorist incident.
She told Vogue, ‘My anxiety has anxiety… I’ve always had anxiety. I’ve never really spoken about it because I thought everyone had it, but when I got home from tour it was the most severe I think it’s ever been.’
Just keep breathin’, Ariana. You know we’ll all wait for you to catch your breath.
We can all agree Ibiza Ushuaia know how to throw a great party right? Their legendary pool parties are not to be missed and this charity event is no different.
The Night League in association with Music Against Animal Cruelty otherwise known as M.A.A.C are coming together with Ibiza Ushuaia to present ‘Wild’ and we are very much here for it. According to M.A.A.C 90% of the Worlds Rhino population have been lost in the last 40 years and up to 30,000 elephants slaughtered for their ivory each year; its safe to say we have a global crisis on our hands.
So if you want to party the night away and support animal cruelty at the same time, er yes, then this event could be right up your street.
Thursday 13th September expect a line up of stellar DJ’s at Ibiza Ushuaia
DJ’s including South African’s finest, the man of the moment Black Coffee, Swedish DJ Adam Beyer and Art Department.
Johnny White of Art Department and co-founder of M.A.A.C explains that ‘This isn’t just techno against animal cruelty. This is music against it. This is a global force against treating animals like they have any less right to be here than we do.’ All DJ’s are contributing their time and performance for free and all profits will go directly towards wildlife conversation projects. So far, so good.
With the music industry uniting at Ibiza Ushuaia on this global cause lets hope its sends a message and we can all come together to support the cause and raise funds for such a worthwhile cause. Boom, we are in! Buy tickets here
‘Alright, sit down, because I’m going to tell you a fabulous story’
Words by Katherine Benson
Style icon, Hollywood diva and queen of cheekbones, Cher recently entertained her audience at Atlantic City with her stories of battling sexism in Hollywood.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, during her sold-out concert at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the legendary actress delighted fans with an outrageous anecdote involving Hollywood director George Miller and former co-star Jack Nicholson.
Begining with sharing her insecurity about turning 40 – or in Hollywood terms, the age of retirement for female actresses – Cher described feeling nervous, but positive about this new decade of her life, ‘I went to sleep, dreaming these fabulous thoughts of being 40 and it was good, and I was going to get all these movies and I was just so happy’.
However, Cher went on to describe the moment she had feared with an insulting phone call she received from George Miller, who at the time was directing Witches of Eastwick.
Cher recounted the cruel comments from Miller, ‘I just wanted to call and tell you that I don’t want you in my movie and Jack Nicholson and I think you’re too old and you’re not sexy’. And it didn’t stop there, according to Cher, ‘He didn’t want to hang up. He just wanted to tell me everything: “I hate the way you walk, I hate the way you talk, I don’t like the colour of your hair, I don’t like your eyes.’”
Cher then joked that ‘tears started streaming down [her] old face’, but in true Cher style, she snapped back.
‘I was like, “O.K., look motherfucker . . . you didn’t find me under a rock. I was nominated for an Academy Award for Silkwood. And I got the Cannes Film Festival award for best actress for Mask, so goodbye!”’
Cher did end up staring in Witches of Eastwick, alongside Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer and amazingly became close friends with Nicholson.
And at 72 she is still the reigning dancing queen, stealing the spotlight in Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again.
From the moment we heard Galang from M.I.A.’s debut album Arular wayyy back in 2005, we knew that she was a force to be reckoned with.
Now, thanks to director Stephen Loveridge, we get to take an intimate look into M.I.A.’s extraordinary rise to fame and her role as an outspoken voice for multiculturalism and human rights in the upcoming documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.
From escaping civil war in Sri Lanka aged 11 to the certified Platinum success of Paper Planes, we see an intimate and eye-opening portrait of the artist also known as Maya Arulpragasam.
The film won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and its score is equally as impressive, thanks to the musical stylings of Paul Hicks and Dhani Harrison, son of the late, great George Harrison.
This is not one to be missed.
Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. is in UK cinemas from 21 September
Beyoncé officially takes the crown for nonsense of the century as the singer dropped a surprise album over the weekend. While performing in London, she thanked the crowd and then smacked the world with the news that she and Jay-Z had low-key been working on a joint album which, by the way, dropped that very day. And naturally, the internet went wild.
The new album Everything is Love was exclusively released on Tidal (of course) along with a jaw-dropping music video for her song APESH**T. Although there was much grumbling about it being a Tidal exclusive, people quickly began to realise that it was quietly being released on Spotify, YouTube and other platforms under the artist name The Carters. Feast your eyes on the video below which shut down the Louvre and used Mona Lisa as a casual backdrop. Let’s just think about that for a second.
THE LOUVRE. MONA LISA. BACK. DROP.
The new album is said to be a celebration of both their fraught marriage (which was the subject of their previous records) and black identity. Twitter quickly reacted to the news and music in typical hilarious fashion.
Others couldn’t believe the incredible audacity of the couple to shut down the Lovure. THE LOUVRE.
Others quickly dove into the complex imagery of the music video.
Others also gave thanks that we wouldn’t be subjected to a contrived pop cover.
And then one user missed the boat completely.
Have we maybe been blasting the album unapologetically at work the whole day? Absolutely.