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.
Her seminal album Jagged Little Pill was an anthem for a generation frustrated at being let down in relationships. Two decades on, the singer is back to remind us of its legacy
On a family holiday to LA in the summer of 1983, there was one ‘celebrity hotspot’ in particular that nine-year-old Alanis Morissette wanted to visit: the home of her idol, Olivia Newton-John. Tracking down the Grease star’s Malibu estate, Morissette marched up to the entrance, buzzed the intercom and announced, ‘Olivia? I don’t know if you can see me. But if you can, I’m going to be big like you someday.’ Such precocious behaviour may have bemused onlookers, but it was a prophecy Morissette would fulfil just 12 years later. The release of her album Jagged Little Pill in 1995 made her one of the biggest music stars overnight. It sold 30 million copies worldwide and earned her four Grammys. Now, as the album’s silver anniversary approaches, Morissette is reminding us why Jagged Little Pill remains, to quote one critic, a ‘cultural touchstone’. In May, a musical based around its songs (with a story devised by Juno’s Diablo Cody) debuted in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and next month the singer brings her latest world tour to London. She has, it’s fair to say, come a long way since being an opening act for Vanilla Ice.
Born Alanis Nadine Morissette on 1 June, 1974, in Ottawa, Canada, she was raised alongside her twin brother, Wade, and older brother, Chad, by her teacher parents, Georgia and Alan. It was aged six when she saw the performance by Lindsay and Jacqui Morgan, then one of Canada’s most popular folk duos, that her passion for performing was ignited. As a child actor, she appeared on Canadian children’s television and in musical theatre productions around Ottawa. By the time of her visit to Newton-John’s house, she was already writing and composing her own songs. One in particular, Fate Stay With Me, she sent to Lindsay Morgan, who described it as ‘something really special’. The song was about a break-up and emotionally intuitive beyond her years, prompting Morgan to ask her where she got her material. ‘Well, it’s not from experience,’ was Morissette’s deadpan response.
By the age of 14, she was winning talent shows in Canada and flew to LA to appear in a nationally televised one called Star Search. She had a manager, too, who arranged for her to make a video to send to record labels. Morissette’s image was very of the era: acid-wash denim outfits and her long hair worn big and bouffant. So when John Alexander, a talent scout for MCA Records Canada saw the video, he knew exactly how to market her. ‘[She] is the new Tiffany,’ he told Morissette’s management – according to Paul Cantin’s 1997 biography, Alanis Morissette: A Biography. Tiffany was at the time one of two US female, teenage pop stars dominating the global charts (her most famous hit was I Think We’re Alone Now). The other was Debbie Gibson. But 17-year-old Morissette was Canada’s answer to them both.
Her first single, released in 1991, was the catchy dance track, Too Hot, which led to her opening for Vanilla Ice on his To The Extreme tour. Her debut album, Alanis, was released that same year and sold 100,000 copies, with her follow-up, Now Is The Time, shifting half as many the following year. But deep down the star was dissatisfied. Neither album reflected the music she really wanted to make. She was also struggling with her body image. Two years before her first album came out, she’d sought therapy for anorexia and bulimia. She later blamed it on feeling ‘disassociated’ from normal life as she pursued a singing career. ‘It’s shown up in various forms like eating disorders and not having boundaries around having sex as a young person,’ she told Women’s Health in 2008.
She was unceremoniously dropped by MCA and moved to LA in 1993, where she met producer Glen Ballard, co-writer of Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror. The pair instantly clicked and set to work producing Jagged Little Pill. The album was released internationally by Madonna’s label, Maverick, on 13 June 1995 – 12 days after Morissette’s 21st birthday. Expected to be a modest hit, it surpassed all expectations. KROQ-FM in LA was the first radio station to play the lead single, You Oughta Know. ‘[It was] one of those rare instances when we put the record on that moment. It was seriously one of the biggest phone reactions I’ve ever seen in the history of the station,’ recalls Lisa Worden, its then-music director. You Oughta Know was the ultimate feminist, ‘fuck you’ break-up song and, amid much speculation, was later claimed to be about comedian Dave Coulier, who Morissette dated in 1992. Even though she was dominating the charts – Jagged Little Pill also spawned the hits Hand In My Pocket and Ironic – she struggled with her fame and the loneliness it created. Reaching out to other stars didn’t help. ‘I’d awkwardly phone different celebrities to see if we could be friends. And a lot of times I’d be met with “Why are you calling me?”’ she recalled.
After touring with Jagged Little Pill, Morissette had a break for a year and a half, spending time in Cuba and India. During this period, she wrote Thank U for her 1998 album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. In the video, directed by acclaimed French photojournalist and director Stéphane Sednaoui, she is completely naked in various public places, save for some strategically placed locks of hair. When asked why she chose to be nude, Morissette spoke of her changing feelings towards her body. ‘Now, who I am inside determines how I feel about my body, instead of the other way around.’ Six years later at the 2004 Juno Awards, she again celebrated the freedom of nudity when she revealed a ‘nude’ bodysuit, complete with nipples and pubic hair, as a protest against US censorship after the Super Bowl ‘Nipplegate’ incident. She was also embracing a new freedom to be herself in her relationships. In 2004, after two years of dating actor Ryan Reynolds, the couple got engaged. ‘I really felt that I had met the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with,’ she said. But the wedding never materialised and in 2007 they split. Morissette, then 33, was devastated and channelled her sadness into her next album, Flavors Of Entanglement, released in 2008. ‘In the middle of my break-up, I went to London for 12 days, wrote 12 songs,’ she said. ‘It was like a little life raft for me.’ She also relied on therapy to get her through.
Morissette got engaged to Ryan Reynolds in 2004
Aside from singing, the star loved to act, too, collaborating with cult US film director Kevin Smith, and playing a death-row inmate in off-Broadway play The Exonerated in 2006. Small but recurring roles in Nip/Tuck and Weeds followed, as well as a part in a film adaptation of Philip K Dick’s novel Radio Free Albemuth – a role that she said she felt ‘blessed to portray’. She also appeared as God alongside avenging angels Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in Kevin Smith’s Dogma in 1999, and played a bisexual who kissed Carrie Bradshaw in a 2000 episode of Sex And The City.
The singer and her husband, Mario Treadway
In recent years, Morissette’s music output has been sloth-like compared to some artists, with lengthy gaps between each album. Havoc And Bright Lights was released four years after Flavors Of Entanglement, in 2012, but it did bookend a brilliant period in her life during which she married and became a mother. In 2009, aged 35, the singer met freestyle rapper and DJ Souleye (real name Mario Treadway) and she gave birth to their son, Ever Imre, in 2010. But the experience was blighted by severe postnatal depression – something that also afflicted her when their daughter, Onyx Solace, was born in 2016. It was so severe that she was still suffering 14 months after Onyx’s birth, telling People magazine, ‘There are days I’m debilitated to the point where I can barely move.’
Two years on, though, Morissette says she’s through the worst and has been working on a new album to follow her tour. Fans shouldn’t expect it to be as unapologetic and vehement as her early work. She admits her son’s birth has softened her outlook on relationships. ‘I was able to finally have my maternal energy channelled into an appropriate relationship – versus having done it super-dysfunctionally with ex-boyfriends,’ she says. Yet the star has no regrets at being labelled ‘the angry singer’ throughout her career. ‘If there were to be any quality for which I become a poster child, I’ll take anger,’ she says. ‘Because as a woman, two of the main emotions that we are “not allowed” to feel are anger and sadness. [Yet] anger is such a powerful life force, and I think it can move worlds.’
Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour is a big deal. In fact, StubHub have declared it the bestselling tour for a female artist in the UK in 2018, beating the likes of Katy Perry, Dua Lipa and the OG pop princess, Britney Spears. In the US, one date in Pasadena generated $9m dollars in ticket sales and Billboard predicted back in January that Taylor could sell $450m worth of tickets on the tour.
However, Taylor is clearly not letting the dollar signs compromise her morals, and has allegedly fired longtime backing dancer Kim ‘Toshi’ Davidson for posting misogynistic and sexist content on social media.
Toshi was notably absent as a backing dancer from Taylor’s Radio One’s Biggest Weekend performance over the Bank Holiday after the pair reportedly had a ‘bust-up’, and a source told the Daily Mail that ‘Taylor is livid and seriously disappointed with Toshi’s social media posts.’
The source continued: ‘She has considered him one of her closest friends on the road after recruiting him for her 1989 tourback in 2014, but she simply cannot endorse this behaviour and to do so would be setting a bad example to her fans.’
Taylor on stage at Radio One’s Biggest Weekend with some of her other backing dancers
Previously, it seems the pair were incredibly close, with Taylor donating $50,000 to Toshi’s young cousin, who was battling cancer in 2015. She wrote on the GoFundMe page at the time, ‘Baby Ayden, I’m lucky enough to perform with your uncle Toshi on tour. All of us are praying for you and your mama and sending so much love your way. Love, Taylor.’
We are 100% with Taylor on this one: this kind of misogynistic rhetoric is totally unacceptable.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve been teased about a 2018 Spice Girls reunion, but according to Mel B, they’re ‘definitely touring’ – and this time it doesn’t seem like a false alarm.
It was announced earlier this year that the Spice Girls would be reuniting, with the five girls – Posh, Scary, Sporty, Ginger and Baby – breaking the news in a joint statement, with a photo of them and their manager, Simon Fuller.
‘The time now feels right to explore some incredible new opportunities together,’ the statement read. ‘We all agree that there are many exciting possibilities that will once again embrace the original essence of The Spice Girls, while reinforcing the message of female empowerment for future generations.’
Fast forward a month and rumours that they might reform for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, and it looked like the girlband might be breaking up again – before they had even officially got back together, with VB quashing rumours in an interview.
‘I’m not going on tour. The girls aren’t going on tour,’ she announced. ‘There’s something so strong in the message of what the Spice Girls stood for. What is that in the future? What does that look like? We were just bouncing ideas around. Brainstorming.’
While VB’s comments led fans to jump to the conclusion that the Spice Girls reunion might not be happening after all, their former manager Simon Fuller wasn’t so sure, suggesting that it could be going ahead, just without Posh Spice herself.
‘It may be four, not five. Possibly,’ Fuller told TMZ.
Now, Mel B has got involved, and her comments contradict everything.
‘We are in the works of figuring the stuff out. All five of us have signed with Simon Fuller,’ she explained on ITV’s Loose Women. ‘It’s all very exciting.’
‘It’s going to be a bit of everything,’ Mel explained when asked if it would be a musical comeback. ‘If it was up to me we’d go on tour immediately. Maybe we will soon… Hopefully.’
She continued: ‘I’ve always said we’re definitely touring. I think I’ve just been nagging them all a bit too much. I stopped nagging and then they all said “yes”. I shut my mouth.’
Taylor Swift causes a buzz no matter what she does – from her feud with Katy Perry (which has now been solved by a * literal * olive branch FYI) to the saga that was Hiddleswift. Basically. her personal life splits opinion, and she makes news wherever she goes.
Last night was no exception as she took to the stage for the opening night of her Reputation tour.
First things first, the set. If you’ve ever seen any of Taylor’s social media posts, you’ll know that her favourite emoji is undoubtedly the snake, the very same emoji that she reclaimed after the fallout from her feud with Kimye. So of course, it made perfect sense for Taylor Swift to adorn the stage with gigantic cobras.
In case we missed the point, she explained, ‘A couple of years ago, someone called me a snake on social media and it caught on. I guess with the snakes, I wanted to send a message to you guys that if someone uses name-calling to bully you… it doesn’t have to defeat you. It can strengthen you instead.’
Let’s move on to the mammoth setlist of twenty four songs. Taylor wasn’t afraid to delve into her back catalogue, with Love Story and Blank Space, and brought even more power to her new hits by getting Tiffany Haddish(!) to say the immortal lines ‘Sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, because she’s dead’ in Look What You Made Me Do.
The best part? Taylor brought not one, but TWO, special guests on in the shape of Camila Cabello and Charli XCX to perform certified banger Shake It Off.
Taylor’s bringing her Reputation tour to the UK and Ireland in June – I guess we’ll see you there?
The 2018 Billboard Music Awards nominations are officially in, with the ceremony set to take place this year on Sunday 20th May, with singer Kelly Clarkson set to host the Los Angeles show.
‘To prepare for hosting the Billboard Music Awards, I already have 20 costume changes planned,’ 35-year-old Kelly announced in a press release, confirming the gig. ‘I will be flying in like my girl P!nk, and calling Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman for jokes. Well, or I’m just gonna show up and celebrate my favourite artists and get to know a few more. Yeah, maybe I’ll go with that plan.’
The nominations for the 2018 Billboard Music Awards were also announced this week, with Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars emerging as the front-runners with 15 BBMA nominations apiece.
Here are the 2018 Billboard music awards nominations…
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Female Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Male Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Selling Album
Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
Pink, Beautiful Trauma
Ed Sheeran, Divide
Ed Stapleton, From a Room: Volume 1
Taylor Swift, Reputation
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Hot 100 Song
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, “Despacito (feat. Justin Bieber)”
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”
Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like”
Post Malone, “Rockstar (feat. 21 Savage)”
Ed Sheeran, “Shape of You”
2018 Billboard music awards: Top New Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Country Song
Kane Brown, “What Ifs (feat. Lauren Alaina)”
Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road”
Dustin Lynch, “Small Town Boy”
Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line, “Meant to Be”
Brett Young, “In Case You Didn’t Know”
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Duo/Group
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Billboard 200 Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Hot 100 Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Streaming Songs Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Song Sales Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Radio Songs Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Top Social Artist
2018 Billboard music awards: Billboard Chart Achievement Award
‘I was aspiring to be in love with someone for the rest of my life’
Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik broke the hearts of Zigi fans across the world last month, confirming their breakup after two and a half years of dating.
While the couple broke the news with social media announcements, Zayn had yet to properly speak out about the split, until now, opening up about the situation during a phone interview with On Air With Ryan Seacrest.
When asked about his new single, Let Me, featuring some pretty emotional lyrics, the topic of where the inspiration came from emerged, and the 25-year-old took the opportunity to get very real and open up about Gigi Hadid.
‘I was in love, and I think that’s pretty evident,’ he explained. ‘I was aspiring to be in love with someone for the rest of my life and the rest of theirs, as we all do. Things change and we move forward in life. Times change, but that’s what I was thinking when I wrote it.’
He continued: ‘We go through experiences so we have memories and stories and things to write down and contemplate and think about. You get to really put your experience into something. It should be remembered forever.’
Announcing the break up in a Tweet last month, Zayn explained at the time: ‘Gigi and I had an incredibly meaningful, loving and fun relationship and I have a huge amount of respect and adoration for Gigi as a woman and a friend.’
He continued: ‘She has such an incredible soul. I’m grateful to all of our fans for respecting this difficult decision and our privacy at this time, we wish this news could have come from us first. We love you all.’
There’s no word yet as to why Gigi and Zayn have split but there’s clearly no hard feelings as they have shown with quite possibly the most amicable breakup announcements and statements since ever.