By Nick Jarjour
There is a mental health crisis is in the music industry, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from what you see on Instagram.
It’s too bad because if the Hollywood influencers really cared about their inner well-being as much as their looks, they would be showing off their mental health treatments instead of their facials and lip injections. I want to see as many Instagram pictures with therapists as I do with Rolexes.
Of course, there are artists out there who have become increasingly open about their struggles with depression and addiction. Artists like Kid Cudi and his classic album Man on the Moon has been credited by numerous artists and countless fans for saving their lives. Kid Cudi has also been credited with paving the way for hip-hop artists to talk about their struggles with depression and addiction and even launch the “emo rap” genre and Spotify playlist “Tear Drop,” connecting with young people who are suffering from depression and struggling with substance abuse. …
By Megan Buerger
Margo Price is five months pregnant, so it’s a bit confusing when I meet her at a low-lit sushi spot in West Hollywood where the menu is loaded with mercury. But as it turns out, Price didn’t pick the restaurant: Her pal, and our dinner date, Brandi Carlile, did.
“I’ve got you,” Carlile reassures her as we slide into a booth. She speaks with a tender, mama-bear drawl that commands authority. “I know this menu front and back.”
“Knew it!” says Price, happily tossing the leather folio onto the table. “Do your thing.”
Within minutes, a rainbow spread of fresh vegetables, cooked fish, cocktails (a Rockin’ Cucumber for Carlile) and mocktails (“something spicy with lime and ginger!” for Price) arrives, some of which is on the menu, some of which is not. “I’m pretty good,” admits Carlile. “I love to order for the table. It’s a problem. I pick out all the dishes and then forget to eat because I’m too caught up in seeing what people like.” …
By Allison P. Davis
Normani has been answering questions with the nimble diplomacy of a former pageant contestant — or maybe, more accurately, like a media-trained former member of the most popular girl group of the 2010s. (She’s both.) But finally, something has her stumped. I’ve asked her to choose: If she were a member of Destiny’s Child, which one would she be?
“I can’t decide!” she groans, flopping on the table in an exasperated gesture borrowed from teenage years.
As she sits back up, her hands float to the edges of her hair, pulled into a topknot more impeccable than it needs to be given her otherwise low-key look (black jeans, oversized hoodie, no makeup). She smooths back invisible flyaways. “Can’t I choose more than one?” she pleads. We’re sitting at a tourist-jammed French Quarter restaurant in New Orleans, where she grew up and has been visiting often, working on her forthcoming first solo album and soaking up inspiration from the city. Today, she’s feeling inspired by food — specifically, her grandmother’s gumbo. We’re killing time before heading to a nearby cooking class where she can learn to make the local classic. But first, she’s got this decision to make: Is she a Kelly Rowland or a Beyoncé? “That’s not fair!” she says, when I insist that no, she can’t choose both. …
By Jason Lipshutz
On Wednesday night (Jan. 9), Lady Gaga issued an apology for collaborating with R. Kelly on the 2013 single “Do What U Want,” following a week in which Kelly’s history of alleged abuse has been once again brought to light, this time on Lifetime’s recent documentary series Surviving R. Kelly. “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible,” Gaga wrote in a note to fans posted to her social media accounts.
She later continued, “I intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again.” Less than 24 hours later, the Gaga-Kelly version of “Do What U Want” was no longer able to be streamed or downloaded on several major music platforms, including iTunes, Spotify, and Apple Music, and is no longer playable on Gaga’s official YouTube channel. (An alternative version of “Do What U Want” that features Christina Aguilera duetting with Gaga, also recorded in 2013, is still available on digital platforms). …
By Michael Saponara
Lifetime’s gut-wrenching Surviving R. Kelly documentary debuted Thursday night (Jan. 4), despite pressure from R. Kelly’s legal team who reportedly threatened to sue the network for running the six-part series executive produced by dream hampton. Lifetime, however, continued to air the chilling documentary into the weekend.
Surviving R. Kelly features more than 50 testimonies from journalists, family, fellow musicians and members of Kelly’s circle throughout his career who came forward to share their experiences.
Plagued by claims of abuse throughout his career, Kelly firmly denies any wrongdoing and has not been convicted in a court of law. Reps for Kelly declined to comment about the series when Billboard reached out. After unpacking the six hours of dense content, here are 10 key takeaways from Lifetime’s Surviving R. …
By Caitlin Kelley
BLACKPINK has the bad girl image down to a tee. The K-pop girl group’s music video for “DDU-DU DDU-DU” has the kind of set pieces of an overwhelmingly anthemic fever dream. Each of the four members has their own instantly memorable scene. There’s fierce and luxurious Jennie who relaxes on a tank. The bubbly and affable Lisa goes all-in on camp as a high-fashion professor wielding a recognizable pink hammer. The quirky Jisoo trips over her platform heels on a red carpet (because relatability). Then resident songstress Rosé appears like a goddess on a chandelier swing.
It’s a decadent, outlandish, stylish visual that accompanies lyrical braggadocio like, “In my hands is a fat check/ If you’re curious, do a fact check.” And the song did outdo their previous high-performing singles: “DDU-DU DDU-DU” became BLACKPINK’s first Billboard Hot 100 entry at №55, while the music video went on to become one of the most-viewed in 24 hours of all time. No wonder why they are K-pop’s most visible representatives of the concept known as “girl crush” in 2018. …
By Hanif Abdurraqib
When Kesha performed at the Grammy Awards in January, Janelle Monáe introduced her by talking about the Time’s Up movement: “It’s not just going on in Hollywood, it’s not just going on in Washington [D.C.], it’s right here in our industry as well.” Kesha — backed by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day and others, all wearing white — sang “Praying,” her anthem that centered on her yearslong legal battle with former producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald. …
By Michael Huppe
Frank Sinatra earned the moniker “Chairman of the Board” because he stood up for what he believed. That included the rights of music creators, so much so that on December 12, 1988—30 years ago today — he called on fellow artists to join him in a collective effort to get a broadcast performance right, requiring terrestrial radio to pay royalties to performers.
Offended that artists didn’t receive a dime when their music was played on the radio, Frank Sinatra wrote letters to some of the best-known artists of the day — Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen — with an eye toward building “a unified effort from fellow recording artists” to get Congress to pass legislation so that artists received royalties, just like writers and publishers, when radio spins their recordings. …
By Natalie Weiner
“Woo! It’s like, ‘I told y’all!’”
Ariana Grande is milly rocking in her seat behind the massive mixing console at Los Angeles’ Record Plant studio, a wide grin revealing the single dimple in her left cheek. Her new single, “Thank U, Next,” will not officially become her first Billboard Hot 100 №1 for another three days, but its explosive success is already making headlines. For Grande, the milestone is especially meaningful. It’s the exact kind of music she has wanted to make all along.
“It’s a Tommy Brown single!” she exclaims, hitting the arm of her chair for emphasis. Brown, a producer and songwriter, has been working with Grande since her 2013 debut, Yours Truly, and Grande is positively giddy at the prospect of their shared musical breakthrough. “I can’t believe it but, like, so can. It’s me and my besties tipsy off champagne — and me with a broken heart — just letting it out and having fun. …
By Patrick Crowley
It’s safe to say that Jack Antonoff is more than a casual ally to the LGBTQ community. Not only did he executive produced the soundtrack for this year’s groundbreaking gay teen rom-com Love, Simon, but the Bleachers frontman co-founded The Ally Coalition (TAC) with his sister Rachel — a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds and awareness in support of equality.
“When we first started [TAC], we were trying to find our footing. And then a couple of years ago we were visiting some of these shelters and we really honed in on like, ‘ok this is where we really feel like we can make a difference’,” Antonoff tells Billboard. …