Miley Cyrus, Halsey, And Jay-Z: The Eclectic Woodstock 50 Lineup Is Here

This isn’t your parents’ Woodstock.

The full lineup for Woodstock 50 — the upcoming festival celebrating the original’s five-decade anniversary — arrived on Tuesday (March 19), and it’s packed with newcomers and veterans alike. Among the most notable are (deep breath please): Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Chance the Rapper, Halsey, The Black Keys, The Killers, and Run the Jewels. They’ll perform alongside legacy acts like Santana and Dead and Company, who played the inaugural Woodstock in 1969.

The rest of the lineup is impressively eclectic, spanning hip-hop (Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt), pop (Maggie Rogers, Janelle Monáe), rock (Greta Van Fleet, Cage the Elephant), and country (Margo Price, Sturgill Simpson). Current MTV Push artist Jade Bird will also perform. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Cyrus, for her part, is already getting psyched for the festivities — she tweeted on Tuesday, “Fuck yeah @woodstockfest 🐓 See ya in Aug! Performing on Friday, so I have all weekend to party!”

Woodstock 50 hits Watkins Glen, New York from August 16-18. Tickets go on sale April 22, and more information is available on the festival’s website. Check out the full lineup on the poster above.

Watch Normani Perform Rihanna And Fifth Harmony Hits At Her First Sweetener Tour Stop

Ariana Grande‘s very first Sweetener World Tour concert touched down in Albany on Monday night (March 19) and there was a lot to take in. But before the pop princess even planted a suede-booted foot on the stage, Normani got the crowd warmed up with a performance that proved her a true multi-threat.

The former Fifth Harmony singer packed a lot into her half-hour set, which opened with “Checklist,” her team-up with Calvin Harris and Wizkid. Curiously, she didn’t perform her other Harris collab, “Slow Down,” but the setlist did include her previously released singles “Love Lies,” “Dancing With a Stranger,” and “Waves.”

As for the rest of her performance, Normani opted not to debut new music during her set (probably a wise move to save the new tunes for a bigger release), and instead covered some beloved classics. After singing Aaliyah’s “One in a Million,” she launched into a dazzling Rihanna medley of “Diamonds,” “Run This Town,” “Where Have You Been,” and “We Found Love.” From there, it was on to a crowd-pleasing Fifth Harmony set that included “Work From Home,” “Worth It,” and “BO$$.”

Ultimately, it looks like Normani really made the most of her coveted opening gig. She’s long been a performer keen on following in Beyoncé’s footsteps, and she certainly looked the part (that sparkly bodysuit!), moved the part (that choreo!), and sang the part (those vocals!). Consider us even hyped for her upcoming debut solo album.

And before you go, here are two more must-see photos of Normani’s stellar opening night. You’re welcome.

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After A Career In K-pop, Tiffany Young Is Finally In Control

Who is Tiffany Young? It’s a question I’ve found myself asking a lot over the last six months as the 29-year-old singer has been making a name for herself in the U.S. To be clear, I know who she is — I’ve known of her since she went by just Tiffany, the cheery American member of the successful K-pop girl group Girls’ Generation — but I don’t really know her. Like you, I know her through the bits and pieces she’s been willing to share with me.

For example: Tiffany Young was born Stephanie Young Hwang. She loves musicals. And Christmas music. She’s a Slytherin. She inherited her late mother’s love of female artists, citing the “divas” — Annie Lennox, Madonna, and Mariah Carey — as her biggest musical influences. But she also went through a boy band phase in the early aughts and had a huge crush on Justin Timberlake. Her dream to become a performer led to a chance audition with South Korean company SM Entertainment and ultimately a move to Seoul at age 15, alone, where she trained for two years before debuting with Girls’ Generation in 2007. Despite her decade-long singing career abroad, she decided not to renew her contract and instead move back home to Los Angeles in 2018 to try and make her pop star dreams come true in the U.S. with a fresh sound and a fitting surname (“Young is the Chinese character for forever in Korean,” she told me last year).

These are all the familiar beats of Tiffany Young’s story, and she typically recounts them warmly, her signature smile always present. But it’s sometimes hard to see through all that poise and polish to find the woman underneath. It’s not Young’s fault; she’s been held to the highest standard of perfection for more than a decade, and that’s not something she can shed overnight. Though, she’s getting there.

After kicking off her U.S. solo career last year with bold, sensual songs like “Over My Skin” and “Teach You” — two groovy English-language singles that helped establish the Korean-American artist as a woman not to trifled with, while also relying on glossy K-pop-inspired visuals to convey the message — 2019’s “Born Again” was a fresh page for Young. “Never felt this safe, in a foreign place,” she croons. “I used to feel so hollow, shallow, vacant.”

Co-written by Young, the single was a sweeping confessional that picked at old wounds. At the end of 2018, her father was accused of fraud, and the situation made national news in Korea, forcing Young to not only apologize on her dad’s behalf but also reveal her own estranged relationship with him. It was a painful, embarrassing experience, but it inspired her to see things from a new perspective.

“It changed me a lot,” she told MTV News. “Finding that self-acceptance during that time really let me embrace some of the imperfections of myself [and] to find the strength to say, ‘I want this rebirth. I want this to be the beginning. I want to ultimately say I am reborn as a human being, as an artist.'”

She teamed up with prolific producers and songwriters like Fernando Garibay, The Rascals, and Babyface to lay these insecurities bare in the studio, co-writing all five songs on her debut English-language EP, Lips On Lips. For Young, Lips On Lips — released in late February — was a way for her to “open up so that others may open up and connect [with it] the way music made me feel when I was lost.” It was also an opportunity for Young to advocate for herself and her ideas for the first time and turn the studio experience into something fun and collaborative. “I used to always be nervous [in the studio],” she said. “I thought that I had to get things perfect in one take. I’m always trying to relax now. I’m just deprogramming a lot of things that I thought was supposed to be. There are no rules when creating, and I’m just reminding myself that every day because it really translates once you’re comfortable and you’re ready.”

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(L) Tiffany poses for photos in Seoul, South Korea in January 2009; (R) Tiffany Young attends the iHeartRadio Music Awards in March 2019

Young is hardly the first artist to turn personal tragedy into creative fuel — Ariana Grande’s done it twice in the last year alone (Sweetener, Thank U, Next) — but she’s in a unique position, where by rewriting her narrative she’s not simply writing it, she’s owning it for the very first time.

She debuted with Girls’ Generation at the age of 17. The first time I had interviewed her, last fall when she was promoting “Teach You” in New York, she had described it as “a time when you had to be perfect.” K-pop idols not only endure years of training — practicing singing, dancing, rapping, and languages (as a foreigner, it took Young two years before she was comfortable reading, writing, and speaking Korean) — but they also have busy promotional schedules and, in most cases, various restrictions. In the early days of Girls’ Generation, everything was decided for Young, from her clothes to her hairstyles. When the group released their first single, Young sported a short chop, which would become her signature look over the years. The style, she says, was determined by management as a way to give her an identity within the nine-member group. The long, loose blond waves she has now are as much a tangible representation of her rebirth as “Born Again.”

And while the modern K-pop landscape is embracing new narratives, there’s still an expectation to work hard and to always strive for more — better music, tighter formations, and better performances. “It was the most grueling work but [also] educational,” she said. “I am thankful.”

That unyielding level of work ethic is present in everything Young does, from changing into a new outfit at every press stop during a hectic 19-hour media day, to co-writing all five songs on Lips On Lips, and mapping out her first North American tour — an “intimate” showcase in which Young planned the set list (which includes euphoric covers of *NSYNC’s “Gone” and George Michael’s “Freedom”) and the costumes (she was inspired by Blake Lively’s character in A Simple Favor). “I’m just trying to find that balance of being relaxed and still kicking my ass to work harder and pushing myself to create,” she said. But that hard work is already paying off. The singer recently won the iHeartRadio Music Award for Best Solo Breakout.

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According to Young, one of the most personal songs on the EP is “Not Barbie,” an R&B song that celebrates human imperfections. “Even if I don’t look like what they show me,” she sings on the track. “They can’t ever judge me ’cause they don’t know me.” To bring this song to life on tour, Young invites a few fans at every stop join her on stage for the emotional performance. “This tour is all about intimacy and closeness for me,” she said. “That song’s so special. I want every woman and man and boy and girl to know that beauty is being positively true to your mind, body, and soul, and nothing else.”

Even for Young this idea of being true to yourself is a process. “I’m still learning,” she said. Old Tiffany had to be perfect, but New Tiffany likes perfection too. This time, of course, it’s her choice.

Just like it’s her choice to decide what she wants to say and how to say it. In 2019, we don’t want our idols to be perfect. In fact, we prefer when they’re not, when they’re a little messy — but not too messy. Thanks to social media, the relationship between an artist and their fans has never felt more intimate; there’s an expectation to share the everyday emotions and anxieties you’re feeling. That can feel overwhelming for some, but for Young, it’s liberating.

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“I feel like opening up to this part of me made things a lot more clear in the sense of how optimistic and persevering I wanted to be during that time of Girls’ Generation. I’ve always found a lot of beauty in pain.” And that beauty can manifest itself in many ways, like, say, a persistent smile. Because sometimes the best way to really know someone is to pay attention to what they’re not saying — like the tone of their voice, or the way their eyes sparkle when they’re talking about their favorite Broadway musicals.

“You have to be able to see past the pain, and I got to do that. Music has always been that for me. I was just so thankful to be doing what I love to do, to be performing. That makes me continue to have this smile on my face.”

To hear about Tiffany Young’s career journey in her own words, watch her episode of the MTV News series, Homecoming.

Tierra Whack Is All About Gaining And Showing Off Power On ‘Unemployed’

Behold, the fifth release of #whackhistorymonth, a period of time designated by Tierra Whack as when to submerge the stream-o-sphere with a myriad of new releases. She released “Only Child” on February 19 and, exactly a month later, “Unemployed” is here. Again, it divulges another of Whack’s musical personalities and shows that there’s so much of her to explore that it may take the length of her career to learn everything there is about her. For the moment, let us enjoy how much this slaps, though.

Whack spoke to Zane Lowe of Beats 1 Radio earlier today and revealed that her mother was instrumental in the creative process for “Unemployed.” “My mom is never in the studio with me, but she was in the studio that day and she like basically helped me with the hook. It’s crazy,” she said. Without listening to it, this conjures a loving image, that “Unemployed” will be an ode to the struggles of being without a job. That’s what it would be if Whack wasn’t, well, Whack. “Unemployed” explodes with creativity in its sinister beat and snarling subject matter. It’s a track of verbal attacks and braggadocio, something that would make a parent gasp with surprise at its harsh nature. But Whack delivers her furious lines with a softness that makes her words float off her tongue. The chorus that her mom helped with – “Got a driver, gotta do/I get down and dirty, too/What it is, what it do/Same shit, nothing new” – is unapologetic and telling. Whack is in charge here and that isn’t going to change. If she doesn’t have all of the power yet, she’s coming for it now.

“Only Child” was the first. Then followed “Clones,” “Gloria,” “Wasteland,” and now “Unemployed,” exactly five Tuesdays later (each track was released on a Tuesday). With the month now over, what’ll be next for the fiery rapstress? Could the follow-up to 2018’s Whack World be around the corner? For now, keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Check out the hard-hitting, shit-talking song up above.

J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival Lineup Is A Literal Dream: 21 Savage, SZA, Big Sean, Teyana Taylor, And More

J. Cole‘s Dreamville Festival was originally supposed to happen on September 15 but ended up being delayed because of Hurricane Florence. What was put on the back-burner is finally coming to fruition as the rapper has announced the lineup of the inaugural fest that takes place on April 6 at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. Its star-studded list of performers proves that this is the real deal – the stuff that dreams are made of.

Somehow, someway, J. Cole has managed to get some of rap and R&B’s most prominent faces together in North Carolina for a day of stunning performances. J. Cole himself is the headliner and the lineup includes 21 Savage, SZA, 6LACK, Nelly, Teyana Taylor, Davido, King Mez and Rapsody. Of course, the entire Dreamville roster – consisting of J.I.D., Ari Lennox, Bas, Omen, EarthGang, and Lute will be storming the stage as well. Tickets are currently available on the festival’s dedicated website.

J. Cole recently hinted that his next solo effort could have features on it because fans love to bring up, in conversation, that he keeps going platinum without them. He released “Middle Child” in January that could appear on Dreamville Records’ upcoming compilation album Revenge of the Dreamers III.

Ariana Grande’s Sweetener World Tour Will Help Fans Register To Vote

At concerts, there’s often a lot of downtime. So what better way to take advantage of those twiddling thumbs than to, let’s say, register to vote? Ariana Grande sees the vision. She partnered with nonprofit organization Headcount to enable concertgoers to register to vote during the Sweetener World Tour.

The organization, which helps set up voter registration stations at music events, made the reminder on Twitter yesterday (March 18) to coincide with the date that the tour kicked off in New York. “Together, we designed #thankunextgen, a program to help Ariana’s fans make their voices heard,” the organization tweeted. It made the initial announcement last week. For those already registered to vote and are interested in contributing to the cause, the organization is looking for volunteers on its website to work the booths at these events.

There’s good news for fans that attend the concerts and may not be comfortable giving out their information in this kind of public space. Fans are also able to text ARIANA to 40649 and find out details about registering as to vote as well as volunteering and, for those too young to vote, schedule a reminder on their 18th birthday to register.

Grande joins a long list of artists who have partnered with HeadCount to bring voter registration to their tours. Harry Styles, J. ColeTroy Sivan, and Chance The Rapper, have all worked with the nonprofit organization in the past.

The Sweetener World Tour is setting up to be legendary. It features the endlessly mesmerizing Normani. It would be cool to show up at one of the tour dates drinking her new Starbucks drink, the Cloud Macchiato.

How Thank U, Next Showed The Real Ariana Grande

The memory of Mac Miller looms over Ariana Grande‘s album Thank U, Next, even if he’s only explicitly mentioned once. The album was recorded in the space of a few weeks following the release of Sweetener last August and the September death of Miller, whom Grande dated between 2016 and 2018. She calls to him by his real name on the title track: “Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm / ‘Cause he was an angel.”

In the music space, across all genres, separate narratives exist. The artist creates one via the music itself, and the media creates another. Artists can choose the latter to offer up defining personal details — Janelle Monae declared she was pansexual last year to Rolling Stone, for example — or reveal those directly to fans without the media at all. Where Beyoncé once used a not-so-subtle belly rub at the 2011 VMAs to declare her pregnancy with Blue Ivy, she instead took to Instagram in 2017 to announce her oncoming twins. That same year, rapper iLoveMakonnen came out as gay in a series of (now-deleted) tweets, while Kanye West used the same platform in 2018 to announce a slew of albums and establish a schedule for the impending release window. But there’s a third option, too: Artists can unburden themselves directly through their music. For Grande, the Thank U, Next album (and accompanying Sweetener tour, which kicks off March 18 in Albany, New York) represents a chance to to vent, speak her truth, and confess to missing Miller’s presence while painting the latest chapter of her story.

There’s a fresh fire in her delivery, a confidence that comes from being comfortable enough to express oneself in the parameters of one’s art. She’s always been adept at exploring her feelings and crafting music that’s open and honest — particularly on Sweetener‘s “Breathin” and “No Tears Left to Cry” — but now, in an age of social media-fueled celebrity transparency that finds fans anxious for responses to her most traumatic experiences, she’s working to apply that personal trauma to her music in order to evolve and take command of existing narratives.

Thank U, Next‘s clean pop tries its best to convince the listener of Grande’s newfound freedom spurred by cutting the weight of relationships, but Miller’s memory lingers in the background. Two tunes in particular, “Ghostin” and “In My Head,” establish the late rapper’s presence as more than a one-off mention. “Ghostin” is about sobbing at finality, internalizing the questions that she knows she won’t get an answer to. “I know that it breaks your heart when I cry again / Over him / I know that it breaks your heart when I cry again / ‘Stead of ghostin’ him,” she sings. “In My Head” is angrier and finds the singer yearning for another, more innocent version of a lover before he became tainted.

Neither song necessarily calls Miller out by name, but this personal peek into Ariana’s head reveals a soft, conflicted soul. She’s packing heightened energy here but there’s a melancholy air to the proceedings. In the wake of Miller’s death, these unnamed mentions and coincidences manifest his memory at multiple turns. The instrumental for “Ghostin” is a cousin of Miller’s “2009,” and the singer’s explanation of the song to a fan on Twitter drew potential parallels to her post-Miller doomed relationship with Pete Davidson. On an LP that’s buoyant with radio-ready pop formulas, Miller’s presence stands out. As it plays, you realize that this is the first real look at her psyche since Miller’s death. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s deserved too; the roars of angry fans online that blamed her for Miller’s death in the immediate aftermath led her to disable commenting on her Instagram posts, and she remained quiet about his passing until nine days later. She would then limit her remembrances to Instagram posts and Twitter replies.

In a November 2018 interview with Billboard, Grande expressed her wish to be freer with her music as a means to establish control, “to drop a record on a Saturday night because you feel like it, and because your heart’s going to explode if you don’t.” That the LP comes so soon after Sweetener – five months and 22 days to be exact – feels like a meaningful way to do this. She also revealed that the entire album was written in a little more than a week and recorded in two. In hip-hop, these kinds of quick-fire releases signal a response to something of personal accord — think Machine Gun Kelly taking aim at Eminem on “Rap Devil” just four days after being dissed on the legendary rapper’s song “Not Alike” in 2018. “My dream has always been to be — obviously not a rapper, but, like, to put out music in the way that a rapper does,” Ariana said.

This method of reclaiming agency has helped artists like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift tell their own stories through their own marquee releases. When the world saw surveillance footage of Solange kicking Jay in an elevator at New York’s Standard Hotel in 2014, rumors of infidelity between the Carters rapidly materialized. However, despite the flurry of headlines and speculation, the two never gave an interview or posted about it on social media.

When Lemonade came out two years later, Beyoncé finally wrested control of the conversation: “Sorry,” one of the LP’s biggest singles, spit in the face of apology but also revealed that Jay-Z allegedly cheated on her. A year later, the legendary rapper released 4:44, an album overflowing with open, honest answers, and private revelations about Beyoncé’s health and his own maturity. It also completed the book that Lemonade started, allowing a look into the lives of two famously private artists by taking listeners into their most vulnerable moment.

Taylor Swift, meanwhile, had spent a majority of her career battling her own constructed narrative, one about who she dates and how often. Swift’s 2017 album, Reputation, found her reclaiming that narrative. After a simple 2016 Kim Kardashian tweet called Swift’s side of her ongoing feud with Kanye West into question, her reputation suffered. And what better way to acknowledge this than by drawing a massive, snake-wrapped arrow at it via the name of her sixth album? The snake became integral in Swift’s entire rollout; her merch carried a serpentine theme and her tour itself was devoted to snakes. “A couple of years ago, someone called me a snake on social media, and it caught on,” the singer said when kicking off her tour last year. “I wanted to send a message … that doesn’t have to defeat you. It can strengthen you instead.”

You hear that resolve not just on Reputation, but on Lemonade, 4:44, and Thank U, Next as well. Grande’s ability to power through her own darkness speaks volumes; she mourns on the album, reflects on relationships and pushes for more. Doing this enables her to claim her agency and take control of her narrative. That’s what Thank U, Next is about, down to its title. There’s a reason why it’s a command and not a question.

Billie Eilish Morphs Into An Anime Monster In New ‘You Should See Me In A Crown’ Video

Billie Eilish‘s “you should see me in a crown” arrived a full eight months ago, but she’s breathed new life into it with an appropriately haunting visual from Takashi Murakami.

The new “crown” clip gives Eilish the anime treatment, as she transforms into a spider-like monster that tears through an unsuspecting city. It also incorporates signature elements from both artists, using Eilish’s popular BLOHSH character and merch line, in addition to Murakami’s iconic rainbow flowers.

Eilish explained in a statement, “Murakami is an incredible visionary. It was such an honor to collaborate with him and have our brains and our worlds collide for this video.” The famed Japanese animator — who previously worked with Kanye West and Kid Cudi for their Kids See Ghosts album art — added, “8 months from start to finish, I sprinted throughout the production process with my animation team striving to realize Billie’s vision in an unprecedented way.”

Check out a YouTube clip from the eerie video below, and see the full thing over on Apple Music.

If you’re a fan of the nightmarish undertones of “you should see me in a crown,” rest assured there’s plenty more where that came from. Since the song dropped last summer, Eilish has followed it up with the brooding singles “bury a friend” and “wish you were gay.” The 17-year-old breakout sensation is gearing up to release her debut album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, on March 29. Expect more spooky vibes on the horizon.

J. Cole Tells Fans That His New Album Could Have Some Features Out Of His ‘Comfort Zone’

When you think of J. Cole, the phrase “platinum with no features” often comes to mind. He’s released five albums so far that have gone platinum, three of those without any additional voices featured. When it comes to rapping and singing, Cole is equally talented at both. But his fans have made “platinum with no features” something cringe-worthy for him to hear so for his next album, Cole may be tempted to include some additional names there. In a cover story with GQthe rapper talked about what the four-word phrase meant to him and what it means going forward.

In the cover story, Cole revealed that he initially thought highly of fans’ defense of him using the phrase. He then says that things changed after the first time. “But the second or third time, I was like, ‘All right, it’s almost embarrassing now.” He then makes the tease for the future. “Like, ‘All right, man y’all gonna make me put a feature on the album just so this shit can stop.” It’s a funny quip that could come back to haunt fans who have used the four-word phrase to tease fans of other artists about their favorite’s capabilities. Instead of distancing himself from his peers, Cole has revealed that he’ll definitely work alongside them.

Elsewhere in the interview, Cole also talks about his frustration at why his song “1985 (Intro to the Fall Off)” was misunderstood. “They say, ‘Oh, finger-wagging,’ because they think I’m like, ‘You little rapper,” he says. “But I’ll play that for somebody that’s a deeply invested or deeply rooted hip-hop fan, or somebody that just knows me, or knows the climate of what’s going on, and they hear that and they go, ‘Whoa, I see what you just did there. Bro, do you know what you just did? You just put your arm around this dude and walked him. Instead of attacking him, you put your arm around him on some little-bro shit.”

Last month, J. Cole released a video for “Middle Child” that showcased the commercialization of the black body. He’s currently working with the roster of Dreamville Records to prepare Revenge of the Dreamers III.

Meek Mill Looks Back On His Legal Journey In New Docuseries Trailer

Meek Mill has released the first teaser trailer for Free Meek, his upcoming docuseries set to air via Amazon. At a recent sold-out show during Philadelphia’s city hall-designated “Meek Mill Weekend,” the rapper shared the teaser with fans first before making it available on YouTube for all. Based on what’s been shown so far, it looks like the series will take a look at the rapper’s legal history to talk about the criminal justice system and his fight for freedom following his November 2017 arrest.

The minute-long trailer is made up of interviews and concert and studio footage. One of the phrases shown in the trailer is “investigates the truth” and it shows pictures of the mugshot from the rapper’s 2007 arrest, suggesting that it will examine the circumstances and discrepancies in the official report and Meek’s story and evidence. It also shows footage of the #FreeMeek protests that occurred in 2017 following probation violations. The trailer does a great job of building the anticipation for the full body of work by showcasing quick clips of his legal timeline and involving people speaking on the cases, including the rapper himself, who is pictured sitting down explaining his side of the story.

Free Meek is executive-produced by Jay-Z, Eli Holzman, Paul and Isaac Solotaroff, and Aaron Seidman. It will consist of six episodes and air sometime later this year.

Take a look at the teaser trailer above.