See Ariana Grande’s Cozy ‘Needy’ Performance From The iHeartRadio Music Awards

Ariana Grande had to skip the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Thursday night (March 14) to continue prepping for her Sweetener Tour, but she did give fans the next best thing: a pre-recorded performance of the thank u, next standout “needy.”

Grande’s performance came after her Sweetener collaborator Pharrell introduced “needy” as being Ari’s “next big hit.” And judging by her intimate rendition of the echoing number, he may be right. Grande’s feathery vocals were boosted by a gorgeous (and all-female!) strings section, and, to absolutely no one’s surprise, she basically sounded exactly like the studio version of the song.

Pharrell was also on hand to introduce Grande as the recipient of the Artist of the Year award, commending her for persevering after so much personal turmoil and giving fans “the best work of her career.” He added of her 2018 accomplishments, “Who else could pull off a run like that?”

The singer, for her part, accepted the award in an abbreviated acceptance video, clutching the trophy and saying, “I am so honored. I will sleep with this tonight.”

Ultimately, Grande’s performance of “needy” gives fans a solid teaser of what’s ahead on her hotly anticipated Sweetener Tour, which kicks off on Monday. The wait is almost over!

Taylor Swift Jokes About New Music During Her iHeartRadio Music Awards Speech

Taylor Swift made a rare public appearance at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Thursday night (March 14), and she took the opportunity to poke some fun at all those new album rumors.

The singer was on hand to accept the trophy for Best Tour, honoring her massive Reputation Stadium Tour. After a sweet intro from Maren Morris — who praised Tay’s “electrifying talent” — Swift acknowledged the haters and doubters who wanted to see her fail.

“I think one of the most wonderful things about the way that this whole tour turned out, is that for the entire six months leading up to the first show, every headline that I read about the tour was, ‘This is going to be a massive failure, this is going to be a flop tour,'” recalled the “Delicate” singer, who sparkled in a colorful romper and pink tresses. “And it really did wonders for my self-esteem. It was really great to hear people saying that I was going to be playing to nearly empty stadiums.”

Of course, that was the furthest thing that happened, and Swift explained that people’s predictions mean nothing when there’s an “unforeseeable factor involved.” “And in this case,” she continued, “that unforeseeable factor was my fans. I honestly owe everything in my life to you. … You’re the only reason why this tour wasn’t a massive failure and why it ended up being the highest-selling tour in U.S. history.” (Flex, Tay, flex!)

Before she left the stage, Swift also addressed all that #TS7 speculation by telling her loyal fans, “I love your passion, I love your attention to detail, I love how much you care. I love seeing all the things you’re posting online, and I just want to let you know that when there’s new music, you will be the first to know.”

Promise, Tay?!

Troye Sivan And Lauv’s New Version Of ‘I’m So Tired’ Is Even Dreamier Than The Original

As stunning as Troye Sivan and Lauv‘s “i’m so tired…” is, the love-scorned bop almost sounded very different. As the guys recounted in an interview with MTV News last month, they originally recorded a bridge for the song that they previewed for fans on Instagram Live, before ultimately scrapping it for the studio version.

Well, guess what? It appears that bridge isn’t lost in the ether after all. On Thursday (March 14), Troye and Lauv released a live, “stripped” version of “i’m so tired…” that features the long-lost bridge in all its dreaminess. In the intimate video, they harmonize over the simple melody, letting their voices melt into one another’s as a sole keyboard backs them.

“Somebody cover up my ears / Somebody save me from my heart / Somebody take me far from here / And rip the speakers out my car,” the bridge begins. “‘Cause I’m ready to love you / Or I’m ready to lose you / But I can’t wait here any longer.”

On Twitter, Lauv hyped up the new rendition of “i’m so tired…” by writing, “me n @troyesivan shot a stripped version of i’m so tired & included the bridge THE ORIGINAL IS SHAKING.” He’s not wrong!

Lauv explained to MTV News last month, “We were on Instagram Live and we played the bridge, so a lot of people are like, ‘release the version with the bridge!'” At the time, the guys also joked that they should get “So Sick” crooner Ne-Yo to hop on the bridge… but this new version definitely suffices with just the two of them.

Higher Brothers Put Money In Motion In ‘Flexing So Hard’ Video

A few weeks ago, MTV News had Higher Brothers, China’s biggest hip-hop group, play a little game called “Dive In.” We asked them to name some of their favorite rappers and recount wild fan stories from their live shows — and naturally, we wanted to know about a time when the members behind a song called “Flexing So Hard” had, in fact, flexed so hard.

The responses from MaSiWei, DZKnow, Psy.P, and Melo were candid, spanning cars and watches, but on Thursday (March 14), we got an even more candid look at what it looks like when Higher Brothers flex so hard via their dynamic, cash- and four wheeler-filled new music video for the song of the same name. It’s a blast.

Throughout the three minutes here, the quartet hardly ever stay still, rapping and riding around a gigantic warehouse space that they make entirely their own. The clip was directed by Kid Art, who also recently helmed the expensive, beautifully destructive video for Drake and Meek Mill’s all-star collab “Going Bad.”

Last month, Higher Brothers released a new album called Five Stars that features Soulja Boy, ScHoolboy Q, J.I.D., Rich Brian, Ski Mask the Slump God, Denzel Curry, and more guests. They pop up across its 14 songs that range from airy and light to trappy and bold. And just last week, they released a clip for “Top,” their Soulja Boy collab, that plays more like a video game than a traditional music video.

You can experience all the flexing in the new music video above. Then watch MTV News dive in with Higher Brothers below.

Normani And 6lack Bring The Ocean To Fallon With ‘Waves’ Performance

One of the best parts about the human body is that through movement, it can resemble damn near anything. Stiffen your limbs and crank your head while keeping your body straight and, boom, you’re a robot. Jump on the ground and thump your chest on the ground while bouncing up and using the floor to move the rest of your body in a similar manner and you’ve suddenly turned into a worm. Last night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Normani, 6LACK, and a quartet of supporting dancers replicated the sway of the ocean during a sexy, earthly performance of “Waves.”

There’s no set way to act as water – it just happens. It’s an amorphous liquid, clear and fair, unpredictable and raging. But it can be sexy when it wants to be, when the winds are gentle and there are no conflicting sounds mucking up its serenity. There’s a reason that we search for seashells to thrust our ears into when we’re on the beach. We crave the mystery of the deep blue, to replicate its movements and enforce some of that immersive air that becomes easy to lose oneself in. Normani understands this and uses a sea of human limbs to bring the sea to Fallon. Her performance is simple – she stands at the microphone and lets the warm glow of cerulean-tinged lights create a landless atmosphere. It’s early morning somewhere on the Pacific and the sky hasn’t reached its peak blue; right now it’s a frosty shade of cadet. Early morning fog appears in this Fallon rendition of nature’s moving body, the stage enveloped in a thick haze that invites the viewer to become immersed.

Normani is the moon. She’s directing the waves of four backup dancers who are ripples in this body, moving their bodies freely through shakes, sways, and slow, sensual rubs that fling hair in synchrony. Every move is calculated. The mystique is radiant. Normani leans her head to the right and the women move fluidly behind her, each slightly farther right than the last. Body roll, reset, heads extend to the right. 6lack creeps onto the stage like darkness after dusk, clad similarly in all black while his voice and low eyes bring carnal energy to the ocean’s peace. It ends with Normani on stage alone, her silence amidst the fog-enveloped stage like the dim yellow of the full moon on the water. She breaks into a smile and the immersion shatters and we’re brought back to the reality of the moment when Fallon, excitedly, hurries onto the stage, beckoned by the cheers of the audience.

Normani released the similarly water-obsessed video for “Waves” in February. In January, she dropped the video for “Dancing With A Stranger,’ her collaboration with pop bad boy Sam Smith. Her debut album is supposed to be coming this year. “Waves” and “Dancing With A Stranger” indicate that it’s definitely something to watch out for. Check her out on Ariana Grande‘s Sweetener World Tour that kicks off this month.

Take a look at this illusionary performance above.

Grimes Traverses The Realm Of Light With A Helium Voice In ‘Pretty Dark’

Grimes has released a vibrant new record that apparently won’t be featured on her upcoming album. “Pretty Dark,” despite what its name suggests, is pretty light. She’s also released an accompanying video of her singing the record as swirling computer graphics filter around her. What an…odd way to start the morning. But in this case, odd is good!

“Pretty Dark” sounds like Grimes had her fill of helium gas before recording it. This bubbly record mixes elements of techno and dream pop to create an absolutely otherworldly presence, one where creatures designed by Takashi Murakami prance in eternal green pastures. Grimes’ voice is the rain that wets these fields, its misty nature bringing thick blankets of fog whenever her voice meets the down thump of bass drums. There’s an immersive quality in the tune that becomes clear when you’re jolted back to reality after it ends.

The accompanying video is equal parts selfie footage and good ol’ Grimes’ eccentricity. It’s never as simple as a front-facing singing clip with her, so watching it evolve over time continuously yields new results. The backdrop to her selfie video is initially a pond but over time it evolves into vines, dark water, and rippling pools of psychedelic graphics. Eventually, some gigantic diamonds and a Wonder Woman-like tiara are grafted onto her face. At the end, the production value increases tremendously. We see a mysterious body of water illuminated in purple and red hues while people stand inside of it. It’s a brief image, but an indicator of the otherworldly vibe that the song brings. This is the world that we imagine when listening to this otherworldly record.

In the description for the video, Grimes revealed exactly where the song comes from since it’s not from her long-awaited, oft-delayed album. “This is from an AR musical I’m working on,” she wrote. She also revealed that the song and video were made on Wednesday. That’s a super quick turnaround. She also wrote that she’s finishing her album and will start casually releasing music that’s she worked on. Her last release before this one was the robotic, HANA-assisted “We Appreciate Power” that dropped in November. Grimes’ last full-length LP was 2015’s Art Angels. 

Carly Rae Jepsen Tell Us How Her Cat-Centric ‘Now That I Found You’ Video Came Together

The first thing you’ll likely notice about Carly Rae Jepsen‘s merrily idiosyncratic new video for “Now That I Found You” is that it’s as much her video as it is her co-star’s. And yes, her co-star in this particular clip is a cat. Specifically, he’s an orange Scottish Fold who takes center stage as the object — and in a few pivotal, CGI-assisted scenes, objects (plural) — of her affection.

The bubbly track, which dropped late last month paired with the thundering bass-driven “No Drug Like You,” shines as a counterpoint to 2018’s “Party For One,” an anthem to self-love complete with a downright euphoric video. Here, Jepsen sings, “There’s nothing like this feeling, baby / Now that I found you,” and in the visual, the “you” just happens to be “the most adorable, fluffy, chillest cat ever,” she told MTV News. It was all part of the plan.

“After ‘Party For One’ was such a message of ‘you can have fun with yourself,’ I was a little nervous about just going straight from that into ‘but now that I found, everything’s perfect!'” Jepsen said. “It doesn’t have to mean a love story. It can mean a passion of sorts or a cat-lady obsession. Whatever you want.”

“I still wanted the videos to represent real life in a weird way, and I’m not saying I have 100 cats and I sing to them,” she continued, “but I will say that it felt like a proper progression from ‘Party For One’ that it’s not just about a boy, but it’s about a cat.”

The feline in question, by the way, is Shrampton, who also appeared in Tegan and Sara’s “Stop Desire” in 2016 and indeed had his own crafty table on set. With Jepsen in the vid, Shrampton has a proper blast, tripping out on some catnip (“a late-night idea” meant to evoke the wonderfully cosmic Cats on Synthesizers in Space account), getting immortalized in a painting, and even updating the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s ending with a bit of a twist. The idea originally came from Jepsen herself, who had a new cat pal enter her life around the time she prepared to record the song’s vocals.

“The lyrics were going through my head, and I woke up one morning and I saw the cat and I was still kind of not used to him being in my life,” she said. “‘Waking up next to you every morning’ started playing in my head and I kind of laughed out loud. I was like, that’s what I want this video to be about: just a cat-lady obsession.”

As she shared in a recent throwback Instagram post with co-writers Captain Cuts and producer Ayokay, “Now That I Found You” has its roots in a songwriting camp Jepsen attended in Nicaragua, where attendees stayed in cabanas with built-in studios and could record after mind-clearing surf breaks. Its companion tune, “No Drug Like Me,” meanwhile, got assembled “in the later eve of a session,” inspired by a new love Jepsen was experiencing at the time.

These, along with “Party For One,” are among the hundreds of recorded songs Jepsen’s been working diligently to whittle down to what will become a practical tracklist for her fourth album, due out later in 2019. “If by the end of this year there’s no album out, something went horribly wrong,” she said. This is surely literal music to the ears of fans who’ve had “Cut to the Feeling” on repeat since 2017, thinking it was the first taste of #CRJ4. But in the four years since her last LP, 2015’s EMOTION, she’s been hard at work — writing, recording, and writing some more to try to top herself. “That energy kind of propels me forward to keep trying to beat what I already have [written],” Jepsen said.

Until then, she’s enlisting some help to compile the final version of the album. She organized a listening party for her bandmates and team members, complete with wine and food, where everyone can weigh in and dance to their legs give out to what she’s got lined up so far. Picture a Super Bowl party, but instead of watching dudes crunching each other in a stadium (or a shirtless, meme-ready Adam Levine), everyone’s just grooving out to new Carly Rae Jepsen music. Surely there’s no drug like it.

You might not get an invite to that party (sorry), but in the meantime, you can watch the “Now That I Found You” video above, and catch it today (March 14) on mtvU and MTV Live. If you watch closely, you might even catch Jepsen’s “meow”-branded workout clothes that she had bedazzled specifically for this clip. “It definitely makes the shoot day a lot more enjoyable when it feels like it’s a baby that you’ve kind of birthed and been a part of making,” she said.

ScHoolboy Q Brings The Goofy Charm In Return On ‘Numb Numb Juice’

ScHoolboy Q, the cartoonish glue of T.D.E., spent the better of the last three years popping up for features for artists like 21 Savage and SiR. As time grows, you begin to realize not only how important ScHoolboy Q’s voice is, but how much you miss it. The goofy glaze that blankets each of his words tastes sweet, the way that his lines stick to chaotic, bass-ladened beats like sandpaper place his fans in a candy store whenever he pops up with new content. His unpredictably means that no two songs, or verse, from him sound the same. For the first time since 2016, ScHoolboy Q has released a new solo single, “Numb Numb Juice,” that shows that, like Angela Bassett, the rapper’s technical capabilities are aging flawlessly.

“Let’s get it!,” the song screams at the beginning, the ScHoolboy Q’s famous pinky-up voice setting the stage. From there, the rapper returns to the embrace of the streets, keeping his lines dense, coarse, and berserk as he gives a barrage of threats. There’s three years of energy in the delivery, a pressing urgency, and underlying sense of danger in the cartoonish aesthetic; if his old rap was Scooby Doo, his latest is Samurai Jack. The warped, twisted street anthem ends just shy of two minutes but it’s not surprising; through fast-paced, train-chasing raps, ScHoolboy Q easily fits six minutes of lyricism into the brief period.

ScHoolboy Q’s last studio album Blank Face LP came out in 2016. He released a three-part short film featuring songs from the LP to go along with it. If he did that then, we can’t wait to see what he has coming up. There’s something big – we can taste it.

Listen to the rapper’s energetic return up above.

10 Years Ago, Super Junior’s ‘Sorry, Sorry’ Changed K-pop Forever

By Alexis Hodoyan-Gastelum

On any given day, fans of K-pop groups rally on Twitter to get their faves noticed. Whether that’s trending hashtags to get them onto social media charts or to win actual awards, you can’t escape their passionate presence on your timeline. And though social media has always been an integral part of K-pop fandom, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that K-pop stan Twitter became a force to be reckoned with. K-pop groups regularly dominate Billboard’s social chart, and now even brands stan Loona. But in order to get to that place in the digital space, a lot of ground had to be broken, and it can be traced back to exactly 10 years ago.

In terms of Hallyu (Korean pop culture) history, 2009 was an iconic year. Some would even argue it was a more impactful era in terms of K-pop reaching audiences outside of Korea than 2012’s “Gangnam Style.” According to an unpublished survey collected by Korea Creative Content Agency USA in 2014, the majority of K-pop fans in the States (39.5 percent) started consuming K-pop earlier than 2009, as opposed to 26.8 percent between 2012 and 2013. PSY might have turned himself into a viral phenomenon, but 2009 was a launch pad for a lot of what K-pop is today.

2009 is distinguished by K-pop classics like Girls’ Generation’s “Gee” and Brown Eyed Girls’ “Abracadabra,” as well as the debuts of staple groups like 2NE1 and f(x). The Wonder Girls became the first Korean act to break onto Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart with an English-language version of their 2008 hit “Nobody,” released just a day before they joined the Jonas Brothers on tour in the U.S. Similarly, Hallyu legend BoA’s self-titled U.S. release appeared on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

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The Wonder Girls attend the Teen Choice Awards in 2009

The year also marked a pivotal time in the internet age, which helped the globalization of Korean music. By 2009, YouTube and social media platforms had already started making K-pop content like music videos and choreography videos more accessible to consumers. This accelerated the spread of information — and dance crazes — to the world. One of the first male acts to set off a dance craze on social media was veteran K-pop group Super Junior with their 2009 mega hit “Sorry, Sorry.”

Released first as a digital single and soon followed by an album of the same name and the music video on March 12, “Sorry, Sorry” not only catapulted Super Junior to Hallyu stardom, but it revolutionized K-pop itself.

Right from the start, the song says what it’s all about: dance. Packed with a repetitive chorus, chant-like hooks, and auto-tuned vocals, “Sorry, Sorry” utilized the pop formula of the day to perfection and delivered an earworm. The album debuted at No. 1 on one of South Korea’s most important music charts, and the song topped the charts too. It also reached No. 1 in other countries like Taiwan and Thailand, and it landed in the Top 10 in the Philippines. In Taiwan, “Sorry, Sorry” spent 36 consecutive weeks at No. 1. For a lot of older K-pop fans, “Sorry, Sorry” was an entry point, thanks to the countless flash mobs — a very 2009 trend — and dance covers uploaded online from Malaysia to Indonesia to even a prison in the Philippines.

Sorry, Sorry signaled Super Junior’s coming of age, not only sound-wise, but conceptually. Their sleeker, more sophisticated neutral color palette showed a more mature side to the SM Entertainment group, who made their debut in 2005. They shifted away from the visual kei-inspired concept of previous songs like “Don’t Don” and “U” — a major trend at the time — and instead embraced an aesthetic that would inspire the next decade of K-pop. The focus on the choreography highlighted Super Junior’s strengths in numbers, which helped popularize the idea of larger-sized male groups (think ZE:A, SEVENTEEN, and The Boyz). Not to mention, the virality of a point dance had been something representative of girl groups at the time, but after “Sorry, Sorry,” male groups like SHINee (“Ring Ding Dong”) and 2PM (“Again and Again”) followed suit.

And Super Junior were pioneers in other ways as well. They were the first K-pop group to feature a Chinese national in its ranks, and though he constantly ran into setbacks for being a foreigner and eventually left the group, Hankyung (who now goes by his Chinese name Han Geng) opened doors for all non-Koreans in the idol industry today.

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Super Junior attend the 20th Golden Melody Awards in Taipei in June 2009

Following the steps of their labelmate BoA, who single-handedly opened a path for K-pop in Japan, Super Junior spearheaded K-pop in the Chinese market. They dedicated a specific sub-unit, Super Junior-M, to actively promote in China and sing in Mandarin, adding Zhou Mi and Henry (both ethnically Chinese) to their ranks. Thanks to hits like “Sorry, Sorry” and follow ups like “Bonamana” and “Mr. Simple,” Super Junior dominated the Asian market and even made strides of their own in the West. The group was the first Korean act to win a Teen Choice Award in 2015 for Choice International Artist, and their fans, known as ELF, also won the fandom award. But perhaps more importantly, just last year on their 13th year as a group, Super Junior once again proved they are trailblazers in the global music industry by collaborating with Latinx artists Leslie Grace and Play-N-Skillz on the English-Spanish-Korean banger “Lo Siento” — and with Reik on “Otra Vez” — becoming the first Korean act to enter Latin Billboard charts twice.

Due to mandatory military enlistments, departures, and other issues, Super Junior’s lineup has been changing for the better part of a decade. The act’s current active members are Leeteuk (real name Park Jeong-su), Kim Heechul, Yesung (Kim Jong-woon), Shindong (Shin Dong-hee), Eunhyuk (Lee Hyuk-jae), Lee Donghae, Choi Siwon, and Kim Ryeowook. Once Cho Kyuhyun wraps up his service in May, Super Junior will have a fixed lineup active for the first time in 10 years.

Nowadays, “Sorry, Sorry” is almost like a rite of passage for newer groups, with everyone from EXO to SEVENTEEN to NCT, and even BTS, GFRIEND, and TWICE — together with Leeteuk, who’s become a favorite on Korean variety shows — covering it. The song is also a frequent pick on competition shows like Produce 101, where all but two members of the winning “Sorry, Sorry” team ended up debuting in the popular temporary group Wanna One.

To celebrate 10 years of Sorry, Sorry and its lasting impact on K-pop today, let’s take a look at some of the standout tracks that made that album so iconic.

Vampire Weekend And Steve Lacy Get Jonah Hill To Follow Them With A Camera In ‘Sunflower’ Video

Vampire Weekend have released a positively New Yorkean video for “Sunflower.” The funky tune and its “Babadoos”‘s and “Babada”‘s has Jonah Hill directing the video adaptation and it holds continuous surprises from the moment it begins until its sudden, humorous ending. It’s something that you have to see to get the full experience.

It’s hard to put into words the brilliance in the video’s subtle elegance. Hill approaches his director’s seat for this one with the same attention to detail evident in his directorial debut mid90s; camera angles are plentiful and they’re often the unexpected ones. The camera continuously zooms around Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and the Internet’s Steve Lacy – featured on the track – who are taking a leisurely stroll around NYC’s Upper West Side. As the two walk around absentmindedly singing the song’s lyrics, the funky backdrop is at odds with their somewhat blank, befuddled faces.

They wander in and out of stores and settle at New York gourmet market Zabars and Upper West Side’s Barney Greengrass and run into a couple of surprising faces. Hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy makes a sudden appearance soon after the video begins, comedian Jerry Seinfeld shows up later and brings the funny by just sitting there. When he listens to a tv show pitch from a deli store worker at the very end of the visual, it’s played for laughs.

Vampire Weekend’s highly anticipated fourth studio album Father of the Bride comes out on May 3. So far, four of the album’s songs have been released: “Harmony Hall” and “2021” in January and “Sunflower” and “Big Blue” earlier this month.

Check out the Jonah Hill-directed video up above.