SnowGlobe 2018: Leven Kali Talks His Upcoming EP and Working With EXO, Skrillex, and Usher

By Kat Bein

Palm Studios has a real cool cat in singer, songwriter, and producer Leven Kali. The former golf star gave up the green for a new kind of swing about four years ago, and he’s never looked back. That’s not to say he gave up every kind of green, though. His soulful, breezy style is suited for the smokers out there, from sunny California to chilly Lake Tahoe, where he tore up the main stage at SnowGlobe Music Festival this past weekend.

His music has brought him to Korea, to sushi with Usher and Skrillex, and to a higher state of creativity with his friends and live band, The Moon. He’s got a ton of new music planned for the start of 2018, and MTV News caught up with Kali to hear about his wild sonic journey around the world.

MTV News: You brought a lot of energy to your set. This is a different environment from Southern California.

Leven Kali: It was crazy, because literally the last time I was outside, I was in Puerto Rico. I’ve been in the airport for like 15 hours trying to get back. My girl’s family has roots in Puerto Rico, so I went out there with her and her people. We just kicked it for a few days on the beach, then got smacked in the face by the airline and now I’m here, but it feels so good to be here.

MTV News: I read that you were a Division I golfer before you decided to pursue music full-time. What made you give that up and dive in?

Kali: I was always in music. My mom is a musician, my dad is a musician, all my uncles and aunts are musicians. My senior year of high school, I committed to play golf in college, so I didn’t have to apply to colleges. I had that whole year to fuck around and just get ready for college, but I ended up doing music that whole year with the homies. We were making songs about parties in high school, making fun of kids and whatever, but then it turned into like, “Damn, these songs are kinda good, even though they’re jokes,” and it just built from there.

MTV News: It’s been a wild couple of years for you.

Kali: It has. I was in college, and I went to Korea to do songwriting for K-pop bands.

MTV News: You did a song with EXO.

Kali: Yeah, we did “Love Shot” for them when I was out there. They released it this year, and it’s been going crazy for them. Those moments and experiences made me feel like I should definitely jump all the way into this.

MTV News: What was it like to work with K-pop artists?

Kali: You know how a lot of music and entertainment culture starts in America and reverberates into the world? When I went there in 2013, 2014, they were just starting to really grab on to hip hop in more of a trap sense. They’ve been loving R&B, but they wanted me to work with the younger artists to teach them swag culture. Some of them were incredible. You can tell that they’re obsessed with the culture. They would tell me about not being able to see girls and do certain things, and that was mind-blowing. They’re picked at, like, 12 or even younger [to be K-pop performers], but it was still happy. It wasn’t negative. They definitely wanted to be better. They want to learn. They’re in the studio in the middle of the night every night. Dedicated, for sure.

MTV News: And last year you did some work with Usher and Skrillex?

Kali: I was in the studio of this place called Record Plant. It’s a big studio in L.A., and Skrillex and Usher were having a session. This was probably a year or two ago now, but at Record Plant, you’ve got to imagine, you walk into the studio, and there’s literally Razor scooters with license plates on them that say, “Skrillex,” “Ty Dolla $ign,” “A$AP Rocky.” It’s a fun place. Skrillex and Usher were together at that moment when I walked into the room. They’re two of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and we just had a creative click. Some of the stuff we made ended up on Skrillex’s OWSLA project. The Usher songs are in the vault right now, but it was cool. Usher took us to dinner at Nobu in his Wraith. It was surreal — and he really is one of the best singers. You know when someone walks into the booth behind the mic, and they do their little chants before they start going? His warm-up is insane.

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

MTV News: What’s it like producing and writing for other people as opposed to yourself?

Kali: It’s dope. In the beginning, I saw myself as a producer and a writer, and I would make music that people thought would only work with me. That’s sometimes a struggle, trying to send songs to people but it’s like, “Damn, you should just put this out yourself.” But I’d much rather be with somebody. Instead of writing for people, I like writing with people. Sometimes it works when you send somebody a track and they send back a verse, but it’s always way more special in-person.

MTV News: You released a couple short EPs this year in quick succession. Why break it up like that?

Kali: It’s 2018 — or 2019. Why not do some new shit? It’s interesting, because it seems like this cycle of time. Before records were a thing, people put out one or two singles. I don’t think that it’s a perfect cycle, but I think there’s things contributing to it being like that again. People have short attention spans, and sometimes three songs go together and they don’t work in a project. I have a plan to put out an EP this year, and then I might drop little packs. I might do an album. Whatever the people want.

MTV News: Talk about the next EP.

Kali: This will be the proper EP length, like seven songs. To be honest, I have so many songs. My hardest problem is how to get it all out in a cohesive way. It’s a better pressure.

MTV News: You recently released a pretty cool music video for “Too High.”

Kali: First off, shout out Na’Kel Smith and Buddy. It means so much more when you do stuff in the room in-person. That song was a perfect example of that. I had the first part of that record already done. I linked up with Na’Kel and Buddy came through. We all smoked a ton of weed, and it was super chill. We’re all actually friends. I met Na’Kel when he pulled up with a mutual friend literally in a shopping cart. Buddy I met at Coachella. You can tell that we’re actually friends on the record, which is probably why it’s cool.

MTV News: Are there lessons you’re taking from 2018 into 2019?

Kali: If you don’t grow every day, you’re tripping. Do things. I’ll sit on stuff and deliberate, and deliberation is the death of progress. Deciding on a place to eqt, or deciding what music to put out. If you start doing something, you’ll build on that, and you’ll make it special no matter what. You just have to start. Put it in motion, and then it’ll become how you make it.

SnowGlobe 2018: Sofi Tukker Discuss Their ZHU Collaboration and ‘Treehouse’ Grammy Nom

By Kat Bein

Fresh off a Grammy nomination for Best Electronic Album for their 2018 debut Treehouse, New York electro-pop duo Sofi Tukker brought a vibrant heat wave to SnowGlobe Music Festival in Lake Tahoe. Though the multi-lingual group normally has a raucous live show, some last-minute travel hassle left them without much of their gear. Undeterred, the duo quickly adjusted to perform what it called a “rave set,” a hybrid DJ-live situation that brought one of the most high-energy sets of the weekend to the festival main stage.

Singer Sophie Hawley-Weld ran up and down the stage dressed as a glowing snow princess in white furs and delivered a pitch-perfect vocal performance, while her partner Tucker Halpern manned the turntables. Both party animals dove into the crowd before the show was over, and they even dropped a few, new unreleased songs. MTV News caught up with the cool kids backstage to hear all about their massive 2018 and when we might get to hear some of those new songs in full.

MTV News: I saw online you’ve got a song coming out with ZHU in a couple weeks. How was it working with him?

Sophie Hawley-Weld: Yeah, it was really fun. It was really organic. We walked into the studio and just wanted to see what would happen and then it just flowed really nicely and we ended up making a weird song.

Tucker Halpern: It’s kind of fun. It definitely has both our personalities in it. It’s a little funny and dirty for ZHU, I think — like in a sexual way.

MTV News: You guys were just in Portugal, right? You did a video for “Energia.” It was your first time in Portugal?

Hawley-Weld: We flew in from Japan, and I remember just feeling so fucked up, but in a good way. It was such a trip, because we woke up and all of a sudden we were in Portugal. We met Pabllo [Vittar] for the first time during the shoot for the video, and we had the best day ever. We were kind of delirious.

Halpern: It was a giant love fest. It was so much fun. We got to dress up in crazy outfits and run around the most beautiful city in tuk tuks, and we were filming a documentary, and all of that got intertwined with the video.

MTV News: Tell me about this documentary.

Hawley-Weld: I don’t think we’ve announced that at all.

Halpern: It’s not really an announcement. We’ve basically been filing stuff for the past couple of years on this crazy traveling journey. Hopefully that will become something.

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

MTV News: You guys draw a lot of inspiration it seems from your travels. Where recently have you been inspired?

Hawley-Weld: Our new music is all over the place, because we’ve been all over the place, so it makes a lot of sense. One of the things that we’ve been most inspired by is just the crowds — meeting and building community. We’re really inspired by making music that feels like it takes up that space, so our music, it’s a little bigger and it’s a little more epic. We thirst for that feeling in the live show, to just have that togetherness in this epic way, so that’s been a really big thread of inspiration.

Halpern: Different cultures around the world and different communities react differently to different things, different types of music, and they like to move different ways. Our minds have been opened up so much. I feel like we’ve been making a lot of music lately, and I’m really excited about the new stuff that will be coming out pretty soon. It’s just all different eras, all different genres, all different parts of the world.

Hawley-Weld: We’ve also gotten to collaborate with so many people. One of the most exciting things ever: We collaborated with the band Bomba Estéreo who have honestly been one of our favorite bands for awhile.

Halpern: We’ve met each other a couple times at different things, and both were really big fans of each other. We finally just made the perfect thing.

Hawley-Weld: It’s in Spanglish and Portuñol, which is Portuguese and Spanish together. It’s a really fun combination of us.

MTV News: I’ve got to congratulate you guys on the Treehouse nomination.

Hawley-Weld: It feels crazy. It’s definitely not like we’re writing music being like, “Oh, is this gonna get us a Grammy nomination?” It’s like, “Do we love this music? Does this make me feel happy and come alive?”

Halpern: Do I want to show this to everyone? If you don’t, then something’s wrong.

Hawley-Weld: But then it’s really cool that we’ve got this nod on top of loving it already.

Halpern: We did a lot of weird things on that album and took a lot of risks, did things that we didn’t really know if people would like but we liked it. It is a cool affirmation that it’s respected by someone at least. There’s also so many awesome electronic and dance music artists out there, and so many genres that don’t get represented in awards like that that we respect, also.

MTV News: Anything you want to say about what you’ve learned in this last year and are taking with you into the next?

Halpern: I think something that feels even better than the crazy accolades is believing in a friend, someone who you think really deserves it, and helping them and seeing their career start to evolve. That’s been one of the best feelings, because we started this thing called Animal Talk, which is an artist collective, party, and record label. It’s just been amazing to see that sort of thing grow, and it’s a total arm of Sofi Tukker — sort of an extension of the world we’re building — but it’s really not just about us.

Hawley-Weld: It’s pretty cliché, but its cliché for a reason. The more you give, the more you receive; or, the more you make it about other people, the more internal satisfaction you get.

SnowGlobe 2018: Duckwrth Talks The Punk Music That Inspired His Creative Rise

By Kat Bein

If a ball of kinetic energy came to life, donned oversized overalls, and braided its hair, you might call it Duckwrth. The rapper, visual artist and all-around performer has a vibrant sound and enthusiastic attitude that defies categorization and smashes expectations. Raised in South Central Los Angeles, he hit SnowGlobe Festival’s Igloo stage backed by Oakland-bred band mates, and though he faced Lake Tahoe’s 40-degree chill, he jumped, jived, and wailed across the stage until he dripped with sweat.

In 2016, his I’M UUGLY mixtape brought his rowdy spirit under a spotlight, and this year saw Duckwrth spread his wings to fly toward greater, funkier, more soulful heights. Freshly toweled and clothed in a dry Iron Maiden long-sleeve, Duckwrth caught up with MTV News to chat inspirations, always daring to be different, and how he plans to chase his dreams into the new year.

MTV News: That was a fun show. I loved the energy from all of you guys; I want to know where you got your moves!

Duckwrth: What moves? I just be freestylin’, going for it. I have no dance moves. I can two-step!

MTV News: You don’t think you’re dancing, but there must just be something about the act of performing that unlocks whatever this alter ego is inside you.

Duckwrth: Exactly, because I’m not going to do that shit in regular life… but you put me on stage, and I’m gonna go crazy.

MTV News: How long have you been performing in your life? Is it something you’ve done since you were a kid?

Duckwrth: I would say so. I was in the choir when I was younger and stuff like that. Being in front of people, using my voice. I’ve been doing that for a minute.

MTV News: When did you realize you could keep people’s attention?

Duckwrth: In college. I was doing little small shows, and I always see people’s eyes get all pearly, and I was like, “OK cool. Tight. I guess I’m good at this.”

MTV News: Your sound is very eclectic, and you pride yourself on being somebody who doesn’t limit themselves to one genre. Who was first giving you punk records and metal records? Your dad was a musician.

Duckwrth: Yeah, but it wasn’t him. It was this shorty that I was crushing on in high school. She was listening to punk. I liked this other girl, and she was listening to rock, but she was more into emo — Green Day, My Chemical Romance — and I was like, “OK, this is cool.” But then this other girl was listening to The Casualties, Minor Threat, and shit like that. She was wearing all the t-shirts, and I was like, “Dude, she’s so tight, and her t-shirts are hella tight. Let me check these songs.” I listened to them, and I was like, whoa, and then I found Bad Brains and that was it.

MTV News: You just released the “Soprano” video, and it seems like you were aiming to make a statement with it.

Duckwrth: It’s up to self-interpretation. I’m just showing a mirror, what the look is, what the sound is, what’s popular, and just showing a mirror, see what people feel about it.

MTV News: I’ve read also that you’re particularly fond of the video-making process.

Duckwrth: It’s my closest chance to be a director or producer. Being able to have a thought in my brain and have it come to life, that’s a trippy feeling. To be able to look back like, damn, that all started with just like, I was like sitting on the toilet for way too long, and this good idea came in my brain and then it became a full-fleshed idea.

MTV News: So you’re pretty hands-on with the treatments?

Duckwrth: Oh yeah. I draw it out. I write it out. I get pretty deep in it. For these past videos, I cleared up my whole wall in my apartment, and I drew out all the characters. For “Fall Back,” I had a long, red ribbon, and I had me on one side being pulled by the red ribbon and I had all the other — we call them “hype beasts,” the dudes that are painted white. They’re on the other side pulling me. I drew that all out and storyboarded a good amount of it. So it’s tight to be able to really get in depth. But it’s for me, my challenge is to make a directer see what’s in my head. That’s the hardest thing ever. The closest you can get sometimes is maybe 80 percent to what you really wanted. So my goal is to at least in 95 percent of what I imagine in my head.

MTV News: In 2018, you released mostly singles, but in the years before that, you released some bigger projects. Are you working on something bigger for 2019? What’s in the works?

Duckwrth: Definitely. I’m gonna drop an EP early, and then drop my first commercial LP closer to summer if not the summer.

MTV News: How long have you been working on that one?

Duckwrth: Philosophically? Since 2013. It’s something that when you put it on, you automatically feel good. It’s called Super Good. It’s very simple: You put that shit on, and you feel good. I actually produced [and] recorded a whole ‘nother album that will never come out, but this would be the baby from that project.

MTV News: As this year comes to a close, it’s very natural to reflect on the things you’ve learned and the experiences you had. What has 2018 meant for you?

Duckwrth: I’ve never done so much international traveling in one short time span. That was crazy. My whole brain, it opened up so much. I added so much color to my palette. Manifestation is real. I’m a walking, living example of that. My career is an example of that. My success now and in the future, what I’m going to be able to obtain, and be able to create and deliver, that’s all going to be via walking through faith and manifestation. This year was a very big answer to the question. 2018 was a whole answer, and I’m like, fuck, wow. So now it’s just continuing to walk in faith, knowing what I want to do, my whole purpose with music and art.

MTV News: Is there anything else you want to say or mention, or anything that’s important?

Duckwrth: Eat produce. That shit is everything. Fruits and veggies, yo. A lot of people be having hard times when they’re older because they ate shitty when they were younger. Eat some fruits and vegetables. It’ll change your life.

Lady Gaga Got Choked Up While Performing ‘Shallow’ For The First Time: Watch

Over the weekend, Lady Gaga launched her Las Vegas residency show, Enigma, and to absolutely no one’s surprise, it was a creative spectacle for the ages. Amid a slew of costume changes and larger-than-life set designs, Gaga flew through a 21-song setlist that included fan favorites like “Born This Way” and “Bad Romance,” as well as a poignant cover of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans.” Perhaps most notably, her set included the first live performance of “Shallow,” her Golden Globe-nominated anthem from A Star Is Born.

Making her way to the piano, Gaga gave a heartfelt speech to the audience. “For a really long time, I felt so misunderstood about the way I dressed, the way I talked, my attitude,” she said. “They thought it was shallow. But this shit is deep as fuck.”

Gaga got visibly choked up during the song’s first verse, but carried on in stunning fashion after some encouragement from her Little Monsters in the crowd. Together, they belted that sky-grazing chorus, giving “Shallow” the explosive debut performance it deserves. Check it out below.

Gaga’s Enigma show on Friday (December 28) marked the first of 23 dates. She’s also set to perform nine additional shows called Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano, which kicks off on January 20 and includes stripped-down renditions of her songs. Perhaps she’ll even whip up a jazzy reimagining of “Shallow” for us to fawn over.

21 Savage Has A No. 1 Album For The First Time Ever

21 Savage has finally arrived.

Of course, he’s been around for (what seems like) a long time now. His two Slaughter mixtapes dropped in 2015, and a year later, he scored a bit of a breakthrough on Drake’s “Sneakin” as well as via a superstar collab with Migos, YG, and Mike Will Made-It. His biggest push yet was “rockstar,” the 2017 record-smashing, Grammy-nominated team-up with Post Malone that culminated in a massive singalong with Aerosmith at the 2018 VMAs.

But his true arrival — the one at the top of the chart — is here now: His second album, I Am > I Was, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, giving him his first top-charting album ever.

The album racked up 131,000 equivalent album units in its first week of release, Billboard reports, and features uncredited guest appearances from Travis Scott, Post Malone, Childish Gambino, Offset, and others. 21’s 2017 debut, Issa Album, hit No. 2, and his Without Warning collab album with Offset and Metro Boomin hit No. 4.

It’s a big deal for 21, an artist whose carefully executed unknowability has helped propel him into mainstream ascendence. No word yet if Drake was the only one to get him a gift to celebrate his latest milestone.

SnowGlobe 2018: Tyga Talks ‘Taste’ And The ‘Bigger Moments’ He Has Planned For Next Year

By Kat Bein

Tyga had a banner year in 2018. The national narrative spoke of a “comeback” for the California rapper, but watching him perform a barrage of seemingly endless hits on stage at SnowGlobe Festival in Lake Tahoe this weekend seemed to have those in attendance screaming, “When did he ever leave?”

The “Faded” MC braved low 40-degree temperatures to bring serious heat. He was joined on stage by his signature, scantily-clad dancers and proved college kids in snow suits really can twerk on ice. He finished his set with his biggest hit of 2018, the recently certified triple-platinum “Taste,” but backstage, he told MTV News all about his plans for the year ahead.

MTV News: It was quite a treat to see you. It was my first time, and I don’t know if that was a shorter set for you than usual, but it was hit after hit after hit.

Tyga: Yeah, we tried to keep it short and fast, you know? It was good. The crowd was good. It was freezing.

MTV News: You did get a few pyrotechnic moments.

Tyga: Yeah. I was like, “Man, I hope they just use more of the pyro. Keep pressing it, because I’m freezing up here.”

MTV News: Is 2019 going to be a big tour year for you?

Tyga: Definitely, because I haven’t toured like a real tour probably since 2015 with Chris Brown. That was my last tour, so I haven’t toured in years, but I’ve been out the country a lot doing a lot of big shows out there. Now, I’m back in tour mode.

MTV News: Have you seen some things on the road that you’re trying to incorporate into what you’re going to do, or sounds that have inspired you?

Tyga: Yeah. The Latin movement is huge worldwide. It’s a world sound. You just see how people react to different records in the Middle East, and then in Asia, Australia, you know? But really, “universe” means one, so it’s really one wavelength everybody is on at the same time.

MTV News: Where do you feel you’ve experienced the most energy for what you’re doing lately? Do some places surprise you with how well-versed they are in it?

Tyga: I mean, even today with the crowd. You just never know really what to expect. You just go out there and turn up, and you just hope that people feel your energy. I just did Rolling Loud in L.A., and that was big. I haven’t performed in L.A. in a long time, so that was huge and that was fun. It was crazy. We’ve actually got Rolling Loud Australia coming up in January, so we’ll be out there. That’s gonna be crazy.

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

MTV News: Congratulations as well on the triple platinum certification of “Taste.” How does that feel? Where were you when you found out?

Tyga: Thank you. It’s a really good feeling. I think I was in Dominican Republic. I was shooting another video out there for another song I have and they told me. It was “Swish,” and then I just found out yesterday “Dip” just went gold. It’s good, because I only dropped like three or four songs all year, so now everybody is like, “Please drop an album.”

MTV News: What’s the percentage that’s going to happen?

Tyga: I don’t know, I’m just very picky. I don’t like nothing to feel old or anything, so I’m always making new music and just experimenting with new people.

MTV News: Anyone you’ve been working with lately? Who is in the lab?

Tyga: Aw, I just wanna surprise people. I definitely have some big features coming up top of the year. Definitely the features are going to be nostalgic, so I’ma just give that hint.

MTV News: What are some of the lessons that you’ve learned in 2018 that you’ll take with you into the next year that maybe you’d like to share with people?

Tyga: This year really represented having faith and believing in yourself, really. At times, people count you out, and you can just come back bigger than ever. I think a lot of people worry about what everybody else got going on, especially in entertainment and on social media, but we’ve got to just focus on our own lives. Our gift as artists is to make people feel better, give them a good time, give them an experience, and give them a feeling. That’s what music is, to make people feel a certain way, whether its some music that makes you feel sad or makes you feel good. I like to make music that makes you want to feel good and party, or uplifts you.

MTV News: What you said, too, about as an entertainer, when you’re busy working on something behind the scenes and people can’t see that you’re doing that. Everybody has an opinion about where you’re at.

Tyga: I think you’ve just got to be patient, really, because that’s what it’s really about. When you over-promote things, people get numb to it. I think the element of surprise is just something that’s great these days. It’s just special. It’s more of a moment. I think 2018 was about creating moments, and 2019 is going to be the same but just bigger moments, that longevity.

Pop Quiz: How’d Your Most-Streamed Song Of The Year Earn Its Spot?

The TRL Pop Quiz works like this: our editors are posed a music-related question and have only 15 minutes and just 100 words to research, choose and explain their answers. After finding out our most-streamed songs of the year, this week we ask: How’d your no. 1 song earn its spot at the top of your chart?

In a year full of change, no song defined my life more than “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves. Things will always work out in the end, Kacey reminds her listeners, singing that “there’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head.” It’s a perfect song for anyone going through sad endings, new beginnings and looking to feel nostalgic about the past. By encouraging me to embrace the changes in my own life, “Rainbow” found its way to the top of my listening chart and I’m expecting it to return as needed in 2019, too. – Matt Gehring

“You say you can’t live without me/So why aren’t you dead yet?/Why you still breathing?” My most-streamed song of 2018 was “Dead” by Madison Beer because I was completely blown away by how savage and bold the lyrics are. Written by Madison Love, Michael Leary, and Delacey, the track is about putting an end to a toxic relationship. In a BUILD Series interview, Beer revealed the idea came from seeing a meme of a little boy pouting with the caption: “when your ex says he couldn’t live with you and you see him breathing.” Genius! – Kristen Maldonado

My most-streamed song of 2018 was “All the Time” by Kim Petras, an artist I started listening to this past winter and was instantly hooked on. It’s such a bop and it’s WAY too catchy.  I was listening to Kim and most specifically “All the Time” on the train to work, at work, on the train back, in the gym, at the grocery store, in the shower, before bed. I even fell asleep to it a few times while dreaming of being a carefree youth who was at a party or driving a convertible past some palm trees. – Landyn Pan

My most-streamed song of 2018 was “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens (and the rest of my top five were all by Phoebe Bridgers, so clearly I was in my feelings a lot in 2018). I saw Call Me By Your Name in January 2018, and listened to the soundtrack every day after that for months. I’ve always been a Sufjan stan, and his contributions to this album only solidified my love. While I love the whole soundtrack, “Mystery of Love” was my one true love, and got repeat spins. Now excuse me, I have to go cry in front of a fireplace. – Leah Williams

Ariana Grande Cancels New Year’s Concert Due To ‘Health Issues’: ‘I’m Beyond Sorry’

Fans hoping to witness Ariana Grande‘s return to the stage will have to wait a little longer. On Friday afternoon (December 28), the Sweetener singer announced that she’s canceled her New Year’s performance at The Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas this weekend. TMZ reported that Grande has been sick with bronchitis all week and wasn’t getting better.

Grande elaborated in a message on her Instagram Story, where she apologized to fans hoping to ring in 2019 with her.

“Vegas, I’m currently working through some health issues and am beyond sorry I won’t be able to see you this weekend,” she wrote. “I love you and so look forward to seeing you and making it up to you next year.”

She added, “Love you the most. You’re so funny sometimes man. Thank you for your patience. I will make it worth the wait.”

Grande’s Vegas concert would have been her first since breaking off her engagement to Pete Davidson in October. Since then, however, she’s kept fans happy with the releases of new singles “Thank U, Next” and “Imagine,” as well as performances on The Tonight Show and at Billboard‘s Women in Music event, where she was crowned Woman of the Year.

Hopefully Ari will be back on the mend soon — especially since she has a world tour to prepare for!

Taylor Swift Dances With Camila Cabello And Charli XCX In A Clip From New Concert Film

While some fans are speculating that Taylor Swift‘s next album is already on the way, the singer did recently confirm another surprise that came out of nowhere. A couple weeks ago, on her 29th birthday, Swift dropped a trailer for her upcoming Netflix concert film, which will bring her massive Reputation stadium tour straight to fans’ living rooms. And now, two new clips have arrived to preview exactly what’s in store.

In the first teaser, released on Friday (December 28), Swift exuberantly zips through her 1989 smash “Shake It Off” alongside her two opening acts, Camila Cabello and Charli XCX. The star-studded number became a regular occurrence on the tour, with the three singers, uh, shaking it off as that towering cobra loomed overhead.

In the second teaser, the camera gets up close and personal with a sequined Swift as she launches into “Blank Space.” If you had any questions about just how intimate this concert film would be, this clip should clear it all up; it’s practically like you’re onstage with her.

Swift’s Netflix film hits the streaming service on December 31 — just in time for you to see the whole thing and then ring in 2019 with “New Year’s Day” on repeat. Happy watching, Swifties!

From BTS To Red Velvet, Here Are The 18 Best K-pop B-sides Of 2018

Time must move differently in K-pop. That’s the only logical explanation for how BTS, some of the busiest and most famous Korean artists on the planet could put out two albums (Love Yourself: Tear and Love Yourself: Answer) — in addition to their third Japanese studio album, Face Yourself — two mixtapes (J-Hope’s Hope World and RM’s mono), release their first-ever English track with Steve Aoki (“Waste It On Me”), embark on a sold-out world tour, film multiple music videos, and drop a fire diss track and remix on Soundcloud all in the span of 12 months.

Or how NCT’s Mark Lee, a 19-year-old Korean-Canadian with an effortless flow, could participate in a whooping nine comebacks, or new releases, this year between Neo-Culture Technology’s many units: NCT 127, NCT Dream, NCT U, and NCT 2018.

SM Entertainment

Mark Lee, the hardest-working guy in NCT

In the world of K-pop, things move fast and furious. And the next release — complete with its own concept (or visual theme) and album — is just around the corner. As such, it’s so easy to miss the real gems in an artist’s or group’s total work because the lead single is the only song that ever gets any real promotion. So much has been said about 2018 being a breakthrough year for K-pop, thanks to its growing visibility and credibility in the U.S. — and that’s certainly true! — but this year was also a great year for Korean music, period.

EXO made their triumphant return with Don’t Mess Up My Tempo, a layered album full of crystalline pop, and SHINee released The Story of Light, a prismatic trilogy that celebrated the group’s fizzy aesthetic and eclectic sound. Meanwhile, Red Velvet refused to be put in a box with The Perfect Red Velvet, Sunmi explored the complexity of human emotion on the moody Warning, and NCT 127 continued to break the rules of convention with their first full-length album, Regular-Irregular.

So let’s take a look at the work that often goes overlooked with some of the best K-pop B-sides of 2018 (in no particular order):

  1. “All Day All Night,” SHINee

    SHINee have been churning out pristine pop and rhythmic bangers for the past decade, so it should come as no surprise that The Story of Light Episode 1 — the first EP in the group’s Story of Light trilogy — kicks off with this explosive, future-bass bop. The song opens with chirping birds, intimate chords, and pretty vocal riffs from singers Onew and Taemin — signaling the dawn of a new day — before erupting into a seismic chorus, and oh my God does it soar.

  2. “Paradise,” BTS

    British songwriter MNEK brought some of his traditional R&B sensibilities to “Paradise,” a song that truly stands out among all of the work BTS have produced this year because of its catchy, melodic hook and important message. The track preaches a familiar theme found throughout the group’s work: that you don’t need to live life chasing a dream that isn’t yours. “It’s alright to not have a dream,” vocalist Jin sings on the chorus. “If you have moments where you feel happiness for a while.” It’s a nice reminder to stop and reflect on life’s simple joys — and it slaps.

  3. “Gravity,” EXO

    “Gravity” is like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel — you never quite know where it’s going but the journey is all the fun. It’s a modern synthwave song that delivers powerhouse vocals and keeps building until you reach nirvana (that happens somewhere between Chanyeol’s first rap break and Baekhyun’s bridge, or maybe it’s between Sehun’s second rap break and Chen’s high note). EXO have already proven themselves as a formidable force in K-pop, but “Gravity” is still a major flex — even for one of the biggest groups to have ever taken the mantle.

  4. “Good Good,” Key

    As a member of SHINee, Key has long established himself as a versatile performer — a singer, rapper, dancer, visual artist, and certified strong personality — but with his debut solo effort, Face, the pop chameleon proves that he still has a few tricks up his sleeve. While a song like “Chemicals” might be what we’ve come to expect from an artist like Key, with its thumping dance beat and highly addictive chorus, “Good Good” is the bold choice. Sonically, it’s a little bit of everything, but when that chorus kicks in, Key’s falsetto rising above the alchemy of keyboard synths and heavy bass riffs, it’s pure pop-star magic.

  5. “Come Back,” NCT 127

    The B-side that really should have been the lead single, “Come Back” has all the elements of a hit K-pop song. After all, it’s a formula SM Entertainment has perfected for years with groups like SHINee and EXO. It’s loud, but not too loud; it’s instantly catchy, the kind of song that will have you singing along to its bouncy chorus after one listen; and it’s just an upbeat banger driven by amazing vocals. Maybe that’s why NCT 127 went with “Regular,” a Latin-trap track with limitless bravado that lets rappers Taeyong and Mark shine, instead. NCT’s Seoul-based group are anything but conventional — but sometimes the people just want a good pop song. Presumably, SM knew that too because the group prepared an impressive live stage for the song while they were promoting “Regular.”

  6. “All Right,” Red Velvet

    Red Velvet have often been described as the Queens of B-sides because a lot of their best, most interesting work isn”t usually their title tracks. (Except for you, “Bad Boy.”) Their artistic DNA is written into their name, with “Red” signifying their vivid pop aesthetic and “Velvet” reflecting a slower, R&B sound. “All Right” falls somewhere in the middle: It’s a bright, ’80s-style synth-pop track with a funky bass line, but the group’s vocal charms and distinct harmonies elevate it to something irresistible.

  7. “Grease,” Jonghyun

    It’s impossible to distill the entirety of Jonghyun’s distinct artistry and musicality into one song — but “Grease” comes close. Featured on his second solo album, Poet | Artist — released posthumously in January following his death late last year — “Grease” is a divine contradiction that combines the SHINee vocalist’s smooth, soft legato with a slick, wobbling rhythm. Written and arranged by Jonghyun, the song describes a past lover who just won’t go away, like a grease stain. “I want to clean it up (clean it up) / I want to fix it up (fix it up) / Let’s say this never happened,” he sings on the pre-chorus, before jumping several octaves on the bridge. Even when he was dragging you, Jonghyun turned it into something beautiful.

  8. “ADDICT,” Sunmi

    There’s something sinister about “ADDICT,” the introductory song on Sunmi’s critically acclaimed EP, Warning. It makes a bold statement. On each track, the ex-Wonder Girls vocalist issues a warning to a hypothetical lover, and “ADDICT” is no exception. It’s a moody reminder that she’s “running the show” in this relationship. It’s that confidence that makes Sunmi so seductive, and her music so darkly captivating. “I’ll be shining on you, everywhere, day and night,” she talk-sings in English over an hypnotic beat. She knows she’s a queen, and there’s nothing sexier than that.

  9. “Drippin’,” NCT Dream

    “Drippin'” is a dirty song, both in its trap-infused production and in its lyrical content — the idea being that these seven teenage boys want to “soak you” with their love (in a very PG-13 way) — but that’s what makes it so undeniably fun. Co-written by rapper Mark, it’s the kind of bass-heavy banger that’s not only signature NCT, but it’s also a track you can imagine an 18-year-old boy writing, thinking he’s being slick. It’s endearing, really. “It’s awkward that [NCT] Dream sings these lyrics,” main vocalist Haechan, then 17, said in response to the song. “But I wanted to do it eventually.” They’ve come a long way since the sickly sweet days of “Chewing Gum,” and a song like “Drippin'” makes me excited to see where they go next.

  10. “Twilight,” ATEEZ

    ATEEZ is an eight-member rookie group that made quite an impression with their pre-debut song, “Pirate King,” earlier this year. But “Twilight” is the real hidden treasure on their first EP, TREASURE EP.1: All to Zero. The polished trop-pop song is an upbeat ode to the colorful glow that love and happiness bring. It’s rather innocuous, sure, but lovestruck boys happily mooning over the objects of their affections will never get old. It’s Pop 101.

  11. “When It Rains At Night,” Pentagon

    It’s hard to imagine any song doing more for Pentagon than their wildly catchy 2018 single, “Shine” — a song that should rightfully be on everyone’s Best of 2018 lists — but “When It Rains At Night” is the emotional pop ballad your soul really needs. For a group that isn’t known for their ballads, Pentagon are a stacked band of vocalists. But “When It Rains At Night” isn’t just a song for Jinho and Hui to flex; it also allows their more raspy-voiced rappers, Wooseok and Yuto, to really, uh, shine.

  12. “Moonwalker,” Seventeen

    Seventeen are the ultimate mood-makers of K-pop, so it’s hardly surprising that their performance unit (known for their dancing and overall ace performance skills) — Hoshi, Jun, Minghao (I’m sorry, but you can’t make me call him “The8”), and Dino — turned out “Moonwalker,” a vibey song with a heavy synth bass that could best be described as a BIG MOOD. And it just makes you want to dance.

  13. “Myself,” Monsta X

    It’s not that “Shoot Out” wasn’t a great lead single — between the darker concept and meme-able choreography, you could argue that it was the perfect lead single — but it’s hardly best song on Monsta X’s second full-length album, Take 1: Are You There? In fact, if you’re looking for a turn-up song with real allure, listen to “Oh My.” And then there’s “Myself,” a song that stands unparalleled in the group’s body of work. With its unique drum and guitar line, there’s a softer ’90s alt vibe to it — something you don’t hear often in modern K-pop, especially from a group who excels at house and dance music like Monsta X.


    When people unfamiliar with K-pop think of the genre, they most likely picture a group like TWICE — a group of honey-voiced girls with a cutesy concept and an entire catalog of deliriously cheery pop songs. But what’s so wrong with that? “CHILLAX,” a B-side off the group’s Summer Nights album, is a happy trop-pop track about slowing down and taking time for yourself. “My mind says, I want to go slower,” Jihyo sings. Honestly, same! Perfect for any season, this is the kind of song to play when you’re in a funk and in desperate need of a mood enhancer.

  15. “Dear Sun,” Jung Jinwoo feat. SOMA

    K-pop is such a broad term, especially with so many groups and artists experimenting with hip-hop and R&B. Solo singer Jung Jinwoo does a bit of both — exceptionally well — on his first album, Rotate. But “Dear Sun,” featuring Korean singer SOMA and produced by Jinwoo’s Planetarium Records label mate Villain, is a true standout. Between Jinwoo’s tender vocals and Villain’s dreamy production, this soft R&B duet will have you smiling ear to ear and most likely body-rolling into next week.

  16. “Vroom Vroom,” EXO-CBX

    EXO-CBX — a subunit of EXO featuring members Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin — sneakily released one of the best K-pop albums of the year with Blooming Days, a week’s worth of songs for ever occasion (that’s the concept of the seven-track EP). “Vroom Vroom” is the passionate Friday night song, a funky synth-pop track that highlights the trio’s velvet-smooth vocals and playful harmonies. And that “vroom vroom vroom” on the disco-beat hook is so addictive.

  17. “Rude Boy,” Mamamoo

    The four women of Mamamoo don’t do “cute,” and that’s what makes them stand out. Their sensual sound leans heavily R&B, which is what makes “Rude Boy” equal parts predictable and unexpected. Their smooth vocals are on point, as per usual, but it’s the trap beat and rapper Moonbyul’s flow in the second verse that propel the song into something truly singular. If Moonbyul tells you to ditch your cheating man, you better listen to her.

  18. “everythingoes,” RM feat. NELL

    RM’s seven-track playlist, mono, is a warm blanket for a tired soul. On mono, BTS’ leader and main rapper gets vulnerable, laying his deep insecurities bare on songs like “Tokyo” and “Seoul” (produced by electronic duo Honne). It’s equal parts wistful and weary, and the theme of loneliness is constant throughout. But the mood breaks on “everythingoes,” a collaboration with Korean artists Nell that highlights the resilience of the human spirit. “It will pass, someday, for sure, for certain,” RM sings softly. The refrain plays like a nursery rhyme, a powerful reminder that everything in life, even the pain you feel right now, is temporary.