Remember Mariah Carey’s Bottle Cap Challenge? Here’s the Blooper You Didn’t See

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Mariah Carey
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Mariah Carey performs as part of her Caution World Tour at Royal Albert Hall on May 26, 2019 in London, England.

Mariah Carey‘s whistle tones can blow the roof off any venue and the cap off any bottle per her 2019 Bottle Cap Challenge clip. But on the one-year anniversary of the video today (July 7), the 50-year-old megastar shared some behind-the-scenes bloopers that, well, blew off more than expected.

«Last year I tried to crush the bottle cap challenge, but the bottle almost crushed me. Here’s the take you didn’t see…» she captioned the new video on Instagram. In the 10-second clip, Carey’s glass bottle goes flying off the table and rolls across the floor, which startled one of her kids who yelled, «Mom!»

Stars from supermodel Naomi Campbell to filmmaker Lee Daniels couldn’t get enough of the hilarious miscalculation as evident by their emojis in the comment section.

Check out how Carey’s Bottle Cap Challenge really went down below.

This article is originally from Billboard

Justin Bieber Says ‘I Have Benefited Off Black Culture,’ Vows to Fight Racial Injustice

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justin-bieber-Justin-Bieber-Seasons-Arrivals-2020-billboard-1548-1582819257
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Justin Bieber attend the Premiere of YouTube Original’s «Justin Bieber: Seasons» at Regency Bruin Theatre on Jan. 27, 2020 in Los Angeles.

Justin Bieber acknowledged that his music career has been shaped by black culture in a new post on Instagram. In the note, the pop star also pledged to use his privilege as a white celebrity to engage in work against racism.

«I am inspired by black culture. I have benefited off of black culture,» Bieber wrote on Saturday (June 6). «My style, how I sing, dance, perform, and my fashion have all been influenced and inspired by black culture.»

«I am committed to using my platform from this day forward to learn, to speak up about racial injustice and systemic oppression, and to identify ways to be a part of much needed change,» he said.

This week, Bieber’s Instagram feed — like those of many other artists — has focused on speaking out against racism.

«No lives matter until black lives matter,» he said on May 28.

«Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice,» he wrote the next day.

On May 31, he shared a graphic in reaction to the police officers involved in George Floyd’s death: «They’d rather let the nation burn than arrest 3 of their own…let that sink in.» On June 1, he posted one that said, «»Dear non black friends…. I’m paying attention to your silence» and another pointing out, «»It is not enough to be quietly non-racist, now is the time to be vocally anti-racist.»

He also took part in Black Out Tuesday, encouraged followers to vote and take action, and paid tribute to Breonna Taylor over the past few days.

Read Bieber’s latest post below.

KUWTK Recap: Nasty Kim-Kourtney Fight and Khloe’s Complicated Thoughts on Tristan

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The Season 18 premiere ended with an explosive throwdown between two sisters, which Nori calls «a direct result of their gluten-free diet.»

The woman behind Nori’s Black Book — a viral parody Instagram account written entirely in the voice of Kim Kardashian’s sassy 5-year-old daughter — is bringing her talents to TooFab.

Each week, «Nori» will be recapping new episodes of «Keeping Up with the Kardashians» and giving us HER take on all the family drama.

(NOTE: The below was not actually written by North West.)

After Kim and Khloe Kardashian’s vacation in the Bahamas with their kids, Kim hit New York for Fashion Week and to do press to promote the launch of her shapewear line, SKIMS, and the launch of her KKW collection with supermodel Winnie Harlow.

While in the car headed to dinner, Kim got a call from Khloe’s baby daddy and habitual cheater, Tristan Thompson. He told Kim he was in New York and he just saw her. Kim was surprised to get his call because even though they’re not feuding anymore, they’ve never been close either. Nevertheless, Kim invited Tristan to dinner.

It’s interesting to see mommy trying to move in a positive direction with Tristan. I won’t be, but it’s cute for her. – NW

After her call with Tristan, Kim Facetimed Khloe to tell her that Tristan called her and she invited him to dinner. Kim said that even though she brutalized him, she has decided to forgive him because he’s True’s dad and it’s what’s best. She referenced that Kris Jenner cheated on their dad and all of their friends forgave her, so it’s the same thing. Khloe said that it’s nice of Kim and she was beyond generous for inviting him to dinner. Khloe said the dinner sounded awkward.

When will we be forgiving and invite Jordyn to dinner? She’s Stormi’s mom! Do I not understand these rules? -NW

Back in LA, Kylie Jenner visited her Kylie Cosmetic Office. She felt amazing now that she’s 22, but she said that she feels like she’s 47. Kris updated her about her upcoming collaboration with Balmain and Olivier Rousteing. Balmain would be using the Kylie Cosmetic products on the models in their Paris Fashion Week show, which Kylie would walk in and close. Kylie and Kris agreed that the collaboration would be big for Kylie Cosmetics.

Auntie Kylie is 22 and she feels 47, but looks 63. Age is really just a number. – NW

Kourtney Kardashian took a month-long vacation in Italy, but she returned to work soon after. Her assistant ran through her schedule for her day and she had a lot going on including filming KUWTK and shooting in her home for Architectural Digest. She had anxiety knowing she wasn’t going to have any real privacy and that 40 people would be in her house.

The idea of having to work in order to earn money can be triggering when you don’t do it on a regular basis. – NW

Kourtney told Khloe that she hated her hair, she was over glam, and she didn’t want to film and maybe not film ever again. Khloe was speechless. Khloe said that Kourtney could’ve quit, but she didn’t and now they were right back where they left off which was confusing.

Khloe recommended to Kourtney that she should start her day with a prayer of gratitude, but Kourtney is visibly uninterested in what Khloe was talking about. Kourtney ignored Khloe, checked her phone and said, «I just have so much to do,»

Even though Auntie Kourt is ridiculous, I can’t blame her for not listening to Auntie Khloe. No one should be taking advice from someone who bedazzles Febreeze bottles. They’re clearly unstable. – NW

Back in New York, Kim announced to her friends that she invited Tristan to dinner. They were in disbelief. Tristan showed up alone and everyone was super friendly with each other and cracking jokes. Kim explained to the dinner table that she and Tristan used to not get along but now that’s over. Kim was pleased that dinner went well and it wasn’t awkward at all. Khloe FaceTimed Kim after to see how everything went and Kim assured her that the dinner went well and that they really like Tristan now.

Mommy’s friends at dinner were very D-List, so Tristan fit right in. When LaLa Anthony is the most famous person at the table you know it’s bad. – NW

Back in Calabasas, Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe all discussed the bill from their Costa Rica trip for North’s birthday. Kourtney was mad that she was the only one being sent a huge bill instead of production, since they filmed the trip for the show. Khloe jumped in and gave an opposing opinion, which upset Kourtney because she felt like Khloe was taking production’s side and not hers. Kourtney told Khloe not to involve herself, but Khloe said that if she can’t be involved then don’t talk about it around her.

To be clear, Auntie Kourt was the only one charged because she was not invited. She also refused to do glam or film the majority of scenes while on the trip. So yes, you received an invoice. Costa Rica was a work trip. You weren’t working, so production, nor myself will be covering your expenses. Take it up with HR. – NW

At Kylie’s house, Kendall Jenner helped Kylie create a look for the Balmain models for her Kylie Cosmetic collaboration. Since Kendall is a supermodel, Kylie wanted to practice her makeup looks on her and get advice from her on how to walk the catwalk.

If Auntie Kylie wanted to learn how to walk the catwalk she should’ve asked a real model. – NW

Later at Khloe’s house, Tristan came to visit with True. Khloe has an open door policy for Tristan to see their daughter whenever he wants. Tristan was supposed to go inside and eat with the kids, but Kim invited him to eat outside with her, Khloe, Kourtney, and Kris. Given their history, Khloe was surprised that Kim extended an olive branch to Tristan again. Khloe wasn’t completely comfortable because she hadn’t had a dinner with Tristan without True since they broke up. She wanted to set boundaries because it’s still a delicate time period. She wished she was asked first before Kim invited him to eat with them.

Tristan was in a lot of scenes this episode. I see where this is going. I’ve had to draw up a lot of contracts for many boyfriends in my day. I’ve also terminated many contracts. – NW

In Paris, Kris was getting ready and setting-up for the Kylie Cosmetics collaboration with Balmain. She was in Paris without Kylie though, because Kylie was sick and couldn’t make it on the plane. Kris had her see their family doctor in hopes that she would be well enough to come to Paris, but ultimately she was too sick to make the trip.

Kris had to press on without Kylie, but she was nervous about Olivier Rousteing’s feelings about Kylie not being there. Kris offered to ask Kendall to walk in the show, but Kendall turned her down because she had work obligations.

What they didn’t show you was Kris begging Olivier to let her walk in the show and he almost cancelled the whole collaboration because of her audacity. He said he’d rather lose millions than send Kris down his runway. – NW

Back in LA, Kim was going through Khloe’s closet telling her everything she hated. Khloe brought up Tristan. Khloe expressed that while it was nice of Kim to invite Tristan to dinner, they don’t need to be hanging out with Tristan for no reason. It hadn’t been a year yet since they broke up, so it’s a lot so soon. Kim said she gets it and she’ll try to do better.

Being in Khloe’s closet is like being in a Goodwill store. – NW

Later at Khloe’s house, Khloe confronted Kourtney about how she’s being rude when Kourtney thinks she’s just joking. Kim added that her communication is super negative and bad vibes. Kourtney felt like her attitude back to them is a reflection of their attitude towards her. Kourtney told them that they just don’t like change, but Kim and Khloe said that wasn’t true. It’s just that Kourtney has a bad attitude and she’s become a different person and not in the best way. Khloe wanted resolution but it seemed like Kourtney did not.

Because of her nasty attitude, I avoid auntie Kourt at all times. She has an attitude like it’s my fault her Tumblr page, POOSH, hasn’t taken off. – NW

Later, Kim met up with Jonathan at a sushi restaurant. Kim told Jonathan that Kylie has strep throat so she couldn’t go to Paris for her collaboration with Balmain. Kris had been calling Kim crying and asking her to take Kylie’s place because she’s in panic mode. Kim declined because she spent a lot of time separating her brand, KKW Beauty, from Kylie Cosmetics. Kim felt bad because Kris was begging and even bribed her with money and a jet to get her to go, but it wouldn’t make sense for her.

It’s all about the brand. We worked so hard on making KKW Beauty the more sophisticated and less successful version of Kylie Cosmetics. It didn’t make good business sense to attach ourselves to the Balmain collaboration. It would’ve just confused our consumers.

Kris tried to bribe me with $300,000 to go Paris and I told her to cry me a river. I don’t get out of bed for anything less than $1.5 million. – NW

Later, at Khloe’s house Kim, Kourtney, Khloe and Kendall talked about how Kris was desperate for someone to come to Paris to take Kylie’s place. Kim said that Kris was freaked out because she’s used to her and Khloe working no matter what, unlike Kendall and Kourtney. Kendall lashed out at Kim over her comments. Kendall said that she’s been sick and has had panic attacks and she works her butt off whether she’s sick or not. Kim reiterated that her and Khloe are the ones that will work no matter what and that Kourtney just doesn’t care.

This caused Kourtney to lash out at Kim. Kourtney said that she would eff Kim up if she brought it up again. Kim started to laugh in her face, only upsetting Kourtney more. Kourtney didn’t want to hear about work ethic as if Kim was better than her because she worked more. She told Kim that if she didn’t want to work hard and wanted to be a stay at home mom that would be fine. As she finished her statement, she threw her water at Kim and rushed her while Kim was on the ground.

Kim told her not to ever come at her like that again and that she would punch her in her face. Kourtney dared her to do it, and the girls got physical. Kim and Kourtney began to punch, kick, slap and scratch each other. Kim slapped Kourtney in her face multiple times. Khloe tried to break the girls up with no success. Kendall just stared in amazement. The episode ended on a «To Be Continued,» right after we saw Kim chasing Kourtney down the hall for one more slap in the face.

Penelope’s assault on her nanny makes so much sense now, her mother is a savage. This is a direct result of their gluten-free diet. Putting your hands on someone is never okay. Most jobs you would get fired for this type of unruly, violent behavior. However, this fight is good for ratings so I put a bonus in Auntie Kourt’s check this month.

I am working with law enforcement in an effort to press charges against Auntie Kourt for attacking mommy. I have given them a copy of this episode to be used as evidence. They will clearly see that mommy acted in pure self-defense, she’s the victim. We would sue, but Auntie Kourt doesn’t have anything. Not worth my time. – NW

«Keeping Up with the Kardashians» airs Thursdays on E!

Then Comes Baby? Everything Hailey & Justin Bieber Have Said About Wanting to Be Parents

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Justin on Improving His Mental Health So He Can ‘Be the Father I Want to Be’

 

In March 2019, the singer updated fans about his continuing struggle with mental health, explaining that he’d taken a step away from making music to become a person who can maintan relationships — and eventually raise kids. “So I read a lot of messages saying you want an album … I am now very focused on repairing some of the deep-rooted issues that I have as most of us have, so that I don’t fall apart, so that I can sustain my marriage and be the father I want to be,” he wrote. “Music is very important to me, but nothing comes before my family and my health.”

In March 2019, the singer updated fans about his continuing struggle with mental health, explaining that he’d taken a step away from making music to become a person who can maintan relationships — and eventually raise kids. “So I read a lot of messages saying you want an album … I am now very focused on repairing some of the deep-rooted issues that I have as most of us have, so that I don’t fall apart, so that I can sustain my marriage and be the father I want to be,” he wrote. “Music is very important to me, but nothing comes before my family and my health.”

Hailey on Kids Being a ‘Closer Reality’

 

“I love kids and I can’t wait to have my own. I would say that now, that’s a closer reality, but definitely not anytime soon,” the model told Vogue Arabia for her December 2018 cover story. 

“I love kids and I can’t wait to have my own. I would say that now, that’s a closer reality, but definitely not anytime soon,” the model told Vogue Arabia for her December 2018 cover story.

Justin on Looking Forward to Daddy-Daughter Dates

 

A July 2019 Disney theme park trip got the singer thinking about quality time with a future youngster — but didn’t hasten his plans to become a father. “Love dates with you, baby … One day I’ll be doing daddy-daughter dates … Not hinting at anything soon I’m not in a rush. I just wanna enjoy you by yourself for a while! #Disneyworld,” he captioned a pic of himself and his wife, who was sporting Minnie Mouse ears. 

A July 2019 Disney theme park trip got the singer thinking about quality time with a future youngster — but didn’t hasten his plans to become a father. “Love dates with you, baby … One day I’ll be doing daddy-daughter dates … Not hinting at anything soon I’m not in a rush. I just wanna enjoy you by yourself for a while! #Disneyworld,” he captioned a pic of himself and his wife, who was sporting Minnie Mouse ears.

Hailey on Her (Mild) ‘Baby Fever’

The star caused a stir in July 2019 by commenting on friend Kylie Jenner’s Instagram photos of her infant daughter, Stormi Webster. “Please stop giving me the most baby fever 😩 she’s the sweetest,” she wrote. 
                        When the comment made fans wonder if a baby Bieber was on the way, Hailey left another comment to clear things up. “Just admiring my friend’s beautiful daughter. Doesn’t mean I’m having babies anytime soon!” Comments By Celebs captured her responding to an Entertainment Tonight post about the baby buzz.
                         

The star caused a stir in July 2019 by commenting on friend Kylie Jenner’s Instagram photos of her infant daughter, Stormi Webster. “Please stop giving me the most baby fever 😩 she’s the sweetest,” she wrote.

When the comment made fans wonder if a baby Bieber was on the way, Hailey left another comment to clear things up. “Just admiring my friend’s beautiful daughter. Doesn’t mean I’m having babies anytime soon!” Comments By Celebs captured her responding to an Entertainment Tonight post about the baby buzz.

Hailey on Saving Body Art Space for Kid-Dedicated Tattoos

“I want more,” the model told Harper’s Bazaar of her tattoos in October 2018. “But I’m keeping space for my kids’ names, and certain sentimental things, and I don’t want to fill all the cute spots before … I get there.”

“I want more,” the model told Harper’s Bazaar of her tattoos in October 2018. “But I’m keeping space for my kids’ names, and certain sentimental things, and I don’t want to fill all the cute spots before … I get there.”

Hailey Hinting that She Has Baby Names Picked Out

Mrs. Bieber took questions from fans on Instagram in June, and revealed she may have some children names in mind already, although she didn’t share her actual moniker frontrunners. “What do you want to name your son or daughter?” a fan asked. “Won’t say 😝😝,” the model replied. 

Mrs. Bieber took questions from fans on Instagram in June, and revealed she may have some children names in mind already, although she didn’t share her actual moniker frontrunners. “What do you want to name your son or daughter?” a fan asked. “Won’t say 😝😝,” the model replied.

Hailey on Admiring Models Who Have Families

“I really love Christy Turlington and Claudia Schiffer, and Gisele Bündchen is the ultimate for me. She’s created such a career for herself; she’s married and has children,” Hailey told The Daily Front Row in September 2018. “That’s always been the goal for me. I want to create a career for myself, and then take it to another stage of being married and having kids. She’s someone I look up to because she’s done that really well.”

“I really love Christy Turlington and Claudia Schiffer, and Gisele Bündchen is the ultimate for me. She’s created such a career for herself; she’s married and has children,” Hailey told The Daily Front Row in September 2018. “That’s always been the goal for me. I want to create a career for myself, and then take it to another stage of being married and having kids. She’s someone I look up to because she’s done that really well.”

Hailey on Opting to Take Birth Control Despite the Skin Setbacks

In February, the one-day mom-to-be revealed that for the moment, she’s taking measures to prevent pregnancy. “Over the last few months, I’ve been on birth control, which I’ve never done before, and that threw off my hormones for sure and made my skin go off,” she told Refinery29. “I talked about it with my doctor and came to find it’s because the hormones from the birth control mess with your natural balance. You just have to be patient, let it happen, and let it even out. For me, I’d take that over having a baby right now, so…”

In February, the one-day mom-to-be revealed that for the moment, she’s taking measures to prevent pregnancy. “Over the last few months, I’ve been on birth control, which I’ve never done before, and that threw off my hormones for sure and made my skin go off,” she told Refinery29. “I talked about it with my doctor and came to find it’s because the hormones from the birth control mess with your natural balance. You just have to be patient, let it happen, and let it even out. For me, I’d take that over having a baby right now, so…”

This article was originally published by: People

Watch The Jonas Brothers Turn ‘Sucker’ Into a Jazzy Jam For NPR Tiny Desk Concert

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The Jonas Brothers took a break from their Happiness Begins arena tour to stop by the NPR offices for their first-ever Tiny Desk concert, which dropped Monday (Sept. 30).

The guys kicked their performance off with “Sucker,” transforming the No. 1 hit into a swinging jazz number complete with Joe Jonas brandishing a tiny, multi-colored tambourine and trading falsetto-tinged vocals with brother Nick Jonas.

After slowing things down with romantic album cut “I Believe,” the band incorporated the many toys and knickknacks scattered around the desk into their ‘80s-inspired single “Only Human.” (While Nick pounded out the song’s melodic hook on a miniature toy piano and Joe played around with a quacking buzzer, Kevin Jonas stuck to his trusty guitar.)

The three-song set ended with one last surprise: an impromptu “Happy Birthday” sing-along for Joe, who rang in the Tiny Desk Concert on his 30th birthday.

Watch the JoBros’ full performance below.

This article was originally published by: Billboard

Justin Bieber Shares Throwback Photo With Hailey Baldwin: ‘Where It All Began’

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Ahead of their rumored second wedding this weekend, Justin Bieber has shared a throwback photo of himself with Hailey Baldwin from about 10 years ago.

The Instagram photo shows a shaggy-haired Bieber flashing a big smile while standing closely to Baldwin, who is flashing a peace sign.

«My wife and I 🙂 where it all began,» Bieber captioned the photo.

The singer and model have been friends since they were teenagers, but that changed in 2016 when a romance began. The pair was legally wed last year in a Manhattan courthouse.

Bieber’s throwback pic drew reactions from some of his famous IG followers, including Justin Timberlake, who commented, «That’s incredible, bro!!!» Kylie Jenner added, «This is amazing.»

Bieber and Baldwin are reportedly set to have a traditional second wedding ceremony in South Carolina this weekend with friends and family.

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My wife and I 🙂 where it all began

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This article was originally published by: Billboard

A Look Inside Kanye West’s Sunday Service in Detroit Ahead of ‘Jesus Is King’ Event

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Kanye West straddled a couple of Sabbaths with a Sunday Service performance on Friday (Sept. 27) afternoon in Detroit.

The spirit was certainly right as West and his Sunday Service Collective — a 150-voice and nine-musician unit he’s assembled to perform his recent spate of gospel-oriented shows, which he launched in April at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — delivered 85 minutes of buoyant scripture at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre, a picturesque venue along the Detroit River where boats bobbed behind the stage to take part in the experience.

The show, which started more than 90 minutes late, came ironically on a day West was expected to release his highly anticipated new album Jesus Is King. Not a word was said about it onstage, but as the Sunday Service ended, West announced a surprise event, Jesus Is King: A Kanye West Experience, for Friday night at Detroit’s Fox Theatre.

Though he brought the star power, West was not the focus of the Sunday Service. Sporting a leather-jacket hoodie, jeans, white sneakers and, at times, shades, he only vocalized once, toward the end of «Father Stretch My Hands,» and played some electronic percussion on a couple of later songs, including a soaring rendition of «This is the Day (Psalm 118:24).» He spent most of the time enveloped in the center of the buoyantly choreographed collective, occasionally walking around the stage with North and Saint, his oldest children with wife Kim Kardashian, who also came on and off the stage throughout the set.

In West’s stead the heavy lifting was done by choir director Jason White, who served as pastor/emcee while conducting the ensemble as well as 2,000 local volunteers sitting in the crowd, who had been schooled on the arrangements during a two-day clinic and a lengthy morning rehearsal at the venue. It provided an invigorating 360-degree effect for the gospel adaptations, including «Eternal Life,» «Savior,» «Jesus Christ is the Light» and «We Serve a Great God» — part of which was set to Tracey Chapman’s «Fast Car» — as well as covers of Steve Green’s «Hallelujah, Salvation and Glory,» Richard Smallwood’s «Oh Lord, How Excellent» and the traditional «There is a Balm in Gilead.»

«We’re just people that love Jesus, and we just want to sing about him,» White told the Detroit crowd, which scooped up the 6,000 offered free tickets in less than 20 minutes the day before. «That’s all we’re here to say today — don’t forget about God.» Los Angeles pastor Jason Tyson delivered a brief sermon about the nature of God, and White also paid homage to Detroit’s musical history, from Motown to its rich gospel heritage, name-checking the Winans, Commissioned and especially the Clark Sisters, who the collective has been covering during its services. The iconic group’s «You Brought the Sunshine» closed Friday’s show, in fact, with West standing up towards the stage front members of the choir moving to the back of the stage wave at the boats as they walked off.

West has not yet announced any future Sunday Services nor a release date for Jesus Is King. Kardashian tweeted a handwritten track list on Sept. 27 that has not yet been confirmed, and the album is expected to include guest appearances by Ty Dolla $ign, Ant Clemons and Momo Boyd.

The Detroit show was locked in just four days prior and required the venue to reopen after wrapping its 2019 season during Labor Day Weekend. Sulaiman Mausi, co-owner of the Right Productions — which operates The Aretha for the city of Detroit — and the DOME Group, which is also putting on the Art of Cool festival in Durham, N.C., this weekend — said on Friday that. «Considering the magnitude of what he has been doing, and the fact that we are a family of faith, we didn’t give it a second thought. We support [West’s] movement and the impact it’s having on the world.»

Find highlights of Sunday Service below.

This article was originally published by: Billboard

Drake Celebrates ‘Nothing Was the Same’ Sixth Anniversary With Throwback Photos, Cake: See Pics

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Drake’s third studio album, Nothing Was the Same, celebrated its sixth anniversary on Tuesday (Sept. 24). Drizzy chimed in with some throwback photos from 2013 posted to his Instagram before the night was out.

«NWTS,» he captioned. Pics included the 6 God sitting on top of his roof, rocking a «September 24th» hoodie, various NWTS merchandise, and a CD cover of the album. He also took to his Instagram Story to post a photo of his Nothing Was the Same birthday cake, which was expertly decorated with the project’s artwork.

The LP successfully debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after selling 658,000 copies in first-week sales. NWTS would end up spawning seven singles total, which included «Started From the Bottom,» «Hold On, We’re Going Home,» «Worst Behavior,» «Too Much,» «The Language,» «Pound Cake,» and «All Me.»

Check out the pics below and give NWTS a spin if you didn’t yesterday.

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NWTS

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This article was originally published by: Billboard

 

Kesha Is Ready to ‘Inspire Joy’ — And Write Huge Pop Songs Again

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Singing about her personal trauma, Kesha became a #MeToo heroine and an industry symbol. But with a new album on the way, she’s focused firmly on the present — and on ‘writing the fuck out of some pop songs.’

«Follow me!” says Kesha, her long, newly brunette tresses blowing in the wind.

She’s biking a few feet ahead of me, leading us through a residential stretch of Venice, Calif. Every so often, she calls out a direction, pointing to the “killer palm trees” on one street we turn down — a human GPS wearing a fuzzy cheetah-print backpack with a tail that wags as she pedals. Ten minutes later, we arrive at a surprisingly empty stretch of Venice Beach that she calls her “secret hideaway.”

We lock up our bikes — hers is the same turquoise cruiser that paparazzi have photographed her on since at least 2017 — and walk toward the ocean, settling down on a blanket and towels she has brought. “I always have a bathing suit and a passport — always,” she says. “You never know when you’re going to find yourself wanting to go to a different country or a body of water.” The latter is, apparently, often: After she finished her most recent tour, Kesha went swimming with whales off the coast of a small island in the middle of nowhere.

When she’s home and has a rare day off, though, she’s usually here. “I just do this, pray for animals and jump in,” she says. Kicking off her slides and settling down on the sand, the artist born Kesha Rose Sebert looks much like any beachgoer, the tiger head on her one-piece peeking out from under a red Hawaiian shirt. “This is the only place I usually don’t get paparazzi,” she says — and over the hours we spend on the beach, and even on our ride later to her favorite dive bar near the fishing pier, no one seems to recognize her. Thanks in part to her decision to dye her signature wild blond waves, she can go incognito, “happy and free — no anxiety.”

DO NOT USE - ISSUE NOT OUT YET - BB23

It’s a welcome and still unfamiliar feeling for Kesha, 32, who has spent the past decade in an often glaring spotlight. Her debut album, 2010’s Animal, established both her talent for churning out hits (it became Kesha’s first Billboard 200 No. 1, and she has earned 2.5 billion U.S. streams to date, according to Nielsen Music) and her brash wild-child image. As her bombastic pop bangers climbed the charts — she has scored 10 Billboard Hot 100 top 10s, including the No. 1s “We R Who We R,” “TikTok” and “Timber” — the media started to equate their lyrical content with Kesha herself, painting her as a perma-plastered party girl. “Men glorify going out, getting drunk and hooking up,” she says. “As a woman, I came out and did it, and I was like Satan’s little helper.”

By 2013, she had her own MTV show, Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life, directed by her older brother, Lagan. A year later, everything changed: On Oct. 14, 2014, Kesha filed a civil suit against Lukasz Gottwald — the mega-producer known as Dr. Luke with whom she had collaborated on her biggest hits — accusing him of abusing her physically, sexually, verbally and emotionally over a 10-year period. He, in turn, denied the accusations and sued her for more than $50 million, alleging defamation and breach of contract for failing to turn in recordings she owed him under her contract on his label, Kemosabe Records. (Kemosabe started out in 2011 as a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment; though Sony won’t disclose specific financial details of that arrangement, major labels typically finance JVs and then, after expenses, split proceeds 50/50. SME now refers to Kemosabe, which in 2017 went dormant, as an imprint.)

It was only the beginning of what would become a lengthy, ugly legal battle. But in the crucible of that turmoil, Kesha experienced a creative transformation. Long before the explosion of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, artists like Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson expressed their support for her as part of #FreeKesha, an ongoing social media campaign aimed at getting her out of her contract. And then in 2017 — just months after news broke that Gottwald was no longer CEO at Kemosabe — she released Rainbow, an album of emotionally raw songs that showcased her stunning vocal range, no Animal-era Auto-Tune necessary. Though it still bore the Kemosabe imprint — and, at the time, a spokesman for Gottwald said it was “released with Dr. Luke’s approval” — Kesha says Rainbow was the first album on which she had full creative control, and it showed. The most poignant track, “Praying,” which chronicled how she overcame years of trauma, became an anthem for survivors of abuse and earned Kesha one of her first two Grammy Award nominations.

On Rainbow, a new Kesha emerged, and the industry embraced her. “I did the therapy,” she says on the beach today. And now, after this “huge purge of emotions,” she’s prepping her fourth album, due this December on Kemosabe/RCA, on which she revisits some of the big-pop sounds that launched her career. Largely co-written with her best friend and longtime collaborator, Wrabel (they met through Lagan when Kesha left rehab in 2014 after receiving treatment for an eating disorder — after which she also dropped the dollar sign from her name), as well as her songwriter mom, Pebe; Justin Tranter, Tayla Parx, Nate Ruess, and Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds; with production from Jeff Bhasker and Ryan Lewis, “it’s the happiness that I began my career with,” says Kesha. “But it feels more earned and healthier than ever.”

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In going from good-time pop star to symbol for an industry — and a movement — Kesha made the kind of personal, and creative, pivot that few artists manage to accomplish intact. Remaining an artist on her own terms will be a different kind of challenge entirely, especially when a handful of tracks from her new album can’t help but call to mind the now-fraught sounds of her time working with Gottwald.

And with the trial date for his defamation and breach-of-contract suit not yet confirmed, a great deal of uncertainty still hangs over Kesha’s future. A jury will decide whether she is liable, and if so, how much she might owe Gottwald in damages for, as he sees it, irrevocably hurting his career.

“There are so many what-ifs, and quite honestly, I’m not allowed to talk about it,” says Kesha. “And I’m really not used to not being an open book about everything — but I do have to defer to my lawyers on this one, and they’re just like, ‘Focus on the music, focus on your happiness and mental health, and we’ll deal with this.’ Doing that has been greatly helpful.”

And right now, she says, “writing the fuck out of some pop songs” is precisely what she needs to stay focused on the present. “I dug through the emotional wreckage, and now…” She trails off, perhaps momentarily caught in the past. “I can go back to talking a little bit of shit. I really wanted to put a solid footprint back into pop music, like, ‘I can do this, and I can do this on my own.’ I don’t know if this is my last pop record, but I want to have one where I go out with a bang.”

The day before Kesha met with Reynolds at Los Angeles’ Village Studios, she planned to write a slow song with him. But when she told Lagan, he suggested something totally different: something “big and epic.” (This was the Imagine Dragons guy, after all.)

She took his advice and ended up writing one of the album’s most epically IDGAF pop-rock anthems — with lyrics that feel like a pointed rebuke of the world’s perception of her both before and after the Gottwald legal suits: “We get it that you’ve been through a lot of shit, but life’s a bitch, so come and shake your tits and fuck it/You’re the party girl, you’re the tragedy, but the funny thing is, I’m fucking everything.” (While the album goes through final mixing, Kesha and her team cannot disclose song titles.)

“She’s not taking the high road, which is kind of the point,” says Lagan. “That’s originally what people really noticed about her, and I felt like her fans wanted that from her right now, especially when the world is so fucked up.” Or, as Kesha more succinctly puts it: “I got my balls back, and they’re bigger than ever.”

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At first, Kesha was hesitant to return to her early sound — one reminiscent of the earwormy hits Gottwald had crafted alongside Max Martin for the likes of Clarkson and P!nk by the time he heard Kesha’s demo. In 2005, she signed with Gottwald’s production company, Kasz Money, and his publishing company, Prescription Songs. He landed her a feature on Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” a Hot 100 No. 1, and major labels came knocking. By 2009, she had signed a recording contract with RCA; in 2011, when Gottwald founded Kemosabe, she joined the Sony imprint.

Kesha says that her earlier hits’ connection to that time in her life hasn’t tainted them for her. “When I play some of the poppier songs, people lose their shit, and those songs are my babies too,” she says. “It brings me so much joy to see people boogie and have the best time with their friends, and I shouldn’t take that away from myself.” But songs like “Die Young” in particular — as she has claimed in a since-deleted tweet — she felt forced to record and include on her albums, often in place of ones she felt better aligned with her own vision.

Over the course of making the new album, Kesha says, she proved to herself that she could find a balance between her early style and her more recent, introspective inclinations. “Emotions are forever,” she says. “Part of this album is resurrecting the fact that you can be a fucking mess in your head one day, and then you can also be glittered-up and have the best night of your life.”

Speaking of which: Kesha may have matured beyond her early brush-my-teeth-with-a-bottle-of-Jack vibe, but she’s not entirely tamed. Since finishing the Rainbow tour, she has caught bucket-list shows by Neil Young and Willie Nelson (she calls both the “real deal”) and enjoyed the occasional night out. “They are more few and far between than they were, let’s say, at 21 years old,” she admits. “But I’m not dead.”

One night in particular, Kesha and her crew went to see Elton John’s farewell tour in Los Angeles. The experience inspired a song with a piano intro that morphs into a bass-thumping anthem for a girls’ night. “I, of course, stand for so many things,” says Kesha. “But sometimes you just want to escape into a happy motherfucking song. It’s like a three-minute vacation, and I want to give that to people because I know I need that sometimes. Every time I’m sad, I put on [Carly Rae Jepsen’s] ‘Call Me Maybe.’ Every single time.” Lately, she has been listening to “positive, badass women” like Cardi B, Lizzo, Ariana Grande and Swift, who in 2016 donated $250,000 to help Kesha with her legal fees. (The two remain close friends.) “She has amazing integrity,” says Kesha of Swift.

RCA president of A&R Keith Naftaly has worked with Kesha for her entire career, and he believes that she can easily return to the same pop stratosphere that these women currently rule. “Even in a hip-hop-dominated landscape, Kesha will strike a chord with a contemporary global pop audience because her lyrics are right on time,” he says, pointing to how honest and specific storytelling like hers has been crucial to the success of RCA artists like Khalid, SZA and H.E.R.Plus, notes Naftaly, Kesha’s audience is still incredibly young.

“When ‘Tik Tok’ and ‘Your Love Is My Drug’ and ‘Take It Off’ came out, her audience was like, 9,” he says. “So now, a lot of her die-hard fans are in their early 20s, while a lot of her peers and their audiences have shifted into more of an adult-contemporary context.” Kesha, for her part, admits that she’s “not a 21-year-old bitch anymore, [but] I can still go onstage in assless chaps because I want to. And maybe one day, when everything is sagging and I don’t want to wear assless chaps anymore, I can sit on a stool and play country music.”

This article was originally published by: Billboard