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How Fifth Harmony Set Themselves Up for Solo Success

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Latest in Pop

Normani KordeiAlly BrookeDinah Janeand Lauren Jauregui are taking a break from Fifth Harmony.

The girl group announced Monday morning that they’re taking an indefinite hiatusafter six years together.

“After six years going hard, non-stop, we also realized that in order to stay authentic to ourselves and to you, we do need to take some time for now to go on a hiatus from Fifth Harmony in order to pursue solo endeavors,” the Twitter statement reads. “We are all very excited and grateful to be able to take this time to learn and grow creatively and really find our footing as individuals. In doing this we are allowing ourselves to gain new experiences, strengths and perspectives that we can bring back to our Fifth Harmony family.”

The group, which previously included Camila Cabello, first rose to fame in 2012 after coming together and finishing in third place on The X Factor. Over the years, the band enjoyed much success with hits like “Worth It” and “Work From Home.”

In December 2016, it was announced that Camila had left the group and has since been enjoying solo success. But Camila isn’t the only one who set herself up for a solo career. Dinah, Normani, Ally and Lauren have all made moves over the years to now allow themselves to venture out on their own.

Last year, Normani competed on season 24 of Dancing With the Stars. Her fierce dance moves helped her and partner Val Chmerkovskiy reach the finals, where they finished in third place. In October 2017, Billboard reported that Normani had signed a solo management deal with S10 Entertainment & Media, sparking rumors she was about to leave Fifth Harmony.

She continued to build her career outside of Fifth Harmony in 2018 by releasing a single called “Love Lives” with Khalid in February

Other members of the group have also released songs outside of Fifth Harmony.

In June 2017, Ally was featured on the Lost Kings song “Look at Us Now.” She also released the song “Perfect” with DJ Topic in January 2018. In addition to singing opportunities, Ally is also venturing into acting and is set to appear in season two of Freeform’s Famous in Love.

Dinah has also been working on her solo career in recent years. In December 2017, Dinah and Leona Lewis collaborated on a Christmas melody as a holiday gift for fans. Two months earlier, Dinah was featured on the song “Boom Boom” with RedOneDaddy Yankee and French Montana.

Lauren has also released multiple tracks outside of Fifth Harmony. In late 2016, Lauren was featured on Marian Hill‘s song “Back to Me.” The following year she also collaborated on “In Your Phone” with Ty Dolla $ign and “All Night” with Steve Aoki, as well as “Strangers” with Halsey.

So while the hiatus announcement might’ve come as a surprise to some fans on Monday morning, the group has been steadily building their solo careers over the years. Right now, they’re taking some time to focus on their own projects and—like they said in their announcement—they are “allowing ourselves to gain new experiences, strengths and perspectives that we can bring back to our Fifth Harmony family.”

How K-pop became a global phenomenon

No country takes its fluffy pop music more seriously than South Korea.

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Latest in Pop

They call it Hallyu, the Korean wave: the idea that South Korean pop culture has grown in prominence to become a major driver of global culture, seen in everything from Korean dramas on Netflix to Korean skincare regimens dominating the cosmetics industry to delicious Korean tacos on your favorite local menu. And at the heart of Hallyu is the ever-growing popularity of K-pop — short, of course, for Korean pop music.

K-pop has become a truly global phenomenon thanks to its distinctive blend of addictive melodies, slick choreography and production values, and an endless parade of attractive South Korean performers who spend years in grueling studio systems learning to sing and dance in synchronized perfection.

Hallyu has been building for two decadesbut K-pop in particular has become increasingly visible to global audiences in the past five to 10 years. South Korean artists have hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart at least eight times since the Wonder Girls first cracked it in 2009 with their crossover hit “Nobody” — released in four different languages, including English — and the export of K-pop has ballooned South Korea’s music industry to an impressive $5 billion industry.

Now, with South Korea hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang at a moment of extremely heightened geopolitical tensions, K-pop has taken on a whole new kind of sociopolitical significance, as South Korea proudly displays its best-known export before the world.

 

None of this is accidental. K-pop has become the international face of South Korea thanks to an extremely regimented, coordinated production system. More than any other international music industry, K-pop has been strategically designed to earworm its way into your brain — and to elevate South Korea and its culture onto the world stage.

How did we get here? Through a combination of global political changes, savvy corporatization and media management, and a heck of a lot of raw talent being ground through a very powerful stardom mill.

K-pop began in 1992 with one electric hip-hop performance

K-pop as we know it wouldn’t exist without democracy and television — specifically, South Korea’s reformation of its democratic government in 1987, with its accompanying modernization and lightening of censorship, and the effect this change had on television..

Prior to the establishment of the nation’s Sixth Republic, there were only two broadcast networks in the country, and they largely controlled what music South Koreans listened to; singers and musicians weren’t much more than tools of the networks. Networks introduced the public to musical stars primarily through weekend music talent shows. Radio existed but, like the TV networks, was under tight state control. Independent music production didn’t really exist, and rock music was controversial and subject to banning; musicians and songs were primarily introduced to the public through the medium of the televised talent show, and radio served as little more than a subsidiary platform for entertainers who succeeded on those weekend TV competitions.

Before the liberalization of South Korean media in the late ‘80s, the music produced by broadcast networks was exclusively either slow ballads or “trot,” a Lawrence Welk-ish fusion of traditional music with old pop standards. After 1987, though, the country’s radio broadcasting expanded rapidly, and South Koreans became familiar with more varieties of music from outside the country, including contemporary American music.

But TV was still the country’s dominant, centralized form of media: As of 1992, national TV networks had penetrated above 99 percent of South Korean homes, and viewership was highest on the weekends, when the talent shows took place. These televised talent shows were crucial in introducing music groups to South Korean audiences; they still have an enormous cultural impact and remain the single biggest factor in a South Korean band’s success.

As Moonrok editor Hannah Waitt points out in her excellent series on the history of K-pop, K-pop is unusual as a genre because it has a definitive start date, thanks to a band called Seo Taiji and Boys. Seo Taiji had previously been a member of the South Korean heavy metal band Sinawe, which was itself a brief but hugely influential part of the development of Korean rock music in the late ‘80s. After the band broke up, he turned to hip-hop and recruited two stellar South Korean dancers, Yang Hyun-suk and Lee Juno, to join him as backups in a group dubbed Seo Taiji and Boys. On April 11, 1992, they performed their single “Nan Arayo (I Know)” on a talent show

Not only did the Boys not win the talent show, but the judges gave the band the lowest score of the evening. But immediately after the song debuted, “I Know” went on to top South Korea’s singles charts for a record-smashing 17 weeks, which would stand for more than 15 years as the longest No. 1 streak in the country’s history.

“I Know” represented the first time modern American-style pop music had been fused with South Korean culture. Seo Taiji and Boys were innovators who challenged norms around musical styles, song topics, fashion, and censorship. They sang about teen angst and the social pressure to succeed within a grueling education system, and insisted on creating their own music and writing their own songs outside of the manufactured network environment.

By the time Seo Taiji and Boys officially disbanded in 1996, they had changed South Korea’s musical and performance landscape, paving the way for other artists to be even more experimental and break even more boundaries — and for music studios to quickly step in and take over, forming an entire new studio system from the remnants of the broadcast-centered system.

Between 1995 and 1998, three powerhouse music studios appeared: SM Entertainment (often referred to as SM Town) in 1995; JYP Entertainment in 1997; and YG Entertainment in 1998, created by one of the members of Seo Taiji and Boys, Yang Hyun-suk. Together, these studios began deliberately cultivating what would become known as idol groups.

The first idol group in South Korea appeared on the scene in 1996, when SM founder Lee Soo-man created a group called H.O.T. by assembling five singers and dancers who represented what he believed teens wanted to see from a modern pop group.

H.O.T. shared traits with today’s idol groups: a combination of singing, dancing, and rapping, and disparate personalities united through music. In 1999, the band was chosen to perform in a major benefit concert with Michael Jackson, in part because of their potential to become international pop stars — an indication that even in the ’90s, the industry was attuned to K-pop’s potential for global success.

That potential can be seen in the studios’ eager promotion of multilingual artists like BoA, who made her public debut at the age of 13 in 2000 and in the ensuing years has become one of South Korea’s best-known exports thanks to a brand built on raw talent and multicultural positivity.

Chartbreaker: Lauv on Writing ‘Beautifully Tragic’ Pop Music

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Pop singer LAUV steps from behind the curtain on solo hit “I Like Me Better.”

Vision of love

LAUV (born Ari Leff) began writing breakup songs when he was 13 — even though he had not experienced a broken heart. “I had never been in a relationship, so I don’t know how that works,” says the 23-year-old. “For whatever reason, I’ve always gravitated toward music that feels longing or beautifully tragic.”

Star power

When LAUV started at New York University in 2012, he set aside a solo career to focus on writing for others. But he didn’t get a publishing deal until he released solo track “The Other” that attracted attention. “It was my first song where I felt like I couldn’t give it away,” he says. “All of a sudden, labels and publishers were reaching out to me.”

A singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and producer, LAUV has co-written for Charli XCX (“Boys”) and cut hooks for DJ Snake (“A Different Way”). “My favorite thing is if I make something that at its core sounds classic and beautiful but the production [makes you say], ‘Oh, I haven’t heard that before,'” says LAUV. “If I can accomplish both those things in the same song, it’s a great feeling.”

Cool to care

LAUV thinks “I Like Me Better,” off his 2017 EP, LAUV, earned 127.5 million on-demand streams in the United States (according to Nielsen Music) because it’s an antidote to some anti-love pop songs populating radio. “I see a lot of people who want to pretend, ‘I’ll never fall in love, I’m fucking cool,'” he says. “But, we all want to fall in love.”

Justin Timberlake Dances with Wife Jessica Biel in New Music Video ‘Man of the Woods’

Justin Timberlake featured a special guest for his new “Man of the Woods” music video.

The “Filthy” singer, 37, was joined by his wife and The Sinner star, Jessica Biel, 35, for his the visual accompaniment of his latest album Man of the Woods, which he released at midnight Friday.

The video takes a romantic turn when the couple begins dancing inside of a barn alongside other couples, with Biel wearing a white dress and Timberlake wearing a red plaid shirt and beanie.

Timberlake is enjoying an impressive return to music. He released his new hit single “Filthy” on Jan. 5; his fourth full-length solo album, Man of the Woods, dropped Friday; and on Sunday, he’ll hit the field at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for his third Super Bowl Halftime Show appearance.

He and ‘NSYNC joined a star-studded lineup (including AerosmithBritney SpearsMary J. Blige and Nelly) in 2001. And in 2004, Timberlake took the stage with Janet Jackson to perform “Rock Your Body,” which ended in the infamous wardrobe malfunction dubbed “nipplegate.” Check out MAN OF THE WOODS below

2018 Grammy’s lineup is fantastic

Bruno Mars & Cardi B, Kesha, Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee

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Latest In Pop – Music’s biggest night just got even bigger, as more performers were announced Wednesday (Jan. 10). Bruno Mars and Cardi B will bring their remix of “Finesse” to the Grammy stage when the 60th Annual awards come back to New York City on Sunday Jan. 28.

Along with Bruno and Cardi, the Recording Academy revealed that 2018 Grammy nominees Luis Fonsi & Daddy YankeeKesha, and SZA will also join the roster. In addition, Alessia CaraKhalid and Logic will team up for a performance, taking the stage with a group of suicide attempt and loss survivors in a special performance of “1-800-273-8255.”

Previously announced performers include Childish GambinoLady GagaLittle Big TownPatti LuPoneP!nk, and Ben Platt.

Bruno Mars, who is the third most nominated artist of the night after JAY Z and Kendrick Lamar, has earned six nominations including album of the year and best R&B album for 24K Magic as well as record of the year for “24K Magic” and song of the year for “That’s What I Like.” Cardi B, who will make her Grammy debut this year, received two nods for “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” (best rap performance and best rap song).

Another Grammy first-timer, SZA, has five nominations this year: best new artist, best R&B performance (“The Weekend”), best R&B song (“Supermodel”), best urban contemporary album (CTRL), and best rap/sung performance (“Love Galore”) — making her 2018’s most Grammy-nominated female with five nods.

Kesha also earned her first-ever Grammy nominations this year, with two nominations for best pop solo performance (“Praying”) and best pop vocal album (Rainbow). Current three-time Grammy nominees Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee are up for record of the year, song of the year, and best pop duo/group performance (“Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber) after winning big at the Latin Grammys back in November 2017.

The show will be hosted by award-winning television personality and performer James Corden and will be broadcasted live on CBS at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

 

Ed Sheeran tops Spotify’s most streamed list

 

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Latest In Pop – While it was widely expected that Ed Sheeran would take the crown, the most streamed female artist in the UK might surprise you

Spotify has released its most streamed Music list of 2017 – the year when streaming officially became the biggest indicator of success.

While it’s no surprise that Ed Sheeran has topped the list with an impressive 6.3 billion streams worldwide, the female artist most listened to by UK users defies expectations.

Forget Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande or Beyonce – say hello to Dua Lipa, she is “hotter than hell”.

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Latest in Pop

Surpassing her more famous peers, the Albanian-born star’s new album New Rules has been streamed 464 million times worldwide.

She is followed closely by Rihanna, Grande, Swift and Beyonce in the UK, but none of the women feature in either the top five artist in the UK or worldwide.

Both Sheeran and Drake occupy the first two spots in both lists, with their album’s Divide and More Life respectively.

“Ed Sheeran absolutely dominated this year with the release of his record-breaking album, Divide,” said Spotify’s CEO Stefan Blom.

“There is no doubt that 2017 was The Year of Ed Sheeran, and we are thrilled that so many millions of music fans have discovered, listened to, and shared his music on Spotify. Congratulations to Ed on an amazing achievement.”

As for individual songs, Luis Fonsi’s summer hit Despacito occupies not one but two spots on the same list – in its original form and a remix featuring Justin Bieber.

Taylor Swift reveals Reputation track list, including Ed Sheeran and Future collab

Latest in Pop – Three days before the release of Reputation, Taylor Swift has unveiled the track list for her new album.
After the list leaked on social media, the singer officially shared the titles of the 15 songs on Instagram. With four of the tracks having previously been released as singles, the most notable reveal is “End Game,” a collab between Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Future.

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Latest in Pop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swift is listed as the sole executive producer on Reputation, a first for one of her albums. She’s joined by fellow producers Jack Antonoff, Max Martin, and Shellback.
See the full track list below.
1. “…Ready For It?”
2. “End Game (featuring Ed Sheeran and Future)”
3. “I Did Something Bad”
4. “Dont Blame Me”
5. “Delicate”
6. “Look What You Made Me Do”
7. “So It Goes…”
8. “Gorgeous”
9. “Getaway Car”
10. “King of My Heart”
11. “Dancing With Our Hands Tied”
12. “Dress”
13. “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”
14. “Call It What You Want”
15. “New Year’s Day”
Reputation will be available on Friday.

Taylor Swift Drops Heartfelt New Single ‘Call It What You Want’ Off Upcoming ‘Reputation’ Album — Listen!

Latest In Pop – Taylor Swift has graced fans with her latest single, “Call It What You Want.”
The new track, which dropped at midnight ET on Friday, was released as a lyric video which resembled a scrapbook with sketches and typewriter lettering.
The song feels very familiar in a lot of ways and, in some way, mirrors the narrative of “Look What You Made Me Do,” despite being a romantic ballad.
The similarities are apparent from the start, with lyrics like, “My castle crumbled overnight/I brought a knife to a gun fight/ They took the crown but it’s alright./ All the liars are calling me one/ Nobody’s heard from me for months/ I’m doing better than I ever was.”

However, the new single is also heavily romantic, with allusions to Swift’s real-life boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
“My baby’s fit like a daydream / walking with his head down / I’m the one he’s walking to,” she sings. “My baby’s fly like a Jetstream / high above the whole scene / loves me like I’m brand new.”
Swift also teased the track on Twitter with a short video that showed some brief home *movie* clips, giving fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse at *her* private life.
From a shot of the singer riding a horse in an idyllic field, to another shot of her painting a watercolor landscape and one of her drinking a glass of wine while playing a guitar, the sweet *shots* feel very poignant when set to her heartfelt new song. “Call It What You Want,” off Swift’s upcoming album, Reputation, is the latest in a long line of singles that she’s released in anticipation of the album’s release. Swift first released “Look What You Made Me Do,” in August, followed by “… Ready For It” and “Gorgeous,” which dropped last month.

Taylor Swift Ties Rihanna for Most Digital Song Sales No. 1s With Debut of ‘Gorgeous’

On the Hot 100, the song launches at No. 13.

The latest in Pop “Gorgeous,” the third song released so far from Taylor Swift’s album Reputation, due Nov. 10, blasts in at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Digital Song Sales chart (dated Nov. 11), with 68,000 downloads sold in the tracking week ending Oct. 26, according to Nielsen Music.

The song soars in at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, which blends streaming, airplay and sales data, as, powered by its official audio clip, it also bows at No. 16 on the Streaming Songs chart with 16.9 million U.S. streams. (While not a radio focus single, it additionally drew 3.6 million in all-format airplay audience in the tracking week.)

With the chart-topping start of “Gorgeous” on Digital Song Sales, Swift ties Rihannafor the most No. 1s in the list’s history: 14 each. Swift also extends her record for the most No. 1 debuts to 13.

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Latest in Pop

The first two tracks from Reputation each opened atop Digital Song Sales: “Look What You Made Me Do” roared onto the Sept. 16-dated chart with 353,000 sold, the greatest weekly total for a song in 2017, and “…Ready for It?” launched on the Sept. 23 ranking with 135,000 sold. The songs started at Nos. 1 and 4 on the Hot 100, respectively, with “Look” reigning for three total weeks.

 

It’s here!! Taylor Swift …Ready for it and it’s “Out of this world”

Taylor Swift and Joseph Khan released another mini-movie early Friday morning.

The duo, who previously collaborated on “Blank Space,” “Bad Blood,” “Wildest Dreams,” “Out of the Woods” and “Look What You Made Me Do,” teamed up to create “…Ready for It?,” the second music video from Swift’s forthcoming sixth studio album, Reputation (available Nov. 10).

Kahn has directed music videos for some of the biggest musicians in the world, including Christina AguileraBlink-182Mariah CareyEminemMaroon 5Shakira and Britney Spears.

Swift teased the first footage from her “…Ready for It?” music video via Instagram Monday. Kahn later tweeted it featuring some “homages” to anime: “Some obvious, some not so obvious.”

The video, rumored to be inspired by sci-fi movies like Blade Runner 2049 and Ghost in the Shell, features a scene in which Swift stands on a platform that reads: “They’re Burning All the Witches.” In that moment, she strikes a pose—as if nailed to a cross—and then emits lightning.

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Latest in Pop

Harry Styles finally leaks whether he’d ever reunite with One Direction

 Latest in Pop – As each member of One Direction drops more and more solo music, it’s hard not to wonder if the “indefinite hiatus” they’re on is actually a break like they said it was back in 2015 or a breakup disguised as a break. Well, you can rest easy, because according to Harry, a reunion will never be off the table for him. “It’s something I would never rule out doing,” when they asked if we’d ever see 1D join the ranks again. Do you think this is something directioners would like to see? I think yes.

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