meta-script30 Must-Hear Albums Coming Out In 2024: Green Day, Usher, Tyla & More | GRAMMY.com
A photo collage of Joe Talbot of IDLES, Tyla, ITZY, Kali Uchis, Usher, Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Dua Lipa, and Jacob Collier
(Top row) Joe Talbot of IDLES, Tyla, ITZY (Middle) Kali Uchis, Usher, Green Day (Bottom) Sheryl Crow, Dua Lipa, Jacob Collier

Photos: (Top) Matthew Baker/Getty Images; Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; JYP Entertainment (Middle) ANGELA WEISS via AFP/Getty Images; Scott Legato/Getty Images for iHeartRadio; Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Amazon Music (Bottom) Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Araya Doheny/FilmMagic; Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns

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30 Must-Hear Albums Coming Out In 2024: Green Day, Usher, Tyla & More

Record releases in 2024 run the gamut, from debut albums to highly-anticipated sophomore efforts and a slew of promising comebacks. Read on for GRAMMY.com's guide to albums coming out in 2024, including releases from (G)I-dle, Kali Uchis and Dua Lipa.

GRAMMYs/Jan 2, 2024 - 05:39 pm

The beginning of a new year is always a hopeful time. We wonder what awaits next, hope for better things to come, and trace goals to improve our lives. And through all these moments, music follows us as the soundtrack to a movie. 

2023 came with plenty of fantastic tunes, and 2024 is shaping up to be just as great. Right from the get-go in January, punk legends Green Day will release Saviors, while Kali Uchis will come forward with her second Spanish album, Orquídeas. Art-rock band The Smile will bring us  Wall of Eyes, and K-pop girl groups (G)I-dle and ITZY are also slated for new releases.

In February, Alabama Shakes’s Brittany Howard and country darling Gabby Barrett will both release their sophomore LPs, What Now and Chapter & Verse, respectively. Later on, Usher will return to the stage with Coming Home, and J.Lo will finally drop This Is Me… Now, the sequel to 2002’s This Is Me… Then.

Starting March, we can expect Bleachers' eponymous new album, the debut LP of South African revelation Tyla, Lenny Kravitz’s Blue Electric Light, and more — maybe even Dua Lipa’s long-awaited third album?

As you gear up for the new year, below is a guide to 30 highly anticipated albums coming out in 2024 that will inspire you even more.

(G)I-dle - TBA

Release date: TBA

Although there’s barely any info out there, (G)I-dle’s label Cube Entertainment confirmed to news outlet Ilgan Sports that the K-pop quintet intends to release their second full album in January.

The new album follows a slate of 2022 releases: EPs I Love and I Feel, and their first studio album, I Never Die. Known for self-produced, challenging concepts, the group had a stellar 2023 with the success of "Queencard," which topped several Korean charts and was one of the year’s most influential K-pop songs.

ITZY - Born To Be

Release date: Jan. 8

K-pop girl group ITZY have been dropping teasers to their third studio album, Born To Be, like breadcrumbs. They first released an eponymous single on Dec. 18, which will then be followed by "Mr. Vampire" on Jan. 2, and finally by the lead track, "Untouchable," on Jan. 8.

With 10 tracks, Born To Be marks the first time ITZY will release solo songs by each member (including Lia, who is currently in a health-related hiatus), and the first time all members participated in writing and composition. To celebrate the release, the group will embark on a world tour, starting in Seoul on Feb. 24.

Kali Uchis - Orquídeas

Release date: Jan. 11

Less than a year after the release of Red Moon in Venus, Colombian American singer Kali Uchis is back — this time with Orquídeas, her second Spanish-language album (fourth in total), set to drop on Jan. 11.

"The orchid is the national flower of Colombia, and we have more species of orchid than anywhere on earth," Uchis said in a statement. "I always felt distinctly intrigued and magnetized by the flower. This album is inspired by the timeless, eerie, mystic, striking, graceful and sensual allure of the orchid. With this vast scope of fresh energy, I wish to redefine the way we look at Latinas in music."

To give a taste of how this redefinition will sound like, the singer has shared three singles so far: "Muñekita" with Dominican rapper El Alfa and JT from City Girls, "Te Mata," and "Labios Mordidos" with Karol G.

Kid Cudi - Insano

Release date: Jan. 12

Kid Cudi's new album has been teased for most of 2023, ending up postponed for January. "I’m sorry for the delay everybody, but I’m a perfectionist. And things gotta be right," the rapper shared on X in September. But as the new year approaches, it looks like Insano will finally see the light of the day.

Carrying a stacked lineup of guest appearances — including Travis Scott, Pharrell Williams and A$AP RockyInsano will have more than 40 songs "between the main album and deluxe(s)," according to the rapper. "I wanted to make something undeniable and change my entire live experience. This album was made for tour next year. Get ready," he added.

Until then, you can listen to singles "Porsche Topless," "At The Party" with Travis Scott and Pharrell and "Ill What I Bleed."

Ana Tijoux - VIDA

Release date: Jan. 18

Chilean-French singer Ana Tijoux is set to release VIDA, her first album in nine years, next month. The record is her sixth studio effort, and follows 2014’s Vengo.

With the announcement, the hip-hop musician also shared reggaeton fusion single "Niñx," which was "born as a manifesto to the child we all have inside of us," she explained in a press release. "That living being that is capable of dreaming and building infinite castles of humanity and love."

In October came second single "Tania," which pays homage to her late sister. Both songs were produced by longtime collaborator Andrés Celis. Recently, Tijoux announced that she will go on her first U.S. tour since 2018, as well as a string of dates across Europe and a performance at Lollapalooza Chile.

Green Day - Saviors

Release date: Jan 19

According to a statement, "Saviors is an invitation into Green Day’s brain, their collective spirit as a band, and an understanding of friendship, culture and legacy of the last 30 plus years." The album is their 14th studio release, and follows 2020’s Father Of All Motherf—ers.

As of its contents, the pop-punk trio promises to approach "power pop, punk, rock, indie triumph" and varied themes like "disease, war, inequality, influencers, yoga retreats, alt right, dating apps, masks," and more. "It's raw and emotional. Funny and disturbing. It’s a laugh at the pain, weep in the happiness kind of record," they shared further.

Set to embark on a stadium tour starting May 2024, Green Day dropped three singles off the album to amp up the excitement: "The American Dream Is Killing Me," "Look Ma, No Brains!" and "Dilemma."

Neck Deep - Neck Deep

Release date: Jan. 19

"We’re so stoked to announce our new self-made, self-titled record," Neck Deep vocalist Ben Barlow shared in a statement. "With a return to roots approach, we made this record ourselves at our warehouse in North Wales, with Seb [Barlow, bass] at the helm, and the rest of us over his shoulder, like it was at the start."

This is the Welsh pop-punks’ fifth album, and sees the quintet "knowing ourselves and knowing our ability," explains Barlow. "It’s unapologetically us. We’re professional songwriters now and we’ve really honed in on what we’re good at — but it’s also about having fun and enjoying writing these tracks. And there are those little sonic signatures in the mix that even I can’t really put my finger on that just make it Neck Deep."

Out of 10 tracks, the band shared "Heartbreak of the Century," "Take Me With You," "It Won't Be Like This Forever," and "We Need More Bricks" as singles. One week after the album release, they will kick off a U.S. tour that runs throughout February.

Sleater-Kinney - Little Rope

Release date: Jan. 19

How do you navigate grief? This is a question that rock duo Sleater-Kinney (formed by Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker) attempts to explore in Little Rope, their 11th studio album.

In August 2022, Brownstein lost both her mother and stepfather in a car accident while they were vacationing in Italy. In the following months, she turned to her guitar to process the pain. "I don’t think I’ve played guitar that much since my teens or early twenties," she said in a press release. "Literally moving my fingers across the fretboard for hours on end to remind myself I was still capable of basic motor skills, of movement, of existing."

And so Little Rope slowly took shape — a record that "careens headfirst into flaw, into brokenness, a meditation on what living in a world of perpetual crisis has done to us, and what we do to the world in return."

Philip Glass - Philip Glass Solo

Release date: Jan 26

Legendary pianist and composer Philip Glass will release a new piano album in January, called Philip Glass Solo. The collection is described in a statement as "an intimate portrait" of the 84-year-old musician, where he "takes a new look at some of his most enduring and beloved piano works."

Recorded during 2020-2021 in New York, when he spent days at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Glass adds in the same statement that this album is "a document on my current thinking about the music" and that "the listener may hear the quiet hum of New York in the background or feel the influence of time and memory that this space affords."

The album features seven of his best, most renowned oeuvres, like the "Metamorphosis" series, the 1978 organ piece for the Dalai Lama "Mad Rush," and a reworked version of "Truman Sleeps" from the 1998 film The Truman Show.

The Smile - Wall of Eyes

Release date: Jan. 26

Comprising Radiohead members Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke with drummer Tom Skinner, The Smile received critical acclaim with their 2022 debut LP, A Light For Attracting Attention. On Jan. 26, they'll release sophomore album Wall of Eyes.

Wall of Eyes was recorded in Oxford and at the Abbey Road Studios, and produced and mixed by Sam Petts-Davies. A first single,  "Bending Hectic," was released in June featuring strings by the London Contemporary Orchestra, followed by the album’s title track in November. The trio will kick off an European tour in March 2024.

Brittany Howard - What Now

Release date: Feb 2

It’s been four years since the release of her soulful solo debut, Jaime, and Brittany Howard is finally ready to welcome us into her life’s new chapter. What Now is a 12-track collection recorded at the Sound Emporium and RCA Studio B in her hometown of Nashville.

The Alabama Shakes singer/songwriter also shared an eponymous lead single, which she described as "the truest and bluest of all the songs" in a statement. "It’s never my design to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I needed to say what was on my mind without editing myself. I like how it’s a song that makes you want to dance, but at the same time the lyrics are brutal."

In support of the album, Howard will embark on a U.S. tour with L'Rain and Becca Mancari starting February. She also shared second single "Red Flags" in November.

Gabby Barrett - Chapter & Verse

Release date: Feb 2

Chapter & Verse is the upcoming sophomore album by country star Gabby Barrett, due out Feb. 2. Written by Barrett and co-produced by Ross Copperman, the LP's 13 tracks document her journey as a singer, wife, and mother of (almost) three.

Barrett shared singles "Glory Days," "Cowboy Back," and most recently the ballad "Growin’ Up Raising You." On Instagram, she explained that the latter is "a very sensitive song for me," as it was written based on the experience of raising her firstborn, Baylah. "I’m only 23. I don’t have all the answers to everything. I have not got everything figured out. I am doing the best that I can while trying to raise other people to be the best people that they can be."

Zara Larsson - Venus

Release date: Feb. 9

According to a press release, Zara Larsson’s upcoming Venus is "a pop album fit for a goddess." It is said to find the Swedish singer "setting her own agenda – in part, by looking back on where she’s come from."

This is Larsson’s fourth studio album in total, and her third international one. In an interview with Billboard, she shared that Venus isn’t constricted to one single genre, and that "the real thread throughout the album is just my voice and me telling a story depending on what I’m feeling right now."

The album’s release is spearheaded by singles "Can't Tame Her," "End of Time" and "On My Love" with David Guetta. Larsson will also embark on a UK and European tour in February and March 2024.

Declan McKenna - What Happened to the Beach?

Release date: Feb 9

In his irreverent style, English singer Declan McKenna took it to Instagram to announce his upcoming work. "My third album What Happened To The Beach? is out 9th February," he wrote. My favorite third album yet. In my top three albums I’ve ever made of all time."

Following 2020’s Zeros, What Happened To The Beach? was primarily inspired by Unknown Mortal Orchestra and St. Vincent, and McKenna aimed to "distance himself from the soapboxing of his previous material," according to a press release. "Any time I tried to be too serious, the songs would get too heavy and the thing I was trying to get at, this idea of a release, was weighed down," McKenna said. "The songs sound a lot like the music I listen to."

To get a taste of his new style, McKenna shared singles "Sympathy" and "Nothing Works." In March 2024, he is set to tour the UK and Ireland.

Usher - Coming Home

Release date: Feb 11

Coinciding with his Super Bowl LVIII halftime show performance on Feb. 11, R&B star Usher will release his ninth studio album, Coming Home. This is his first solo effort since 2016’s Hard II Love, and marks his much-awaited return to the stages.

"We’ve put a lot of thought and creativity into this new album to tell a story that is open to interpretation and that will connect with people in different ways," Usher said in a statement. "I know this has been a long time coming for my fans and what I’ll say is that all good things come to those who wait. I hope you enjoy it once you hear it." 

The project is set to feature 20 tracks, including single "Good Good" with 21 Savage and Summer Walker.

Blackberry Smoke - Be Right Here

Release date: Feb. 16

With Be Right Here, southern rock band Blackberry Smoke wants us to enjoy the present. The album was produced by GRAMMY winner Dave Cobb, and recorded at the historic RCA Studio A and at Cobb’s Georgia Mae studio in Savannah, Georgia.

"We always track live together, but this time we had all our amps and drums and everything in the same room," said frontman Charlie Starr in a statement. "It’s just as natural and as real as possible. The last album was very raw too, but with this one I remember different times I would say, ‘I think we should redo that,’ and Dave [Cobb] was like, ‘No, leave it that way. That way it’s magical.’"

Following 2021’s You Hear Georgia, Be Right Here is the band’s eighth studio album. In support of the release, they announced a lengthy 2024 tour across the US, U.K. and Europe.

serpentwithfeet - GRIP

Release date: Feb. 16

R&B musician Josiah Wise — best known as serpentwithfeet — is unafraid to experiment in music. For his upcoming third album, GRIP, he extends that investigation to the Black gay clubs he grew up in and the intimacies of physical touch. 

According to a press release, "from the project’s start to its end, moments of sweat, indulgence, and tension can be felt through upbeat high-energy records as well as songs that find their home in the steamy bedroom moments."

Out Feb. 16, GRIP follows up on 2021’s Deacon and will feature 10 tracks, led by single "Damn Gloves" with Yanga YaYa and Ty Dolla $ign. The album also soundtracks Heart of Brick, serpent’s debut theater production which ran across the U.S. in the past months.

Idles - TANGK

Release date: Feb 16

British rock band Idles said in a press release that the meaning behind TANGK — their upcoming studio album — is an onomatopoeia for the "lashing way" they imagined their guitars sounding. Described as their most "ambitious and striking" work yet, the band’s fifth album is set to drop on Feb.16.

"TANGK. I needed love. So I made it. I gave love out to the world and it feels like magic. This is our album of gratitude and power. All love songs. All is love," said frontman Joe Talbot, reinforcing that TANGK is, first and foremost, an album focused on that feeling. The first taste of this project can be heard on the single "Dancer," which features LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and Nancy Whang.

Jennifer Lopez - This Is Me… Now

Release date: Feb. 16

Twenty years after the release of her iconic This Is Me… Then album — which featured hits like "Jenny from the Block" — J.Lo is back in the spotlight again. After rekindling with actor Ben Affleck in 2021, she announced the sequel to her 2002 release, This Is Me… Now, and stated in an interview with Vogue that the album represents a "culmination" of who she is.

A press release also describes This Is Me… Now as an "emotional, spiritual and psychological journey" across all that Lopez has been through in the past decades. Fans can also expect more details on the new-and-improved Bennifer, as many of the titles among its 13 tracks suggest, especially "Dear Ben Pt. II."

After months of teasing, the singer finally revealed the release date to be Feb. 16 — with first single "Can’t Get Enough" coming out Jan. 10.

Les Amazones d'Afrique - Musow Dance

Release date: Feb. 16

Formed in 2014 in Bamako, Mali, by three renowned music stars and social change activists (Mamani Keïta, Oumou Sangaré and Mariam Doumbia), the all-female supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique has since expanded to include several artists across Africa and the diaspora.

Blending a myriad of music styles with a pledge for gender equality and ending ancestral violence, they received critical acclaim with 2017’s République Amazone and 2020’s Amazones Power, and aim even bigger for their upcoming third record, Musow Dance.

For that, a press release states that the group worked with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, Modest Mouse, Taylor Swift) to "embrace a powerful pop sound led by 808s and glitchy synths and drawing from contemporary hip-hop and trap influences," expanding their already rich sonic tapestry into something extraordinary.

Chromeo - Adult Contemporary

Release date: Feb. 16

2024 marks 20 years since Chromeo arrived in the music scene with the flashy, funky She’s in Control. To celebrate this milestone and to prove that they still have more to give, the Montreal duo will release their sixth studio album, Adult Contemporary, on February 16.

Compared to the works of Steely Dan in a press release, the album is said to explore "what it means to be funky in your 30s and 40s," and features 14 songs written and produced by the duo. "Adult Contemporary is a meditation on modern, mature relationships, which means: If we gotta sing about curling irons, so be it," said vocalist Dave 1.

Chromeo released four singles off the project so far: "Personal Effects," "(I Don't Need a) New Girl," "Replacements" with La Roux and "Words with You."

MGMT - Loss of Life

Release date: Feb. 23

MGMT have announced their first album in six years since 2018’s Little Dark Age. Loss of Life features 10 tracks, including their first-ever album feature with French singer Christine and the Queens.

In a statement, the Connecticut duo said that they are "very proud of this album and the fact that it was a relatively painless birth after a lengthy gestation period." Over on Instagram, they added that Loss of Life is "an album that brandishes the power of love in the face of inevitable human death and decay, and hopes to encourage collective comfort in remembering the universe’s inextinguishable yet often brutal desire to find balance and harmony. Or something." Singles "Mother Nature" and "Bubblegum Dog" are out now.

Allie X - Girl With No Face

Release date: Feb. 23

"It’s very hard to sum up a body of work you’ve spent thousands of hours on, but here’s an attempt," pop visionary Allie X said about her upcoming album, Girl With No Face, in a statement. "There is a death in this music, as well as the beginning of a rebirth. I needed to make something that came completely from me." 

Entirely self-produced, Girl With No Face is preceded by "Black Eye" and an eponymous single, and is slated to release on Feb.23. According to the Canadian singer/songwriter, its 11 tracks are "angry, stubborn, honest, dry, melodramatic, fast, and indulgent." 

Jacob Collier - Djesse Vol. 4

Release date: Feb. 29

Virtuoso Jacob Collier is also set to conclude his Djesse series in 2024 with the release of Djesse Vol. 4.The album follows 2021’s GRAMMY-nominated Djesse Vol. 3, and symbolizes the end of an era for the English artist.

"Five years ago, in the wake of a musical journey that had begun in solitude, I set out on an epic adventure with a big dream — a collaborative quadruple album," Collier said in a statement. "In many ways, Djesse Vol. 4 is an album that’s taken me 30 years to make. It is, to me, a celebration of humankind — the way that I see it and hear it, built with musicians from every corner of the world. To be culminating this collaborative experiment with a 100,000 voice audience-choir, a sound that permeates the heart of this album, feels like I’ve found the heart of it."

Even before release, Djesse Vol. 4 is already notable: 2022 standalone single "Never Gonna Be Alone," featuring Lizzy McAlpine and John Mayer, was nominated for a GRAMMY award for Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals, and later revealed to be included in the tracklist. Other singles comprise "Wellll," "Little Blue" with Brandi Carlile, "Wherever I Go" with Lawrence and Michael McDonald and "Witness Me" with Shawn Mendes, Stormzy, and Kirk Franklin.

Bleachers - Bleachers

Release date: March 8

Jack Antonoff is one of the most important hands shaping the sound of current pop. His songwriting and producing skills crafted hits for a slew of artists, from Taylor Swift to Lana del Rey, and earned him eight GRAMMYs so far (he is also nominated for the 2024 GRAMMYs in the Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical category alongside D'Mile, Metro Boomin, Hit-Boy and Daniel Nigro). In addition to that, Antonoff also fronts rock band Bleachers, and is gearing up to release its eponymous fourth studio album.

Lead track "Modern Girl" and second offering "Alma Mater," featuring Lana del Rey, exemplify the press release description of the album as bittersweet "music for driving on the highway to, for crying to and for dancing to at weddings." Bleachers offers a "reassuringly touchable and concrete" sentiment, the release continued, to "exist in crazy times but remember what counts." Bleachers will tour the U.K. in March before heading to the U.S. with band Samia in May and June.

Tyla - Tyla

Release date: March 1

2023’s revelation Tyla is ready to dazzle the world even more with her eponymous debut LP. Coming out March 1, it will feature the viral hit and lead single "Water" — which is nominated for Best African Music Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs alongside "Amapiano" by ASAKE & Olamide, Burna Boy's "City Boys," "UNAVAILABLE" from Davido feat. Musa Keys, and Arya Starr's "Rush" — as well as other tracks like "Truth or Dare," "Butterflies" and "On and On."

"I cannot wait for the world to experience an African Popstar," the singer shared on Instagram. "Everything that’s happening has surpassed anything I could have dreamt of. African music is going global and I’m so blessed to be one of the artists pushing the culture." 

Tyla will be touring Europe and the U.S. in spring.

Lenny Kravitz - Blue Electric Light

Release date: March 15

In October, Lenny Kravitz kicked off his return to music with the Star Wars-inspired "TK421" and its NSFW music video — in which the singer appears naked from behind in several scenes. The single spearheads his twelfth studio album and first double LP, Blue Electric Light, set to release on March 15.

Blue Electric Light is Kravitz’s first effort since 2018’s Raise Vibration. He recorded the album’s 12 tracks entirely in the Bahamas, and played most of the instruments himself, in collaboration with Craig Ross. Kravitz has recently announced a European tour in support of the album, starting in June.

Sheryl Crow - Evolution

Release date: March 29

After saying she wouldn’t make another album following 2018’s Threads, Sheryl Crow changed her mind — on March 29, her twelfth studio LP, Evolution, will be out. "I said I’d never make another record, though there was no point to it," she said in a statement. "But this music comes from my soul. And I hope whoever hears this record can feel that."

Talking about the creative process of the album, the nine-time GRAMMY winner shared: "I started off sending one song to [producer] Mike [Elizondo], which turned into four, and it was going to be an EP. But the songs just kept flowing out of me, four songs turned into nine and it was pretty obvious this was an album." With the announcement, Crow also shared lead single "Alarm Clock."

Bring Me the Horizon - Post Human: Nex Gen

Release date: TBA

Post Human: Nex Gen was first announced in June 2023, leaving Bring Me the Horizon fans excited for the follow-up to the band’s 2020 EP, Post Human: Survival Horror. However, in August, frontman Oliver Sykes shared on Instagram that due to "unforeseen circumstances," the band was "unable to complete the record to the standard we’d be happy with," postponing its original Sept. 15 release.

A new release date hasn’t been confirmed, but Sykes affirms that it is "close." The album is preceded by singles "LosT," "AmEN!" featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert and Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw, and "DArkSide." On Dec. 22, the band also announced that they have split ways with keyboardist Jordan Fish, but that their upcoming UK and Ireland tour in January will continue as expected.

Dua Lipa - TBA

Release date: TBA

The stunning Future Nostalgia brightened early pandemic days of 2020, and since then the world can’t get enough of Dua Lipa. In 2023, the superstar reached new heights with Barbie movie soundtrack "Dance The Night," earning two GRAMMY nominations. In the Song Of The Year category, the track is up against Lana del Rey's "A&W," Swift's "Anti-Hero," "Butterfly" by Jon Batiste, Miley Cyrus' "Flowers," SZA's "Kill Bill," Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" and "Vampire" by Olivia Rodrigo. In the Best Song Written for Visual Media category, competitors are "Barbie World," "I'm Just Ken" and "What Was I Made For?" from Barbie The Album, and "Lift Me Up" from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

But she has even more in store for 2024. With the release of "Houdini" in November, the English-Albanian singer ushered in a new chapter — her third album, title and due date yet to be announced, is well on its way.

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Pop Music

Usher Collaborator Pheelz Talks New EP
Pheelz

Photo: Williams Peters

interview

Meet Usher Collaborator Pheelz, The Nigerian Producer & Singer Who Wants You To 'Pheelz Good'

After working with Usher on two tracks for his latest album, 'Coming Home,' Lagos' Pheelz is looking inward. His new EP, 'Pheelz Good II' drops May 10 and promises to be an embrace of the artist's unabashed self.

GRAMMYs/May 9, 2024 - 01:15 pm

If you were online during the summer of 2022, chances are you’ve heard Pheelz’s viral hit single "Finesse." The swanky Afro-fusion track (featuring fellow Nigerian artist Bnxn) ushered in a world of crossover success for Pheelz, who began his career as a producer for the likes of Omah Lay, Davido, and Fireboy DML.

Born Phillip Kayode Moses, Pheelz’s religious upbringing in Lagos state contributed to his development as a musician. He manned the choir at his father’s church while actively working on his solo music. Those solo efforts garnered praise from his peers and music executives, culminating in Pheelz's debut EP in 2021. Hear Me Out saw Pheelz fully embrace his talent as a vocalist, songwriter, and producer. 

"I feel important, like I’m just molding clay, and I have control over each decision," Pheelz tells GRAMMY.com about creating his own music. 

2022 saw the release of the first two tapes in his Pheelz Good trilogy: Pheelz Good I and Pheelz Good (Triibe Tape), which was almost entirely self-produced. The 29-year-old's consistency has paid off: he produced and sang on Usher’s "Ruin," the lead single from his latest album Coming Home, and also produced the album's title track featuring Burna Boy. But Pheelz isn't only about racking up big-name collaborators; the self-proclaimed African rockstar's forthcoming projects will center on profound vulnerability and interpersonal honesty. First up: Pheelz Good II EP, out May 10, followed by a studio album in late summer.

Both releases will see the multi-hyphenate "being unapologetically myself," Pheelz tells GRAMMY.com. "It will also be me being as vulnerable as I can be. And it’s going to be me embracing my "crayge" [crazy rage]...being myself, and allowing my people to gravitate towards me."

Ahead of his new project, Pheelz spoke with GRAMMY.com about his transition from producer artist, designing all his own 3D cover art, his rockstar aesthetic, and what listeners can expect from Pheelz Good II.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

What sparked your transition from singing in church to realizing your passion for creating music?

For me, it wasn’t really a transition. I just always loved making music so for me I felt like it was just wherever I go to make music, that’s where I wanna be. I would be in church and I was the choirmaster at some point in my life, so I would write songs for Sunday service as well. And then I would go to school as well and write in school, and people heard me and they would love it. And I would want to do more of that as well. 

A friend of my dad played some of my records for the biggest producers in Nigeria back then and took me on as an intern in his studio. I guess that’s the transition from church music into the industry. My brothers and sisters were in the choir, but that came with the job of being the children of the pastor, I guess. None of them really did music like me; I’m the only one who took music as a career and pursued it.

You made a name for yourself as a producer before ever releasing your music, earning Producer Of The Year at Nigeria’s Headies Awards numerous times. What finally pushed you to get into the booth?

I’ve always wanted to get into the booth. The reason why I actually started producing was to produce beats for songs that I had written. I’ve always been in the booth, but always had something holding me back. Like a kind of subconscious feeling over what my childhood has been. I wasn’t really outspoken as a child growing up, so I wouldn’t want people to really hear me and would shy away from the camera in a sense. I think that stuck with me and held me back. 

But then COVID happened and then I caught COVID and I’m like Oh my god and like that [snaps fingers] What I am doing? Why am I not going full steam? Like why do I have all this amazing awesomeness inside of me and no one gets to it because I’m scared of this or that?

There was this phrase that kept ringing in my head: You have to die empty. You can’t leave this earth with all of this gift that God has given you; you have to make sure you empty yourself. And since then, it’s just been back-to-back, which just gave me the courage.  

How did you react to " Finesse" in former President Barack Obama’s annual summer playlist in 2022?

Bro, I reacted crazy but my dad went bananas. [Laughs.] I was really grateful for that moment, but just watching my dad react like that to that experience was the highlight of that moment for me. He's such a fan of Barack Obama and to see that his son’s music is on the playlist, it just made his whole month. Literally. He still talks about it to this day. 

Experiences like that just make me feel very grateful to be here. Life has really been a movie, just watching a movie and just watching God work and being grateful for everything.

At first he [my dad] [didn’t support my career] because every parent wants their child to be a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer. But when he saw the hunger [I have], and I was stubborn with [wanting] to do music, he just had to let me do it. And now he’s my number one fan. 

Your latest single, "Go Low" arrived just in time for festival season. What was it like exploring the live elements of your art at SXSW and your headlining show in London at the end of April?

I have always wanted to perform live. I’ve always loved performing; Pheelz on stage is the best Pheelz. Coming from church every Sunday, I would perform, lead prayers and worship, so I’ve always wanted to experience that again.

Having to perform live with my band around the world is incredible man. And I’ll forever raise the flag of amazing Afro live music because there’s a difference, you know? [Laughs.] There are so many elements and so many rhythms and so many grooves

I’ve noticed that much of your recent cover art for your singles and EPs is animated or digitally crafted. What’s the significance, if any, of this stylistic choice?

It still goes back to my childhood because I wasn’t expressive as a child; I wouldn’t really talk or say how I felt. I’d rather write about it, write a song about it, write a poem about it, or draw about it. I’d draw this mask and then put how I’m feeling into that character, so if I was angry, the mask would be raging and just angry.

The angry ones were the best ones, so that stuck with me even after I started coming out of my shell and talking and being expressive; that act of drawing a mask still stuck with me. And then I got into 3D, and I made a 3D version of the mask and I made a 3D character of the mask. So I made that the main character, and then I just started making my lyric videos, again post-COVID, and making them [lyric videos] to the characters and making the actual video mine as well.

In the future, I’m gonna get into fashion with the characters, I’m gonna get into animation and cartoons and video games, but I just wanna take it one step at a time with the music first. So, in all of my lyric videos, you get to experience the characters. There’s a fight [scene] among them in one of the lyric videos called "Ewele"; there is the lover boy in the lyric video for "Stand by You"; there are the bad boys in the lyric video for "Balling." They all have their own different characters so hopefully in the near future, I will get to make a feature film with them and just tell their story [and] build a world with them. I make sure I put extra energy into that, make most of them myself so the imprint of my energy is gonna be on it as well because it’s very important to me.

You and Usher have a lengthy working relationship. You first performed together in 2022 at the Global Citizen Festival, then produced/co-wrote "Coming Home" and "Ruin." Take us through the journey of how you two began collaborating.

It started through a meeting with [Epic Records CEO] L.A. Reid; he was telling me about the album that they were working on for Usher and I’m like, "Get me into the studio and lemme see what I can cook up." And they got me into the studio, [with Warner Records A&R] Marc Byers, and I wrote and produced "Coming Home." I already had "Ruin" a year before that. 

["Ruin"] was inspired by a breakup I just went through. Some of the greatest art comes from pain, I guess. That record was gonna be for my album but after I came home I saw how L.A. Reid and Usher reacted and how they loved it. I told them, "I have this other song, and I think you guys would like it for this album." And I played "Ruin," and the rest was history.

Before your upcoming EP, you’ve worked with Pharrell Williams, Kail Uchis, and the Chainsmokers in the studio. What do you consider when selecting potential collaborators?

To be honest, I did not look for these collabs. It was like life just brought them my way, because for me I’m open to any experience. I’m open to life; I do it the best I can at any moment, you understand? 

Having worked with Pharrell now, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, and the Chainsmokers, I’m still shocked at the fact that this is happening. But ultimately, I am grateful for the fact that this is happening. I am proud of myself as well for how far I’ve come. Someone like Timbaland — they are literally the reason why I started producing music; I would literally copy their beats, and try to sound like them growing up. 

[Now] I have them in the same room talking, and we’re teaching and learning, making music and feeding off of each others’ energy. It’s a dream come true, literally.

What's it like working with am electro-pop group like the Chainsmokers? How’d you keep your musical authenticity on "PTSD"?

That experiment ["PTSD"] was actually something I would play with back home. But the crazy thing is, it’s gonna be on the album now, not the EP. I would play it back home, like just trying to get the EDM and Afrohouse world to connect, cause I get in my Albert Einstein bag sometimes and just try and experiment. So when I met the Chainsmokers and like. "Okay, this is an opportunity to actually do it now," and we had a very lengthy conversation. 

We bonded first as friends before we went into the studio. We had an amazing conversation talking about music, [them] talking about pop and electronic music, and me talking about African music. So it was just a bunch of producers geeking out on what they love to do. And then we just talk through how we think the sound would be like really technical terms. Then we get into the studio and just bang it out. Hopefully, we get to make some more music because I think we can create something for the world together.

I’ve noticed you dress a bit eccentrically. Have you always had this aesthetic?

I’ve always dabbled in fashion. Even growing up, I would sketch for my sister and make this little clothing, so like I would kick up my uniform as well, make it baggy, make it flare pants, make it fly. 

I think that stuck with me until now, trying different things with fashion. And now I have like stylists I can talk to and throw ideas off of and create something together. So yeah, I want to get into the fashion space and see what the world has in store for me. 

What can fans expect as you’re putting the finishing touches on your upcoming EP Pheelz Good II and your album?

Pheelz Good II, [will be] a close to the Pheelz Good trilogy of Pheelz Good I, Pheelz Good Triibe Tape and Pheelz Good II. The album is going to be me being unapologetically myself still. But it will also be me being as vulnerable as I can be. 

It’s going to be me embracing my crayge [crazy rage]. Like just embracing me unapologetically and being me, being myself, and allowing my people to gravitate towards me, you get me. But I’m working on some really amazing music that I am so proud of. I’m so proud of the EP and the album.

Mr. Eazi’s Gallery: How The Afrobeats Star Brought His Long-Awaited Album To Life With African Art

Jennifer Lopez and Zendaya pose for a photo together at the 2024 Met Gala
Jennifer Lopez and Zendaya attend The 2024 Met Gala

Photo: Kevin Mazur/MG24/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

list

2024 Met Gala Red Carpet: Music Icons & Celebrities Charm In The "Garden of Time" Including Bad Bunny, Zendaya, Doja Cat & More

From groundbreaking florals to silhouettes in black and piles of tulle, discover all of the spell-binding looks worn by music icons on the Met Gala red carpet in celebration of "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion."

GRAMMYs/May 6, 2024 - 10:52 pm

This year's Met Gala invited guests to step into the enchanting "Garden of Time" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where fashion meets fantasy. Celebrating the Met's exhibit "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion," the first Monday in May saw stars transform the red carpet into a vibrant display of sartorial storytelling. The theme showcased a collection too delicate to wear but alive with the stories of fashion's past.

From co-chairs Zendaya and Bad Bunny to Tyla and Jennifer Lopez, see how music icons and film stars embodied this year's theme with spectacular flair. The gala not only highlighted the sensory and emotional richness of fashion but also set the stage for a night of memorable styles — groundbreaking florals, tiered tulle and all. 

Explore the full spectrum of this year's enchanting looks from fashion's grandest night in the showcase below.

Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny at the 2024 Met Gala

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez at the 2024 Met Gala

Photo: Kevin Mazur/MG24/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Zendaya

Zendaya at the 2024 Met Gala

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Tyla

Tyla at the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Glover

Donald Glover at the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Stray Kids

K-pop group Stray Kids at the 2024 Met Gala

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste at the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah at the 2024 Met Gala

John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images

Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Christian Cowan and Sam Smith

Christian Cowan and Sam Smith at the 2024 Met Gala

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Jack Harlow

Jack Harlow at the 2024 Met Gala

Marleen Moise/Getty Images

Teyana Taylor

Teyana Taylor at the 2024 Met Gala

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande at the 2024 Met Gala

Kevin Mazur/MG24/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Rosalía

Rosalia attends the 2024 Met Gala

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Laufey

Laufey at the 2024 Met Gala

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Shakira

Shakira at the 2024 Met Gala

John Shearer/WireImage

Doja Cat

Doja Cat attends the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

FKA Twigs, Stella McCartney, Ed Sheeran & Cara Delevingne

FKA Twigs and Ed Sheeran on the 2024 Met Gala red carpet

John Shearer/WireImage

Lana Del Ray

Lana Del Ray at the 2024 Met Gala

Kevin Mazur/MG24/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Karol G

Karol G at the 2024 Met Gala

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X at the 2024 Met Gala

John Shearer/WireImage

Charli XCX

Charli XCX at the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Cardi B

Cardi B at the 2024 Met Gala

Gotham/Getty Images

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa at the 2024 Met Gala

Gotham/Getty Images

Lizzo

Lizzo at the 2024 Met Gala

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Eryka Badu

Eryka Badu at the 2024 Met Gala
Danny L Harle attends Last Days Opera After Party at Chateau Marmont on February 06, 2024 in Los Angeles
Danny L Harle

Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Photonia

interview

Danny L Harle's Quest For Pop Euphoria: How Working With Dua Lipa Led To A New Level Of Creative Joy

The songwriter and producer talks about crafting Dua Lipa’s ‘Radical Optimism’ and the UK’s Eurovision entry for 2024. "It was all about making space for the great emotion of the song," Harle says.

GRAMMYs/May 6, 2024 - 01:51 pm

**"I’ve got an obsessive mind," admits producer Danny L Harle. "I often can't sleep at night because I've got melodies circling in my head. I get haunted by melodies, and I think that's why some people trust me, because they know that I will not let it go unless I think it's absolutely perfect."

That dedication to crafting powerful pop melodies has resulted in a treasure trove of earworms on Dua Lipa’s new album Radical Optimism. Harle was recruited by Lipa as one of the album’s co-producers, alongside Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and songwriters Tobias Jesso Jr and Caroline Ailin.

It's no surprise that Harle was recruited to craft a record that seeks to find light and happiness where darkness prevails. Since his 2015 debut EP Broken Flowers, Harle has created dance-pop that examined the relationship between melancholia and euphoria, as well as the grandeur and escapism of a rave. 

After releasing a string of singles via PC Music, Harle dropped his first album, Harlecore, in 2021 with Mad Decent. The ecstatic spirit of Harlecore, which is centered around a virtual rave headed by four imaginary DJs, echoes in Harle’s latest collaboration as co-writer and producer of the UK’s Eurovision song, "Dizzy" by Olly Alexander. 

"There is good pop music and more algorithmic pop music, pop music which is more guaranteed to work and is less interesting," Harle says. "I just really like good pop music, and that, for me, always seems to start from my research with people."

It was Harle’s naturally synergistic approach to collaboration that led to his work with Lipa. He has also worked with yeule on their album Glitch Princess, and the likes of Charli XCX. But it was his production and writing on  singer Caroline Polachek's  debut solo album that caught Dua Lipa's ear. "She appreciated the spirit of collaboration with that album and wanted me to make her album."

Read below to get a taste of how Danny Harle made Radical Optimism and other earwormy, dancefloor hits.  

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Hey Danny! What’s that cool instrument behind you?

It’s an electric double bass, which is my main instrument: bass guitar and double bass. I use that on some of the Caroline Polachek stuff. There's certain artists who come into the room and see that and they're like, "We have to use that." And some people try to pretend it doesn't exist.

It’s fascinating; I used to play that instrument when I was younger, and then gave it up. There was a 10 year gap, and then I found a place much later in my life where it could fit in. I stopped playing bass guitar at one point as well. 

Then I found myself in a session with NAO, and she was like, "Can you play bass guitar?" There was one literally on display outside, the Squire bass, so I picked it up and we made a track together. She was in a session with Nile Rodgers the next day playing it to him, and he loved it, and then it was on the Chic album [It’s About Time]! At that point I lost any preconceptions I had about needing good gear to make a great sounding music.

Did you do a lot of the bass work on Dua’s album?

I did a fair amount of it, but a lot of it is a collaboration with me and Kevin Parker. All that time he's spent touring and playing the bass live is time that I've spent in front of a computer. So it's hard to compare bass skills, as much as it's my instrument. 

Alongside being a great live player, Kevin has a particular skill for making an instrument sound great when it is recorded, which is a completely different thing. There were some times where I was like, "I prefer the way that it sounds when you do it." And then sometimes he would ask me to do it as well. It was a really nice, trusting partnership. 

The process of the album was very trusting; a sense of being able to say when you think something could be better, but also understanding that trusting someone else is good at what they're doing. It was a very rare environment, but the atmosphere of respect and trust was quite an incredible thing to experience. If you hear what anybody says involved in that process, they'll say those are some of the best sessions they’ve ever had in that respect. 

We were talking about this key Motown idea, which is that happy songs go best over a sad melody. It doesn’t have to be the melody, it can be the music sounding sad; "Tears Of A Clown" by Smokey Robinson is a good example. There's something very resonant in that combination. 

"Houdini," "Training Season" and "Illusion" are all in minor keys, aren’t they? It makes for such melodically rich stuff that’s different from your average four chord pop progression.

Yup. It’s not as simple as happy song, happy chords. It adds richness to the emotional landscape of the song, and that was a key element in that. 

It was a room full of people who are excited by hearing new melodies and approaches and structures. That’s why you don’t really hear the same melodic patterns that music’s fallen into these days on the album. I find that particularly inspiring. 

You’ve written with stars like Charli XCX and Rina Sawayama before, but this is your first extended project with a pop star. You first made pop music to engage people as a virtually unknown musician, but now that attention is guaranteed. Did that change the way you think about pop?

Not at all. My approach to this stuff, especially these days, is that I can just do my thing. I'm very honored to work with the people I've been working with. Very early on in my career when I was trying to make pop music in that way, it would always go horribly wrong. Whereas now I just try to make good music. 

Some people can just make a pop song and I can't do that. I'm like, "Let's make a good song." I personally believe that there is good pop music and more algorithmic pop music, pop music which is more guaranteed to work and is less interesting. I just really like good pop music, and that, for me, always seems to start from my research with people just trying to make the best music. 

How did you make this record more personal to Dua in terms of influences and not just lyrically?

It all stems from her at the center of it; so much stuff happens to her. It’s insane, the amount she’d have to say before every session — [like] "These tracks are actually making points." 

Then it would be a case of finding an instrumental with a certain emotion, and out of natural conversation, there’d be a sense of connection [from] a phrase someone would hit on. [But] it would always stem from her as the center of the whole thing. It was just a very organic way of writing and we were very privileged with the rich life Dua leads to draw from. 

This record was a tight songwriting team — where did you fit into it?

I was contributing to all of the tracks in all factors: lyric ideas most rarely, but also melodic ideas, songwriting ideas, mainly from a production standpoint.  

I would be in the corner on my computer, and I would constantly be in conversation with everybody. We might have Kevin on a guitar, and then I’d be making some electronic arpeggios to go with that. I’d be constantly AirDropping stuff to Cam Gower, the greatest vocal engineer in the world, and he would be stacking what we had in ProTools. Sometimes I would take Cam’s session and put it into my computer — like with ‘Illusion’, because there’s stuff that goes on that affects the whole track in a way that I needed to do to get that dancey feel. 

It's quite a global, almost old-fashioned producer role I was taking. I think that was a valuable thing for Dua in certain cases, because I would know about every song on the album. If we were writing with new writers, I'd be like, ‘we already said this idea in that song.’ I would have an eye on the whole thing and be a soundboard for the overall project. 

Let’s start with the opening track, "End Of An Era" is unexpectedly calming and gentle. What prompted you guys to make this the opener?

I just love the idea of starting an album with the track called "End Of An Era"; it is quite an alarming thing to see. I love the tone of the track, the joy of it, but also the fairy-godmother-style commentary going over it as well. 

It's about that heart-eyes emoji feeling of knowing you're irrationally in love in the moment where you rethink everything about your life. I just thought the emotion fit really well. The album has a story to it, and it's a great opener for that story.  

The track "These Walls" expands Dua’s voice in a way I haven’t heard her sing before. Could you walk me through the production of that song?

With that song, I didn't want to get in the way of the purity of the message. It’s very important to understand when a track does not need to be a production showcase, you are in service of the storytelling. 

It was all about making space for the great emotion of the song and having occasional moments of departure, and always being relevant to what is being said. When she says "Did you really mean it when you said forever?", the track disappears into a strange fantasy synth moment. That idea is [that] your mind might get taken away by the thought of forever, just for a moment, as a sort of impossible idea. That's what the music's doing — it takes you out and it lands you straight back into the track.

There’s also a moment of self-deprecating humor: "If these walls could talk / they’d say you’re f—ed.". Was that humor fostered by the close relationship all the songwriters had?

Absolutely. That kind of thing is often the most memorable bit of a song, if placed correctly in the most tasteful area. There’s a track on the yeule album Glitch Princess, where it’s these big Charles Ives chords I wrote. It sounds like it’s gonna be a nice piano ballad, but the first line is "feels like s—." [Laughs.] It takes you by surprise, but it fits with the mood of the track. 

With Dua, it’s tastefully placing it where it fits in the story, and that point in the chorus, it felt perfect. It also reminds me of this idea in the [software] engineering world: the rubber duck principle. They have a rubber duck there because engineers will want to ask a question, but often when you’re asking the question, you’ll realize the answer to it. The rubber duck is there so you can ask the question and it’ll tell you the answer because you already knew it. ‘These Walls’ reminds me of that; if these walls are saying I’m f—ed, you know you’re f—ed. 

The climax of the album is "Falling Forever." It’s super ballsy, and the drums are mixed so loudly. Tell me about how this track came to be.

It’s a beautiful one, that one. A great thinker said it sounds like a thousand galloping horses. That one came about in the sessions with [producer and songwriter] Ian Kirkpatrick. He came in with the chords you hear at the beginning, and I really enjoyed the idea of having a galloping rhythm. You don’t hear the gallop very often, I can’t think of one other song that’s done that in recent history. 

I also thought up the "how long" thing — I thought it would be fun to make the word ‘long’ really long. Those were my key contributions to the song. Ian Kirkpatrick, his drums are so fantastic. You’ve gotta let him get on with it. 

The vocals are also so close there’s subtler production going on earlier in the album, but this song punches you right in the face.

It’s so great. It’s very much an approach that I have with singers where I want them to do a thing that makes their voice sound f—ing amazing. The first time I thought I achieved that with Caroline was with "Parachute," using everything her voice can do: the runs, the high register, the emotional low register. This is a showcase. "Falling Forever" does that with Dua. "These Walls" is an interesting comparison as well, it shows a real range of emotion that Dua is capable of in a way I find really exciting. 

It’s indescribable to hear her sing in the room. I had the privilege of having her recording demo vocals on an SM-7 [microphone] like this sitting in front of her. It is unbelievable to hear that: just a human making that sound in front of you, it’s like nothing else. It’s like witnessing a wonder of the world. Also to use the specific, occasionally metallic sound she can make with her voice, to use it when necessary as part of an expression of something, the way she phrases things is incredible as well. 

Does the message of Radical Optimism — of finding grace in the chaos — match the euphoria you want to explore in music?

There is a sense of melancholic euphoria as well, the Elizabethan side of things. I would say there's a Venn diagram of euphoria that fits with Dua. 

On the track "Happy For You," there are certain ravey things going on where Dua was like, "What’s that sound?" It’s these chords Kevin wrote, and I start stuttering them. 

Also the flute mellotron in the song "Maria," she was immediately like, "Yep: I love it." I was so happy because it’s so my thing, that cyclical melody. Also, the bit in "Illusions" before the chorus where it goes to a major chord before the chorus, I love the sound of the unexpected major chord. Having repeated moments like that, I think, was the reason why I was asked to stay on the project; we clearly had chemistry, but it was interesting how macro it was. 

That unexpected major chord moment also appears in your Eurovision song with Olly Alexander, doesn’t it?

I've written some more tracks with him that do that. I've really been enjoying that with Olly because his voice is so agile and can really make sense of more complicated chord sequences. 

Another thing I've been enjoying with him is when there's sparseness and letting the vocal melody spell out the harmony and maybe occasionally go minor and major over one bass note, which is something I really, really enjoy. 

I've always been a big fan of Olly Alexander, I’ve wanted to work with him my whole career. I believe I tweeted at him in 2009 saying hi. But I think people who like my stuff could hear that he has the kind of voice that I really like: a very virtuosic, melodic voice. [We] just had immediate chemistry, musically. We've written a fair amount of music and he’s a very exciting artist to be involved with. 

The UK has a pretty shaky track record with Eurovision. Did you feel any of that pressure?

No, there wasn't that thing in my head. I just love Olly’s voice. And collaborating with him is just fantastic. I've had ideas for Olly for years now, and it was a dream to be able to actually enact some of them.

What’s next in store for you?

My own album. I've got another one that I'm finishing up at the minute that I'm very excited about. It was delayed by two and a half years because I got all of my dream projects offered to me at the same time and I wanted to make sure that I did them all properly. But now I can get back to doing my own stuff. 

It feels so good to be back at the grindstone, sitting in my studio writing beautiful things, making beautiful objects to present to the world. It’s the dream, really.

Behind Mark Ronson's Hits: How 'Boogie Nights,' Five-Hour Jams & Advice From Paul McCartney Inspired His Biggest Singles & Collabs

Dua Lipa at the 2024 GRAMMYs
Dua Lipa at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

list

Dua Lipa Is Confidently In Love On 'Radical Optimism': 4 Takeaways From The New Album

As Dua Lipa continues the dance party she started in 2017, her third studio album sees the pop star more assured — and more starry-eyed — than ever before.

GRAMMYs/May 3, 2024 - 03:13 pm

As someone who has dedicated her life to being a performer, Dua Lipa's recent admission to Apple Music's Zane Lowe seems almost unfathomable: "I never thought of the idea of being famous."

Stardom may not have been on her mind as a kid, but Lipa is now, indeed, one of the most famous pop stars on the planet as she releases her highly anticipated third album, Radical Optimism

In the seven years since her acclaimed 2017 self-titled debut, Lipa has achieved several highs — like three GRAMMY wins, including Best New Artist in 2019 — as well as the subsequent lows that can often come with global stardom. And though the singer also admitted to Lowe that it "took me a while to find my voice," Radical Optimism is her most self-assured album yet — one that hinges on the title being not only the project's name, but also its defining approach to Lipa's present-day vision for her life.

"Radical Optimism and the way that I see it is this idea of rolling with the punches, of not letting anything get you down for too long. Of always seeing the positive side of things. Of being able to grow and move forward and change your perspective regardless of what's happening in your life…I think it's a big part of maturing and growing up."

The entire album was crafted in her native London over the course of a year-and-a-half, with Lipa enlisting a small band of collaborators — including her righthand co-writer Caroline Ailin, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, Danny L. Harle and Tobias Jesso, Jr. — to create a cohesive, buoyant body of work tinged with disco, funk and bits of psychedelic pop.

Naturally, "radical optimism" is a core thread that runs through all eleven songs as Lipa reflects on falling in and out of love, grapples with her fame and confidently declares that everything that came before Radical Optimism was just a practice run. After all, as she brazenly declares on the LP's second single, "Training season's over." 

As you enter Dua's latest musical world, dive into four major takeaways from Radical Optimism below.

Radical Optimism Isn't Just A New Era — It's A Whole New Perspective

When Lipa accepted her GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2021, she declared she was officially done with the "sad music" that had fueled her breakout debut album. And if 2020's Future Nostalgia was, in context, a kind of clubby, '80s-driven turning point for the artist, she fully embraces the Radical Optimism promised by its follow-up's title. Lipa's newfound attitude is both clear-eyed and relentlessly positive across the album's 11 tracks, whether she's gushing over a new love on giddy opener "End of an Era," being kept up all night by thoughts of a seductive crush on "Whatcha Doing" or cutting her losses and ditching out early on the spellbinding "French Exit."

Even "These Walls," on which she watches a doomed relationship fade to black, is approached with a sense of inevitability laced with clarity and astute kindness. "But if these walls could talk/ They'd say enough, they'd say give up/ If these walls could talk/ They'd say/ You know you're f—ed/ It's not supposed to hurt this much/ Oh, if these walls could talk/ They tell us to break up," Lipa sings over gossamer production and a piano line by Andrew Wyatt.

You Can Still Find Her On The Dance Floor

The rollout for Radical Optimism was front-loaded with the release of three singles ahead of the full album in the form of "Houdini," "Training Season" and "Illusion." Between the three subsequent music videos and a thrilling live performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs in February, Lipa signaled that her third LP would be filled with her signature style of scintillating dance floor bangers.

The rest of the album more than delivers on that promise, with an overall BPM that rarely falls below what's needed for a full-blown aerobic workout — perfect for over-the-top choreography, of course. And in case the Service95 founder's commitment to the dance floor isn't already apparent, just look at the history-making hat trick she recently pulled off on the Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart: as of press time, "Houdini," "Illusion" and "Training Season" occupied the top three spots, marking a first for any female artist in modern music history.

She's Redefining Love On Her Own Terms

If the litany of love songs on Radical Optimism are any indication, it's safe to say Lipa is head over heels these days (with boyfriend Callum Turner, perhaps?). Opening track "End of an Era" may mark the beginning of a new musical journey for the singer, but it's just as much about the thrill of a new relationship. Later on the track list, she uses album cut "Falling Forever" to grow an initial spark of infatuation into a red-hot love affair as she yearns, "How long, how long/ Can it just keep getting better?/ Can we keep falling forever" on the lovestruck chorus.

Lipa also makes it clear on the shapeshifting highlight "Anything For Love" that she's "not interested in a love that gives up so easily." As she refuses to accept the modern paradigm of ghosting, non-committal situationships and running away when things get hard, the song morphs from a tender piano ballad into danceable, mid-tempo groove, giving the listener just enough breathing room to wrestle with the questions of what kind of love they'll accept before dancing it out.

She's Putting Her Emotional Growth On Full Display

It's been almost seven years since Lipa spelled out her "New Rules" for a generation of pop lovers, and some of the most affecting cuts on Radical Optimism prove the British-Albanian star has accrued even more hard-won wisdom since her early days of "If you're under him, you ain't gettin' over him."

Penultimate track "Maria" finds Lipa thanking the ghost of her current lover's ex-girlfriend for making him a better man: "Never thought I could feel this way/ Grateful for all the love you gave/ Here's to the lovers that make you change/ Maria, Maria, Maria." 

Meanwhile, on album closer "Happy for You," the singer turns her attention not to a lover's ex-girlfriend, but to an ex who's moved on from her and found himself happier than ever. It's a complex, but decidedly mature feeling to realize you're genuinely happy for someone you used to love, but Lipa encapsulates the emotion perfectly. 

"Oh, I must've loved you more than I ever knew/ Didn't know I could ever feel/ 'Cause I'm happy for you," she sings on the chorus. "Now I know everything was real/ I'm not mad, I'm not hurt/ You got everything you deserve/ Oh, I must've loved you more than I ever knew/ I'm happy for you."

The grown-up sentiment finishes the album on a bittersweet emotional high — proving that no matter what life throws at her, Lipa will remain radically and unapologetically optimistic to the end. 

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