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Exclusive: ATEEZ Are Here To Win The Hearts Of K-Pop Fans

ATEEZ

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Exclusive: ATEEZ Are Here To Win The Hearts Of K-Pop Fans

Meet the K-pop boy band making waves only months after debuting

GRAMMYs/Mar 7, 2019 - 11:40 pm

In October 2018, ATEEZ, a new boy band determined to become a group fans could believe in, stepped onto the K-pop scene with their singles "Pirate King" and "Treasure" from their Treasure Ep.1: All To Zero EP.

As K-pop continues to expand in the U.S. with the popularity of BTS and BLACKPINK, thanks in part to the Hallyu, or "Korean wave," that has globalized the genre, ATEEZ have captured the curiosity of U.S. media. MTV said they were "poised to break big in 2019," and Billboard was quick to point out their chart success as their debut album landed on the World Charts, peaking at No.12. 

Although the octet, made up of members Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung, Jongho, and Hongjoong, are new on the block, the charts back up their potential for mass success. Their second EP, Treasure EP 2 featuring the single "Say My Name," peaked at No. 5 on the Wolrd Albums and went to No. 7 on the Heatseekers Albums chart, which Billboard noted doesn't typically list many K-pop acts. Meanwhile, MTV reports that "Say My Name" saw "upwards of 1.4 million" views on YouTube in two days. 

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But rather than focus too much on where they stand compared to veterans K-pop groups, whom they refer to as their seniors, the young band (the oldest member is 21) is humble about being new to the game, even if they've already had a taste of success in the U.S.

"We’re still rookies who lack a lot to even consider competing against other artists," Seonghwa says. "But the reality is that we still have to grow amongst the competition, so we’re earnestly practicing and researching. We’re also strengthening our teamwork by talking amongst ourselves more."

The group looks up to the international Korean acts that paved the way for them and want to follow in their footsteps. For now, ATEEZ are working hard to show fans who they are through group expression, which U.S. followers will get to see live soon when their sold-out tour kicks off in Los Angeles on March 15, a feat within itself this early in their career. 

So, how did ATEEZ end up touring the U.S. so soon? Well, turns out it was their fans, also known as "ATINY," made the tour happen through an online service called MyMusicTaste, which brings fans together to request their favorite artists' concerts, according to MyMusicTaste Head of Marketing and User Communication Sarah Shim.

And the band isn't stopping after their trip to the States; next up, they're embarking on a European tour. Still, despite their seeming ubiquity, not much is known about the driven young band. Chatting with the Recording Academy over email, ATEEZ told us about who they are, who they count as musical influences, what they think about K-pop groups before them, what's next for them, and more.

What's the story behind your name? 

Seonghwa: There’s no specific story behind our name, but I can share the meaning of ATEEZ with you; ATEEZ stands for "A TEENager Z." It means we’re a team that can demonstrate the collective charms and styles of this generation’s teenagers. The name, "ATEEZ," was also created in the hopes that we would become a team that could get many people passionate about. 

What are your musical influences? 

Hongjoong: When I was young, I was greatly influenced by Michael Jackson. I still believe I’m being inspired by him even to this day. Other than musical influences, I’ve recently picked up redesigning old clothes as a hobby. Through this, I’ve been exposed to a lot of different creative elements so I’ve been getting inspiration from that as well. I also get inspired from fan letters we receive from our ATINY. In many ways, I think I’ve been getting inspiration from everything I see and experience in life. 

Mingi: I think I get musically influenced whenever an artist I really like comes out with new music. If that artist took new challenges and incorporated unique elements in their work, I’ll focus on that and try to study it. I also get a lot of musical inspiration from dramas or animations. 

Describe each member in one word: 

Hongjoong on Seonghwa: Seonghwa is a "mom." Moms are people who firmly and steadily lead families, right? Within our team, Seonghwa warmly embraces our members. He also readily tackles difficult tasks or chores other people don’t want to do. That’s why we call him the “Mom of ATEEZ.” 

Seonghwa on Yunho: Yunho is a "beagle" because he’s always overflowing with energy and has the ability to put people around him in a good mood, just like beagles do. I think the word “beagle” and everything it encompasses really matches Yunho. 

Yunho on Yeosang: Yeosang is the embodiment of the word: "pure."

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Yeosang on San: San is "HALA HALA." I naturally think of the phrase "HALA HALA" when I think of San because I’ve been finding San’s HALA HALA performances especially charming these days. 

San on Mingi: Doberman... I think Mingi really looks like those sturdy and trustworthy Doberman dogs. 

Mingi on Wooyoung: Full-of-charms. Wooyoung is really charming and he’s really good at expressing it.

Wooyoung on Jongho: Strength. Jongho is the strongest out of ATEEZ so whenever I think of Jongho, I think of the word "strength." Jongho = strength. 

Jongho on Hongjoong: Brain. I feel like Hongjoong-hyung is the brains of our team. He’s good at speaking but more than anything, he’s very logical and great at explaining things. No matter what happens, we feel confident because we have Hongjoong-hyung as our reliable brain. 

RELATED:K-Pop Rookies ATEEZ Announces U.S. Tour

Is there any U.S. artists with whom you'd like to collaborate? 

Hongjoong: Post Malone.

Seonghwa: Justin Bieber.

Yunho: Maroon 5.

Yeosang: The Chainsmokers.

San: Shawn Mendes.

Mingi: MAX, Offset, Drake, Joey Bada$$.

Wooyoung: Shawn Mendes.

Jongho: Bruno Mars.

For Americans who are less familiar with the K-pop movement, how would you distinguish yourselves from other acts, like BTS or BLACKPINK?

Hongjoong: Rather than saying how different we are from our KPOP seniors, I’d rather talk about ATEEZ’s current goals and what we consider important when performing.

ATEEZ’s current goal is to follow in the footsteps of our KPOP seniors. What we consider the most important when performing is, "expression." As we have done up to now and will continue to do so in the future, we want to be able to better convey and express our energy directly to our fans. 

You officially formed last year, and competition in the music industry can be fierce. Do you ever experience a sense of competition, and if so, what do you do to combat against it? 

Seonghwa: We’re still rookies who lack a lot to even consider competing against other artists. But the reality is that we still have to grow amongst the competition, so we’re earnestly practicing and researching. We’re also strengthening our teamwork by talking amongst ourselves more. 

K-pop has really exploded the last few years in the U.S. Does this get you more excited for your U.S. tour? 

Hongjoong: Ever since I was really young, I watched videos of our senior artists performing abroad and in the States. Whenever I saw videos like that, I always thought to myself that I would like to stand on those stages as well. I truly believe the reason we, ATEEZ, were able to meet many international ATINYs so quickly after debuting was largely due to the previous hard work of our KPOP seniors. I'm looking forward to our upcoming tour because I feel like I can fulfill my childhood dreams of standing on those international stages through it. 

Jongho: We're able to go on this tour thanks to the road our industry seniors paved for us and due to their hard work. Because they paved the road for K-Pop as a genre, and by virtue—us—K-Pop has been garnering a lot of attention from the world. We were able to attract international ATINYs' interest. We're diligently preparing for our tour in order to follow our seniors' footsteps. To be quite honest, I’m pretty nervous but excited at the same time. ATINY! Please look forward to our stages. 

What is the inspiration behind "Say My Name"? 

Hongjoong: "Say My Name" was a song we were preparing long before we worked on our previous single, "Pirate King," so we had a high level of understanding and anticipation for it. When we write our lyrics, we incorporate many elements to help us more strongly convey our aspirations and ambitions to the listener. We had hidden spellings in the lyrics of “Say My Name," so when read vertically they came together to spell A.T.E.E.Z.  We worked on this song with the goal of solidifying ATEEZ’s name and presence.

Eweossa dureugo jigyeobwa (Wrap around me and watch over me)

Ireum ttak ne geulja yeogida (These four letters, it’s right here)

Ti nage namgyeonwa (Leave it behind so it’s noticeable)

Zoom in here, Cause I’m the Captain

When the bolded letters are read out loud, they sound like E.I.T.Z  (ATEEZ)

What can fans expect on the tour? 

Hongjoong: This might be the first time many of our overseas fans will see us perform live. I think when you see our stages in person, it’ll be a whole nother experience from watching us online or through a medium—you’ll be able to witness a much more powerful and engaging performance live. 

Seonghwa: If you watch our performances in person, you’ll be able to more vividly experience and feel ATEEZ’s energy.  

Yunho: You won’t be able to escape our charms after seeing ATEEZ live.

Yeosang: Yeosang’s charms, of course.

San: I think international fans didn’t have many opportunities to see us live yet. When you see us singing and dancing in person, I don’t think you’ll be able to escape ATEEZ.

Mingi: Our performance. You’ll be able to directly feel our energy. We’re practicing really hard so please look forward to it!

Wooyoung: The various charms of our eight members, and our performances. All eight of us have very different charms and strengths. Through this tour, I’d like to show all our colors to our international ATINYs.

Jongho: We've prepared a lot of things to show you. Please look forward to them!

When can we expect a full-length album? What's next for you? 

Hongjoong: It wouldn’t be much fun if I revealed when our full-length album might be released, right? I’ll just say that our album is part of a much bigger picture and story that is continuously being built! I think that’s all I can tell you for now…

We're thinking of this upcoming tour as a starting point and are planning to keep working hard in order to be acknowledged not just in Korea, but abroad as well. We’re also diligently preparing right now in order to meet and be closer to our fans, so you’ll be able to see us more often in 2019. Everyone: Please look forward to it, and please love us a lot! 

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined K-Pop
(from left) NewJeans, Jung Kook, xikers, Jimin, VCHA

Photos: ADOR; Jason Mendez/Getty Images; Santiago Felipe/Getty Images; The Chosunilbo/JNSImazins via Getty Images; JYP Entertainment

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2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined K-Pop

K-pop aims to appease the biggest crowds possible, but it’s also unafraid of trying new ways of making music and building fan communities. Read on for five trends in K-pop that marked the industry in 2023, from globally-based acts to new sounds.

GRAMMYs/Dec 15, 2023 - 04:00 pm

K-pop is a living, breathing organism. It’s way beyond just pop music from South Korea — more like a whole microcosm that includes culture, tech, fashion, other music genres, and even other countries. Its boundaries are increasingly blurry: there are K-pop groups releasing albums entirely in English and American groups being created under the K-pop business model. Where does it end, and where does it begin?

No one knows exactly. What we do know, though, is that the industry and all its adjacent productions remain one of the most experimental and innovative. K-pop aims to appease the biggest crowds possible, but it’s also unafraid to leap into new ways of making music and building fan communities.

These are some of the traits that make it so exciting — whether it’s a 24-member, NFT-based group like tripleS or a song about baggy jeans, you never know what awaits around the corner. As K-pop continues to expand and surprise, here are five trends that marked the industry in 2023.

Boy Groups To The Front

If 2022 was the year of girl groups in K-pop, 2023 saw a wave of boy groups rising up to the challenge. While female acts continue to thrive — with exciting names like Loossemble, Kiss of Life and tripleS joining the industry — it was this year’s male debuts that attested the beginning of a new era.

Monster rookies ZEROBASEONE broke all-time records by selling over 1 million copies of their first EP, July’s Youth In The Shade, on the first day of release. The nine-member group was formed through survival TV show "Boys Planet," and was marketed as the initiator of K-pop’s fifth generation. That statement is not as simple as it looks (many factors contribute to a change of generations in K-pop, not just debuts), but it pointed to a definite handing of the torch.

There were also fresh teams coming from some of the most well-established K-pop agencies this year. Xikers, the younger peers of ATEEZ at KQ Entertainment, debuted in March. In May, BoyNextDoor came forth from KOZ Entertainment, a subsidiary of HYBE (BTS, TXT, and more) founded by the singer, producer and leader of Block B. In September, RIIZE met the world as SM Entertainment’s first non-NCT-related boy group since 2016.

Other promising newcomers include Xodiac, 8Turn, Evnne, TOZ, and Ampers&One — many of whom are former contestants of "Boys Planet" — and it becomes clear that 2023 set the bar for a new generation of boy bands to come.

Living In The Age Of TikTok

"The ideal recipe for a great K-pop song would be a catchy hook/chorus — which is usually in English so more people can sing it — and a danceable song that can bring on a choreography that is infectious enough so people want to learn them and make TikToks," manager and A&R consultant Marion Van der wees told GRAMMY.com earlier this year. 

Van der wees’ statement rings true. While TikTok and Instagram Reels have been popular in K-pop for a few years, they became the norm in 2023. From rookies like Lun8 to industry veterans like Red Velvet, every release now comes with an obligatory video "challenge" for those platforms, intended to be replicated ad infinitum by the artist, their peers, and their fans.

As K-pop becomes increasingly fandom-focused, these challenges also serve as one of the main forms of interaction between artists of different labels, styles, and levels of experience who wouldn’t normally engage with each other. It’s less a question of going viral, and more of cross-promoting, exposing themselves to new audiences, and gifting fans with unique content.

Besides all that, newer groups like RIIZE are tapping into Gen Z’s online habits and reveling in their spontaneity: they gained buzz for replying to fans’ comments and for posting relatable (if a little unhinged) videos, just like any teenager would.

AI Dreams (Or Nightmares?)

While AI music and virtual artists have been on exponential rise since the COVID-19 pandemic, 2023 was the year where K-pop truly embraced them. Virtual girl group MAVE: amassed over 26 million views on their debut single, January’s "Pandora," and virtual boy group PLAVE, who also debuted this year, became the first of their kind to perform at KCON LA in August.

In May, entertainment giant HYBE launched Midnatt, the alter ego of singer-songwriter Lee Hyun. Although Hyun is a real person, his first single "Masquerade" was released in six languages (English, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese) through the utilization of Supertone, an AI audio company that HYBE acquired in January. Supertone modulated Hyun’s tone, pronunciation, delivery, and even shifted his voice from male to female.

AI is also shaping how fans interact with artists — you can even talk to the digital twin of GOT7 member Mark Tuan now. Created by New Zealand company Soul Machines, Digital Mark Tuan is available 24/7 via OpenAI’s GPT3, and aims to "connect with fans, share stories about the real Mark Tuan, and cement his presence in the metaverse," according to Soul Machine's website.

These projects have growing audiences, but there’s still plenty of discussion on whether K-pop and AI’s mix has yielded positive results. As best summarized by songwriter/producer Wonderkid on Grammy.com’s roundtable, K-pop’s relationship with AI "looks good on the surface, but we recognize what is missing in half a second. I think of it as falling in love with a robot: it may someday be possible, but it would take a very, very long time."

Softer Sounds And Chill Vibes Proliferate 

K-pop has always been known for shaping different musical genres into something of its own. This diversity — spanning from reggae to classic orchestra, sometimes all in one song — is part of K-pop’s DNA. Superstars like Stray Kids and NCT 127 often have their styles described as "noise music," and girl groups like BLACKPINK and ITZY rose to the top with hard-hitting beats, spawning a trend that is still followed by several rookies.

This bold, in-your-face style of K-pop will likely always exist, but a new trend has begun to emerge. Songs from rookie groups like NewJeans, IVE, and even Fifty Fifty (see their viral "Cupid") are softer and have the calming effect of putting on earphones in a busy office.

NewJeans’ December 2022 single "Ditto" was inspired by Baltimore club but also manages a more chill vibe. The year-round hit achieved the coveted PAK — Perfect All-Kill, meaning it  charted at No. 1 on real-time, daily and weekly charts on all major South Korean music streaming platforms. IVE’s disco-infused "I Am" was another PAK winner, and so was the duo AKMU’s bouncy ballad "Love Lee."

The trend toward more mellow sounds is also present in three of BTS’ solo projects this year: Jimin came forward with the synth-pop of "Like Crazy," V approached soul and jazz on his "Slow Dancing," and Jung Kook channeled Michael Jackson with the funky "Standing Next to You." Even the debuting boy groups of this year have chosen more laid back sounds. Zerobaseone sampled A-ha’s "Take on Me" for "In Bloom," and RIIZE’s synth-laden "Get a Guitar" is filled with nostalgia. As industry trendsetters veer towards pleasing melodies and chill vibes with retro inspirations, these sounds are certain to become even more widespread in the following years.

K-Pop Beyond The K

"For K-pop to truly become mainstream worldwide, the ‘K’ in K-pop needs to be removed, and it should just be ‘pop’ in itself," HYBE chairman Bang Si-hyuk said in a press release about the label’s latest endeavor: a trainee survival show called "The Debut: Dream Academy," which premiered on Sept. 1. In partnership with Geffen Records, HYBE embarked on "a worldwide search for the next global girl group," receiving over 120,000 applications from Argentina to Japan. The resulting six-member group, KATSEYE, will likely debut next year, followed by a Netflix docuseries.

A few months prior, JYP Entertainment (home to groups like TWICE and Stray Kids) also announced the reality competition show "A2K (America2Korea)", in partnership with Republic Records. Their goal was to create a U.S.-based girl group with members of diverse backgrounds, but who would be trained under the K-pop system. The resulting sextet, VCHA, released their first single album, "SeVit (New Light)," in September.

Add to that SM Entertainment, who helms groups like EXO and NCT, teaming up with UK production company Moon&Back in order to launch a boy band in early 2024, and you have nearly all of K-pop’s biggest players placing bets on Western-based projects. As K-pop has always been an export-driven industry, these moves are no surprise — but 2023 marked a year where companies were finally successful in applying the K-pop model to form artists in markets outside of Asia.

Whether VCHA, KATSEYE, and other groups will be successful remains a mystery, but their existence points to a shift. As THEBLACKLABEL singer and producer Vince mentioned in Grammy.com’s roundtable, "we don’t call pop music from America ‘American pop’, we just call it ‘pop.’" K-pop might be headed in the same direction.

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Hip-Hop

15 Must-Hear Albums This December: ATEEZ, Nicki Minaj, Neil Young & More
(Clockwise) Tate McRae, Pink, Peter Gabriel, Nicki Minaj, ATEEZ, Atmosphere, Alicia Keys, Chief Keef

Photos: Baeth; Jeff Hahne/Getty Images; Elena Di Vincenzo Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images; Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage; courtesy of KQ Entertainment; Dan Monick; Manny Carabel/WireImage; Prince Williams/WireImage

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15 Must-Hear Albums This December: ATEEZ, Nicki Minaj, Neil Young & More

Just in time to soundtrack your festivities and welcome in an inspiring new year, press play on these 15 releases from Peter Gabriel, Tate McRae, Alicia Keys and others.

GRAMMYs/Dec 1, 2023 - 06:37 pm

December is a time for rejoicing and reflecting. How did this year go? And what will come next? As we look back on the meteoric 2023 and start planning for 2024, there’s a sundry of new music to usher in this journey.

This month, artists like Alicia Keys and the Killers will celebrate 20-year anniversaries with The Diary Of Alicia Keys 20 and Rebel Diamonds, respectively. Others will bring forth much-awaited sequels, like Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday 2 and Chief Keef’s Almighty So 2. Adding to that, live performances by Pink and Khruangbin will get immortalized, while rising star Tate McRae will release her sophomore effort, Think Later, and Dove Cameron will debut Alchemical: Vol. 1.

Below is a guide to all the must-hear releases of December 2023, just in time to soundtrack your festivities and welcome in an inspiring new year. Read on for big releases from ATEEZ, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young, and more.

Dove Cameron - Alchemical: Vol. 1

Release date: Dec. 1

Following Dove Cameron's viral, platinum-certified 2022 hit "Boyfriend," expectations were high for the artist's first studio album. The singer and actress will release Alchemical: Vol. 1 at the top of the month.

"I wrote Volume 1 during a period of deep healing and space to process that I had never given myself. I hope you feel yourself in these songs as much as I do. Part 1: tear down. Part 2: rebuild," the singer shared on Instagram, teasing Vol. 2 of the collection (release date yet to be announced).

A follow-up to Cameron’s 2019 debut EP Bloodshot / Waste, Vol. 1 features eight tracks. Aside from "Boyfriend," she has revealed singles "Breakfast," "Lethal Woman," and "Sand," building up a sultry sound and an alluring mystique that prompt her as one to watch.

Dillon Francis - This Mixtape Is Fire TOO

Release date: Dec. 1

Eight years after This Mixtape Is Fire, Dillon Francis' latest "turned out better than I could have ever imagined," the DJ and producer shared on Instagram about his forthcoming album, This Mixtape Is Fire TOO.

"The whole goal of this album was to make amazing songs with artists I love and respect," he added. The 14-track record features several 2022 singles, such as "Free" with Alesso and Clementine Douglas, "LA On Acid" with Good Times Ahead, "Pretty People" with INJI, "Don't Let Me Let Go" with Illenium and Evan Giia and "buttons!" with Knock2.

Aside from collaborating with some of dance music’s biggest names, Francis seems intent on having fun. His latest single, "I’m My Only Friend" with Arden Jones, demonstrates that by pairing up his characteristic high-octane beats with an amusing music video featuring actor Billy Zane in an impromptu road trip adventure.

ATEEZ - THE WORLD EP.FIN: WILL

Release date: Dec. 1

K-pop’s favorite pirates ATEEZ are getting ready to release their second Korean full album: THE WORLD EP.FIN: WILL. The record will conclude the trilogy that began with EPs The World EP.1: Movement and The World EP.2: Outlaw.

With a slew of teaser pictures and a mysterious black-and-white trailer, the eight-member boy band continues to further their lore and leave fans eager to decipher their next chapters. In addition, a tracklist and an instrumental preview of the album’s upcoming 12 songs, including title track "Crazy Form," were revealed, promising exciting twists to their thunderous beats.

EP.FIN: WILL also brings a surprise in its unit and solo songs, all with lyrics co-written by the members: Jongho brings his powerful vocals to "Everything," "Youth" is a duet by Mingi and Yunho, "It’s You" is performed by Yeosang, San, and Wooyoung, and "MATZ" is the long-awaited collaboration between the band’s two eldest members, Hongjoong and Seonghwa.

Khruangbin - Live at Sydney Opera House

Release date: Dec. 1

After a yearlong series of live albums in partnership with other artists (Toro y Moi, Men I Trust, Nubia Garcya and others), Khruangbin will close out 2023 with the upcoming Live at Sydney Opera House — this time on their own.

The double LP was recorded in November 2022, and compiles their three-night residency at one of Australia’s most prestigious venues. With the announcement, the Texas trio also shared a new version of their 2015 hit, "People Everywhere (Shifting Sands Remix)."

The setlist also includes classics like "So We Won’t Forget," "A Calf Born in Winter" and "Friday Morning," attesting to the band’s expertise in highlighting the best of their career while giving tracks a fresh, unexpected spin.

Alicia Keys - The Diary Of Alicia Keys 20

Release date: Dec. 1

The end-of-year celebrations will start early for Alicia Keys and her fans. On Dec. 1, the 15-time GRAMMY winner will release a special version of her multiplatinum sophomore album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, in order to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The 2023 LP will feature 24 tracks, including nine bonus songs including the previously unreleased "Golden Child." Keys also uprezzed four music videos from that era on YouTube: "Karma," "You Don’t Know My Name," "If I Ain’t Got You" and the live version of "Diary" with Tony! Toni! Toné! and Jermaine Paul.

To make the milestone even more special, Keys will perform the full album in an intimate, one-night-only concert at New York’s Webster Hall on the day of release. A portion of the earnings will be donated to the nonprofit organization she co-founded in 2003, Keep a Child Alive.

Peter Gabriel - i/o

Release date: Dec. 1

During every full moon this year, Peter Gabriel unveiled a new track off his upcoming studio album, i/o. It was a clever way to compensate fans for a lengthy wait. i/o is Gabriel’s first LP of new and original content since 2002’s Up, and has been in the works for almost three decades.

"I’m very happy to see all these new songs back together on the good ship i/o and ready for their journey out into the world," the British singer said in a press release. With 12 tracks "of grace, gravity and great beauty," the album tackles themes like the passage of time, grief and injustice, but never gives up on hope. Each track comes in three versions: the Bright-Side Mix by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent, the Dark-Side Mix by Tchad Blake, and the In-Side Mix by Hans-Martin Buff.

Gabriel also spent a good part of 2023 on the i/o Tour across Europe and North America. Attendees were lucky to witness the album played in full and some of the singer’s biggest hits, as well as the unreleased track "What Lies Ahead."

Atmosphere - Talk Talk EP

Release date: Dec. 1

From "Talk Talk (feat. Bat Flower)," a track off Atmosphere’s May album So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously, comes Talk Talk EP. According to a press release, the Minneapolis duo was so captivated by that song’s "vaguely alien and deeply human" sounds that they had to develop it into a ten-track deep dive.

In the album, rapper Slug and DJ/producer Ant "dart across threads of space-time" and become "titans of the electro-rap that was foundational to their youths," citing names like Kraftwerk and Egyptian Lover as inspirations. The press release also mentions that Talk Talk EP is a testament to rap’s connection to electronic music of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

That statement rings true, for instance, in the two singles they have released so far, aside from "Talk Talk": the sparkly "Rotary Telephone," and the haunting album closer, "Traveling Forever."

Pink - Trustfall Tour Deluxe Edition

Release date: Dec. 1

Following the smashing success of her ninth studio album, February’s Trustfall, and of her back-to-back Summer Carnival stadium tour and Trustfall arena tour this year, pop giant Pink will wrap it all up with the release of Trustfall Tour Deluxe Edition on Dec. 1.

The special record features six live recordings (from Summer Carnival), including "Cover Me in Sunshine" with her daughter Willow Sage Hart, as well as covers of Sade’s "No Ordinary Love" and Sinead O’Connor’s "Nothing Compares 2 U," with Brandi Carlile. It also includes July’s protest song "Irrelevant" and two new singles: "Dreaming" with Marshmello and Sting and "All Out of Fight."

As the unstoppable artist that she is, Pink has already announced a slew of 2024 Summer Carnival tour dates for Oceania in February and March, and the U.K. and Europe throughout June and July.

Tate McRae - Think Later

Release date: Dec. 8

"Here’s to 20 years old and figuring who the f[—] i am," celebrated rising sensation Tate McRae wrote on Instagram. Writing her sophomore album, Think Later, was "one of the most stressful, exciting, nerve racking, and fun things I’ve ever gone through. For the first time in my life I lived this year a little less with my head and a little more with my intuition — and I [really] hope [you] guys can feel that through the music," she added.

Produced by Ryan Tedder, the album dives into "the all-too-relatable feelings of falling in love and embracing the raw emotions that you experience as a result of leading with your intuition and heart," according to a press release. It is preceded by singles "Greedy" — of recent TikTok fame — and "Exes."

The Canadian singer has also announced an eponymous tour in support of the new album. McRae will visit Europe and North America from April to August 2024, bringing it to a close in Oceania throughout November.

Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday 2

Release date: Dec. 8

After several postponements, rap superstar Nicki Minaj is celebrating her birthday by bringing Pink Friday 2 to the world. The much-expected release marks Minaj’s first studio album since 2018’s Queen.

The album is a sequel to her acclaimed debut, 2010’s Pink Friday, and is supported by two singles, "Super Freaky Girl" and "Last Time I Saw You." During an Instagram Live on Oct. 24, as reported by People, Minaj shared that "this entire album will be the biggest gift I have ever given humanity thus far. I can stand by that. I will bet any amount of money that Pink Friday 2, the album, is going to make people fall in love immediately."

The Trinidadian American icon recently announced a 2024 tour in North America and Europe. Exact dates are yet to be announced, but the commotion was such that Minaj’s fandom, Barbz, crashed her website upon hearing the news.

The Killers - Rebel Diamonds

Release date: Dec. 8

It’s been almost 20 years since the Killers burst into the rock scene with their 2004 debut Hot Fuss. To honor that achievement, the Las Vegas band will release Rebel Diamonds, a compilation of 20 hits encompassing all their seven LPs, plus new track "Spirit."

In the tracklist, fans will be able to take a trip down memory lane with singles like "Mr. Brightside," "When You Were Young," and "Human," among other classics. "See, it’s been said that what’s remembered, lives," frontman Brandon Flowers said in a trailer for the album. "And we’ve racked up stadiums full of memories the past 20 years, enough to fill lifetimes." 

Flowers continued: "It sounds a bit like Bowie. Or is it Brando? Or maybe it's somewhere in between? It always is with us. And to our legion of victims, thank you, thank you, thank you. And do not fear. There is more mining to be done." The Killers released another best of in 2013, Direct Hits.

Neil Young - Before and After

Release date: Dec. 8

"Songs from my life, recently recorded, create a music montage with no beginnings or endings." That’s how folk legend Neil Young described his upcoming 45th studio album, Before and After, in a press statement.

The record spans a collection of 13 solo acoustic re-recordings among Young’s favorites in his catalog. The statement adds that "each of the songs blend and create one continuous flow, clocking in at a 48-minute pure and intimate listening experience," with Young summarizing it as an experience where "the feeling is captured, not in pieces, but as a whole piece — designed to be listened to that way."

Young also co-produced and co-mixed the record, which includes the previously-unreleased track "If You Got Love," among classics such as 1966’s "Burned," 1970’s "Birds" and 1994’s "A Dream That Can Last." Before and After is the latest in a series of archival releases by Young, arriving just a few months after "lost" album Chrome Dreams

Car Seat Headrest - Faces From the Masquerade

Release date: Dec. 8

In March 2022, indie band Car Seat Headrest was playing a three-night residency at New York’s Brooklyn Steel. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they asked the audience to mask up, but also to "accoutre yourself in whatever further costumery you please" for an evening of "music, dancing, and identity loss," according to a press release.

The result of that experience is Faces From the Masquerade, CSH’s upcoming double album that will bring the magic of those nights to the world. "The 2022 Masquerade was a crazy tour that ignited with a particular ferocity once we touched ground on the east coast," said vocalist Will Toledo in a statement. "Our time in New York captures that momentary magic where we’re playing at our peak and the crowd is responding as one giant body."

Faces From the Masquerade features 14 of the band’s best tracks as rearranged, revamped live versions — for example, "Deadlines" went through adjustments "to turn it into the climactic dance monster it always wanted to be," added Toledo. The record has been described as "simultaneously a joyride through the greatest hits and a conversation with the devoted and ever-growing following that has formed around the band, their songs and live communions."

Michael Nau - Accompany

Release date: Dec. 8

Multihyphenate Michael Nau has been building an extensive indie discography since the mid-’00s, both as the frontman of bands Cotton Jones and Page France and as a soloist. Next month, he will add on to that by releasing his fifth studio album, Accompany.

The album came to be when producer Adrien Olsen (the Killers, Lucy Dacus) invited Nau to record at his Richmond, Virginia studio. "I didn’t have much of a plan before Adrien reached out, so I wrote some songs specifically for the session," Nau explained in a release. "It had been a while since I’d made music in a room with other people. We just sort of started playing and didn’t really talk about what was happening."

The record's 11 tracks "come together to paint a beautiful picture" with imaginative lyrics that manage to be "introspective, but vague and open-ended. Nau recently announced tour dates across the U.S. from February to April 2024.

Chief Keef - Almighty So 2

Release date: Dec. 15

Rumors about Almighty So 2, the sequel to Chief Keef’s revered 2013 mixtape of the same name, have been going on since 2018. The Chicago drill pioneer went as far as teasing the cover art on Instagram in 2019 — only to spend years without further updates. In any case, it seems like the wait is finally over: Almighty So 2 is scheduled to drop on Dec. 15.

In the beginning of November, Keef shared two new cover arts for the album on Instagram, under the caption "2 real soon." While there’s no further info, the album will feature 17 tracks, including 2022 singles "Tony Montana Flow" and "Racks Stuffed Inna Couch," according to Apple Music.

Almighty So 2 is Chief Keef’s fifth studio album, arriving after 2021’s 4NEM. Recently, the rapper was featured on the track "All The Parties" off Drake’s latest album, For All The Dogs. This collaboration increased speculations about a possible Drake feature on Keef’s album as well — the latter commented "Don’t forget them vocals, crody" on Drake’s Instagram back in August.

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New Music Friday: Listen To Releases From Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, ATEEZ & More
ATEEZ perform during their Fellowship: Break The Wall tour

Photo: Adrián Monroy/Medios y Media/Getty Images

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New Music Friday: Listen To Releases From Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, ATEEZ & More

December begins with a blast of new music from some of music's biggest stars. Press play on five new releases Jung Kook & Usher, Tyla and others, out on Dec. 1.

GRAMMYs/Dec 1, 2023 - 06:09 pm

While 2023 may be coming to an end, the first releases of December prove that it's far from time to wind down.

From Taylor Swift — who released "You’re Losing Me," a song originally recorded for her 2022 smash album — to Dua Lipa’s extended edit of her single "Houdini," and Lana Del Rey's cover of "Take Me Home, Country Roads," listeners are being treated to new tracks from familiar favorites today.

But surprise releases were the theme of the day as Beyoncé dropped "MY HOUSE," a single accompanying her Renaissance concert film.

Dec. 1 also sees a bevy of reissue and archival releases, exciting new projects from artists like singer/songwriter Dove Cameron, and the second studio album from K-pop group ATEEZ

Start off your month by listening to these tracks and albums from seven artists that will jumpstart your month.

Beyoncé - "MY HOUSE"

Queen Bey surprised fans with an early Christmas present by dropping "MY HOUSE," her first single since 2022’s Renaissance. This track was featured during the credits of her new Renaissance concert film.

Written and produced by The-Dream, this song showcases Beyoncé’s rapping skills, as she effortlessly weaves verses over a powerful horn melody. There's a vibe check in the song's second half, where the music becomes a smooth, electronic dance groove reminiscent of Renaissance’s ballroom vibe. 

Jung Kook & Usher - "Standing Next To You (Remix)"

BTS' pop singer Jung Kook is back with a remix to his track "Standing Next To You," this time joined by an R&B sensation. The remix features a new verse from  Usher, who adds a delicate touch to the vibrant, high-paced song.

The original track was released last month as a single on Jung Kook’s debut album, GOLDEN. This could be fans' last time hearing Jung Kook's music for a while — the "golden maknae" of BTS announced he’s enlisting for mandatory military service this month.

Tyla - "Truth or Dare"

GRAMMY-nominated Afrobeats star Tyla is closing the year with a sneak peek of her upcoming self-titled album. The hypotonic single "Truth or Dare," following the success of her GRAMMY-nominated song "Water" (the song is nominated for Best African Music Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs alongside "Amapiano" by ASAKE & Olamide, "City Boys" by Burna Boy, Davido's "UNAVAILABLE" feat. Musa Keys, and "Rush" by Ayra Starr).

In this new song, Tyla revisits an old flame — this time with newfound wisdom and assurance that she won’t fall for his charm anymore: "So let's play truth or dare, dare you to forget / That you used to treat me just like anyone."

Tyla announced her upcoming self-titled album on social media, captioning, "African music is going global and I’m so blessed to be one of the artists pushing the culture. I’ve been working on my sound for 2 years now and I’m so ready for the world to hear it."

Lana Del Rey - "Take Me Home, Country Roads"

After performing during "Christmas At Graceland," a televised tribute to Elvis Presley, Lana Del Rey dropped a surprise cover of John Denver’s 1971 hit "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

This cover might not come as a shock for fans after she referenced a line from Denver’s 1972 "Rocky Mountain High" on her track "The Grants" from GRAMMY-nominated album Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. (At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Did You Know is nominated for Album Of The Year alongside Jon Batiste's World Music Radio, Olivia Rodrigo's Guts, Swift's Midnights, Janelle Monae's The Age Of Pleasure, SZA's SOS, Miley Cyrus' Endless Summer Vacation and the record by boygenius. Did You Know is also nominated for Best Alternative Music Album alongside The Car by Arctic Monkeys, PJ Harvey's I Inside The Old Year Dying, Gorillaz's Cracker Island and boygenius' album.)

The track features Del Rey’s signature soothing vocals, as a Western-style melody balances the instrumentation. She brings her own sultry style to this '70s country classic, while continuing to show her musical versatility.

ATEEZ - The World EP:FIN:WILL

Five years after their debut album, K-pop group ATEEZ  have returned with The World EP:FIN:WILL. The 12-track album is led by "Crazy Form," an Afrobeats/dancehall-influenced track, and also features many solo and unit tracks from the group.

Members Hong Joong and Seonghwa took the reins on "Matz," a dynamic hip-hop track, while Yeosang, San and Wooyoung collaborated for the R&B-influenced "It’s You." 

During a Seoul press conference, Lead Hong Joong spoke about the group’s evolution and how fans should look forward to future releases. 

"This year marks our fifth debut anniversary and so far, our greatest achievement has been establishing a strong relationship with our fans around the world. We hope to continue presenting music that can make our fans proud of us," he said. 

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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