meta-scriptThe Rise Of Ice Spice: How The "Barbie World" Rapper Turned Viral Moments Into A Full-On Franchise | GRAMMY.com
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The Rise Of Ice Spice: How The "Barbie World" Rapper Turned Viral Moments Into A Full-On Franchise

Ice Spice charmed the masses with her flirty rhymes and playful, Bronx-born personality. Now with four nominations at the 2024 GRAMMYs — including Best New Artist — she's solidified her position as Gen Z rap royalty.

GRAMMYs/Jan 31, 2024 - 06:53 pm

From Slick Rick to Cardi B, rap has long been synonymous with exorbitant personalities. But in 2023, Ice Spice showed that you can still make noise with subtle charm.

The 24-year-old charmed the masses with her nonchalant flow and demeanor, paired with boisterous Bronx drill beats. Just two years into her career, Ice Spice was coined the "People's Princess" — a title first given to the late Princess Diana, whose name serves as the title for the rapper's breakthrough single. 

While Ice's Bronx pride, Y2K fashion and relatable disposition contribute to her appeal, a fan noted on Twitter that her most prominent qualities mirror Diana's: "Resilient, determined and blazing their own trail - in [her] own way." Even her mentor (and "Princess Diana" collaborator) Nicki Minaj co-signed the royal title: "Catch it!!" she exclaimed in a March 2023 Instagram Story.

Ice Spice's reign was solidified by countless accolades in 2023, as she scored four top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and over a billion streams. And when it came to the 2024 GRAMMYs, her impact is apparent: not only did Ice Spice earn her first four nominations, but she's the only rapper up for Best New Artist. (She also earned nods in the Best Rap Song and Best Song Written For Visual Media Categories for her "Barbie World" collaboration with Minaj, as well as Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her "Karma" collaboration with Taylor Swift.)

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The first inklings of Ice Spice's virality came in 2021, when she began making music with her college friend-turned-producer and fellow Bronx native RIOTUSA. That year, the rapper took part in TikTok's "Buss It" challenge, with her seductive dance moves going viral. She quickly capitalized on the moment, using her growing number of followers to draw attention to her music. She soon released debut songs like "Bully Freestyle" and "Name of Love," but it was the following year that officially ignited her rap takeover.

In the summer of 2022, Ice Spice's independently released "Munch (Feelin' U)" single was virtually inescapable following a Drake co-sign, nearly 120 million Spotify streams and a music video that became a meme (Lil Nas X even donned Ice Spice's video look for Halloween). The song's rapid popularity led to a deal with 10K Projects and Capitol Records shortly after its release. But it also had naysayers questioning if the rapper was an industry plant and doubting her career success.

"Everybody was tryna be like, 'Oh, she a one-hit wonder,'" Ice Spice said of her critics in an episode of Genius' "Verified" series. "But now, it's like, 'What? Two-hit wonder?'"

When it comes to virality, Ice Spice has the Midas Touch — and she's well aware of it. Whether it's her signature phrases "grah" and "like", her passion for twerking ("But I'm still shaking ass in the deli", she exclaims on "Deli"), or self-affirmations that are perfect for Instagram captions ("How can I lose if I'm already chose? Like," she assures on "Bikini Bottom"), her calm, cool and collected confidence has held a tight grip on social media and beyond.

"I wouldn't consider myself a lyricist. Obviously, lyrics go into music and I do think about them, and I do be having bars in my music but they're just super simple," she told Complex in October. "I want them to be digestible, I don't want them to fly over people's heads and they never catch it. I want people to hear it right away and be like, 'OK, that was cute.' But it's also fun at the same time."

Following the release of her Like ..? EP in January 2023, Ice Spice proved her versatility and knack for hit-making with an onslaught of both niche and A-list collaborations. Massive singles like "Boy's a Liar Pt. 2" with fellow Gen Z princess PinkPantheress and the "Princess Diana" remix with Nicki Minaj peaked at No. 3 and 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.

In fact, "Diana" helped Ice Spice already land a history-making feat: it marked the first time that No. 1 co-billed by two women topped Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart since its launch 34 years ago. And through that collab, Ice Spice gained a mentor in Minaj.

"She be telling me to learn from her mistakes — just watching her in general, if you pay close enough attention, you gonna see what you should do," Ice shared with The Guardian about Minaj. "I love to talk to her about things that I can't talk about publicly — it just means so much to be able to have somebody like her."

Ice Spice further proved her mainstream appeal last May, propelling into the pop stratosphere alongside Taylor Swift. The two joined forces for a remix of Swift's Midnights track "Karma," which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the rapper's highest-charting song to date as of press time. 

"I relate to Ice in many ways, but I think her dedication and focus is what blew me away from the very start," Swift, who brought the rapper on stage at the New Jersey stop of her blockbuster Eras Tour, shared with Variety in September. "She's extremely professional without being cold. Playful and fun without ever taking her eye off the prize. 

"She knows what is and isn't 'her' and sets those boundaries with grace," Swift continued. "She studies the industry and other artists' careers but is very clear about charting her own definitive, original path. It's her ability to carefully find that balance that impresses the hell out of me."

Ice Spice kept the momentum going last June, latching on to the summer's biggest pop culture moment — the Barbie movie. And what better way to celebrate the occasion than with the Head Barb herself?

The rapper reunited with Minaj for "Barbie World," which sampled Aqua's 1997 Eurodance smash "Barbie Girl" and soundtracked the closing credits of the blockbuster. The drill-meets-Jersey-club collaboration debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Ice Spice's fourth top 10 hit in just four months. 

"Where we come from, our borough is often 'judged' — people have a lot of mixed opinions on it. So to be able to have such an iconic song with the type of genre that comes from where we're from is awesome," producer RIOTUSA told Billboard of the track. "[We] get to shed new light on the genre and bring it to a bigger place."

Ice Spice wrapped a momentous year with multiple festival performances including Rolling Loud and Hot 97's Summer Jam, a Best New Artist win at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, a brilliant partnership with Dunkin' Donuts (the commercial announcement of the Ice Spice Munchkins Drink featured actor and Dunkin superfan Ben Affleck), a musical guest debut for the season 49 premiere of "Saturday Night Live" in October (Swift made a surprise cameo to introduce her new BFF), and opening for Doja Cat's Scarlet Tour in November.

And just one week into 2024, the rapper spawned her first viral moment of the year, sharing a snippet of a hilariously unserious bar, "Thinking you the s—, bitch you not even the fart." The clip was a preview of her first release of 2024, aptly titled "Think U The S— (Fart)," which racked up eight million views on the teaser alone.

On Jan. 30, Ice Spice confirmed that her forthcoming album (titled Y2K, which alludes both to her style and her January 1, 2000 birth date) is coming this year; though she didn't announce a release date, she did reveal it's "almost finished". On the heels of a massive 2023, there's no doubt Ice Spice is ready to continue her rap domination — one drill anthem at a time.

"I always felt like I could do anything I tried to do, but especially now it feels like anything is possible," she told The Guardian. "Being at award shows, being on magazine covers, getting huge features — all those moments made me feel like, Wow, we're really doing it big."

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(Clockwise from top left): Metro Boomin, Taylor Swift, Bryson Tiller, Sinkane, St. Vincent, Tori Kelly, Future, TXT
(Clockwise from top left): Metro Boomin, Taylor Swift, Bryson Tiller, Sinkane, St. Vincent, Tori Kelly, Future, TXT

Photos: Taylor Hill/Getty Images; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy; Joseph Okpako/WireImage; Chloe Morales-Pazant; Mike Coppola/WireImage; Sasha-Samsonova; Prince Williams/WireImage; Peter White/Getty Images

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15 Must-Hear Albums In April 2024: Taylor Swift, Vampire Weekend, St. Vincent & More

April promises to shower listeners with heavy-hitting hip-hop, pop, country and rock releases. From Metro Boomin and Future's upcoming collab, to TOMORROW x TOGETHER's new minisode, get your April 2024 playlist ready with 15 exciting new releases.

GRAMMYs/Apr 1, 2024 - 01:24 pm

This year, April brings more than just showers to beget May flowers. Instead, there must be something in the stars: In the fourth month of 2024, four artists are releasing their fourth studio albums. These are pop-rock band X Ambassadors’ Townie, R&B singer Bryson Tiller’s Bryson Tiller, rapper PartyNextDoor’s P4, and Irish rockers Picture This’ Parked Car Conversations.

Numerology aside, April will also contemplate exciting new works from pop masters Taylor Swift, whose The Tortured Poets Department drops mid-month, and St. Vincent’s All Born Screaming, country star ERNEST’s Nashville, Tennessee, jazz master Kenny Garrett and electronic producer Svoy’s What Killed AI?, and — allegedly — the second part of Future and Metro Boomin’s first joint-effort, We Don’t Trust You.

There’s music for all tastes ready to fill your playlists for the rest of the year. Read on for 15 of the most exciting albums dropping in April 2024.

TOMORROW X TOGETHER - minisode 3: TOMORROW 

Release date: April 1

Luckily, fans of the K-pop quintet TOMORROW X TOGETHER (TXT) rarely have to wait for new music. Six months after releasing their third studio album, The Name Chapter: Freefall, the group is gearing up to release minisode 3: TOMORROW.

The seven-song EP is fronted by upcoming lead single "Deja Vu," which is said to mix trap, rage, and emo rock into their signature emotional intensity, as per a press release. The other tracks continue to expand the group’s versatility, experimenting with pop rock, house, and acoustic guitars. 

As usual, the concept of the album is connected to TXT’s overarching lore, and features several references to their past works — track "- --- -- --- ·-· ·-· --- ·–," for example, evokes their debut era where Morse Code was used in teasers and in the single "Crown."

TXT will embark on their Act: Promise World Tour starting May 3-5 in Seoul, South Korea, and then head to the U.S. for 11 shows across the country, including two dates at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Conan Gray - Found Heaven

Release date: April 5

Gen Z popstar Conan Gray has Found Heaven. After 2022’s Superache, his upcoming third album was co-produced by legendaries Max Martin, Greg Kurstin, and Shawn Everett, among others.

Gray had been teasing the 13-track record since last year with a slew of buoyant, '80s-tinged singles ("Never Ending Song," "Killing Me" and "Lonely Dancers") and poignant, Elton John-esque ballads ("Winner," "Alley Rose"). "When I was making the album, I was really obsessively listening to music of that era," he explained to NME. "I think also, because it was a deeply emotional time, I was almost hiding from reality. I didn’t listen to a song from the 2020s during the making of this album."

To celebrate this new, holy era, Gray will be touring Australia in July, North America in September and October, and Europe and the UK in November. "I want people to know that I was having fun and goofing around, and I want you to smile and I want you to feel like you can just be yourself," he added. "I just want the album to be a reminder to people that you can be so many things all at once."

Sinkane - We Belong 

Release date: April 5

Ahmed Gallab, the Sudanese American multi-instrumentalist behind Sinkane, has built his discography resisting musical genres. We Belong, his upcoming eighth studio album, is no different: it combines pop, funk, electronic, afrobeats, disco, and more into "a love letter to Black music," per a press release.

Sinkane’s first album since 2019’s Dépaysé, We Belong features 10 tracks and participations by Bilal, Money Mark, STOUT, and others. Each song tells the story of a different era in Black music and history, laced with love and hope for the future: the disco groove of "Come Together," the gospel choirs of "Everything Is Everything," the funky bassline of "How Sweet is Your Love."

Along with live band the Message, Sinkane has announced a select 10-city tour in the U.S., starting May 3 in New York City and wrapping up on June 9 in Pioneertown, California.

X Ambassadors - Townie

Release date: April 5

**Pop rock trio X Ambassadors dive deep into nostalgia for Townie, their fourth studio album. The record was inspired by their experience of growing up in the small city of Ithaca, New York, and how it shaped who they are.**

"As a grown man, I’ve fallen back in love with upstate NY, and I oddly feel blessed to have had something to rally so hard against/fight to escape from as a kid," vocalist Sam Harris said in a statement. "No Strings," the first single off the project, is an anthem for that restless feeling, and anchors their concept in a haunting, propulsive melody. "Your Town" and "Half-Life" continue the journey, although taking more melancholy tones.

X Ambassadors first set off their Townie tour in Europe and the UK during February and March. On the day of the release, they will begin the North American leg of the tour in Vancouver, Canada.

Vampire Weekend - Only God Was Above Us 

Release date: April 5

Five years after releasing their latest record, 2019’s Father of the Bride, indie band Vampire Weekend will drop their fifth studio album, Only God Was Above Us.

According to a press release, frontman Ezra Koenig wrote most of the songs in 2019-2020, and spent the last five years refining them with bandmates Chris Baio and Chris Tomson. The result is a collection of 10 "direct yet complex" tracks, "showing the band at once at its grittiest, and also at its most beautiful and melodic," as seen in singles "CAprilicorn," "Gen-X Cops," and "Classical."

In addition to a sold out performance in Austin, Texas that will coincide with the total eclipse on April 8 and a headline show at Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, Vampire Weekend has announced an extensive North American tour throughout summer and fall.

Bryson Tiller - Bryson Tiller

Release date: April 5

Grab your tickets to Bryson Tiller’s upcoming tour while you can: he might go on a hiatus right after. That’s what the R&B singer and rapper told Complex, alleging that his number one passion is actually video games. "I've been designing a game for the past three years; been looking into internships for different companies. That's what I want to prioritize after this album comes out."

The album Tiller refers to is his eponymous fourth LP, a 19-track collection that includes a feature by Victoria Monét, and is described as "seamlessly blending R&B, dancehall, pop, drill, trapsoul, neo-soul, and hip hop" in a press release. "Bryson Tiller is not just an album; it's a declaration of artistic independence and a tribute to the relentless pursuit of greatness."

The project’s three alluring singles ("Outside," "Whatever She Wants," and "CALYPSO") exemplify how Tiller pushed the boundaries of R&B even more, and solidified his identity as one of music’s most singular artists. "My No. 1 goal with this album is just for everybody on Earth to hear it one time," Tiller also told Complex. "My guarantee is that they'll love [at least] one song."

Tori Kelly - TORI.

Release date: April 5

"You think you know who Tori Kelly is, but this album will prove that maybe you didn’t," said the YouTube-star-turned-singer in a NME interview about her fifth studio album, TORI. "I feel like I’m stepping into my power and owning my craft."

Her first LP since 2020’s A Tori Kelly Christmas, TORI. took inspiration from '90s and early aughts R&B and pop, as heard on singles "Missin U" and "Cut." "I was trying to create this world of nostalgia, but also there’s that balance with [TORI.] feeling fresh and new," she said. Comprising 15 tracks, it also includes participations by Ayra Starr in "Unbelievable," LE SSERAFIM’s Kim Chae-won on "Spruce," and Jon Bellion — who co-wrote and produced the album — on "Young Gun."

During the creation process, Kelly told Bellion that her guidelines were to be able to "belt out [songs] in the car" and "dance" to them, like one can do in the powerful "High Water." As far as it goes, it looks like they accomplished their mission.

Kelly will kick off her Purple Skies North American tour on April 12 in Ventura, California, and conclude it on May 3 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Future & Metro Boomin - TBA / We Still Don’t Trust You 

Release date: April 12

Rap titans Future and Metro Boomin have been personal friends and work peers for over a decade, but their first collaborative album is only coming out now. We Don’t Trust You, the first installment of a double album, dropped on March 22, while the second part — titled yet to be announced — is slated to release on April 12.

In We Don’t Trust You, the duo showcased their flawless chemistry with grandiose tracks, haunting trap beats, and star-studded features, such as "Like That" with Kendrick Lamar, "Young Metro" with The Weeknd, and "Type S—" with Travis Scott and Playboi Carti. As Metro defined in an interview with Complex, "it’s the classic Future and Metro, but just updated."

So far, no further details have been shared about the second album, but expectations remain high for the duo to outdo the first effort.

girl in red - I'M DOING IT AGAIN BABY!

Release date: April 12

"I wanted to sincerely apologize for the events that happened directly after the release of my second album, I'M DOING IT AGAIN BABY!" prefaced Norwegian singer girl in red — real name Marie Ulven — on a solemn social media video last month. But while viewers caught their breaths, she revealed it was all a witty joke: the album will only come out on Aprilil 12.

"This is a big year for me. 2024 is, like, my year," she added in the video. I'M DOING IT AGAIN BABY! follows Ulven’s 2021 debut If I Could Make It Go Quiet, but feels "more fun and more playful, and a little bit more confident," as she told Billboard. Lead track "Too Much" brings that novelty heads on, while singles "Doing It Again Baby" and "You Need Me Now?" with Sabrina Carpenter prove that Ulven’s powerful pop is only getting better.

Ulven will kick off her Doing It Again tour from April 16-June 2 in North America, and from Aug.27-Oct. 5 in Europe.

Kenny Garrett & Svoy - Who Killed AI?  

Release date: April 12

For his first electronic foray, NEA Jazz Master and GRAMMY-winning saxophonist Kenny Garrett enlisted the acclaimed producer-musician Svoy. The result is Who Killed AI?, a seven-track daring exploration of jazz and pop culture.

"The first two songs are really reminiscent of Miles [Davis]," Garrett shared in a statement. "The way I’m stretching the melody — that’s how I played with Miles." The opener and lead single "Ascendence" is a strong preview of what’s to come: distorted synths and drum and bass beats fused with Garrett’s fun and brilliant lines, a compelling portrait of what the future of music can be.

Later in the year, Garrett plans to take the album on a live tour. "I think my fans will find this interesting," Garrett shared in a statement. "Some people forget that my teacher was Miles Davis. So for me, it’s not that I have to do something different. It is just something that I do. All you have to do is present the music and let them take the journey." 

ERNEST - Nashville, Tennessee 

Release date: April 12

Early in March, singer/songwriter ERNEST announced on social media that he would be running for mayor in order to "legalize country music." Of course, fans started to get their hopes up for new music — and they were right. The plot was just part of his promotion for the newly announced Nashville, Tennessee, out April 12.

A tour de force with 26 tracks, the record features a bevy of guest stars: from Jelly Roll ("I Went To College, I Went To Jail"), to Lainey Wilson ("Would If I Could"), and ERNEST's two-year-old son, Ryman Saint. It also includes a bluegrass cover of Radiohead’s "Creep" with HARDY, and a cover of John Mayer’s "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room."

In addition to "I Went To College, I Went To Jail," four other advance tracks have been shared: "Why Dallas" with Lukas Nelson, "Ain’t As Easy," "Ain’t Too Late," and "How’d We Get Here."

Taylor Swift - The Tortured Poets Department 

Release date: April 19

On the same night that she won her  lucky 13th GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album with 2022’s Midnights, Taylor Swift also announced her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department. Coming out April 19, the record will feature 16 tracks and collaborations by Florence + the Machine on "Florida!!!" and Post Malone on "Fortnight."

"I needed to make it, it was really a lifeline for me, it sort of reminded me why songwriting gets me through life," Swift said during her The Eras Tour show in Melbourne. "I've never had an album where I needed songwriting more than I needed it on Tortured Poets."

Along with the statement, Swift also shared an alternate cover for the physical album, titled after and including bonus track "The Bolter." Later on, three other versions named "The Manuscript," "The Albatross," and "The Black Dog" — all including an eponymous bonus track —  were also made available for purchase.

For the rest of the year, Swift will be touring through Europe and North America. As usual with the singer, more surprises are likely to come soon.

PartyNextDoor - PartyNextDoor 4 (P4)

Release date: April 26

**Canadian hitmaker and singer PartyNextDoor will make his long-awaited return this month. PartyNextDoor 4, also dubbed P4, is his first full-length work since 2020’s Partymobile, and continues his eponymous albums series after 2016’s P3.**

"This is the hardest I’ve ever worked on an album. This is the proudest I’ve felt," Party told Billboard for his March cover story. "I’m excited to grind even more for the next [one]. I’m in love with how hard you should work for it." 

He also explained that love is the reason why he takes so long to release new stuff. "I get into relationships and then music becomes second," he said. "I think I’m going to take a break from relationships, a long break, and just get back to making music."

In support of the release, Party shared moody, intimate singles "Resentment" and "Real Woman" — inspired by the same relationships that kept him off stage.

St. Vincent - All Born Screaming

Release date: April 26

In an interview with Mojo, St. Vincent — also known as Annie Clark — defined her upcoming seventh album, All Born Screaming, as "post-plague pop." Since its creation started right after the release of 2021’s Daddy’s Home, the years of seclusion and adjustment due to the COVID pandemic were a prominent influence in her new work.

"That kind of isolation breeds paranoia and loneliness, and loneliness can breed violence," she said. "It’s been a time of loss collectively and personally. [But] loss and death are very clarifying things, they make everything that doesn’t f—ng matter go away."

Comprising 10 tracks and features from Dave Grohl, Cate Le Bon, and Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, All Born Screaming is St. Vincent’s first entirely self-produced set, and an attempt at showcasing what does matter. "This record is darker and harder and more close to the bone. I’d say it’s my least funny record yet. There’s nothing cute about it," she added.

Clark released two singles off the album, "Broken Man" and "Flea," and is gearing up for a North American tour starting May 22.

Picture This - Parked Car Conversations

Release date: April 26

"Parked Car Conversations is by far the most personal album we have ever created," said vocalist and lyricist Ryan Hennessy in a press release about Picture This’s upcoming album. "It is an album about everything involved with being human. Love and loss and hurt and euphoria and all of those other complex emotions that flutter in between."

The album consists of 15 songs, but a third of it can be previewed through bittersweet, soaring singles "Get On My Love," "Song To Myself," "Leftover Love," "Call It Love," and "Act Of Innocence." Overall, Parked Car Conversations is a soundtrack "not to a movie, but to life," and aims to convey "the ups and downs of living" through ballads and anthems alike, according to Hennessy. 

Coming almost three years since the Irish band’s last release, 2021’s Life in Colour, the new record will be celebrated in high spirits with an Europe and U.K. tour, starting April 21 in München, Germany.

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Taylor Swift performs in Brazil 2023
Taylor Swift performs during the Eras Tour in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 24, 2023.

Photo: Buda Mendes/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

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The Taylor Swift Effect: 8 Ways The Eras Tour Broke Records & Shattered Sales

As the Eras Tour hits Disney+ with 'Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Taylor's Version)', take a look at some of the mind-boggling feats the pop superstar has accomplished with her culture-shifting trek.

GRAMMYs/Mar 14, 2024 - 05:13 pm

Taylor Swift has continuously redefined what it means to be a pop superstar for almost two decades. But 2023 might have been her most defining year to date, thanks to the Eras Tour.

With 152 dates in stadiums across five continents, the Eras Tour isn't just Swift's personal biggest tour to date — it's a feat few other artists have accomplished. The sprawling 3 1/2-hour show is an impressive feat in itself, but the tour has gone on to break records and boost economies, firmly cementing Swift's stratospheric position as one of pop's all-time greats. 

There's a reason why the term "The Taylor Swift Effect" has been coined — it captures the impact Swift has had not just on music, but society as a whole. Swift's latest concert tour weaves through her 10- (and soon to be 11-) album discography, totaling a whopping 44 songs across 10 different acts for each "era." Between the allure of each set's surprise song and the next-level fan engagement, the tour has become far more than your average concert — it's a full-on cultural moment. 

Though the trek still has a bewildering nine months to go (it will hit Europe and another North America stretch from May to December), Swift is celebrating the Eras Tour's one-year anniversary by bringing its record-breaking concert film to Disney+ on March 14th. 

As fans get ready to stream Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Taylor's Version), GRAMMY.com looks at the impact of the Eras Tour so far, exploring the records Swift has shattered since it first began.

Becoming The Highest Grossing Tour Ever

In eight months, Swift's Eras Tour did something no other artist has ever done: gross over $1 billion on a single tour. Pollstar reported the news in December 2023, stating that the 60+ shows she played in 2023 accumulated to 4.3 million tickets sold. 

This number is even more staggering when compared to Elton John's farewell tour, which lasted five years and had 328 shows and accumulated $939 million. Not only has Swift been able to do the same with 152 shows, but she still has nine months to go — and at the pace she's going, Pollstar projects that she could pass the $2 billion mark.  

Shattering Attendance Records

From breaking the all-time record for attendance during her three shows at Nashville's Nissan Stadium in May 2023 to playing the largest shows of her career at Melbourne's Cricket Ground in February 2024 (performing to 288,000 fans over three days), Swift couldn't stop breaking attendance records at various stops. Including those venues, she's broken eight attendance records at seven so far: Seattle's Lumen Field, New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, Pittsburgh's Acrisure Stadium, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and Sao Paolo's Allianz Parque (where she broke one-day and three-day attendance records).

Although her friend and collaborator Ed Sheeran already broke some of her attendance records during his own 2023 world tour, Swift has done the impossible again by creating an entirely new record to break: how many people are both inside and outside the venue. Cities like Tampa and Detroit all had "Taygating" — mass parties with thousands of fellow Swifties that include singalongs, cookouts, and trading handmade friendship bracelets like the fans inside. In Philadelphia alone, cell phone usage data in the area determined that around 57,000 fans "taygated" outside throughout the tour's three nights.

Spiking Craft Sales

Creating costumes for Taylor Swift concerts is something that fans have been doing since Swift's Fearless Tour in 2009 and 2010, but a lyric from MIdnights' "You're On Your Own Kid" created a new way for fans to engage with each other. The lyric "So make the friendship bracelets/ Take the moment and taste it" sparked a friendship bracelet frenzy, and caused a 40 percent chainwide increase in jewelry sales overall at Michaels craft stores, with locations within Eras Tour stops seeing a 300 percent sales increase in beads and jewelry categories leading up to the concert.

Since the start of the tour, Michaels has also helped Swifties create over 22,0000 bracelets in their bracelet-making classes in-store. And that simple lyric has inspired other fandoms to take part — Formula One fans are handing bracelets off to drivers before races, and British soccer players are making them to help boost team morale.

Spawning The Highest Grossing Concert Film Of All Time

When she announced that the Eras Tour concert film would be headed to the big screen, Swift opted to "bet on herself" by personally investing $10-20 million to bypass Hollywood entirely to facilitate a partnership directly with AMC. To say that bet worked would be an understatement: the Eras Tour concert movie became the highest-grossing concert film of all time, amassing $250 million in worldwide movie ticket sales. On the day it was announced, movie ticket buyers broke AMC's single-day advance ticket sales record, amassing $26 million within 24 hours.

The Eras Tour film would not only become a huge box office achievement, but would become the first concert film to ever be nominated for a Golden Globe, competing against other major box office blockbusters like Barbie and Oppenheimer.

Igniting Social Media

If fans can't physically be at the concert or "Taygate" outside the venue, they can tune in thanks to TikTok's live-streaming capabilities. Fellow fans provide streams of the entire concert for those who want to watch the gig. Although the viewer count varies, anywhere from 30k+ people can be tuning in on one stream (statistics have shown that most fans tune in for Swift's surprise songs).

Since the start of the Eras Tour, TikTok has been flooded with over 1.9 million videos, with Variety reporting that Taylor-related content can average around 380 million views per day and no day falling below 200 million views. Swift took note of some of the fan-fronted trends, too, including the viral "Bejeweled" dance, created by fan Mikael Arellano, as part of her choreography on tour.

Read More: Behind The Scenes Of The Eras Tour: Taylor Swift's Opening Acts Unveil The Magic Of The Sensational Concert

Boosting The Economy

Every weekend, cities that hosted the Eras Tour awarded Swift with something special — Nashville placed a bench in Centennial Park as a nod to a lyric in "Invisible String," Santa Clara made her an honorary mayor, Minneapolis renamed the city 'Swiftie-apolis,' and Rio de Janeiro projected Swift's junior jewels shirt from the "You Belong With Me" onto Christ the Redeemer. No matter how the cities honored Swift, her visit was certainly beneficial for their local economies — one stop of the Eras Tour averaged around $1,300 spending per person on travel, hotels, food, and merchandise. 

The U.S. Travel Association likened it to the Super Bowl, but happening 53 times across 20 cities, estimating the economic impact to be around $10 billion by the time the tour wraps. It's a tour that has single-handedly changing travel, according to CNN, with fans choosing their travel based on where they can get tickets. And since money talks, politicians and world leaders — from Canada's Prime Minister to the Chilean President — have come out in spades to beg for Swift to add their countries to the worldwide tour. 

Breaking Niche Records

Two nights in Seattle resulted in a "Swift Quake" after so many fans danced to "Shake It Off," which caused seismic activity equivalent to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake. Seismologist Jackie Caplan-Auerbach collected 10 hours of data — from the music to the speakers to the dancing — to see how that energy can impact the ground enough to shake it.

Although not an official record, within the Swiftie community, fans have had battles to see which city can have the longest-standing ovation after "champagne problems," as detailed on Reddit and Billboard. Right now, Swift's penultimate Los Angeles show at SoFi Stadium is the winner, clocking in at 8 minutes.

Elevating Swift's Discography

After the start of a tour, it's natural for artists to see their discography have a short influx of listeners and then taper off again. But after the first 10 weeks of the Eras Tour, Swift's catalogue was growing more and more with every stop — up to 79 percent more than where she was before the tour began. And instead of listeners streaming specific singles or albums, the streamers were all over Swift's set list; Billboard reported that 23 of the 42 songs performed have doubled in weekly streams. 

The tour even helped the resounding fan favorite from 2019's Lover, "Cruel Summer," transform from beloved deep cut to chart topper. Streams of "Cruel Summer" went up 304 percent, resulting in the track becoming both her 10th No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and her sole longest-leading No. 1 on Billboard's all-format Radio Songs chart.

Using the Eras Tour to work in tandem with her rerecording release schedule has also become an integral marketing tactic. So much so that coinciding the tour and the releases (as well as the announcements) has helped contribute to her having six albums in the top 20 of the year-end Billboard 200, more No. 1 albums than any woman in history with 13 (as of press time), and 1989 (Taylor's Version) outselling the original — a staggering 1.3 million albums in its first week. 

Swift wrapped her first 2024 Eras Tour leg in Singapore on March 9, as she's now preparing to release her highly anticipated 11th album, The Tortured Poet's Department, on April 19. Three weeks later, the Eras Tour will pick back up in Nanterre, France, on May 9, with dates nearly every week until it wraps in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Dec. 8. 

With an already record-breaking tour and a new album on the way, there's no doubt that the world will continue to feel the impact of Taylor Swift and her pop star prowess — throughout 2024 and beyond.

5 Reasons Why Taylor Swift's Eras Tour Will Be The Most Legendary Of Her Generation

Women's History Month 2024 Playlist Hero
(Clockwise, from top left): Jennie, Janelle Monáe, Anitta, Taylor Swift, Victoria Monét, Ariana Grande, Lainey Wilson

Photos (clockwise, from top left): Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella, Paras Griffin/Getty Images, Lufre, MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE RECORDING ACADEMY, Paras Griffin/Getty Images, JOHN SHEARER/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE RECORDING ACADEMY, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Listen: GRAMMY.com's Women's History Month 2024 Playlist: Female Empowerment Anthems From Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Jennie & More

This March, the Recording Academy celebrates Women's History Month with pride and joy. Press play on this official playlist that highlights uplifting songs from Taylor Swift, Victoria Monét, Anitta and more.

GRAMMYs/Mar 8, 2024 - 04:44 pm

From commanding stages to blasting through stereos, countless women have globally graced the music industry with their creativity. And though they've long been underrepresented, tides are changing: in just the last few years, female musicians have been smashing records left and right, conquering top song and album charts and selling sold-out massive tours.

This year, Women's History Month follows a particularly historic 66th GRAMMY Awards, which reflected the upward swing of female musicians dominating music across the board. Along with spearheading the majority of the ceremony's performances, women scored bigtime in the General Field awards — with wins including Best New Artist, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Album Of The Year.

Female empowerment anthems, in particular, took home major GRAMMY gold. Miley Cyrus' "Flowers" took home two awards, while Victoria Monét was crowned Best New Artist thanks to the success of her album Jaguar II and its hit single "On My Mama." As those two songs alone indicate, female empowerment takes many different shapes in music — whether it's moving on from a relationship by celebrating self-love or rediscovering identity through motherhood.

The recent successes of women in music is a testament to the trailblazing artists who have made space for themselves in a male-dominated industry — from the liberating female jazz revolution of the '20s to the riot grrl movement of the '90s. Across genres and decades, the classic female empowerment anthem has strikingly metamorphosed into diverse forms of defiance, confidence and resilience.

No matter how Women's History Month is celebrated, it's about women expressing themselves, wholeheartedly and artistically, and having the arena to do so. And in the month of March and beyond, women in the music industry deserve to be recognized not only for their talent, but ambition and perseverance — whether they're working behind the stage or front-and-center behind the mic.

From Aretha Franklin's "RESPECT" to Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)," there's no shortage of female empowerment anthems to celebrate women's accomplishments in the music industry. Listen to GRAMMY.com's 2024 Women's History Month playlist on streaming services below.

Billy Joel Freddy Wexler
Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

(L-R) Billy Joel, Freddy Wexler

interview

Freddy Wexler On Helping Billy Joel "Turn The Lights Back On" — At The 2024 GRAMMYs And Beyond

"Part of what was so beautiful for me to see on GRAMMY night was the respect and adoration that people of all ages and from all genres have for Billy Joel," Wexler says of Joel's 2024 GRAMMYs performance of their co-written "Turn The Lights Back On."

GRAMMYs/Feb 26, 2024 - 09:11 pm

They say to not meet your heroes. But when Freddy Wexler — a lifelong Billy Joel fan — did just that, it was as if Joel walked straight out of his record collection.

"I think the truth is none of it is that surprising," the 37-year-old songwriter and producer tells GRAMMY.com. "That's the best part. From his music, I would've thought this is a humble, brilliant everyman who probably walks around with a very grounded perspective, and that's exactly who he is."

That groundedness made possible "Turn the Lights Back On" — the hit comeback single they co-wrote, and Wexler co-produced; Joel performed a resplendent version at the 2024 GRAMMYs with Laufey. Joel hadn't released a pop album since 1993's River of Dreams; for him to return to the throne would take an awfully demonstrative song, true to his life.

"I think it's a very raw, honest, real perspective that is true to Billy," Wexler explains. "I think it's the first time we've heard him acknowledge mistakes and regret in quite this way."

Specifically, Joel's return highlights his regret over spending three decades mostly on the bench, largely absent from the pop scene. As Joel wonders aloud in the stirring, arpeggiated chorus, "Is there still time for forgiveness?"

"Forgiveness" is a curious word. Why would the five-time GRAMMY winner and 23-time nominee possibly need to seek forgiveness? Regardless — as the song goes — he's "tryin' to find the magic/ That we lost somehow." The song's message — an attempt to recapture a lost essence — transcends Joel's personal headspace, connecting with a universal longing and nostalgia.

Read on for an interview with Wexler about the impact of "Turn the Lights Back On," why he thinks Joel took such an extended sabbatical, the prospect of more new music, and much more.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

**You did a great interview with Rolling Stone ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs. Now, we're on the other side of it; you got to see how it went down on the telecast, and resonated with the audience and world. What was that like?**

It's why I make music — to hopefully make people feel something. This song has really resonated in such a big way. More than looking at its commercial success on the charts or on radio, which has been awesome to see, the comments on Instagram and YouTube have been the most rewarding part of it.

Why do you think it resonated? Beyond the king picking up his crown again?

I don't think the song is trying to be anything it's not. I think it's a very raw, honest, real perspective that is true to Billy. I think it's the first time we've heard him acknowledge mistakes and regret in quite this way. And to hear him do it in a hopeful way where he's asking, "Is it too late for forgiveness?" is just very moving, I think.

Forgiveness? That's interesting. What would any of us need to forgive him?

He has said in other interviews, "Sometimes people say they have no regrets at the end of their life." And he said, "I don't think that's possible. If you've lived a full life, of course you have regrets." He has said that he has many things he wishes he would've done differently. This is an opportunity to express that.

I think what's interesting about the song is it has found meaning in various ways with various people and listeners. Some people imagine Billy is singing to former lovers or friends. Other people imagine Billy is singing to his fans asking, "Did I wait too long to record again?" Other people wonder if Billy is singing to the songwriting Gods and muses. Did I wait too long to write again?

In Israel, where the song was number one — or is number one, I haven't checked today — I think the song's taken on the meaning of just wanting things to be normal, wanting hostages to come home and turn the lights back on. So, you never know where a song is going to resonate, but I think that Billy just found his own meaning with it.

You know the discography front to back. What lines can you draw from "Turn the Lights Back On" to past works?

I think it draws on various pieces of his catalog, right? "She's Always a Woman" has a sort of piano arpeggio in the chorus. To me, it feels like a natural progression. It feels like, on the one hand, it's a new song. On the other, it could have come out right after River of Dreams. To me, it just kind of feels natural.

**Back when you spoke with Rolling Stone, you said you couldn't wait to hear "Turn the Lights Back On" at Madison Square Garden. How'd it sound?**

Amazing. Billy is a consummate live performer. I think he's one of the few artists where everything is better live, and everything is always a little bit different each time it's played live.

It's been really cool to watch Billy and the band continue to change and improve the song and the song's dynamics for the show. He told me tonight that tomorrow night in Tampa, I think they're going to try to play with the key of the song, potentially — try it a half a step higher.

Those are the sort of things I think great artists do, right? It's different from being on a certain type of tour where every single song is the same, the set list is the same, the key is the same, the arrangements are the same.

With Billy, there's a lot of feeling and, "Hey, why don't we try it this way? Let's play it a little faster. Let's play it a little slower. Let's try it in a different key." I just think that's super cool. You have to be a really good musician to just do that on the fly.

What have you learned from him that applies to your music making, writ large?

I've learned so much from him. As Olivia Rodrigo said to us at GRAMMY rehearsals, "He's the blueprint when it comes to songwriting."

He has helped raise the bar for me when it comes to melodies and lyrics, but the thing I keep coming back to is he's reminded me that even the greatest artists and songwriters ever sometimes forget how great they are. I think we need to be careful not to give that inner voice and inner critic too much power.

Can you talk about how the music video came to be?

Well, I had a dream that Billy was singing the opening two lines of the song, but it was a 25-year-old version of Billy. It was arresting.

When I woke up, I sort of had the vision for the video, which was one set, an empty venue of some kind, and four Billy Joels. The Billy Joel that really exists today, but then three Billys from three iconic eras where each Billy would seamlessly pick up the song where the other left off.

The idea behind that was to sort of accentuate the question of the song — did I wait too long to turn the lights back on?

And so, to kind of take us through time and through all these years, I teamed up with an amazing co-director, Warren Fu, who's done everything from Dua Lipa to Daft Punk, and an artificial intelligence company called Deep Voodoo to make that vision possible.

What I'm driven by is the opportunity to create conversations, cultural moments, things that make people feel something. What was cool here is as scary as AI is — and I think it is scary in many ways — we were able to give an example of how you can use it in a positive way to execute a creative artistic vision that previously would've been impossible to execute.

Yeah, so I'm pleased with it and I'm thankful that Billy did a video. He didn't have to do one, but he liked the idea of it. He felt it was different, and I think he was moved by it as well.

What do you think is the next step here?

It's been a really rewarding process. And Billy is open-minded, which is really cool for an artist of that level, who's not a new artist by any stretch. To actually be described as being in a place in his life where he's open-minded, means anything is possible. I could tell you that I would love there to be more music.

I'd love to get your honest appraisal. And I know you're not him. But his last pop album was released 31 years ago. In that long interim, what do you think was going on with him, creatively?

Look, I'm not Billy Joel, but I think there were a number of factors going on with him. Somewhere along the way, I think he stopped having fun with music, which is the reason he got into it, or which is a big part of the reason he got into it. When it stopped being fun, I don't think he really wanted to do it anymore.

Another piece to it is that Billy is a perfectionist, and that perfectionism is evident in the caliber of his songwriting. Having always written 100 percent of his songs, Billy at some point probably found that process to be painstaking, to try to hit that bar where he's probably wondering in his head, What would Beethoven think of this? What would Leonard Bernstein think of this?

I think part of what was different here was that, perhaps, there was something liberating about "Turn the Lights Back On" being a seed that was brought to Billy. In this way, he could be a little disconnected from it, where maybe he didn't have to have the self-imposed pressure that he would if it was an idea that he'd been trying to finish for a while.

Ironically, he still made it. Well, there's no "ironically," but I think that's it. There's something to that.

Billy Joel's Biggest Songs: 15 Tracks That Best Showcase The Piano Man's Storytelling And Pop Hooks