Photo: Jimmy Fontaine
Pink Sweat$ Talks Debut Album 'Pink Planet,' The Definition Of R&B & More
The Philadelphia-bred R&B singer Pink Sweat$ opens up to GRAMMY.com about the enduring process of creating ‘Pink Planet,’ the artists who inspire him, using music to escape, and learning new cooking habits in quarantine
Like many people, R&B singer Pink Sweat$ has spent the COVID-19 lockdown making his home a little cozier. "I’ve been setting up my house, making it how I want it, hanging pictures," he told GRAMMY.com. The singer’s also using his spare time at home to continue minor lifestyle changes: eating healthy and going to the gym, among other things. But the singer has also done something a lot of people have not: he’s created his debut album.
Pink Planet, released on February 12, features the 2020 single "Not Alright" and the previously released lush, introspective ballad "At My Worst." (GRAMMY-nominated R&B singer Kehlani joins him on the remix.) This album, Pink Sweat$ revealed, was made with "a different creative process."
"It took a lot more time, it took a lot of patience on my end to stick out the process and make the songs what I wanted them to be regardless of how long it took," he said.
Born David Bowden in Philadelphia, aka the city of Brotherly Love, on Valentine’s Day, it seems to be fate that the 29-year-old uses his talents to spread themes of love of all aspects, from self-love to romance. And just like many legendary R&B voices, Bowden began his career in the church.
"I learned everything I know about music in church. Everything I know about performing is all a reference to what I saw," the singer shared. "[Sunday Service] was really the first concert I ever went to."
Bowden emerged on the music scene in 2018 showcasing his light, smooth and delicate yet powerful vocals on the debut EP Volume I. In 2019, after touring, the Philadelphia native followed up the release with a new drop, Volume 2, which helped catapult his career. The same year, he was nominated for Best New Artist at the Soul Train Awards and also performed during the annual music awards show. Beyond his own work, the singer has produced for artists ranging from fellow Philly representative Tierra Whack to country duo Florida Georgia Line.
Pink Planet is opening another chapter for the singer; It has been generations in the making and was crafted after years of learning and creating as well as establishing his passion for the art which equipped him with the musicality needed to succeed. His family played a major role throughout the quest to Pink Planet, and they are so foundational that it was only until he incorporated "Pink Family" on the album featuring them that he felt the album was complete.
The singer spoke to GRAMMY.com about the influences behind Pink Planet, what R&B means to him and using the time in quarantine to establish a level of peace.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
How do you define your music and how do you define R&B?
I like to say my music is a feeling. It’s something that comes from a deep place. It comes from a spiritual place. It comes from a soulful place. In the same breath, I would say that's what R&B is. The history of R&B pretty much stems from gospel singers, kids who grew up in the church. They transform that energy from their home church out to the world. Whatever they did, they sang with that same conviction [and] intensity while simultaneously being soft and beautiful. It’s intense, soft, and beautiful all in one mixture. That’s what I would say R&B is.
Did the pandemic have any impact on your creative process?
No, not really. I did change something on my album: I added the song "Pink Family." I added the song because I had time to reflect as an artist. All that I am has either been influenced or [a] direct mimicking of my family. My mom, my brother, my aunt, my uncle—[they’re] a direct influence. I had some time spent thinking, pondering, "I don't know what this album is missing." It was missing my family. What I wanted to do was put a song that, even if it's not this platinum song, [ was] aside from industry things.
I wanted to put a song out that if I look back 20 years [from now], I feel proud of myself [because I gave] my family a platform and [said], let’s go, let's do this together. This is how we always did it. I always did everything with my family. When it comes to church, music, it was always family, so how can I put out my debut without them?
Outside of music, how have you been spending some of this extra time in quarantine?
I bought a Ninja grill. I’ve been whipping up stuff on there. I know how to cook. I’ve been going to the gym, eating healthy and stuff like that. I’ve been setting up my house, making it how I want it, hanging pictures. I put up a mini basketball court. Just trying to organize my life and be comfortable. Before, I was so busy.
Who are some artists or some sounds that have influenced you to become an artist yourself?
Kirk Franklin. He never sang, but he always got the parties lit. Even outside of church, I remember people played Kirk Franklin. I [was] like, what? This is the club, but everybody goes off. Outside of that, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie. A more modern person is John Denver, he’s a country artist. He’s fire.
What do you hope your fans receive from your debut album?
The biggest thing I hope they get is that you can do whatever you want in this life. Pink Planet is just an action away. Your version of Pink Planet is literally just taking the steps to get there. But you can get there. I’m here to prove that you can make your dreams happen [and] it doesn't have to always be music-related. I make music, but some people have other aspirations.
Throughout the process of the album, if you listen from the beginning to the end, you almost get the full picture of who I am. You hear my struggle. You hear triumph. You hear the amazing feeling of succeeding at something that you love. Simultaneously, [there is] involvement of a family and love songs, which is what I love to make.
It’s a full body. Every single song is not a love song. I put different pieces of myself to show people as a human being, you're a whole person. You shouldn’t only listen to rap … When you see people, don't judge, just love.
The first song, "Pink City," is a starting point to where you’re from. What are some aspects of your upbringing in Philadelphia that influenced you as a person, whether it is or is not involving your artistry?
I would say in general, it's a real city, it’s a tough city. If you find yourself on the wrong block, you might have to run home. Even schooling, our school system is so bad. I remember having so much anxiety just going to school. My parents sent me to school, and I remember thinking once, "Why do they keep sending me here, it’s dangerous." I could not understand why my parents would send me to school. It felt like the worst place to be. All the fights, all the crime happened at school.
The beautiful side of Philly is that there are so many resilient people. So many loving people. So many people who are really just trying to make it. Like I say in the song, "Trynna live, gotta make it." We all are aspiring to a higher level. Whether it’s a higher level of consciousness or a higher level of living. Most people in the hood, we were just born there. We didn’t ask to be specifically there.
How I wrote the song, ["Pink City,"] when I was growing up and walking around, I didn’t always feel so comfortable. I [was] like, "Man, this just feels off." I [had] to beat somebody up to prove I’m not a punk or I [have to aspire] to be a drug dealer because these are the only people who have money around here. I remember feeling that as a kid and thinking to myself if I can just make it; I just wanted to be rich so I [could] take care of my family.
If I ask an astronaut to take me to the pink planet when I get off that spaceship, what am I going to see? What is it going to be on that planet?
The magic is not in the destination, it’s in the journey. The journey to the pink planet is not necessarily a group journey. It's not necessarily a thing that you go on with all your friends like you go to the club. It’s an individual higher calling. Whatever it is that you desire in this world, that’s your "pink planet." That's the destination, but the journey is still where the real magic is. Even in my life people are like, “He came out of nowhere” and it’s like, to you, because you’ve never heard of me. But that journey, that's the part people never see.
The pink planet is a mindset. It’s a mental place. You have to hop on your own spaceship. You got to build and craft your own spaceship or plane, whatever you’re using; You have to get there. The rest of us are already on the pink planet. We’re waiting with open arms, we’re waiting to show you, mad love.
My favorite tracks from Pink Planet are "Beautiful Life," "PINK MONEY," and "Icy." What are some of your favorites?
Right now my personal favorite is "PINK CITY" because of my mentality right now. I’m taking myself back to the beginning, the grassroots mentality, almost like I’ve done nothing. I’m starting over, in my mind. This album is pretty much ground zero for me.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/VMN19/Getty Images
Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West
Following dates in Europe and South America, Swift will land in the U.S. for Lover Fest East and West, where the pop star will open Los Angeles' brand new stadium
Taylor Swift will be spreading the love in support of her hit album Lover.in 2020, but it may or may not be in a city near you. The GRAMMY winner announced plans for her summer 2020 tour in support of her seventh studio album, including two shows each in Foxborough, Mass. and Los Angeles for Lover Fest East and West respectively as the only four U.S. dates announced so far.
The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic. I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West! https://t.co/xw6YMN38WE pic.twitter.com/IhVPQ8DMUG— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) September 17, 2019
The tour kicks off in Belgium on June 20 and hits festivals in seven European countries before heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 18 then heading to U.S. Swift will then present Lover Fest West with back-to-back Los Angeles July 25 and 26 at the newly named SoFi Stadium. The concerts will serve as the grand opening of the much-anticipated NFL venue. The tour will wrap a double header at Gillette Stadiuim in Foxborough July 31 and Aug 1
"The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic," she tweeted. "I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West!"
Tickets for the new dates go on sale to the general public via Ticketmaster on Oct. 17.
Photo: Harmony Korine
Iggy Pop Announces New Album, 'Free', Shares Title Track
"By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained… I wanted to be free," the Godfather of Punk explained
Today, GRAMMY-nominated punk forbearer Iggy Pop revealed the details for his forthcoming 18th solo studio album, along with its short—at under two minutes—yet spacious title track, "Free." The 10-track LP is due out Sept. 6 and follow's 2016's GRAMMY-nominated Post Pop Depression.
"This is an album in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice," Pop explains in a press release.
The statement notes jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas and L.A.-based electric guitarist Noveller as the "principal players" collaborating with Pop on this exploratory new project. On "Free," Thomas' horn and Noveller's guitar add layers of depth, somberness and exploration, as Pop's echoing voice cuts through twice to proclaim, "I want to be free."
Pop adds that his last tour left him feeling exhausted but ready for change, and the shifts eventually led him to these new sounds:
"By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained. And I felt like I wanted to put on shades, turn my back, and walk away. I wanted to be free. I know that's an illusion, and that freedom is only something you feel, but I have lived my life thus far in the belief that that feeling is all that is worth pursuing; all that you need—not happiness or love necessarily, but the feeling of being free. So this album just kind of happened to me, and I let it happen."
Post Pop Depression earned the former Stooges frontman his second GRAMMY nod, at the 59th GRAMMY Awards for Best Alternative Music Album. It was produced by GRAMMY winner Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and as a tribute of sorts to David Bowie, Pop's longtime friend the producer of his first two solo albums, and was released shortly after Bowie's surprising passing.
As the press release states, "While it follows the highest charting album of Iggy's career, Free has virtually nothing in common sonically with its predecessor—or with any other Iggy Pop album."
Photo: Rune Hellestad/Getty Images
Travis Scott Drops "Watch" Featuring Lil Uzi Vert, Kanye West
The GRAMMY-nominated rapper returns with a new single boasting two high-profile features
Houston-born rapper Travis Scott capped off a busy week by releasing a new single on May 4, "Watch," featuring Lil Uzi Vert and Kanye West. The song's intro references Scott's forthcoming album, Astroworld, which will be his third studio album.
Earlier this week, Scott appeared on Playboi Carti's "Love Hurts," delivering a guest verse for the rapper's return from a relatively quiet year since releasing his debut mixtape last April.
Lil Uzi is coming off two GRAMMY nominations at the 60th GRAMMY Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance for his 2017 hit "Bad And Bougee."
West has a large menu of upcoming releases slated for late May and June, including his eighth studio album plus pulling production duty on new albums by Nas, Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, and a collab with fellow GRAMMY-winner Kid Cudi.
Scott's summer will include several big festival appearances, starting with his May 13 performance at Miami's Rolling Loud Festival. The GRAMMY-nominated rapper will also appear at Governors Ball in New York City, Lollapalooza in Chicago, Osheaga Festival in Montreal, Hard Festival in Pomona, Calif., and Austin City Limits Festival in Austin, Texas. As of yet, no release date for Astroworld has been announced.
Fleetwood Mac in 1975
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Poll: From "Dreams" To "The Chain," Which Fleetwood Mac Song Is Your Favorite?
"Dreams" experienced a charming viral moment on TikTok after a man posted a video skateboarding to the classic track, and now it's back on the charts, 43 years later
In honor of Fleetwood Mac's ethereal '70s rock classic "Dreams," which recently returned to the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to a viral TikTok skateboard video from Nathan Apodaca, we want to know which of the legendary group's songs is your favorite!
Beyond their ubiquitous 1977 No. 1 hit "Dreams," there are so many other gems from the iconic GRAMMY-winning album Rumours, as well as across their entire catalog. There's the oft-covered sentimental ballad "Landslide" from their 1975 self-titled album, the jubilant, sparkling Tango in the Night cut "Everywhere" and Stevie Nicks' triumphant anthem for the people "Gypsy," from 1982's Mirage, among many others.
Vote below in our latest GRAMMY.com poll to let us know which you love most.