Photo: Bolora Munkhbold
Positive Vibes Only: Red Rocks Worship Reveals God’s "Good Plans" With This Tranquil Performance
Denver-based music collective Red Rocks Worship shares the security faith brings in their life with a live performance of "Good Plans," the lead single from their new album, 'Ascend.'
Since the start of their career, Denver-based collective Red Rocks Worship has had one mission: to spread the Word of God and introduce more people to Heaven. On their new album, Ascend, they're sharing all the greatness God provides to their lives.
"The Lord is my shepherd/ And, He is everything I need/ So, I will not worry/ I will not fear the enemy," Red Rocks Worship declares on lead single "Good Plans." "He has good plans for me/ So, I will take heart/ In deserts and gardens."
In this episode of Positive Vibes Only, watch Red Rocks Worship deliver a performance of "Good Plans" live from one of their latest shows.
Ascend, was released on June 16 via Provident Label Group. "We want listeners to realize that no matter where they are in life, they can take a step closer to Jesus," Red Rocks Worship revealed in a press statement.
The group is currently on a church tour through the United States, which concludes on Sept. 25 at the Hills Church in Evansville, Indiana.
Press play on the video above to hear Red Rocks Worship's tender performance of "Good Plans," and check back to GRAMMY.com every Sunday for more new episodes of Positive Vibes Only.
Photo: Ashley Osborn
Everything We Know About Twenty One Pilots' New Album 'Clancy'
Three years in the making, Twenty One Pilots are returning with their seventh album, 'Clancy.' Take a look at all of the details they've revealed so far, including the release date and track list.
The GRAMMY-winning rock duo announced on Feb. 29 that their seventh studio album, titled Clancy, will arrive in May via Fueled By Ramen. Along with unveiling the project's cover art and lead single, "Overcompensate," Twenty One Pilots declared in the first teaser that "a new chapter begins" with Clancy — which will also bring a close to the ever-evolving narrative they started in 2015 with Blurryface.
Below, get all of the details Twenty One Pilots have revealed about Clancy.
It's Arriving On The 9th Anniversary Of Blurryface
Clancy will be released on May 17, which is a special day in Twenty One Pilots land. On that day in 2015, the duo released their now multi-platinum breakthrough album, Blurryface. (May is also seemingly a favorite month for the pair, as Clancy marks their third May album release; their last LP, Scaled and Icy, arrived on May 21, 2021.)
The First Single Is Here
A few hours after announcing Clancy, Twenty One Pilots unveiled the album's lead single, "Overcompensating." After a nearly two-minute synth intro that builds over a racing beat, the song sees singer Tyler Joseph return to his signature rap-inspired delivery. Its swirling production and echoing vocals feel reminiscent of Trench — but more on that later.
It Has 13 Tracks
Though the duo didn't post the Clancy track list, the song titles can be found on Apple Music. Kicking off with "Overcompensate," the track list is as follows:
2. Next Semester
3. Midwest Indigo
4. Routines In The Night
7. The Craving (Jenna's Version)
10. Snap Back
11. Oldies Station
12. At the Risk Of Feeling Dumb
13. Paladin Strait
It Takes Fans Back To 'Trench'
Despite the fact that TOP's first album teaser noted that "a new chapter begins" with Clancy, the cryptic clip proclaimed, "I am returning to Trench. I am Clancy." As the duo's fans know, Trench is the name of their 2018 LP; the project was the most conceptual and ambitious album to date, which could mean the same for Clancy. (In fact, the bridge of "Overcompensate" even features two references to two Trench tracks; "Welcome back to Trench" mirrors the outro of Trench track "Levitate," followed by lyrics taken from the bridge of "Bandito.")
Perhaps uncoincidentally, the red, yellow and black cover art vaguely calls back to the Trench cover art, which featured a smoky yellow color and a vulture.
It's The Finale To An Album Series
A press release revealed that Clancy "marks the final chapter in an ambitious multi-album narrative" which kicked off with Blurryface in 2015. What that means for the Twenty One Pilots' future is unclear, but neither their posts nor the release noted that it's their final album altogether.
It'll Be Available In Many Formats
For those who still love to buy physical albums, Twenty One Pilots have quite the array of options. Clancy will be available in a variety of physical formats, including two limited-edition deluxe box sets, four vinyl variants with additional retailer exclusives, an exclusive CD and Journal Book, and a Cassette and Photocard Wallet.
You Can Pre-Order It Now
If any of those pique your interest, you can head to Twenty One Pilots' official store, as everything is already available for pre-order. You can also pre-save/pre-add the album on streaming services to stay up to date as the pair continues to take fans deeper into the world of Clancy.
Photo: Joseph Okpako/WireImage/GettyImages
UK Drill Is An International Sensation. Will It Be Censored To Death?
UK drill is on the cusp of international popularity, quickly becoming the dominant form of drill. But with mounting censorship in its home country, what does the future of the genre look like?
Popular British rapper Digga D was just 18 years old when police first attempted to control his creative output.
A 2018 criminal behavior order controlled where the artist could go and who he could meet, as well as what he could say in his lyrics. It also meant that within 24 hours of releasing a new song, Digga D had to submit the lyrics to the police – if the court found that his lyrics incited violence or mentioned certain areas of London, he could be found in violation of his parole.
Digga D is one of the most prominent artists in UK drill — a raw, energetic form of drill with dark instrumentals and tresillo hi-hat patterns popularized by young artists like Central Cee, Digga D, and Unknown T. Originating in the early 2010s and popularizing towards the end of the decade, UK drill is a cultural phenomenon and wildly popular among young people throughout the United Kingdom and beyond.
In many ways, the future looks bright — the biggest UK drill artists are on the cusp of becoming not only huge in their own country but bona fide international stars with recognition from London to Lagos, Brixton to Brooklyn. However, UK authorities have been trying to censor drill artists, with restrictions on their abilities to make and perform music, so what’s the real future for the movement?
From underground to the top of the charts: UK drill's eruption in popularity
UK drill has steadily become one of the more popular genres of music among young people in its namesake country. Popularized on social media and YouTube, UK drill is resonant for the ways it discusses issues such as life on the streets to financial struggles. It's also translating to significant ticket sales and charting hits.
Ticketing marketplace viagogo noted a shift in demand for UK drill artists over the past year, telling GRAMMY.com that when tickets for Digga D’s Royal Albert Hall show went on sale — he became the youngest rapper ever to headline the famous London venue — his page views on the platform spiked five times higher than average.
Digga D has over 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, with his most popular track getting over 110 million streams. His contemporary Central Cee, whose music is a mix of UK drill, trap, and more traditional British rap, has over 26 million monthly listeners on the platform; his track with rapper Dave, "Sprinter", became the longest-reigning rap track in UK chart history with ten weeks at No. 1. It’s amassed over half a billion Spotify streams.
Since 2022, fans from 50 countries have bought tickets to Central Cee’s shows on viagogo, with most of them coming from Canada and the US. Music Week reported that, per the Official Charts Company, he was the biggest breakthrough artist in the UK for 2021.
Cee featured on a remix of Ed Sheeran’s "Bad Habits," which was engineered by Fumez the Engineer and featured Tion Wayne; the song remained at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart for eight weeks.
Fumez has had a huge impact on UK drill, and British rap more generally. The audio engineer helped to launch the rap platform Pressplay Media in 2012 at the age of 18, before moving to Link Up TV and then returning to Pressplay when he began his "Plugged In" freestyle series in 2020.
Just as grime gradually became more mainstream, UK drill is following a similar path. Collaborations between UK drill artists and huge names in UK rap like Stormzy and Dave have increased its popularity and widespread appeal, as do projects worked on together by UK drill artists and American artists. In 2018, Skengdo x AM released "Pitbulls" with Chicago drill icon Chief Keef, for example, while Brooklyn drill pioneer Pop Smoke worked closely with UK producer 808Melo.
AS UK drill spreads across borders, it's criminalized at home
While UK drill has spread around the world, it originated in the multicultural south London district of Brixton, an area of the city with high levels of deprivation. While it’s influenced by the aesthetics of Chicago drill, UK drill has significant stylistic differences.
Whereas Chicago drill is heavily influenced by trap, UK drill is in some ways an offshoot of road rap, a British equivalent to gangsta rap. Drill artist Loski’s father is a member of road rap group PDC, and big names in road rap like Giggs and Nines have collaborated with drill artists too.
However, it has influence from British genres like grime and UK garage too — influential grime MC Jammer even said that, without grime, there wouldn’t be any drill, while drill producer Mazza said that drill and grime have a similar energy and raw feel. Drill’s tempo is similar to that of grime, while the use of 808s and fast-tempo snares is ubiquitous in both genres.
However, it’s not all success and star-studded collaborations. Although the censorship of UK drill music is similar to the ways grime was criminalized and censored in the 2000s. However, it seems policing of UK drill has gone further.
UK drill faces a battle as it’s being censored by the UK authorities. High-profile politicians such as former Home Secretary Amber Rudd and journalists including Ben Ellery have linked drill to criminal behavior. Project Alpha, a London Metropolitan Police taskforce, was developed to gather intelligence from social media to prevent gang-related crime. Their efforts include monitoring music videos released by drill artists.
Hundreds of drill music videos have been taken down from YouTube as a result, including "Next Up" by CGM featuring Digga D. At the time of its removal in 2018, the song had received over 11 million views.
The same year Digga D was placed under a criminal behavior order, Skengdo and AM were subject to a gang injunction by the police, which prevented them from entering certain areas and from performing music that the police said was inciting violence. In 2019, the duo were both given a suspended jail sentence for breaching the injunction, with the court finding evidence that drill music can, and was, encouraging violence.
And Digga himself was charged with "being concerned in the supply of cannabis" after police raided his London home this February. The raid was said to have taken place in the early hours of the morning, when the rapper was in the middle of an Instagram Live.
Fumez describes drill as "freedom of speech and creative art." He tells GRAMMY.com "sometimes more gets said than needed, but everyone has their own story and their own background and their own form of expression."
In November 2021, Fumez’s first-ever headline show in London was canceled 20 minutes before doors opened after police imposed a Section 60 order on the area. The order gives police stop and search powers.
Meanwhile, rap duo Krept & Konan released a short film called Ban Drill in 2019 and began a petition asking the police to stop criminalizing the genre. Diane Abbott, then of the UK Labour Party, invited Skengdo x AM and Krept & Konan to the Houses of Parliament to address lawmakers about censorship that same year.
"Britain has a history of vilifying its young people all the way back to the teddy boys back in the ‘50s. So when things have been implemented to try and stop grime, for example, or sound system culture and things like that in the ‘70s and ‘80s, people pivot and find a way around it," explains Dr. Monique Charles, a British cultural socialist, theorist and methodologist and assistant professor at Chapman University in California.
These circumnavigating measures may include releasing a film (like Krept & Konan), or as Skengdo, AM, and Drillminster did in 2019, teaming up to release a video, "The Media." Drillminster even ran to be mayor of London in 2021. At his Royal Albert Hall performance, Digga D referenced his troubles with the law more than once, and was "detained" onstage.
Fighting back might be as simple as continuing to make music, even if it's just freestyling between friends rather than releasing music online.
"People always need an outlet — a place to blow off steam. People want to come together, they want to be in a space, enjoying music at the same time," Charles adds.
This sort of censorship isn’t unique to the UK, either. In the United States, advocates including the Recording Academy are addressing the issue of artists’ lyrics being used against them. The Restoring Artistic Protection (RAP) Act was first introduced in 2022 and was reintroduced to Congress last April. At present, it has been enacted in two states: California and Louisiana.
Despite efforts to tamp it down, UK drill dominates internationally
Many UK drill artists are second or third-generation immigrants from Africa, and UK drill beats often have a structure that’s influenced by African music. Unknown T is of Ugandan and Congolese descent, Headie One and LD are of Ghanaian origin, and Tion Wayne’s parents came from Nigeria.
"One of the unique things about me as an artist is the intersection of my UK upbringing and my Nigerian heritage, and this is prominent throughout my music," says Dr. Adaku Agwunobi, an academic at the University of Oxford who also has a music career under the name Dr Adaku.
Her music spans a number of genres from Afrobeats to highlife to drill — something she thought would be a "seamless way to highlight the essence of my upbringing and heritage."
Perhaps in part because of its varied influences, UK drill is fast becoming one of the most dominant forms of drill internationally. Dr Adaku explains that she sees fusions of drill growing across the world — particularly in Nigeria, with some Nigerian artists starting to become popular in the UK too. She cites Psycho YP and Odumodublvck from Nigeria, as well as Ghana’s Asakaa Boys and FL EX from Egypt.
In 2017, actor, comedian and rapper Michael Dapaah (a.k.a. Big Shaq) released "Man’s Not Hot" which sampled a drill instrumental used on 67 featuring Giggs' "Let’s Lurk." It soon became a viral success both in the UK and overseas — whereas UK drill before this was largely a success at home, "Man’s Not Hot" took it worldwide.
Dapaah says he visited and performed in countries that previously had little awareness of UK rap or drill, and "Man’s Not Hot" became their introduction to the UK scene. The track has almost 300 million streams on Spotify; beyond London, the cities listening to the track the most are in Australia or Belgium.
Dr. Charles says that UK drill is also on the rise in the U.S. — something that Dapaah has definitely been a factor in. A year after the release of "Man’s Not Hot," Dapaah was making YouTube videos with Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, and Malcolm Lee.
"I've had a couple of students who were asking me if I knew what various slang terms were. There are some pockets in L.A. and on the East Coast with an interest because our diction, the way we phrase things, and the way we ride over the beat are phenomenal to Americans," she says.
Despite challenges, UK drill is growing — and its male dominance is being confronted
Drill is often associated with young men and hyper-masculinity, but female artists such as Shaybo, TeeZandos, Ivorian Doll, and Abigail Asante are also making their mark on the genre. Asante says that she became a musician "by accident" after writing lyrics over an R&B instrumental and creating the track "The Situation" with Ivorian Doll. The track trended on YouTube and Twitter, and kickstarted their careers.
"The moment you hear drill you automatically affiliate it with gangs, violence, drugs, and weapons," she says. "I wanted to change that, be unique, and have my own spin on that narrative."
The pair became the first UK drill duo to get over three million views and streams — something Asante credits to their audience being 70 percent female. The group also discusses female empowerment and confidence to "challenge a very male-dominated genre and prove that girls are just as talented."
Asante, however, has said that she’s decided to "hang my boots" with drill, moving onto genres like Afroswing and Afrobeats. "I think drill is wearing out and people are getting bored of it – I’m most definitely bored of drill, it’s too repetitive and being known as a ‘drill rapper’ doesn’t allow my versatility as an artist."
That said, she says that drill beats have a "contagious, unique, upbeat sound that automatically gets people dancing," while it’s also a way for people to express themselves and their personal experiences.
Fumez admits that he doesn’t think about the future of drill too much, or look too far into the future. He suggests that it might get a new name, and points out similarities between drill, garage, and grime, and says that the international appeal of drill — with even huge stars like Drake getting involved — "brings longevity."
Dr. Charles believes that UK drill will become the dominant form of drill, though with influence from other scenes, and will continue to grow and expand. New generations of listeners will gravitate to UK drill's DIY ethos and put their own tweaks on it.
"I think one of the reasons why it will continue to grow and continue to expand is because the UK’s major cities are diverse places and because of British history, international connections, people migrating, moving around," she says. "Music travels with people, music migrates with people."
Photo: Courtesy of Lau Noah
Global Spin: Lau Noah Acknowledges Her Weaknesses In This Acoustic Performance Of "Lesser Men Would Call It Love"
Catalan songstress Lau Noah performs a stripped-down rendition of "Lesser Men Would Call It Love," an introspective B-side from her new collaborative album, 'A Dos.'
Catalan singer Lau Noah makes it clear she's not interested in love. It's an inevitable failure — a place "where gods live" where "no man can linger," she asserts in "Lesser Men Would Call It Love." Because no matter how much she tries to resist, she knows she's just a bird without wings.
"With you, it's simple then/ Why we recognize each other/ Wounds that look alike, they tend/ To reflect one another," Noah explains in the song's second verse. "So, don't you leave your home for me."
"Lesser Men Would Call It Love" is a track from Noah's collaborative album, A Dos, which she independently released on January 12.
"'A Dos' is the bridge between song and symphony — the place where counterpoint complexity fits into the ancestral structure of a simple song. And I have some of the best storytellers of our time helping me carry out this endeavor," she explained in a press statement.
Press play on the video above to hear Lau Noah's acoustic rendition of "Lesser Men Would Call It Love," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Global Spin.
Photo: Pablo Gallardo/Redferns
María José Llergo On Her Debut Album 'Ultrabelleza,' Her Upcoming US Tour & Flamenco As A Cultural Bridge
Maria José Llergo is taking her unique brand of flamenco to the U.S. for the first time. In an interview, the Spanish artist explains how she combines modern electro touches with traditional techniques to share the story of flamenco with the world.
María José Llergo knows the key to her future is ingrained in the past. Demonstrating her fierce connection to her Andalusian roots, Llergo’s debut album Ultrabelleza, explores themes of home, tradition and family.
Her music is distinctly personal, interweaving the classic flamenco she was raised with alongside contemporary electronic flourishes. Following her album release in October 2023, Llergo is gearing up for a seven-date U.S. tour in March, including stops in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia.
Hailing from Pozoblanco, a small town in Andalusia's agricultural heartlands, Llergo's musical foundation is as authentic as it gets. The southern Spanish region, known as the cradle of traditional flamenco, profoundly influences her sound. Her grandfather, a vegetable farmer, taught her how to sing while they worked the fields. This connection to the earth deeply permeates her music with a feeling of grit, persistence and self-respect.
On the album’s title track, she sings in Spanish a reassuring ode to a questioning child, "God himself/ With the water and the wind made you like this/ There is nothing wrong with you." In ‘Aprendiendo a Volar’ (Learning how to fly), she reflects on a view: "I see all the peaks, the summits, from my window/ So far from me that I have not dreamed of reaching them."
Llergo's journey to success mirrors the lofty peaks she sings about. Following her training at the prestigious Catalonia School of Music, she released her debut EP Sanción in 2020. A year later, she made her mark on the European live music platform COLORS, when she performed a viral YouTube session which has amassed over 1.5 million views.
Ultrabelleza took Llergo’s budding stardom to the next level. She gained critical acclaim and a substantial fanbase in the U.S., which led to her highly anticipated American tour. Splitting her time between Pozoblanco, Barcelona, and Madrid, Llergo continues to pursue her musical career with passion and dedication.
GRAMMY.com spoke with Llergo over Zoom about her unique brand of flamenco, her debut U.S. tour, and why her roots define her music.
This interview, originally conducted in Spanish, has been translated into English and edited for clarity and length.
Your music is very much tied to place; you are a trained flamenco singer, a genre from Andalusia, where you grew up. How would you describe the region to someone who has not been?
Andalusia is the word "andar", walk, and "luz", light. Our people are called Andaluces; the lights that walk. It is a rich place: intellectually, it’s the home of Federico Garcia Lorca, Vicente Aleixandre, Antonio Machado, and Picasso.
We have our very own way of living, very different to the rest of Spain. For centuries it was Arab, strategically located between Africa, Europa, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It has always been a cultural bridge, which is why there is so much art here.
Andalusia is the cradle of flamenco and has a very deep-rooted musical culture that I identify with my style of music. Even though I combine soul, hip-hop, and R&B, flamenco will always be in my voice.
Everyone should experience Andalusia, it’s so beautiful. What I like about doing interviews, and being able to travel to the United States, is to show Andalusians for what we really are, not stereotypes.
Andalusia has weathered tough times. It’s one of Spain’s poorest regions, and, as you say, often gets reduced to stereotypes by fellow Spaniards.
They make fun of it. So, art is a way to dignify ourselves and reflect who we are: a people of culture. I think any Andalusian who has had to leave their region has to prove their worth because we are undervalued.
You talk a lot about family in your songs, like "Mi Nombre," which is an ode to your grandparents. Why is family so important to you?
I learned to sing thanks to my grandfather, Pepe. I was with him when he worked the land. I played with the stones while he watered, and dug furrows in the ground to let the water pass. He explained to me how the fruits grew, and he sang through my childhood and adolescence.
I accompanied my grandfather in the field and learned what it means to work the land and eat what you farm yourself. I think that was the best school to learn about effort and never giving up.
He always sang and art was present in everything he did. For example, if one day he had a problem with a neighbor, he would compose a lyric and sing about it in the traditional flamenco style. I would listen to him and imitate him. We sang the songs together.
When I knew the songs well, my grandfather encouraged me to play with my voice and add my personal touch. And so I opened other avenues to create my vocal play, just like how water plays with stones when it tries to make a new path.
You seem very proud to be from Pozoblanco, where you grew up. What’s it like being from such a rural place?
Everyone works in farming. My family [lives] off agriculture, and that’s why I have an innate way of being with nature. I’ve always cared for nature, just like my grandparents.
I observe the changes and feel a connection. For example, looking at the sky at night, the animal tracks left in the earth, or the changing of the seasons. That soft, beautiful darkness of the plowed field, or when the grass dries, it turns an intense blonde color that sometimes seems, when you see it from afar, like the sand of a beach that never ends.
Everything I do has an impact, just like how I am affected by everything that happens around me.
You speak with such beautiful imagery; I’m thinking of how challenging it will be to do your words justice when I translate our conversation into English.
How beautiful! I guarantee that it’ll be easy. The meaning is the same, it’s just the path that changes.
That brings me to your lyrics, which are deeply poetic and highly visual. How are you inspired?
I’m a very sensitive person. I just get inspired by feeling, creating art is my way of venting all the emotions. I love writing poetry, and I think that has helped my songwriting. I always have a little book with me to write thoughts down, but I record voice notes on my smartwatch.
I live next to a river. Sometimes I walk alongside it and sing, recording myself. I’ve thought of many songs that way.
Flamenco is a traditional style of Spanish music, but is it something still important to the younger generation in Andalusia today?
Flamenco is our DNA. We’re fortunate to have grown up listening to flamenco. The story of our grandparents, great-grandparents and ancestors is in every word. Flamenco is our classical music.
That being said, flamenco is very broad and is present in all of [southern] Spain. Andalusia has a difficult history with many changes and invasions. It has welcomed so many different cultures that the region has formed a unique personality.
The lyrics of flamenco tell our story. For example, during the Franco dictatorship, there was a time when music was prohibited. It was a tool of liberation, where people talked of their "duquela," their sorrows, in the language of Caló, which is the language of the Spanish and Portuguese Romani.
Andalusia has the largest Iberian Romaní population in Spain, for which we are fortunate because they have the merit of making flamenco what it is today, without a doubt.
So, of course, it is a very diverse region — not always understood, often despised — but so rich on a musical level. It transcends generations. It has a truth so deep that it never, ever expires.
It reminds us where we come from, so it teaches us where we should go. It connects us with the past, but also provides clues to the future. Flamenco is eternal.
They wrote that but didn’t ask me specifically about it. I define myself as an Andalusian. My ancestry is part of my private life and I don’t think I have to justify my actions through lineage.
Thanks for clarifying that! We’ve spoken at length about the flamenco elements of your music, but you also have a very contemporary feel. You’ve worked with producers like Knox Brown (who has collaborated with artists including Beyoncé, Stormzy, and H.E.R.), for example.
What you hear in terms of my accent, or those flamenco elements of my music — that’s my roots. What you hear in terms of production, experimentation, and electro — that’s my wings. We can say that my music is the connection of my roots and my wings.
I look to musically express what I see in the natural world. For example, how a bird’s wing cuts through the air. Sometimes I can’t recreate that organically, so I find it synthetically. That's when I turn to electronica.
I am using the musical resources that I have at my disposal in the time in which I live to translate my vision of the world into something tangible, which are my songs.
**What contemporary music do you listen to?*
Well, I’m in love with Fred Again.. I think Kendrick Lamar’s Element* is sublime… I’m listening to a lot of Afrobeats at the moment, Rema, Simi, Ayra Starr, Burna Boy…
I also like artists like Aaron Taylor, he blows my mind, or Erika de Casier.
I have a very varied music taste, I need diversity, not just emotionally but also in what stimulates me.
Your U.S. tour starts on March 3rd. How does it feel to tour the U.S. for the very first time?
It's an honor to share my songs so far across the pond! It’s a country I want to know more in-depth and connect with. It feels like a gift, and I'm nervous and impatient because I can't wait. I already have everything ready and prepared.
Do you feel nervous to be taking flamenco to a place that’s so culturally different to where you’re from?
Sure, but I also trust a lot in the power of music. It’s a bridge between people and we’re not all that different when we have music between us.
Music is like a smile, if you see someone smiling, you smile back.