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From Beyoncé To Harry Styles, 10 Superstars Who Emerged From Bands
Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé

Photo: L. Busacca/WireImage

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From Beyoncé To Harry Styles, 10 Superstars Who Emerged From Bands

Big-name acts like Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé have proven to be hitmakers in their own right — whether their group has been defunct for decades or are still going strong.

GRAMMYs/May 20, 2022 - 06:26 pm

The history of pop music is replete with band members who broke out as solo artists. Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Nicks and Sting are just some of the best-known names who outgrew the shared limelight and made a successful bid for standalone success. 

While many solo stars born from bands have since hung up the microphone, others in this illustrious club remain active in 2022. The most recent player in the bandmate-turned-solo-star game is former One Direction singer Harry Styles, who released his third album, Harry's House, on May 20.

Along with Styles, these 10 superstars got their start in great company — and are still thriving on their own today.

Harry Styles

To track how far Harry Styles has come from his One Direction days, go back a decade to the group's 2012 music video for "One Thing," which features a big-haired and wholesome Harry riding buses and busking through London. Fast forward to 2022, and he's sharing intense scenes with Florence Pugh in the trailer for Olivia Wilde's upcoming psychological thriller, Don't Worry Darling, fresh from headlining Coachella with a strutting, sequined hit-filled set. 

Since making his solo debut with the soaring ballad "Sign of the Times" in 2017, Styles has earned several labels: chart topper, style icon, boundary pusher and even GRAMMY winner. (His subtly provocative smash "Watermelon Sugar" earned the Best Pop Solo Performance GRAMMY in 2021.) 

Styles' latest single, "As It Was," helped add record breaker to that list. The song broke the record for most single-day streams on a song by a male artist in global Spotify chart history, setting the stage for the highly anticipated May 20 release of his third solo album, Harry's House

His upcoming touring schedule shows his star power, too. The singer recently announced mini residencies in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin and Toronto, including 10 nights each at famed venues Madison Square Garden and The Forum. Although he's the only One Direction member to play venues of that size on his own, Styles makes sure to still honor his boy band start, keeping 1D's breakout single, "What Makes You Beautiful," in his set list — most recently inviting his buddy Lizzo to perform it with him at Coachella.

Beyoncé

"Sorry I'm not Beyoncé," Billie Eilish joked from the main stage at Coachella in her first year as the festival's headliner this April. The quip was an acknowledgement of the former Destiny's Child member's titanic solo career to date — and, of course, her showstopping headline performance at Coachella in 2018 that was later immortalized in Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé (and dubbed Beychella by fans). 

In the nearly 20 years since her solo debut, 2003's Dangerously In Love, Beyoncé has released six albums — all of which have reached No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart — and has scored six No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo or featured artist. 

Among countless other accolades, the "Halo" star has become a GRAMMY legend: Beyoncé has won 28 GRAMMYs (and has received 79 nominations), making her the winning-most female artist in GRAMMY history.

This year, after receiving her first Oscar nomination for "Be Alive" from the King Richard soundtrack, Beyoncé opened the 2022 Academy Awards with a stunning, all-lime-green performance from a tennis court in Compton, Calif., the hometown of Venus and Serena Williams. Whatever her next move, it's sure to be received rapturously.

Ricky Martin

Latin pop sensation Ricky Martin got his start in the early 1980s in the long-running Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, joining the group as a young teen. His big break as a solo star came with his fourth studio album Vuelve (1998), and its English-language follow-up, Ricky Martin (1999), which featured the breakout hit single, "Livin' la Vida Loca." 

Martin made his GRAMMY stage debut performing "La Copa De Vida" at the 41st GRAMMY Awards in 1999. That year, he took home Best Latin Pop Performance for "Vuelve"; Martin scored his second GRAMMY nearly 20 years later, winning Best Latin Pop Album for A Quien Quiera Escuchar in 2016. (He has also won four Latin GRAMMYs, in addition to being honored as Person Of The Year in 2006.)

After building a legacy as one of Latin pop's best-selling artists of the '90s, Martin continues to leave an impact. His 2020 EP, Pausa, landed in the top 10 of the Latin Pop Albums chart and earned him his eighth GRAMMY nomination in 2021. And although he's still releasing music today, Martin loves calling back to the good old days: he released two singles with 2000s Latin stars Reik, and teamed up with Enrique Iglesias for a co-headlining tour in 2021.

Paul McCartney

Just one month before the Beatles delivered what would be their final album, 1970's Let It Be, Paul McCartney unveiled McCartney, hinting that a solo career was on the horizon. Though McCartney II wouldn't come until a decade later (mostly because he spent the '70s fronting Wings), the road to 2020's McCartney III solidified the former fresh-faced Beatle as one of music's all-time greats.

While McCartney's solo career hasn't spawned quite as many iconic hits as the Beatles' catalog, his stacked list of accolades includes a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (both as a member of the Beatles and on his own), Kennedy Center Honors and a knighting by Queen Elizabeth for his contributions to music. Along with his 18 GRAMMY wins, he was also honored with the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. (And with 81 career nominations, McCartney is the second-most nominated artist of all time.)

He also remains a touring titan, currently selling out arenas and stadiums across the U.S. on his Got Back Tour. As he's done for years, McCartney ensures his set lists include numerous callbacks to his legendary band, such as "Can't Buy Me Love," "Got to Get You Into My Life," "Hey Jude" and "Helter Skelter." This time around, he even features a "virtual duet" with John Lennon on "I've Got A Feeling," thanks to restored never-before-seen footage of the band's legendary 1969 rooftop concert from director Peter Jackson's 2021 documentary, The Beatles: Get Back.

Justin Timberlake

After a stint on "The Mickey Mouse Club," Justin Timberlake emerged as a fresh-faced heartthrob in *NSYNC. Following a whirlwind five-year span of global success with the group, Timberlake put his frosted tips behind him and became a pop phenomenon of his own. 

Launching into the limelight in 2002 with his debut solo album, Justified, Timberlake has landed 36 songs in the Billboard Top 100 to date, including five No. 1 hits. While Justified reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200, Timberlake has since celebrated four No. 1 albums, including 2018's Man Of The Woods. Along the way, the singer scooped up 10 GRAMMYs and 31 nominations (he has 39 noms in total, thanks to the impressive eight he earned with *NSYNC).

In addition to collaborations with everyone from Madonna and Beyoncé to Jay Z and Chris Stapleton, Timberlake is also an accomplished actor, winning acclaim for his roles in The Social Network, Inside Llewyn Davis and last year's Palmer. While relatively low-key of late, Timberlake lent his unmistakable croon to "Parent Trap" for Jack Harlow's new album, Come Home the Kids Miss You. Any Timberlake fan knows that the multi-hyphenate is not one to stay under the radar for long.

Camila Cabello

Following what she has called a "super awkward" split from girl group Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello has confidently scaled new heights as a solo artist. The true making of Camila Cabello as a solo star came in 2017 with "Havana," the Young Thug-featuring Latin pop sensation that topped the Billboard Hot 100 and has since climbed to over one billion views on YouTube. The song earned Cabello a nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance in 2019, with her debut solo album, Camila, also earning a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album that year.

Cabello went to No. 1 again in 2019 with "Señorita," a steamy collaboration with Shawn Mendes that earned her a GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. (The sultry track doubled the streaming success of "Havana" on Spotify, surpassing 2 billion streams in November 2021.) 

In April, Cabello released her third solo studio album, Familia, which explores her musical heritage through the lens of Latin pop. As she continues to honor her Latin roots, Cabello seemingly has her eye on the movie and film world as well, making her acting debut in the 2021 Amazon Prime remake of Cinderella.

Pharrell Williams

Before Pharrell Williams was the smooth superproducer we know today, he was the livewire frontman of funk-rock-rap group N.E.R.D. But it didn't take long for Williams to prove himself as a star on his own: As N.E.R.D. continued to release music, Williams teased a solo career with features on tracks with Jay-Z, Britney Spears and Snoop Dogg before emerging with his debut solo single — the top-five hit "Frontin'" (another Jay-Z team-up) — in 2003.

Ten years later, Williams had arguably the biggest year of his career in 2013 thanks to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and his own smash, "Happy." All three earned Williams GRAMMY nominations, winning Record of the Year and Won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Get Lucky" and Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video for "Happy." (To date, Pharrell has won 13 GRAMMYs and earned 38 nominations overall.)

In the nearly 10 years since, Williams has continued his balancing act of in-demand producer and solo artist, even reuniting with N.E.R.D. in 2017 for No One Ever Really Dies. Williams recently served as both featured artist and producer on Jack Harlow's Come Home the Kids Miss You and Pusha T's It's Almost Dry (on which he co-wrote and produced seven of the 12 tracks).

Nick Jonas

Almost a decade after the Jonas Brothers parted ways in 2013 (though not forever, as it turned out), Nick Jonas continues to write his own story. His breakout song as a solo artist — 2014's "Jealous," which peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 — set the stage for his self-titled album that also saw hits in "Chains" and deluxe track "Levels." (All three singles went to No. 1 on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart.)

Jonas continued to hone his signature pop-meets-R&B sound on 2016's Last Year Was Complicated, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and delivered the catchy Tove Lo collab "Close." As he continued his solo music, Jonas also expanded his acting resume, earning a starring role in the drama series Kingdom and guest starring on the satirical slasher show Scream Queens.

Reuniting with his brothers for a chart-topping comeback in 2019, Jonas served as a coach on "The Voice" in 2020 and returned in 2021. Amid the revamped Jonas Brother mania,  Jonas released his third solo LP, Spaceman, in 2021, teaming up with his bros for the deluxe cut "Selfish."

Next, the Jonas Brothers will launch a five-date Vegas residency in June. (Joe Jonas is also making a comeback this year with his dance-rock project DNCE.)

Diana Ross

Since beginning her career as the lead singer of the Supremes, Diana Ross has become one of the most celebrated solo artists still working today. Building on the myriad hits she released throughout the 1970s on Motown Records, Ross entered a new era with Diana in 1980, the best-selling album of her career with the timeless classics "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out." 

The '80s saw another string of hits for Ross, including her classic 1981 duet with Lionel Richie, "Endless Love." While her releases became more sporadic at the turn of the 21st century, Ross' genre-spanning accomplishments earned her the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Still going strong in the seventh decade of her career, Ross released her 25th album, Thank You, in 2021. Her first release in 15 years was produced by current pop chart whisperer Jack Antonoff and ushered in a new phase for the living legend. 

This year, she collaborated with psych-rockers Tame Impala on "Turn Up The Sunshine" for the new Minions soundtrack and will play the "Legend" slot at the UK's renowned Glastonbury Festival in June.

Gwen Stefani

As No Doubt hit their commercial peak in the early 2000s, Gwen Stefani officially broke off with 2004's "What You Waiting For." For three years straight, Stefani served up several smashes including the Fiddler-on-the-Roof-sampling "Rich Girl," the Akon-featuring "Sweet Escape" and the Billboard Hot 100-topping anthem "Hollaback Girl."

Following a string of No Doubt reunion shows in 2015, Stefani released This Is What the Truth Feels Like in 2016, marking her first solo album in 10 years and her first No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Four years later, her headline-making romance with fellow "The Voice" coach (and her now husband) Blake Shelton resulted in two Country Airplay No. 1s in 2020 with "Nobody But You" and "Happy Anywhere."

In January 2021, Gwen Stefani shared the music video for her don't-call-it-a-comeback single, "Let Me Reintroduce Myself." The song's bright, reggae-tinged feel is matched by its video, which sees Stefani revisiting looks from both her No Doubt days and her solo times with the Harajuku Girls. 

Stefani continues to inspire the next generation, too. Olivia Rodrigo has cited Stefani as one of her biggest inspirations, telling TIME that Stefani is the artist she'd most like to write a song with. Stefani's response? "I'd be honored."

5 Takeaways From Harry Styles' New Album 'Harry's House'

Remembering The Artistry Of Tina Turner, "The Epitome Of Power And Passion"
Tina Turner in 1990

Photo: Rob Verhorst/Redferns

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Remembering The Artistry Of Tina Turner, "The Epitome Of Power And Passion"

Throughout her eight GRAMMY wins and 25 nominations, Tina Turner’s vast and generation-spanning musical output proved equally entertaining and inspirational. The Bold Soul Sister died on May 24 at her home near Zurich, Switzerland. She was 83.

GRAMMYs/May 25, 2023 - 04:15 pm

The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, recording legend, icon of empowerment. No matter how one refers to Tina Turner, her passing constitutes a seismic loss that marks the end of a shining cultural legacy which leaves in its wake an industry-shaping career. Throughout her eight GRAMMY wins and 25 nominations, Turner’s vast and generation-spanning musical output proved equally entertaining and inspirational.

The icon died on May 24 at her home near Zurich, Switzerland. She was 83.

"Tina Turner broke barriers for women on and off the stage throughout her incredible career," said Harvey Mason jr, CEO of The Recording Academy, of Turner who received GRAMMY’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 and is a three-time inductee to the GRAMMY Hall of Fame. "She amazed audiences worldwide with her electrifying performances, including on our GRAMMY stage in 1985 and 2008, and was an undeniable rockstar who paved the way for so many with her signature style and powerful vocals. She will be greatly missed by all the people she touched around the globe."

It’s a sentiment shared by the music industry, and world, at large. "She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer,"Mick Jaggerwrote on social media. "She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her." On her website, Beyoncé — who performed with Turner at the 50th GRAMMY Awards — paid tribute to her "beloved Queen," writing, "I love you endlessly. I’m so grateful for your inspiration and all the ways you paved the way. You are strength and resilience. You are the epitome of power and passion."Elton John put it simply: "We have lost one of the world's most exciting and electric performers," he wrote. "She was untouchable."

Turner’s untouchable talent famously embodied two phases. First, her tumultuous collaboration with husband Ike Turner, during which they performed as a duo and yielded hits including the oft-covered "Proud Mary." The instantly-recognizable song earned the couple a GRAMMY Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Group in 1972 and was inducted in the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 2003. In her triumphant second act, Turner broke away from the partnership. She reinvented herself as a solo performer, improbably transitioning from a '60s and '70s-era rocker to arena pop star in the 1980s. 

For her efforts, the singer swept the major categories at the 1985 GRAMMY Awards, winning Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "What’s Love Got To Do With It." She also took home the golden gramophone for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Better Be Good To Me."

One of her most indelible hits, Turner utilized "What's Love Got To Do With It" as a call to action, becoming brutally honest about her abusive relationship with her ex-husband along the way. Turner later recalled toRolling Stone that when she left Ike in July 1976, "I had nothing. I didn’t even know how to get money. I had a girl working for me who had worked for Ike, because she knew about ways of getting money. I didn’t know how to do any of that stuff." She later devised what’s considered one of the greatest comebacks in music history.

First offered to Donna Summer — who sat on the track before ultimately passing — songwriter Terry Britten later revealed that she thought "What’s Love Got to Do With It" was "awful." Turner didn't like the song either, but recorded it following encouragement from her manager, Roger Davis.

"I said, 'If it doesn't work out, we won't use it. So let's give it a go,'" Britten recalled in her 2021 documentary, Tina.  It wasn’t until Turner laid down her vocal track that the song was elevated from pop confection into a showcase for the vocal powerhouse. "They weren't used to a strong voice standing on top of music," Turner said in the documentary. "But I converted it and made it my own."

Turner’s deft musical translation is evident throughout her eclectic discography, from the blues-inflicted rock she performed as Ike & Tina Turner, to pop anthems like 1989’s "The Best" (which became a trademark and, naturally, the title of a popular greatest hits album).  In 1962, she was nominated for her first GRAMMY Award for Best Rock and Roll Recording for "It’s Gonna Work Out Fine,"  her and Ike’s hit from the previous year which was offered to them after songwriter Rose Marie McCoy saw their energetic stage show at the Apollo. 

It was an auspicious early hit for Turner, who would become a staple of the category for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female. Decades later, she earned back-to-back wins in the category for "One of the Living" and "Back Where We Started" in 1986 and 1987, a nomination for "Better Be Good To Me" in ‘88, and took home the golden gramophone in ‘89 for Tina Live in Europe, among many others. 

"My songs are a little bit of everybody’s lives who are watching me," said Turner to Rolling Stonein the midst of her hot streak in 1986. "You gotta sing what they can relate to. And there are some raunchy people out there. The world is not perfect. And all of that is in my performance; I play with it."

Born Anna Mae Bullock, Turner’s journey to musical dynamo began on the farmlands of Tennessee where she discovered early on her passion for artistic expression. "As a girl, every chance I got, I’d go to our local movie theater and memorize scenes so I could reenact them," she recalled in 2021 the Harvard Business Review. "Although I did have a bit of singing training in high school and even learned some opera, my voice and dance abilities have mostly come naturally to me." 

That vocal prowess and inimitable energy as a performer was on full display throughout her life behind the microphone, one of the most memorable examples being "River Deep-Mountain High." Inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 1999, her duet with Ike was produced by Phil Spector who Turner said had him cut her vocals ad nauseam to spectacular results. "I must have sung that 500,000 times," she told Rolling Stone after the publication ranked the track No. 33 of their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. "I was drenched with sweat. I had to take my shirt off and stand there in my bra to sing." 

Upon her death, the New York Times called her "a magnetic singer with explosive power." That power was visible on and off the stage, both in her artistry and ability to soldier on in the face of the numerous obstacles.  In a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Turner explained, "There's an expression, 'You'll never get out of this world alive.' It's true. We won't. Go forward. Do your best with your makeup, hair, and clothes." 

In that same interview, Turner also mused about her legacy, touching on the inspiration she doled out by being her authentic self. "My wish is to give the kind of truth to people that will help them change their minds. When that happens, I'll be the best that I can be."

10 Essential Tina Turner Cuts From the '70s: How Her Forgotten Era Set The Stage For A Dramatic Debut As A Solo Performer

Touring In A Post-Pandemic World: How Costs, Personnel & Festival Culture Have Affected 2023 Performances
Crowds at the 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella

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Touring In A Post-Pandemic World: How Costs, Personnel & Festival Culture Have Affected 2023 Performances

The live music business is still dealing with the repercussions of the pandemic. GRAMMY.com spoke with a cross section of professionals about the industry's most profound changes, how they’re being addressed, and what it all might mean for the future.

GRAMMYs/May 19, 2023 - 02:51 pm

The pandemic wreaked global havoc on many levels. Beyond the human toll, the disruptions brought on by the spread of COVID-19 caused deep and lasting damage to nearly every business sector, including live entertainment. Virtually overnight, workers lost their livelihoods, businesses closed their doors or drastically curtailed operations, and supply chains were hobbled. 

Within days of lockdown, multiple outlets published sobering articles detailing the tours, concerts and festivals that had been affected by the outbreak; Insider.com article identified at least 170 postponements or cancellations. In a flash, every artist across the globe witnessed the live performance side of their careers vaporize. Crews were sent home, and all of the businesses that served the sector — logistics, audio gear, food service and more — found a barren landscape.

During the pandemic, major promoter Live Nation saw a drastic drop in the number of concerts and festivals under its banner: from over 40,000 events in 2019 to just over 8,000 in 2020. But by the end of 2022, Pollstar.com reported that the year’s top 100 tours sold approximately 59 million tickets — more than 2019's sales. 

Three years after the beginning of the pandemic, life is in many ways returning to normal. Yet the costs associated with putting on a concert have risen dramatically, due to both the pandemic's inflationary pressures and a surge in demand for the goods and services necessary to sustain tours. For those working in and around the live music business, the "new normal" means some things work as they did before COVID-19 while others have altered radically — either temporarily or for good. 

GRAMMY.com spoke with a cross section of industry professionals about some of the most profound changes, how they’re being addressed, and what it all might mean for the future. 

New Touring Paradigms

With the return of live music has come a corresponding, pent-up surge in demand, notes Christy Castillo Butcher, Senior VP, Programming & Booking at the 70,000 seat SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. "To satiate that demand, you have to have a bigger venue." 

In 2023 alone, SoFi Stadium is hosting several megashows: Billy Joel & Stevie Nicks, Grupo Firme, Romeo Santos, a five-night Taylor Swift residency, Metallica, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and P!nk are all on the venue’s calendar, with additional shows awaiting announcement. Madison Square Garden saw multiple sold-out performances by Janet Jackson, and will host a seven-night Phish residency. 

Since the pandemic, some artists have taken different approaches to touring. Tandem tours and residencies are just two of the phenomena that seem to be increasing in popularity with touring artists and their management teams.

Teaming up for a tandem tour isn’t a new idea; package tours have been part of the concert landscape from the days of Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars in the mid 1960s. And in an era when post-pandemic-related shortages and logistical snags make touring even more challenging, the practice is finding renewed interest.

One of the highest-profile tandem tours of 2023 is the ZZ Top/Lynyrd Skynyrd Sharp Dressed Simple Man tour. Visiting more than 22 cities across the U.S, the tour brings together three-time GRAMMY nominees ZZ Top with the popular Southern rock band.

"You want to give the fans the value of seeing two bands together," says Ross Schilling, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Tour Manager. (Pollstar reported an average ticket price for the top 100 North American tours in the first half of 2022 at more than $108. Meanwhile, ticket prices for megastars such as Beyoncé and Swift have reached astronomical levels.)

Schilling acknowledges that there are pros and cons for the artists as well. "You're sharing the expenses and the revenues," he notes, adding that the production is often halved. "Video, pyro, smoke, whatever kind of elements you want to add" can be shared on a tandem tour.

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

Another option experiencing a renaissance is the concert residency. "Residencies are not new, of course," says Phil Carson, a touring and management veteran who spent many years on the road with high-profile rock bands including Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, AC/DC and Yes. "They started with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. when there was really only one place to go: Las Vegas." 

Today there are many more options, but the motivations are often the same as before. "Sammy, Dean Martin… all those guys wanted to hang out together, and didn't want to go on the bloody road," Carson explains. As their audiences grew older, they too were interested in the idea of going to one place to see their favorite performers.

And Carson thinks that the multi-night approach may well be part of a trend for the future. "We’re starting to get two-and three-night runs in casinos across America," he says. Adele, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood and Carlos Santana are just a few of the artists eschewing the road in favor of a series of dates in one venue. 

The trend is extending to smaller venues as well. Singer/songwriter James McMutry and his band launched a residency at Austin' Continental Club in November 2021; that booking continues to the present day. And just last August, Robert Glasper announced a 48-show residency at the Blue Note Club in New York City; it’s his fourth extended run of dates at the famed jazz venue.

Festivals Return En Force

Following increased demand for live entertainment post-lockdown, major music festivals returned with a force in 2022 and continue to do so in 2023. Coachella and Lollapalooza were among the multi-day, multi-weekend events returning after COVID-forced cancellations, while mid-level events such as San Francisco's Outside Lands also saw over 220,000 attendees in 2022 — a major boon for a live music industry that had been in crisis only a year before.

Celebrating and featuring a multigenerational lineup of Latinx artists and performers, the Bésame Mucho Festival premiered in December 2022 at the 56,000 capacity Dodger Stadium. Tickets sold out within 70 minutes. The lineup for the 2023 event was announced in February; once again, the event sold out almost immediately.

Read more: Latin Music's Next Era: How New Festivals & Big Billings Have Helped Bring Reggaeton, New Corridos & More To The Masses

Ashley Capps has been wholly immersed in the festival scene; former head of AC Entertainment, for many years he oversaw the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. These days he has scaled back his activities but still curates the adventurous Big Ears Festival which he founded in 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

"The post-pandemic Big Ears has seen extraordinary growth," he says, noting a pre-COVID trajectory of growth, with an annual 20 percent increase in ticket sales. The 2022 Big Ears — the first after a two-year pause — experienced a 35 percent growth. "That led us to declare our first full-on sellout," he says, "five weeks before the festival happened." 

In 2023, Big Ears noted another surge in ticket sales, surpassing 50 percent over the previous year. The multiple-venue festival added additional larger venues to accommodate the increased demand. Concertgoers "are certainly hungry to get back into the live music experience," Capps says. "And the artists we’re working with at Big Ears are eager to be back out and in front of appreciative audiences."

That pent-up demand on both sides of the equation can result in a crowded field, with many events — even beyond music — competing both for attention, staffing and gear.

The Cost Of Making Music

Global logistical bottlenecks that plagued every industry continue to take a toll on the live music industry. Worldwide economic inflation — which hit 8.8 percent in 2022, nearly doubling year-over-year, a partial result of the pandemic — has increased costs and cut profits, laying the groundwork for a "rocky road to recovery." Finding themselves without opportunities for work during the pandemic, untold numbers of skilled tour technicians left the business. 

"People got out of the industry across the board, from musicians to agents to managers to bartenders to production staff," says Morgan Margolis, CEO/President of Knitting Factory Entertainment. "'I’ve got to do something else.' I saw a lot of that." Some never returned, causing a personnel shortage once live touring resumed.

All that affected live music venues, too. "We were shuffling around tour managers, production managers, box office personnel," says Margolis. He characterizes his company — active nationwide in venue operations, festivals, artist management, touring and more — as an "all hands on deck" operation. "I actually slung some drinks in Walla Walla at an Aaron Lewis concert," he says. 

Increased costs mean it’s essential to run the leanest operation possible while maintaining quality. Margolis recalls the landscape when live music started coming back in 2022. "Vans and buses: everything was running out, even rental cars," he remembers. "And everything — generators, lighting rigs, staging rigs – was now 20-30 percent more expensive, because everybody was spread so thin."  

But like many in the business, Margolis simply made the best of things. "Personally, I was excited to be on the ground again," he says. "I wanted to be around people." 

After a nearly overwhelming surge of music artists getting back into live performance, he says that he is seeing a "more methodical" mindset taking hold. That compares to how he characterizes 2022: "Throw it all against the wall: we’re going everywhere!"

Read more: Beyond Coachella: 10 Smaller Festivals Beloved For Their Homegrown Vibes & Huge Lineups

Another new wrinkle: proposed rule changes by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would increase the costs to international musicians of obtaining a U.S. visa by as much as 260 percent. "The more these policies are made, the harder it is for us to share our music,” says Sampa the Great. The Zambian singer/songwriter and rapper notes that the proposed changes will hit independent artists especially hard: "Touring is the only way our music gets heard globally."

Such across-the-board cost increases can mean that some international artists have to have tough conversations. If not through touring, Sampa the Great wonders, "How else do we connect with the people who support our music? And how else do we independent artists sustain our careers making music?"

Schilling admits that during the worst of the shutdown, he thought about retiring — and so did one of his biggest clients. Skynyrd began a farewell tour in 2018, which was ultimately cut short by the pandemic, prompting serious soul searching. "When everyone’s livelihood was ripped out from under them, they decided 'We want to go out on our own terms.'" This year’s tandem tour with ZZ Top puts things right, Schilling adds. 

That kind of thinking is widespread among the professionals who remain in the game post-COVID. From many working as venue owners to tour managers to crew to artists, the chance to get back on the road outweighs the challenges that they will inevitably encounter. There are many career paths easier than working in the live music industry, but few can compare with its rewards.

Changes Backstage And Post-Show

Before the pandemic, many touring artists arranged meet-and-greet sessions before or after their shows. They provided an opportunity for interaction between fans and artists, and represented an additional revenue stream for the artists. During the pandemic era, those sessions disappeared, even for the new shows that could still take place. Today, even while enforced social distancing has largely disappeared, the state of meet-and-greets is not what it was. 

"My last three artists aren’t doing meet-and-greets, because there's still that concern of COVID," says David Norman, a longtime promoter, tour director, manager and accountant currently on tour with Evanescence; his past clients have included Prince, John Fogerty, Earth Wind & Fire, Green Day, Alicia Keys, Tyler, the Creator and many others. 

Norman points out that his artists take a financial hit by eliminating the meet-and-greets. "But it’s better to be safe than sorry," he says, noting that a musician who tests positive for COVID can "shut down [performances] for weeks. Then you have to reroute [the tour], and refund money to people who aren’t able to come to rescheduled shows."

Others take a different approach. "Lynyrd Skynyrd will do meet-and-greets," says Schilling, adding that his team "wants to get back to as normal as we possibly can, as fast as we possibly can." André Cholmondeley is a musician, longtime tour manager and tech support professional who worked as guitar tech for Yes guitarist Steve Howe

Before 2020, "if you bought the meet-and-greet package, you could shake their hands," he says. "There were lots of hugs and pictures." Now the experience involves more waving and fist-bumping. Foreigner, meanwhile, has recently swapped meet-and-greets for Q&A sessions. “Everybody has a great time, and the band is not bored with it because it's different every night," says Phil Carson, the band's Tour Manager. 

Life away from the audience has changed, too. 

"One major change across the board is the huge difference in catering," says Cholmondeley, who has recently toured with Pat Metheny and Ani DiFranco. Before COVID, touring artists and their crews would typically find a buffet backstage. "We order a lot more food now," Cholmondeley explains. "You get a couple of menus texted to you each day."

Carson notes that the band has found an alternative solution that works for them. "Our singer Kelly Hansen is a chef who won an episode of Food Network’s 'Chopped,'" he says with pride. "He's got a whole kitchen range on our tour bus. He makes breakfast, he makes tacos after the show." 

Carson readily admits that such an approach stands in sharp contrast to rock‘n’roll road dining in the ‘70s. "Back then," he says with a hearty laugh, "it was a few lines of coke and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s!"

Bridging The Gap

Beginning in March 2020, the cancellations and disruptions brought upon by the pandemic reverberated throughout the live music industry. But as the business sector enters the third quarter of 2023, the focus is once again on the future, and guarded optimism is the prevailing perspective. 

Festival season is officially underway, with Coachella wrapping up two weekends of massive-scale excitement, and a host of other events slated throughout the summer promising an active several months for touring musicians and crews. Taylor Swift's Eras tour is selling out fast, while Beyoncé's Renaissance tour has only just begun (to much fanfare, as expected). It seems as if touring as we once knew it is falling back into place. 

Even with her focus on recording — she counts two albums, an EP, two mixtapes and nearly 30 singles — Sampa the Great emphasizes the appeal of live music for both audience and entertainer. 

"Performing is the best way to connect with an audience," she says. "You're translating your music from audio to something visual, something physical. It bridges that gap from just hearing an artist or seeing them on social [media] to actually experiencing the artist." 

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Inside Jonas Brothers' 'The Album': How Leaning Into Joy, Fatherhood & Dad Rock Spawned Their Most Definitive Music Yet
Jonas Brothers

Photo: Pamela Littky

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Inside Jonas Brothers' 'The Album': How Leaning Into Joy, Fatherhood & Dad Rock Spawned Their Most Definitive Music Yet

On their sixth album, the Jonas Brothers celebrate the music, people, places and sounds that helped them reach their full potential — and create the music they've always been destined to make.

GRAMMYs/May 12, 2023 - 07:30 pm

Of all the album names in all the world, the Jonas Brothers decided that they would go as straightforward as possible for their sixth LP: The Album.

But for such a simple title, it holds a lot of meaning to Joe, Kevin and Nick. Not only are they feeling better than ever as a group and as individuals, but they collectively view it as  their best body of work to date.

"We just said, 'Look, if you're going to pick up any of our music, we hope you pick up this one first,'" Joe explains. "It also makes it really easy for marketing in the future — The Tour, The Album, The Shirt, The Hat," he adds as all three brothers share a laugh.  

While The Album is a departure from their more contemporary-leaning comeback album, 2019's Happiness Begins, it doesn't lack the feel-good energy present throughout their catalog. It shows another side of their musicality, one that brings in long-held influences like the Eagles, the Bee Gees, the Police, America, Sly and the Family Stone, Hall & Oates, among many others.

It's a rather full-circle moment for the siblings as well. As they lean into the music their dad played growing up, they're all dads themselves (ironically, to all girls). As the bros point out, it's also the first time they've all been in the same place in a long time — and that's exactly what makes The Album so special.

Whether it's the seamless harmonies on lead single "Wings," the passionate (and sexy) tributes to their partners on "Miracle," or the pure joy on "Celebrate!," all 12 tracks on The Album are a manifestation of the synergy and bliss the Jonas Brothers are reveling in. And though longtime JoBro fans will always hold classics like "Year 3000" and "Burnin' Up" dear, their latest project captures the Jonas Brothers in their most authentic and realized form.

Below, the Jonas Brothers break down some of the biggest inspirations for The Album — from finding the perfect producer, to their tight-knit community and an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness.

Producer Jon Bellion

Joe: We've had a few people tell us how it would be nice for us all to get together and work on some music. One of the guys from Monsters & Strangerz, Stef, works with Bellion a lot, and he said, "You guys should definitely hang out."

Originally, our first meeting was just going to be, like, a proper get-together and not just get in the studio, which was a first — we usually just jump in right in the deep end. We all were coming from separate places, so we were like, "We're really just gonna go meet somebody right now?"

But we're glad we did, because we spoke with Jon about where he felt like the music could go, and he was saying exactly what we were hoping for. He played us "Montana Sky," in a very demo phase, and we flipped out. We were like, "can we record this right now?" And he was like, "Well I'm actually flying on a plane tonight." And we were like, "Please stay." 

Kevin: He changed his flight and we ended up recording the vocals you hear [on the track] today. And that was the first song on the album.

Nick: It was an incredible start. I think the key was connecting the dots with him, and then us bringing our thoughts, perspective and sound to it. That just happens naturally when we put our voices on something, it sort of molds into something new. So it wasn't 100 percent there, but it got there. That was the case with the whole album — once we got into the process of actually recording the rest of it, working on lyrics and everything else, we added our touch throughout.

Dad Rock

Nick: We were raised on the Eagles and the Bee Gees, and a lot of great music from the '70s and early '80s.

Joe: We would drive around in the minivan — you know, the kids of today might be listening to Kids Bop or Baby Shark, and we were listening to Carole King's Tapestry, and the Bee Gees, and the Beatles. And we were thinking every other kid on the playground was listening to the same thing. That's how we discovered harmonies, how we discovered some of the tones and guitars and the way, rhythmically, a guitar would be played when it was going from funk music to classic rock and roll.

Nick: We were already kind of trending in that direction, where we really liked that sound as our next kind of evolution. We had a lot of fun making Happiness Begins, but that certainly [had] more sort of modern influences at the core. 

Joe: What we really were striving for with this album was to create something that sonically was competitive and sounded kind of like you could hear it anywhere, and also gives nods to some of our biggest influences in our career and the music our dad raised us on.

Kevin: It's not like we were making a tribute album. This is definitely us really wanting to put our stamp on the sound, and this organic growth of who we are as a band and we can continue to translate that in playing it live.

Nick: [There was] definitely some influence of our church upbringing [too]. The choir [elements] on this [album came from] kind of that soul influence — Doobie Brothers, Marvin Gaye, places where you get the sense that there's a lot of vocalists in the environment, creating a proper vibe. On songs like "Vacation Eyes," that was key. 

"Walls" is definitely a combination of like, Oasis meets gospel. I just loved the blending of the sounds and how they all work together very well. Jon comes from a similar background musically, and [brought] some of that to the table as well.

Harmony (In Many Forms)

Nick: [Three-part harmonies] was one of the main things that we wanted to spotlight and worked hard with Bellion on. Because we sing in harmony a lot, it can lean country at times. We are not country artists by any means, but we have that Americana sort of feeling there and those roots. I think it's more of the Americana/soul and classic kind of rock and roll elements that all sort of make up what that sound becomes.

Kevin: I definitely feel like we're in the most similar place we've ever been in our lives, as brothers, as fathers, and as friends. It's interesting that there is that parallel [of so many harmonies on the album], maybe intentionally or unintentionally. We just wanted to spotlight the things that were important to who we are and the kind of music we wanted to make.

Waffle House

Joe: It was a late night, I think I was in the UK at the time. Jon texted us this lengthy message about wanting some inspiration for a song title. [He asked,] "What's a place that comes to mind that really kinda sums up you guys as brothers?" And we're like, "Well, that's a big ask."

I just wrote "Waffle House." And then Jon just wrote question marks. I second guessed myself, and then I was like, "You know what, actually, yes, I did mean that. And here's why." 

Growing up, the short version goes, we weren't old enough to go out with our bandmates and get a pint after a show. So we'd go to the only place open in the middle of America, usually it was Waffle House or TGI Fridays — you know, there's many of them you can name, but Waffle House was the one that sounded catchiest in my head. So we ended up going with it and it worked itself out. And I like writing songs about food.

Kevin: It's worked out for you so far.

Nick: It was less about the specific moments [at those places], and more about that chapter of our life and journey, and what we were all going through. 

A lot of people ask, "How have you guys stayed so normal amidst the craziness of your life?" And I think it's because we had a built-in community — with each other, obviously, and our family, but also with our band and management team. And wherever those deep conversations, or fights, or things that led to positive outcomes and personal growth [happened], that was definitely an invaluable time in our life and journey.

Joe: I'm still waiting for that Waffle House For Life card.

Their Daughters

Nick: We all spoke to [Jon] separately about what it was like to become fathers and what it's like to be a father. He took that and came back with the bones of a song, and then we all kind of added our own touch to it vocally and in other ways.

It's one of those things that we're so in it, that at times we have to sort of just pour our heart into to it in a different way than just sitting down and putting pen to paper — actually sit with a trusted collaborator, who's on a similar life journey with two kids of his own, and speak about what that experience is like. That directly influenced how ["Little Bird"] was created. 

That was a really freeing and liberating thing for this project, to approach this process in a different way. It's still as personal as it's always been, and as meaningful for us, but the actual functionality of the process has evolved for us. It's been incredible to take that step.

Speaking about fatherhood of course made us all cry, and we continue to every time we sing it live now.

Joe: It's a tough one to sing live, vocally and also emotionally, but we don't intend to take it off [the setlist]. 

Kevin: I'm really excited for that first guitar moment. People will get accustomed to that sound, and so they'll know [it's coming] when we play it on tour. I'm excited for those two moments to connect.

Nick: [Being fathers] affects every aspect of our life and the way in which we operate as a whole. So it's definitely in [The Album]. But it's more just the depth we feel, and depth of the relationships in our life — our kids, our wives, family — everything takes on a deeper, and more complex meaning. Most of the songs are either about family, and brotherhood, or, obviously, our romantic relationships.

Simply Having Fun

Nick: We always try to have as much fun as possible. We were forced, in a way, to approach this process very differently than we ever have, because we were all recording in different parts of the country, living in different countries, and occasionally meeting up in person. There was an energy to it because of the nature in which it was recorded that forced us to take our time, to have as much fun in the process as possible, and also to be really intentional with the time that we had.

I think it's incredible to be almost 20 years into our career and continuing to have these new experiences — and that's not limited to the way in which we go about making an album. It was a new and exciting experience for us all over again, and how rare is that? That any sort of chapter of our life and journey, these albums represent more than just a body of work that we're really excited about and want the world to hear, but really kind of encapsulate who we are at that moment in our life. 

We've seen our fans grow with us, and sort of mirrored the experiences that we're going through. It's great that the music represents that. Hopefully they connect with it in a whole new way because of that.

Joe: We're still young guys doing this, and we have many, many years ahead of us. And we're in the best place in our lives, so why not continue to release music? 

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Beyoncé Kicks Off Her Renaissance World Tour In Stockholm, Sweden: Watch Performance And Stage Videos, See Photos, View The Setlist & More
Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

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Beyoncé Kicks Off Her Renaissance World Tour In Stockholm, Sweden: Watch Performance And Stage Videos, See Photos, View The Setlist & More

Beyoncé returned to the stage with her hotly anticipated Renaissance World Tour, which saw the singer perform a three-hour set that included multiple live debuts of 'Renaissance' tracks and other classics.

GRAMMYs/May 11, 2023 - 04:05 am

BeyHive assemble: The moment has finally arrived. Beyoncé officially kicked off her 56-date Renaissance World Tour tonight in Stockholm, Sweden. Launching with a sold-out show at the Friends Arena in the Swedish capital, the tour marks Queen Bey's first tour in nearly five years and first solo tour in seven years. The world tour is in support of her GRAMMY-winning and history-making 2022 album, Renaissance, and also marks the first time she performed songs from the album on stage. 

Across a three-hour, 36-song set, which was split into seven acts, Beyoncé delivered an expansive, dazzling set spanning her broad and celebrated discography, including many live debuts of Renaissance tracks like "CUFF IT," "BREAK MY SOUL," "PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA," "VIRGO'S GROOVE," and many more. She also performed several Beyoncé classics like "Run the World (Girls)," her Megan Thee Stallion collab "Savage Remix," "Crazy in Love," "Formation," and more.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Released last July, Renaissance is Beyoncé's seventh solo album, all of which have topped the U.S charts. Renaissance garnered Beyoncé eight of her nine GRAMMY nominations at the 2023 GRAMMYs; she was also nominated for Best Song Written For Visual Media for her original song "Be Alive" from the film King Richard.

Read More: A Timeline Of Beyoncé's GRAMMY Moments, From Her First Win With Destiny's Child to Making History With 'Renaissance'

At the 2023 GRAMMYs, she took home four GRAMMY Awards — including Best Dance/Electronic Recording for "Break My Soul," Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for Renaissance, Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Plastic Off The Sofa," and Best R&B Song for "Cuff It" — setting the record as the artist with the most GRAMMY wins of all time. When nominations for the 2023 GRAMMYs were announced last November, she was the most nominated artist for that GRAMMY Award year; she is currently tied with her husband and occasional music partner, Jay-Z, for the most GRAMMY nominations ever, counting 88 nominations each.

Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour continues across Europe through late June and then heads to North America in July.

Below, check out the full setlist, view photos, watch videos, and see fan reactions from the BeyHive from the first night of Beyonce's Renaissance World Tour.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Andrew White

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Andrew White

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Mason Poole

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Mason Poole

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of her Renaissance World Tour at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden | Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Setlist

Opening Act

The Signboard (Video Introduction)

Dangerously in Love 2 (Live Debut - Shortened)

Flaws and All

1+1

I'm Goin' Down (Mary J. Blige cover)

I Care

RENAISSANCE

RENAISSANCE (Video Introduction) 

I'M THAT GIRL (Live Debut - Extended spoken intro)

COZY (Live Debut)

ALIEN SUPERSTAR (Live Debut)

Lift Off (JAY Z & Kanye West cover)

7/11 (Dancers Interlude)

 

MOTHERBOARD

MOTHERBOARD (Video Interlude)

CUFF IT (Live Debut)

ENERGY(Live Debut)

BREAK MY SOUL (Live Debut)

 

OPULENCE

OPULENCE (Video Interlude)

Formation (Shortened)

Diva (Shortened)

Run the World (Girls) (Shortened)

MY POWER (Live Debut - Shortened)

BLACK PARADE (Live Debut)

Savage (Remix) (Megan Thee Stallion cover) (Live Debut)

Partition (Shortened)

 

ANOINTED

ANOINTED (Video Interlude)

CHURCH GIRL(Live Debut)

Get Me Bodied (Shortened)

Before I Let Go (Maze featuring Frankie Beverly cover)

Rather Die Young

Love on Top

Crazy in Love

Freedom(Band Jam. Interlude)

 

ANOINTED - PT. 2

Love Hangover (Diana Ross song) (Sung by the choristers)

PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA (Live Debut)

VIRGO'S GROOVE (Live Debut)

Naughty Girl

MOVE (Live Debut)

HEATED (Live Debut)

MEGAMIX

THIQUE (Live Debut)

ALL UP IN YOUR MIND (Live Debut)

Drunk in Love

 

MIND CONTROL

MIND CONTROL (Video Interlude)

AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM (Live Debut)

PURE/HONEY (Live Debut)

SUMMER RENAISSANCE (Live Debut)

How Many GRAMMYs Has Beyoncé Won? 10 Questions About The 'Renaissance' Singer Answered