meta-scriptWhat To Expect At Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour In The U.S.: Rhinestones, Samples & An Incredible Supporting Cast | GRAMMY.com
What To Expect At Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour In The U.S.: Rhinestones, Samples & An Incredible Supporting Cast
Beyoncé performs before a capacity crowd at Estadi Olímpic Lluis Companys in Barcelona

Photos: Andrew White

feature

What To Expect At Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour In The U.S.: Rhinestones, Samples & An Incredible Supporting Cast

Beyoncé recently wrapped the European leg of her soul-stirring Renaissance World Tour. Ahead of her American run, which begins in Philadelphia on July 12, read on for a play-by-play from Spain that will hint at what's to come in the U.S.

GRAMMYs/Jul 10, 2023 - 03:02 pm

According to the Spanish press, Beyoncé is a goddess, which, at this point in her 30 years career, is a rather irrefutable claim. Yet the artist is proving her status once again via her 56-date Renaissance World Tour, which arrives in the U.S. on July 12.

"Beyoncé isn't a human, isn't divine, she's something much more powerful," Spanish publication  El Confidencial proclaimed after her June 8 date in Barcelona, her eighth tour stop. 

I can't really argue with these claims, likely scribbled furiously by some of the men sitting near me inside Barcelona's Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium. There, the pop diva brought her GRAMMY-winning RENAISSANCE album — which celebrates queer Black culture, house music and disco — to life in a show that also samples from her rich catalog. 

Yet the humanity behind the most-decorated GRAMMY winner could be felt acutely throughout: when she'd shout out to the audience, or when she gave the floor to her daughter Blue Ivy or her incredible dance crew, and in the simple act of hearing her unparalleled voice in person. 

It's impossible to attend this stellar show — a two-and-a-half-hour work of art — and not attempt to calculate all the work and care that Beyoncé and her team put into executing a live celebration of RENAISSANCE and her wider catalog. One of the writers in my midst looked like he was performing calculus to determine how the hell Queen Bey brought so much magic on stage. 

Beyoncé will launch the North American leg of her tour in July in Toronto. If you are lucky enough to score a ticket, you’re in for a treat; the performance features a runway show of iconic looks (which change nightly), an energetic setlist brought to life by a large, stellar live band, and a ballroom performance. The show has been executed flawlessly of course, but by the time Queen Bey and her crew bring it to the U.S., they’ll have put in hours and hours of practice for what will undoubtedly make for a heavenly event.

Read on for a lowdown of what Beyoncé served up at her record-breaking Barcelona show (the sold-out crowd of 53,000 was the largest audience for a solo female artist in Spanish history) to get a taste of what you can anticipate when she brings the energy, glitz and glam to a city near you.

Expect Uninterrupted Dance Floor Ecstasy

"My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom," Bey wrote in her announcement of the RENAISSANCE album last summer. "I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are." 

She’s brought that intention fully to life with the Renaissance tour,  creating collective moments to stadiums full of dancing, euphoric bodies.

The expert curation of seemingly endless looks, incredible choreography and seamless setlist filled with "remix" moments made it hard to sit down. The show is so action-packed, you'll be catching your breath if you try to track every single sample and gravity-defying dance move. Even when the queen left the stage for a costume change, her incredible dancers continued the energy and kept the eye-catching show going. 

Just as the album plays like a DJ set, with each track leading directly into a juicy teaser of the next track, the stacked setlist of 40 songs is just as lively, energetic and flowing. "Samples" from across her catalog and her influences were woven into every song, offering fresh renditions of her music and a non-stop delivery of groove. 

Beyoncé's voice was impeccable; her vocal range shined through the expansive set list. On tracks like "Heated," Beyoncé reminded us she’s a badass rapper who can throw down bars.

The Custom Designer Looks Are A Show In Itself

The show’s plentiful fashion moments channeled the sparkle and glam of the disco era through a Afrofuturistic, space age lens, to eye-catching effect. Expect more fresh variations of her Renaissance lookbook stateside to be revealed each night. 

In Europe, Bey rotated her looks for each show, an extra special treat for fans (and surely for the fashionista herself) as she debuted new ones. Her European tour was filled with outfits from established and smaller designers — including some local brands —  with Balmain, David Koma and Loewe designs aplenty.  To commemorate Juneteenth at her Amsterdam show, she exclusively wore outfits by Black designers. The coordinating accessories were on-point as well; apparently, the singer brought 41 pairs of custom Jimmy Choos on the trek. 

In a rather legendary moment in Barcelona, Ms. Carter returned from a costume change lounging on a gigantic golden shell as she sang "Plastic Off The Sofa." In her peak shimmery moment of the evening, she soon revealed her head-turning golden custom Loewe catsuit, covered in sparkling red-fingernailed hands. She rocked sparkly black red finger-nailed gloves and gold rhinestone booties to match. The dancers wore matte, mesh catsuits, each with their "hands" in different positions.

Other stunning ‘fits from her Barcelona show included a colorful psychedelic mesh dress by David Koma paired with rimless bedazzled space-age sunglasses. She donned a silver, red and black leather space suit from Fendi with matching thigh-high boots, silver gloves and an upcycled fur stole she added on later. 

During the jaw-dropping "Mind Control" act featuring "America Has A Problem," Queen Bey channeled her nickname in a futuristic killer queen space bee look from Mugler with thigh high patent high-heeled boots and antennaed helmet. She’s served up an artsy, buzz-worthy selection of bee-inspired couture during this segment (near the end) of the show.

The BeyHive also adorned themselves in rhinestones, sequins, silver-everything, and cowboy hats and boots to pay tribute to their queen. 

It’s Not Just Glitz & Glam, There’s Plenty Of Feels

Beyoncé’s 11-year-old daughter Blue Ivy also made headlines during the European tour. During the impactful The Lion King: The Gift cut "My Power," Blue stole the show and spotlight. She rocked the same red suit as the dancers, but stood out as she danced next to her mom, deftly hitting every move with power. 

Kendrick Lamar's social justice anthem "Alright" was powerfully woven in with "My Power" and brought into the sonic, visual conversation, expanding the two tracks to new heights. This led to Bey’s inspiring Juneteenth 2020 track, "Black Parade" and ended with everyone on stage holding up their fists in the Black power symbol as the stadium cheered.

It's been almost a year since RENAISSANCE lead single "Break My Soul" dropped, and much has gone on in the world since. The refrain "you won't break my soul" remains a pertinent mantra, a cold glass of lemonade when things feel unbearable. And hearing the echoes of tens of thousands of voices singing it in unison felt like we could harness at least a little of Beyoncé's history-making, era-defining superpowers.

During 4 opener, "Love On Top," Beyoncé turned her mic to the crowd to amplify their voices. It felt as if the entire, 53,000-person audience — probably some of the staff too — was singing along in a moment of collective love and unity. 

Bey Shares The Stage With A Collective Of Powerhouse Dancers & Musicians

Just as she brought in an impressive team of co-producers collaborators to craft RENAISSANCE, she assembled a stellar cast of dancers, singers and musicians to help bring it to life on stage. Yes, everyone doled out the big bucks to see Beyoncé perform, but she clearly and beautifully made space for everyone to shine.

According to her website, there are 23 dancers, including Blue Ivy and Les Twins — a twin brother duo and regular Bey guests who can contort into gravity-defying shapes. In addition to sharing the credits online, she also made sure to shout everyone out during her final song.

"Pure/Honey" featured a full-on ballroom moment where the dancers with real-life ball experience, including Honey Balenciaga, wowed the audience. Together, they offered full-on, tens-across-the-board-worthy ball with dips, duckwalks and so much more. 

During an epic rendition of Bey and Jay-Z’s "Crazy in Love," her band got a chance to shine. The horn players came out front for their moment, and the female saxophonist got down for her solo. During the show, they served up world-class sound from an elevated silver platform.

When the star left to change after "Crazy in Love," her backup singers flawlessly sang Diana Ross' 1976 disco classic, "Love Hangover." They were serving futuristic Supremes in matching holographic silver dresses and gloves as a giant disco ball moved towards them, as if magnetized by their disco realness. 

Patron Saint Beyoncé Took Us To Church 

Beyoncé and her angelic voice were raised in the church, and during the show, the "Annointed" act brought her vision of worship to life, where all are welcome.

To announce the segment, lasers spelled out "Annointed" on the screen, followed by a gold and green church. In yet another breath-taking style moment (one that’s seemingly consistent throughout the tour) Queen Bey appeared in a long all-white robe-like dress. As she held her arms out in cross-form under the UV light, it was transformed into stained glass rainbow print. Japanese fashion brand Anrealage made that miracle possible.

As if her mind-blowing technicolor dreamcoat wasn't enough, Bey threw it off to reveal a shimmering Balmain silver sequin and pearl bodysuit, complete with a silver rhinestone-encrusted church hat. Her choir’s robes were also transformed by the light, but they also revealed black mesh outfits (presumably much easier to twerk in). 

This extravaganza led into "Church Girl," albeit a slowed down version, which added drama and showcased her heavenly vocals. When she went into "drop it like a thotty," the music sped up and the dancers started twerking. In a similar contrast of party-heater and soulful ballad, the 2007 Swizz Beatz-co-produced heater "Get Me Bodied" led to a stunning rendition of "Before I Let Go." The act ended with an a cappella moment where one of the dancers adorably looked at the real-life goddess with pure admiration.

On "Church Girl," Beyoncé preaches her vision of spirituality — you can be sexy and have fun as a child of God. And perhaps it's exactly the dancing with abandon, shaking your troubles away, that supports your path towards righteousness. 

The Flawless Production Will Leave Your Head Spinning – In A Good Way 

A massive, high-definition screen that ran the width of the stage with an archway in the middle provided extra context and visuals during the show, announcing each act and adding to the set with images of disco balls, robot legs, dancers, and more. The lighting and lasers were also amazing and added a dance club energy to the stadium. 

The stage itself was also large and unique, with an additional catwalk jutting from it, and a circle surrounding it. The stage brought Beyoncé  closer to the lucky fans at ground level, and allowed plenty of space to slay.

Stage props included a silver space tanker and disco horse, both of which Beyoncé rides on, along with robot arms that fan her off during "Heated." During that song — which she revealed is her favorite from RENAISSANCE —  a towering circle of mics surrounded her.

While it's quite hard to measure fabulous against fabulous, the Virgo queen progressively one-upped herself throughout the show. She saved the best for last, though, opening the jaw-dropping final act with Jim Morrison quote "Whoever controls the media controls the mind" flashed on screen, between "MIND" and "CONTROL," with Bey's face in the middle. It felt like a playful nod to the conspiracy theory that Bey and Jay are part of the Illuminati, as well as to the very real overload of information (and misinformation) we experience 24/7. The screen flashed images of fire, clocks, reCAPTCHA prompts, and more to a medley of Destiny's Child's songs.

This organized chaos set the tone for "America Has A Problem" during which a fake stock market ticker — with symbols like "HNY" that alluded to her song titles — inched along the edges of the screen. The supposed master puppeteer sat at an "on air" news desk, a la her RENAISSANCE photo shoot. 

And for the final moments of magic on stage, Beyoncé took us to heaven. She rode out on a disco horse a la the RENAISSANCE cover (and Bianca Jagger at Studio 54) to Donna Summers' disco hit "I Feel Love." She wore an impossibly long, blindingly shimmering disco cape, and wrapped the show with the "I Feel Love"-sampling track and RENAISSANCE closer, "Summer Renaissance." As silver confetti burst into the audience, she flew through the air high above the stage, her regal cape fluttering like angel wings.

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

15 Must-Hear Albums In March 2024: Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Shakira & More
(Clockwise) Sheryl Crow, Deryck Whibley, Tierra Whack, Justin Timberlake, Schoolboy Q, Kasey Musgraves, Kim Gordon, Tyla, Beyoncé, Dua Lipa

Photos: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; RICHARD THIGPEN; Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for WIRED; Owen Schatz; Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images; KELLY CHRISTINE SUTTON; Jason Squires/FilmMagic; JASON ARMOND / LOS ANGELES TIMES VIA GETTY IMAGES; KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE RECORDING ACADEMY; Araya Doheny/FilmMagic

list

15 Must-Hear Albums In March 2024: Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Shakira & More

From the debuts of Tyla and rapper Tierra Whack, to a new salvo from Kim Gordon, women dominate the list of releases for March. While it may be Women's History Month, there are a few major releases from male artists, including Justin Timberlake.

GRAMMYs/Mar 1, 2024 - 04:02 pm

March is Women’s History Month, and women in music are more powerful than ever. 

The month begins with the comeback of several queens, starting with Kim Gordon’s The Collective and Ariana Grande’s Eternal Sunshine. Later, country darling Kacey Musgraves will unveil Deeper Well, and Shakira will drop the empowering Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran. Long-awaited debuts by GRAMMY-winning singer Tyla and singer/bassist Blu DeTiger will also join the lineup, with their respective Tyla and All I Ever Want Is Everything. Wrapping up March on a high note, Beyoncé will drop her highly-anticipated Act II on the 29th.

Men will release music in March as well: Expect new releases by Justin Timberlake, Bleachers, the last record from pop-punk band Sum 41, and (allegedly) Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign’s Vultures 2.

To make the most of this prolific time, GRAMMY.com compiled all the must-hear albums dropping March 2024.

Schoolboy Q - Blue Lips

Release date: March 1

On Feb. 1, Schoolboy Q’s website was updated with a mysterious countdown and a 37-second video. In it, the rapper finally unveiled the setlist and title of his much-awaited sixth studio album, Blue Lips, as well as its release date — March 1.

Blue Lips is Q’s first full record since 2019’s Crash Talk, although he had been teasing the album since 2020. Hopefully, it was worth the wait: Blue Lips holds 18 tracks and participations by Rico Nasty, Freddie Gibbs, and more. Q has also started a new vlog series on social media called "wHy not?," where he takes the viewers behind the scenes of making the album and previews snippets of the songs.

So far, the rapper shared tracks "Blueslides," "Back n Love" with Devin Malik, "Cooties" and "Love Birds" with Devin Malik and Lance Skiiwalker, as well as lead single "Yeern 101."

Bleachers - Bleachers

Release date: March 8

Fronted by 10-time GRAMMY winner and 2024 Producer Of The Year Jack Antonoff, rock band Bleachers will release its eponymous fourth studio album on March 8.

In a press release, Bleachers is described as Antonoff’s "distinctly New Jersey take on the bizarre sensory contradictions of modern life." The self-titled record will blend sadness and joy into "music for driving on the highway to, for crying to and for dancing to at weddings."

The band shared four singles so far: lead track "Modern Girl," "Alma Mater" featuring Lana del Rey, "Tiny Moves" and "Me Before You." Through serendipitous melodies and soulful writing, Bleachers commit to "exist in crazy times but remember what counts." 

Bleachers will tour the U.K. in March and the U.S. in May and June.

Kim Gordon - The Collective

Release date: March 8

Former Sonic Youth vocalist Kim Gordon will release her sophomore LP, The Collective, on March 8. The album is a follow-up to her 2019 debut No Home Record, and furthers her collaboration with producer Justin Raisen, as well as additional producing from Anthony Paul Lopez.

"On this record, I wanted to express the absolute craziness I feel around me right now," said Gordon in a press statement. "This is a moment when nobody really knows what truth is, when facts don’t necessarily sway people, when everyone has their own side, creating a general sense of paranoia. To soothe, to dream, escape with drugs, TV shows, shopping, the internet, everything is easy, smooth, convenient, branded. It made me want to disrupt, to follow something unknown, maybe even to fail."

Back in January, the singer unveiled the album’s moody first single, "Bye Bye," and a music video starring her daughter, Coco Gordon Moore. The second single, "I’m A Man," came out in February. Gordon will play six concerts in support of The Collective, starting March 21 in Burlington, Vermont.

Ariana Grande - Eternal Sunshine

Release date: March 8

It’s been almost four years since Ariana Grande’s last studio album, 2020’s Positions. The starlet spent the past few years filming Wicked, an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, and declared that she wouldn’t be releasing any new records until it was done.

The wait is finally over, as Grande announced her seventh studio album, Eternal Sunshine. The album’s first and only single, "Yes, And?," dropped in January, followed by an Instagram video of the soprano singer explaining the concept of the album to her Republic Records team. 

"It’s kind of a concept album ’cause it’s all different heightened pieces of the same story, of the same experience," she said. "Some of [the songs] are really vulnerable, some of them are like playing the part of what people kind of expect me to be sometimes and having fun with it."

"I think this one may be your favorite," Grande wrote of Eternal Sunshine on her Instagram Story. "It is mine." The 13-song collection will reportedly explore house and R&B, and will have only one feature: Grande’s grandmother, who appears on the last track, "Ordinary Things."

Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign -Vultures 2

Release date: March 8

After a series of delays, Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign’s first collaborative album, Vultures 1, ultimately dropped on Feb. 10, 2024. Set to be the first installment of a trilogy, the album was released independently through West’s YZY label, and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, with all of its 16 tracks also charting on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Billed as ¥$, the duo plans to release Vultures 2 on March 8, and follow up with Vultures 3 on April 5. Although any other info about the upcoming volumes is still unclear, Timbaland recently shared on X (formerly Twitter) that Vultures 2 is "OTW." (Timbaland produced Vultures 1’s "Keys to My Life" and "Fuk Sumn" with Playboi Carti and Travis Scott.)

In the past month, West and $ign held a few listening parties for the album in the U.S. and Europe, but additional schedules are yet to be revealed.

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Glasgow Eyes

Release date: March 8

To celebrate their 40th anniversary, alt-rock band the Jesus and Mary Chain will release their eighth studio album, Glasgow Eyes, on March 8.

As it can be seen on lead single "Jamcod," the Scottish group still runs strong on the distorted synths and electrifying guitars that shaped their sound. "People should expect a Jesus and Mary Chain record, and that’s certainly what Glasgow Eyes is," vocalist Jim Reid said in a statement. "Our creative approach is remarkably the same as it was in 1984, just hit the studio and see what happens. We went in with a bunch of songs and let it take its course. There are no rules, you just do whatever it takes."

Glasgow Eyes also mends a six-year gap since the Jesus and Mary Chain’s latest album, 2017’s Damage and Joy. To further commemorate, the band will also release an autobiography and embark on a European tour throughout March and April.

Justin Timberlake - Everything I Thought It Was

Release date: March 15

Justin Timberlake is back with his first studio album since 2018’s Man of the Woods. The new record, Everything I Thought It Was,  is spearheaded by singles "Selfish" and "Drown."

"I worked for a long time on this album, and I ended up with 100 songs. So, narrowing them down to 18 was a thing," said Timberlake in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. "I’m really excited about this album. I think every artist probably says this, but it is my best work." The Memphis singer also shared that there are "incredibly honest" moments in the album, but also "a lot of f—ng fun."

To celebrate his return, Timberlake announced his Forget Tomorrow World Tour. Set to kick off on April 29 in Vancouver, the tour will cross through North America and Europe until its final date on Dec. 16 in Indianapolis.

Kacey Musgraves - Deeper Well

Release date: March 15

Fresh off winning Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs for the Zach Bryan duet "I Remember Everything," Kacey Musgraves announced her fifth studio album, Deeper Well..

"My Saturn has returned/ When I turned 27/ Everything started to change," she sings in the contemplative title track, exploring how she changed over the last few years. The single sets the tone for the rest of the record, which was co-produced by longtime collaborators Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian

Featuring 14 tracks, Deeper Well was mostly recorded at the legendary Electric Lady studios in New York City. "I was seeking some different environmental energy, and Electric Lady has the best mojo. Great ghosts," the country star noted in a press release.

On social media, Musgraves wrote: "it’s a collection of songs I hold very dear to my heart. I hope it makes a home in all of your hearts, too." Deeper Well follows 2021’s star-crossed

Tierra Whack - World Wide Whack

Release date: March 15

When rapper Tierra Whack released her first album, 2018’s Whack World, she quickly garnered the admiration of both critics and fans. Comprising 15 one-minute tracks and music videos for each, the release was a refreshing introduction to a groundbreaking artist.

In 2024, the Philadelphia-born star is preparing to release World Wide Whack, labeled her official debut album in a press release. The cover artwork, created by Alex Da Corte, was inspired by theater character Pierrot, fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and Donna Summer, and represents "the first reveal of the World Wide Whack character, an alter ego both untouchable and vulnerable, superhuman and painfully human, whose surprising story will unfold in images and video over the course of the album’s visual rollout."

The album follows Whack’s 2021 EP trilogy — Rap?, Pop? and R&B? — and is foreshadowed by the poignant "27 Club" and the eccentric "Shower Song."

Tyla - Tyla

Release date: March 22

After a glowing 2023 with viral hit "Water," South African newcomer Tyla started 2024 with a blast. Last month, she became the first person to win a GRAMMY for Best African Music Performance, and the youngest-ever African singer to win a GRAMMY Award at 22 years old.

Next month is poised to be even better: Tyla’s eponymous debut LP drops on March 22, featuring "Water" and other hits like  "Truth or Dare," "Butterflies" and "On and On," as well as a guest appearance by labelmate Travis Scott.

"African music is going global and I’m so blessed to be one of the artists pushing the culture," Tyla shared on Instagram. Her unique blend of amapiano, pop and R&B is making waves around the world, and the star will rightfully celebrate by touring Europe and North America throughout this spring.

Shakira - Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran

Release date: March 22

The title of Shakira’s new album, Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran, is a nod to her 2023 hit "Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53" with Argentine DJ Bizarrap. In the lyrics, she states that "las mujeres ya no lloran, las mujeres facturan" — "women don’t cry anymore, they make money."

The single is a diss to Shakira’s ex-partner, footballer Gerard Piqué, and, like the rest of the record, served as a healing experience after their separation. "Making this body of work has been an alchemical process," the Colombian star said in a statement. "While writing each song I was rebuilding myself. While singing them, my tears transformed into diamonds, and my vulnerability into strength."

Las Mujeres will feature 16 songs, including her Bizarrap collaboration and singles "Te Felicito" with Rauw Alejandro, "Copa Vacía" with Manuel Turizo, "Acróstico," "Monotonía" with Ozuna, "El Jefe" with Mexican band Fuerza Regida, and "TQG" with fellow Colombian Karol G.

Back in 2018, Sheryl Crow said that the LP Threads would be her last — fortunately, she changed her mind. "I said I’d never make another record, though there was no point to it," the singer shared in a statement about her upcoming album, Evolution. "This music comes from my soul. And I hope whoever hears this record can feel that."

According to the same statement, "Evolution is Sheryl Crow at her most authentically human self," and its music and lyrics "came from sitting in the quiet and writing from a deep soul place." 

The entire album was written in a month, starting with the title track, which expresses Crow’s anxieties about artificial intelligence and the future of humans. From then on, Crow and producer Mike Elizondo found bliss. "The songs just kept flowing out of me, four songs turned into nine and it was pretty obvious this was an album," she said.

In addition to the album's title track, Crow also shared singles "Do It Again" and "Alarm Clock."

Sum 41 - Heaven :x: Hell

Release date: March 29

After nearly three decades together, punk-metal mavericks Sum 41 are parting ways. Their final release will be a double album. Heaven :x: Hell, set to drop on March 29.

Heaven is composed of 10 pop-punk tracks reminiscent of the band’s early years, while Hell is 10 tracks of pure heavy metal, reflecting the direction they took more recently. "Once I heard the music, I was confident enough to say, ‘This is the record I’d like to go out on,'" frontman Deryck Whibley said in a statement. "We’ve made a double album of pop punk and metal, and it makes sense. It took a long time for us to pave this lane for ourselves, but we did, and it’s unique to us."

The band shared singles "Landmines," "Rise Up" and "Waiting on a Twist of Fate," and proved that they’re leaving on top of their game. "I love Sum 41, what we’ve achieved, endured, and stuck together through, which is why I want to call it quits," Whibley added. "It’s the right time to walk away from it. I’m putting all of my energy into what’s ahead."

But before embarking on new ventures, Sum 41 will spend the rest of the year touring throughout Asia, North America, and Europe.

Blu DeTiger - All I Ever Want Is Everything

Release date: March 29

At only 26 years old, Blu DeTiger has already toured with Caroline Polachek, played bass for Jack Antonoff’s band Bleachers, partnered with Fender, and appeared on the 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30’s music list.

Now, she prepares to release her debut studio album, All I Ever Want Is Everything. "This album is about growing and becoming, settling into yourself and learning to love where you’re at through it all. It’s about learning how to be your own best friend," the bassist and singer wrote on Instagram.

"Dangerous Game," the lead single off the album, showcases DeTiger’s effervescent energy and potential for pop stardom. Starting April, she will also headline a U.S. tour across Boston, Washington D.C., New York, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Beyoncé - Act II

Release date: March 29

What better event to announce a new album than the most-watched TV program ever? That’s what Beyoncé did during Super Bowl LVIII, on Feb. 11. At the end of a Verizon commercial, the singer declared "Okay, they ready. Drop the new music," while simultaneously releasing Act II’s lead singles, "16 Carriages" and "Texas Hold 'Em," on social media and streaming platforms.

Coming out March 29, Act II is the second part of Beyoncé’s ongoing trilogy, which was written and recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. The album is preceded by 2022’s acclaimed Act I: Renaissance, but instead of house and disco, the singer will reportedly take a deep dive into country music.

This isn’t Queen Bey’s first foray into the genre — in 2016, she released Lemonade’s "Daddy Lessons," and her 2021 IVY PARK Rodeo collection was inspired by "the overlooked history of the American Black cowboy," as she told Harper’s Bazaar. It was just a question of time for Beyoncé to enter her country era, and it is finally upon us.

17 Love Songs That Have Won GRAMMYs: "I Will Always Love You," "Drunk In Love" & More

How Beyoncé Is Honoring Black Music History With "Texas Hold Em," 'Renaissance' & More
Beyoncé performs during the RENAISSANCE World Tour in Inglewood, California.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood/GettyImages

feature

How Beyoncé Is Honoring Black Music History With "Texas Hold Em," 'Renaissance' & More

From ventures into country and dance music, Bey's drive for creativity is an exercise in freedom.

GRAMMYs/Feb 28, 2024 - 02:18 pm

The most powerful thing for a Black woman to be is free; to embrace freedom of expression, freedom of agency and freedom of autonomy. In all aspects and areas of our lives, Black women strive to be free. 

In the Black American consciousness, freedom takes on a political nature. But the ways in which we reach our freedom, individually and collectively, are complex and nuanced. Take Beyoncé for example: To the average African American, she is free; her billionaire status frees her from participation in a capitalist state plagued by classism, sexism, and racism.

Yet an individual actor (regardless of star status or income bracket) cannot free themselves from the system at large. And one of the few spaces where people who live on the margins can find a freedom similar to that of a 32-time GRAMMY winning icon is on the dancefloor.

Dance has always been a source of liberation for Black people, where "...shakes of the head, bending of the spinal column, throwing of the whole body backward may be deciphered as in an open book the huge effort of a community to exorcise itself, to liberate itself, to explain itself," philosopher Frantz Fanon wrote in The Wretched of the Earth. In a scene from Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé, the singer shares a similar sentiment: "This tour…I feel liberated. I have transitioned into a new animal."

This is not Beyoncé’s first attempt at liberation, but it may be her most vocal. Her journey first began in 2013 with the release of Beyoncé, followed by 2016’s Lemonade, and continued on 2022’s Renaissance. Throughout these three albums, she has made declarative statements about her role in 21st century pop culture feminism, reveled in the exploration of Black Southern womanhood identity, and blended these intersecting identities to form a new being. 

It’s poetic how Beyoncé uses music to define herself. In lieu of speaking directly to the press, she has used the vehicle of pop culture to communicate her needs, desires, as well as her understanding of the world. The strategy has proven successful: Through her groundbreaking and popular works, Beyoncé has dominated much media for the past decade. She knows that whoever controls the media, controls the mind. 

Her last two albums have consciously explored genres created by Black artists, whose contributions had disappeared from the narrative. In the media frenzy that inevitably follows Bey's releases, the icon put this history — as well as contemporary artists — back on the global consciousness. 

When Renaissance dropped, the artistry and voices of Big Freedia, Grace Jones, Honey Dijon, Moi Renee, and TS Madison were heard across the world. However, their presence was more than a simple collaboration or feature."This a reminder," Beyoncé says on "Cozy," the album’s second track. 

The album — an auditory homage to the house music her late uncle Johnny loved — introduced audiences to the above artists, all of whom have made their own impacts on dance music. But it also educated listeners about the Black trans and queer underground dance scenes that birthed dance music and culture. In "chocolate cities," such as Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, dance music was liberation music. Renaissance is and continues to be a call for liberation.

Read more: Obsessed With Beyoncé's 'Renaissance'? Keep The Dance Party Going With Albums From Frankie Knuckles, Big Freedia & More

But liberation becomes confusing when it is Southern. Although the South has a long history of Black liberation — extending as far back as maroon communities to the freedom rides movement to protests against police training facilities in Atlanta — it still is associated with enslavement in the African American mind. 

Country music, a genre with roots in the musical styling and traditions of Black people in Appalachia and the South, becomes whitewashed over time. This erasure, amplified through gender and racial discrimination policies, paints the South and country music as a hostile environment for Black Americans. 

As a result, the banjo, "an instrument of innovation and collaboration," an instrument that is of African origin often used in minstrel shows and artists in blackface, becomes associated with the degradation of Black people. It is no coincidence that the banjo takes prominence on "Texas Hold Em"; when Rhiannon Giddens plays the banjo on the track she recontextualizes a fraught relationship between African Americans and country music.

So what happens when the most powerful entertainer in the world reminds people that she is not only Southern, but country in nature? The world begins to lose its mind. 

Prior to the release of "16 Carriages" and "Texas Hold Em," Beyoncé had attended two significant events in western wear: The 66th GRAMMY Awards and Super Bowl LVIII. Donning a Stetson hat and a bolo tie (the official state tie of Texas), everything signaled a return to home. A return to the South. 

As a little girl, Beyoncé spent summers in Alabama with her paternal grandparents; her grandfather would play and sing country music to her. With such foundational experiences, it makes sense why Beyoncé would use country music to describe the theft of her girlhood on "16 Carriages."

Throughout her discography, Beyoncé has alluded to her country origins — from costuming in her early days as the frontwoman of Destiny’s Child to songs like "Creole" and "Formation." And while she may not have held country in a full-on embrace, its spirit has never left her. 

Yet, she needed to experience liberation of the Renaissance World Tour to bring this version of herself forward. On tour, she found liberation in the booming voice of ballroom legend and commentator Kevin JZ Prodigy, and through the joy of her daughter Blue Ivy Carter. Beyoncé found liberation not only through her dancers, narrator and her daughter, but in the ways in which the stage provided an opportunity for them all to be free. 

She needed to be liberated in order to be the most actualized version of herself. A self, unlike the little girl in Alabama, who knows how unwelcoming the country music industry can be.

One singular action cannot bring forth liberation, and Beyoncé cannot take down the country music industry by herself. However, she can work in unison with Black country musicians like Rhiannon Giddens and Robert Randolph on "16 Carriages" and "Texas Hold Em" to make a change in the industry.

Her presence is giving visibility to the artists who have been working in country music long before Bey entered the playing field. Shortly after the release of "16 Carriages" and "Texas Hold Em," Black female country artists such as Tanner Adell, Reyna Roberts, K. Michelle, Rhiannon Giddens, and Rissi Palmer received a significant increase in streams. Palmer is one of the few Black women in the genre to chart on Billboard, prior to Beyoncé breaking the mold as the first Black woman to top the Billboard country chart.   

Although she is one powerful person, Beyoncé understands each movement in music, culture, and politics is the byproduct of those who have come before her like Linda Martell, the first Black woman country star. 

There is much to be speculated about the lasting impacts act ii, scheduled for release on March 29, will have on the country music industry, Its arrival certainly heralds an important impact on the artist herself. 

Beyoncé is free, in her career, sound and attitude toward life. And the unintended (or possibly intended) consequence of her freedom and self actualization is that Black people in country music are allowed to be free too. 

How Beyoncé Has Empowered The Black Community Across Her Music And Art | Black Sounds Beautiful

17 Love Songs That Have Won GRAMMYs: "I Will Always Love You," "Drunk In Love" & More
(L-R) Usher and Alicia Keys during the Super Bowl LVIII halftime show.

Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

list

17 Love Songs That Have Won GRAMMYs: "I Will Always Love You," "Drunk In Love" & More

Over the GRAMMYs' 66-year history, artists from Frank Sinatra to Ed Sheeran have taken home golden gramophones for their heartfelt tunes. Take a look at some of the love songs that have won GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Feb 14, 2024 - 09:42 pm

Editor's Note: This is an update to a story from 2017.

Without heart-bursting, world-shifting love songs, music wouldn't be the same. There are countless classic and chart-topping hits dedicated to love, and several of them have won GRAMMYs.

We're not looking at tunes that merely deal with shades of love or dwell in heartbreak. We're talking out-and-out, no-holds-barred musical expressions of affection — the kind of love that leaves you wobbly at the knees.

No matter how you're celebrating Valentine's Day (or not), take a look at 18 odes to that feel-good, mushy-gushy love that have taken home golden gramophones over the years.

Frank Sinatra, "Strangers In The Night"

Record Of The Year / Best Vocal Performance, Male, 1967

Ol' Blue Eyes offers but a glimmer of hope for the single crowd on Valentine's Day, gently ruminating about exchanging glances with a stranger and sharing love before the night is through.

Willie Nelson, "Always On My Mind"

Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, 1983

In this cover, Nelson sings to the woman in his life, lamenting over those small things he should have said and done, but never took the time. Don't find yourself in the same position this Valentine's Day.

Lionel Richie, "Truly"

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1983

"Truly" embodies true dedication to a loved one, and it's delivered with sincerity from the king of '80s romantic pop — who gave life to the timeless love-song classics "Endless Love," "Still" and "Three Times A Lady."

Roy Orbison, "Oh, Pretty Woman"

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1991

Orbison captures the essence of encountering a lovely woman for the first time, and offers helpful one-liners such as "No one could look as good as you" and "I couldn't help but see … you look as lovely as can be." Single men, take notes.

Whitney Houston, "I Will Always Love You"

Record Of The Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, 1994

Houston passionately delivers a message of love, remembrance and forgiveness on her version of this song, which was written by country sweetheart Dolly Parton and first nominated for a GRAMMY in 1982.

Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)"  

Record Of The Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, 1999

This omnipresent theme song from the 1997 film Titanic was propelled to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 as the story of Jack and Rose (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and GRAMMY winner Kate Winslet) swept the country.

Shania Twain, "You're Still The One"

Best Female Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song, 1999

Co-written with producer and then-husband Mutt Lange, Twain speaks of beating the odds with love and perseverance in lyrics such as, "I'm so glad we made it/Look how far we've come my baby," offering a fresh coat of optimism for couples of all ages.

Usher & Alicia Keys, "My Boo"

Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals, 2005

"There's always that one person that will always have your heart," sings Usher in this duet with Keys, taking the listener back to that special first love. The chemistry between the longtime friends makes this ode to “My Boo” even more heartfelt, and the love was still palpable even 20 years later when they performed it on the Super Bowl halftime show stage.

Bruno Mars, "Just The Way You Are"

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, 2011

Dating advice from Bruno Mars: If you think someone is beautiful, you should tell them every day. Whether or not it got Mars a date for Valentine's Day, it did get him a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona, "Fool For You" 

Best Traditional R&B Performance, 2012

It's a far cry from his previous GRAMMY-winning song, "F*** You," but "Fool For You" had us yearning for "that deep, that burning/ That amazing unconditional, inseparable love."

Justin Timberlake, "Pusher Love Girl" 

Best R&B Song, 2014

Timberlake is so high on the love drug he's "on the ceiling, baby." Timberlake co-wrote the track with James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon and Timbaland, and it's featured on his 2013 album The 20/20 Experience, which flew high to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Beyoncé & Jay-Z, "Drunk In Love"

Best R&B Performance / Best R&B Song, 2015

While "Drunk In Love" wasn't the first love song that won Beyoncé and Jay-Z a GRAMMY — they won two GRAMMYs for "Crazy In Love" in 2004 — it is certainly the sexiest. This quintessential 2010s bop from one of music's most formidable couples captures why their alliance set the world's hearts aflame (and so did their steamy GRAMMYs performance of it).

Ed Sheeran, "Thinking Out Loud"

Song Of The Year / Best Pop Solo Performance, 2016

Along with his abundant talent, Sheeran's boy-next-door charm is what rocketed him to the top of the pop ranks. And with swooning lyrics and a waltzing melody, "Thinking Out Loud" is proof that he's a modern-day monarch of the love song.

Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, "Shallow"

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance / Best Song Written For Visual Media, 2019

A Star is Born's cachet has gone up and down with its various remakes, but the 2018 iteration was a smash hit. Not only is that thanks to moving performances from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, but particularly thanks to their impassioned, belt-along duet "Shallow."

H.E.R. & Daniel Caesar, "Best Part"

Best R&B Performance, 2019

"If life is a movie/ Know you're the best part." Who among us besotted hasn't felt their emotions so widescreen, so thunderous? Clearly, H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar have — and they poured that feeling into the GRAMMY-winning ballad "Best Part."

Kacey Musgraves, "Butterflies"

Best Country Solo Performance, 2019

As Musgraves' Album Of The Year-winning LP Golden Hour shows, the country-pop star can zoom in or out at will, capturing numberless truths about the human experience. With its starry-eyed lyrics and swirling production, "Butterflies" perfectly encapsulates the flutter in your stomach that love can often spark.

Dan + Shay & Justin Bieber, "10,000 Hours"

Best Country Duo/Group Performance, 2021

When country hook-meisters Dan + Shay teamed up with pop phenom Justin Bieber, their love song powers were unstoppable. With more than 1 billion Spotify streams alone, "10,000 Hours" has become far more than an ode to just their respective wives; it's an anthem for any lover.

Lovesick Or Sick Of Love: Listen To GRAMMY.com's Valentine's Day Playlist Featuring Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, Playboi Carti, Olivia Rodrigo, FKA Twigs & More

Who Is Rhiannon Giddens? 3 Things To Know About The Banjoist & Violist On Beyoncé’s "Texas Hold ‘Em"
Rhiannon Giddens

Photo: Ebru Yildiz

list

Who Is Rhiannon Giddens? 3 Things To Know About The Banjoist & Violist On Beyoncé’s "Texas Hold ‘Em"

Rhiannon Giddens has been esteemed in various folk circles for years — and her appearance on Beyoncé’s "TEXAS HOLD ‘EM" just broke her into the mainstream. Here are three things to know about the eclectic singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2024 - 06:40 pm

After the club-storming Renaissance, its Act II begins with an unexpected sound: a burble of banjo, later joined by flowing viola. Welcome to "TEXAS HOLD ‘EM," one of two advance singles from Beyoncé’s forthcoming album, along with "16 CARRIAGES."

Beyoncé’s recently announced Act II promises to be an immersion into country music — which is both a fresh aesthetic and one deeply rooted to her Texan upbringing. The 32-time GRAMMY Winner has spoken about the "overlooked history of the American Black cowboy" and nodded to the culture with a Western getup at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

All of this is a completely natural fit for Rhiannon Giddens, who played said fiddle and viola on "TEXAS HOLD ‘EM."

"The beginning is a solo riff on my minstrel banjo — and my only hope is that it might lead a few more intrepid folks into the exciting history of the banjo," Giddens explained on Instagram. "I used to say many times as soon as Beyoncé puts the banjo on a track my job is done.

"Well, I didn’t expect the banjo to be mine," she continued. "And I know darn well my job isn’t done, but today is a pretty good day."

The "job" defines Giddens. Sure, she may be completely new to certain contingents of the Beyhive, but the two-time GRAMMY winner and 10-time nominee’s been on the scene for almost two decades.

Since making her mark with the Carolina Chocolate Drops in the mid-aughts, Giddens has forged a singular legacy. She’s not only a purveyor of traditional musics, but as an investigator of the racial and cultural cross-currents that forged our modern-day understanding — and misunderstanding — of Americana.

At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Giddons was nominated for two golden gramophones — for Best Americana Album (You’re the One) and Best American Roots Performance ("You Louisiana Man"). You’re the One was her first album of all-original material; in that regard, these noms show that a new, exciting chapter for Giddens is just beginning.

Here are five things to know about the artist who just played "TEXAS HOLD ‘EM" with Queen Bee.

Her Interrogation Of Black Music History Is Indispensable

Giddens has worked in a diverse array of fields, including opera, documentary, ballet, podcasting, and more. Her mission? To explore "difficult and unknown chapters of American history" through musical lenses, like the evolution of the banjo from Africa to Appalachia.

"In order to understand the history of the banjo, and the history of bluegrass music, we need to move beyond the narrative we've inherited," she’s stated. Elsewhere, she noted, "People seem ready for a more in-depth idea of folk music, culture and history.

Which extends beyond merely other people’s stories — but to her own.

…And It Led Directly To You’re The One

Speaking to GRAMMY.com about her GRAMMY-nominated first album of original material, Giddens was quick to note that "autobiography" doesn’t hit the mark.

"It doesn't express how I feel… they're still songs, and it's still a performance," Giddens said. "I'd say I'm drawing a little bit more from my experience, but I had to draw from my experience to write other people's stories.

"There's emotions that I feel that I then translate into these other stories," she added, "so I don't think this record is completely different from that."

She’s Made Killer Appearances With Paul Simon

Paul Simon’s ended his touring years, but he does make sporadic appearances, including at 2022’s "Homeward Bound: A GRAMMY Salute to the Songs of Paul Simon."

There, they performed a version of his epochal "American Tune," where he changed the words in nuanced ways as relates to the American origin story — and he enlisted Giddens to sing it with him.

"He didn't have to do nothing but sit back and collect his checks," Giddens told GRAMMY.com. "He made a statement with that song, and I don't want to take that away from him. I didn't change those words; he changed those words."

Where will Giddens go from her star turn with Bey? Wherever it might be, we’ll feel — and learn — something profound, one banjo strum at a time.

On You’re The One, Rhiannon Giddens’ Craft Finds A Natural Outgrowth: Songwriting