Mother Monster put on her superhero suit for the cover of Billboard this weekand her K-pop protégés remembered how they studied her decades-long career like a pop star textbook.
Plus, Billboard launched two new global charts that put the “WAP” rappers on top, the Biebs proclaims his faith with a familiar collaborator for a spiritual pop anthem, the 2020 ACM Awards crowns more than one entertainer of the year, and much more.
Take a look at all of the week’s biggest music happenings below.
Gaga gave Billboard an exclusive invitation to Chromatica while starring on our latest cover. But before she reignited the dance-pop genre that first propelled her into fame with another No. 1 Billboard 200 album, the pop star had to pull herself by the bootstraps and come out of one of the darkest places she has ever been.
“When I see people struggling like they are right now,” she says, “my brain goes, ‘Put on your superhero suit. Let’s go.'” Read the entire Billboard cover story here.
BLACKPINK shares which Gaga songs they studied when becoming pop stars themselves
When their sweet “Sour Candy” collab came out, it was a dream come true for the K-pop girl group. In an interview for Gaga’s cover story, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa recalled the superstar’s hits that impacted them and their career as fellow world sensations. Rosé remembers covering “You and I,” while Lisa, an esteemed Little Monster who called Gaga her “favorite artist,” said she has an affinity for “Poker Face” because she performed during her very first evaluation. Meanwhile, Jennie “cannot forget the feeling” of watching Gaga and Beyoncé’s “Telephone” music video for the very first time.
“I remember we used to say to each other, ‘Let’s make this kind of great music someday,'” Jisoo recalls. “There are so many things to learn from Lady Gaga. She is not afraid to try new things and she enjoys every [performance] sincerely.” Read the rest of the interview here.
With the introduction of the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S. tallies, there’s more areas for artists to collect No. 1 songs. But the three artists who took the new top spots are frequent visitors to the Billboard penthouse suite. Cardi and Megan’s “WAP” becomes the first-ever No. 1 single on the Billboard Global 200, while Maluma‘s “Hawái” rules the first-ever Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart.
Following their “Confident” collaboration from Bieber’s 2013 album Journals, the two stars bless their fans by coming together for a “Holy” record that croons about their relationship with God and Bieber’s relationship with his wife Hailey. They also linked up for a cinematic music video, also starring Ryan Destiny and Wilder Valderrama and directed by Colin Tilley (“WAP”), that unearths the trials and tribulations people are facing in a world ravaged by an ongoing global crisis (sound familiar?) and how God paves the right path for them.
The 55th annual ACM Awards was not only held in Nashville for the first time ever, but the awards show named a tie for the coveted entertainer of the year title between Underwood and Rhett. Swift also stepped back onto the stage for the first time in seven years to perform her country-tinged Folklore highlight “betty” and Mickey Guyton made history as the first Black female artist to perform at the show. Check out the nine can’t miss moments from the evening here.
Keith Urban talks about his genre-less 10th album The Speed of Now, Part 1
Urban, who hosted the 2020 ACM Awards and made the TV debut of his “One Too Many” duet with P!nk that night, told Billboard in a new interview about his The Speed of Now, Part 1 album, out today. His 10th project blends his signature country with electronic and funk, thanks to his “Out the Cage” track, featuring Breland and Nile Rodgers, and pop with “Superman.”
“I can hear [the song] before it exists. I can hear a lot of my records and then I just set about trying to manifest them the way I hear them. They rarely come out the way,” he said with a laugh. “That’s the ongoing frustration to be honest, but I’m getting closer and closer all the time.” Read the entire interview here.
Rae of HBO’s Insecure gives the show’s biggest fan SZA the ultimate test. But the R&B singer jokes she’s a “narcissist” for remembering episodes that involve her, like the one in season three when the girls head to SZA’s set at Coachella.
“I’m so narcissist that all I remember is that y’all went to see me on the show,” SZA responded to Rae’s true-or-false inquiry about Molly getting tased trying to get back into Coachella after being kicked out. “I’m like, ‘Did she get tased, ’cause…’ That would be so dramatic and I feel I would remember that. False!”
Run the Jewels talks about how they’re taking off in 2020 much differently than expected
El-P and Killer Mike tell Billboard in a new interview about how their newest album RTJ4 comes during a year when the hip-hop supergroup signed a new record deal with BMG and booked a tour opening for Rage Against the Machine while simultaneously falling in line with the coronavirus pandemic that canceled live shows and the resurgent Black Lives Matter movement amid police killings that Mike spoke out about.
“Run the Jewels is my escape from being a superhero. Fulfilling whatever work I have to do socially is a lot easier because I have a bada– job, a bada– partner, and we have a kick-a– time. That’s what allows me the freedom to do the right thing when I am called upon to do the right thing,” Mike said. Read the rest of the interview here.
Amazon Music launches its first major Latin music brand
The online retail giant launched “Amazon Music LAT!N,” a Latin music brand encompassing more than 100 new and revamped playlists, an emerging artist program, merchandise, video, and multiple catalog programs among many other initiatives. Using the tagline “La Musica que nos conecta” (The music that connects us), LAT!N kicks off with an original, acoustic version of Maluma’s “Hawái,” which will be followed by exclusive weekly releases of new renditions by Karol G, Christian Nodal and Romeo Santos during Latin Heritage Month.
Alicia Keys drops her eponymous seventh album ALICIA
Keys recruited Jill Scott, Tierra Whack, Miguel, Khalid, Snoh Aalegra and more for her seventh studio album ALICIA, out today. The R&B veteran’s journey of self-discovery over the course of her decades-spanning career moves full speed ahead with this project, minding each twist and turn with caution, poise and grace in a complex navigation she’s been mimicking, much like the rest of us, throughout all of 2020.
While letting listeners weep on the dance floor to their latest single “Diamonds,” Smith assured their third studio album Loves Goes will come on Oct. 13.
Yungblud gushes about rom-coms, the songs he jams out to in the car and more of his favorites
For Billboard‘s IGTV series “My Top 10,” the British pop-rocker reveals how much he’s “obsessed” with rom-coms with his all-time favorite being Notting Hill starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. “I’m a weeper…. Pass me the tissues!”
The Norwegian DJ-producer put his unique spin on the Queen of Disco’s 1979 No. 1 Hot 100 hit “Hot Stuff.” It completes a trio of diva anthems he’s breathed new life into between 2019 and 2020, along with his remixes of Tina Turner‘s 1985 heartbreak anthem “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and of Whitney Houston’s 1990 cover of “Higher Love.”