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Through fire and physics, Yola still stands

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Through fire and physics, Yola still stands

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Joshua M. Miller

Yolanda Quorthy finished making the movements. With the release of the second album Stand up for yourselfThe British-born singer-songwriter, performing energetic soul as Yola, makes it clear that she is comfortable in her own skin. Produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, this confessional album is partly reminiscent of the mission statement of her journey over the past eight years, seeking to return to her roots and her true self.

When her mother died in the fall of 2013, she realized that she had been walking in a dream all her life. “I feel like before my mother died in 2013, I was like a rug for myself,” Yola tells MTV News. “Actually, I didn’t live completely in my truth or in my real personality. I belittled myself. “

From the outside, however, Yola’s entire growth looks like a success story. Growing up outside Bristol, England and living homeless in London for a time, she has experienced bigotry and sexism in the British music industry. However, her determination helped her achieve international recognition. In 2019, she was nominated for four Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist, for her debut album. Walk on fire… However, she says: “I have been silent about my life experiences. I tried to get out of this environment, but without success, until I saw how impressive a vision of a parent’s coffin can be. “

This funeral spectacle sounded almost fake, like the culmination of a joke that “can never truly reflect the personality of the person depicted on it.” She was taught the concept of death as a big event, but experiencing it this way seemed “a little small,” which surprised her.

“It feels like it’s a complete mockery of the whole drama, and everything you scolded mattered,” she says. “In a world that puts us in a little box and then puts it in the ground and they can just play circus music because it seems like a joke … If you don’t live and you are not yourself – Realizing that you don’t what you most want to do and get the most joy and satisfaction out of life, you are really missing one trick. “

When she drove home from the funeral, bass line Stand up for yourselfThe awakening “Break the Bough” materialized in her head and she sang it. As the tears flowed, she tried her best not to crash her motorcycle. When she pulled up to her house, the first verse appeared and she realized that she had a song.

Only last year during a pandemic, when she was overwhelmed by a flood of inspiration, she was able to perfect it. The song is dedicated to the inanimate state that once consumed her. “That kind of narrative on this record is one song,” says Yola, “and then the next 11 songs are the steps I took to break free of this paradigm of thinking.”

This included a lot of creative freedom when writing songs. The time off due to the pandemic made “the process of writing an album the complete opposite of the process of writing the first album.” While the songs are on Walk on fire were written in a room with others including Bobby Wood, Pat McLaughlin and Dan Penn, this time taking over most of the songwriting responsibilities.

“With this isolation, I couldn’t just be in a room and get seeds for an idea. I had to invent the seed myself, ”she says. “I had to be in charge of the lion’s share of the songwriting.” Once she got a satisfactory start to ideas, she was able to get into the writing block in Nashville with others like local staples Natalie Hemby and Joy Oladokun.

Yola has achieved success in songwriting through her unique scientific method. She “got carried away with the methods that physicists used to solve the problems they faced in theories, in the equations they formulated.” She stayed up until 5am, poured herself a glass of wine, obsessed with her favorite music and played the guitar, all in an effort to pass out in the process of “trying to upset my brain.” With a less active mind, she established deeper connections between experiences and found a common thread between the messages she wanted to express. “[Physicists are] is known for doing the dirty work or doing something that would shut down their analytical brain so that the rest of the information in their mind can be combined, ”says Yola. “At first I accidentally tried this technique, and then I realized that a lot of the songs I wrote earlier that I was going to bring to the studio were written in the same way.”

“All my best songs were written when I was on the verge of delirium from fatigue,” she continues, although this looseness may have led to an eclectic mix of sounds. Sound-wise, the album is influenced by her mother’s record collection, contemporary and classical R&B, hip-hop and pop. It sounds like a mixtape, which is quite appropriate since the 38-year-old musician came of age in the early years of the format. “You have hip-hop and R&B artists trying out 70s, funk, disco, soul,” she says about what inspires her.

Meanwhile, some of her lyrics seek to induce listeners to change their thought programs, often leading to the fanaticism, inequality and symbolism she encountered early on. “I think my experience – being an isolated person, different, isolated other – is something that anyone who was another person of any kind can identify with,” says Yola. To that end, the singer hopes her music will bridge the gap between marginalized people by offering a little bit of empathy. “I think this record is about not only demanding tenderness in that other life, but also debunking this divide and conquer paradigm,” she added. “If you’re torn apart, that’s the problem — this old concept of bias and what sets us apart from others. I think a lot of people will listen to this record and say, “Oh, this is my life experience, but I am not like it at all.” We are all surprisingly unoriginal. “

For example, Barely Alive focuses on the difference between survival and prosperity. Circumstances often lead us to think they are the same, especially when money comes into the equation. “While I’m talking about people’s cognitive biases, the idea that people honestly succeed or find a way to succeed generally makes people less hated,” she says. “If we can make people less hated, we’ll have a better chance of bringing them in moments of compassion or kindness.”

“But if you are absolutely drowning in this effort because your life sucks,” she continued, “it will be very difficult to tell someone about their privileges, or how good they are, or how much they have. you need to think about someone. ” except the horror of their own situation. So for me, overcoming cognitive biases and self-actualization go hand in hand. “

Perhaps her last element of self-realization enters the world of cinema. Jola makes her guitar music debut as Sister Rosetta Tharp in the musical drama Baz Luhrmann. Elvisdue out in 2022. She says it was “a truly candid experience” learning how to be an actor and figuring out how to play solo, which she never did. “You have to be aware of so many things while cutting live daylight from your guitar like Sister Rosetta Tharp,” she said.

Before that, Stand up for yourself is going to showcase all the work she has done for this: “I feel like I have always written this record to a certain extent, from the moment I decided that I needed to start living.”



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Olivia Rodrigo flew to the VMA literally on the cloud

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Olivia Rodrigo flew to the VMA literally on the cloud

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Written by Deepa Lakshmin

Olivia Rodrigo brought her Sour The prom movie comes to life at the 2021 VMA on Sunday night (September 12), descending into Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on a rainbow cloud as lush as her dress. Her partymates, dapper in retro suits and ruffled dresses, waited downstairs on purple tables heaped with holiday cups for the characteristic opening notes of “Good 4 U”.

When the five-time VMA nominee (and new winner) landed, she infused the party with her “spicy Pisces energy”, driving her team into an enviable rage matching the heartbroken alarm over the fan-favorite single. Welcome to Olivia’s pop-punk prom, where moshing and wild dancing are welcome, and lots of sparks.

It was a hugely successful year for the Best New Artist nominee, who was also nominated for Artist of the Year, Best Pop for Good 4 U, and Song of the Year and Best Performance of the Year for her record driving rights”. … ” Sour, a masterful coming-of-age story released last May via Geffen Records, showcases her talent and versatility as a songwriter. Fans could turn up the volume and shout to the angry choruses “Good 4 U” and “Brutal,” immerse themselves in their feelings for “Happier” and “Favorite Crime,” and then feel the bittersweet longing of “Hope Ur Ok. “As she told MTV News earlier this year, the record reflects a time in her life when“ everything I had that was really cool and good in my life went really bad. ”

Her amazing performance at the VMA reflected those emotions – a surprisingly human, tangled mess of anger mixed with sadness, mixed with confidence, especially during the climactic lyrics “like a damn sociopath” on the bridge. Then a rain of confetti rained down on the Barclays crowd, and the poor camera couldn’t handle the excitement. The show ended with a resounding success, but the VMA night is far from over.

The 2021 VMAs will be streamed live on MTV from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Find the full list of winners right here and stay on top of the VMA’s highlights of the evening!



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Shawn Mendes and Tiny shine like the sun at the VMA

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Shawn Mendes and Tiny shine like the sun at the VMA

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Hot Girl Summer, welcome Summer of Love.

Pop singer / songwriter Shawn Mendes and electronic producer / songwriter Tainey performed their sun-drenched hit single at the 2021 Video Music Awards on Sunday (September 12) and they brought warmth. The set opened with Mendes humming to the crowd in fluttering trousers and a loose-knit striped sweater.

In the middle of the stage, the stage turned red, and blue lights shone brightly on Mendes and Tiny, who were playing the keys. The lighting became more and more bright throughout the performance, until the entire stage began to resemble a neon sunset. Oh summer … we already miss you.

Both Mendes and Tiny were contenders for this year’s VMA: Mendes for Best Pop for his hit single “Wonder” and Tiny for Best Latin American Music for “Una Dia (One Day)”, his collaboration with rapper J. Balvin and Future nostalgia diva Dua Lipa.

Mendes and Tiny’s performance of “Summer of Love” was their first performance at the VMA as a duo, but Mendes had already commanded the VMA stage three times. Most recently, the Canadian artist cheered up in 2019 with a sensual performance of “Senõrita” with his girlfriend and co-worker Camila Cabello. (Cinderella fans, you’re in luck: Cabello also graced the stage at the 2021 VMA!)

Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images for MTV / ViacomCBS

The 2021 VMAs will be streamed live on MTV from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Find the full list of winners right here and stay on top of the VMA’s highlights of the evening!



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Dodge’s cat danced in the air in a VMA acrobatic performance

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Dodge's cat danced in the air in a VMA acrobatic performance

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After taking a break from hosting the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, Dodge Cat took to the stage for a stunning live performance of her songs “Been Like This” and “You Right” at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Sunday (September 12). Both tracks were included on her debut album. Her Planetwhich was released in June.

Dodge Cat was introduced by gymnast Simone Biles, who said: “I would say [Doja Cat’s] Team USA, but I think she prefers Planet Her. ” The entry was suitable for the high flight that had to be guaranteed. Doja began “Been Like This,” hovering above the stage, surrounded by a ball of swirling light.

She was the fourth performer to begin her performance with a hiatus, after “Baby Laroy”, Justin Bieber and Olivia Rodrigo. Her body twisted in the air as the fans’ hands reached up towards her. When she finished “Been Like This”, Dodge Cat went down to the stage and began singing “You Right”. Her bright red outfit contrasted sharply with the two dancers clad in blue, and the trio took up intimate choreography with martial arts accents.

Earlier this week, Dodge Cat said she was “honored” to return to the VMA after performing a knockout performance of “Say So” at last year’s ceremony. “There is no particular fear of being surpassed. [the last performance]she told MTV News reporter Dometi Pongo. “I like to do everything, I like to try everything once.”

Doji’s number followed other extraordinary performances by Justin Bieber and Little Laroy, Olivia Rodrigo, Casey Musgraves, Ed Sheeran, Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow, Shawn Mendes and Tainey and many more. Other artists, including Machine Gun Kelly and Normani, will take the stage later in the evening.

The 2021 VMAs will be streamed live on MTV from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Find the full list of winners right here and stay on top of the VMA’s highlights of the evening!



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