It Finally Happened: Deena And Angelina Spoke On Jersey Shore — After Nearly A Year

Eight little words and a single plate of bruschetta was all it took for two roommates to mend fences.

Tonight’s Jersey Shore: Family Vacation kicked off awkwardly enough with a family-dinner-turned-couples-retreat to welcome Pauly’s D’s main chick Nikki to the fam. (Sorry side piece, Vin.) Deena, who hadn’t faced her former roommate since that wedding, had agreed to attend on one condition: Angelina had to sit at the opposite end of the table.

Following some mindless group chatter about oatmeal recipes, sweet tea, and scented pinecones, the meatball was the one to initiate contact for the first time in nearly a year with an innocent request: “Angelina, do you mind passing me the bruschetta?” (Also known as a simple question that will go down in history as “the Italian version of passing the olive branch.”)

But diced tomatoes atop grilled bread was merely just the beginning. In a major post-dinner chooch move, it was actually Vinny’s faux pas (the utterance of the word “speech”) that officially “broke the ice” and sealed the peacemaking deal.

“Even though I didn’t want to sit down with her here, maybe I will. It’s gonna have to happen eventually,” Deena admitted.

In the heavily anticipated sitdown of all sitdowns, the girls finally aired their grievances to one another over waffles, rather than on social media.

“What I would love to hear from Angelina is like, ‘I apologize for feeding into social media’ and also owning up to how she acted at the wedding. A lot of times, Angelina has a hard time owning up to her own sh*t,” said Deena, with Angelina maintaining that their friendship “was very real.”

Despite their high hopes, the conversation that Deena “had been dreading” for nearly a year almost got worse before it got better, leading the expectant mama to wonder if she’d “made a huge mistake.” But things took a turn when they both agreed to keep their gym-tan-dirty-laundry off of Instagram.

“If there’s sh*t that happens in our family, it has to just stay here,” Deena said, with Angelina nodding in agreement. “And then we can move past it in our own time without so many millions of people.”

Heartfelt apologies were issued from both sides, with Deena feeling like “a weight has lifted” and Angelina having high hopes “to mend the friendship” — though any potential truce with JWOWW is a different story.

Stay tuned for more makeups and family feuds on an all-new Jersey Shore: Family Vacation next Thursday at 8/7c!

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Zayn’s Bare Hymn, Kota The Friend’s Brooklyn Bop, And More Songs We Love

This week’s edition of Bop Shop features a mix of songs by Zayn, Kota the Friend, Guccihighwaters, and more.

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Teen Mom OG Sneak Peek: Will Ryan Re-Establish Contact With Maci?

Maci’s restraining order against Ryan has ended, and Bentley’s dad is legally allowed to contact his ex. But the father of three isn’t exactly looking to resume contact.

“She did an order of protection with about 30 lies last time, so I just don’t feel the need to speak to her and bring some of that back into my life,” the father of three tells Teen Mom OG producer Lorraine in the sneak peek, above, of the upcoming season premiere. Jen, Larry and Mackenzie are also present at the mini Edwards gathering.

But the lack of communication between the two families has translated into less time with Bentley.

“We haven’t seen him in a month,” Jen stated.

How does Larry feel about the current situation involving his grandson? Watch him open up in the video, and do not miss the season premiere of Teen Mom OG on Tuesday at 8/7c.

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Itzy’s English EP Not Shy Is An Electric Reintroduction

By Lai Frances

“English queen!” That’s what a fanboy in the audience enthusiastically yelled after Ryujin introduced herself in my native tongue during our live interview at Build Series in January 2020.

At the time, Itzy, whose name is a play on the Korean words “to have it all,” was less than a year old since their debut in February 2019, but the group had already amassed an impressive roster of accomplishments, broken records, and awards under their belt; including the fastest rookie group to win a music show (nine days from their debut) and a handful of Best New Artist awards, all while capping the year with a showcase tour in Asia and the United States.

During the same interview, Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna surprised viewers by answering a majority of the questions in English, widening the eyes of the in-studio audience and invoking excitement from viewers worldwide. The moment was later included in a fan-made English compilation video on YouTube that has more views than the conversation itself.

While 2020 delayed plans and canceled concerts, that did not stop the JYP Entertainment quintet from releasing their viral chart-topper “Wannabe” last March, followed by the confident “Not Shy” that summer. The group used the pandemic to their advantage to produce thorough video interviews and dance-practice clips showcasing different dance breaks between promotional cycles. The group managed to do weekly — sometimes daily — livestreams via the South Korean streaming platform VLive and communicated with fans in Korean and English, often mentioning how they were studying and practicing their English.

JYP Entertainment

Little did fans know, Itzy was going to welcome 2021 with a four-track all-English EP Not Shy consisting of all their lead singles (“Dalla Dalla,” “ICY,” “Wannabe,” and “Not Shy”), out today (January 22).

It’s 7 a.m. in New Jersey and 10 p.m. in South Korea when the quintet appears on Zoom. Sitting in the front row in full glam despite the late hour is Yeji, Lia, and Yuna; behind them sit Ryujin and Chaeryeong. Exchanging greetings and the customary “happy new year” in English, the group’s tone is energetic and bright.

“We’ve prepared them in English because all of our fans have given us so much love and support, so this is our way of repaying the love our Midzy have given us,” Itzy’s leader Yeji says with Lia and Yuna to her left. Pointing to the music video for “Not Shy,” the album’s lead single, Ryujin says, “This is actually us thanking our global Midzys and this is our way of growing closer to them, so that’s why we prepared this album.”

Considering the improvement in the members’ English in the lead-up to the EP, Itzy’s entrance into the Western market was a consideration in its production. “We hope to, of course,” Itzy’s main vocalist Lia responds. “It’s not meant for that [entering the Western market], but if we get a chance for that, then we’d love to! We’ve always wanted to. Maybe once everything gets better?”

The English EP follows the releases of fellow JYP labelmate Twice after releasing English singles of “More & More” and “I Can’t Stop Me” last year. Other acts who’ve gone through the Korean-to-English release trend in 2020 were Loona (“Star”), CLC (“Helicopter”), (G)I-DLE (“Oh My God”), and many more.

“I think many K-pop artists make English versions since English is a universal language,” Itzy’s sassy dancer Chaeryeong says. “As K-pop has more and more global fans, I think this trend will grow bigger.” The group’s bubbly youngest, Yuna, chimes in after, “Artists can have a new experience recording English versions, and fans can enjoy and understand the lyrics more too.”

British production duo LDN Noise, who helmed the group’s popular B-side “Surf” alongside some of K-pop’s top talents (Twice, SHINee, f(x), EXO), agrees to Itzy’s sentiments. “Any time K-pop can reach a new audience, it’s always a plus,” songwriter, producer, and DJ Greg Bonnick says. “Once your eyes are open to the K-pop world, people are super intrigued and hopefully here to stay as fans.”

While the trend is inevitable as K-pop grows as a global phenomenon, Isabel Chi, A&R and Management for One and Saint Leonard, reminds us that incorporating a line or two in English is nothing new in Korean music.

“The rise in popularity of full English versions of songs has to do with acceptance into mainstream Western media,” Chi says. “While K-pop fans and those already interested in alternative music have no problem listening to songs in Korean, I think that making songs only in English is an attempt to make the genre more palatable to the masses who need a segue into the genre. Songs in any language open up that market to the artist — Selena Gomez just released her first all-Spanish track, K-pop groups have regularly made all-Japanese albums — and I do think the main goal of labels is to tap into a yet-unreached market.”

But global recognition is more of a nice than a must for Itzy’s future aspirations. “Since the U.S. has the biggest music scene, it’d be a great achievement to have many people know and listen to our music through our new English album,” Lia says. Rather than focus on future possibilities, the five members hope to make their story heard through their music — and by as many listeners as possible. “Our songs have messages of self-confidence, and we hope our English listeners will be able to hear it with our English songs,” Ryujin adds.

“The only thing that matters is the music feels and sounds great. We don’t need to conform,” Bonnick says.

One of the first Korean artists to promote during the pandemic last year, Itzy has successfully taken advantage of using their time at the dorms to not only create content but study, practice their language skills, and communicate with their fans. Yeji, who doesn’t deny feeling a little bit of pressure learning and performing in English, has tremendously improved alongside Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna, who aren’t native speakers.

“English is confidence,” Yeji says with a laugh, remembering a past relay interview where the group was asked to imitate the phrase “cuteness overload.” She adds, “It was tough, but it was also fun. I also took a lot of one-on-one and group lessons, and I had homework. I want to be able to speak to global Midzys in English. I try my best, but I’m not perfect!” Ryujin quickly swoops in to compliment Yeji: “She’s definitely become more confident now and she’s improved a lot.

Lia, the group’s native English speaker, talks proudly about how quickly her bandmates picked up on a new language, to the point that the group’s on and off-cam conversations are spoken in Konglish (a hybrid of Korean and English). “It’s become a sort of a bad habit,” she jokes as the group nods and giggles. “What I felt while living with the girls is that their English has improved a lot! The members try to speak English in the dorms and even while practicing.”

But when it comes to singing for this new album, there’s really no shift in the core messages of their sound. Chaeryeong, however, did notice a change in her tone. “In my case, my voice becomes deeper when I sing in English, so I try to keep my energy up,” she notes. Out of all the four tracks, she believes “Not Shy” sounds stronger in English, to which all members agree.

JYP Entertainment

Just a couple of weeks shy of their second year together, Itzy has plenty of goals for their year ahead. Getting closer with each other is Ryujin’s, “revealing some new and professional vibes” for Yuna, and for Lia, to work harder. “We still have a lot to do,” Lia says. “I don’t know what’s waiting for us, but we’re excited for it. We’re scared, but whatever it is, I’m sure we’ll be able to go through it.”

Whatever the outcome, there is no denying Itzy have transcended their “monster rookie” moniker and become the “monster girl group” of South Korea — and soon, the world. (After all, they are Honorary Ambassadors of the Korean Tourism Organization.) Having seamlessly transformed into one of the nation’s top groups, the new EP proves that music and success have no borders.

“[Success is] different for everyone, but personally, I think I achieved it,” Lia says with a sincere look on her face as her fellow members were in deep thought. “My standards aren’t that high, happiness and success isn’t something that should be high, so to be here with my members and all the fans that love us is already so much success and happiness.”

“I think that there’s no boundary in success,” Yeji adds.“So whenever I try and achieve my goal, I feel successful every time.”

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Abigail Cowen Channeled Post Malone In Fate: The Winx Saga

By Emlyn Travis

It’s difficult, actress Abigail Cowen explains, to remember a time when performance wasn’t part of her life. Raised with an insatiable love of the arts, she began piano lessons at age six and recalls holding frequent solo, living-room concerts for family members. Her passion for the spotlight only grew stronger when, at age nine, she begged her mother to let her sign up for acting classes. To Cowen, it felt less like a decision and more like a calling; a heavy, knowing feeling that radiated from within and told her no career would ever bring her as much joy or personal fulfillment.

“It was a feeling of I need to do this or I will not be happy with my life,” the 22-year-old tells MTV News over the phone from her home in Orlando, Florida. “It literally feels like a weight in your gut of having to do this thing that you love. It takes over your life in the best way possible. That was when it really hit me and I begged my mom every day to let me take acting classes.”

Growing up in Gainesville, Florida, however, meant that acting roles weren’t always commonplace or easily accessible, so Cowen leaned heavily into the world of sports instead of acting throughout her high school years. It wasn’t until she turned 18 and moved across the country to Los Angeles that she began to earnestly chase down her childhood dream. After stints on Stranger Things and The Fosters, her break came in 2018 when she landed the role of Dorcas Night in Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, one of the show’s dazzlingly deadly Weird Sisters. Now, Cowen steps into her first major leading role as the fire fairy Bloom in Fate: The Winx Saga, out today. A live-action adaptation of Iginio Straffi’s beloved mid-aughts cartoon The Winx Club, she plays a 16-year-old who transfers to Alfea, a mystical boarding school, after discovering her true magical identity. There, she learns about friendship, romance, and, ultimately, self-acceptance.

“Playing Bloom was interesting. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself because I knew that so many people are fans of the original Winx. It was a nerve-wracking but exciting and exhilarating experience,” she said on Instagram Live. “I felt like a fish out of water because I had never been in a role like this before, but so was Bloom.” Channeling that pressure into her scenes, Cowen brought much of herself to the role — her high school struggles, her evergreen insecurities — as if she was meant for it all her life. Ahead of the Winx premiere, she speaks with MTV News about seeing her teenage self in the role of Bloom, the songs that helped her tap into her character, and how she’s learned to embrace her own unique superpowers.

MTV News: What was your experience auditioning for the role of Bloom?

Cowen: The day of my audition I was going to Vancouver to shoot The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and my audition was about two hours prior to my flight, so I was in a rush. I was leaving for three or four months so I had this giant suitcase. I literally stumbled into the casting office with the huge thing and everyone was scared of me. But when you’re in the casting office, you can’t really talk, so I couldn’t explain myself. It was so awkward and embarrassing, and I was convinced I would never be invited back because they probably thought I was some actor trying to bring a prop or something, like Bloom arriving in Alfea with her suitcase. I did get invited back, I was shocked, and did two other auditions. On my third, I met with showrunner Brian Young and Lisa James Larsson, our director, and we read through some stuff and they gave me notes on what to improve on. It was a few days later when I found out I got the role and then had to fly out within two weeks to Ireland for the next four months.

MTV News: What was that experience like, hearing that you got the role, and then having two weeks to absorb that knowledge before stepping headfirst into a leading role?

Cowen: I was terrified. I didn’t know what I had just gotten myself into because I had never had a role of that caliber before, so I started to second-guess myself — you know, impostor syndrome sets in. So I was terrified. But the beauty of our industry is that it’s so last-minute. It’s so stressful because it is last-minute, but then so exciting, too, like finding out a week before that I’m about to basically move to Ireland for the next four months. It was very exciting but very scary. I personally love that element of it; you’re constantly living on the edge.

MTV News: How do you personally work to combat impostor syndrome within your own career?

Cowen: I’ve talked to a lot of actors of all different ages and, even later in their careers, it’s something they still battle. I think, as an artist, it’s about recognizing that no art is perfect. It’s not supposed to be perfect and that’s why it’s art. It’s supposed to be your interpretation of things, so I think reminding yourself of that helps combat the feeling. All impostor syndrome is the idea that someone is going to find out that I’m not good enough and I’m not supposed to be here, but you are. And it’s recognizing that in this industry, we’re all in this together. Art is a collaboration and as long as you’re willing to collaborate and trust yourself, then you are meant to be there. There are going to be times where you fall flat on your face and that’s OK.

MTV News: As both an actor and a musician, what songs do you think would be on Bloom’s playlist?

Cowen: That’s funny because I actually created a playlist for Bloom. I didn’t put too many songs on there, but they’re very random. I have a very random taste in music. How many do you want me to give?

MTV News: As many as you’d like!

Cowen: I wanted some hyping up songs for when she is getting angry and getting intense for her powers. I have “High” by Slow Pulp, “TRNDSTTR (Lucian Remix)” by Black Coast, “Out of My Mind,” by B.O.B (ft. Nicki Minaj), “Take A Chance” by Flume, “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons, “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar, “Go Flex” by Post Malone, “3 Nights” by Dominic Fike, “Classic” by MKTO, “Guardians of the Gate” by audiomachine — a lot of different types of songs. Mumford & Sons because we were in the beautiful plains of Ireland, so I felt like that kind of matched the scenery. Blink-182 is great as well because it kind of brings out the teenage angst in Bloom.

MTV News: Did you listen to this playlist prior to shooting certain scenes?

Cowen: Yeah, I would put my headphones in and listen to these songs before I would shoot certain scenes. Actually, Danny Griffin, who plays Sky, would show me songs and I would show him songs, and then we would listen to them both together on speakers and act out what would happen in those moments. We would speak through those songs, like this is where they would fight! It was so dorky, but music was a very big part of discovering Bloom for sure.

MTV News: Fate: The Winx Saga has a much darker storyline than its predecessor, not unlike your work on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. What is it about these fantasy worlds that inspires you?

Cowen: These types of projects are just fun because there are no limits. You’ll read a script one day and one thing will be happening, and you’ll get the next script and something completely absurd and crazy will be happening but it’s allowed to happen because you’re in a fantasy world. You’re allowed to really use your imagination and that’s really fun for me because I definitely have a huge imagination. I also feel like, with fantasy, it’s a nice escape from reality for a lot of people. It’s fun to dive into another world just for a little bit and forget about the world that we’re in. I think there’s always room for fantasy and for these types of shows because it gives people a break from life, good or bad.


MTV News: What do you hope fans of the original Winx Club series take away from the new, live-action version of the show? 

Cowen: I’d first like to say that the Winx audience grew up and so did we; that kind of sums up what Fate is right now. I hope that they can find something within these characters — whichever character it might be — that they can relate to and then love themselves for. I hope that they enjoy it as much as we enjoyed filming it and that it helps them in dealing with the general uncertainty of teenage years, or whatever they’re going through now outside of their teenage years, just by being able to relate to what these characters are dealing with. Even though they have magical powers and there is a magical element to it, there’s a very real element to Fate too. It deals with very real-life problems.

MTV News: Brian Young, the showrunner of Fate: The Winx Saga, said in an interview that one of his favorite things about his work on The Vampire Diaries was that it was “a vampire show that really was just a grounded teen show.” I feel like that aspect carried over in Fate too yes, there’s a magical element to it, but the journeys each of the five main characters embark on throughout the show are very much human.

Cowen: I think Brian does such a great job of combining the two and keeping it real. If you look at these five girls in the Winx suite, you can relate to at least one of them at that age or even now. Their problems are real — in friendships, in love, in life, and in discovering yourself. We don’t shy away from that in the show; we tell it how it is.

MTV News: In what ways do you relate to Bloom and her journey?

Cowen: In a lot of ways, actually. I see a lot of my younger self in her. I definitely understand, at that age, being 15 or 16 and trying to figure out who you are while also thinking you have a lot of the answers to the world’s problems. She’s very stubborn and hard-headed, and I was the same way — I am the same way. That can bring a lot of issues into your life but can also help you along as a person. She’s trying to find that balance. She’s also dealing with typical teenage issues, which I feel anyone can really relate to: trying to figure out who you are, deal with your insecurities, and find your place in the world.

Jonathan Hession/Netflix

MTV News: To me, Bloom’s journey is one of self-acceptance. From her family history to her fairy identity, her perception of herself and how she fits in between these two worlds is put to the test throughout the entire show. Did any of it mirror your own path growing up?

Cowen: At that age or maybe a little younger, I was going through a really hard time with bullying from age 11. I was homeschooled my eighth-grade year because I was bullied for having red hair, which was just essentially because I was different and I looked different than everyone else. But at that age you don’t want to feel different; you want to fit in and find your place in the world, and that place is where everyone else is. That forced me to either sink within myself or have this radical self-acceptance, and I chose self-acceptance. It definitely was a journey. It took a very long time and sometimes I still deal with it to this day, but I think that the same goes with Bloom. She’s not being bullied for having red hair, but she’s definitely dealing with accepting who she is and this insane power that she has.

MTV News: That reminds me of a particular scene between Bloom and Sky that really stuck with me where she tells him that she’s someone who “doesn’t need to be fixed,” and he replies that “we’re all broken, but there’s a charm in that too.” 

Cowen: I feel like once we start accepting ourselves for who we are and what makes us different, we realize that it’s also what makes us special, beautiful, and powerful. When we do that for ourselves, then we can do that for other people. We can just create a better world where we can accept ourselves and accept others. I like to say that whatever your insecurity is, whatever makes you different, is your superpower. That’s what I had to come to terms with and that was definitely a turning point for me.

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Saweetie’s Grown-ish Debut Is A Masterclass In ‘Boss Shit’

By Virginia Lowman

Saweetie is a shooting star. The Bay Area-born rapper, née Diamonté Quiava Valentin Harper, has seen her career in the music industry rise like a meteor, blasting off with her sizzling 2018 EP High Maintenance and the cool follow-up, Icy, the next year; but not before cinching her degree from the University of Southern California in 2016, where she studied communications. As she gears up for the release of her debut full-length album Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music, Saweetie’s going back to school — sort of — with a guest-starring appearance in Kenya Barris’s hit series Grown-ish.

In her acting debut, Saweetie claims her spotlight as Indigo, a spirited rapper who counts Joey Bada$$ among her friends. Grown-ish’s third season, with a new extension out today (January 21) on Freeform, finds series heroine and recent college dropout Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) is booked and busy with two celebrity clients, including Indigo. The parallels between reality and fiction here are hard to ignore as both Saweetie and Indigo are strong-willed, independent female rappers owning their art and image. “My music covers a lot of parts of womanhood, of adulthood, of just the transitional eras of the different stages of your life,” she tells MTV News. “I definitely feel like there is a connection between the ‘Icy Grl’ music and Grown-ish’s [themes].”

Though Saweetie may no longer be a college student herself, she’s still taking her fans to class with her digital business and life academy, Icy University, which teaches everything from how to start a business to lessons in flyology. Ahead of the release of Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music and her small-screen debut, MTV News speaks with Saweetie, clad in diamonds and fiery red waves on the opposite end of a Zoom call, about her career goals, her album’s acronymized title, and her “boss shit” advice for getting the life you want.

MTV News: Why did you choose Grown-ish as your first acting project?

Saweetie: Well, to be honest with you, it was the first thing that was brought to my team. It was a great first offer. I was honored and I took it immediately. I love Yara and the show was just already so good. So I hired an acting coach immediately and got to rehearsing.

MTV News: How was working with an acting coach? Was there anything you found particularly difficult or fun?

Saweetie: There’s nothing really hard about working with an acting coach, just because I know nothing, so I’m just there to learn. I think what’s hard is just yourself. When you get too into your head or when you’re not able to rehearse lines. For me, I’m very hard on myself, so the only thing that’s in my way is me, but my acting coach was super helpful, super informative.

MTV News: Now that you’ve got the acting bug, are there other projects we can hope to see you in in the future?

Saweetie: Well, I’m currently working on other audition tapes. I feel like the skits I’ve done on social media, along with maybe people knowing that I’m on the Grown-ish set, have opened up other doors. So I could definitely see myself getting on other shows or definitely other movies.

MTV News: You’re no stranger to the trials of undergrad life. What was your biggest growing pain or life lesson while you were in college?

Saweetie: I wish I was more proactive on campus. I was at the parties, but I wish I was a part of the student body. I wish I would have interacted a lot more because — [like] the Trojan — once you’re in, you’re in. So I wish I would have established more relationships.

Freeform/Eric McCandless

MTV News: One of the iconic lines from the first episode of this season between you and Yara is, “Just do boss shit.” If you had to create a guide to boss shit, what would be your advice for making your own lane and setting the terms for the life you want?

Saweetie: Definitely going to school and getting an education. I say that not so you have to complete the full course, although that is good. But the situations that you’re placed in in college, you wouldn’t learn in corporate America or the street. I feel like it helps you. It grooms you to be an adult. So definitely college because it teaches you who you want to be and who you don’t want to be. So definitely experiencing a semester or two at a college campus.

MTV News: What about your advice for shooting your shot and setting the terms of the love you want?

Saweetie: I think women should normalize shooting their shot. I’ve shot my shot before. I’m very black and white, so if I want it, I’m going to go get it. I’m not going to think about it. But always with class, always with taste, always. Don’t go out there and go crazy, but if you’re a grown woman, you could do grown-woman things. And grown women go out there and get what they want, so don’t always wait for someone to approach you.

MTV News: Got it. And your advice for choosing your inner circle and setting a friend code to abide by? That’s a theme that you see a lot play out between Zoey and her girls.

Saweetie: What’s interesting is I’m actually doing a class on girl code in Icy University. I feel like growing up, girls just… It’s interesting, the nature of the relationships I’ve had before, which is why my circle is so small. I’ve had some PTSD-type of experiences with girl groups, so I think keeping your circle small, trusting your instincts, and keeping people around you who genuinely want you to succeed, who aren’t back-door type of friends.

MTV News: Speaking of success and empowerment, would you say those are themes that you often incorporate into your music? Is it something you’re thinking about when you’re in the ideation stage of creating an album or a song?

Saweetie: It’s interesting that you say that because it definitely wasn’t intentional in the beginning. When I’m creating music, I’m normally just speaking from my heart. But because I was raised by independent, bossed-up, just fly women, I think it’s just second-nature for me to act and to think that way. But in creating Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music, I definitely do have certain lines or certain songs that are intentionally and purposely geared towards boss women.

MTV News: What’s the significance of redefining “bitch” and turning it into an acronym for your album?

Saweetie: Well, I wanted a title that would catch the attention. I think High Maintenance and Icy are great names, but they’re not going to make someone think and be like, “Oh, that’s great,” or “Oh, I hated her.” It doesn’t create a reaction, so I wanted to do something that intrigued someone.

I’m from the West Coast. I grew up listening to Tupac and I really love what he did with Thug Life, so that’s why I created an acronym for “bitch” because I say it so much in my music. I wanted it to be clear that when I’m saying “bitch,” people knew that it meant boss, it meant independent, it meant tough, it meant CEO, it meant hyphy. And for people who don’t know what hyphy means, it means turning up and having a good time. So “bitch” is definitely an acronym, and I feel like women like Trina, women like Nicki [Minaj], women like Foxy [Brown] — all women who use the term “bitch,” we use it in a very empowering way.

MTV News: Is there any particular lesson that you feel you learned while creating Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music?

Saweetie: A lesson that this album taught me is that I’m very anal when it comes to recording. I hate beat packages. One of my requests is if I want to work with a producer, or if a producer wants to work with me, we have to sit in a studio together and create from scratch because I feel like that’s when I’m able to have my personality and soul in the beat. You know a song is good when the beat introduces the emotion before the lyric does. So, that’s one thing I learned while creating Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music, that I have to be there for beat production.

MTV News: What do you hope fans take away from the album?

Saweetie: The narrative of just being bossed-up, independent, depending on yourself, doing things on your own terms, doing what she wants to do. I think those are continuous throughout the songs and the storytelling, just celebrating yourself. I feel like self-esteem is really important, especially in the day of social media, so just knowing who you are, knowing your worth and your value is really important.

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Maggie Lindemann Refuses To Let Paranoia Hold Her Back

By Jack Irvin

Maggie Lindemann has always considered herself a paranoid person. As a kid, it was the reason she’d ask her mom to stay in her room until she fell asleep. As an adult, it’s why she began sleeping with a switchblade under her pillow.

“It just gave me bad vibes, which is weird because it was a brand new house,” the 22-year-old singer-songwriter tells MTV News about her then-home in a Los Angeles neighborhood. Combined with the copious amount of horror films Lindemann watched at the time, nights when her roommate wasn’t home left her scared, to say the least. “Two stories are too much for me… I need to know every inch of the house. He would be gone, and I would just freak out and need to sleep with a knife under my pillow like every night — and in all my drawers.”

Her sharp response to fear came in handy as a direct inspiration for “Knife Under My Pillow,” the pop punk-inspired first single from her debut, Paranoia, out this Friday on Caroline Records. While the EP may be the singer’s first-ever project, she is by no means a newbie in the music industry. Growing up in Texas and performing with her local church choir, she always dreamed of singing professionally, and she moved to Los Angeles at 16 to pursue it. Like many other teenagers at the time, she started posting cover videos online — not on YouTube, but on Keek, a now-defunct video platform that launched in 2011.

After picking up a following, her fans flocked to her Tumblr and Instagram pages, turning her into a full-blown influencer before the term — which she despises — even existed. “I hate when people call me an influencer, ‘cause that is not how I make my money,” says Lindemann, who amassed nearly a million followers before releasing her first single, the downbeat “Knocking on Your Heart,” in 2015. “I always wanted to sing. I didn’t want to just be a pretty girl on Instagram.”

Lindemann expressed a similar sentiment in 2016’s aptly titled “Pretty Girl,” an empowering, anthemic pop track that became an international hit and caught the attention of 300 Entertainment, the record label she signed to that year. Considering the track has been streamed well over a billion times to date, and its follow-up, infectious dance bop “Obsessed,” boasts nearly 100 million streams, you’d think the singer would have followed up the immense success with an album. But behind the scenes, she wasn’t a fan of the music she was putting out.

“I hated being this bubblegum-pop girl. I just didn’t ever feel like that was me,” she says. “The lyrics were me, but the vibe wasn’t, and I felt like that started to become a constant theme in my music. I loved the lyrics, but the production, I always just didn’t like it.”

Brandon Arreaga

She decided to shift her sound to better reflect her own music taste, citing acts like Sleeping With Sirens and Avril Lavigne as major inspirations. “I love heavy drums, heavy electric guitars. I always wanted to scream. I used to practice my screams when I was young,” Lindemann recalls. “I felt like my whole life was pop-punk, and then I was pop, and it just felt so weird.” In 2018, she released the emo, melancholic “Would I” and “Friends Go,” a No Doubt-influenced track that received a hardcore remix from Blink-182’s Travis Barker. But just as she was finally settling into a sound she identified with, things took a dark turn.

On June 21, 2019, she was asked to leave the stage during a performance in Malaysia, where she was then arrested by immigration police for not possessing the correct work permit visa. The incident was reportedly due to negligence on behalf of the visa agent, who was later fined over $7,000. After the show, Lindemann was put in jail for 24 hours before getting released to her hotel room, where she was forced to stay for five days before she could fly home. “It’s all such a blur, but basically we had to go and be like, ‘Look, we had no idea. We don’t book these things,’” she details. “We were facing possibly five years in prison for being there illegally and possibly deportation. It was just horrifying.”

At the time, she felt she was being watched in her hotel room, only worsening her preexisting anxieties. “I’ve always been paranoid, but that was a different level ’cause it felt like I had a reason to be,” she says. While recognizing how fortunate she is to be able to move on relatively unscathed thanks to her legal team — and how many others aren’t as lucky — over a year later, she still finds herself reminded of the discomfort and uncertainty she felt during her time in jail. “I had to go to the DMV the other day, and the tiles and stuff were the same [as the jail cell], and I was just kind of like, ‘Whoa, this is really freaking me out.’”

But it also pushed Lindemann to “want to make better music” and finally get a project out into the world, and this time she wanted to call the shots — which meant parting ways with 300 Entertainment in favor of Caroline Records and her own label, Swixxzaudio. Within a week of returning home from the tour, she hit the studio and made the grim, guitar-driven “Different,” the first song written for Paranoia, as well as the first track she’s ever co-produced.

From that point, the songs kept flowing, and soon enough she had an EP’s worth of material. While new songs like the ear-shattering screamo track “Gaslight!” and metallic, cutthroat banger “Scissorhands” are a far cry from the polished pop of “Pretty Girl,” the musician feels like her sound perfectly aligns with her personality for the first time. “I used to always see comments like, ‘I love her Instagram, I love her style, but her music doesn’t match,’ and it always would drive me crazy ’cause I’m like, ‘Ugh, I know. I want it, too, so bad.’ And I feel like it finally does,” says Lindemann. “What you see is who I am, for sure.”

In fact, she’s felt so inspired by her new sound that she’s already hard at work on an album to come after Paranoia. “I have three songs already, but I’m still just in the beginning,” she details. “But I do want to have an album out not too too much longer after the EP drops, hopefully next year.”

If it were up to Lindemann, the next step would be to head out on a headlining tour, which she was planning to do before the pandemic hit back in March. Above anything else, her goal is merely to prove herself as an artist once and for all: “I just hope to reach people that I haven’t reached yet, and I hope that people will take me more seriously — and not think of me as an internet person who decided to make music or something.”

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Remembering The Best (And Most Dramatic) MTV Dating Series

Watching your favorite dating show is one thing — and giving your feedback in real time is quite the other. And now, thanks to a brand-new online series, you can do just that.

Faraway Bae, hosted by The Circle‘s Joey Sasso, is a virtual and interactive series which will follow YouTube star Dominic DeAngelis as he navigates a field of ladies. Faraway Bae viewers will be able to interact with the cast in real-time and direct the action via any of the social platforms streaming the show, including YouTube, Twitch, Periscope, Facebook, and TVCO. Also on board to mix cocktails and provide dating guidance is the TikTok-famous Paradise Bartender, Ashley Hupp.

“I’m all in favor of unconventional dating experiences, and I’m ready to put myself out there,” the Cooking with Dom star reveals. “As everyone knows, I’m all about making people smile and laugh, and I can’t wait to share this experience with my fans as I look for my match. I hope fans will help me along the way!”

“We are giving the audience an experience they’ve never had before,” Joanna Kaufman, the show’s creator and executive producer, says. “People love dating shows, and they have lots of opinions. We are now giving them a voice and the ability to influence the show and participate in unprecedented ways. We will be listening to the viewers and taking action in real time to deliver a uniquely interactive experience. They won’t be the third-wheel; they’ll be in the driver’s seat.”

And there’s a familiar MTV face making an appearance as well. Are You the One? and Challenge star Kam Williams will be appearing on the February 1 episode — and she will “put these ladies in the hotseat and ask them the hard-hitting questions!”

In honor of Faraway Bae, check out the trailer above, we’re looking back at some of MTV’s best romance-themed programming (current and old-school). From looking for the one to being interrupted by an ex on the beach, there’s plenty of love (and drama) to go around.

Check out the roundup below, and don’t miss the first episode of Faraway Bae Season Two on January 25th. Subscribe to The Faraway Bae YouTube channel here so you don’t miss out!

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Billie Eilish And Rosalía Finally Drop Their Long-Awaited Collab ‘Lo Vas A Olvidar’

Last April, Rosalía was waiting for Billie Eilish to send her vocal contributions for their much-teased collaboration. “I feel like the production, the sound design, is almost done,” she told Variety at the time, “so I just need that Billie maybe sends the vocals and they send me the ideas that they want to add because we are there.”

It might’ve taken a while to finalize, but the vocals were sent. The ideas were added. And now, the finished product is out, complete with a gauzy, skeletal video that matches the mood of the song itself. That song is called “Lo Vas a Olvidar” and it features both Rosalía and Eilish singing in Spanish.

Featuring trademark sparse production from Eilish’s brother/collaborator Finneas, “Lo Vas a Olvidar” finds both featured artists in their respective zones — a dreamlike plane where slight shifts in mood and atmosphere are guided by powerful vocal moments from each.

The tune was first mentioned by Rosalía sometime in 2019, and later that year, she told Billboard that her and Eilish had met in Los Angeles and worked together while sitting at a piano. “When I released ‘Malamente,’ Billie was one of the first huge artists who shared the video. She has been there from the onset,” Rosalía said. “Then, when I was working with Frank Dukes in Los Angeles, Billie and I had a session together, totally independent from her other projects. We wrote with her at the piano. We created a great idea for a song and had a great time.”

Part of that synergy is Eilish singing in Spanish. “When we were writing the song, I remember her saying something about, ‘It should be in English,’ and I was like, no, no no, it should be in Spanish,” Eilish told Zane Lowe today (January 21) after the song dropped. “It’s so beautiful.”

“Lo Vas a Olvidar” will be featured on the soundtrack to HBO’s hit series Euphoria, which returns for its second season later this year. Check it out above.

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Katy Perry And Demi Lovato Lit Up The Sky To Celebrate Joe Biden’s Inauguration

After the swearing in of both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on January 20, the new administration got to work. Biden immediately signed over a dozen executive orders, reversing some of the previous administration’s, and implemented a mask mandate for federal employees, recommitted the United States to the Paris climate agreement, paused student loan repayments until September 30, and more. But even though he was already set up behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, the inauguration celebration was far from over.

On Wednesday night, Tom Hanks hosted a star-studded, post-parade nighttime special called Celebrating America, a victory lap for the new administration that doubled as a tribute to America’s frontline workers. As part of the festivities, artists like Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, the Foo Fighters, and more sang out songs of perseverance and hope. And none were more rapturous than Demi Lovato and Katy Perry.

Lovato’s twilit performance in front of a (digital) purple sky honed in on dancing, as she brought her funky take on Bill Withers’s “Lovely Day” to life. Rocking a beige suit with a new shorter haircut, Lovato anchored the disco-tinged song to sparkly life with a little help from videoed-in performances from health care workers, some of whom played guitar and piano along with the track. The Biden family got in on the action, too, watching the performance from inside the White House.

“It was an absolute HONOR to perform tonight for our @POTUS, @VP, & the entirety of our United States of America ❤️🇺🇸,” Lovato tweeted. “This is a night I will NEVER forget. Thank you to everyone who joined me to sing ‘Lovely Day’ by the late Bill Withers. Such an inspiring night.”

Before the night concluded — and before Hanks became in icicle hosting the telecast outside in the chilly Washington, D.C. evening air — everyone knew there would be fireworks. And what better way to ring them in than with a song that’s the aural equivalent of a firework: Katy Perry’s “Firework.”

In a grand, let’s-return-to-normalcy gesture, the sky above the National Mall and the Washington monument lit up in a cavalcade of color, all as Perry belted out her signature 2010 pop-EDM anthem — and all as the President and First Lady watched and applauded from their balcony.

Relive all the glory in the videos above.

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