Madonna today released “Dark Ballet,” the fifth and final song to be previewed before her highly-anticipated new studio album Madame X debuts globally on June 14. Produced by Mirwais Ahmadzai, the accompanying music video to the sonically innovative track was directed by Emmanuel Adjei and stars Mykki Blanco.
“Dark Ballet” was inspired by the story of Joan of Arc. “She fought the English and she won, still the French were not happy,” Madonna says. “Still they judged her. They said she was a man, they said she was a lesbian, they said she was a witch, and, in the end, they burned her at the stake, and she feared nothing. I admire that.”
The powerful and moving video, directed by Emmanuel Adjei, stars the innovative hip-hop queer pioneer, Mykki Blanco as Joan of Arc and tells the story of the kind of dance we’re all dancing in the world right now, this dark ballet. The video closes with an important message of inspiration from Mykki, “I have walked this earth, Black, Queer and HIV positive, but no transgression against me has been as powerful as the hope I hold within.”
“Dark Ballet” follows the release of the critically-acclaimed “Medellín,” the empowering “I Rise,” the infectious pop gem “Crave,” and the electronic reggae-tinged “Future.” Influenced creatively by living in Lisbon, Portugal over the past several years, Madame X is a collection of 15 new songs that celebrate Madonna’s career-long affair with Latin music and culture as well as other global influences. Singing in Portuguese, Spanish and English, Madonna collaborated on Madame X with longtime producer Mirwais, as well as with producers Mike Dean and Diplo, among others.
Billboard says “Future” has a, “dreamy reggae vibe.” Rolling Stone says, “’Crave’ is a sultry pop number about hungering for another person,” and MTV declares about “Crave” that, “It’s nearly impossible to listen to this without a smile sneaking to the corners of your face.” Of “I Rise,” NME says the song, “is politics and positivity combined.” NPR says, “Medellín is a carefully dosed combination of…coolly narcotic dance-pop…and energetic reggaetón,” while Entertainment Weekly declares the song is, “A breezy, summer-ready anthem…” The Guardian says, “Medellín is a potent reminder of Madonna’s deft history of meshing genres.”
Madonna will embark on her highly-anticipated Madame X Tour, a series of rare and intimate performances taking place exclusively in theaters in select cities, starting September 12 in New York.
MIKA: “Tiny Love”
Global pop superstar MIKA debuts new single, “Tiny Love” ahead of his first new studio album in five years MY NAME IS MICHAEL HOLBROOK.
Critically acclaimed, platinum-selling, global pop star MIKA debuts a new single “Tiny Love”, alongside a W.I.Z.-directed video. The track is the second single from MIKA’s highly anticipated new album, My Name Is Michael Holbrook, out October 4.
Of the track, MIKA says, “The most important thing in the world is the love we have for those around us, the love others offer us and the love we have for ourselves. That love can feel so massive and yet at the same time it’s so tiny and imperceivable to others. This song is a conscious decision to provoke that emotion. I knew I needed a different sort of director for this video, more art and film based. W.I.Z. was the perfect choice. From every detail in pre-production, to the art direction and casting, he has one thing in mind; to illustrate a complex narrative that he has written in his head. I am very proud of what he has made. An emotionally epic video for a song full of heart and love. Huge and Tiny at the same time.”
In celebration of the release, MIKA will make a long-awaited return to North America with the Tiny Love Tiny Tour this fall. The headline run kicks off with a show at New York City’s Brooklyn Steel on September 12. He then heads to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Montreal, before jetting overseas for a massive European arena tour. Tickets are on sale now.
MIKA recently debuted the first single “Ice Cream” from the new album, which Rolling Stone dubbed “Summer-Anthem Bait” and TIME calls “a sugar-sweet, carefree and upbeat summer bop.” The track has been streamed 1.5 million times to date and continues to receive rave reviews.
For his first full length in five years, MIKA explores his American heritage on My Name Is Michael Holbrook. While his tumultuous childhood began in Lebanon before fleeing to Paris and then London, he focuses the album on the roots he traces back to his father’s Savannah, Georgia upbringing. The work also paints a loving picture of his relationship with his mother, the woman who trained him, made his wardrobe for years on the road and most importantly taught him never to follow and always to express himself fearlessly. After writing in home studios in Miami and Tuscany over the course of two years, MIKA went to Brussels to record with producers Marc Crew and Dan Priddy.
“I hadn’t put out a record in four years. I didn’t know what to do when it came time to start the process and was honestly kind of at a loss,” MIKA says. “I felt a little disappointed by the commercial side of the industry. I didn’t want to make a record by numbers or by committee. I wanted to make an uncontaminated, homemade pop record.”
Born Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr. in 1983 as the third of five children, MIKA started vocal lessons at seven years old. Learning to play piano and write songs while showing otherworldly vocal range, MIKA quickly became a young virtuoso. MIKA’s musical success began with the release of his hit single, “Grace Kelly.” The single was featured on his debut album, Life In Cartoon Motion, which went straight to #1 in the UK and 11 other countries, going on to sell over seven million copies worldwide. Since his debut he has released three other Platinum selling full length albums, The Boy Who Knew Too Much, The Origin of Love, and No Place In Heaven. In addition, MIKA has not only won a Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act, but he has also been nominated for Grammys, MTV Europe Music Awards, Capital Radio Awards and World Music Awards. Additionally, his RA12 primetime variety show “Stasera Casa Mika” won the prestigious Rose D’or Award for Best Entertainment Series in 2017. Furthermore, he has been a judge on France’s The Voice for six years and hosts his own BBC2 Radio show “The Art of Song.”
Mister Lies: “Mister Lies”
After a five-year personal hiatus, Zanca returns to his project’s roots with a home-recorded, self-titled and self-released third LP.
New York-based producer, composer and sound artist Nick Zanca has been releasing music under the name Mister Lies since 2012. The project began in a Chicago dorm room with the release of a four-track EP, Hidden Neighbors — over the years, his sounds have inhabited a specific intersection between intimacy and atmosphere through a maximalist mosaic of field recordings, sample-based textures, glitchy soundscapes, and nocturnal pop songs.
After a five-year personal hiatus, Zanca returns to his project’s roots with a home-recorded, self-titled and self-released third LP. Realized over the course of a year and explicitly designed as a start-to-finish listen, Mister Lies is a study of capturing the present and a celebration of the art of recording itself. Field recordings and found sounds are intertwined with electroacoustic improvisations and lyrics lifted from journal entries to form a half-hour genre-agnostic montage of memory. Bells sound, birds gossip, trains pass and boats rev their engines — this is kinetic, fluid music that promotes deep listening and headphone time travel.
King Princess: “Cheap Queen”
Rising pop star King Princess premieres the Cody Critcheloe/SSION-directed video for “Prophet”, taken from her highly anticipated debut album, Cheap Queen, due this fall on Zelig/Columbia Records.
Rising pop star King Princess premieres the Cody Critcheloe/SSION-directed video for “Prophet”. Taken from her highly anticipated debut album, Cheap Queen, due this fall on Zelig/Columbia Records, “Prophet” is receiving widespread acclaim with Rolling Stone calling it “a soulful rock slow-burner,” while the New York Times says, “the 20-year-old musician sees it all and doesn’t care.”
Previously released album tracks include the critically acclaimed “Cheap Queen” and the interlude “Useless Phrases.” NPR praises, “For King Princess, a 20-year-old who’s currently blooming into a queer icon, ‘Cheap Queen’ has it all.”
King Princess is set to embark on a North American headline tour this fall that includes stops at New York’s Terminal 5, DC’s 9:30 Club, Los Angeles’ The Wiltern and many more. See below for the full list of dates. This year has seen King Princess grace festival stages this year at Coachella, Governors Ball, Glastonbury and most recently at Lollapalooza and Osheaga. Exclaim says of her Montreal performance, “King Princess” gave everything the crowd wanted, and then some.”
“Cheap Queen” follows a breakout 2018 for King Princess. Her debut single, an ode to untold queer histories titled “1950,” became an overnight smash hit with over 200 million streams to date, while her debut EP, Make My Bed, was released to widespread critical acclaim. Since the release, King Princess has gone to collaborate with Fiona Apple for the reimagining of “I Know” earlier this year and share the critically acclaimed “Pussy Is God” which has streamed over 17 million times to date.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, King Princess is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. The product of a musical family, she spent much of her childhood tinkering on the vintage Neve board in her father’s Brooklyn studio, learning guitar and piano along the way. King Princess’ debut album is set to for release this year.
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