All about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the long-awaited series that premieres this year
Five years have passed since the news thrilled and surprised all Tolkien fans by equal measure. The secrecy surrounding the project all this time has only increased anticipation and enthusiasm. Finally, the time has come: the premiere of the series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
A crazy budget, an overwhelming display of special effects, and a story that promises to delight fans and characters, both known and new, will surely conquer laptops, televisions, and smartphones worldwide.
Middle Earth returns. Amazon Prime Video, the streaming platform for the series, relies on the sequel to The Lord of the Rings to get many more viewers and new users as it is looking for self-propelled and robust content to entice people to subscribe.
“An ensemble cast of characters—some familiar and some new—must deal with the reappearance of evil in Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains to the majestic forests of Lindon, from the island realm of Numenor to the farthest reaches of the map, these places and characters will forge legacies that will endure beyond their demise,’’ Amazon Prime said.
The Spanish film director, Juan Antonio Bayona, directs the first two chapters of this blockbuster, the most expensive in history and for which it is estimated that the streaming platform has disbursed more than 700 million dollars in its first season, including the acquisition of its production and rights. The result is a visually spectacular glory fantasy.
What Tolkien book were they based on to create the series?
Unlike the Lord of the Rings films or the Hobbit spin-off trilogy, Rings of Power isn’t based on a specific book. The series will not focus on most of the beloved characters from the original trilogy, as it predates its time. Considering that each era covers about a thousand years, it is surprising that the characters coincide. You won’t see Bilbo, Legolas, Frodo, or Aragorn in the series, but there are some repetitive characters, although they are much younger than we already know.
When and where to see it?
The first two chapters arrive on Prime Video on September 1. The rest will be released at the rate of one per week.
What story will The Rings of Power tell?
From what we understand, we will see how the 20 rings of power are forged: seven for the dwarves, three for the elves, nine for the Men, and one for Sauron, whom we will surely see gain the power that makes him the terrible opponent that we know. You can watch the series now by clicking HERE.
The story about The Lord of the Rings:
It takes place in an environment located in the Third Age of the Sun of Middle earth, a fictional and fantastic place populated by men and other anthropomorphic races such as elves, hobbits, or dwarves, as well as many other real and fantastic creatures.
The story recounts the journey of the main character, Frodo Baggins, hobbit of the Shire, to destroy the One Ring and the consequent war that the enemy would provoke to recover it since it is the greatest source of the power of its creator, the dark Lord Sauron.
Amazon Prime Video pronounces 25 million people worldwide watched The Rings of Power on its first day of release. The company communicates that is the service’s top premiere ever.
Midwxst, born Edgar Sarratt III, shares the new song and video “Made It Back” via Geffen Records. Directed by Elan Bia / No Soap, the visual is a cinematic sci-fi thriller that merges animations with surrealism for the perfect counterpart to midwxst’s glitched out, genre-crossing sound. The song follows the previously-released single “Ruthless” and his Summer03 EP released earlier this year.
Midwxst is the next generation’s ideal superstar. He’s a cutting-edge artist from the oft-overlooked state of Indiana, a genre-defier combining hyperpop and digicore with hip-hop alongside candid lyrics that reveal he isn’t afraid to let his true feelings show. Midwxst shares, “A lot of people expected me to be a trapper, rapping about guns and all the generic mainstream stuff. When I talk about how your own mental health and emotions can be the most dangerous thing you possess, especially as a teenager or young adult, people get such a different vibe from me and that’s what I strive for.” Midwxst will be performing at Overcast N Friends on October 9th and Day N Vegas Festival November 12th — 14th.
Listen to and watch “Made It Back” above and stay tuned for more from midwxst coming soon.
One of today’s most influential reggae artists, Protoje, tells a tale of retribution in his brand new video for “Self Defense,” the single from his latest album In Search of Lost Time (In.Digg.Nation Collective/Six Course Music/RCA Records). The Jamaican lyricist addresses distrust in his country’s government and takes a vigilante approach to control the bad-minded people running the streets. The visual, directed by Rebecca Williams, shows a group of women taking matters into their own hands to expose a man of his horrific crime.
“This is one of my favorite songs from the album and I decided to do a video for it because I feel like I wanted it to be almost like a declaration or call to attention regarding how we treat our women, especially as men. I wanted the story to be told from a woman’s perspective – and that’s how I linked up with the director, Rebecca. She’s an awesome storyteller & I think she did a great job with this video,” Protoje states.
On the track, Protoje talks about the hypocrisies of a patriarchal system and how it supports domestic violence and abuse. “Me hear some man a say them rather rape than turn a gay. As if dem deh ting deh related in any way. You nuh see say a some sicko them mentality. The patriarchy propagate all of them fallacy. Even in the church the violation prevalent Jehovah, you nuh witness, tell me that no relevant. Dem deh business cyaa exist inna we regiment. A self-defense and we no hesitant.”
Protoje is no stranger calling out misogyny and has made a concerted effort to help shift that paradigm. Within his own industry, he has signed and supported an all-female roster of Jamaican artists including Sevana, Lila Iké and Jaz Elise through his label and artist management company In.Digg.Nation Collective to represent the full spectrum of talent that his island has to offer.
Protoje’s fifth studio album In Search of Lost Time stays in rotation since its release on August 28, 2020. He colored outside the lines for a cinematic, ethereal, multi-genre LP and executive produced the entire project and co-produced five out of the thirteen original tracks. Now the vinyl edition to In Search of Lost Time is available for pre-order with shipments expected in September.
Born and raised in Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica to singer Lorna Bennett and former calypso king Mike Ollivierre, Protoje blends hip hop, soul and jazz into his native sounds of reggae and dancehall. The musical prodigy, along with a collective of fellow artists, began getting mainstream attention for their addictive melodies and conscious lyrical messages in a movement dubbed the “reggae revival.” Publications such as VOGUE, Rolling Stone, The FADER, and PAPER have declared him one of the brightest talents out of Jamaica. His catalog consists of the following studio albums: Seven Year Itch (2011), The 8 Year Affair (2013), Ancient Future (2015) and A Matter Of Time (2018) and In Search Of Lost Time (2020). As a producer, he receives a co-credit for Rock & Groove Riddim (2019). His studio album A Matter Of Time earned him his first GRAMMY nomination for Best Reggae Album and his national U.S. TV debut performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, both in 2019. He has toured with Ms. Lauryn Hill and appeared on major festivals including Coachella (US), Glastonbury (UK), Afropunk (US), Reading & Leeds (UK), Sole DXB (Dubai) and Lollapalooza (Chile), reaching audiences far and wide with his genre-fusing sound. In 2020, the musician signed an unprecedented major deal with RCA Records in partnership with Six Course Records and his label and management company In.Digg.Nation Collective. Under the RCA deal, Protoje brokered individual album deals for himself as well as his rising female artists Lila Iké, Sevana and Jaz Elise. He has received praise from the likes of NYLON and Uproxx for In.Digg.Nation Collective’s forward-thinking sound. He performed on NPR Tiny Desk and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert #PlayAtHome and graces one of i-D magazine’s digital covers for Spring 2021.
Inspired by a favorite lyric from the song, the video finds Valerie floating through the galaxy alone gazing down at the world below her.
The Goo Goo Dolls music video for Iris’ is the first I ever truly fell in love with, Valerie shared. When making my own video, I wanted to give an homage to theirs. In the original, Johnny is locked away in a tower, looking down upon the city below with various telescopes. I always felt like the concept made the lyrics, especially the line ‘and I don’t want the world to see me’ hit home. In my video, I used the same idea, only I’m looking down on the world from a space station.
Iris is the first official single off Valerie’s forthcoming debut EP Voyager due out this fall. It also marks the second time she’s crossed paths with The Goo Goo Dolls after singing on Money, Fame & Fortune off their latest album Miracle Pill.
You can feel Valerie Broussard’s dynamic vocals and emotionally charged songwriting in massive smash collaborations, through hundreds of film, television, and video game placements, projected from some of the biggest stages in the world, and within her solo output. Garnering just north of half a billion total streams, her voice and pen power Kygo’s Think About You and The Truth as well as the 2019 League of Legends theme Awaken with Ray Chen. In May of this year, Valerie collaborated with ILLENIUM and Nurko on the track Sideways, which she wrote as an ode to a friend who was struggling with mental health during the pandemic. It debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot Dance / Electronic Songs chart. Her music rings out on tentpole programming across NETFLIX, The CW, ABC, Prime Video, SyFy, HBO, and more. Meanwhile, her solo output has garnered praise from Refinery29, Ones To Watch, and many others. Beyond music, she remains a staunch advocate for a myriad of causes. Diagnosed with dyslexia as a kid, she fought hard to learn how to read, eventually devouring The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter series and expanding her sci-fi and fantasy fascination any chance possible. Now, she pushes for literacy and even launched a de facto online book club, purchasing How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi for various followers to read together with her. However, there was still one final frontier left for the platinum-certified singer, songwriter, and vocal engineer to chart a course for.
On her debut EP Voyager, she presents her own brand of cinematic space pop uplifted by otherworldly vocals, vivid lyrics, and expansive vision.
Elektra recording group Saint Motel have announced U.S. and European tours in support of their forthcoming album The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The band’s U.S. tour will kick off this September with three special hometown shows at Los Angeles, CA’s The Roxy Theatre, and wrap on Halloween at Madison, WI’s Majestic Theater. In March of 2022, the band will return to the road for a European tour. The upcoming dates mark Saint Motel’s first live shows since their sold-out U.S. tour wrapped in March of 2020. Pre-sale tickets for all dates will be available beginning tomorrow, and general on sale begins this Friday, June 11 at 10:00am local time here.
Saint Motel’s highly anticipated new album The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack will be released on June 25, 2021. The album is available for pre-order now here. The band recently unveiled an official music video for the album’s current single “It’s All Happening”, co-directed by Saint Motel front man A/J Jackson and Mario Contini. Watch it on the band’s official YouTube channel here.
On The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack the Los Angeles-based band dreams up their own cinematic experience in album form, as its songs cycle through stories of love, danger, and impossible triumph. The album also embodies an opulent sound true to its ambitious scope. Co-produced by front man A/J Jackson and Grammy Award-winner Mark Needham (The Killers, Dolly Parton, Chris Isaak), The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack continues the Saint Motel custom of joyfully blurring genres, bringing in elements of everything from symphonic pop to big band.
Audiences began experiencing the album with the release of a pair of EPs: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Pt.1 and The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Pt. 2. Among many highlights, “Van Horn” has amassed nearly 20 million streams, while the band performed it on ABC’s JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! Receiving critical acclaim, Dujour described “Preach” as “a bop,” whileAmerican Songwriter poured over the album’s concept in an in-depth interview with A/J. Further looks came from Ladygunn,Hollywood Life, and more. Now, fans get the full picture of Saint Motel’s vision with the complete The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack studio album.
In the lead up to the album, Saint Motel made history as “the first band to open their own virtual metaverse” powered by Mozilla Hubs. The virtual world is designed as a motel with each room dedicated to a song on The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The quartet’s launch of “New World” welcomed fans to the virtual space where Jackson performed a live acoustic set. In this 3D VR chatroom enabled for all headsets and browsers, audiences can enter an exclusive, immersive environment to engage directly with the band through virtual meet-and-greets and intimate, live performances, consume exclusive video content, and much more. Additionally, it doubles as a space for fans to congregate and get to know each other. Saint Motel’s “New World” upholds what has become a tradition of engaging with groundbreaking technology for the guys. Visit Saint Motel’s website to explore the “New World.” In 2016, they dropped their Elektra full length debut saintmotelevision as the first-ever Virtual Reality album and first-ever Augmented Reality album and accompanied the record with the free saintmotel AR/VR app.
Saint Motel U.S. Tour Dates
September 30, 2021 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre
October 01, 2021 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre
October 02, 2021 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre
October 04, 2021 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theater
October 05, 2021 – Santa Ana, CA – Observatory
October 07, 2021 – Salt Lake City, UT – Depot
October 08, 2021 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater
October 09, 2021 – Fort Collins, CO – The Aggie
October 11, 2021 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
October 12, 2021 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
October 13, 2021 – Urbana, IL – The Canopy Club
October 15, 2021 – Nashville, TN – Brooklyn Bowl
October 16, 2021 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theater
October 17, 2021 – Knoxville, TN – The Mill & Mine
October 18, 2021 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
October 20, 2021 – Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom
October 21, 2021 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater
October 22, 2021 – Harrisburg, PA – Harrisburg University
October 23, 2021 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Sound Stage
October 26, 2021 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall
October 27, 2021 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
October 29, 2021 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
October 30, 2021 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
October 31, 2021 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theater
Saint Motel European Tour Dates
March 31, 2022 – Berlin, Germany – Franz Club
April 02, 2022 – Hamburg, Germany – Stage Club
April 03, 2022 – Cologne, Germany – Luxor
April 05, 2022 – Munich, Germany – Hansa 39
April 06, 2022 – Milan, Italy – Circolo Magnolia
April 08, 2022 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso Noord
April 09, 2022 – Brussels, Belgium – Botanique The Rotonde
April 10, 2022 – Paris, France – La Maroquinerie
April 12, 2022 – London, UK – Islington Assembly Hall
April 13, 2022 – Manchester, UK – Academy 2
Projecting pop hooks through an alternative lens with a flair for dramatic presentation, Saint Motel make music worthy of the big screen. Streamed and viewed over half-a-billion times, the platinum-selling Los Angeles quartet magnify this vision with immersive live experiences and one unpredictable move after another. The group initially came together at film school before introducing themselves on 2012’s Voyeur. Signing to Elektra Records, their 2014 My Type EP boasted both the gold-certifiedtitle track “My Type” and fan favorite “Cold Cold Man.” In 2016, saintmotelevision yielded the smash “Move.” Flipping the script once again, the musicians reimagined the record with a series of history-making first-of-their-kind innovations: an award-winning Virtual Reality version and an Augmented Reality version. In 2019, Saint Motel launched their most ambitious undertaking yet, unveiling their third full-length album in three parts. First up, they uncovered The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Pt. 1 powered by the shimmy and shake of Alternative Top 15 lead single “Van Horn.” Between packing houses coast to coast on headline jaunts and earning acclaim from People, Billboard, and more, the four-piece rolled out Pt. 2 throughout 2020. In addition to unforgettable sets everywhere from Coachella and Lollapalooza to Bonnaroo, the boys lit up shows such as NBC’s TODAY, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and CBS’ The Late Late Show with James Corden, among others.
Saint Motel is: A/J Jackson (vocals), Aaron Sharp (guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass), and Greg Erwin (drums).
The Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art Announces Avant Premiere of Groundbreaking Street Dance Turfing Film, MUD WATER, by My-Linh Le, with Pre-Show Teaser“Freedom Music” Video by Lisa Bonet
mowna hosts an exclusive online Avant premiere event for their Opening Show featuring trailblazing cinematic, dance, & music artists on March 26-27, 5:30 pm PT/8:30 pm ET as a warmup act to their Online Biennial opening on April 30th, 2021
NEW YORK (March 9, 2021) – The Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art (mowna), a newly opened online museum specifically designed for the digital age, announces the Avant Premiere special event as part of mowna‘s Opening Show, which will feature the world debut screening of MUD WATER, a coming-of-age dance film starring Xavier Days, written and directed by My-Linh Le, and “Freedom”, a cutting-edge music video directed by Lisa Bonet featuring Dorothy and Angel Haze and an extremely talented, award-winning ensemble of talent, in front of and behind the camera.
The Avant Premiere is a VIP event for mowna members and MUD WATER Kickstarter supporters and is a prelude to the 2021 mowna online Biennial, which opens on April 30, 2021, and runs through September 22, featuring 100 international artists across all art mediums.
mowna’s Avant Premiere MUD WATER event features Women Filmmakers
The Avant Premiere opens with the “Freedom Music” video by Lisa Bonet, followed by an introduction to MUD WATER by the filmmakers, the world premiere screening of the film, and a Q&A with directors, crew & cast including My-Linh Le, and star Xavier Days. The event will culminate in an afterparty in the mowna party room.
Weaving together myth, movement, and snapshots of real life, MUD WATER is about a crew of turfers preparing for an upcoming dance battle and a man in search of his shadow. The cast of Mud Water consists entirely of real dancers who are recognized in the turfing community as well as globally in the world of freestyle dance. Main actors Yung Phil (Turf Feinz), Dopey Fresh, Intricate, and No Name – who play themselves – are local turfers from Oakland, San Francisco, and surrounding areas.
“Getting an Avant premiere with mowna feels like one of those really lucky, synergistic moments that we’ve had throughout the making of this film. For one, I love that we’re on the same page about being ambitious and daring in our experimentation while sticking closely to authenticity. mowna and MUD WATER are of the same kind: we don’t care about high horses or usual ways of doing things, we’re just here to make the time of our lives, blowing past expectations,” said director, My-Linh Le.
The Freedom Music video, by Lisa Bonet, is a part of the #FreedomRemix movement, made by a predominantly female crew and features over 100 women of all ages celebrating liberation, by Dorothy, featuring Angel Haze. The project is directed by Lisa Bonet and produced by We Are Hear. Executive Producers include Linda Perry and Kerry Brown.
“This was a beautiful collaboration of dance activism. We have here, the power of women assembling, dancing, celebrating ~ protecting…the joyful participation in the sorrows of the world. The way forward is through paths yet known. Carrying in our hearts, Above All Do No Harm. We must teach this to our children. We come fierce, like mama rhino guarding her young, all the while feeding our Joy. We sway to the songs of our ancestors.” said Lisa Bonet.
mowna Membership Made Easy and Affordable
Members of the Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art (mowna) provide support for the museum’s mission, helping to sustain mowna and supporting artists to live their lives and make their work. Membership to mowna has purposely been made affordable and accessible so members are able to enjoy free admission, access to the collection, and special events: meet the artists, curator talks, parties, mowna founders’ chats, and more. Membership to mowna is $15/month and can be canceled at any time.
70% of member contribution pays the artists for their work. The other 30% pays for the creation of the site and the curation of the work.
As large institutions cancel shows, the art that is being made currently will not be seen, might be lost, or perhaps considered irrelevant by a show that is scheduled as far off as 2022. The pandemic has forced art institutions to reassess their business models and ethics and address the inequality that exists within the art world. Some venues have shut down permanently, others struggle to stay afloat. With all of this going on we are currently witnessing a two-year gap in the art world’s exhibition schedule. The Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art addresses this crisis through hosting the 2021 mowna Online Biennial through their humane platform facilitated by a sustainable business model that exhibits and supports a diverse range of art and artists right now. The 2021 mowna Online Biennial opens April 30th, 2021, exhibiting an international pool of 100 artists. This is mowna‘s largest show of the year showcasing international art made in 2019 – 2021. The Biennial includes all forms of art, inviting artists to consider new ways to exhibit their work online and to consider how artwork translates through mowna’s digital platform.
mowna is currently receiving a constant stream of submissions for the Biennial, with 42 countries represented so far. Because of the traction, the call for submissions for the 2021 mowna Biennial is extended through March 16 and may include interactive experiences, movement, abstract, play, sound, street, fashion, animations, live performance, photography, illusions, nature, software, video art, memes, writing, bots, gifs, vr, ar, xr, painting, sculpture, sketches, theater, poetry, opera, cinema, and other creative things only you can dream up.
Official artist selections for the 2021 mowna Online Biennial will be announced on April 9, 2021, and the opening party will take place on April 30, 2021.
mowna seeks to create an ever-changing, fun, thoughtful, beautifully designed space to encourage awareness and mindfulness through the exhibition and experience of art and serves the public’s need for art for the highest good of all. By addressing the current needs of not only the artist but also the audience, mowna is breaking barriers within the global art community.
mowna offers the preservation of artworks through an online collection that is an educational resource and archive for its members and its artists, and aims to find, display, and support wild and newfangled art through the incorporation of innovative new technologies and ways. mowna provides artists with financial compensation for their art and expands awareness of their talents via a sustainable platform where they can flourish.
Provocative rap sensation BigKlit has announced a special new edition of her infamous 2019 LP, KLITORIUS B.I.G. The album – which includes a number of previously deleted tracks – is available today via ROT$ WORLDWIDE/RECORDS/The Orchard. KLITORIUS B.I.G. features the return of such long-unavailable fan favorites as “FaceFuk,” available now at all DSPs; the track is joined by a companion video, premiering exclusively via YouTube.
With its snarling vocal delivery, intense production, and wildly audacious lyrics, KLITORIUS B.I.G. marks one of the first highlights of what has proven a truly incendiary run from BigKlit. The project was recorded soon after her arrival in New York City, informed by grit, heart, and an insatiable hunger to create something altogether original and her own.
BigKlit will celebrate the return of KLITORIUS B.I.G. with a livestream release party tonight, June 26, at 8 pm ET. Presented by Brooklyn’s BABY TV, tickets for the event are available on a sliding scale HERE; ticket holders will receive a link and password 30 minutes before the start of the show. Fans purchasing tickets in the 30 minutes leading up to the performance will receive their info in their order confirmation email.
BigKlit made an auspicious debut with last year’s BIG KLITOIRUS EP, followed quickly by the full-length projects. The NYC-based artist quickly caused a worldwide sensation with her breakthrough hit, “Liar.” With its brazenly explicit lyrics and brutal, relentless beats, the track proved one of 2019’s most provocative hits, first blowing up on TikTok before ascending to multiple streaming charts around the world, reaching #1 on the US Viral 50 on two separate occasions. “Liar“ is joined by an age-restricted companion video streaming now via YouTube.
2020 kicked off with the premiere of PSYCHOSIS, a remarkable 30-minute short film directed by @pgdm. “PSYCHOSIS is a dark and dreary fever dream with apocalypse-level anxiety steady throughout,” raved PAPER. “Every song featured in the film hits listeners’ ears like a hallucinogen — they can be deeply disturbing, comforting (‘Beautiful’), or both at once…It’s the type of digi-gothic, post-genre art-making that BigKlit has come to be known for, and her fans are going absolutely nuts over it.”
Last month saw BigKlit teaming up with Universal Music Group/Caroline Distribution recording artist Trippie Redd on a new version of “Beautiful. The track arrived alongside a haunting music video and companion short film, hailed by PAPER as “a work of art that’s unpredictable at every turn…complete with everything you’d likely see in a twisted thriller: lightning, murder, out-of-body experiences and drugs, all with romantic yet eerie songwriting aimed at a subject unaware of their own beauty.” Audiofemme further praised the video and short film, noting that “Beautiful” “embodies the song’s duality with a macabre love story and BDSM imagery. It’s fitting, because shifting the balance of power has been her trademark as a woman in male-dominated rap. By blurring the edges of asserting control or losing it totally, BigKlit remains a provocative artist worth keeping an eye on.”
BET Jams and BET Hip-Hop hosted the exclusive broadcast premiere.
The video, directed by Kid Art [Meek Mill Ft Drake, “Going Bad”], resembles nothing either rapper has ever done in the past, the cinematic clip immediately stands out. Whether it be luxury foreign purple whips balancing on top of each other or a gold chain link high wire connecting skyscrapers, these set pieces speak to the larger-than-life nature of this union between Icewear Vezzo and Big Sean. As they rap above the skyline on the flossy trapeze line, their undeniable and explosive chemistry practically bubbles over. Fittingly, the video culminates in an underground room with stacks of cash as our hometown heroes celebrate.
Icewear Vezzo proudly leads a new era of Motor City hip-hop. His explosive discography encompasses the fan favorite Clarity mixtape series and breakout Moonwalken, which boasted beats from heavyweights such as Zaytoven and TM 88. Following a stint in Federal Prison, he ignited 2018 as his biggest year yet. In addition to a triumphant return to the stage at Detroit’s Hot 107.5 Summer Jamz, he dropped the acclaimed 337EP with Earlly Mac and set the internet ablaze with the brash and blunt banger “Drank God Back Freestyle.: Mass Appeal predicted, ”Detroit’s best hope at a singular star is Icewear Vezzo,” and Hypebeast dubbed him, “The King of contemporary Detroit rap.” A pillar of his community, he also owned the local haunt Chicken Talk restaurant.
With his surefire spitting and slick storytelling, he ushers in the next generation of Detroit legends.
A photographic tale of the aspirations of four women and their determination to achieve their goals, each one pursuing her own dreams and passions. This is “Dreaming”, the 2019 Pirelli Calendar, now in its forty-sixth edition, shot by Albert Watson in April in Miami and New York and unveiled today at Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan.
A sequence of forty shots tells the stories of characters portrayed by Gigi Hadid with Alexander Wang, Julia Garner, Misty Copeland with Calvin Royal III and Laetitia Casta with Sergei Polunin. The photographs, in colour and black and white, are in the cinematic 16:9 format, inspired by Albert Watson’s passion for the art of film.
“When I approached this project,” says Watson, “I wanted to do it in a way that was different from other photographers, and I wondered what the best way would be. In the end, I looked for pictures that were of beautiful quality, with depth to them, and that had some kind of narrative. I wanted to create something that was more than just a portrait of somebody – I wanted it to look like a film still. I wanted people looking at the Calendar to see that my aim was photography in its purest form, exploring the women I was photographing and creating a situation that would convey a positive vision of women today.”
Telling the story of how he came to make the Calendar (see the interview below), the photographer talks of his own dreams, and of the efforts and sacrifices that they entailed.
“To make a dream come true, you have to work hard. I’ve always taken it step by step, reaching one goal at a time, without wanting to get immediately to the top of the ladder. Even though I sometimes think this ladder could go on up forever, with the top rung ever-further away, I think it’s always worth giving yourself increasingly ambitious goals and dreams.”
He said that each of the four women focuses on the future and “has her own individuality, her own particular purpose in life, and her own way of doing things. So the underlying theme is that of ‘dreams’, but the basic idea behind the whole project is that of telling a story in four ‘little movies’. What I wanted to convey were the protagonists’ hopes and their way of thinking about the future, in a way that would bring with it the aspect of dreaming.”
An example of this is the character played by Gigi Hadid, he explained. She has recently separated from her partner, lives alone in a glass tower and has Alexander Wang as her only friend and confidant: “I think there’s a degree of angst in these images. With Hadid’s character, I wanted to convey the sense of a woman thinking about her future, but also showing her in a situation of loneliness. We see her thinking about where she is going to go in life, what she will be doing tomorrow. I wanted it to be much more minimalistic than the other women and settings I photographed.”
Julia Garner plays the part of a young photographer who loves nature and solitude. Of her, Watson says; “Julia’s a very, very accomplished actress and she got straight into the character. She played a botanical photographer who dreams of putting on successful exhibitions. We were in a beautiful tropical garden in Miami, which turned out to be the perfect place for us to work.
Misty Copeland, whose partner in the Calendar is Calvin Royal III, also looks to the future, fantasising about making a name for herself in the world of dance. “Trying to be successful is her driving force,” said Watson. “Copeland’s character earns her living by dancing in a club, but at the same time she has also put up a little stage in her garden, where she practices dancing in order to become a star, sometimes with her boyfriend, played by Calvin Royal III.”
Lastly, Laetitia Casta is a painter who lives in a studio apartment with her partner, played by Sergei Polunin. They both dream of success: she as an artist, he as a dancer. “What’s interesting”, says Watson, “is that, in real life, Laetitia really does do a lot of sculpting and creates artwork in her spare time. This worked out very well and helped her get into character. We decided to shoot outside, to give the scenes some added natural brightness. The tropical atmosphere of Miami is a key component in this picture.”
See the stories and stars of the 2019 Pirelli Calendar, and the history of over 50 years of The Cal™, at www.pirellicalendar.com .
PHOTOGRAPHER: ALBERT WATSON
ARTISTIC DIRECTION: BARON & BARON
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: STEVE KIMMEL
CALVIN ROYAL III
Q&A WITH ALBERT WATSON
How did you approach the Pirelli Calendar project?
The Pirelli Calendar is a unique project for any photographer. When I first took it on, I wanted to do it in a way that would be different from that of other photographers, and I wondered what the best way would be. In the end, I looked for pictures that were of beautiful quality, with depth to them, and that had some kind of narrative. I wanted to create something that was more than just a portrait of somebody – I wanted it to look just like a film still. I wanted people looking at the Calendar to see that my aim was photography in its purest form, exploring the women I was photographing and creating a situation that would convey a positive vision of women today.
How did you formulate the project?
I wanted to ensure there would be a strong narrative, so I thought: “Let’s try and make the shots look like film stills.” Quite a lot of it was shot in widescreen format. And that was quite challenging. Each of the four women has her own individuality, her own particular purpose in life, and her own way of doing things. And they are all focused on their future. So the underlying theme is that of “dreams”, but the basic idea behind the whole project is that of telling a story in four ‘little movies’.
Could you tell us about the stories that bring your Calendar to life?
Each character has a part to play in the 2019 Pirelli Calendar. In some cases, the role was close to what the actress does for a living, but here they were certainly all acting a part. Not themselves. And that’s what I wanted.
The woman played by Gigi Hadid has just split up with her companion. She has a confidant, not a boyfriend, played by the designer Alexander Wang. He is helping her get over this difficult time. I think there’s a degree of angst in these images. With Gigi Hadid’s character, I wanted to convey the sense of a woman thinking about her future, but also showing her in a situation of loneliness. We see her thinking about where she’s going to go in life, what she’ll be doing tomorrow. I wanted her to be much more minimalistic than the other women I photographed, and I wanted her to be reflected in the settings I portrayed her in. The settings of the other protagonists are pretty crowded, and there’s action in almost all of them.”
Julia Garner’s character is a botanical photographer who dreams of putting on successful exhibitions. Julia’s a very, very accomplished actress and she got straight into the character. We were in a beautiful tropical garden in Miami, which turned out to be the perfect place for us to work.
Misty Copeland and Calvin Royal III, on the other hand, play the part of two dancers who want to become famous and live in an Art Deco house. She’s dreaming of dancing in Paris. She is looking to the future and has ambitions. Trying to be successful is her driving force. Copeland’s character earns her living by dancing in a club, but at the same time she has also put up a little stage in her garden, where she practices dancing in order to become a star, sometimes with her boyfriend, played by Calvin Royal III.
The artist played by Laetitia Casta lives in a studio apartment, which she shares with her partner, played by Sergei Polunin. They are both dreaming of success: she as an artist, he as a dancer. We decided to shoot outside, to give the scenes some added natural brightness. The tropical atmosphere of Miami is a key component in this picture. What’s interesting is that Laetitia told me that, in her spare time, she really does do a lot of sculpting and creates artwork. This worked out very well and helped her get into character.
What was the role played by light in this project?
When I was young, the first famous person I photographed was Alfred Hitchcock. He said: “My dear boy, once you’ve finished the storyboard, the movie is finished – all I have to do is shoot it.” There’s a certain amount of his message that has stayed with me. The 2019 Calendar is like a cinematic storyboard. I was very lucky because I trained as a graphic designer for four years and then I went to The Royal College of Art Film School for three years and I came out as a director. I never trained as a photographer and, from that point on, I had to learn to be a photographer and know about lighting. As a photographer, the technical things for me were very difficult, it wasn’t natural. Intuitively, a cinematic aesthetic was quite natural for me to follow. A lot of my work is based on graphics and film or sometimes on a combination of the two. It was quite easy for me to drop into this for the Calendar and produce images like film stills. It was a matter of making all these different elements come together and make a strong narrative. The common denominator is that these people are all active: they’re thinking of their future and they’re dreaming of where they might be in five, ten, twenty years…
Did you like working on the set?
I know some people work well with a lot of tension on set, and part of their creativity comes from this, but I’m actually the opposite of that. If I’m having fun with people, if I’m enjoying being with them and playing around, I get a lot more out of them. I sometimes say to young photographers that it’s ‘location, location, location’. But in a case like this, it’s more ‘preparation, preparation, preparation’. The more you prep for the job, the more creative it will be. It’s thinking and planning, planning, planning. That’s what’s really important.
I had a tremendous amount of support when creating the vision for the Calendar. Steve Kimmel was the art director, along with Arnold Barros and Belinda Scott, and they did a brilliant job. Thanks to their dedication, it all went perfectly. James Kaliardos did our make-up. He did a fantastic job, beautiful, invisible, but yet there. The hair, by Kerry Warne, was always natural for each of the women. He’s had a lot of experience in film work, so he was perfect for this project.
Julia Von Boehm did the styling and fashion editing. On top of that, I had my own team of assistants and digital editors, Taro Hashimura and Emi Robinson, as well as Adrian Potter. All these people contributed in a great way, so this was definitely much more like a film project than a photography one.
Have you fulfilled your dreams?
To make a dream come true, you need to work hard. I’ve always taken it step by step, reaching one goal at a time, without wanting to get immediately to the top of the ladder. Even though I sometimes think this ladder could go on up forever, with the top rung ever-further away, I think it’s always worth giving yourself increasingly ambitious goals and dreams.
Over a barrage of unpredictable electronic production, JADEN’S flow transitions from hyper-charged verses into the hypnotic and hard-hitting hook, “I feel like I’m GOKU.” Named after the hero of Dragonball-Z, the track veers in and out of thick percussion before storming towards this anthemic chant. This brash and bold banger moves at the frenetic breakneck pace of the anime with which it shares its name. If you close your eyes and listen, it’s as cinematic as it is catchy. It’s the perfect follow up to Jaden’s club banger, “GHOST”.
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