Many of music’s biggest stars are spreading their influence beyond just music. One artist that is creating noise in more than one space is Latin superstar Anuel AA. As he has officially joined the tech industry with the release of his own NFT (non-fungible token) collection, he has become one of the first and only Latin artists to do so. An NFT is a type of cryptographic token that represents something unique that cannot be compared to anything else. A great example of what may be equivalent to an NFT is an original artwork piece by Picasso. None of his pieces are the same nor can they be compared to each other. NFTs can be used to create verifiable digital scarcity, which essentially can lead to generational wealth. Anuel is using his platform to show other entertainers that you can create financial stability outside of music in the forever changing music industry.
Joining the ranks of Grimes, Eminem, The Weeknd and Snoop Dogg who all have NFT collections, Anuel is now in a position to connect with his fans in an immersive digital way outside of social media. As we are in an era where ownership is everything, releasing this NFT series gives the Puerto Rico native more control over his digital assets and traction. Being labeled a “founding father of Latin trap music” he has helped introduce this genre of music to the world. But Anuel comes from humble beginnings. Getting his start in the music industry in 2016 with his Real Hasta la Muerte mixtape, he was later sentenced to 30 months in prison forcing him to record his debut album while incarcerated.
Never giving up, he released his debut album in 2018 also titled Real Hasta la Muerte.
As Latin trap was blowing up, his popularity quickly grew, sparking Rick Ross to sign him to his Latin division of Maybach Music Group. He eventually caught the attention of some of Latin music’s biggest stars including Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Ozuna, and J Balvin who collabed with the rising star for a hit single titled “China” in 2019. He went on to pin his first Billboard Top 100 in 2020, making him a Billboard Top 100 artist.
Being a pioneer and latin music trailblazer, Anuel AA’s NFT collection coincides with his upcoming music release and USA tour currently underway. Deciding to tokenize the NFT gives his supporters an opportunity to stream, and buy his music easier. It also gives fans exclusive access to limited edition merchandise, releases parties, listening sessions, in person studio visits, and array of other perks. As a philanthropist, he promises to donate 5% of his earnings from the NFT project to his non-profit. Balancing music, NFTs and philanthropy, Anuel AA will continue to influence the masses in a positive and trendsetting manner.
You know the music industry is making a shift when Beyonce and Drake release music in the same week. Ahead of her highly anticipated seventh studio album Renaissance, Queen Bey surprised her massive Beyhive fanbase, with an incredible new single titled Break My Soul featuring Big Freda. Receiving rave reviews from everyone from Viola Davis to former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, this release has set the summer on fire as Beyonce has made the world stop yet once again.
As Beyoncé started the trend of dropping surprise albums back in 2010, Toronto legend Drake joined in on the action, surprising fans with an unexpected album titled Honestly Nevermind last Friday. 21 Savage is actually the only featured guest artist on this project, allowing fans to connect with Drake’s original sound even deeper. A lot of people were shocked with this release as it did not sound like the traditional music Drake typically releases. But those that love House music are over the moon with his seventh studio album, the way they are with “Break My Soul” as it also is a house music release.
That is what stands out the most with these releases. Drake and Beyoncé both have brought House music to the forefront of music, celebrating the genre like no other superstar has ever done. As both Award Winning artists have created songs that will serve as the soundtrack for the summer, shining light on a genre that was created by underground Chicago DJ’s and music producers in the early 1980’s is way over due.
The topic of Beyonce and Drake sent twitter into a frenzy. People began discussing which release was better, and whether or not Drake knew about Beyoncé’s upcoming album release and decided to release his to take the shine off of her. Click here to see some of the twitter conversations that the world has been having, as you listen to Beyonce’s new single “Break My Soul”.
That is what stands out the most with these releases. Drake and Beyoncé both have brought House music to the forefront of music, celebrating the genre like no other superstar has ever done. Both award winning artists have created songs that will serve as the soundtrack for the summer, shining light on a genre that was created by underground Chicago DJs and music producers in the early 1980’s.
The topic of Beyonce and Drake sent twitter into a frenzy. People began discussing which release was better, and whether or not Drake knew about Beyoncé’s upcoming album release and decided to release his to take the shine off of her. Click here to see some of the tweets posted, as you listen to Beyonce’s hit new single “Break My Soul”. Between these two new releases, it’s gonna be a summer of dance.
Sylvester James Jr. was born on September 6th, 1947 in Watts, California. Known for creating his own sound and look during the 70’s disco era, he spun several hit records that forever changed the landscape of traditional music. Never shying away from who he was as a person and artist, Slyvester was determined to make it big as a recording artist. Growing up in a religious and strict Pentecostal church upbringing, his start in music came from being in the church choir. Determined to be authentically himself, he left the church while in high school due to the lack of support the congregation showed him for his flamboyant mannerisms and vivid outfit choices.
Things started to change for Sylvester when he found himself in high school. He found a place where he was able to express himself, musically and creatively without being shamed or judged. This place was called drag. The Watts native joined a group of black drag queens and transgender women, called The Disquotays, ultimately changing his life forever. Walking across his graduation stage in full on drag, Slyvester was on his way to becoming one of the first openly black gender fluid pop stars in the 70’s. In 1969, he relocated to San Francisco at the height of the Gay Rights movements, launching his music career officially. Struggling to find work, he fell on hard times leaving him homeless for some years, before catching his break.
Hitting the underground San Fran music scene heavily, he caught his break with the now famous drag performance troupe The Cockettes. The flamboyant, boisterous manner that the troupe celebrated gayness and sex seemed to be the perfect fit for Sly. As a full time member of the group, Slyvester was able to pay homage to his longtime idols jazz icons Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker by producing his own solo shows that were heavily inspired by them. But his run with The Cockettes would come to an end, as his desire to become a star took over. Transitioning into a solo artist, he landed a recording deal with Blue Thumbs Records in 1969, as the forerunner of his own band. Upon their disbanding, the era of disco appeared on the music scene making the lane for Slyvester as a solo artist more prevalent than ever. As disco music continued to rise, so did this LGBTQ pioneer’s notoriety. He found the place where his over-the-top performance, bold outfits, and unorthodox sound was finally appreciated.
Catching the attention of Megatone Records founder Patrick Cowley, the two began developing a musical partnership that finally gave Sylvester’s sound the nurturing and attention it was missing. The pair hit it off so hard that Cowley signed him to his label Blue Megatone Records, in 1978. Slyvester released his first hit single the same year titled “You Make Me Feel”, which today serves as one of the most celebrated and known disco songs of all time. He went on to pin five gold records along with one platinum hit record. Sylvester died December 18th,1988 at the age of 41 from complications of the AIDS virus, leaving all future royalties from his work to San Francisco-based HIV/AIDS charities.
Sylvester’s heroics as an LGBTQ pioneer, AIDS/HIV champion, and iconic music star, will never be forgotten. Embracing his truth through music and his personal life, at a time where it was almost forbidden is the reason why he is an LGBTQ icon that the world deserves to know and celebrate during Pride Month.
Alternative pop band Japanese Breakfast, headed by Korean-American musician/ director/
author Michelle Zauner, is experimenting themselves on the pop music scene on their own
terms. Named by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 Most Influential People of 2022, Zauner
is a force to be reckoned with on the burgeoning music scene.
In 2013 after friend and fellow musician Rachel Gagliardi suggested that the two create a blog
together, the pair created their first music recordings under the moniker Japanese Breakfast.
Within the next three years, the band worked together to produce their debut album titled
Psychopomp, which was released in 2016 on Yellow K Records. They quickly followed their
debut project with a sophomore release titled Sounds from Another Planet and were on their
way to stardom.
By the time their Jubilee album was released, Japanese Breakfast was
receiving rave reviews for their 2021 project that reached #56 on Billboard charts.
Japanese Breakfast was nominated for “Best New Artist” at the 2022 Grammy Awards and the
Jubilee album received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album. The band continues
to explore as an experimental pop band while influencing the music scene. They recently
performed on the season finale of SNL, expanding their viewer reach with two eclectic
performances from their Jubilee album.
This past March, Zauner also teamed up with her favorite guitar company Fender, to launch
the Player Plus Meteora HH Guitar that she uses during her live sets. As a part of their Player
Plus Music Sessions series, Zauner delivered an impressive live performance showcasing the
Meteora HH in full effect. In a YouTube video uploaded by Fender, the songbird engages in a
candid conversation giving fans more insight into her journey through music.
Click the link to see the interview: https://youtu.be/LhiOZiRtOk8
JB is an experimental breath of fresh air in pop music today. With their happy melodic sounds
attached to Zauner’s pop vocals leading the way, Japanese Breakfast makes you long for a time
when music used to feel just like this…Fun and Carefree.
Kendrick Lamar always sets the bar high when it comes to his music. Returning to the music scene with the most highly anticipated album of the year, Lamar has officially dropped his fifth studio album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. One thing that is for certain is that Lamar never
disappoints. This album is a depiction of the Compton rapper’s raw truth, trauma, pain, triumph and family ties in a way that has never been heard before. Staying true to his Compton roots, and conscious tongue, this work of art reminds you of how important and prolific the Hip Hop genre is to the culture and world.
Broken into two discs totaling 18 songs, Kendrick Lamar recounts personal childhood memories that clash with the pressures everyday life of today. Mixing that in with his viewpoints on fatherhood, embracing LGBTQ family members, Hip Hop culture, and being authentically vulnerable, he does an incredible job of creating a body of work that simply cannot be compared to anything. That is the level of genius Lamar exerts on Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. With guest feature appearances from Summer Walker, Ghostface Killah, Kodak Black, Sampha, Taylour Paige, Blxst, Baby Keem, Tanna Leone, Sam Dew and Amanda Reifer, Lamar has assembled a star-studded roster for this masterpiece. Adding Taylour Paige, who is a famous actress on this project, adds a level of diversity that listeners were not expecting to hear. Her distinct voice will now be heard by millions because of Kendrick.
The trending track on this album is “Auntie Diaries”. Paying homage to his LGBT family members, The Grammy Award Winning artist shares his journey of accepting a family member who transitioned at a time where it was not the norm and having an aunt that was not accepted initially. Expressing how his friends would question him about his aunt when he would get dropped off at school and what he would say in defense of her, shows the true power of love beynd gender, sex, race, religion and ethnicity. K Dot is making it clear that he will not tolerate homophobic behavior as some of the most influential people in his life are a part of community that often has hate inflicted on them. Mentioning how much he has grown to understand his loved ones, he states that his cousin Darrius is now “Marian” , meaning his cousin transitioned. So now Kendrick is impacted by two family members living their truth as LGBTQ. This record is powerful, necessary, and something most rappers shy away from.
Kendrick Lamar has announced that he will be embarking on the Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers International Tour on July 19th. Press play below to give Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers a listen.
Empire Hosts “The New Africa” SXSW Showcase With Pandora
Leading indie label, distributor, and publisher EMPIRE staged their first showcase for night two of SXSW music, ‘The New Africa,’ at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, only a month after launching EMPIRE Africa. BNXN FKA Buju, Cheque, Fireboy DML, June Freedom, L.A.X., Wande Coal, and other label artists and contemporary Afrobeats trailblazers performed at the sold-out event, which was hosted by Nigerian comedian and actor Basketmouth and DJ Poizon Ivy. Monster Energy and Puma were also sponsors of the event, in addition to Pandora.
Empire expanded in February, announcing EMPIRE Africa, highlighting the success of Nigerian artists like Freboy DML and Olamide. “Don’t forget the rate of streaming music in the States is not the rate of streaming music in Nigeria,” said Kareem Mobolaji, regional head of West Africa with EMPIRE, to Forbes. “If 10 people are streaming you in the U.S., that’s equivalent to having 60 people streaming you in Nigeria.”
You can read more about EMPIRE’s expansion here and see images from the celebration in Austin below.Advertisement
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shawn GrantSenior Editor
Shawn Grant is a Chicago native and the Senior Editor of The Source Magazine. He can only be found on Instagram and Twitter at @shawnxgrant.
- BUN B, TOBE NWIGWE, AND MORE APPEAR AT SXSW UNITEDMASTERS X EARN YOUR LEISURE POP UP EVENT SHAWN GRANT MARCH 19, 2022
- TSU SURF VS. CORTEZ, CALICOE VS. CHESS SET FOR URL’S ‘ANY GIVEN SUNDAY 2’ SHAWN GRANT MARCH 17, 2022
- (I)DEAL TO JOIN CONWAY THE MACHINE FOR THE ‘LOVE WILL GET YOU KILLED’ EUROPEAN TOUR SHAWN GRANT MARCH 17, 2022
- MIGOS, JACK HARLOW NAMED AS HEADLINERS FOR ‘LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL’ FESTIVAL IN VEGAS SHAWN GRANT MARCH 16, 2022
- SNOOTIE WILD’S FUNERAL SERVICES WILL BE ON MARCH 19 HESALWAYSWRITE MARCH 16, 2022
- BUN B AND FRIENDS DRAWS CROWD OF 73,000+ FOR RODEOHOUSTON H-TOWN TAKEOVER SHOW HESALWAYSWRITE MARCH 16, 2022
- [PHOTOS] RZA & DJ SCRATCH LISTENING PARTY, “SATURDAY AFTERNOON KUNG FU THEATER” KIM SOMAJOR MARCH 15, 2022
- DRAKE ANNOUNCES UPCOMING SHOWS IN NEW YORK & TORONTO BRYSON “BOOM” PAUL MARCH 14, 2022
- THE SOURCE WILL BE OUTSIDE FOR THE RETURN OF SXSW 2022 HESALWAYSWRITE MARCH 11, 2022
- TAVIA MAPP-DETERVILLE SET TO BRING THE POWER OF WOMEN TO SXSW WITH THE FUTURISTIC FEMME SHOWCASE SHAWN GRANT MARCH 11, 2022
- THE SMOKER’S CLUB FEST ADDS CHIEF KEEF PERFORMING ‘FINALLY RICH’ TO LINEUP OF KID CUDI, A$AP ROCKY & MORE SHAWN GRANT MARCH 9, 2022
- PI’ERRE BOURNE ANNOUNCES INTERNATIONAL 30-DATE ‘THE PURPLE TOUR’ SHAWN GRANT MARCH 9, 2022
Later in the evening the “Work” singer swapped the look for a daring all-black ensemble.
Billboard’s 2022 Women In Music event took over the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, Calif., on Wednesday (March 2) evening, honoring female power players in the music industry — including Executive of the Year Golnar Khosrowshahi — as well as chart-topping newcomer Olivia Rodrigo, who is Billboard’s 2022 Woman of the Year.
From incredible performances to inspiring speeches, here are the best moments from the 2022 Billboard Women In Music event.
Ciara Sends Prayers to the Women and Girls of Ukraine
2008 Billboard Woman of the Year recipient Ciara kept the crowd entertained as the night’s host with her light-hearted jokes and cheeky demeanor. While her warmth kept everyone at ease, it was her thoughtfulness that ultimately won viewers over when she held a moment of silence for Ukraine amid Russia’s full-blown invasion.
Phoebe Bridgers Shares the Spotlight With Her Mom
Being presented her Trailblazer Award by her mother Jamie, Phoebe Bridgers made sure that her mom got her fair share of praise from the audience. Taking the majority of her speech to thank her mother, Bridgers offered a touching tribute to the woman who helped her become the star she is today, saying “she made me feel like the second coming of Bob Dylan even when my lyrics were really, really bad.”
H.E.R.’s Tribute to Her Mom
It was a big night for moms at the 2022 Women In Music event, as Impact Award honoree H.E.R. also shouted out her mother during her speech: “I want to thank my mom for teaching me to stay humble, be grounded, and be hardworking,”
Christina Aguilera Has Notes for the Teleprompter
While Xtina may not have been accepting an award during Wednesday’s ceremony, she made an appearance to commemorate her appearance on Billboard‘s World of Women NFT cover. But, in the process of explaining where the NFT would be sold, she had to stop herself, before laughing and staring at the Teleprompter, saying, “Oh s–t, that’s small.”
Gabby Barrett’s Advice
In accepting her Rising Star Award, “I Hope” singer Gabby Barrett encouraged others to not let naysayers derail their ambitions. “Some days you will want to completely give up and feel absolutely defeated, but try to use any negative comments and situations that you run into along the way as fuel to keep you going,” Barrett said.
Saweetie Is a Hurricane, Not a Meteorologist
When accepting her Game Changer award, Saweetie talked about some of the turbulence her career had gone through and thanked her family and team for sticking with her. But ultimately, she proclaimed that she still preferred the “uncomfortable position” of stardom — because she “would rather be changing the weather than report it.”
Olivia Rodrigo Makes a Promise to the Younger Generation
Toward the end of her acceptance speech for Woman of the Year, Olivia Rodrigo alluded to the difficulties of being a young woman in the music industry, and delivered a guarantee to the even younger female songwriters who might be watching. “To all the young girls out there who are writing songs every day in their journals, on their bedroom floors — I am constantly moved by your vulnerability and your creativity and bravery,” she said. “And I promise everyone here today is working to make this world and this industry a better place for you.”
Bonnie Raitt’s Prayer for Peace
Icon Award honoree Bonnie Raitt used both her performance and acceptance speech to recognize the crisis in Ukraine. After delivering “Angel From Montgomery,” she dedicated the set to “the women of Ukraine.” Later in the evening, while accepting the award, the 10-time Grammy winner said, “My heart is heavy for the people of Ukraine, and I know the Russian people are not in agreement – so many of them – with what’s being done. I pray for all the people who are working hard for peace.”
Executive of the Year Golnar Khosrowshahi’s Hope for the Future
The 2022 Billboard Women In Music Executive of the Year, Reservoir Media CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi, shared her hope for the future of women in the music industry: “I encourage us all to continue to recruit, to mentor and cultivate the next generation of female leaders within our respective organizations so that one day, recognizing women in leadership roles will be the expectation and not a necessity.”
Summer Walker Keeps It Light
Before fully launching into her Chart Breaker acceptance speech, Walker had the audience in stitches, saying, “I’m not really the one for speeches. I like to keep it cute and quick, but today I’m not,” promptly pulling out a slip of paper from bra.
Doja Cat Wants That Necklace NOW
Doja’s humor was on display as she accepted the night’s Powerhouse Award. After taking to the stage for a performance of Planet Her track “Alone,” she accepted the honor and jokingly mused on her plans to break open the award just to get to the Maggi Simpkins-designed necklace inside, because “that’s what girls do.”
Karol G’s Gorgeous Performance
Before accepting her Rule Breaker award during the ceremony, Karol G offered one of the night’s many ballads, with a gorgeous, understated version of “El Barco.” As Karol G held court center stage, dressed in her signature style, her performance was a study in contrast, as she was flanked by a sharply suited, all-female backing band.