Billboard Cover: Surviving Pop with Fifth Harmony

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In which I make Fifth Harmony cry, and try to patch it up with a trip to the froyo shop (spoiler: birthday cake flavor heals all wounds). I had the chance to interview these five for a smaller introductory Billboard piece just 14 months before (among my first for the mag), and now they (we!) are on the cover. RIYL an honest-to-god window into all the weird anguish that comes with being thrust into an ultimately impossible situation—which is to say, a girl group in 2016.

Billboard Cover: Zayn Malik’s Own Direction

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At last, proof that a Zayn Malik does indeed sh-t in the woods (and maybe the One Direction bed a little bit too). What do you do when you quit one of the biggest boy bands the world’s ever seen? You go home, back to Northern England, to steel yourself on mom’s cooking before buying a house in Bel Air and getting to work on your solo alt-R&B career. Also, you go camping with Frank Ocean’s favorite producer and record out among the trees.

Billboard Cover: Lady Gaga Is Woman of the Year

 

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Lady Gaga had me over to her beachside Malibu palace to play some new songs on her old piano and chitchat a lil’ about being crowned Billboard’s Woman of the Year. Click through to read about how she bet big on her own talents, poured her rage into American Horror Story: Hotel, and did whatever it took to save herself from becoming, in her words, a “fashionable robot.” With input from Tony Bennett, Ryan Murphy, Diane Warren, and Matt Bomer.

Billboard Cover: The Rebirth of Justin Bieber

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Justin Bieber took me to church. Literally. It wasn’t part of the plan. All he promised was a 60-minute interview. Instead we talked for 90, went to dinner, then walked over to a Beverly Hills hotel for a sermon. Before you ask, the kid’s all right. He’s working on him, and the music is better than ever, but all that’s in the story, along with input from Big Sean, Skrillex, Scooter, Poo Bear, and, yes, his pastor. Read why, in Justin’s words, he “wouldn’t suggest being a child star.”

Also, peep the photo gallery featuring more awesome shots by Zooey Grossman.

Billboard Cover: Selena Gomez Finds Her Voice

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To say this was a big one would be something beyond understatement. The opportunity to sit down with Selena Gomez for this conversation was an honor. But what came out during our talk — that she underwent chemotherapy to combat lupus — made it all astronomical. But don’t miss the forest for the trees. She’s a shockingly candid subject who’s amassed a world of experience at the age of 23. She deserves this Revival. She earned it. It’s all her.

Billboard: Fall Out Boy’s Second Chance

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I went deep with Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman, and Andy Hurley backstage at The Voice before (and after) they performed “Centuries” for the show. Fun fact: three out of four of these dudes were expecting babies while making the new album, American Beauty/American Psycho. Dads abound! Fall Out Boyz II Men, amirite? No? Fine. Photo by Chris Stanford.

SPIN Cover: TV on the Radio Leave It Behind

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They’ve been my favorite band since I heard the Young Liars EP in the old Filter offices back in 2003 (shout-out Wired‘s Steven Leckart for passing me the promo back then) and I’ve spilled ink on them every release since. This week, TV on the Radio and I reunite for a SPIN cover that’s all about growing up. No, that sounds boring. It’s actually about being unafraid to don Bermuda shorts and grin at a roiling sea made of pure liquid fear. It gets surreal somewhere between the Cheech & Chong reference and the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance citation, and Kyp Malone makes a couple of semen jokes along the way. The new album is called Seeds, after all.

For pure posterity’s sake, here’s a brief 2013 interview with Tunde Adebimpe.