This Art Show Brings Your Favorite Song Lyrics To Life

Photo courtesy of Genius

A Genius idea

Music is a universal language because it resonates on a level deeper than its textual meaning. In fact, words aren't even necessary to elicit musical catharsis. This is probably why our interpretations of a song's lyrics often vary widely from listener to listener, making the same song mean something totally different to two separate people. It's that ambiguity that makes exploring a website like Genius, which offers lyrical breakdowns of just about every song ever written, so exciting. We get the chance to experience music the way someone else experiences it, and thus broaden our own experience, as well.

Beginning March 2 and running through the 5th, Genius and Dropbox will bring their lyrical game to the three-dimensional world with "Lyrics to Life" in Downtown Los Angeles. Expect to see Nicki Minaj and Biggie bars in the same space as The Weeknd's and Sia's lyrics. We caught up with Genius' marketing strategist Alexandra Blalock ahead of the show's opening to chat why now, the future of lyric consumption, and their hope to bring more lyrics to life in cities across the globe.

How long has this show been in progress? What was the seed that started it all?
Things really kicked into high gear late last fall, right after Thanksgiving. We were thrilled to join forces with Dropbox to make this idea a reality—it complemented their spirit of creative collaboration and ours of deep music knowledge seamlessly. The Genius brand is all about bringing people behind the lyrics they love and celebrating how they interpret music. Whether you’re the artist or a fan, your perspective matters. With "Lyrics to Life," we wanted to present lyrics in such a way that people would be able to physically experience and appreciate them.

Why exhibit now?
Genius closed out last summer with our first-ever music festival, IQ/BBQ, which really set the standard for our live events. We’ve been exploring ways to make the intangible tangible—as shown in the two music-inspired merch collections we dropped last year, Genius 1997 and 2017: The Year In Lyrics—and Lyrics to Life is a big next step in that direction. We’re excited to keep the momentum going.

How did you go about choosing the artists to be included?
The Genius team came up with our wish list of diverse visual artists and curators from all over the U.S. to bring aboard this project. We wanted to collaborate with people who worked at the intersection of art and music. This whole experience couldn’t work unless the visual artists shared a close connection to the music. We also wanted to work with visual artists who connected with different genres—hip-hop, indie rock, pop, and R&B.

One of the first people we approached was Mokibaby, whose installations for the music festival III Points were the exact sort of thing what we were looking for. From there, we brought on a couple of more Miami artists: Typoe, who I’ve always wanted to work with because of his massive impact on the Wynwood Arts District and Magnus Sodamin, who's a close friend of his and an amazing painter.

Next, we zeroed in on incredible L.A. artists who are really leading the charge in their respective movements. Peggy Noland and Devin Troy Strother were obvious picks. Genius was familiar with Aminé’s music, but, also, his immense creativity shown in an episode of our show FRAMEWORK, where he broke down the extremely off-the-wall music video he directed for his song “Spice Girl.” 

We had to show love to Brooklyn, where we’re based, so we invited this super-dope collective Nitemind, who do lighting design for artists like Kelela and Dawn Richard. And to keep it pleasantly weird, we invited Joshua Tree-based artist Marina Fini, whose conceptual work has been seen on musicians like Miley Cyrus.  

Aside from giving artists spatial boundaries to exhibit their work, we encouraged them to ideate around their lyrics and manifest whatever ideas came to mind. We’ve documented their entire creative process on Dropbox Paper as well as through a mini-documentary we’ll be releasing soon. 

And, it’s just the beginning for Lyrics to Life. We hope to take it to other cities very soon.

This exhibition, in a way, seeks to do what CD booklets did: present lyrics in a way that honors the song. Do you see this type of art becoming more of a thing?
The way people connect with, consume, and collect music is always changing. When I was younger, I remember using the CD insert to sing along to Hanson’s "MMMBop.” Now, partly because of the extinction of physical liner notes, listeners are eager for new ways to keep up with what artists are actually saying—ways that complement how they’re listening to the music. That’s why Genius’s integration with Spotify, Behind the Lyrics, is so successful. People are genuinely delighted to be fed a little bit of music knowledge on their morning commute or while they’re on the treadmill. It doesn’t distract from the listening experience, but rather, it adds to it.

That’s what we were aiming for with the design of Lyrics to Life, too. Art inspired by the meanings and moods behind some of the biggest songs of all time is a new way for fans to interact with and learn more about that music. The art is spurring new kinds of revelations.

Photo courtesy of Genius

Magnus Sodamin

Photos by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

This photo proves that they are the chillest onscreen family

Sophie Turner just posted a photo of herself, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead Wright—aka the Stark siblings—to her Instagram, showing just what the three used to get up to when the Game of Thrones cameras weren't rolling.

The photo shows Wright looking quite pleased with himself while sitting on a makeshift throne, wearing no pants. As he should be, seeing as (spoiler) his character, Bran, won the Iron Throne this weekend. Williams, meanwhile, is looking way too cool to be involved in the shenanigans, wearing a pair of black sunglasses and staring absently off-camera. As for Turner, she's looking away from her onscreen brother, too, nervously smoking a Juul.

"The pack survived," Turner captioned the photo.

This photo just goes to prove that the Stark siblings are the chillest onscreen family. (It also proves, yet again, that Turner's social media is an absolute delight.)

We're actually a little sad that this footage didn't make it into the final season, considering how many modern-day objects have been spotted in the show's last few episodes.

Photo via @mileycyrus on Twitter

Meet Ashley

Miley Cyrus shared the trailer for her forthcoming Black Mirror episode, and it's basically Hannah Montana set in a dystopian future. Cyrus is a pink wig-wearing pop star named Ashley who is rolling out an in-home virtual assistant, named Ashley Too, that looks like her and shares her voice. But, as is the case with every Black Mirror episode, this technology is not as cute and fun as it's advertised to be.

In the trailer, we get the idea that Ashley is all about wanting fans to "believe" in themselves—but underneath that pink wig, maybe she doesn't feel that same self-love. After Ashley Too introduces herself to fan and new owner Rachel, promising to be her friend, we get a look at Ashley's darker side. She's depressed and tired of the pop star life. A record label executive says to several people in the room, "She doesn't understand how fragile all this is." As they consider upping her dose of medication, Ashley's life is on a downward slope. "It's getting so hard to keep doing this," she voices over glimpses of a police car chase, performances, and breakdowns backstage.

But back to the technology: Does Ashley's breakdown also mean the breakdown of Ashley Too? Looks like it. We see Rachel's virtual assistant screaming, "Get that cable out of my ass! Holy shit! Pull it out," breathing a sigh of relief as soon as they pull it out. A title card then reveals the episode name, "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too."

Watch the full trailer and get a full view of Cyrus' cyborg-esque pop star look, below. Black Mirror returns to Netflix on June 5.


Photo by Paras Griffin / Stringer / Getty Images.

Several actresses allegedly had "issues" with him

Lena Waithe's Showtime series, The Chi, just lost one of its main characters. Jason Mitchell, who was also set to appear in the Netflix film Desperados, has been dropped from both projects following multiple allegations of misconduct. He has also been dropped by his agent and manager.

Hollywood Reporter heard from a source "with knowledge" of The Chi, who says that Tiffany Boone, the actress who plays Mitchell's girlfriend on the show, is just one of several actresses who had "issues" with him. She eventually told producers at Fox21 that she could no longer work with him after filing several sexual harassment complaints. Apparently, her fiancé, Dear White People co-star Marque Richardson, would join her on set when she would shoot with Mitchell.

While news of Mitchell's alleged misconduct is just now beginning to surface, it looks like the ball started rolling on the fallout weeks ago. He was dropped from Desperados and replaced by Lamorne Morris before filming began. A source from the production team said that the producers received "specific information" that they reviewed and acted on quickly. Similarly, a source familiar with Mitchell's former agent, UTA, said the decision to drop him a few weeks ago was very quick following the allegations.

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Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Prior to the college admissions scandal, she said she doesn't "care about school"

Apparently, Olivia Jade wants to go back to school despite all those YouTube videos that suggested otherwise. Back in March, it was revealed that her mom, Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin, and dad, Mossimo Giannulli, had scammed Jade's way into the University of Southern California. Now, Loughlin faces jail time, and Jade lost out on plenty of lucrative ad partnerships.

According to Us Weekly, "Olivia Jade wants to go back to USC," per a source. "She didn't get officially kicked out and she is begging the school to let her back in." Another source though ousted Jade's real motivation to the publication. "She knows they won't let her in, so she's hoping this info gets out," they shared. "She wants to come out looking like she's changed, learned life lessons and is growing as a person, so she for sure wants people to think she is interested in her education."

Jade previously shared in a YouTube video she's in college for the "experience of like game days, partying" rather than the education. She also said, "I don't know how much of school I'm going to attend... I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." Though these statements were made prior to the scandal coming to light, her brand partnerships didn't come into question until her parents were indicted.

Right now, despite previous reports that Jade and her sister would both be dropping out of USC, Jade's enrollment has been placed on hold—meaning she cannot register for classes, or even withdraw from the school—until her parents' court case comes to a close. Then, the school will make its own decision as to how Jade will be affected. I think, either way, she should have to pay off a few of her classmates' loans for all the BS she pulled.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

He'd previously said he wanted to punch Jackson's 'Leaving Neverland' accusers in the face

Aaron Carter has been one of Michael Jackson's fiercest celebrity advocates in the aftermath of the Leaving Neverland documentary in which two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, alleged that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. In a new clip from People, however, he seems to walk back his defense.

People reveals that Carter will be joining the upcoming season of reality TV show Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars Family Edition with his mother. It's noted that he will be revealing more thoughts regarding Jackson following the documentary and the sneak peek specifically sees him alluding to a negative experience with the singer.

Carter, who has previously said that Jackson was never inappropriate toward him, says that Jackson "was a really good guy," though he does note that this is only true "as far as I know." "He never did anything that was inappropriate," he continues before stopping himself, as though remembering something. "Except for one time. There was one thing that he did that was a little bit inappropriate."

Carter does not provide any more detail after this statement. He has previously said that he would stay at Jackson's Neverland estate and sleep in the same bed as the much older star when he was 15 years old, though he hasn't seemed to understand then just how creepy that is. He also said earlier this year, in a clip from TMZ, that he would be telling a story of something that happened between them in an upcoming book about his life.