Say a little bit about what the Grammy nomination for Melodrama means to you.
I was so floored by it. I really believe in albums; now there’s more of a focus on a never-ending playlist-type format, but I was raised on albums just in the same way I was raised on novels, so I really respect the medium, and I think there’s so much glory in teenage love songs that build a little world. I was so happy that I was recognized by the Grammys, because I really spent time and care crafting that world. 

How would you sum up the impulses that fueled the writing and recording of the album?
It was pretty simple: It was moving out from home, breaking up with my boyfriend, drinking a lot of cocktails, swimming at night, having an insane, impermanent and reckless love life and being 19. I felt very inspired by nighttime and all that was being offered to me. I think there’s something very exciting about young adulthood. These days, I’m getting a little less inspiration from cocktails [laughs]. The next album’s definitely going to be about something else. 

Have your musical inspirations evolved between Heroine and Melodrama?
Of course. I was just so young when I made the first one; I was listening to a lot of hip-hop and simple pop and a lot of schoolyard-y, chant-y stuff like Sleigh Bells or Grimes, whereas with Melodrama I had the time to listen to a lot more classic music. I really deep-dove into Paul Simon, Phil Collins, Genesis, ELO, Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush. Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night was a huge one for this album. Sonically, Melodrama is so maximal and dense. I just tried to stuff as much into the box as I could while giving every sound its own little moment in the sun. That’s why it took so long. 

Tell us about the collaborative process, working with Jack Antonoff and some of the other creators who contributed to Melodrama. How did Tove Lo get involved?
Pop stars always talk about making records with their friends, but I really did. Jack and I sort of fell together, and all of a sudden we were making a whole album together; there was no way we could do anything else—it was very mutual, chemical and intense. He helped me see what this album could be and pushed me on a lot of the emotional songs as well. Things that when I was 17 I would have thought were sappy, he helped me tap into.

Tove Lo and I met up early in the process and wrote at The Gingerbread House in L.A., which belongs to the Max Martin compound. We had so much fun doing [“Homemade Dynamite”]. She was playing a keyboard and kind of engineering for us, and we just had such a great feeling. She has such a beautiful, familial energy and was in a similar place to me, being quite hedonistic and wanting to write songs about the finer points of partying. Jack and Frank Dukes and I turned the song into what it is today. Frank did a lot of additional production for us. He’s such a genius drum baby. I was also a big fan of Malay, who ended up being a real friend of the process as well. I’m very grateful to all the friends of Melodrama

“I think there’s so much glory in teenage love songs that build a little world.”

What in the response to the album has been most illuminating or surprising to you?
Everything. I was very aware that it maybe wasn’t very cool. I wanted to make forever pop, which is kind of an oxymoron, but I really believe in it.

The fans have taken this record and allowed it to be such an emotional journey for me. I see the kids at the shows, and they laugh, they dance, they cry. It’s such a fucking journey—and such a journey for me to make. It gave me faith as an artist. I worry that I’ll make something and people will think, “Yeah, it’s a good album to put on while I eat dinner.” I hoped this would soundtrack all the big moments, the tiniest moments, the tears and taxi rides—and it really has. I’m truly just so moved and so floored and so tired. I really, really need to hang my Christmas decorations.

Good vibrations (3/5a)
Jay-Z's blingy mountain of cash keeps gaining altitude. (3/5a)
$9B IN 2020
Value keeps rising ahead of IPO. (3/5a)
Like moving to the apartment next door. (3/4a)
Let's hear it for ironic guitar-smashing. (3/5a)
A jazz chronicle of fighting the power.
After the snubs, the show.
In a phenomenal display of cowardice.
When vaccination schedules and touring schedules meet.

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