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VMA Push Nominee Tate McRae Reveals How Songs ‘Vicious’ & ‘You Broke Me First’ Are Connected

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Tate McRae is up for Best New Artist at the 2020 MTV VMAs, and after watching her ‘vicious’ video, it’s easy to see why. She shares the song’s inspiration behind the track and more.

Marvel’s Black Widow may be delayed until November, but for those who need a superhero fix, look no further than Tate McRae‘s new video for “vicious.” The animated visual, released on Aug. 10, sees the rising music star channel her superhero alter-ego to help move on from a heartbreak. One part revenge fantasy, one part empowerment anthem, and ultimately – as she puts it – “badass,” the track shows why Tate is one of the fresh, new voices nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s MTV VMAs.

In fact, looking at the Video Music Awards’ category for PUSH Best New Artist is like gazing into the future of music – and the future looks good. Tate is nominated alongside Roddy Ricch, YUNGBLUD, Doja Cat, Lewis Capaldi, and Jack Harlow. While only one can take home the Moonperson trophy, the real winners are- as cliche as it sounds – the fans, since these superstars-in-the-making have just gotten started when it comes to their careers. Tate herself released her debut EP in January – all the things i never said, on RCA Records – and she followed that up with tracks “vicious” and “you broke me first.”

“I really had no words. I was in shock,” she tells HollywoodLife about the VMA nomination. “It’s so cool to be nominated in this category with those artists, and I never thought it could happen to me.” Fans can cast their vote in the category here.

The teenage So You Think You Can Dance finalist talked with us about the connection between her two latest tracks. She also touched upon her past work as a voice actress, if she’s going to trade her native Canada for Los Angeles, and how she’s stayed grounded during the past months of quarantine.

Tate McRae, one of the future supestars of music (Fiona Garden)

HollywoodLife: Your song with Lil Mosey has been out for a bit now. How have fans reacted to this track?

Tate: “vicious” is a totally different direction from anything I’ve ever done. So far, my fans have been super supportive of this track, and a lot of my friends have been hearing it on the radio. A lot of them also freaked out that Mosey was on the track.

What inspired this song?

I think after the release of “you broke me first,” I wanted to change my perspective up. I have a lot of songs that recreate heartache and that painful feeling you get after, whereas ‘vicious’ is the opposite. It’s the badass, power feeling you get when you finally move on.

“vicious” could be interpreted as the continuation of the previous single lyrically, with the singer of “you broke me first” getting over their heartbreak. This might be reading into something that isn’t there, but is there a connected narrative with these songs?

Yes, I definitely think it’s a connected narrative. I want all my songs to be a continuation of each other, which is why I write about everything I go through in my life. People always experience a rollercoaster of emotions when they fall in love (or out of it) — that’s why I try to write and sing from both sides of it.

You went animated for the “vicious” lyric video, which was a subtle callback to your work as a voice actress. Are you still interested in pursuing voice work? And – if you could land a role on any show, be it SpongeBob, something on Adult Swim, or an anime series, what would you pick?

I love animated shows and voice-over work. I did my first ever voice ever show when I was 7, and continued to do it for the next 3 years. Being in front of my mic, in the studio has always just been a very comfortable space for me.

You just completed a sold-out tour in support of your debut EP. How was that? Was there one part of touring that surprised you – like, I’ve heard some musicians speak of how they’re amazed by how much downtime there is.

Touring was amazing. I’ve been traveling non-stop since I was 9 years old (for dance), which is why I was kind of used to all the flying and moving around. The shocking part for me was the adrenaline you get when you’re onstage. It’s a totally different feeling from dancing onstage, because it’s a very internal thing, whereas for singing you’re connecting, singing, and performing with the audience.

Basking in her accomplishments (Courtesy of Ashey Osborn)

Are you still planning to move to Los Angeles? The recent pandemic has shown that a lot can be done remotely. If not LA, where would you like to call home?

I still am in high-school, so I have to finish that before I move anywhere. But before the pandemic, I was back and forth from LA and Calgary almost every two weeks, so I will definitely plan to move within the next couple of years.

You have a well-established dance background (a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance, winner of many national competitions). Has this helped in your music career – like, has it given you the discipline to keep at it? Or a boost in confidence – “Oh, I can do this show. I’m a boss. I can nail a perfect pirouette. This performance will be easy.”

The dance industry is hardcore, which is why I think it prepped me a lot for music. I’ve always been a pretty dedicated, motivated, and hardworking kid, so when I get into the studio or have to film/perform something, I’ll do it non-stop until I’m happy with it.

Finally, you’ve said that you “can’t go a day without doing something, or I will literally drive myself crazy in my own head.” With that said, how have you been keeping sane during the pandemic? Have you picked up a new skill or hobby?

I’m still recording, filming, and dancing even though I’m at home. I just finished all my online school work, so that definitely took a load off [laughs]. I’ve also been doing a lot of training and working out, which has been fun for me.

You can vote for Tate McRae in for PUSH Best New Artist in the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards here. Her song “vicious” is out now.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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