Billie Eilish Hums, Belts, And Channels 007 On Her James Bond Theme Song

Billie Eilish‘s James Bond theme song is here, and despite what the internet may have predicted, it is not just a reworking of “Bad Guy” titled “Bond Guy.” (Duh.)

For “No Time To Die” — the song written for the upcoming Bond film of the same name — Eilish opted for a moody, intense ballad along the lines of “When The Party’s Over.” But because the 007 is involved, she and her brother/producer/co-writer, Finneas, upped the drama by giving her haunting vocals a sweeping, atmospheric backdrop. “You were never on my side / Fool me once, fool me twice,” Eilish sings over a haunting piano melody. “Now you’ll never see me cry / There’s just no time to die.”

It’s danger. It’s drama. It’s Bond. (James Bond.)

No Time to Die hits theaters on April 10 and features Daniel Craig in his fifth and final appearance as the franchise’s titular hero. Craig’s tenure as the secret agent has given us some of the darkest films in the franchise’s history; he’s a wounded Bond who’s as melancholy as he is swaggering — which makes Eilish’s brooding brand of pop a great fit for this era of 007.

In a press release, Eilish said, “It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way. To be able to score the theme song to a film that is part of such a legendary series is a huge honor. James Bond is the coolest film franchise ever to exist. I’m still in shock.” Finneas added, “Writing the theme song for a Bond film is something we’ve been dreaming about doing our entire lives. … We feel so so lucky to play a small role in such a legendary franchise, long live 007.”

Eilish’s “No Time To Die” is the latest in a long line of Bond theme songs. After Shirley Bassey set the standard in 1964 with “Goldenfinger,” Adele, Madonna, Chris Cornell, and Tina Turner are among the artists who have contributed their own themes for the iconic franchise. Eilish is now the youngest artist in history to record a Bond song, and it could mean she’ll return to the Academy Awards stage next year, after having just attended the awards show last weekend. After all, Adele and Sam Smith both took home Oscars for the theme songs they wrote and sang for the previous two 007 films.

The new song also follows a high-profile, momentum-building few weeks for Eilish. In January, the 18-year-old performed at the Grammys, where she took home five awards and became the youngest artist to sweep the big four categories. Then, last weekend, she and Finneas took the Oscars stage to soundtrack the “In Memoriam” segment with a soulful cover of the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” Next up, she’s readying her Where Do We Go? Would Tour, which kicks off on March 9. Got all that?!

Megan Thee Stallion Is ‘Fkn Around’ With Phony Ppl In Their Alluring Music Video

Phony Ppl were in Germany last July when they got the news: Megan Thee Stallion heard their crisp funk nugget, “Fkn Around,” and wanted to hop on it. “It was one of those kind of magical come-togethers,” guitarist Elijah Rawk tells MTV News over the phone.

The world got its first taste of the song in December when Phony Ppl, made up of Rawk, Elbee Thrie, Matt “Maffyuu” Byas, Aja Grant, and Bari Bass, joined Megan Thee Stallion for NPR’s Tiny Desk. Megan adds a demanding verse with a strong do-as-she-pleases vibe to Phony Ppl’s cautious lyrics. “When we heard her verse through FaceTime, the one line that stuck with us was ‘I got me a European papi out in Italy,’ and we kept saying it over and over on tour,” Rawk said.

Fast forward to today (February 13) — just in time for Valentine’s Day, for a hilarious bit of irony — and the group has released a music video about a car wash that rinses as much dirt as it does commitment. While Phony Ppl put in some serious elbow grease as mechanics, Megan Thee Stallion cruises through their car wash, tempted by a bearded Adonis as her corny boyfriend sits shotgun.

“We wanted to mess with certain ideas and flip them,” Bass says. “Instead of having a car wash full of girls, we decided that we’d have our own body shop and that Meg would be in the car wash with the kind of car that she would want to see.”

The vid is an all-around good time, featuring a ton of improvised dancing around sparkling rides, building up to Megan’s ferocious verse, which she delivers surrounded by shirtless dudes, and culminating in a giant party where no one is with anyone, and everyone is with everyone. Committed relationship, who?

Like the song that the video is for, “Fkn Around” doesn’t necessarily promote infidelity — but it accepts that it exists. As Grant says, “Some people do it, some people don’t.”

“In 2020, everyone is learning that there’s a lot more that we can figure out about ourselves,” Rawk says. “We would never promote cheating, but I also think that, when you’re young, sometimes a window of opportunity won’t find itself in your life again. It might be more worth it, in the long run, to give yourself more experiences in your life then to limit yourself for someone or something that could end up being a waste of time.” (Of course, he adds, that doesn’t necessarily mean lying to your partner.)

Thrie likes to think about the situation in a slightly different way. “Cheating, cheating, cheating,” he says, turning the word over like a coin on his tongue. “It could be a game. You could be playing tic-tac-toe or basketball. Can you commit to playing that role?”

If this video is any indication, that’s one commitment Phony Ppl and Megan can keep.

Check out “Fkn Around” featuring Megan Thee Stallion above. The song will appear on Phony Ppl’s to-be-titled follow-up to their 2018 album, mō’zā-ik. 

The Weeknd Announces New Album After Hours With An Ominous Teaser

The Weeknd has been teasing his fourth album for months, and now we finally have more details about what he’s been calling “Chapter VI.”

On Thursday (February 13), the Canadian star officially announced the new project with a teaser that keeps up the air of mystery he mastered early on in his career. In it, he speeds through a tunnel in a flashy convertible as the cityscape around him gets turned upside down. It builds up to a big reveal that spells out his new album title letter by letter: After Hours.

After Hours will be The Weeknd’s first studio album since 2016’s Starboy, though he did release the EP My Dear Melancholy in 2018. So far, Abel has shared the back-to-back singles “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights,” both of which came with dazzling music videos and mind-scrambling late-night performances. He’s also kept busy by seemingly making peace with Drake and by appearing in the Adam Sandler-starring drama Uncut Gems. Next up, he’ll be making his third appearance as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, on the March 7 episode hosted by Daniel Craig.

Though we now know what The Weeknd’s long-awaited new album is called, he still hasn’t revealed its release date. Leave it to Abel to keep us in the dark amidst all those blinding lights.

Sam Smith Teases New Album With A (Literally) Grabby Photo

Sam Smith has made the announcement that the world has been dying to hear: their third studio album, To Die For, is coming out on May 1. That’s just a few short months away. It has taken a while, but the singer is ready to show the world what they’ve been working on. This spring is going to be one for the books.

Smith broke the news with a surprise post of their head cradled in well-manicured fingers. The singer’s set to release the LP’s title song on Valentine’s Day and has already been amping up the excitement for it, so their reveal touched on the fervor surrounding the impending drop. “Gorgeous people, I’m so happy to see you all so excited about my new song, so I wanted to share another surprise… My THIRD album TO DIE FOR will be yours on May 1st!!!!” they wrote. It’ll be available for preorder starting on February 14.

They also went a bit further, explaining why the wait for it has been so long. “I’ve really set myself free the last two years whilst writing this and I hope you can dance and relate to these stories. It’s all for you, always xx.”

Smith’s reveal is awesome news because their sophomore album, The Thrill Of It All, dropped in 2017. Last June, they released “How Do You Sleep?” with a video featuring a snake-like dance routine and a robot hanging out with a biker. They also collaborated with Normani for “Dancing With A Stranger.”

Take a look at Smith’s announcement up above.

The Jonas Brothers Can Make Late-Night TV Into A Concert Whenever They Want

The Jonas Brothers were the musical guests on The Late Late Show with James Corden last night and the atmosphere felt like a surprise performance at a school auditorium where kids are screaming and excited just because they get to miss class for an hour. The pop powerhouses performed “What a Man Gotta Do” surrounded by a live band and backup singers who synthesized a concert arena’s intensity on a regular show stage. Not an easy feat. I literally felt like I was there through the screen. My ears are still ringing.

Before the show even started, the audience clapped in unison amidst excited roars and yips. Then the trio barreled into their lovey-dovey number along with the yells, serenading everyone in the room with the kind of intense affection that is normally reserved for Valentine’s Day (which happens to be around the corner).

All three of the JoBros killed it, but perhaps the star of the show was Joe who really let loose with the dance moves, grooving like the happiest bingo winner in a retirement home. Put this in the running for one of the most entertaining late show performances that you’ll ever see.

“What a Man Gotta Do”  spawned two different videos that dropped last month; one nostalgic, 80s-fueled romp that featured the JoBros lovely partners Sophie Turner, Priyanka Chopra, and Danielle Jonas, and an alternate one featuring the brothers driving around Las Vegas. They revealed in January that they’re working on a new albumHappiness Beginstheir return LP that featured “Sucker, “Cool,” and “Only Human,” came out last year.

Check out the JoBros exciting new “What a Man Gotta Do” concert-worthy performance up above.

How Hayley Williams Embodied The Horrifying Splendor Of Her Petals For Armor Visuals

The journey started with a choppy conference call. It ends with a stirring three-video cinematic narrative that loads the world with expectations for Hayley Williams’s debut solo studio album, Petals for Armor.

Warren Fu, the acclaimed director with more than 20 years in the industry, has collaborated with everyone from Haim and The 1975 to Daft Punk and The Weeknd. He had previously worked with Williams’s band Paramore for their goofy, endearing 2018 video “Rose-Colored Boy,” and when the singer was ready to launch her own solo adventure, she knew who to hit up.

“We were all very happy with how ‘Rose-Colored Boy’ turned out and we had talked about doing more in the future,” Fu tells MTV News via email. “So when Hayley and her creative director, Lindsey Byrnes, reached out to me with new solo songs, I jumped at the opportunity to work with her again.” After hearing coarse versions of the tunes through a low-quality call, Fu was all in.

In just over two weeks at the top of this year, Williams shared three full Fu-directed videos, as well as two “interludes,” for intense and emotional songs that doubled as personal experiences. First came “Simmer,” a ballad about twisting your finger in someone’s most painful spot and holding on to marinating rage. “Leave It Alone” followed soon after, somberly chuckling about the cosmic irony of losing everything just when you want to keep it. The final piece was “Cinnamon,” changing the pace to talk about the sanctity of one’s home and Williams’s eventual liberation.

The visuals are full of slightly horrifying splendor; Williams is haunted by her own hooded doppelgänger in one, a butterfly-like beast in another, and living, dancing extensions of her house in the third. Inspired by the songs, these clips are also something different entirely. Fu’s videos let the songs speak for themselves while placing Williams’s two characters, whom he refers to as “Mercy” and “Wrath,” in a three-video journey about the internal battle to accept each other as one.

“These are very personal songs for her,” Fu says. “She had a collection of ideas that came from visions that she had. Some were loose, some were specific.”

After getting some initial notes about the ideas and direction in which  Williams wanted to go, Fu went to work on establishing the world that they would visit. “‘Simmer’ felt like the pulse-pounding opening thriller,” he says. “‘Leave It Alone’ was the introspective second act, or meditation, and ‘Cinnamon’ was the weird fever dream that transitions into a climactic ending.”

“With that general framework in mind, I let the lyrics guide the storytelling,” he says. “I shared that framework, Hayley and Lindsey gave their feedback, and I made changes and expanded on it further.”

The videos were shot over the course of three days during a cold winter weekend in Tennessee. The crew cheered during dance scenes. Fu cleared the set for emotional and intimate ones. Everything came together in one or two takes for each song.

In the “Simmer” video, Williams flees an evil entity that chases her through a forest before cornering her in a house. Williams overpowers the masked demon before unmasking it and seeing that it’s actually her. After experiencing the brutal temperatures during filming, Fu was hesitant to push on with the idea, especially since Williams filmed her running scenes completely naked.

“When we got into town and saw ice and hail in the weather forecast, I began to wonder if we could change the concept of the video,” he says. “The idea behind Mercy running bare in the forest was to show a raw vulnerability and to give it a feeling of taking place out of time.” Though he had his doubts, it was Williams who nudged him forward. “’I’m all in. Doin’ it for the art, man!’” he says, paraphrasing her.

In “Leave It Alone,” a highly made-up Williams gradually frees herself from a shell in her attic. She’s become something else — part flower and almost insect-like, stashed in an attic where she then enters a cocoon. Fu kicked things off by checking out Williams’s house. “Hayley sent me photos and videos of it when I started. This sense of a home and feeling comfortable in your own skin was an important theme in her notes.”

“The most distinct and personal feature of her house is that she has a really cool attic. So that inspired me to set the introspective second act in a weird cocoon or chrysalis suspended in the rafters of an attic,” he says.

The attic from the scene, though, isn’t an actual attic. It turned out that the rented house didn’t have a big enough one to use, so they ended up repurposing a nearby barn.

Fu found inspiration for “The Creature” and its movements in Franz Kafka’s 1915 novella, The Metamorphosis, which he read as a kid. “The thing that always stuck vividly in my mind was the opening where the protagonist wakes up and finds himself as an insect,”  Fu says. “I loved that visual of showing Hayley’s eye snapping open in a panic, and not knowing who or where she was. She gets pulled back to sleep by the house and goes into a state of hibernation, introspection, and transformation.”

Williams’s initial notes to Fu revealed that she wanted to have “unexpected combinations of beautiful and grotesque imagery.” She also gave Fu the seed moment that would define the rest of the video: “eating oysters while taking a bath.” This idea played a large part in the video for “Cinnamon,” in which Williams gets chased by creepy house-made creatures who she eventually dances with in an ecstatic display of emotional unshackling.

“Her eyes snap open again, and she’s almost unrecognizable from her former self,” he says. “After the long build-up of pain and struggle, this is the release, the payoff.”

This story of Williams accepting the different pieces of herself as both Mercy and Wrath is an important piece of Petals for Armor — so important that the singer has already released the three songs, along with two others, as the Petals for Armor I EP ahead of the album’s May 8 release.

While we wait for the full LP, fans have these three videos – and the intense YouTube analyses in their comments sections – to hold them over and keep them up at night. Fu loves that people “are entertained or moved by the art” and hopes that people can find themselves in Williams’s personal journey. “If someone going through their own problems can relate to it or find comfort in it, then you’ve done your job,” he says.

Grimes Takes Time To Talk About A Serious Problem On ‘Delete Forever’

The opioid crisis in the United States takes an average of 130 lives a day, and it costs the country an estimated $78 million a year. It’s an epidemic, and Grimes has released an emotional new song called “Delete Forever” that draws attention to the dire situation, set to appear on her forthcoming studio album Miss Anthropocene.

Grimes opened up about the song to Zane Lowe of Apple Music’s Beats 1. “It’s a pretty bummer song,” she said, adding that she’s had “quite a few friends pass away” in relation to the opioid epidemic. Grimes actually wrote “Delete Forever,” she noted, on the night that Lil Peep died in 2017. (The rapper’s official cause of death was later ruled to be an accidental overdose of fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid, and Xanax.) “Artists keep dying and stuff, so I wrote this song on the night Lil Peep died, or whatever, because I just got super triggered,” she said.

On the song, Grimes explores the dark feelings that might surround a person struggling with the substances. “Always down, I’m not up / Guess it’s just my rotten luck / To fill my time with permanent gloom,” she sings, coasting into the chorus: “I see everything, I see everything / Don’t you tell me now that I don’t want it.” It’s heavy, yet delicate, listen, characterized by a warm, blurry instrumental. Take a listen up above.

Miss Anthropocene is set to arrive on February 21. The LP, which is about a space-dwelling demon that loves the apocalypse, will feature the previously released tunes, “Violence,” “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth,” and “My Name Is Dark.”

Camila Cabello Is Not That Innocent In Her Cinematic ‘My Oh My’ Video

Listen up, shucksters: Camila Cabello‘s latest music video has arrived, and with it, we’re introduced to her Hollywood heroine’s origin story. Get ready to meet “Killer Cam.”

For her lustful new single “My Oh My,” Cabello reunited with her “Havana” director Dave Meyers. Like that VMA-winning blockbuster, this one is a pure cinematic feast. The singer is first introduced as a struggling actress fed up with being the “damsel in distress” but unable to convince studio suits to take her seriously. But when she meets an up-and-coming movie mogul, played by DaBaby, all rules fly out the window. “I swear on my life that I’ve been a good girl / Tonight, I don’t wanna be her,” our heroine sings as he literally takes a sword to the patriarchy and musters up the gusto to channel her inner “Killer Cam” and “La Bonita Blade” in a full-color feature of her own.

Throw in some Grease-style dancing, a fabulous all-leopard ‘fit, and witty subtitles, and you’ve got yourself a mini-movie as irresistible as the romance Cabello sings about.

“My Oh My” follows a slew of cinematic videos Cabello’s rolled out as part of her Romance era. She channeled a campy telenovela in “Liar,” wandered a flowery dreamscape in “Living Proof,” danced with some clones in “Shameless,” and, of course, got steamy with Shawn Mendes in “Señorita.”

Next up, Cabello will launch her Romance Tour in May — but not before filming Disney’s live-action Cinderella, which she’s been teasing on social media recently. “My Oh My” proves she’s certainly got the acting bug, so consider us thoroughly hyped.

5SOS And Hilary Duff Are Leading Pop’s Third Eye Blind Revival

In 2017, four guys toured the United States performing Third Eye Blind‘s self-titled album in full, ripping through everlasting radio hits like “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper” to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release. But they were not 3EB, not anymore. They were XEB, a group staffed with prominent ex-band members whose musical contributions had helped define the sound of the band for a combined 17 years.

At the same time, the canonical Third Eye Blind made its way across the country, led by sole original member Stephan Jenkins and Brad Hargreaves, who’s drummed with 3EB since ’95. They were ostensibly promoting a 2016 EP called We Are Drugs. But the group was also simply doing what they’ve expertly done since even before I packed into a university gym to shout along to their songs with hundreds of other kids who couldn’t legally drink yet at my first show in 2007: hitting college towns and casino stages with a career-spanning set of radio-dominant riffs and shit-talking, yet sensitive lyrics. It is the Third Eye Blind way.

That there could be two versions of 3EB touring simultaneously speaks to a larger truth — people love these songs. Their self-titled album has the hits, but subsequent drops like 1999’s Blue, 2003’s Out of the Vein, 2009’s Ursa Major, and even 2015’s Dopamine all have unsung bangers. The band’s influence reaches well beyond those who bought the first CD at Media Play in 1997. In fact, over the past few years, an onslaught of young 3EB-inspired acts have brought their own heart-rending power-pop to the indie scene. Now the mainstream is having its turn.

Hilary Duff and her husband Matthew Koma have teamed up with electronic-minded producer RAC for a new Third Eye Blind cover, out today (February 12). Duff takes the high chorus of “Never Let You Go” the way Jenkins did, turning the title phrase into a desperate declaration, as RAC softens the song, turning it blissed out and festival ready. “To say that @matthewkoma and I are fans of 3EB is a massive understatement,” Duff wrote to announce the single. “These records actually play a huge part in our love story.” If the rest of the story involves putting “I Want You” on a romantically curated playlist or singing along to “Wounded” on a road trip, they likely share that tale with scores of 3EB-appreciating love-drunk millennials.

When marquee pop acts aren’t straight-up covering Third Eye Blind, they’re finding a lot to play with inside their sonic toolkit. Last week, 5 Seconds of Summer dropped “No Shame,” a breezy departure from the gritty, industrial playground they reached into for 2019 singles “Easier” and “Teeth.” While the latter explicitly draws from Nine Inch Nails and the former bordered on nu-metal, “No Shame” finds the quartet in the vicinity of 3EB’s more contemporary work — vocalist Luke Hemmings’s bouncy delivery of the chorus line, “I only light up when cameras are flashing,” would fit nicely on 3EB’s Screamer. When he later sings, “Go on and light me like a cigarette / Even if it might be something you’ll regret,” I hear shades of Jenkins’s best trick: a minefield of sensitive diary lines (“I’ve never been so alone / And I’ve never been so alive”) mingling with smart-aleck smack (“When you start talking I hear the Prozac”).

“Somebody once described our music as pretty little songs with dirty little words, which I thought was great,” Jenkins said in 2009. It was always a bit more complicated than that. By all accounts, the three ousted members who later formed XEB (Kevin Cadogan, Arion Salazar, and Tony Fredianelli) helped cement the cosmic identity of their original band, including in the songwriting, alongside everything Jenkins did as its face. But that duality has been and will likely always be a huge part of their legacy. So will the whooshing guitar swirls, crisp bass lines, and punchy, Eric Valentine-produced drums that make up the foundation on which Jenkins could smirk, “Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break,” on their most famous song.

You can find those musical cues all over the indie-rock landscape, particularly among the younger generation. A few years ago, arty band Crying released “There Was a Door,” which sounded like 3EB’s “Losing a Whole Year” if the half-raps were mumbled and the riffs got struck by lightning. The emo-leaning Future Teens injected “The Background,” a Third Eye Blind crier rendering images of hospitals and numbness, with an adolescent fury missing from Jenkins’s more mature telling. Chicago power-pop wiz Jupiter Styles made his very own “1000 Julys” on “Peace, Dog.” “People always compare me to Third Eye Blind, and I always say that’s probably accurate because I listened to a lot of Third Eye Blind growing up,” Styles captain Sean Neumann told MTV News last year.

Once you start, it’s easy to hear 3EB echoes everywhere. You tap play on I’ll Show You Stronger, the warm 2019 debut from songwriter Alyse Vellturo’s project Pronoun, and hear the twinkles of the Blue and Out of the Vein albums — an influence she freely admits. Her gauzy ode “Run” gathers its energy the same way eternal jams “Wounded” and “Blinded (When I See You)” do, with charging drums and galaxies of layered guitars. That’s a similar trick pulled by Long Island emo and pop-punk master Jade Lilitri across his Oso Oso catalog, especially on last year’s excellent Basking in the Glow. “We were goin for a mix of completely ripping off Third Eye Blind and [Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon] minus the being angry/ telling people to crash their car,” he tweeted in 2017 about past releases. “Impossible Game” goes there, too.

A love for Third Eye Blind doesn’t always materialize in a band’s actual music. Sometimes it feels nice to listen to them in the van or to tune your guitar down to really nail the opening of “Narcolepsy.” Sometimes it’s just for fun.

On Halloween in 2018, Philadelphia sound experimenter (Sandy) Alex G played a messy, incredibly fun set of 3EB covers at a house show in Rochester, New York — my hometown, and where I saw my second-ever Third Eye Blind show. (I caught a guitar pick thrown by Stephan Jenkins, which I still have.) Alex’s band’s set was marked by regular pulls from a whiskey bottle, forgetting tons of lyrics, and incredibly tight harmonies on “Semi-Charmed Life”‘s doot-doo-doos. Concurrent with all this chaos, Alex and his band summoned the requisite energy to bring those beloved songs to life; the crowd exploded at the opening drum fill of 3EB’s biggest hit.

This time, none of the performers were ex-members of Third Eye Blind. But they certainly were fans.

Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana Is A Coming-Of-Age Story, Says Director Lana Wilson

You think you know Taylor Swift, but, to quote a bygone MTV series, “you have no idea.”

Enter Miss Americana, the new documentary from Emmy-winning director Lana Wilson, which attempts to fill the blank spaces in the Swiftian mythology. The film, which premiered last month at Sundance and is now on Netflix, charts the pop star’s transformation from a people-pleaser who measured her worth in pats on the head to a 30-year-old woman who’s stopped worrying and learned to speak her mind.

“When I started, there wasn’t a set, ‘This is the story,’ or anything like that,” Wilson told MTV News about the doc. “I just started filming immediately after meeting her and then just filmed, filmed, filmed, and saw what emerged.”

Wilson followed Swift everywhere, intent on capturing what she calls “the contrast between the ordinary and extraordinary” of the superstar’s life. That means seeing Swift command the stage during her spectacle of a stadium show, trailed by remarkably more thrilling footage of her curled up on a studio sofa, fumbling through rough drafts of eventual hit songs. More vitally, we get a glimpse into her mindset as she resurfaced from a period of self-imposed exile to grapple with a sexual assault case, an eating disorder, an impassioned political awakening, and, oh yeah, the making of last year’s swooning No. 1 album, Lover.

Below, Wilson tells MTV News about how Miss Americana is a coming-of-age story, the delicate balance of portraying Swift’s romantic relationship, the studio footage she left on the cutting room floor, and the now-infamous “cat backpack.”

MTV News: This film made me really excited to see what kind of artist Taylor Swift is going to be in her 30s, now that she’s seemingly more comfortable speaking her mind and isn’t as worried about being a quote-unquote “good girl.” Do you see it as capturing a turning point in her life?

Wilson: Absolutely. I think it’s a coming-of-age story about this woman at a pivot point in her life and career. Taylor went through all of this pain and then stood up and became the person she wanted to be, but didn’t have the ability to be for so many years, because of the leash that she put on herself. To be able to take that leash off, I think it’s really amazing for people to see that. It’s amazing from a documentary director’s perspective when you get to go with a subject who really changes in the time that you film with them. That’s what I was lucky enough to get to see.

MTV News: You do get that sense that she doesn’t feel the need to constantly reinvent herself anymore. How do you think the film sets a tone or an expectation for her going forward?

Wilson: I think she’s always going to artistically challenge herself no matter what. What I saw when I saw her writing songs, and even from the videos of her when she’s 11 years old writing her first songs on the guitar, is that she’s someone who is always going to write something she hasn’t written about before and do something new and experiment. I do think she’s more comfortable with who she is now, though. It’s about her journey to self-acceptance. She’s less focused on being the person other people want her to be and more focused on being the person who she wants to be and who she is.

MTV News: You definitely saw that throughout the film. At the same time, I loved seeing those moments where she’s insecure, like when she finds out that Reputation didn’t get nominated for a Grammy or when she’s criticizing the way her face looks while shooting the “ME!” video. She even says at one point that she feels like there’s a better version of herself out there. Why do you think those moments are important to see as well?

Wilson: I think when you see any insecurity coming out of the mouth of a superstar, that’s a really powerful thing. And in fact, how we deal with insecurity is really what defines our strength. Taylor writes so candidly in her lyrics about the hardest times and the times when things didn’t go well. That’s what her fans love her for. We all want to feel less alone, and that’s one reason why people turn to art. It’s great for people to see that their heroes are human.

MTV News: I found it really effective how her ages showed up on screen throughout the film. It really made you realize that she was so young when all of these big, formative life events were happening to her. Why did you decide to highlight her ages like that?

Wilson: That was my editor Greg O’Toole’s idea, and I thought it was brilliant. It changes the way you see everything. When we think about Taylor Swift, I think we tend to forget how young she was when she started. You feel that amazement of, “Wow! She was writing those songs at that age?!” But then there’s also, “Oh my god, she had to go through that when she was a teenager?!” You see the good things and the hard things at once. It gives context, but it’s also this reminder throughout the film that this is a coming-of-age story.

MTV News: Totally. When it came to portraying Taylor’s relationship with her boyfriend, that three or so minutes where he’s shown backstage and then you see cell phone footage that looks like it was shot by him — I found that particularly moving and a nice way to acknowledge something that is an important part of her life but is also sacred and private. What kind of care went into achieving that balance?

Wilson: It really was a balance. Taylor’s had so many relationships go through the public ringer, so it was important to respect her desire to keep her relationship private, while still acknowledging the important role that relationship plays in her life. I remember we had done the first rough cut and we had this whole section of her writing Reputation. She was like, “I do have a few videos on my phone that I think could capture the fact that while I was out of the public eye, it was one of the happiest times of my life.” When I saw those videos, I was so moved by them. Especially by her singing “Call It What You Want” when she’s in the slippers. I was like, “This is everything. This is all we need to know.” It’s really special. You don’t even have to see her boyfriend’s face; you could feel it.

MTV News: I loved that scene and I loved the song choices in general. “Out Of the Woods,” “Getaway Car,” “Call It What You Want”… I thought it was really cool how you didn’t just use “Shake It Off” and all the big hits.

Wilson: I so appreciate you saying that because not a lot of people have commented on that. I really did not want to do, “here’s all of Taylor’s greatest hits in the first 10 minutes of the movie,” which you often see in this type of project. I wanted to use songs that were emotionally and thematically related to what was going on in the story at that time. With “Getaway Car,” it’s this moment of total freedom for her in the story of the film. Or “Clean,” after the sexual assault trial, for example.

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MTV News: When you’re making this kind of film and you’re capturing Taylor during such a long stretch of time, how do you know when it’s done? What was the moment when you realized you had enough of the story you wanted to tell?

Wilson: My sense was that we had to film through the Lover album release. I think you feel at that point in the film that Taylor isn’t as concerned with what people will think of the album. It’s more like, it was a joy for her to make and to put out into the world. She went through this period where she went away from the public eye, but she wants to keep entertaining people and making music, and nothing is going to stop her from that. I loved the idea of ending the movie with her walking onstage, and that idea of this bravery she’s had since she was 12 years old, of walking out to perform. I wanted to end it with her going back out into the world again to face the public, but you have the sense that something’s a little bit different about her now. That’s the sense I hope the audience has.

MTV News: Was there anything you had to leave out of the film that you were particularly bummed about cutting?

Wilson: There was so much more songwriting and recording in the studio. It’s so special to see something come from just the seed of an idea — a fragment of a melody or a lyric typed in her phone — and get to then hear it as a finished song. That’s some of my favorite stuff in the film, but there was a lot that we had to leave on the cutting room floor, heartbreakingly.

MTV News: I’d imagine. Do you think that footage will ever be used for anything?

Wilson: I don’t know. People have asked me about it, so it’s giving me hope that maybe we could just release the 40-minute version of Taylor writing “Only the Young” as a standalone film or something.

MTV News: Honestly, I would watch. A lot of people would watch!

Wilson: I think a lot of people would.

MTV News: Last question: How long did it take for Meredith and Olivia to warm up to you?

Wilson: I don’t know if they ever did, honestly! They’re very cute and they’re quite friendly. They’re often hiding under things. They just kind of pop out from somewhere, so you do have this feeling of, “There are cats everywhere!”

MTV News: I loved the screen time they got. Especially the cat backpack.

Wilson: I remember watching the cat backpack scene with one of my editors and I was like, “Is this too long? Are we spending too long on the cat backpack?” He looked at me and he was like, “Definitely not.” And he was absolutely right.