Zane Lowe opened the first episode of his Apple Music Beats 1 show “New Music Daily” on Friday (Oct. 25) with a bit of hype about Kanye West’s new album Jesus is King “finally” being out. “Talk about synergy, praise the lord,” Lowe said about the oft-delayed album that he said dropped five minutes before the inaugural edition kicked off.
Lowe then shared the vibe-y “Follow God” from Jesus is King, whose release date briefly seemed like it might come and go like so many previous ones. The high-energy show then jumped from peeks at new songs that came out this week to a series of superstar interviews that felt like a music magazine come to life in your earpods.
The debut episode included spins of a fresh song from one of Lowe’s favorite artists, The 1975’s, the dancey exploration of anxiety “Frail State of Mind,” as well as a rapid-fire runs through a rager from Josh Homme’s new Desert Sessions album (“Crucifire”), as well as songs by Rex Orange County, Mura Masa and Coldplay.
The show then included a playful chat with Coldplay singer Chris Martin, who said he hasn’t done many interviews yet about his band's new album, so he hasn’t quite learned what to say about it yet. “I think that a combination of things is happening for us…not that there hasn’t always been craziness in the world, but it’s so in your face all the time that it can only increase one's gratitude for being able to do this job,” said Martin in between some good-natured smack talk with his old pal. “You have to sing what’s coming through and that’s what we’ve done more than ever.”
Martin explained that the Sunrise part of the double-album is about the challenges we’re facing and Sunset is “more how might you meet those challenges and how can one go on.”
Lowe also played some tape from a lengthy interview with Taylor Swift in which she talked about collaborating with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber on a new song for the big screen re-imagining of Cats. She said that when she was done with her bits, she would always sneak away to watch her on-set obsession, co-star Francesca Hayward. “I got called to do a rehearsal at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s house,” she said, noting that Sir Andrew has more cats than her and the “best quality” gossip.
“We’re just bros immediately and then we go in to rehearse my song…and then he just sits at the piano and he starts playing this melody that I've never heard before. And I know it's not in the original film of Cats. I'm like, 'This is the one…this is my moment,'" she said. "And I'm just having this moment where I'm like…he's playing this, I'm running through all the score of Cats. I'm like, 'This is not in the original musical." At which point Swift immediately began conjuring up a topline melody that she had been trying to shape in her mind.
"If you have a song stuck in your head, chances are you're singing the top line," she said. "What he has got is this beautiful instrumental piece. As soon as he starts playing it, I start singing the top line. I knew exactly what this character would say if she was going to sing a song. I knew where in the movie they were going to put her song. I had been kind of gathering data…but I had no idea what the song was like. I didn't have sheet music, I didn't have any…I knew, I knew, I knew that it would be after 'Memory,' so it'd be right after Jennifer Hudson sings 'Memory.'"
Because she's a superfan, Swift tried to imagine how this young kitten would reflect on what she's just heard and counter it with her own point of view. Lowe dropped a bomb sound effect to describe how blown away he was at one of the lines Swift shared, “And the memories were lost long ago/ But at least you have beautiful ghosts." Swift went on to give a preview of some other lines she created for a cat whose voice she just instinctively heard in her head.
"I could see this young person thinking like, 'What if I never have any of that in my whole life? What if that's lost on me? What if I don't get that ever? At least you have that to cling to,'" Swift said. "The first line is, 'Follow me home if you dare to/ I wouldn't know where to lead you/ Should I take chances when no one took chances on me?…So I watch from the dark, wait for my life to start/ With no beauty in my memory.”
Lowe also invited Selena Gomez into the studio to talk about the two new songs she dropped this week (“Look At Her Now” and “Lose You to Love Me”). “I’ve always been transparent about what I’ve gone through,” she said, describing how she controls what information is released about her in order to “claim my voice…you’re not gonna get the truth anywhere except from me.” The singer also revealed that she shot both videos just one week ago on an iPhone.
Describing “Lose You,” Gomez said she doesn’t necessarily keep fan expectations in mind when she’s writing such heartfelt tracks. “To be honest it doesn’t anymore,” she said about letting Selenator's desires get in her head while crafting songs. “Because I spent years of living in fear of speaking out or saying things. I guess that’s just the people pleaser in me.”
She doesn’t know when she stopped living like that, but rather than let people narrate her life, Gomez has reclaimed her voice, and it's one of the things she's most proud of. “It’s not like I’m trying to make it specifically about just one subject in my life,” she said of her new music. “It’s more just how I embody all of the experiences into one.”
Selena also revealed that at one point she really wanted to be like Paramore for a minute early in her career, but that rockist flirtation only lasted a couple months, though she hailed the band’s singer Hayley Williams as a “genius” songwriter. In addition to speaking about how she’s dealt with her anxiety by taking long social media breaks and unplugging, Gomez reacted with love to Lowe playing some lavish praise from her pal Taylor Swift.
"It's the best thing she's ever done. She came over, she played me the video. I'm so proud of her," Swift said of "Lose You." "She's been through so much. I've watched so much happen in her life and had a front row seat to so much, and I'm so proud of her. She is such a revelation because now she's making her best stuff. I am 100% convinced this is the best thing she's done so far."
“Mmm…Taylor! that was very sweet. She was frustrated when I was frustrated and sad when I was sad,” she said of her longtime friend, tearing up as she spoke about how her other pals stood by her and how Swift and her mom Mandy cried when they first heard “Lose You.”
Watch clips of the Swift interview from the new show below and tune in to New Music Daily with Zane Lowe on Apple Music's Beats 1 every day at noon ET.