After three years, Dead Sara is back – and frontperson Emily Armstrong shares how their new album may have an overarching theme that they didn’t intend!
Dead Sara didn’t plan for there to be a cohesive theme running through their new album. But, as they were putting the final touches on Ain’t It Tragic, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Emily Armstrong discovered something special about it. Or, at least, her friend did. “It’s funny,” she said during an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. “A friend of mine, who’s going to be helping us play guitar — he’s coming on tour with us – he’s learning all the songs, and he [says] like, ‘there’s this theme to this album.’” And that theme, Emily shares, is tied to the message found within “Heroes,” the single that preceded Tragic’s release.
“Heroes” – a three-minute alt-rock headbanger with surging guitars, an undeniable bass groove, and Emily’s knockout vocals – takes the concept of “never meet your heroes” and twists it, seemingly transforming it into a self-empowering anthem. Though Emily sings, “All my heroes are dead, and they’re living in my head,” it’s hard not to feel energized while listening to it. It’s less about the death of actual persons and more about the concept of “heroes” itself. “Used to think when I was younger / Somebody gonna come and save me,” Emily sings at the start of the song, and by its end, you feel like she’s more than capable of saving herself.
While “Heroes” is one of the eleven tracks that make up Ain’t It Tragic (out today, 9/17), Emily says that the band – her, Siouxsie Medley and Sean Friday – began work on the song back in 2018, when they released their Temporary Things Taking Up Space EP. “This [song] was one of those born in that time, but it was merely a demo. It had a completely different bridge, different chorus, but there was a vibe to it. It was a vibe. And there was always something really fun about it. And that was a transformative time because we really started really going into songwriting. Before that, we weren’t necessarily songwriters. We were just a band in a room and what sounded good, sounded good.”
“Around that time of the EP,” she continues, “We were really homing in on it. That was the hard part for us. So, we just kind of started to really look at that part. Like what is something that’s going to make us grow? And that song came about. I think it was a Susie riff. I don’t know how it started, to be honest. We took it down to the piano, we messed with some chords and created a world to it, and we’re like, ‘okay, cool.’ And then just sat on it for a few years. Didn’t make the EP.”
When it came time to make Ain’t it Tragic, the band – now signed with Warner Records – revisited the song and brought it to the label. “When we went to Warner, they were like, ‘yeah, this is good. This is good. There’s something to this one.’ And we’re like, ‘cool. All right, well, let’s finish it.’” Emily remembered being in the studio and looking down at her phone, having written the phrase “my heroes are dead.” It was then when it all clicked.
“I was spitting words. And I was like, oh, ‘all my heroes are dead.’ And I was singing that. And the band was like, ‘wait, that’s really cool.’ And it was at that point, I understood what the song was. It’s refreshed. It’s not that song that it was [in 2018], and it was more like a loneliness. That’s what I remember, it’s just being sad, and it’s almost like the heartbreak-y song at the beginning. So it does have that feel. The chords and the melody and stuff like that. It has that kind of heartbreak and loss. And then with ‘all my heroes are dead’ kind of put like, oh, putting those words to that feeling created something where it was it felt complete.”
Instead of the “heartbreak-y” vibe, the song had transformed into something different, a defiant burst of energy and light. That vibrancy is best viewed in the song’s music video. With a fish-eye lens (“That’s an ode to a lot of the Beastie Boys videos, which we love so much,” says Emily), the DIY visual shows the band having fun, which was essential to Emily. “I felt like I wanted to get away from anything that might’ve made the song feel dark with all my heroes are dead and it being a time of coming out of a pandemic and a world just feels like it’s imploding.”
“I didn’t want it to be dark,” she said. “And when we did send out for treatments, a lot of it was Emily gets up out of bed, looks at the world and decides that it’s the end of the world kind of a thing. I wanted the opposite. I wanted to have fun with it and be energetic.” She also shared that the DIY approach to the “Heroes” video came because they had scrapped another video they shot for the song. With the deadline approaching, they brought in their friend, Matt Odom, to help finish the video.
“It was like a race for time,” says Emily. “We just did it DIY, just ran around with a camera, had some locations in mind, like a friend’s apartment on top–and Susie’s apartment and then his house. So that added to the spontaneity of it that looks–I loved it. And we’re like, cool. This is exactly what it needed.”
Ultimately, that chaos and spontaneity and unfiltered Dead Sara experience is the message of Ain’t It Tragic. That friend, who will be joining Dead Sara on tour, thought that “the theme of ‘Heroes’ was about ‘fuck you, but also not really, not in like a very antagonistic way,’ but just like, ‘I’m going to do me.’ This is literally everything he said. And he thinks that that is the theme of the whole album.”
“I got to listen to it more, but I’m like, well, I was trying to argue with him for fun sake,” she says with a bit of a smile.” And I think he’s correct, and I do get sarcastic at times and stuff.”
Whether or not everyone takes that vibe from Ain’t It Tragic – that you’re strong enough to where you don’t need saving, that the world can f-ck off and ‘I’ll do me,’ that after a heavy year of darkness, it’s time to let the light in – is up to interpretation. Thankfully, Ain’t It Tragic is out now, allowing fans to make their own minds up. Plus, today (Sept. 17) is the start of Dead Sara’s headlining 2021 tour Click here for dates.
Nayel Nassar: 5 Things About The Man Who Married Bill Gates’ Daughter Jennifer
Congratulations are in order for Jennifer Gates and her new husband, Egyptian equestrian, Nayel Nassar. Here’s everything to know about him!
Jennifer Gates is officially off the market! The eldest daughter of billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates said her ‘I do’s with new husband Nayel Nassar, a professional equestrian, on October 16. The two wed at the Gates family’s sprawling estate in Westchester County, New York in front of 300 people. It comes four years after the pair were first linked, having both attended Stanford University, and sharing a passion for horses and equestrian. Read on for everything to know about Nayel.
1. He has officially tied the knot with Jennifer.
Nayel and Jennifer are now man and wife! The couple exchanged vows at her farm, which was gifted to her by her parents after she graduated from college. Talk about an extravagant gift! The venue, which features 124 acres of land, was set up with pavilions with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Jennifer stunned in a custom Vera Wang dress, as she was flanked by her bridesmaids who wore teal gowns, and both of her parents walked her down the aisle. It was reported that 300 guests attended the Muslim ceremony per the Daily Mail, and Coldplay served as the entertainment.
2. Nayel competed in the Tokyo Olympics
Nayel, whose parents are Egyptian, has been competing in equestrian competitions for several years. According to his biography, he began at the age of 10, and has gone on to qualify for the FEI World Cup Finals in 2013, 2014 and 2017, along with the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014.
Most recently, he competed in the Tokyo Olympics, marking the first time in 61 years that Egypt’s equestrian team had qualified for the Olympics. His mother-in-law Melinda took to Instagram, writing, “I always love watching the Olympics. The #TokyoOlympics are particularly special because I get to cheer on my future son-in-law, @nayelnassar! We are so proud of you, Nayel (and Igor)!” Meanwhile, Bill added, “I’m rooting for lots of the athletes in Tokyo right now—but none more than my soon-to-be son-in-law, @nayelnassar. Good luck, Nayel!”
3. He also has affluent parents.
Nayel had a similar upbringing to his now-wife. He was born in Chicago to millionaire parents but was raised in Kuwait. Back in 2017, he returned to the country with Jennifer for a visit ahead of the holidays. “Memorable times in Kuwait last week with family and old friends. Got to bring Jenn home and give her a glimpse of my childhood,” he wrote on Instagram. “It meant the world to me. Needless to say, she was loved by all..including Jerry.”
4. He graduated from Stanford University.
Both Nayel and Jennifer graduated from Stanford University in Northern California. He earned a degree in economics in 2013, while his wife graduated in 2018 with a degree in human biology. “Lucky me, she’s beautiful and has a Stanford degree! ?? Congratulations love, on all you’ve achieved these last 4 years. Can’t wait to continue this wonderful journey with you #stanfordgrad2018 #beenthere #classof2013 #imgettingold,” he wrote.
5. He speaks multiple languages.
If his list of accomplishment wasn’t already impressive enough, he also speaks Arabic, French, and English.
Garcelle Beauvais Teases Andy Cohen Asked Erika Jayne ‘A Lot Of Hard Questions’ During Dramatic ‘RHOBH’ Reunion
Garcelle Beauvais says she was ‘proud’ of how host Andy Cohen handled Erika Jayne’s Q&A portion of the ‘RHOBH’ reunion in this EXCLUSIVE interview!
Garcelle Beauvais, 54, was blown away by how her boss and host of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season 11 reunion, Andy Cohen, 53, handled questioning Erika Jayne, 50. The blonde bombshell has been at the center of the drama with her legal troubles this season amid her divorce. “Andy really did his job,” Garcelle told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY on Oct. 11 at Travel & Give’s ‘Travel with a Purpose’ fundraiser at TomTom in West Hollywood. “I think he asked the questions that people want to know the answers to. I was really proud of him.”
The “XXPEN$IVE” singer has been dealing with a ton of real life legal drama with cameras rolling after filing for divorce from husband Tom Girardi, 82, when a cheating scandal and tons of lawsuits came to light. Tom and his law firm allegedly embezzled funds from plane crash victims — something Erika has sworn up and down she did not know about (notably, she is named in the lawsuits).
The ladies have grilled her all season on the show about her knowledge on the situation and how she’s holding up. Because of the real life woes happening, Garcelle promises fans that the record four part reunion is not short of any juice. “I can tease there’s a lot of drama,” Garcelle revealed. “A lot of emotions, a lot of hard questions, honestly.”
During part one which aired on Oct. 13, fans witnessed Garcelle and former bestie Lisa Rinna, 58, get heated with one another after having their issues all season. At the end of the episode, Garcelle comes over to Rinna’s couch and the ladies hug and agree to start fresh. “I am open,” Garcelle said of her future with Rinna. “Clean slate. Let’s start the new season.”
Rumors are swirling that season 12 will begin filming this month to capture Erika’s ongoing legal issues. Articles have also surfaced with Garcelle’s status should that be true, and she is setting the record straight about her return should she get the call to begin filming. “Not yet,” Garcelle said of officially signing back on. “Yeah, I’m open, for sure. Open for sure.”
Part two of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion airs Wednesday at 8pm on Bravo.
‘You’ EP: [Spoiler]’s Grim Fate Was ‘Always The Plan’ & Teases Joe’s Mom ‘Could’ Be Alive
‘You’ season 3 ended with yet another jaw-dropping twist. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with EP Sera Gamble about those finale shockers, season 4, and Joe’s mother. Spoilers ahead!
Joe and Love’s relationship came to a tragic end at the end of You season 3. After finding out about Joe’s obsession with Marienne, Love tried to “save” her marriage and started off by poisoning Joe with aconite. Joe, knowing Love better than she knows herself, had a plan B. After Love told Marienne the truth about Joe, which sent Marienne running, Joe killed Love with a fatal dose of aconite.
Joe faked his death — even cut off two of his toes to make sure no one questioned it — and burned down the home that he and Love shared. Both Joe and Love committed unspeakable acts in season 3, but he blamed everything on Love in a suicide note and said she had killed him. Joe left Madre Linda behind and went to Paris, still hoping he’ll be reunited with Marienne someday. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with You executive producer Sera Gamble about the season 3 finale twists and what they could mean for season 4.
At the end of season 3, Love is killed. Was there ever a discussion about keeping her alive? Was that always sort of the end goal for her?
Sera Gamble: This 2-season arc was always the plan, but I’m not going to lie when you’re working with an actor like Victoria Pedretti, of course, you have that conversation. We’re not idiots. She’s amazing. I feel like sometimes writers would watch cut and then sort of wistfully pitch a whole new direction just because it’s so fun to write for her. But that was always the plan.
Joe ends up in Paris at the end of season 3, and he’s still looking for Marienne. In Caroline Kepnes’ book, he ends up in the Pacific Northwest. Why the move to Paris?
Sera Gamble: Caroline was still writing the book while we were making this past season, and she and I talked quite a lot. We knew that she had a different direction for Love and for the baby. I said, ‘Well, here’s an idea that, frankly, Greg [Berlanti] pitched to me.’ He’s the one who usually texts me at 7 in the morning, ‘I had an amazing thought at 3 am.’ And then it’s like the season. That’s what Greg does. Basically, she embraced the idea that at this point the books and the show exist in two parallel timelines. They’re like cousins and not twins anymore. But I’m looking for ways to dovetail back with different aspects of what she’s writing.
Will a potential fourth season be set in Paris? [This interview was conducted before the show was renewed.]
Sera Gamble: I just don’t know yet. I can tell you that if we got to do a season 4, it would be super fun to step outside the U.S. It’s a huge mandate to always put Joe in a situation where he feels very different from the people he’s around so that he can judge the hell out of them in his mind, and we can eavesdrop on that. So it would be really fun.
Marienne figures prominently in the latter half of season 3. Would you want to circle back with her? When Love told her to run, she listened.
Sera Gamble: I think that is the probably biggest open question that we leave you with at the end of the season. I mean, when I watch it, I think it’s pretty clear that she gets the message from Love that maybe she was mistaken about this gentleman, but Joe’s not done thinking about her. So there’s always the chance, right?
I spoke with Tati about that scene and whether or not she believed what Love said and if changed after Love’s “suicide note.” I’d love to know what was going on in Marienne’s head if she learns about all this.
Sera Gamble: Watching that scene as it was shot was one of my favorite things this season. Tati and Victoria play so beautifully together. It went through a lot of iterations. We rewrote that scene a lot. They both had really good questions about it and because so much is happening and so much is pivoting, I definitely know that Tati and I had some conversations about what she and I believed the character would be thinking at that point. But one of the beautiful things about the collaboration of TV is she was thinking what she was thinking, and then it’s going to read the way it’s going to read when you watch it. I think people will watch that scene and come away with different opinions. I think it might be a bit of a debate.
Was there ever a discussion about killing her off?
Sera Gamble: We definitely cycled through that question with every single character. Like, the barista in the random cafe in Paris… is Joe going kill him? Maybe. But I think we were always pretty clear that it wasn’t about that. It would be more interesting to hand her the truth at the end of the season. Among other reasons because what an intense, powerful punch from Love. This season only works if they’re an amazing team at the beginning and amazing adversaries by the end, so we want to Love to strike some death blows.
It’s almost like Love gets the last word, even if she ended up dead.
Sera Gamble: Yeah, and I think this might sound like I’m defending her, and maybe I am in a little sort of way, she makes a lot of moves there at the end that are very protective of Marienne, Marienne’s daughter, and of her baby. So it’s not as simple as just they’re swiping at each other with kitchen knives.
“Exile” was an amazing use of a Taylor Swift song in that finale montage. Is she a fan of the show?
Sera Gamble: I have no idea if she’s ever watched anything I have anything to do with. I’ll just say I’m a fan. We did a Taylor Swift musical number in The Magicians, which is another show I worked on, and the idea of that particular song is we’re always playing with the tropes of the romantic comedy or the sad romance. It creates a nice tension when you’re watching people do things like burn a body, so it’s just such a romantic song. It’s so sincere in what it’s saying. So that felt like the right tone for the tragic end of the beautiful relationship of Joe and Love.
At the end of season 2, many fans were wondering if Joe’s mother was going to be back in the picture. Some thought she was going to be the woman next door. Could Joe’s mom still be alive?
Sera Gamble: Yeah, she could.
Is that maybe something you want to explore down the road?
Sera Gamble: I mean, it’s certainly fair game. I’ll say that.