Rodrigo Prieto: The Cinematographer Behind the Lens of Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan” Video

Everything’s o-Tay for Rodrigo Prieto

The 54-year-old three-time Oscar-nominated Mexican cinematographer is earning rave reviews for his work on Taylor Swift’s music video for the pop star’s latest single “Cardigan.”

Rodrigo Prieto

The top-secret music video, written, directed and styled by Swift, was filmed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dreamy video, released on Friday, July 24 alongside Swift’s new album Folklore, presents a cottagecore aesthetic and features Swift in three different settings.

The “homespun” and “dreamlike” video starts out with Swift sitting in a candlelit cottage in the woods, wearing a nightgown and playing a vintage upright piano. When the soundboard starts glowing, she climbs into it and is magically transported to a moss-covered forest, where she plays the song on a grand piano producing a waterfall. The piano bench starts to glow and she climbs into it. She gets transported to a dark stormy sea, where she holds on to a floating piano. The piano soundboard glows and she climbs in, and she returns to the cottage, where she dons a cardigan.

Taylor Swift Cardigan Video

“She had the whole storyline – the whole notion of going into the piano and coming out into the forest, the water, going back into the piano,” Prieto tells Rolling Stoneof hisfirst phone call with Swift.

Their last collaboration, on the music video for “The Man,” saw Swift adopting a male alter ego to satirize gender inequality.

From the beginning, though, Prieto says “Cardigan” was always going to be more ambiguous, and more personal: “When she called me and told me that this was more of a fantasy, I found that really appealing.”

This was in early July, when Prieto had simultaneously begun serving on a committee for the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) to conceive solutions for safely resuming film production during the ongoing pandemic.

Prieto had just finished filming a PSA for a healthcare company when Swift asked him to work on “Cardigan,” and he was well aware of the many, many layers of risks involved in the project.

“We needed to be safe, for her sake and for our sake as a crew during the shoot, but also for the future of filmmaking,” he says. “Because we want to keep working and doing what we do, and if, God forbid, someone got sick on one of the first jobs that was filmed, it would probably close down [the industry].”

The extensive safety protocols for the shoot ranged from standard – everybody had to get tested, and every member of the crew wore a mask – to outlandish: Because Swift would need to spend a large part of the shoot not wearing a face covering, the crew used a colored wristband system, determining which members of the team were permitted to stand closest to her. (Prieto, assistant director Joe Osborne, and set designer Ethan Tobman all wore one color, lighting designers and gaffers wore another, and so on.)

Prieto actually wore two face coverings – a mask and an acrylic shield – for most of the day-and-a-half-long shoot. And just to ensure that crew members crossed within a six-foot range of Swift as little as possible, the entire “Cardigan” video was shot by mounting the camera to a robotic arm, which was then controlled by a remote operator.

The “techno arm,” as Prieto calls it, is typically only used in the industry for crane shots and other establishing visuals.

“We were going to use the crane for the ocean scene,” Prieto explains, referencing the shot where the image zooms out on the wide expanse of the water before honing back in on Swift. “So then I said, let’s have it both days.”

Hooking the camera up to a giant robot was the safest way to get close-ups on Swift’s face, Prieto explains. And as unwieldy as that sounds, you’d never know from watching the video that a human being wasn’t behind the lens at all times.

There was, of course, the added tangle of secrecy – the filmmaking had to be done indoors to avoid crowds, and Swift wore an earpiece throughout the shoot to lip-sync to the song without any of the crew hearing it.

The crew built three sets on two stages across one large studio, and in order to create the illusion of natural light for the outdoor scenes, Prieto and his crew draped giant stretches of white bouncing fabric on the walls and ceiling. The process took longer than usual due to COVID, with the lighting crew working in small groups and frequently taking breaks so they could remove masks and catch their breath.

“Filmmaking is a gregarious endeavor by nature,” Prieto says. “People are close to each other, so it’s really hard to remember to keep to yourselves.” Given the distancing on set, it was sometimes tricky for crew members to communicate over reference points and documents – “we had to kind of point at each other” – but Prieto attributes Swift’s clear vision for the project as a guiding light.

Ahead of the shoot, she sent him and Tobman numerous visual references for each scene – a mix of photographs for the dark ocean water and drawings for the fantastical forest sequence. One illustration, of a sword lodged into a rock formation overlooking a creek, was particularly inspiring: “That became our focal interest – we didn’t imitate it, but the feeling of it was what we went with.”

On top of that, Swift came up with a detailed shot list for the video ahead of time, with each visual accompanied by a time sequence within the song.

“The ocean water, the fingers on the piano, whatever it may be, she knew what she wanted for each section,” Prieto says. Unlike with “The Man,” Swift couldn’t be as hands-on with her direction on set – she viewed each take through a video monitor after it was shot – but Prieto was impressed by her ability to “talk with the camera” and utilize cinematic language without formal training, like with the unorthodox, zoom-out-and-in shot over the ocean. “I was blown away, because it’s all metaphorical,” he says. “This video is not just pretty images of things; she’s telling a personal story through her lyrics, her music, and now through the video.”

The video has already been viewed more than 40 million times on YouTube since its release.

Prieto previously earned Academy Awards for his lensing work on Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2006), Martin Scorsese’s Silence (2017) and Scorsese’s The Irishman (2020).

His other film credits include Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel (2006) and Biutiful (2010), Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants and Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo.

Tekashi 6ix9ine Earns Career First No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 with “Trollz,” Featuring Nicki Minaj

Tekashi 6ix9ine has trollz his way to the top…

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican & Mexican American rapper, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, has blasted to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated June 27 with his Nicki Minaj collaboration “Trollz.”   

Tekashi 6ix9ine

It’s the first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 6ix9ine and the second for Minaj, who notches her first in a lead role.

He had previously tallied two prior top 10s, each of which reached No. 3: “FEFE,” featuring Minaj and Murda Beatz, in August 2018, and “Gooba,” which debuted at No. 3 on the May 23-dated chart, five weeks ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNg3M9IJJlY

“Trollz,” released June 12 via Create Music Group, also launches at No. 1 on the Digital Song Sales chart with 116,000 sold in the week ending June 18, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, another career first for him, and No. 3 on Streaming Songs, with 36 million U.S. streams in the same span. It drew 1.2 million radio airplay audience impressions in the week ending June 21.

“Trollz” boasts the highest weekly sales sum since Taylor Swift‘s “Me!,” featuring Brendon Urie, soared in with 193,000 (May 11, 2019).

“Trollz” concurrently opens atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts, which employ the same multi-metric formula as the Hot 100. 6ix9ine earns his first No. 1 on the former chart and second on the latter, after “Gooba.” 

Jennifer Lopez to Appear as Part of YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” Global Virtual Commencement Ceremony

Jennifer Lopez is ready to motivate this year’s graduates…

YouTube has added several speakers and musical performances to Dear Class of 2020its global virtual commencement ceremony set for June 6, including the 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar.

Jennifer Lopez

In addition to Lopez, others joining Barack and Michelle ObamaLady Gaga and more as part of the special event are Beyoncé Knowles-Carter— who will deliver an inspirational message to the graduates — La La AnthonyAndy CohenLana CondorMisty Copeland,Kevin DurantFINNEASBill & Melinda GatesJoseph Gordon-LevittDemi LovatoHasan MinhajJanelle Monáe,Antoni PorowskiBilly PorterPhoebe RobinsonYara ShahidiMichael StrahanTaylor SwiftCiaraRussell Wilson, the casts of Euphoria and RiverdaleToday’s Jenna Bush Hager and Natalie Morales, and YouTub ecreators Emma Chamberlain, John GreenNikkieTutorials, and Mark Rober.

The multi-hour event premieres on Saturday, June 6 on YouTube. Other speakers and performers include BTSAlicia KeysKelly Rowland, Kerry WashingtonChloe x Halle and Zendaya, among others.

Barack and Michelle Obama each will deliver commencement speeches – as well as a joint heartfelt message – to this year’s high school and college seniors who are missing graduation celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, Michelle Obama’s Higher Reach Initiative will host a full hour of content to kick off the celebration.

“Graduation is a tradition that students and families look forward to and with the current state of the world, YouTube is lending some inspiration in the form of a virtual commencement,” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Content for YouTube. “We hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here.”

In “Dear Class of 2020,” people from around the world will join the class of 2020 as a singular community to celebrate their resilience, and the endless possibilities of their future, says YouTube. 

“The festival-style line up combines classic commencement day themes with a diverse array of entertainment that will capture all of the emotions of graduation including pride, hope, optimism, and camaraderie.”

YouTube is working in partnership with Higher Reach, Born This Way FoundationMalala FundTODAY, and Ideas United to showcase student stories and feature graduates around the world, including a crowd-sourced commencement speech. The special will be produced by Done + Dusted.

“Dear Class of 2020” can be streamed on the YouTube Originals channel and the Learn@Home site. 

The full schedule of commencement events is available on the Learn@Home site.

Rosalia to Receive the Rising Star Award at Billboard’s Women in Music Event

There’s no denying Rosalia’s status as a rising star…

With Billboard‘s 14th annual Women in Music event just weeks away, the 26-year-old Spanish singer/songwriter, a big Latin Grammy winner this year, among the artists being celebrated for their contributions to female empowerment.

Rosalia

Rosalía, nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy this year, will receive the Rising Star Award after changing the sound of today’s mainstream music with her fresh flamenco-influenced pop.

She joins newly announced honorees Alicia Keys, who will receive the Impact Award, and Megan Thee Stallion, this year’s Powerhouse Award honoree.

“Women in Music is a celebration of artists and executives who are changing the world through their work. We are excited to honor Alicia Keys, Rosalía and Megan thee Stallion, whose singular visions and voices are shifting our culture while inspiring fans to stay true to themselves,” said Hannah KarpBillboard’s editorial director.

The trio will join previously announced honorees Taylor SwiftBillie Eilish, Alanis Morissette,Nicki Minaj, Brandi Carlile and Roc Nation chief operating officer Desiree Perezat the 2019 Women in Music event, presented by YouTube Musicand hosted by last year’s Rising Star honoree Hayley Kiyoko.

The event and red carpet pre-show will stream live from the Hollywood Palladium on December 12 at YouTube.com/Billboard starting at 9 p.m. ET.

Selena Gomez’s “Lose You to Love Me” Sees Big Sales Increase After American Music Awards Performance

Selena Gomez’s story of loss is winning…

The 27-year-old Mexican American singer/actress’ chart-topping single “Lose You to Love Me” saw a big sales spike after Gomez performed the track at the American Music Awards.

Selena Gomez

The single, Gomez’s first-ever chart-topper, saw sales of 8,000 following her perforamnce; up 55% versus 5,000, according to initial reports by Nielsen Music.

Collectively, the songs performed on the November ABC television broadcast garnered a 108% gain in sales of digital downloads on November 24-26, as compared to the three days prior to the show (November 21-23). In total, the performed songs sold 84,000 on November 24-26 versus 40,000 on November 21-23.In addition to Gomez, notable gainers included Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” (5,000; up 79% versus 3,000), Post Malone’s “Take What You Want,” featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott (10,000 sold on November 24-26; up 220% as compared to 3,000 sold November 21-23) and Taylor Swift’s “Lover” (10,000; up 69% versus 6,000. 

Cardi B Wins Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop at the American Music Awards for the Second Straight Year

Make that two in a row for Cardi B

The 27-year-old half-Dominican American rap sensation picked up her second straight Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop trophy at this year’s American Music Awards, which aired live on ABC on Sunday night.

Cardi B

Cardi B won the crown over Drake and Post Malonefor the title, the same artist’s she beat out for the prize last year.

Camilla Cabello has also picked up her second straight trophy in the Collaboration of the Yearcategory.

The 22-year-old Mexican and Cuban singer and former Fifth Harmony member, who now has five solo AMAs trophies and a sixth with5H, won alongside Shawn Mendes for their chart-topping singleSeñorita.” Last year, Cabello won for her chart-topping hit “Havana,” featuring Young Thug.

Bruno Mars picked up the Favorite Male Artist – Soul/R&B trophy, the second win in the category for the 34-year-old part-Puerto Rican singer.

Mars beat out Chris Brownand Khalid for the award.

The third time proved to be the charm for J Balvin…

The 34-year-old  Colombian reggaeton singer won the Favorite Artist – Latintrophy for the first time, after losing out for the award the previous two years.

J Balvin beat out Bad Bunny andOzuna for the prize.

Hosted by Ciara, the evening included performances by Taylor SwiftBillie EilishSelena GomezLizzoChristina Aguilera & A Great Big WorldKeshaBig FreediaPost MaloneOzzy OsbourneHalseyCamila Cabello and Shawn Mendes

Here’s the full list of winners:

Artist of the Decade
Taylor Swift

Artist of the Year
Taylor Swift

New Artist of the Year
Billie Eilish

Collaboration of the Year
Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello “Señorita”

Tour of the Year
BTS

Favorite Music Video
Taylor Swift “You Need to Calm Down”

Favorite Social Artist
BTS

Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock
Khalid

Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock
Taylor Swift

Favorite Duo or Group – Pop/Rock
BTS

Favorite Album – Pop/Rock
Taylor Swift “Lover”

Favorite Song – Pop/Rock
Halsey “Without Me”

Favorite Male Artist – Country
Kane Brown

Favorite Female Artist – Country
Carrie Underwood

Favorite Duo or Group – Country
Dan + Shay

Favorite Album – Country
Carrie Underwood “Cry Pretty”

Favorite Song – Country
Dan + Shay “Speechless”

Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop
Cardi B

Favorite Album – Rap/Hip-Hop
Post Malone “Hollywood’s Bleeding”

Favorite Song – Rap/Hip-Hop
Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus “Old Town Road”

Favorite Male Artist – Soul/R&B
Bruno Mars

Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B
Beyoncé

Favorite Album – Soul/R&B
Khalid “Free Spirit”

Favorite Song – Soul/R&B
Khalid “Talk”

Favorite Artist – Alternative Rock
Billie Eilish

Favorite Artist – Adult Contemporary
Taylor Swift

Favorite Artist – Latin
J Balvin

Favorite Artist – Contemporary Inspirational
Lauren Daigle

Favorite Artist – Electronic Dance Music (EDM)
Marshmello

Favorite Soundtrack
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

Camila Cabello to Perform at the American Music Awards

Camila Cabello is ready to take the stage…

The 22-year-old Cuban and Mexican singer and former Fifth Harmony member is set to perform at this year’s American Music Awards.

Camila Cabello

Cabello, a four-time AMAs winner at last year’s awards show, joins an all-star roster of female performers that includes Billie EilishDua Lipa and Lizzo

Cabello, nominated this year for Collaboration of the Year for her Shawn Mendes tie-up “Señorita,” and Lipa performed at last year’s ceremony, while this will be Eilish and Lizzo’s first at-bat at the awards show.

The American Music Awards will take place onNovember 24 in Los Angeles.

The fabulous four join previously announced performers Selena Gomez, as well as Taylor Swift, recipient of the AMAs Artist of the Decade award.

Voting is now open for all AMAs categories at google/AMAsVote or by going to Google.comand using the search terms “AMAs Vote” or “[Nominee Name] AMAs Vote.” Voting will close on November 20.

The 2019 AMAs will air live from the Microsoft Theaterin L.A. at 8:00 pm ET on ABC.

Cardi B: Apple Music’s Most-Streamed Latina Artist of All Time

She hasn’t been in the music industry for long, but Cardi Bhas certainly made her mark…

In celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8), Apple Music has revealed its list of the most-streamed female artists of all time, with the 26-year-old half-Dominican American rap sensation earning a spot in the Top 10.

Cardi B

Cardi B, the highest-ranking Latina on the list, comes in at No. 6, behind Ariana GrandeTaylor SwiftRihannaBeyoncéand Nicki Minaj.

Other Latinas making the list include Demi Lovato(No. 13), Selena Gomez(No. 14), Camila Cabello(No. 17) and Mariah Carey(No. 20). 

Meanwhile, the “I Like It” rapper tops the list of the Most Shazam’d Women of the Past Year, coming in ahead of Sia, Dua Lipa and Nicki Minaj.

Lovato comes in at No. 5 on the Shazam-related list, while Cabello comes in at No. 10. Gomez at No. 11 and Becky Gat No. 17.

“Apple Music will be highlighting visionary women in music around the world throughout the month of March with artist curated playlists and female-driven programming (100+ Apple Music playlists featuring 3000+ tracks spotlighting single and multiple female artists),” the company said in a press release.

Here are the complete lists:

Apple Music’s most-streamed female artists of all time:

1. Ariana Grande
2. Taylor Swift
3. Rihanna
4. Beyoncé
5. Nicki Minaj
6. Cardi B
7. Adele
8. Sia
9. Lady Gaga
10. Halsey
11. Lana Del Rey
12. SZA
13. Demi Lovato
14. Selena Gomez
15. Katy Perry
16. P!nk
17. Camila Cabello
18. Mariah Carey
19. Ella Mai
20. Billie Eilish

Most Shazam’d women of the past year:

1. Cardi B
2. Sia (including LSD)
3. Dua Lipa
4. Nicki Minaj
5. Demi Lovato
6. Halsey
7. Rihanna
8. Anne-Marie
9. Ariana Grande
10. Camila Cabello
11. Selena Gomez
12. Bebe Rexha
13. Beyoncé (including The Carters)
14. Lady Gaga
15. Jess Glynne
16. Rita Ora
17. Becky G
18. P!nk
19. Katy Perry
20. Taylor Swift 

Camila Cabello Wins Big at the American Music Awards

Camila Cabello is havana very memorable night…

The 21-year-old Mexican and Cuban singer and former Fifth Harmony member took home four awards—her first as a solo artist—at the American Music Awards, making her the winningest Hispanic artist of the night.

Camila Cabello

Cabello was named New Artist of the Year, the first Latina/o artist to win the award since the category was introduced in 2004.

Cabello’s massive hit single “Havana,” featuring Young Thug, picked up the awards for Collaboration of the Year, Video of the Year and Favorite Song – Pop/Rock.

Cardi B, the best dressed Latina at the AMAs, won the first-ever AMA trophies of her career.

The 25-year-old rap sensation, who performed a sizzling rendition of her Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper “I Like It,” was named Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop.

Additionally, Cardi B earned Favorite Song — Rap/Hip-­Hop honors for her other No. 1 hit “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” as well as Favorite Song – Soul/R&B for her hit collaboration with Bruno Mars, “Finesse.” It was Mars’ ninth AMAs prize of his career.

Daddy Yankee was named Favorite Artist – Latin, the first win in the category for the 41-year-old Puerto Rican rapper in five attempts.

The American Music Awards, which aired in October for the first time in the show’s 46-year history, were hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross.

Here’s the full list of 2018 AMAs winners.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Taylor Swift

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Camila Cabello 

COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR
Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug, “Havana”

TOUR OF THE YEAR
Taylor Swift

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug, “Havana”

FAVORITE SOCIAL ARTIST
BTS

FAVORITE MALE ARTIST — POP/ROCK
Post Malone

FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST — POP/ROCK
Taylor Swift  

FAVORITE DUO OR GROUP — POP/ROCK
Migos 

FAVORITE ALBUM — POP/ROCK
Taylor Swift, reputation 

FAVORITE SONG­ — POP/ROCK
Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug, “Havana”

FAVORITE MALE ARTIST — COUNTRY
Kane Brown

FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST — COUNTRY
Carrie Underwood

FAVORITE DUO or GROUP — COUNTRY
Florida Georgia Line

FAVORITE ALBUM — COUNTRY
Kane Brown, Kane Brown 

FAVORITE SONG  — COUNTRY
Kane Brown, “Heaven”

FAVORITE ARTIST — RAP/HIP­HOP
Cardi B

FAVORITE ALBUM — RAP/HIP­HOP
Post Malone, beerbongs & bentleys

FAVORITE SONG — RAP/HIP­HOP
Cardi B “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)”

FAVORITE MALE ARTIST — SOUL/R&B
Khalid

FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST — SOUL/R&B
Rihanna

FAVORITE ALBUM — SOUL/R&B
XXXTENTACION 17 

FAVORITE SONG — SOUL/R&B
Bruno Mars & Cardi B “Finesse”

FAVORITE ARTIST — ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Panic! At The Disco

FAVORITE ARTIST — ADULT CONTEMPORARY
Shawn Mendes

FAVORITE ARTIST — LATIN
Daddy Yankee

FAVORITE ARTIST — CONTEMPORARY INSPIRATIONAL
Lauren Daigle 

FAVORITE ARTIST — ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC (EDM)
Marshmello 

FAVORITE SOUNDTRACK
Black Panther: The Album, Music From And Inspired By 

Cardi B: The Best Dressed Latina at the American Music Awards

Everything’s coming up roses, carnations and more for Cardi B

The 25-year-old half-Dominican rap sensation made a memorable fashion statement on the red carpet at the American Music Awards, earning Best Dressed Latina honors for her floral frock.

Cardi B on the AMAs Red Carpet

Cardi B
Cardi B, who picked up the first three awards of her career at theAMAs, wore a floral gown, complete with a lace-up corset style bodice.

The “Bodak Yellow” rapper topped off her outfit with a matching headpiece.

Jennifer Lopez AMAs Red Carpet

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez
slayed the AMAs red carpet in a hot-pink ensemble that had everything going for it… a plunging neckline, side cutouts and cape-sleeves.

The 49-year-old Puerto Rican singer paired her Georges Chakra Couturedress with Jimmy Chooshoes and bag.

Camila Cabello on the AMAs Red Carpet

Camila Cabello
Camila Cabello
, who tied Taylor Swift as the night’s big winners with four trophies each, opted against a gown.

But the 21-year-old Mexican and Cuban singer and former Fifth Harmony member still looked stunning in her simple black pantsuit and corset top.

The “Havana” singer paired her outfit with Christian Louboutin shoes and Bulgari jewelry.