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Sound Fails Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande During Coachella Performance

Nicki Minaj took the main stage Sunday night at Coachella in support of frequent collaborator Ariana Grande. Unfortunately, Minaj couldn’t hear much of her two-song performance with the “thank u, next” star due to ongoing sound issues.

It created an especially awkward scene for Minaj, who seemed to lose audio in both ear pieces before hitting the stage for “Side to Side” and “Bang Bang.” Grande continued to sing and rally behind Minaj, who appeared at a loss for words.

The sound was also problematic for special guests Mase and P. Diddy, who came out to sing a rendition of “Mo Money Mo Problems” with Grande.

The Coachella Music and Arts Festival is set in the Palm Springs desert in Southern California, where winds and dust can wreak havoc on performers and equipment. Earlier in the night, newcomer Lizzo powered through horrific sound problems during her set.

Reps for Coachella promoter Goldenvoice and its parent company, AEG Presents, did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.

Back in 2017, the audio was so bad for Radiohead, the U.K. group exited the stage twice after suffering major audio difficulties throughout their set.

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53 Comments
  1. Who cares, so they made a mistake we all do. I think we hold these musicians too high. So when they make a mistake it’s like the end of the world. Or if they do something “nice” it’s like they are God. People wonder why musicians have so many issues. My biggest issue was the video feed. It was way to dark (not sure if it was like that live or not but it was horrible) and the filters they tried to use at times sucked. Just film the dang thing.

    • These are the type of performers that make Coachella so wrecked now.. it’s all about the dolla.. Coachella and Burningman are big money corporation hoes now.

  2. Oh please…. you play in a band you learn to play through sound problems….. what the real issue is is that they couldn’t hear so they couldn’t mount to the vocal track….. what a joke.

    • The population of Queens was 2,358,582 in 2017. You wanna rethink your claim that she “Feeds all of Queens on thanksgiving.”?

      • Her team and her family handed out 1000’s of turkeys and fixings. It’s a nice gesture. It’s more than a lot of artists do. Everyone that showed up, was fed. Period.

        I’m not just defending her, I don’t know her. I just think if you read the majority of blogs that cover popular music, they are bashing her, to prop up Cardi B. It just doesn’t make sense. Why do people support a racist, unintelligent prostitute with zero writing credits on their own bodies of work? Someone who openly said she drugged and robbed men to “survive”? She calls her black fans roaches, she’s telling young girls to spread and sell what’s between their legs, if you want to be successful.

        Why support THAT, over someone who gives back to the city she was brought up in, writes her own lyrics, writes for other artists, supports up and coming artists, gives back to her fans(pays for school, supplies, she’s paid for students overseas to come to the U.S. to attend college. She’s said over and over that she wants young girls to use their brains before they use anything else. That’s telling. The list goes on.

        I’m not even a “barb”, just a fan of pop culture, it’s really confusing to me. It’s like the better you are as a human being, the more BS you gotta deal with.

        Agree or disagree with what I said, I don’t care. I encourage everyone to think for themselves. I do wonder though, why it seems the trashier an artist, the lesser the talent level, etc. The higher the praise?

        Cardi B sent a clear message when she won that Grammy. Strip, sell your vagina in the VIP room, take payment for sex, drug and rob men and YOU too, can be a Grammy award winning artist.

        Yikes.

        Why support THAT, when

  3. The soundman was a recent graduate of Full Sail audio engineering program so he couldn’t possibly have been the problem. (I am only joking, I do not know this to be a fact). Point is – it almost takes the designer of these new digital mixing boards to be able to fix a problem in a hurry. It’s not like analog boards where you could see any given problem just by looking at the board (no menus to scroll through, etc.)

    In the end – the bass player had kicked Minaj’ earbuds power plug out of the wall.

  4. These are not singers. Not one bit.
    And the children who paid for this garbage need to be spanked into next month.

  5. Who cares? Nothing but a bunch of shallow BS. American pop culture is some of the most dumbed down, shallow, mindless crap there is anymore. Cardi B? Absolute and total trash… and a role model to many young ladies… sad stuff really.

  6. Funny, if either of these manufactured no-talent bimbos were real singers they would only need a a piano and their voices.

    • It’s pretty hard to use your voice in front of a crowd of tens of thousands of people screaming if you can’t even hear yourself. With this same logic you could argue that the Beatles were talentless bimbo’s because they too couldn’t hear themselves during live shows and sounded bad. Ariana does have live shows with just her voice and a piano, you should listen to them.

    • You would probably have PTSD too if you experienced a bombing which killed over 20 people that you love.

  7. Same issue with Mariah Carey at that New Years Eve show. Everyone wants wireless in-ear monitors. You’ve got dozens and dozens of wireless devices really close in frequency plus tons of other devices, security systems, police radios, garage door openers, and equipment of marginal quality all competing for airspace. I’m amazed there aren’t more problems. And when you have 80-90 mics, 1/2 wireless all the in ears, chances of something failing is high. Then you have all the other equipment, PC based, you never have problems with your PC right?, I have a small Sound company, 48 channels max, I hard wire everything if possible, I always have wedges available. If carey had a couple of wedges she could have lip sync’d just fine. Running live audio is always a crap shoot. When you run without backup it’s just a matter of when, not if, you’ll have a catastrophic failure.Musicians have no idea how complex these huge sound systems are. And the bands engineers might be familiar with the mixer but have no idea how the rest of the system is configured. Then you want to switch acts over in 30 minutes? again, I’m amazed there aren’t more disasters.

    • True… As an audio professional and musican that gave Mariah lots of hate. In my defense though, some of those notes she just couldn’t hit.

  8. It’s all lip-synced and choreographed pretend for most of these new “artists”. This is nothing but PR flack for two manufactured “stars” who got exposed.

    • As a fellow audio engineer I agree, too many wireless objects being used. Another factor is the fact that the new wireless earbuds offer every band member a personal mix, which multiplies failure possibility by logarithmic rates.

      Then add in the fact that most artists only do 30 to 60 minutes before a completely new setup is required. Certainly, technology should solve all of the problems it creates – you have instant recall of mix levels, etc. But then you add back the human factor, the bass player or guitarist who turns up his own instrument right before the set and screws up everything.

  9. These “musicians” are more concerned about the visuals than the audio. There should be a front line with monitors all across the front and then they could pull out their in-ears and listen to the monitors in an emergency. Also, get a real sound professional like Alembic or Languedoc out there to ride herd on these young guys. Without the music, it’s nothing.

  10. When so much of your vocal performance depends on electronics ….can you you really consider yourself a “Singer” ???

  11. Like them or not it still sucks to have your performance touted by poor engineering. In this day and age of technology…it shldnt even be happening. Spend less money on catering and booze and more money on entertainment…or maybe that’s why they spend so much on booze…b/c of the possibility of multiple mishaps… if your uber drunk…what matters…who cares….

  12. the Woodstock gathering had technical difficulties from hour one, not to mention the rain and heavy wind. the artist of Woodstock stand high above today’s digital track auto tuned garbage..

    Richie Havens “Freedom” , a last minute impromptu to stall for time, is merely one example…

  13. The best thing about couchella is…..
    No traffic and no parking problems in LA.
    Empty!!!!!!!!

  14. I think these audio systems have become too complex, and if there is a failure somewhere in the chain, it takes a highly experienced technician to quickly fix the problem. And i’m guessing that most of the people operating these systems are too young and inexperienced to handle it. I don’t know if this was a problem with the sound company, or if it was due to operator error of the artist’s own engineers. Most well-known acts bring their own engineers, who may not be totally familiar with the venue’s sound system.

    • Dang! Sorry i missed it. Would have been a good beer spilling laughing. When does the year long publicity cat fight between the two start?

  15. Sound Fails Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande During Coachella Performance… fans appreciative.. say it was a blessing!!

  16. Zola Jesus has been the best contemporary indie pop emo secular music artist around for the last 5 years. Was she invited to Coachella?

  17. Anyway, there were a few technical difficulties, but you could have made a headline about how STUNNING Ariana’s vocals were throughout the majority of the set. She really is in a league of her own as a singer of her age.

    • Why are these comments full of people saying Ariana can’t sing?? Since when? You may not like the TYPE of music she sings, but to say she doesn’t have an impressive vocal range is ludicrous.

  18. Where on Earth is the “Palm Springs Desert?”
    Lazy re-post of a pre-written article from a PR hack. One of the five W’s is “where” if you wanted a place to start your quest for journalism. Best of luck, I would first buy a map.

    • I think the town of Chowchilla ought to have a festival the same weekend of Cochilla then they can feed off the stoned & dyslexic to profile….Music Fest….who cares! I don’t!

  19. Yeah imma sit here and wait for the public to drag them like they did Mariah Carey back in 2016. If Mariah had to suffer through that then I expect them to recieve the same treatment.

    • Mariah Carey’s washed up ass was lip synching… she was not actually using her vocal chords…. not the same case here…

      • She planned on using her vocal chords for Emotions, but the sound issues made it next to impossible to do, effectively at least.

  20. Agree.
    For both these posers.
    God is everywhere,
    even the in the desert.
    Lowlifes creeps.
    It doesn’t matter
    if they have a good voice
    when they disrespect.

  21. They just trying to sabotage Nicki…. very interesting how only Nicki’s sound failed!!!

  22. You sound dumb. First, this wasn’t Nicki’s show, it’s Ariana’s. Secondly, only 3 out of 22 shows were disrupted during Minaj’s tour. That’s way less than any other artist and at least her and her team provided an explanation as to why, most artist wouldn’t. So please cut the crap. And obviously the sound wasn’t working for multiple artist.

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