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Tag: "Beyoncé"

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Obama, Beyoncé, Jay-Z Mingle At Fundraiser Dinner

Just look at this photo and try not to smile. Of course, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and President Obama all had their own reasons to smile this week when the couple hosted a $40,000 dollar-a-plate fundraiser dinner for the President at Hova’s super swanky 40/40 club in New York City. Obama got to clarify his campaign message to a selective group of wealthy donors, and Beyoncé and Jay–Z got to support their candidate of choice. “We believe in his vision,” Beyoncé said of Obama, who took a good-natured jab at her husband during his speech. The president referred to how he and Jay–Z both ”have daughters and our wives are more popular than we are. So, you know, we’ve got a little bond there. It’s hard but it’s OK.” Though Obama has never been one to showboat, rather preferring a calmer, humbler brand of confidence, he also could have just said, “I got 99 problems but a Mitt ain’t one.”

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Is the Next Adele a Guy?

For at least another year or two, all of the U.K.’s up-and-coming sisters (and brothers) with voices will have their work cut out for them. As if it’s not already tough enough to rise above the pop pack, they’ll also have to contend with all of those inevitable Adele comparisons.

Is she (or he) the next Adele, the future of U.K.-bred pop talent hoping to achieve global domination?

Admit it: You wonder, too—every time a great new voice emerges from the British music scene. With the ruling pop diva of the last two years now between albums (perhaps she’ll be back in the autumn singing the theme for the next James Bond film, Skyfall) and expecting her first child with boyfriend Simon Konecki, the battle is on for the keys to the kingdom that the princess hasn’t even yet vacated.

If you’ve got a great voice and/or a slightly unconventional pop sound and/or look, if you’re more substance than style, to the front of the line you go. It’s the latest greatest aspiration in pop since the days when it was all about being the next Amy Winehouse, whether you sounded anything like her or not. Challenging Adele might be as scary a proposition as walking in the late Winehouse’s scuffed shoes might have been (terrifying for reasons that had everything and nothing to do with Winehouse’s talent), but at least fans are in for some great music. Recently, I heard a Rumer (the off-the-beaten-pop-path singer behind 2010′s Seasons of My Soul and this year’s Boys Don’t Cry), and my first thought was “Is this it?”

Rumer isn’t the only talented singer who’s making me listen and wonder. Here are three others:

Emeli Sandé (Current hits: “My Kind of Love” and “Next to Me”) In June, a friend sent me the video for Sandé’s recent single, “Next to Me,” on Facebook, with a short and sweet message: “love…” After watching the clip, my first impression was “Sara Bareilles with a really dated look.” White on black is so mid-‘90s! My second impression: How is it that everybody all over the world doesn’t already know her name (which, incidentally, is actually Adele Emeli Sandé)?  Continue reading ‘Is the Next Adele a Guy?’

Documentary, Rockumentary, Popumentary

Music documentaries abound this year, with works in progress by The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, and Björk.

According to Rolling Stone, HBO will be airing a documentary this fall about The Rolling Stones, ”as part of the band’s 50th anniversary.” Each of the four current band members will be involved, as will former band members, all of whom are being interviewed extensively for the film. Directed by documentary filmmaker Brett Morgan (director of The Kid Stays in the Picture), the feature will trace the band’s career from their inception to present.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, Beyoncé is also working on a documentary. The pop/R&B diva will be producing, directing, and starring in a biographical/concert film chronicling her life and music career, similar to the recent Katy Perry and Justin Bieber films. For more updates, possible sneak peak photos, and film clips, visit her personal Tumblr page.

The most unique documentary news, however, might be that regarding Icelandic experimental singer Björk, who has decided to team up with famed nature filmmaker and broadcaster David Attenborough for a music documentary. According to NME.com, “Attenborough and Bjork: The Nature of Music looks at the evolution of music, our relationship with music and how technology could impact this relationship in the future.” This is very much in-line with the theme of Björk’s newest album, Biophilia, and its accompanying iPhone app, which explore the connections between nature and music, including the many ways in which music is created naturally throughout the world and universe.

 

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Sound and Vision: An ‘American Idol’ Wish List– Who Should Replace Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler?

You couldn’t pay me to be an American Idol bigwig right now. The show is about to face its greatest challenge since the 2008 battle of the Davids (Cook and Archuleta).

The producers and the Fox network already have to worry about sagging ratings (the average viewership in season 11 dropped 23 percent to below 20 million for the first time in nine years, and the show fell from No. 1 for the season—to No. 2—for the first time since 2005), not to mention less commercially viable Idols and external competition from The Voice, The X Factor, and pretty much any reality show that promises to make a nobody a star.

Now, the producers have to deal with pleasing Mariah Carey, who has signed on as a judge next season, replacing either Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler, both of whom left after two years in order to focus full-time on their music careers (and in the case of Lopez, her “acting” career, too).

I once interviewed Carey for an Us Weekly cover story, and I found her to be warm, intelligent and surprisingly funny, but she’s a diva through and through. (She actually walked into the living room of her New York City hotel suite cradling her miniature dog!) Idol will reportedly pay her a very diva-like sum of between $12 and $17 million a season (a hefty and not altogether worthwhile expense, considering that Carey is well past her pop heyday), and I don’t even want to think about her list of perks and demands.

Meanwhile, there are murmurings that Randy Jackson, the last remaining original judge, currently in contract negotiations, might be moving from the judge’s table into more of a mentoring role, in an attempt to revamp the show for season 12, launching in January of 2013. Sadly, that restructuring doesn’t extend to Ryan Seacrest, the inexplicably still-highly employable host, who has signed up for another two years at a pay rate of $15 million per season. Is it too late to invite ex-judge Ellen DeGeneres back for the job they should have offered her in the first place?

Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: An ‘American Idol’ Wish List– Who Should Replace Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler?’

Frank Ocean Drops Def Jam Debut

One week after his groundbreaking admission that he is gay, Frank Ocean is making headlines for a different reason. HDD predicts he’ll move more than 125,000 copies of his Def Jam debut in its first week out based on digital album sales alone.  Thealbum, Channel Orange hits stores (sans Target) today.

Jermaine Dupri posted an open letter on his website last week,  “When I saw the # that Frank Ocean is suppose to hit next week, I got extremely Happy, I said I need to get in my car and and listen to this album, by the time I got to “Sweet Life” I was even more happy, finally!! a RnB album that’s hip, without having the same 5 rappers on every song… I actually hope he hits 200k, for the sake of RnB, it’s in the worst position it’s ever been since I started making music, The Record company’s don’t believe in it, Radio won’t play it if it don’t have a rapper, and a majority of the artist that are labeled RnB, are confused and lost, so I repeat, I hope Ocean sells more than the 125k that he’s on pace for, maybe these executives u’ll wake the fuck up, or at least try to copy what he’s doing, like they always do, by the way, the end of “Pyramids” jammin like a mufucka.”

Continue reading ‘Frank Ocean Drops Def Jam Debut’

Soundcheck: Hot Summer Hip-Hop

The 2012 BET Awards were held Sunday night in Los Angeles, setting the tone for a sizzling summer of new music from some of hip-hop’s biggest names. Beyoncé took home the trophy for Best Female R&B Artist while Nicki Minaj nabbed Best Female Hip Hop Artist for the third year in a row.

Whitney Houston was given one final farewell from a group of very talented loved ones including her mother, Cissy Houston, who sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to a sobbing crowd. Mariah Carey and Angela Bassett, along with the rest of Houston’s Waiting To Exhale cast mates, also delivered heartfelt tributes.

Performances from Chris Brown, D’Angelo, and Kanye West provided previews for some of this season’s most anticipated releases. Brown’s album, Fortune, was just released on July 3.  Last weekend, Brown was honored at the 2012 BET Awards winning Best Male R&B Artist after he gave a power-packed performance of “Turn Up The Music” and “Don’t Wake Me Up” to a turned up crowd who can’t help but be mesmerized by his unrivaled dance moves and brightly painted bare chest. His newest singles dropped last week and included one Drake diss and two crazy collaborations; “ Mirage” featuring Nas and “Get Down” featuring B.o.B., as well as one stellar solo offering, “Trumpet Lights”.  Continue reading ‘Soundcheck: Hot Summer Hip-Hop’

Sound and Vision: Usher Vs. Justin Bieber Vs. Chris Brown– Will the Next King of Pop Please Stand Up?

For ages in pop, it’s been all about the women: Adele and Katy Perry this, Rihanna and Lady Gaga that, with Britney, Beyoncé, Ke$ha, and—lately—Carly Rae Jepsen each demanding her own spotlight.

But this summer, as pop’s three hottest males—Usher, Chris Brown, and Justin Bieber–release new albums, the guys will be giving the ladies their stiffest competition in years. Are any of them most likely to succeed Michael Jackson as the new King of Pop, this season or in seasons to come? Read on….

The Princes-in-Waiting

Usher Vocally, Usher is without a doubt the most-talented man in pop, and he already has a hit list that’s long enough to guarantee his place in music history. Commercially speaking, though, he seems to be settling into middle age, a comfortable place where he’s still good for the occasional big hit single (2010′s No. 1 “OMG” and his recent David Guetta collaboration “Without You”).

But he’s hardly a chart shoo-in anymore. “Climax,” the first single from his new album Looking 4 Myself, which was released on June 12, peaked at No. 17 on Billboard’s Hot 100, 16 notches lower than “Yeah!,” the premiere single from 2004′s Burn that spent 12 weeks on top. Meanwhile, after one day in stores, Looking 4 Myself was projected to sell only up to 130,000 copies in its first week, some 200,000 less than 2010′s Raymond v. Raymond. Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: Usher Vs. Justin Bieber Vs. Chris Brown– Will the Next King of Pop Please Stand Up?’

 


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