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Five Questions We Have For The GRAMMYs

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Award Nominees have been announced and, like every year, people don’t entirely agree with the choices. It’s only natural for fans to be upset that their favorite artist or song wasn’t nominated for a certain category. However, every year there a few head scratchers, not just in the nominations but also in the categories. Therefore, we compiled a list of five questions we have regarding this year’s GRAMMY Award nominations.

We're predicting Adele to take home the most hardware this year

1. What’s the difference between Record of the Year and Song of the Year?

When the nominees were first announced, we found ourselves wondering the age old question, what is the difference between these two categories? We found it very odd that out of the five songs nominated in each category, four of them were nominated for both awards. It seems rather strange that the one song will likely win two awards for basically the same thing. After some research, we discovered that the Record of the Year is awarded to the song’s performer and production team, while Song of the Year is awarded to song’s writer(s)/composer(s). While this does make some sense (not all artists write their own songs), we still think they should have nominated different songs for each category to at least give us some variety.

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Friday, December 9th, 2011

Lana Del Rey Lady Gaga
Karen O Adele
  • Lana Del Rey better watch herself, less she gets a face full of crazy Courtney Love.
  • After getting cut from The Muppets, Lady Gaga’s going with her second choice.
  • Seeing Adele bide her time with newly fixed vocal chords is actually kind of terrifying.
  • Granted she wasn’t even alive at the height of Led Zeppelin’s career, but C’MON.
  • More like a high-pitched girly scream, according to Bono, but hey, who are we to judge?
  • Glad to see Trent Renzor can go back to being a dark, moody, and misjudged artist again.
  • Just announced: we’ve found Jay-Z and Kanye. They’re in this mysterious place called the zone.
  • So, iTunes UK is panning out pretty much exactly the same as the rest of the world then.

Exclusive Q&A: A Conversation With Theophilus London About Love, Life and Antarctica

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsWhen you look at the hip-hop scene at it stands now, with artists like OFWGKTA and LMFAO on the rise, you can feel the genre shifting a bit both in terms of music and artistic vision. Taking a more wild and eclectic approach to not only music but fashion sense is becoming a running trend. With that in mind, the up-and-coming rapper Theophilus London is riding the wave with his unique blend of influences, that read off like something from an indie rock band, and his eye-catching sense of style. This has led to widespread success with his debut release Timez Are Weird These Days getting significant buzz and landing high-profile performances like at this past year’s Cannes Film Festival. Taking some time out of his busy tour schedule, this budding rap star sat down to chat with us about topics ranging from his Tumblr to listening to actress Milla Jovovich cover Prince.

OS: In the past, you’ve voiced displeasure about mainstream rap. Do you feel it’s something you still try to stay away from?

TL: In a sense of [it] being played out, maybe. But, there’s a lot of mainstream rap.

OS: How would you describe the difference between your approach and a regular hip hop artist?

TL: I work off of references. I idolize producers and try to sit down and work with producers on brand new sound. We talk about favorite artists first and foremost and develop a brand new sound. I really can’t say I’m different from other rappers because I’m not in the studio with them or in their creative process.

OS: You announced on Tumblr today that you got Michael Jackson to DJ some of your shows. How did you find him?

TL: I found him in New Orleans. He was hanging out a window. I asked him if he wanted to tour and he said yes. Really glad he came out to tour with us.

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Soundcheck: GRAMMY Showdown — Nicki vs. Kanye vs. Jay-Z

The 2012 GRAMMY nominations are in and it looks like another big year for hip hop, with the genre’s brightest stars earning the majority of nominations for the music industry’s biggest honor.

Leading the pack with seven nominations is Kanye West. His hit “All Of The Lights” earned nods for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Song of The Year while his joint album with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne, is up against his own My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy for Best Rap Album.  The duo is also nominated for Best Rap Performance for their song, “Otis”.

Bruno Mars and Adele are tied with Foo Fighters with six nominations each.  While it may seem a little dated by now, Mars’ debut missed last year’s cut-off.  His debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans is up for Album of The Year while his hit, “Grenade” is vying for Song Of The Year, Record of The Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance.  Lil Wayne isn’t far behind with five nominations including Best Rap Performance for  “Look At Me Now” with Busta Rhymes and Chris Brown. Like West, Weezy will battle himself in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category where he’s nominated for “I’m On One” with Rick Ross, Drake, and DJ Khaled and “Motivation” his duet with Kelly Rowland.

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Soundcheck: Nicki M Wins Big At 2011 AMA’s

With performances from Will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Pitbull and Drake among others, the 2011 American Music Awards provided an eclectic mix of music this year.Andthanks to thenineteen performances sprinkled throughout the show, fans were able to see some of musics brightest stars shine on the big stage.

Nicki Minaj was on top of the world last night after nabbing two of the biggest hip hop honors of the night. She scored Favorite Artist and Favorite Album for Pink Friday, beating out Jay-Z and Kanye Wests Watch The Throne and mentor Lil Waynes The Carter IV. She also delivered a killer show-opening performance of Superbass and Turn Me On alongside David Guetta, and some serious wardrobe that included speakers in her backside. In her acceptance speeches, a truly touched Minaj thanked her Young Money crew, Weezy, and Taylor Swift and wore an unusually classy, green gown, proving this girl really does clean up nice.

50 Cent was on deck to introduce Chris Brown, who he called the main event, noting youve never really seen this performer unless youve seen him live, before Brown and his bleached-blonde hair hit the stage for dance-heavy renditions of All Back and Say It With Me. Although Brown was nominated for two awards, he wasnt a winner, getting beat out by ex, Rihanna for Favorite Album and Usher for Favorite Male Artist.

Since RiRi was in Europe on her Loud tour, she accepted her award via satellite, as did Beyonc, who scored the award for Favorite Female Artist beating out Rihanna and ex-band mate, Kelly Rowland.

Another big winner for the night was Jennifer Lopez. Aside from two show-stopping performances (one with Pittbul and a Fiat, and one with Will.i.am), she also nabbed Favorite Latin Artist, breaking a five-year winning streak for Enrique Iglesias. When she first hit the stage in a jeweled, skin-colored bodysuit (Britney, anyone?) and danced in, around, and through, her perfectly placed Fiat, she proved to the world that shes still got the moves of a fly girl. Later, she gave an amped-up performance alongside Will.i.am, performing his new single, T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) which also features rock icon, Mick Jagger.

Enrique Iglesias hit the stage later to perform his hit, I Like How It Feels backed by the Crenshaw High School choir, and was later joined by Ludacris, who spit his verse on Tonight (Im Loving You) in a preppy sweater look. British import Adele, racked up three awards including Favorite Artist, Favorite Album, and Favorite Female Artist for her groundbreaking project, 21.

Mary J. Blige hit the stage in an all-white suit to perform Mr. Wrong without Drake, who later took the stage to give his own performance of Headlines in front of a live band. After her performance, MJB gave a heartfelt tribute to fallen friend, Heavy D.

Missing from the audience this year were Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and a handful of other hip hop heavyweights. In their defense, with only two real hip hop categories, the AMAs are not a major destination for these guys, unless they have an album to promote.

Sound And Vision: Why I’m Seriously Considering Boycotting Music Award Shows

On November 9, Nashville celebrated itself (again!) with the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards. For the fourth consecutive year, the event was hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, but the masters of ceremonies weren’t the only thing that gave me that old deja vu feeling. Hadn’t these accolades already been handed out just a few months ago?

Wait, those were the Country Music Television (CMT) Music Awards in June. And before that, there were the Academy of Country Music Awards. And, just in case that’s not enough Music City honors for you, there are the 2nd annual American Country Awards coming up on December 5.

Pop and R&B are just as self-congratulatory, offering the MTV Video Music Awards, the MTV Europe Music Awards, the Billboard Awards, the American Music Awards, the Teen Choice Awards, the BET Awards, the BET Hip Hop Awards, the NAACP Image Awards and the Soul Train Music Awards.

Then, of course, there are the GRAMMYs, which following so many other back-slapping fests, have been losing their lustre for years now—though that’s hardly the only reason. Winning one used to be the musical equivalent of snagging an Oscar, but now its just more clutter for the awards shelf.

In a few weeks (November 30, to be exact), the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for the 2012 GRAMMY Awards (to be held on February 12). Doesn’t it already feel like we’ve been there and done that over and over and over already this year? Am I the only one who doesn’t doubt that we’re in for another repeat of The Adele Show, with a very special appearance by Lady Gaga. Good as it is, like Christmas, I only need to sit through it once a year.

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Sound And Vision: Why Bieber Fever Can’t Touch Beatlemania?

Don’t believe everything you read.

No matter what the media say—and for more than a year now, they’ve been declaring Justin Bieber as big as, if not bigger than, the Beatles—Bieber Fever is no match for Beatlemania. Even if Bieber’s new holiday album, Under the Mistletoe, which was released November 1, ends up being the biggest one ever (the first single, “Mistletoe,” just debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 11, immediately making it the seventeen-year-old’s biggest solo hit yet), remember this: The Beatles never released a Christmas album. (Thank God!)

Obviously, Bieber Fever does have one thing in common with Beatlemania, a movement launched by The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 that continued long after the Beatles broke up in 1970: girls, girls, girls (all screaming at the top of their lungs). They are the cornerstone of Bieber’s success, but Beatlemania involved so much more than overzealous female fans caught up in the rapture of hot musical act.

Thanks to his largely underage female following, Bieber does reasonably well commercially, though he lacks the opening-week clout of Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne or even Coldplay (to name the artists behind the Top 3 debuts of 2011). In the US, he’s sold some 5 million copies of one full-length studio album, three compilations and one EP. That may barely be on par with the sales standards set by pop’s top divas, but it would put him in the running for modern pop’s most commercially viable male star.

Still, Bieber is no chart phenomenon. For all of the hysteria he spawned in his first two and a half years in circulation, he only hit the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 twice in his first eight tries. The highest-peaking of those was “Baby” (No. 5 in 2010), and both were collaborations with rappers (Ludacris on “Baby,” Jaden Smith on “Never Say Never”), which means Bieber has yet to score a massive hit based on his star power alone.

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Artists-In-Occupation: Musicians And #OccupyWallStreet

The tradition of protest music has a long, rich tradition in America. From nascent beginnings in the early twentieth century and the labor movement to the great civil rights protest songs of the ’60s to the ’70s anti-Vietnam singer-songwriters to today, it’s an integral part of the story of rock ‘n’ roll. Whenever some perceived injustice becomes large enough, you know there’s going to be performers involved to lead the rallying cry.

Don’t you know they’re talkin’ bout a revolution/ It sounds like a whisper.” Well, not quite a whisper, Tracy Chapman. Sure, Chapman wasn’t writing this about the #OccupyWallStreet movement or the subsequent protests when “Talkin Bout A Revolution” was released back in ’88. But that song and her words ring more true now then they have in a long time.

Now this isn’t going to be some partisan treatise on the pros and cons of the movement—we’ll save that for the wonky policy blogs. However, as the Occupy protests continue on into their fifth week, they have begun to draw in disparate segments from all across the pop culture spectrum. We’ve had conservative bloggers investigating/instigating in the fray, Gossip Girl alums hoisting cardboard signs and familiar Hollywood faces of varying loveliness. Oh, and Giraldo Rivera. More importantly, we’ve had a couple of good, old fashioned protest-music moments. And no, we don’t mean that guy with the acoustic doing Pete Seeger covers, though that guy is pretty cool.

It’s unknown what inspired Jeff Mangum of dormant folk group Neutral Milk Hotel to perform for the protesters on Wall Street. The notoriously retiring frontman has been making public appearances with increasing frequency in the past couple of months, playing sold out shows in east coast locales with tickets selling at near unaffordable prices. So, while you might not have been able to catch the reclusive Mangum in a solo set at some tiny club, if you were in downtown Manhattan on October 4th and happened to be a fan of collegiate indie rock, then you were in for a real treat. The best part? The tech savvy protests streamed the entire impromptu event as it happened on livestream, turning a cool moment into a viral thing.

“Of course I support [Occupy Wall Street],” Mangum said after his performance. “This is just something small that I can do.” Aw, what a guy!

Continue reading ‘Artists-In-Occupation: Musicians And #OccupyWallStreet’

 


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