Life is full of surprises, and sometimes, so is pop music. In recent weeks, it’s recovered its long-dormant ability to shock, or at least catch us off guard with the unlikely hit, or the unexpected comeback.
Several months ago, I never dreamed I would ever ask the question that is the title of this article. It had been more than twenty-five years since Lionel Richie’s commercial heyday, and on the charts, he had been succeeded by younger romantic leads in pop and R&B many times over (Babyface, Usher, Ne-Yo, among others).
Then came one of those surprise developments seldom seen in pop anymore: On Billboard magazine’s Top 200 album chart for the week following the March 26 release of Tuskegee, Richie’s first studio album since 2009’s Just Go (which didn’t make the US Top 20 and failed to go gold), he debuted at No. 2 with first-week sales of 199,000 copies, right behind Madonna’s latest, MDNA.
“I get high with a little help from my friends,” Ringo Starr sang on the Beatles‘ 1967 classic. These days, so do many of music’s top stars. Two’s company, and so is three and sometimes four. The more the merrier, the higher and higher they get.
On the charts, that is.
In the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100 for the week ending December 10, seventeen songs were collaborations between separate recording entities. Four of them featured Drake, and three apiece featured Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, who both appeared on tracks with Drake and with each other. But will.i.am featuring Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger—and debuting at No. 36 with “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever),” which the threesome performed on the November 20 American Music Awards—was probably the one that nobody saw coming.
Old-school Rolling Stones fans must be cringing at the idea of Jagger going anywhere near Lopez and will.i.am so soon after Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera went to No. 1 by invoking his hallowed name on “Moves Like Jagger.” But for a sixty-something legend like him, hit records—even if in name only, a la Duck Sauce‘s GRAMMY-nominated “Barbra Streisand—are a near-impossible dream unless they’re in tandem with other, often younger, stars.
How do you like your country music? Served with a spice of pop-rock goodness? Perfect, because that’s just what WYATT brings to the table. The Saskatoon four-piece won the “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition Grand Prize in May and recently rocked the festival main stage alongside Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney and more.
From get-go the group was treated to the superstar lifestyle, complete with VIP festival passes, baller hotel room, personal driver and more. During their performance, the audience of thousands devoured every minute of their set igniting sing-alongs and cheering loudly throughout. Afterwards they were escorted by security to a meet and greet, their only line of defense from masses of eager fans demanding pictures and autographs.
For the full performance of their winning song “Ride On” and more, check out the video below.
Eric Church has never been one to keep his mouth closed. He prides himself on speaking his mind, no matter what. And in the past, this trait has cost him quite a bit. Back in 2006, he was kicked off the Rascal Flatts tour for playing longer and louder than he was allowed, which caused the headliner to start late and violated the rules of the venue. Additionally, he dealt with a great deal of backlash after his song, “Two Pink Lines” was released. Fans didn’t like the fact that the song seemed so relaxed on the topic of teenage pregnancy.
But controversy has never stopped Church. After being kicked off the Rascal Flatts tour, instead of going home, he followed the tour for eight stops, playing free shows at clubs and bars for his fans. As he said in an interview, “We did it because we said we would. It’s a great thing to come and say, ‘Hey, man, we got fired from across the street, but we said we were coming, so we’re here anyway’”. And because of his perseverance, and his fun and exciting live shows, he has cultivated a strong fan base. These fans care about what Church has to say, and they have been eagerly anticipating his new record, Chief, for some time.
The album, which was released on July 26th, stays very true to the outspoken, wild Church that his fans have grown to love. With songs like “Jack Daniels” and “I’m Getting Stoned” he shows that he is willing to tell the real story, not skim over the tough parts. Chief is a hit because it is made up of well-crafted songs with a lot of attitude. As he will tell you, “I’m a guy who’s going to tell you what I think. I’m going to rub you the wrong way”. But somehow this works for him. Now that nobody is expecting him to hold back or keep his opinions to himself, he is able to make the kind of music he’s always wanted to. And the music is phenomenal, which explains why the album just hit Number 1 on the Billboard 200.
Watch the video for his hit single “Homeboy” below.
As we’ve recently discovered, great Canadian country music is in no short supply. The “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition on OurStage sought to bring out the best of the bunch, and boy did we find them.
Saskatoon natives WYATT, Calgary duo Pear and Sharon, Ontario songwriter Danielle Bourjeaurd all performed in Ottawa last night for a chance to live every country artist’s dream—a main stage performance at a major country music festival. The battle was hard fought to say the least, with each artist bringing their A-game to a packed crowd. By the time the dust settled however, judges Amanda Wilkinson, Nick Meinema and Denis Benoit landed on WYATT. The country quartet is no stranger to the OurStage spotlight, having previously placed Number 2 in “Bon Jovi’s Wanted:A SuperBAND Tonight!” Competition in Canada last year.
Now they’ll be rocking the same stage as Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood and more at the Capital Hoedown Country Music Festival in Ottawa from August 11-13! Don’t forget to check back for our post-performance followup with them.
Grand Prize Winners WYATT
WYATT, Danielle Bourjeaurd, Folks from Capital Hoedown and OurStage
Way back in June, OurStage and Capital Hoedown banded together to scour the great land of Canada in search of its finest country artists. We yodeled our summons from the top of the Rockies (figuratively speaking) to see what we could rustle up.
Turns out Canada is nearly as fertile as Nashville when it comes to incredible country talent. Fans helped us narrow the field down to three stellar contenders who will vie for a spot on the main stage at Capital Hoedown 2011—one of Canada’s biggest country festivals. In just 2 days these three artists will get their chance to audition for that amazing grand prize.
Check out the finalists below, and stay tuned to see who gets to share the same stage as Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood and more! We’re mighty excited to see who wins—how about y’all?
Country music fans—can you say free festival tickets? We’re not just talking about tickets to any ol’ backyard country jig either. Judge in the“Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition on OurStage and you could win a pair of three-day passes to Capital Hoedown 2011! This year’s lineup includes country giants Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts and more.
Do your part to help Canada’s best country artist win a performance on the festival main stage this year, and you could be there to witness all the action. All you need to do is make your voice heard by July 11, 2011. For a taste of what you’ll find while judging, check out the playlist below, it’s packed with country gems.
Want to snag free tickets to Canada’s biggest country music festival? OurStage and Capital Hoedown can make it happen. Canada’s biggest, toe-tappin’ country acts are competing as we speak in the “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition on OurStage. By judging, fans can help select three finalists to audition for a performance alongside Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and more on the main stage at Capital Hoedown Country Music Festival 2011. Weigh in on your favorite artists by June 30th and you could win two free tickets to the festival! No more wallet scorching festival purchases this year—all you need to do is judge. Check out the playlist below to help prime you for judging.
Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and YOU…how does that look for a great festival lineup? We hope it looks pretty good because it could be the final roster at this year’s Capital Hoedown Country Music Festival. Enter the “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition on OurStage by June 22, 2011 and you could be one of three finalists to audition for a performance on the festival main stage!
Fans can join the party by judging to select the most worthy artists for the audition. In return, Capital Hoedown will award one lucky sweepstakes winner with a pair of three-day festival passes. All you need to do is judge by July 11, 2011 and you’re eligible to win. Check out the current top contenders in the playlist below.
Yee Haw! The “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition on OurStage is in full swing and it’s the fans turn to take the reigns. Some of Canada’s finest country artists are competing for a chance to audition for a performance on the main stage at Capital Hoedown 2011. Judge in the competition by July 11, 2011 and you could win two 3-day passes to the festival to watch the Grand Prize winner perform!
Did we mention stars like Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts are also performing? Help your favorite country artist rise to the top and score free tickets to an awesome festival—what more could you ask for? Head to the playlist below to listen to the top acts currently competing in the channel.
ARTISTS, submissions for the “Capital Hoedown Showdown” Competition are open until June 22nd, so if you want to audition for a performance alongside today’s mega country music acts, don’t wait a second longer. Enter now!