The 42nd annual American Music Awards kicked off tonight (November 23) live from Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre, with awards given out to some of our favorite (and biggest) musicians of the year!
One Direction turned out to be the night’s major winners, as the cute British lads took home three awards for Favorite Band, Duo or Group; Favorite Pop/Rock Album with Midnight Memories and Artist of the Year! “Beg For It” rapstress Iggy Azalea won Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist and Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album for The New Classic. “Blank Space” diva, a.ka. Taylor Swift, won the most prestigious award, with the legendary Diana Ross presenting her with the first-ever Dick Clark Award of Excellence!
Other highlights included everyone’s favorite crooner Sam Smith winning Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, Katy Perry nagging Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and 5 Seconds Of Summer proving their escalating popularity with the younger generation with their New Artist of the Year win.
View the list of winners from this year’s American Music Awards after the jump! More »
Electronic artist James Blake reveals that he and Kanye West may record a collaboration to round out Blake’s forthcoming third album.
“In terms of the actual collaboration for this record, it looks like we should be able to get something done,” he said to Miami New Times. “I know that there’s a specific song I would like him to be on, and if he can do that by the time my record comes out, that would be fantastic.”
Blake won the Mercury Prize for his second studio album, 2013′s Overgrown. Since then, in between remixes (Destiny Child‘s “Bills Bills Bills,” Beyonce‘s “Drunk In Love”) under the moniker Harmonimix, he has been one of the many artists – including Sir Paul McCartney, and for a song called “Piss On My Grave” — linked to West’s follow-up to last year’s Yeezus. More »
Recently, Taylor Swift became the first woman to unseat herself from the Billboard Hot 100′s top spot. Prior to that, her new album 1989 had the highest first-week sales since Eminem‘s The Eminem Show – in 2002. So naturally, as E! reports, the American Music Awards chose to recognize Swift with the first-ever Dick Clark Award for Excellence, to be presented by none other than Diana Ross.
Ross – Supremes frontwoman, disco frontrunner and future Voice guest mentor – has been honored a few times herself lately. Aretha Franklin covered the group’s 1966 No. 1 hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” for her concept covers album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics. Later, Bette Midler offered a country and western take on another Supremes No. 1 record from the same year, “You Can’t Hurry Love,” for her girl-groups cover album It’s the Girls! More »
Sir Bob Geldof has stressed that he only has good intentions behind each rewrite of Band Aid‘s charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” The songwriter does this because he has been criticized before for questionable lyrics, like when Bono sings “Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” in the original 1984 edition. Some have also said that, while attempting to raise awareness on the ’80s drought or the ebola crisis, Band Aid’s portrayals of Africa reinforce negative stereotypes.
Last night (November 22), Emeli Sande became the latest to address recent criticism surrounding Band Aid 30, featuring One Direction, Sam Smith, Bono and herself. “Yes, I agree the lyric needs changing. In fact I feel a whole new song is required,” she says. She also reveals that she and genre-bending Beninese vocalist Angelique Kidjo wrote and sang suggested edits, Geldof ultimately left them out. See her Twitter statement in full below. More »
CL, dynamic lead vocalist of the must-hear 2NE1, surprised both K-Pop and dubstep fans when she popped up in Skrillex‘s forward-thinking debut album Recess. Then last month, she made headlines as she cemented plans to make her stateside debut next year, and while working with super-manager Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Psy). Last night (November 21), CL showed fans that she’s pulling out all the stops for her U.S. takeover, by hitting the studio and posing (above) with producers Skrillex, Diplo and RoccStar.
When Diplo isn’t working as chief architect and spokesman for Madonna‘s forthcoming new album, he has been teaming with Skrillex in the joint side project Jack Ü, as heard in Kiesza collaboration “Take U There.” Skrillex himself worked with rising moombahton star Dillon Francis on a song to appear in the latter’s upcoming EP, not to be mistaken for debut album Money Sucks, Friends Rule. Meanwhile, RoccStar’s most recent clients include Usher (“Clueless”), Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown and comeback kid Fergie.
See more snapshots from CL’s studio session below. More »
A couple of months ago, Made In Heights quietly dropped one of the best synth-pop anthems of 2014 with the gorgeous, multi-layered “Ghosts”. The L.A.-based duo switch gears on new single “Panther” — a lilting electro-lullaby that slowly unfolds after multiple listens — but it’s every bit as intoxicating as their last offering. At this rate, the pair’s sophomore set is going to be one of the must-hear albums of early 2015.
What makes “Panther” so special? It has a lot to do with the dreamy soundscape that producer Sabzi creates for Kelsey Bulkin‘s soft, breathy vocals. It’s a warm stream of synths, clicks and strings that lifts the track above your standard electronic fare. My only qualm is the title. Made In Heights make no reference to giant cats in the lyrics, which (let’s be real) would have made the song even better. Listen to the gem after the jump. More »
Cody Simpson is full of surprises. The Aussie star recently joined forces with Justin Bieber for mellow acoustic-pop anthem “Back To Mama” — the first taste of their upcoming duets LP — and now drops a surprise cover of Mr. Probz‘s breakthrough hit “Waves”. (The Dutchman’s worldwide smash finally broke into the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week). And it’s really, really good.
The 17-year-old strips the song right back for his acoustic remake, which is reminiscent of the original version of “Waves” before it got remixed by Robin Schulz. Cody shows off his ever-improving voice and the arrangement is very much on-point. It’s exciting to see the “Pretty Brown Eyes” hitmaker taking his career in a more organic, natural direction. One listen to The Acoustic Sessions is all you need to know that this is the right sound for him. Listen after the jump. More »
While most of the Hive is furiously pussy popping to new club bangers “7/11″ and “Ring Off”, the third new (but not really, at all) cut on the Platinum edition of Beyonce‘s pioneering visual album also surfaced online. If you can believe it or not, we finally have a finished studio version of “Standing On The Sun”. Unfortunately, it’s the Mr. Vegas remix that leaked more than a year ago — Bey can be so petty — but it’s been cleaned up a bit since then.
As much as I love the reggae-flavored overhaul, it doesn’t come close to the original. The Sia-penned, Greg Kurstin-produced anthem is the number one single/signature song that Beyonce couldn’t be bothered to release. That decision is still hard to fathom but at least the euphoric anthem is now officially part of the diva’s discography. Albeit in a somewhat diluted capacity. Listen to the studio version of “Standing On The Sun (Remix)” after the jump. More »
Bebe Rexha has the magic touch. When the 25-year-old isn’t working on her own amazing music (“I Can’t Stop Drinking About You” is one of the year’s best pop songs), she’s writing hits for other artists — Eminem and Rihanna‘s “The Monster” and Tinashe‘s “All Hands On Deck”, for starters — and featuring on massive tunes by artists like Cash Cash and David Guetta. Her latest achievement? Adding some feminine flair to Pitbull‘s new album.
The rising diva lends her distinctive pipes to “This Is Not A Drill” — the second really, really good song from Mr. Worldwide’s eighth LP Globalization. (The first is Chris Brown-assisted club banger “Fun”… actually, “Fireball” is pretty good too). A quirky trap-pop concoction, the anthem boasts the iconic lyric “I got that sweet D” and a monster chorus. “I don’t want wanna waste your time, big girls don’t cry wolf when they cry,” Bebe sings. “Someone’s gonna fall in love tonight, yeah we might fall in love tonight.” Listen after the jump. More »
Taylor Swift looks oh-so-lovely on the December/January 2015 issue of Lucky magazine! The “Blank Space” starlet dons a simple yet chic outfit, complete with a white biker jacket and a bowler hat. For the interview inside, she jokes that she wants to keep her belly button a secret.
“I want that to be a mystery. As far as anyone knows based on my public appearances, they haven’t seen evidence of a belly button. It could be pierced. They have no idea. If I’m going to get some sort of massive tattoo, it’s going to be right next to my belly button because no one’s ever going to see that.”
The singer will be performing at this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on December 9, so we wonder how she’ll make do with all those belly-baring supermodels surrounding her! View the full cover of Taylor Swift’s Lucky issue, as well as another editorial photo, after the jump! More »