Archive for the ‘In Conversation’ Category

Popping Up: Kiesza

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Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

In February, budding pop-star-in-the-making Kiesza dropped the video for her debut single “Hidewaway” online. Dance tracks with a retro, ’90s-leaning house vibe are getting to be a dime a dozen these days — and that’s not to say we don’t love them when they’re good! — but something about “Hideaway” took things a step further. Aside from the hypnotic beats and shiny, bleeping and blooping synths, there’s an urgency to this 25-year-old Canadian’s vocals that have a way of pulling listeners in.

And then, of course, there’s the video, all four-plus minutes of which were shot in one take on the streets of Brooklyn with nary a budget. Still, the clip is a mesmerizing watch — more so than half the flashy six- or seven-figure visuals out there by more established song birds.

Given all this, we couldn’t resist inviting Kiesza over for a chat about her life up to this point, and what she has in store for the music-loving masses. Watch our Popping Up sitdown with her above. More »

SXSW 2014: Betty Who On Collaborating With Claude Kelly, Starsmith & Babydaddy For Upcoming Album

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See Who She's Been Working On New Material With
“Heartbreak Dream” sensation Betty Who has been busying herself in Austin by acting as house band for Bravo personality Andy Cohen and Watch What Happens Live during South By Southwest. The most bizarre thing that’s happened to her so far this week? “I was singing ‘Somebody Loves You’ as the musical guest, and Shaq got up and danced with me during it,” she told Idolator.

We also took the opportunity to ask Betty (real name: Jessica Newham) about her upcoming Slow Dancing EP, as well as the songwriters and producers she’s been collaborating with for her forthcoming album. More »

Popping Up: Cole Plante

Cole Plante Idolator interview 2014 Ruby Odell
Get Wise To This Young DJ/Producer
Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

Right now, most 17 year olds are either (hopefully) studying hard while winding down their 11th grade years or getting ready to graduate high school altogether. But most teenagers aren’t Cole Plante. The Los Angeles native is not only a track runner and member of the Beverly Hills High marching band, he’s also a rising-star DJ who’s released two singles through Disney’s Hollywood Records label in the past year. And that’s when he’s actually back home. Right now Plante is on the road, opening for Demi Lovato for her Neon Lights Tour, along with Fifth Harmony and Little Mix.

While in town last week for Demi’s New York stop, Cole stopped by the Idolator studio to discuss his latest single “If I Fall,” a collaboration with singer Ruby O’Dell and Hungarian dance maestros Myon & Shane 54. We also got some pretty good scoop on what he’s working on next…not to mention his ever-changing hair color. Watch our interview with this budding beat-maker above. More »

Jessica Sanchez Talks New Sia Collaboration, Jennifer Hudson Performs At Pinoy Benefit: Exclusive

Jennifer Hudson, A Great Big World, Charice and Jessica Sanchez were just some of the stars who sang their hearts out at the Pinoy Relief Benefit on Tuesday night (March 11). With New York’s Theater at Madison Square Garden as their stage, these artists, along with Penatonix and Plain White T’s, performed past hits as well as a few new songs to raise money for the Pinoy Relief, an initiative helping the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

A Great Big World kicked off the show with their hit “Say Something” (sans Christina Aguilera) and paid homage to New York with their ballad, “Already Home.” Meanwhile, Jessica Sanchez, who’s been working on her follow-up to 2013′s Me, You & the Music, opted for covers. Although she’s still in the early stages of album-making process, Sanchez revealed that she’s been steadily working on writing her songs for her sophomore LP.

“I never really wrote in my life,” she tells Idolator. “But I’m really just trying to put my whole self in this album and be completely from me and just share my story. But we’re working really hard and making sure that this is to the T — perfect.” More »

Aloe Blacc Talks “The Man” On The Set Of His Live Music Video: Idolator Interview

He's The Man
Aloe Blacc dropped a mind-boggling live video for “The Man” yesterday (February 27) and we were there when he filmed it in the Red Bull Studio in Los Angeles. The soul singer kindly sat down with us before taking the mic to talk about his rapidly-exploding hit and one-take performance piece.

He humbly gave credit to the song’s popularity to its placement in a Beats by Dr. Dre commercial and explained its uplifting message, saying: “it’s the same story I keep telling in all my songs. It’s the story of the underdog hoping for a better moment.” The 35-year-old then talked us through the live visual, which was influenced by Ethiopian rhythms and Russian folk music! Watch up top. More »

Kylie Minogue Discusses Pharrell, Sia And New Album ‘Kiss Me Once’: Idolator Interview

Read Her Lips
Pop Kylie. Indie Kylie. Sex Kylie. Goddess Kylie. Over the decades, the musical force that is Kylie Minogue has offered us one variation or another of her on-stage image while still maintaining enough of a “girl next door” likeability that we truly wish she would just move in down the block already. Listening to her upcoming 12th album Kiss Me Once (out March 18), however, conjures up a new persona for the Australian pop queen: Comforting Kylie.

Making the album wasn’t an easy road for the singer, by her own admission. And once countless tracks were done after a year of working with a multitude of collaborators, there came the arduous task of whittling them all down to one cohesive, Kylie-worthy set. Knowledge of that melts away, though, when listening to the record, as what ultimately shines through on Kiss Me Once is the radiant positivity, particularly with the optimistic lyrics that fill songs like lead single “Into The Blue,” the uplifting Ariel Rechtshaid composition “If Only” and the album’s title track, on which Minogue worked with the LP’s executive producer Sia Furler.

Kylie spent time cluing us in to what the process of piecing together her first studio album in four years was like, from switching her management over to Roc Nation to working with talents ranging from hit maker Pharrell Williams to French actor Clément Sibony. Head below for the full Idolator interview with Kylie Minogue. More »

Colbie Caillat On Babyface, Ryan Tedder And Her Upcoming Album: Idolator Interview

Despite the fact that her last proper studio album was released nearly three years ago, Colbie Caillat‘s output has been remained prolific — and successfully so. The California singer’s 2012 holiday LP, Christmas In The Sand, was followed up by “We Both Know,” a duet with Gavin DeGraw from the Safe Haven soundtrack — the kind of sweet pair-up they just don’t make anymore, unless you’re, say, Pink and Nate Ruess. The track wound up earning Caillat her fifth Grammy nomination in December, this time for Best Song Written For Visual Media.

“Relativity Media asked me two summers ago if I would write a song for the Safe Haven film and I was on tour with Gavin that summer, so I asked him. We had already been trying to get together to write songs, so that one was the one we did. Gavin started playing piano at my house so beautifully and we just went from there. His voice is so gorgeous,” Caillat tells Idolator of “We Both Know.”

The duet lost out to Adele‘s multi-award-winning “Skyfall” at the Grammys last month, but Colbie has already moved on to her yet-to-be-titled fifth album, which she’s hoping sees a spring release. That said, the up-tempo record that will come out is a vastly different one than Caillat originally began recording last summer with producer John Shanks, thanks to a late-in-the-game session with Ryan Tedder. More »

Naughty Boy On The Story Behind “La La La” & Working With Sam Smith: Idolator Interview

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Earlier this year, Naughty Boy‘s addictive “La La La,” featuring vocalist Sam Smith, racked up impressive chart positions around the globe, hitting #1 in various parts of Europe — including the producer’s home of the UK — and placing in the Top 10 in others. Now it’s finally time for America to wrap its collective ear around the catchy dance-pop track.

“La La La” will be available on US iTunes next week (December 3), and ahead of that, Naughty Boy sat down with Idolator to explain the stories behind both the song and its cinematic music video.

“Initially, I was gonna write ['La La La'] with Emeli [Sande],” he tells us. “But because she was on tour, I did the session with Sam [Smith]… It just had to be Sam because where it went from there is perfect.” More »

Naughty Boy Discusses William Orbit, Madonna And (Not Working With) Britney Spears: Watch

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The Talented Producer Loves 'Ray Of Light'
Super songwriter/producer Naughty Boy (Emeli Sande‘s Our Version Of Events) came this close to having a hand in Britney Spears‘ upcoming LP, Britney Jean, but a funny thing happened, which prevented him from taking part: His own single “La La La” became a global smash, topping the charts in various parts of Europe — including Naughty Boy’s home of the UK — and placing in the Top 10 in others.

“I was working on some stuff with William Orbit, who was working on the Britney stuff,” Naughty Boy, whose real name is Shahid Khan, explained during a stop by Idolator’s studio this week. “I haven’t done anything for [Britney Jean]. It was more a thing where I wasn’t able to come to L.A. at the time…because I was promoting ‘La La La’ around the world.” More »

Diane Birch Discusses Her New Album, Her Love For ’80s Music & Stalking Nile Rodgers: Interview

The Singer Speaks With Us (A Little Louder)
Nile Rodgers and Giorgio Moroder, if you’re out there, Diane Birch would love to work with you (and, yes — she’s wanted to do so since before the whole Daft Punk foofaraw). That said, given the mix of bittersweet tracks and impeccable production found on the singer-songwriter’s new album Speak A Little Louder (out now), it’s clear Diane is doing just fine at the moment without those two particular disco legends in her corner.

It’s been four years since Birch made a name for herself with her retro-sounding LP Bible Belt. This time around, she collaborated with songwriter Eg White, producer Homer Steinweiss, Questlove of The Roots and R&B queen Betty Wright, among others, on an album that marks quite a change in direction from her debut.

Head below to find out why it took so long to put her second record out and find out about the breakup that fueled the album’s lyrics. More »