Archive for the ‘In Conversation’ Category

Popping Up: Zendaya

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The Pop Scene: She's About To Shake It Up
Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

Hilary. Miley. Demi. Selena. All of these names ring an instant bell as being sassy and classy ladies who, over the past decade, successfully transitioned from Disney starlet to full-on pop princess. And dancing Shake It Up diva Zendaya is aiming to make the same musical leap. She’s barely of driving age (more on that in our video interview above!), but already this multi-talented California teen has become one of the Disney Channel’s most recognizable faces, written a book, competed on Dancing With The Stars and, most recently, released “Replay,” the smooth, R&B-leaning lead single off her upcoming debut album.

Everything about Zendaya — from the mixtape-themed lyric video for “Replay” to her love of Shakespeare — indicates that there’s an old soul underneath her cool and super-cute exterior. So we were more than thrilled to have the budding songstress sit down with us for the latest segment of Popping Up! Watch above. More »

CSS Dish On ‘Planta’, Dave Sitek, Stealing Beats From Rappers & Dating In America: Idolator Interview

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Foxxxy Ladies!
It’s not every day you get to pal around with irreverent Brazilian electro-rockers CSS, but last week we found ourselves in close quarters with the dynamic quartet! Lovefoxxx, Luiza Sa, Ana Rezende and Carolina Parra strolled into the Idolator studio and proceeded to crack myself and the entire crew up with their tales of, er, lamb chops, misadventures in dating (“People in America — they never assume that they’re going on a date. They say, hey, do you want to hang out?” laments Lovefoxxx) and beginning a new era with producer Dave Sitek.

Naturally, we also spoke about CSS’ fantastic, summery new album Planta (purchase here), which the ladies recorded while crashing at Sitek’s house for a couple months in the sunny locale of Los Angeles. The record is packed with dreamy synth-pop jams like “Into The Sun,” a track we premiered here in late May, lead single “Hangover” and the quirky “Frankie Goes To North Hollywood.” More »

Frankmusik: 5 Things You Need To Know About ‘Between’

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Vincent Discusses His New Album
Recently Vincent Frank — better known as electro-pop dynamo Frankmusik — stopped by Idolator’s studio to discuss the new music that makes up his recently-released third album Between (buy here). At times during our conversation, Frank delved into painful subject matter, such as the despair he felt while being part of a major label, and the personal journey he had to go on once he departed that situation.

When talking about his new self-produced songs such as “Map,” “Chasing Shadows” and “Stronger,” however, Vincent was very eager to describe how each one fit into the album as a whole, and gave him the creative outlet for all the anguish he was feeling inside. More »

Frankmusik Talks About His Personal Journey To New Album ‘Between’: Idolator Interview

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Frank-ly Speaking: Vincent Opens Up
I had the pleasure of catching Frankmusik‘s New York stop on his current Between States tour the other week, and afterward I invited him over to the Idolator studio for a chat the following Monday. But what I anticipated would be a simple conversation about Vincent Frank‘s self-produced, poppy-yet-introspective new album Between (out now — buy here) turned out to be something quite different.

The singer’s move from London to Los Angeles over three years ago to launch a stateside career through Interscope imprint Cherrytree, and then his subsequent departure from the label, is no secret. However, it was the personal despair that followed — the loss of religious faith, the ending of a romantic relationship — that led to Frank’s return to the UK, and the making of what would become Between.

“Sometimes you have to just go away. Let’s just see what I am on my own,” Vincent said during our very candid talk. “And that’s what I did.” He later added, “Last time I came to New York, I had a nervous breakdown…I was in [a] hotel room the size of a shoebox just crying.” More »

Pet Shop Boys Discuss ‘Electric’, Their Euphoric Summer Album: Idolator Interview

Neil & Chris, Never Being Boring
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are in the mood to dance. As Pet Shop Boys, the two have been pairing commentary on the ups and downs of love, nightlife, politics and history with lush pop compositions for nearly 30 years. The quantity and quality of their output is staggering — LPs, compilations, film scores, plays, a ballet, books, one-off singles and production work for other artists fill their vast catalog — and the UK duo’s 12th studio album Electric (out July 16 – pre-order here) stands among their best. (Believe me: “Axis” and “Vocal” are only the tip of the iceberg.) If you’ve been on the market for music to punctuate your upcoming summer nights, Neil and Chris have delivered in spades with this nine-track set.

That the beat-filled album was produced by fellow Brit Stuart Price (Madonna‘s Confessions On A Dancefloor, The KillersDay & Age, etc.) shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Boys have been circling around him for years. Their remix of Madonna’s Confessions single “Sorry” preceded the Price-produced medley they performed at the 2009 BRIT Awards, and Stuart’s reworking of last year’s “Memory Of The Future.”

What is noteworthy is that the upbeat Electric will arrive less than a year after their previous LP, last fall’s pensive Elysium. It’s also the first Pet Shop Boys album to be released on their own label, x2 (pronounced “times two”),  through Kobalt Label Services, after ending their longtime association with EMI/Parlophone .

I had a lengthy talk with Neil and Chris about Electric in May, in which they explained, at times hilariously so, the making of the album and the inspirations for many of their rhythm-driven new songs. Dive into the interview below. More »

Vicci Martinez: 5 Things You Need To Know About The ‘Voice’ Singer

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Vicci Voices Up
With Season 3 of The Voice winding down and headlines flying about the lined-up coaches for the following season, we decided to temporarily tune out all that noise and check in with Vicci Martinez, a favorite from Team Cee Lo Green during the very first round of the TV talent competition. Since placing third on the program in 2011, the 28-year-old vocal powerhouse released her major label debut Vicci, an album filled with irresistible Swede-pop productions, like the Titiyo cover “Come Along,” and our favorite track, “Run Run Run,” both of which Martinez discusses above.

She also been touring around the world, and still checks out The Voice when she has a spare moment. (Her favorite contestant from the current season: the sadly-axed Judith Hill.) More »

Popping Up: Capital Cities

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Ryan & Sebu On Their Jingle-Writing Past & Pop Future
Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

The buzz for electro-pop duo Capital Cities has been growing steadily for more than a minute, and you can be forgiven if you think you’ve heard their breakout single, “Safe And Sound,” somewhere before — because chances are, you have. The song has been around for over two years (most recently it was included on the pair’s self-titled EP, released in December 2012) and it has, as band members Ryan Merchant (the tall one) and Sebu Simonian (the one with the amazingly unforgettable beard) explain it in the interview above, gone through multiple incarnations.

But with the release of their debut album In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery just around the corner (it’s out June 4)  — not to mention the growing airplay for “Safe And Sound” and its ascent up the iTunes chart — we figured it was time to bring these guys in and get them to tell their story. More »

Daft Punk’s Random Access Commentary: Jason Derulo, Little Boots & Others Discuss The Duo

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These Artists Give Digital Love To The Robots
Daft Punk‘s fourth album Random Access Memories was released yesterday, and, for the most part, is garnering rave reviews. Given all the lead-up hype surrounding the LP, and the global success of “Get Lucky,” everyone has been buzzing about the duo — including artists who came in to pay Idolator a visit in recent weeks.

In the clip above, an eclectic array of talent — including Wyclef Jean, Little Boots, Jason Derulo, Capital Cities and Betty Who — weigh in on Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo, and give their thoughts on the French pair’s music and legacy within the pop world. Their comments may surprise you, especially in the sense that they perhaps mirror your own views on the duo.

Watch above, and get a take on Daft Punk from others in same music game! More »

Giorgio Moroder And Others Talk Donna Summer & Giorgio’s 10 Big Music Moments: Interview

The most talked-about producer on the planet right now isn’t one of the many crafting new material for Britney Spears, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. It’s Giorgio Moroder, the 73-year-old Italian musician whose synth-heavy work influenced more artists than you can fill on a sheet of paper and soundtracked at least two generations.

Giorgio’s longtime collaborator and close friend Donna Summer passed away one year ago today, at the age of 63. The disco queen kept her battle with lung cancer private, but it’s Summer’s enduring legacy of revered songs like “I Feel Love,” “Last Dance,” “MacArthur Park” and “Bad Girls” that lives on. To commemorate the first year since the passing of Summer and celebrate the extensive work of Moroder, we reached out to the producer, who turned out to be as thoughtful as he is candid.

“The thing I miss most about Donna is the vitality with which she surrounded herself,” Moroder reflects. “She was always ready for a joke, even in the last months, never indicating that she was suffering. She even tried to convince me to lose weight with the special diet [she was on].”

Rest assured, Giorgio is a man whose calendar in 2013 is getting busier by the week. Still, he offered many insights regarding the classic tracks he produced throughout the ’70s and ’80s — not to mention a certain song recently recorded for Daft Punk‘s upcoming LP Random Access Memories. Head below as Debbie Harry and Blondie‘s Chris Stein, Terri Nunn of Berlin and Moroder reminisce about the music of Donna Summer and some of Giorgio’s biggest milestones. More »

Little Boots Gives Props To Legendary Producer/Daft Punk Collaborator Giorgio Moroder: Watch

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Victoria On Electronic Music's Godfather
If you’re anything like us, then you’ve got Giorgio Moroder on the brain these days. And it makes total sense — after all, the Italian producer soundtracked many of our childhoods with the scores and hits he crafted for such films as Scarface, Flashdance, The NeverEnding Story and Top Gun, and now he’s back in action by featuring on Daft Punk‘s aptly-titled Random Access Memories track “Giorgio By Moroder,”

We even heard hints of Moroder in Little BootsNocturnes song “Strangers,” which we brought up to Victoria Hesketh (LB’s real name) while chatting with her in New York recently. She explained that the song was actually influenced more by ABBA, though Giorgio Moroder’s music has also had quite an effect on her over the years. More »