Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.
When you watch Lorde giving one of her trance-like performances, or hear Lady Gaga philosophizing in an interview, it’s easy to think, “Hey, chill out, it’s just pop music.” But if this era of poptimism has taught us anything, it’s that pop music can be just as transportive and transformative as the most subversive rock or euphoric electro or revolutionary rap. I haven’t seen 25-year-old Dutch musician Thomas Azier perform, but after talking to him, it’s clear he also comes from the Pop Is A Very Serious Matter school of thought.
Of course, once you accept the seriousness of the genre, it’s easy to be playful within that framework. For instance, Azier, who has lived in Berlin since he was 19, jokingly refers to his music as GDR&B, as in, R&B spawned in communist East Germany. And he’s right about that — his epic synth-pop debut, Hylas (out March 10), has some of the hooks and raw emotion of R&B, mixed with the synthetic churn and metallic clanging of ’80s European electro.
Azier recently stopped by our New York studio on what was, very literally, the sloppiest day of this disgusting, demoralizing NYC winter, but he handled the slushy trek from Brooklyn to midtown with the stoic efficiency you may expect from a Berliner. We chatted about his debut album, the factory he recorded it in and the thin line between love and pain. Shit got deep. Check out the interview up top, and read on for more about the pan-European pop wiz. More »
Picky, picky, picky! As Blake Shelton, Shakira, Adam Levine and Usher’s contestant slots fill up, The Voice coaches are getting stingier with their red buttons. Coach Levine only spun once on Tuesday night (March 4) and has yet to file a complaint that his chair is broken.
This season’s crop of talented contestants has all four coaches compiling some of the strongest Voice teams to date. So…yeah…no more “so so’s” have been sneaking through the Blind Auditions. Sorry, kids: this isn’t Season 1.
The standards are high, but some contestants are delivering. Here’s who wowed their way to the next round. More »
The seniors at McKinley High are already getting sentimental for their impending graduation. (We seriously don’t think Tina’s fully prepared for this emotional roller coaster. It’s Season 5 — has she looked into therapy yet?) Between their nostalgia and the bickering between former roommates Rachel (Lea Michele) and Santana (Naya Rivera), tensions are running pretty high this episode. More »
Did You Hear?
:: Justin Bieber celebrated his 20th birthday with a quick getaway to the Bahamas. Joining him on the trip were Lil Za and Khalil Sharieff, both of whom were recently arrested alongside the superstar. [Pink Is The New Blog]
:: Forbes certainly releases a lot of lists. Topping the magazine’s Korea Celebrity List (just go with it) is girl band Girls’ Generation. They finish one spot ahead of boy band BIGBANG. So there you go. [Billboard]
:: John Travolta has apologized (kind of) for butchering Idina Menzel‘s name at the Oscars. ”I’ve been beating myself up all day,” he said in a statement. ”Then I thought…What would Idina Menzel say? She’d say, ‘Let it go, let it go!’” Cute. [MTV]
:: Speaking of the Oscars. Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto is returning to his music career. 30 Seconds To Mars has announced dates for its Carnivores tour over the summer with co-headliners Linkin Park. [The Hollywood Reporter]
After the jump, find out what music you can catch on TV today. More »
SoMo is makin inroads on the Billboard Hot 100 with major label debut single “Ride”, which continues to prompt panty-dropping and unplanned pregnancies wherever played. The 26-year-old’s self-titled debut album drops April 8 but he somehow found the time to cover Beyonce‘s meme-spawning mega-hit “Drunk In Love”.
Not that surprisingly for someone who landed a record deal by racking up 50+ million YouTube views with crafty covers, Joseph Somers-Morales‘ (his real name) interpretation of Bey’s tune is spot on. He transforms “Drunk In Love” into a soulful sex jam — complete with minimal beats and rubbery synths — that forgoes Jay Z‘s rap altogether. Listen after the jump. More »
From Pharrell and Daft Punk to Justin Timberlake and Beyonce, the final days of disco/early ’80s electronica is musically where it’s at in 2014. An act that’s been mining that sound well before it crossed over to the mainstream is Chromeo. The electro-wizards return with the fourth — and best — single from forthcoming White Women LP “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”.
This is the Canadian duo’s most radio-friendly offering yet and could do some damage on the Billboard Hot 100 if things go their way. “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” is a 3:47 minute trip in a time machine set to 1983. Warm synths rain down over a driving bass line, while the instantly memorable chorus (“I get jealous but I’m too cool to admit it, when the fellas talk to my girl I ain’t with it!”) drives it home. Listen after the jump. More »
Shakira covers the April issue of Latina magazine wearing a sexy white suit jacket. She looks typically gorgeous with her newly straightened hair and delivers one of her famous pouts. I swear this woman hasn’t aged since 2001. In the accompanying interview the “Empire” diva opens up about her new album and fans.
“I will always be a little bit of everything,” the 36-year-old says of her eclectic self-titled album. “There was a lot of fighting with myself about what direction I wanted to go. Throughout the process there were songs that I used to love at that moment and then hated a few minutes later.”
The Colombian goddess also spoke about her relationship with hispanic fans, describing it as “deep and intricate”. But Shakira doesn’t stop there. “It’s like a 20-year marriage,” she continues. “But with a lot of passion, with a lot of sex.” I guess that’s hard to deny after seeing her eye-popping “Can’t Remember To Forget You” video! More »
It’s been a busy week for Jennifer Lopez. The stunning 44-year-old dropped a new remix of buzz single “Girls” and danced up a storm — alongside fellow Latin superstar Ricky Martin — in Wisin‘s sexy “Adrenalina” video. Today (March 4) she unveils the cover art of new single “I Luh Ya Papi”.
There’s not much to say about this. Well, apart from processing the LOL-inducing title. Jenny looks stunning as usual — rocking a white hot outfit and slick ponytail. She also appears to be standing on a yacht, which makes sense given that the Jesse Terrero-directed was shot in Miami. It should be noted that the song also features French Montana, which means urban J.Lo is here to stay. More »
Katy Perry flew into Australia today (March 4) to announce the Aussie leg of her Prismatic tour and sat down for a radio interview with the crew from 2DayFM. She spoke about her looming live extravaganza, describing it as “a feast for the eyes” as well as “colorful and uplifting”. That’s exciting but the best moment is failed pop star/host Sophie Monk asking the “Dark Horse” diva about her bedroom fantasies and being (politely) shot down.
Other highlights include the 29-year-old finally opening up about her sister’s home birth — it turns out she filmed the event for future viewing — and kissing Miley Cyrus at a recent Bangerz show in Los Angeles. Katy revealed that the queen of twerk wanted more than she was willing to give. “I was like that tongue is infamous,” she laughed. “I don’t know where it’s been!” Watch all four parts of the interview after the jump. More »
In today’s hard-hitting music news, Demi Lovato has shaved her head. Well, part of it — anyway. The “Heart Attack” hitmaker updated her Instagram with a picture of her shorn locks before revealing her edgy new look in another snap. It turns out she just shaved the side of her head, otherwise known as the Cassie.
The 21-year-old would look good with any hairstyle, so it’s a no-brainer that she rocks the new style. “So…. This happened…… Oops,” she wrote before declaring “IDGAF”. Right on, Demi! Shave your head if you want to and dye whatever’s left bright pink. If you have tickets to the Disney diva’s excellent Neon Lights tour, pay extra attention to her ever-evolving hair game. See her Insta-updates after the jump. More »