Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Travis dropped from Top of the Pops repeats

The BBC will not show repeats of Top of the Pops featuring former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis, who was found guilty of indecent assault last month.
The BBC pulled episodes hosted by Travis from its schedule of weekly repeats on BBC Four following the broadcaster's arrest in November 2012.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman confirmed "the BBC will not show Top of the Pops repeats fronted by Dave Lee Travis".

Travis was given a three-month suspended sentence last month.

The spokeswoman added: "We will consider any other archive appearances on a case by case basis."

It follows the BBC's decision to allow Jonathan King to appear in a BBC Two documentary about Genesis last week.

King was convicted of child sex offences in 2001. He was sentenced for seven years and released from prison in 2005.

The BBC said his inclusion in the film, Genesis Together and Apart, reflected the "significant role" King played in the history of Genesis, whom he discovered.

His appearance has led to 20 complaints to the BBC, while broadcasting regulator Ofcom is assessing three complaints.

Edited out

In September, Travis was convicted of indecently assaulting a researcher working on TV's Mrs Merton Show in 1995. He was acquitted of 14 further charges during a trial and a later retrial.

The 69-year-old, who was tried under his real name David Griffin, appeared on Radio 1 for more than 25 years until 1993 and was a regular host of Top of the Pops.

Last year, the BBC apologised for airing an excerpt from a 1971 edition of Top of the Pops in which disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile was briefly shown.

Programmes featuring Savile were supposed to have been pulled following revelations of his history of abuse, while archive footage showing convicted sex offender Gary Glitter has also been removed from editions of the show.

King's appearance in a 2011 re-run of Top of the Tops was edited out, prompting him to complain to the BBC.

He called it a "Stalinist revision of history" and was assured by the then BBC director general Mark Thompson that this would not happen again.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BBC unveils all-star version of God Only Knows, 17 years after Perfect Day

Seventeen years ago, when the BBC first unveiled a megastar-laden lineup performing a beloved rock classic of a certain vintage, this paper had a withering take on matters. The performance of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, this paper said, offered “a none too subtle message: keep writing the cheque”.
Now, with the corporation’s battle to retain the television licence fee getting almost tougher by the week, it has unveiled a new take on a beloved song with a new cast of performers, and its message is, if anything, even less subtle, given its chorus runs: “God only knows what I’d be without you.” The new version of God Only Knows was given its first airing across all BBC platforms at 8pm on Tuesday evening, with slightly delayed airings on Radio 3, and the BBC News and World News channels.

BBC’s God Only Knows

The official reason for the new recording of the classic 1966 Beach Boys song is to mark the launch of BBC Music, which the corporation describes as “an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives that amount to the BBC’s strongest commitment to music in 30 years”. As with Perfect Day, the song will be released as a single to raise money for the BBC’s Children in Need appeal.

As in 1997, the BBC has succeeded in gathering together a fairly staggering array of stars. Joining Brian Wilson, the song’s writer, are Sir Elton John, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams. Jake Bugg, Lorde, Emeli Sandé, Chris Martin, Kylie Minogue, Paloma Faith, Sam Smith, Florence Welch, Chrissie Hynde, Brian May, Dave Grohl, Alison Balsom, Martin James Bartlett, Danielle de Niese, Nicola Benedetti, Eliza Carthy, Baaba Maal, Jamie Cullum, Jaz Dhami, as well as the BBC’s Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne, Katie Derham, Gareth Malone and Jools Holland. They are joined by the Tees Valley Youth Choir and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Sir Elton John is the only survivor from Perfect Day. The song is accompanied by a lavish video filmed at the disused Alexandra Palace theatre in London, which hosted the first BBC broadcast more than 90 years ago.

Wilson, unsurprisingly, pronounced himself delighted with the results. “All of the artists did such a beautiful job I can’t thank them enough,” he said. “I’m just honoured that God Only Knows was chosen. God Only Knows is a very special song. An extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve ever written.”
BBC’s Perfect Day

The BBC will be hoping God Only Know can replicate the success of its predecessor. Perfect Day was originally just a televised advert for the BBC, but became so popular it was released as a single, reaching No 1 in the UK, and selling more than 1.5m copies since its release. Single sales alone raised more than £2m for Children in Need. It was so successful, in fact, that the BBC tried to do it again in 2000, when Lou Reed led a second performance of Perfect Day with a new cast across all BBC networks simultaneously as part of the BBC Music Live event. Lightning did not strike twice, however: when released as a single, that version reached only No 69. And, given it featured Rolf Harris, the BBC is doubly unlikely to want to remind viewers of it.

God Only Knows, even leaving aside the not-all-that-subliminal message about treasuring the BBC, is a perfectly suitable choice for this latest attempt at a genre-straddling, globe-bestriding pop phenomenon. Though never released as the A-side of a single – it appeared on the Pet Sounds album, and as the B-side to Wouldn’t It Be Nice – it has become one of the best-loved songs in pop history, frequently appearing in the upper reaches of best-song-ever polls.
Cast of BBC's God Only Knows Photograph: Steve Brown/BBC

Who’s who of God Only Knows. See the larger version of the image here. Full list of names below.

1 Dave Grohl; 2 Alison Balsom; 3 Lorde; 4 Pharrell Williams; 5 Zane Lowe; 6 Sam Smith; 7 Paloma Faith; 8 Eliza Carthy; 9 Nicola Benedetti; 10 Chris Martin; 11 Jaz Dhami; 12 Martin James Bartlett; 13 Danielle de Niese; 14 Stevie Wonder; 15 Florence Welch; 16 Lauren Laverne; 17 Brian Wilson; 18 Jake Bugg; 19 Katie Derham; 20 Gareth Malone; 21 Kylie Minogue; 22 Chrissie Hyde; 23 One Direction; 24 Emeli Sande; 25 Elton John; 26 Baaba Maal; 27 Ethan Johns; 28 Jools Holland; 29 Jamie Cullum; 30 Brian May; 31 Tees Valley Youth Choir; 32 BBC Concert Orchestra
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grimsby Pop Idol star Kim Gee supports St Andrew's Hospice fundraiser at Valiant pub

GRIMSBY'S original Pop Idol star Kim Gee was in action along with a host of other singers at a popular charity show.
Kim won lots of fans all over the country when she sang her heart out on the ITV talent show – hosted by Ant and Dec – in 2003.

The judges back in those days were Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman, Neil Fox and Nicki Chapman.

The winner in the series that featured Kim was Scottish singer Michelle McManus.

Kim was in action at the annual Singers' Day show at The Valiant pub, in Wingate Road, Willows Estate, Grimsby.

Kim, 34, who lives on the estate, said she was pleased to support the day, which was raising money for St Andrew's Hospice, Grimsby.

"My uncle, Andy Braid, had motor neurone disease and he was at the hospice for the last eight months of his life," she said.

"He died about 10 or 11 years ago.


"I am doing a song called Heroes and I am dedicating that to the people at the hospice."

Other songs on her list for the show were Son Of A Preacher Man, Walking On Sunshine and Take A Little Piece Of My Heart.

Kim said she did not do as much singing these days as she is kept busy looking after four children, including a little boy that she has adopted.

"I home school them," she said. "That's my job."

Kim is still well known across the Grimsby area for her amazing performances on Pop Idol back in 2003.

"I came seventh in the live show," she said.

She also made local headlines when she won the first Pub Idol competition, sponsored by the Grimsby Telegraph, in 2003.

She said that, since then, she had kept busy and had worked at Compass FM radio station as a presenter.

"I lead a worship band at the Calvary Christian Fellowship Church on the Willows," said Kim.

"I have done that for a couple of years."

Landlord Cliff Barber said: "Kim and I are good friends."

Other singers in action at the extravaganza included those from the local pubs and clubs scene, including Stevie S, Steve Gold, Karen Leshone and Soul Finger.

Mr Barber said the Singers Day had been staged at the pub for the past ten years.

"The hospice has always been here to support it and the customers support it," he said.

"The singers give up their time to do it for a worthy cause."

He added that about £30,000 had been raised over the years for the hospice.

"It's a good worthy cause for local people," said Mr Barber.

"At some time in our lives, we have all known people who have visited the hospice or had family or friends there.

"They do a fantastic job.

"Thank you to everyone who has given us prizes for the raffle, which is a good fundraiser, especially the local shops in Wingate Parade.

"This is the fourth time I have run the pub. I have lived on the estate since it was built 47 years ago.

"I have lived here from day one."

Hospice representative Lauren Alexander, who attended the show, said: "It is absolutely fantastic that the local community on the Willows estate is raising money and that they are well in to the next decade of fundraising.

"Cliff has informed me that it has just grown and grown in support.

"I want to thank everyone for taking part and for giving money or donating their time to make it a success."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Britney Spears Fashion News: Pop Singer 'Would Love' To See Kate Middleton In Her New Lingerie Line

Britney Spears débuted her new lingerie line in London on Tuesday and the pop icon knows exactly who she'd like to wear it.
Britney Spears At The MTV Music Awards

"I would love to see Kate [Middleton] wear my underwear designs," Spears told People on Wednesday. "That would be splendid! I'm going to send her one of every piece, so she'll have plenty to choose from.

In defending her decision to offer some free samples to the Duchess, the singer-turned-designer claimed that her line is for "every type of woman."

Britney Spears Performs In Las Vegas

While known for her fragrances, Intimate Britney Spears is the 32-year-old's first entry into the world of lingerie design. As for her personal life, Spears admitted that she prefers to keep things interesting.

"I like to have matching and then sometimes I like to mix it up and change it up… to make it more interesting and fun" revealed Spears of her own lingerie.

Spears announced the lingerie line back in July, offering a wide array of styles all under $80.

"Every woman should feel confident and beautiful in everything she puts on," she declared in a July 23 interview with People. "My vision for The Intimate Britney Spears is to create pieces that are sexy, luxurious, and comfortable at the same time. I am excited to introduce this collection because I feel that we accomplished just that."

The Duchess of Cambridge has not commented on Spears' offer and is currently pregnant with her second child.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

K-pop singer takes back accusations of abuse, leaves fans unconvinced


Moon Joon-young, the leader of K-pop boy band ZE:A, on Monday took back his fiery criticisms of his agency's alleged exploitation of its singers, but fans remained sceptical of the "reconciliation."
The 25-year-old singer wrote on his Twitter Monday morning that he had an all-night talk the day before with Shin Ju-hak, the chief executive of Star Empire Entertainment Co., "as the final ultimatum." He posted an official apology "for causing controversy, which was straightened out after a candid face-to-face talk with the CEO."

The entertainment label also released an official statement, claiming Moon and Shin had "unraveled all the misunderstandings and conflicts in a cordial manner."

But the news did not convince online critics, with sceptical comments heating up news sites and online community bulletin boards.

"Talk of reconciliation. A bucket of lies (fnal****)."

"Don't you think it's strange? (snai****)."

"If it was such an easy problem, why have they waited so long to reconcile? This has been a longtime issue (vijd****)."

Some blamed Moon for quickly revoking his claims.

In recent years, the abuse controversy involving K-pop stars and their agencies has gained public attention, with a series of legal actions by globally popular singers. The three former members of TVXQ, now JYJ, Hankyung of Super Junior and Kris of EXO have taken legal action against S.M. Entertainment over common issues of maltreatment, hectic work schedules and scarce income.

Moon's Twitter manifesto also addressed these three key issues in detail.

1. Sunday morning: "I want to live like a human being, like a man."

The scandal surfaced on Sunday morning, when the distressed ZE:A leader voiced allegations of an inhumanly tight schedule and unfair distribution of income.

Moon wrote on his Twitter, "I am determined to speak out my heart, the world as I see it, and the life I live in tears. I mean to share them all with the public. I ask for support from the journalists.

"I will not bypass the injustice. I regret having been silent -- All I got in return was insults and depression that have imprisoned me."

He directly targeted the CEO of his agency, a daring move for an idol star in Korea.

"I believe a true leader, owner and ruler must heed to the cry of (his people) … I will show how tears can turn into fury. This is no joke. If my Twitter account disappears or I become silent, that will be the evidence of the pressure from those with power to do so.

"For the first time, I ask the world: CEO Shin Ju-hak of Star Empire Entertainment, do you think you are immune to this? … In tears I asked you not to cross the line, but you did. Now it is yours to handle this. I blew my top. I have been through everything, from circular hair loss to melancholia."

Later when these statements disappeared from the singer's Twitter, Moon's agency said the singer voluntarily deleted them.

2. Sunday evening: "CEO gets 70 per cent of the profit, members get 3.33 per cent each."

After voicing, then erasing, his words on Twitter, he posted criticism of the agency's unfair distribution of profit.

"A couple hours till the promised 24-hour. We should not have more victims, including ZE:A… Why should we be oppressed for loving to sing? Here, people without money become the sinners and those with money becomes the winners… I want to show young aspiring singers that this world is about being fabulous on the surface but financially poor in reality… They remain silent, not because they do not wish to, but because they cannot speak. Money mutes us."

The singer claimed that ZE:A's exclusive contract with Star Empire, approved by the Fair Trade Commission, has "the company and the nine-member band split the profit by a 7:3 ratio." For every 1 million won earned, Shin takes 700,000 won and ZE:A members divide the remaining 300,000 won by nine -- roughly 33,333 won for each member.

ZE:A's exclusive contract is effective for nine years, which includes the two-year military service term.

"I have given Star Empire my youth, teens and 20s. The housing is in such bad condition that I bumped into (a hard object) and hurt my face while going to the restroom at night. Once they sent me to KBS' sports entertainment show 'Dream Team' only a week before the comeback stage for 'Aftermath.' I broke my leg (in the show,) and had to tell people that I hurt my leg in dance practice instead.

"The world is all about money. The entertainment scene that I have experienced is even more so, and the mass communication outlets distort the news to the point that we think of committing suicide," he added.

"I am going to have a final word with president Shin Ju-hak. Please wait for me. Please do not delete (my case) from the portal's most frequently searched words."

3. Monday morning: "I saw President Shin apologise with tears in his eyes... but I know things may be much worse in some entertainment agencies."

Moon ended the dispute with his agency by posting an apology and a briefing of the talks between himself and Shin. He said the CEO offered a tearful apology in front of eight ZE:A members. Siwan is currently away for an outside schedule.

With a complete about-face in opinion, he wrote, "First of all, I apologise for triggering the controversy. We finished the talk just now and I am grateful that he accepted my feelings, which are all straightened for good.

"This is what I wanted to show. A CEO being chastised by the fans and the public. But now that the dispute has ended, it all comes down to a petty family fight… But I know things may be much worse at other entertainment agencies. I do not want Mr. Shin to stick out as a scapegoat. Guilty agencies need no accuser."

4. Aftermath

While Moon and Star Empire have seemingly reconciled, online critics argued that the agency has a history of mistreating its singers.

Another round of fresh criticisms were directed toward Shin later on Monday, after a critic posted a video clip of the Star Empire Entertainment chief slapping a female singer's face with a roll of documents. The singer turned out to be Sera, a former member of Star Empire's girl group Nine Muses. The movie clip later turned out to be a part of a documentary on K-pop artists, aired on British broadcaster BBC.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga Go 'Cheek To Cheek' On New Album

You might think they go together like oil and water, or chalk and cheese.

"I think it's probably what a lot of people are thinking when they hear Tony Bennett wants to do a jazz album with Lady Gaga," says Gaga herself of her new collaborative album with the legendary crooner, Cheek To Cheek. "They say, 'Huh? What are you talking about?'"
It's not the first time they've worked together. The pair collaborated on "The Lady Is A Tramp" for his album Duets II, which won a Grammy. Bennett says Lady Gaga's up to the challenge of a full album of standards.

"She's actually a very authentic jazz singer," he says. "She'll turn a phrase, she'll make it different, because of the moment that she's singing. And so, what happens is it keeps the songs alive; the interpretations become very intimate and everlasting."

Like Bennett, Lady Gaga was born in New York City. She's actually been singing jazz since she was a kid — but of course, she's best known for her pop songs and over-the-top stage shows, which draw sell-out crowds around the world. So, why did she decide to record with Tony Bennett?

"He's brought out a subtlety in me that I've missed for a while, because my life is very noisy," Gaga says. "It's a lot harder to sing with auto-tune, in a way, you know? It's a lot harder to sing with rigid electronic music and lots of spectacle. It can be very difficult, because it's not always extremely natural."

But the new record is natural, says New Yorker pop-music critic Sasha Frere-Jones.

"You know, her records have become increasingly so crowded, so noisy — but not with noise, just sort of noisy with information that I don't understand what's going on exactly," Frere-Jones says. "And this is a wide-open, fairly natural record. I'm sure there's some editing involved in there, but, you know, she's there. I don't know what the world will make of it, but it's actually pretty good!"

Frere-Jones also points out that Lady Gaga is more than pop spectacle; she can really play piano and sing. She says working with the 88-year-old Bennett has been a real education.

"I love watching Tony perform," she says. "I always sit in the theater and watch when he's performing without me, with his quartet."

Bennett hopes the learning experience extends to Lady Gaga's audience.

"It's the first time that young people that love [her] so much will fall in love with George Gershwin, with Cole Porter, with Irving Berlin," Bennett says.

"And most of them, a lot of them, surprisingly, know some of those songs," Gaga says. "And they're sort of getting more and more and more excited and it's becoming cooler for them to talk about who wrote what. Tony's really opening up a whole new generation.

"I feel very validated by this," the pop singer says. "You know, he's given my fans a gift by saying to them that he likes the way I sing jazz."

The two singers also seem to genuinely like each other. In addition to the album, PBS will be broadcasting a concert of Gaga and Bennett singing duets in October. And — in case any of Lady Gaga's fans are curious about who wrote what — Bennett promises there will be visuals, identifying the songwriters, at the start of every song.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chrissie Hynde says pop full of 'porn stars trying to make records'

The Pretenders' outspoken lead singer Chrissie Hynde has again raised the spectre of so-called "stripper pop", blasting young singers for selling sex before music.
Hynde has labelled young pop stars "porn stars trying to make records".

The iconic Brass in Pocket hit maker has told the London Evening Standard there were too many scantily clad pop stars and rockers filming videos while wearing next to nothing.

"There's a definite division of what I'd call porn stars trying to make records, and then musicians.

"If you go and see Kate Bush, you'll see a real musician. She takes care of business the way she wants. If a girl walks on stage and starts playing like Jimi Hendrix, believe me, no one will be asking her to take her clothes off," she told the UK publication.

"If anyone says, 'I have to do this because my record company told me', that's a lie. The artist is in control of what they're doing. You can always tell anyone to f--- off.

"If they're under pressure to get their kit off, maybe they should just be making porn films. Maybe they're in the wrong game."

Hynde isn't singling out anyone for criticism, but her remarks come just days after actress Mayim Bialik took aim at Ariana Grande for wearing "lingerie" to promote her new album.

In 2013, Sinead O'Connor attacked Miley Cyrus after watching the pop star's Wrecking Ball video, in which the former Disney regular swings about on a huge metal ball, wearing only boots.

11 Pop Singers Worth Listening to Over Any Mainstream “Pop Star”

It's hard to tell people you like pop music. Inevitably, "pop" conjures ideas of fluffy, insubstantial tunes targeting the lowest common denominator. To some extent, that's true — it's difficult to argue that consumerism and capitalism aren't the driving forces behind pop music, and that sometimes that makes for meaningless fluff.

But there's nothing wrong with an irresistible hook. And when it comes down to it, everybody loves a catchy song.

In that spirit, here are 11 artists who write great pop songs but aren't actually pop stars. Their music is catchy, artistic and fun, but you won't hear them on the radio. And that's a good thing.

1. Kiesza

Kiesza came out of nowhere. Before she was a singer, she nearly became a sniper in the Canadian navy. But earlier this year, when she released the one-take dancing video for her song "Hideaway," she blew up almost immediately.
"Hideaway" went on to become the third-fastest selling single of 2014 in the U.K. It's also received plenty of critical acclaim for successfully pulling off a '90s-inspired disco track. Its pulsing rhythm and infinite dance-ability underscore the song, perhaps owing to Kiesza's past as a ballerina. As if all that weren't enough to win us all over, Kiesza recently announced that she's written songs for Rihanna's upcoming album. She has the best of both worlds.

2. Mapei

Half-American, half-Liberian Mapei has been creating music for quite a while. She started out working in rap, but it wasn't until she went on to collaborate with Justice on "Don't Wait" that she caught the music world's attention.

The song has reached No. 1 on Hype Machine repeatedly, and for good reason; it flawlessly toes the line between sadness and sensuality. The track incorporates different cultural influences, opening with Brazilian baile funk drums. The mashed-up sound makes sense, as Mapei grew up all over the world. She started in Rhode Island, then spent time in Sweden, Brazil and Tunisia. Her album is set to drop on Sept. 23, and although "Don't Wait" is almost perfect, her new single "Change" is even more fun.

3. Haerts

Haerts makes music like Fleetwood Mac would have made if they were just starting today. A quartet from Brooklyn, N.Y., they have American roots as well as German and English. Vocalist Nini Fabi can conjure a dreamy aural haze like no one else.

Haerts were all over the blogosphere on "best of 2013" lists, and they're not slacking off in 2014 either. They intend to release their debut LP on Oct. 28. 

4. Betty Who

Betty Who gained instant notoriety when Spencer Stout used her song "Somebody Loves You" to propose to his boyfriend via a flashmob at Home Depot. The video currently has more than 12 million views, and what's more, the couple famously got married during Macklemore's epic performance of "Same Love" at the Grammys.

Clearly, Betty Who's catchy melodies have the capacity to inspire and connect people, but she's recently also proved that her songs are as delightful as they are meaningful. "All of You" and "Runaways," which precede her Oct. 7 album Take Me When You Go On, capture the heart of innocent young love, driving pop music to its sweet edge with euphoric hooks. 

5. Adore Delano

The sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race was infinitely better than the fifth, almost solely because of Adore Delano. Since the show, Delano's been making club jams like "DTF," but her summer single "I Adore U" is a power-pop ballad that is simply beautiful. Her vocals soar, the rap bit is on point and the video is a brutally honest, gorgeous visual that matches the song's sincerity.

6. Lo-Fang

Thirty-year-old Matthew Hemerlein is a bona fide musical prodigy: He's classically trained in violin, cello, bass, piano and guitar. No one since Andrew Bird has so easily switched between instruments, playing the violin onstage like a third appendage. But his real selling point is his hypnotic voice.

He's commited to playing with bold gender identities too, balancing out the masculine and the feminine in his life and music. He sees "fang" (his industrial beats) as male and "lo" (his string melodies) as female. He wrote his debut album, Blue Film, while traveling, and plays every instrument on the album himself. All his conscientious artistry paid off when Lorde named his song "No. 88" as her favorite of 2013 and then invited him to open for her spring 2014 tour.

7. Lolawolf

No one has electro-indie pop down like Lolawolf. The band is fronted by fashion darling and actress Zoë Kravitz (the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet), who, of course, sings beautifully. Their music is warm and atmospheric, with a sarcastically funny edge perhaps best summarized by the lyric on "Drive (Los Angeles)": "I could stare out your window, and fuck you tonight."

Just as artists like the Weeknd and Drake brought melancholy back to mainstream R&B, Lolawolf is making pop darker and far more interesting. 

8. Lowell

"When I first stopped stripping and started making music, I was legitimately blackmailed by people," singer Lowell told "But I realized that all I could do was just be comfortable with who I was ... and just try to be the best person I could be and not give a shit what anybody thinks."

It's this willingness to open up to her fans, to share her past and present with us, that makes Lowell a successful modern star. Her quirkiness might keep her off the top of the charts, but her music is still phenomenally catchy. She's also incredibly smart, careful not to discriminate against sex workers by denouncing her past. She convincingly articulates that stripping can be empowering, but that the surrounding industry is what can sometimes be victimizing. Her music is political yet fun, a perfect combination.

9. MisterWives

Pop music is known for being overproduced and autotuned, perhaps because it's often more about image than rigorous musical training. But that's not true for New York-based MisterWives, whose lead singer, Mandy Lee, attended visual and performing arts powerhouse LaGuardia High School and studied opera. Their band name is also a sassy play on Mormon "sister wives," but instead of polygamy, Mandy is "married" to her five male bandmates. They also do a killer cover of Sam Smith's "Money on My Mind."

10. TALA

Listening to TALA is like unwrapping a present, with infinite delightful surprises hidden under every rich sonic layer. TALA is half-Iranian, but she grew up in South London, and she's making sure that her music is a reflection of her diversity and identity.

"Growing up in quite a diverse family and in such a melting pot, I've always mixed cultures," she writes in BuzzFeed. "That's just a part of who I am, and it's a part of my music and imagery. We live in a time where certain imagery from the Middle East can be quite alien to Western culture and quite scary for people sometimes. If you can take the positive aspects of what is quite a beautiful culture, than I think it's great to throw that in the mix."

If music is a universal language, then it's people like TALA who can really get a positive message across. 

11. Alvvays

This is washy lo-fi pop. Yes, that's been done many times before, but Alvvays does it impeccably. Their first single, "Archie, Marry Me," was the No. 1 most-added song on college radios across America and Canada. It's understandable; the song's chorus is painfully true to a 20-something experience: "It's too late to go out, too young to stay in."

Molly Rankin, the lead singer, is of the famed Rankin family, a Canadian musical family with many awards to their name. But she'll prove any critic crying nepotism wrong: Alvvays' debut is a powerhouse because of her gorgeously wistful voice and her own compelling lyrics. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Singer with sensual dance steps to represent Vietnam at 2014 MTV EMA

A well-loved Vietnamese pop singer will represent her country at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards (2014 MTV EMA), which is set to wrap up in Scotland in November 2014, MTV Vietnam announced on Monday.
Ho Ngoc Ha, a popular singer, who has entranced a large number of young local fans thanks to her ‘trendy’ singing voice and sensual dance steps, will compete in the Best Worldwide Act category.

Ha won 246,289 votes on MTV Vietnam’s website, followed by two other Vietnamese pop singers Son Tung MTP and Dong Nhi.

The candidate list also included some other pop singers.
The voting went on from Tuesday last week to this Monday noon, September 15, but on Tuesday, Ha’s photo was seen on MTV Thailand’s Facebook as the Vietnamese representative.

The photo was removed shortly after that.

Representatives of MTV Asia claimed that the photo was a mix-up.

Rumor also has it that MTV Vietnam has fixed the voting result and chosen Ha as the winner.

Ho Tri Quyen, an MTV Vietnam representative, said that all MTV channels in Southeast Asia have the privilege to nominate a local singer to attend the first round of the Best Worldwide Act.

While working with MTV Asia, MTV Vietnam considered choosing Ha as the Vietnamese representative.

“However, given the success of My Tam at the 2013 MTV EMA, who was voted by fans as the Vietnamese candidate, we decided not to use our privilege and leave the choice to the fans,” Quyen added.

The final round of the 2014 MTV EMA will take place in Glasgow, Scotland on November 9.

Last year, famed pop singer My Tam became the first local artist to represent Vietnam at the 2013 MTV EMA’s Best Worldwide Act category in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Tam then won the Best Southeast Asia Act based on audience voting in the first round of the 2013 MTV EMA and went on to represent the Southeast Asian region in the second round.

MTV EMA is aired on more than 60 MTV channels in different countries, which are watched by over 700 million households the world over.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Twin pop singers from Atlanta find a welcome in China

After their trysts with gospel music, R&B, hip-hop and some Motown in parts of the world, two Americans are now happy to entertain China. Belle Taylor talks to the Jackson Twinz.
Preach and Danger Jackson are identical twins, but that's not the only reason it's tricky to tell them apart.

Aside from being the spitting image of each other, they often dress alike, and the brothers are no shrinking violets when it comes to sartorial style. They appear more like screaming carnations, with red trousers, red shirts and matching short red ties. They top off the ensemble with black shoes, and wear dark aviator sunglasses even at night.

"Our father always told us, it doesn't matter if you are flat broke, you always dress like you have a million dollars in your pocket," Preach, whose real name is Scharodrick, says.

His brother Danger (real name Scharod) interjects, "2 million!"

The snappily dressed duo are best known by their stage name The Jackson Twinz, and are recognized by many people in Beijing. They have appeared in nightclubs and bars and have been the musical entertainment at countless balls, music festivals, fashion shows and corporate events ever since they touched down in the Chinese capital four years ago.

"We didn't plan to be here," Danger says. Preach nods in agreement: "But China had a surprise for us. It's green, it's open, it's new."

The brothers were performing in Singapore when they first were presented with an offer to travel to China. Initially reluctant, they decided to take a risk and found themselves happily surprised. A residency at Beijing's Lan club led to further opportunities and they have since made the city their base.

"We played at the wedding of a celebrity, we didn't know who the celebrity is, and then it just led to other things," Preach says. "We are quite business orientated, so we spoke to the owners (of Lan) and we said, 'if you want to be successful here, if you want to pack this place out with high-end customers we need to go outside at least once a month,' ... so every month we went out and did some big TV show and that brought in clients."

The brothers are from Atlanta and started singing gospel in the church with their sisters, also twins, when they were children. "But they were a little bit tone deaf," Preach says of his sisters, waving his hand in a mockingly dismissive gesture.

He says, the brothers though had the perfect pitch when they were aged 8 or 9, and easily got their way. "In our family we have 17 sets of twins and we were the only boys."

Gospel led to singing R&B, and in 1991 they ventured overseas for the first time - to Japan where they found themselves playing at a venue that specialized in Motown music. The genre - soul music infused with pop, and inspired by the American motor town of Detroit - was unfamiliar to the brothers, but they quickly adapted, and credit the experience for broadening their repertoire.

"You gotta know the crowd," Preach says. "We can change our style. When we were (at) Gary's Motown in Japan we knew nothing about Motown. It's the 1930s, sometimes 1920s music."

Danger says their gospel background made the music easy enough to pick up, but the other aspects of Motown were a learning curve. "It's all dancing and singing, lights camera, action, for six months straight! Then we were also doing hip-hop and R&B, we went up to Tokyo for that."

The influence of those years can be seen in their stage act today. The brothers not only sing, but they know how to work a crowd into a frenzy. Their dance moves help, as does their propensity to pull members of the audience onstage to be part of the show.

They have recorded several albums, mainly in their genre of choice - R&B, but usually manage to squeeze a gospel track into each one, but their main game is performing, which they have done the world over. Spain, Germany, Malaysia and the Philippines are among the countries where they've played.

But for now, they are happy to take the opportunities that are coming their way in China, including landing minor acting roles in movies.

They say hard work and professionalism have held them in good stead in China, and while they see an increasing number of musicians making their way to the country, eager to take advantage of the opportunities available, they say not everyone is successful.

"We say to people, it don't happen overnight," Danger says.

He has some sound advice for those who want to pursue their own China dream. "Whatever path you take, just work hard."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pop singers to give concert in Baku

Here is amazing news for the fans of Nicole Scherzinger, Will.I.Am, from "Black Eyed Peas" and soloist of "LMFAO" Redfoo. Following the example of Shakira, Beyonce and Jlo, these internationally renowned singers will come to Baku for the first time with a concert program.
The festival Adrenaline will be held in the biggest Baku concert hall Crystal Hall on November 1.

The tickets for this amazing show are available in the box offices of the city. The ticket prices start from 30 manats.

The soloist of the worldwide known Pussycat Dolls burlesque group Nicole Scherzinger is an American pop singer, dancer and producer. She began her solo career in 2006.

William Adams better known as Will.I.Am is an American rapper, music producer, one of the founders and the leader of the hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas.

Stefan Kendal Gordy better known by his stage name Redfoo, is an American singer, dancer, record producer, DJ and rapper best known as part of the musical duo LMFAO.

Allen Pineda Lindo is a Filipino-American rapper, music producer, also known as a member of the band Black Eyed Peas, acting under the pseudonym Apple D Ap.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Meet Thurmon Green, the NYC Singer on a Mission to Subvert Pop

Earlier this summer I took the ferry across to Fire Island, a glamorous stretch of sand and sexy architecture just across the water from Long Island, NY. Arts organization BOFFO were throwing a party to celebrate the end of GEN F graduates Lafawndah and Nick Weiss of Teengirl Fantasy's spell as artists-in-residence. I didn't know it on the ferry over but it turned out to be the first time I would see Thurmon Green perform. Stood by the side of a Hockney blue pool in crimson shorts and shirt, and wearing the most bashful of smiles, Green turned a casual Saturday afternoon into a pure pop moment. There's his rich, sure, sassy voice, of course, but it's more than that: Green is the whole package a face you can't take your eyes off, a flick to his shoulder that oozes confidence and songs that winkle out a fresh angle on familiar feelings.
Back in March he premiered his video for "The Grind," a song that unpicks the social conventions of the daily grind to a backdrop of nuanced choreography—he sings of vulnerability but his body language frames it as a strength. While it sounds like a hit-in-waiting, it could've easily never materialized. Green grew up in LA—a place he is very fond of, saying "for me LA's not just Paris Hilton and the beach, it’s family ties and this kind of warm softness"—and was all set on being a filmmaker, moving to NYC to study it at college. Halfway through, however, he realized he needed to be making music instead, something he had dabbled in as a kid but without training. Reveling in the "mystery and ignorance" of his experience with music, he sketched out the handful of tracks that would go on to become his debut EP Adolphus (out next week on NYC label/collective DOOM DAB; listen to the premiere of EP track "Like That" below) on GarageBand before recruiting friend and producer Billy Scher to "give the songs legs." Ahead of the release,Green popped by The FADER office to chat about making a proto-The Social Network as a 16-year-old, visual representation, and the joys of subverting pop.
Thurmon Green"Like That"

When we were chatting earlier, you mentioned singers like Arthur Russell and Anita Baker who are known for their strength in vulnerability. I’m drawn to singers who weren’t necessarily trained singers or who are not concerned with perfection. I grew up learning if you study something, or you practice it really well, you become really good at it and people will appreciate that. But [becoming a singer] has been the most organic, natural process that’s recalling what I was originally drawn to as a child—instinctually more performance-oriented stuff. But then as a teen it was stamped out of me by the world, so this is me returning to the performance side.

Why was it stamped out of you? I had a totally chill childhood—just in the regular ways that teens are taught to not shine too bright. But as a child it’s just your instinct to do whatever you want and for me it was performing. That’s why I titled the EP Adolphus, because for the first ten years of my life I was known as ‘Dolph’ to my family—that’s my middle name. Iguess it got more formal around sixth grade for roll call, so they started calling me Thurmon. But I still think of myself as Dolph in my head. So with this EP, it’s me going back to Dolph. 

When you say performance as a kid, do you mean singing or acting? Anything, honestly. I would just reenact scenes from movies and use my siblings as like the props and the co-stars. I would sing the theme song to Touched by an Angel, this cheesy show about angels. It had a gospel theme song and I would sing it.

How did you end up in New York? I came here for film school. I was like "film guy" in high school. I was entering film festivals and I was also doing teen plays at my high school and dabbling in music a little bit. But it was mostly film because that’s what I thought was the most respectable creative work to my parents who come from a humble background. I loved film but midway through film school at NYU Tisch I fell out of love with the process. The faculty and resources were amazing but everyone was just not really invested in being a critically minded artist and I think that’s so valuable. Luckily, as I checked out of film school, I was drawn to a circle of intellectually minded individuals and music people and started to just jam. You know, college jam sessions. That led to more serious messing around in GarageBand. After I graduated, I started to be like, “Okay, let me do this,” because it combines all the things I’m interested in. It feels like a continuation of me as a film-making artist but I feel like it’s the best job in the world to be a popstar because you get to just combine all these different things and work with so many different people and create this world that can encompass your own personal mythology. 

What was the film that got you into film school? I made this film called Connect which was basically before everyone was doing stuff about technology pulling us all away from one another. It was about a group of teens whose lives intersect and finally cross paths when their technology fails them and they have a human interaction. I still stand by it. Of course it was made when I was sixteen but it actually when pretty far—it got into a few festivals and I got some scholarship opportunities through it. 

What changed to make you decide you wanted to go for music? I think it was becoming a more critically thinking, intellectually minded person. I was fortunate enough to take courses in college that were on social-cultural analysis and [through that] my own independent reading of performance as resistance and the importance of visual representation. I thought, “Okay, it is important for someone that looks like me to be on a platform.” I think people want that and need that in 2014. That motivated me to put myself front and center and have the courage to put myself in the artwork. 

That’s pretty fearless. Yes, but I would say it really took a supportive community of artists and friends around me. My family has always been very supportive of these pursuits. They may not always like the music or understand the film or whatever, but they’re always really supportive. 

What do you mean when you say “someone that looks like me?” Someone who is not the traditional, conventional version of a male pop star. Regardless of how I actually look, I don’t feel like that. I mean, I don’t look like Trey Songz. And, you know, someone being involved in a kind of progressively minded, queer community of artists that may not be the person who is going to go for this kind of pop iconography. 
1ers feat. Thurmon Green"Dancing Away"

We all think there’s this traditional idea of a pop star and how they look and behave, but that tradition has only been around a few years really. Just as I finished talking, I realized someone with that kind of gumption or gall to be so intensely themselves sets the standard. They mold everything. I also feel like as a young African American male to put myself in a position of being looked upon, gazed upon on camera while simultaneously running things behind the scenes feels really important. Also to show that in a really beautiful way. My friends and I made “The Grind” video. It was made with love. They’re the ones behind the camera and it’s made with their loving gaze. It really is all about love in the end. I would love to just be this visual representation of all the things I really care about, which is being positive in the face of so many oppressive things going on in the world—especially as an African-American young man existing in mainstream society. To do that in the pop mainstream would be extremely subversive but so much fun. 

When subversion is done well, it’s just kind of opening a door and being like, “Actually, we could go this way.” You can totally do it with music more than anything else. More than any other art form—someone can call me out in a comment—I think music is the most unifying. I’m not the first person to say this. The weirdest song can be liked by the most normal person and vice versa. Subverting mainstream culture can be done through something as cerebral and ephemeral as music.  

You’ve said pop a number of times, and you’ve also talked about R&B before. I could be saying R&B interchangeably with pop. To me pop is just the broader global influence. It’s like the little baby in India singing Michael Jackson with a Pepsi shirt on. I mean, to me that’s pop. And pop can be R&B, hip-hop, you know? I have no problem being called R&B because to me that encompasses is all things that I love. It’s like, you know, you have Brandy here, Little Dragon, BB know, just whatever you wanna put, I’m down. And it could end up in my music somehow. 

Where does your positivity come from? I think it comes from a really unsentimental place. It’s not about being an optimistic person; it’s about being a hopeful person. There’s just so much horrible stuff in the world that I think that probably fuels me to create things that make people happy, or at least that they can feel like someone is relating to their situation. I also think I probably just have fear of mortality and I just want to make things that make people move, which is like the opposite of dying. 

Even when I make songs that are a little more like “The Grind,” which, while being perhaps dark, has a sense of humor and to me is kind of like someone telling a story. I’m really inspired by singers like Alberta Hunter and Bessie Smith—the idea of [creating] these intimate environments and someone just telling their troubles. But like there’s always this unshakeable quality to it. It’s not like, “Oh woe is me,” but ”This is what I’ve lived through and I’m still here.” When I perform “The Grind” it feels like this redemptive thing that I bring into the performance. There’s like a wink in it. It’s like, “This didn’t get me because I’m still here and I’m telling this story.” 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ladies' Code singer Rise dies after crash

Ladies Code Ladies' Code, with Rise pictured second left, were returning from a TV appearance when the crash happened.
A second member of South Korean pop group Ladies' Code has died, four days after the vehicle they were travelling in crashed near Seoul.

Kwon Ri-sae, known as Rise, died in hospital at the age of 23 on Sunday.

She had been unconscious after emergency brain surgery following Wednesday's accident, a spokesperson from Polaris Entertainment said.

Her death follows that of 22-year-old bandmate Go Eun-bi, better known as EunB, who died shortly after the crash.

The five-member group made their debut in 2013 and released their latest single Kiss Kiss last month.

One other member of Ladies' Code fractured her jaw and two had minor injuries and were treated for shock.

Police inspector Lee Ho-dong told the Associated Press that the crash happened when band were returning to the South Korean capital after filming a TV appearance in the south-eastern city of Daegu.

The van driver was treated for a minor injury before being questioned and may have been speeding on a wet road to meet a tight schedule, Mr Lee said.

"We are investigating the exact cause of the accident," he said. "But it's difficult because the highway section where the crash occurred did not have a closed-circuit television camera."

He added that a camera from inside the van had been sent to the National Forensic Service.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shakira confirms she is expecting second child with Gerard Pique: Yes, I'm pregnant

Shakira, Shakira!

The Colombian beauty has confirmed she's expecting her second child with beau Gerard Pique.

"Yes, I'm pregnant," she said in the upcoming Mexican issue of Cosmopolitan magazine that hits newsstands in September.
Baby Numero Dos is proof positive of how in love the couple, who got together in 2010, are with one another.

"Seeing me in love is a constant state," she gushed. "There are no questions as the answer is simply there."

Already parents to 19-month-old son Milan, the pair are overjoyed about adding another little one to their family.

The news of the 37-year-old singer's second pregnancy first came out in July when her close friend, singer Carlos Vives, spilled the beans to Fox News Latino.

"Yes, she is pregnant and she's very happy," he said.

Now, the former "Voice" coach has confirmed she is in fact preggers with the 27-year-old soccer star's baby.

Shakira's baby bump isn't quite visible yet. The "Hips Don't Lie" singer posted a video Aug. 19 on Instagram when she accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

She wore denim shorts and a baggy black T-shirt as she nominated Coldplay front man Chris Martin and Pope Francis.

Pique did the honors of dumping the icy cold H2O on his lady.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Are Married in France

Brangelina, making it official at last! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie married this past Saturday, Aug. 23, a spokesperson for the couple confirmed to Us Weekly and the Associated Press on Thursday, Aug. 28.
"On Saturday, Aug. 23, in the presence of family and friends, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married in a small chapel in Chateau Miraval in France. It was a non-denominational civil ceremony," the spokesperson said in a statement. "It was very much a family affair."

Their marriage comes after two years of engagement and nine years together. The A-listers share six kids -- Maddox, 13, Pax, 10, Zahara 9, Shiloh, 8, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 6 -- and have hinted for years at making their union official.
Their children also took part in the wedding. Jolie, 39, walked down the aisle with Maddox and Pax, while Zahara and Vivienne "threw petals, gathered from the garden," the spokesperson said. "Shiloh and Knox were the ring bearers." See pics of Brad's wedding band.

Prior to exchanging vows, the couple obtained a marriage license from a California judge. The same judge also conducted the nondenominational civil ceremony in France.

Pitt, 50, proposed to Jolie in spring 2012 and designed a 16-carat engagement ring for his beloved in collaboration with jeweler Robert Procop. When confirming their engagement news in April 2012, Pitt's manager said: "Yes, it's confirmed. It is a promise for the future and their kids are very happy."

The bride told Elle magazine in its June 2014 issue that she never thought she would have her fairy tale ending. "I never thought I'd have children," Jolie said. "I never thought I’d be in love, I never thought I’d meet the right person. Having come from a broken home—you kind of accept that certain things feel like a fairy tale, and you just don’t look for them."

She also elaborated about her dynamic with her "person" Pitt. "You get together and you’re two individuals and you feel inspired by each other, you challenge each other, you complement each other, drive each other beautifully crazy," she said. "After all these years, we have history—and when you have history with somebody, you’re friends in such a very real, deep way that there’s such a comfort, and an ease, and a deep love that comes from having been through quite a lot together." (Jolie underwent a preventative mastectomy in February 2013.)

The couple first met on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith back in 2005, and are currently working on a new film together in Malta. As Us Weekly exclusively reported on Wednesday, Aug. 27, the couple shares some "crazy sex scenes" in By the Sea, which was written and directed by Jolie.
This is the second marriage for Pitt, who was wed to Jennifer Aniston from 2000 to 2005, and the third for Jolie, who was married to Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kate Bush, British pop singer, returns to the stage after 35 years

Ecstatic fans have welcomed British pop singer Kate Bush back to the stage for her first show in 35 years.

The crowd stood and roared with approval as Bush, dressed in black, entered the stage with her back-up singers and opened with her 1993 song Lily, followed by Hounds of Love.
More than 80,000 tickets for the 56-year-old's 22 shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, where Bush last performed in 1979, sold out in 15 minutes when they went on sale in March.

Second-hand tickets had been advertised online for more than $1,650.

Among the crowd was Brisbane teacher Vicki Skehan, who said she had spent about $16,500 on a business-class plane fare to London, accommodation and tickets for two performances.

"So far, so good," she said during the interval of the show, adding that Bush's voice was "still fantastic, and if anything sounds better, with more depth".

The theatrical show included video, a helicopter and a sea rescue scene. It ranged over the three decades of Bush's career with songs such as Oh England My Lionheart and Babooshka.

Bush finished the concert with Cloudbusting, receiving a final standing ovation after being on stage for nearly three hours.

"Thank you very much for such a warm and positive response," she said.

The performance made the front page of many of Britain's newspapers, with the Daily Mail describing it as a "triumphant return" and the Guardian calling it "unbelievable".

"There was undoubtedly only one artist who would have had the bloody-mindedness, nerve and beautifully skewed imagination to pull it off," wrote the Mirror.

Eleven of Bush's albums have risen into this week's Top 100 albums chart for sales, with her greatest hits collection, The Whole Story, reaching number eight, according to

Her most recent release, 50 Words For Snow, also saw the biggest week-on-week percentage increase of 810 per cent and has sold 155,000 copies so far, the charts company said.

The singer had asked the audience in advance not to use phones or cameras during the performance, and the rule was strictly enforced.

Reluctance to play live
Bush burst onto the scene in 1978 at the age of 19, when her debut single Wuthering Heights went to the top of Britain's singles chart and stayed there for four weeks.

The song's distinctive soprano vocals and ethereal video divided audiences, but Bush cemented her reputation as one of pop's true innovators with follow-up singles such as Running Up That Hill.

Artists as diverse as Tupac Shakur, Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten, Bjork and Coldplay have all cited Bush as an influence.

Her 2011 album 50 Words For Snow was the last of 10 album releases, but her only tour took place in April and May of 1979.

Despite the success of the Tour of Life, a theatrical spectacle involving magicians, poetry and 17 different costume changes, it would take her three decades to go back on tour.

Various theories were put forward to explain her reluctance to play live including a lack of artistic control, a chronic fear of flying and the anguish caused by the death of a roadie during one of her 1979 shows.

But she told the BBC in 2011 that it was the physical strain of her energetic shows which had put her off.

She singled out her teenage son Bertie, who sang and acted in the show, for giving her the confidence to perform.

"The adventure's only just begun," she told him onstage.

The ambitious staging and a voice untouched by time meant "the long wait felt worth it", the Independent wrote.

"It's quite stunning, undoubtedly the most ambitious and genuinely moving piece of theatrical pop ever seen on a British stage."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Indie Pop Singer Gina Cutillo Launches New Single "Fly (Feel Love Tonight)" and Captures Major Label Attention

Indie Pop Singer Gina Cutillo Launches New Single "Fly (Feel Love Tonight)" and Captures Major Label Attention.
Pop singer/songwriter Gina Cutillo announces the release of her new music single, "Fly (Feel Love Tonight)" and captures the attention of music major labels and TV companies. This is Gina's 2nd single to her 3rd upcoming album.

New York, NY - Self made pop singer Gina Cutillo announces the release of her new music single, "Fly (Feel Love Tonight)". The catchy pop song is upbeat with an infectious chorus and lyrics that pushes Gina right next to the best. "I've never had a response this quickly on a song release, the majors seem to have found me," Laughs Cutillo. "Fly (Feel Love Tonight)" is Gina's follow up single to recently released song "In Time" which was signed to APM (licensing company) before it's release.

The new single was recorded at Betamax Studios with David Caggiano and the video for the song was set on a rooftop overlooking the Manhattan skyline revealing every hope the city and this song has to offer.
"It is a great song and video and her vocals sound better than ever," Lou Plaia, co-founder of ReverbNation, said. Fans can listen to "Fly (Feel Love Tonight)" on YouTube.

Cutillo's voice has a combination of sexiness and softness, and her passion can be heard throughout the song. Some of her musical influences include: Madonna, Etta James, Ellie Goulding, PJ Harvey, Sheryl Crow and Nirvana.

The Long Island native's music has been featured on popular shows and movies including Oprah, Means Girls 2 and Degrassi. Oprah uses Cutillo's song, "Remember You" for her OWN Network campaign commercial. Cutillo has also performed with Prince and toured with Katy Perry, Cobra Starship and Paramore on Warped Tour. She continues to receive placements on major networks like VH1 and E! Her charming stage presence and catchy songs have won over many audiences and other artists who have toured with her. Cutillo's fan base ranges from age 16 to beyond, but fans as young as 13 enjoyed her performance at the Warped Tour.

Download "Fly (Feel Love Tonight)," on iTunes today

For tour & booking information, visit Cutillo's website:


Gina Cutillo

ginacutillo ( @ ) gmail dot com

Beyoncé's Feminist performance at MTV VMAs

It was the image that provoked the biggest online debate during last night’s MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.
Not Nicki Minaj undergoing a wardrobe malfunction, Miley Cyrus asking a homeless man to accept her award or Katy Perry dressed as Britney Spears, but a picture of Beyoncé performing in front of a giant neon ‘Feminist’ sign.

During her 15 minute performance, the singer used a sample from novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED speech “We should all be feminists” in her song “Flawless”.

Many took to Twitter to praise Beyoncé for promoting feminism through popular culture and for helping to break down the negative stigma surrounding the word.

However, others were concerned that the singer’s version of feminism appeared to have been interpreted as overt objectification, pointing to lyrics such as “Bow Down Bitches” and her sexually provocative dancing.

The singer reluctantly called herself a feminist in an interview with US Vogue last year, saying: “That word can be very extreme…But I guess I am a modern-day feminist.”

She was also criticised for calling herself Mrs Carter on her world tour, after the surname of her husband Jay Z, when she had previously sung about being an independent woman.

But earlier this year the singer penned an open feminist letter about the myth of gender equality in response to findings that 42 million women in the US lived in poverty.

She also backed Sheryl Sandberg's 'Ban Bossy' campaign to empower girls to lead assertively without being called out for doing so.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Christina Aguilera and Matt Rutler Welcome baby girl

Christina Aguilera is a mom for the second time.

Aguilera, 33, and fiance Matt Rutler, 28, welcomed a baby girl on Saturday. The pop singer announced the news via Twitter, along with the newborn's name: "So proud to welcome our beautiful daughter Summer Rain Rutler into the world."
News of Aguilera's pregnancy and engagement surfaced in February. At the time, Aguilera also showed off a photo of her sparkly engagement ring. This is her second child. She already has a six-year-old son, Max, with her first husband, Jordan Bratman. The new edition marks Rutler's first child.

Rutler and Aguilera met in 2010 on the set of "Burlesque," where Rutler had been working as a production assistant.

Aguilera provided updates on her pregnancy leading up to the birth -- even from the studio: 

Baby girl getting first listen to what mama's been creating in the studio.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Juno Actor Michael Cera is Now an Indie Pop Singer

Surprise, surprise! Michael Cera, famed for his roles in "Arrested Development" and "Juno", is now an indie-pop recording artist.
 Cera has just released an indie-pop album entitled "True That" which contains 18 short songs now available for download. The album, which contains three bonus tracks, costs $7.

In true indie, word-of-mouth style, the album release was announced by Cera's close friend and Superbad co-star, Jonah Hill, via his Twitter.

Hill posted, "My great friend Michael Cera [is] not only is a brilliant actor, he also makes great music." The "Wolf of Wall Street" star also added the link to Cera's Bandcamp account.

Many of the tracks in the album are instrumental with lo-fi vocals. Cera's instruments of choice seem to be a piano, an organ and a guitar. The actor tagged his music to be "alternative / dirty / hello / home recording / modest / music / New York".

The 26-year old's album is surprisingly amazing, with lyrics such as "Coming through the filter, sweet upon my lips / the smoke mollifies the lung into which it rips." Who knew the kid who usually played a dorky, awkward teen had so much melancholy in him?

Prior to "True That", Cera joined Mr Heavenly as the band's touring bassist. Mr Heavenly is an indie "supergroup" composed of Honus Honus of Man Man, Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and The Shins, and Nicholas Thorburn of Islands and The Unicorns.

Aside from collaborating with Mr Heavenly, the actor also sang a cover of a Moldy Peaches song for the Juno soundtrack. Currently, he is performing on Broadway in the production "This is Our Youth".

Will Arnett, Cera's co-star in "Arrested Development" announced that the once-defunct television series will be coming back for a fifth season. Cera plays George Michael, the awkwardly funny son of the main character of the series, Michael Bluth. Michael Bluth is played by actor Jason Bateman.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Exclusive Interview Q&A with Rising Pop Singer Tiffany Houghton

20-year-old rising pop singer hailing from Dallas, Texas (now moved to Los Angeles) Tiffany Houghton is bringing a fresh new sound to pop music with her own personal songs. She has it all in her in-expansion catalogue; upbeat, mid-tempo and slow jams. The beautiful blonde singer with a spark in her eyes has passed from posting covers on YouTube (although she still enjoys recording a few from time to time) to releasing her own songs (she’s a terrific lyricist, did I mention that?) on iTunes and even premiering music videos on the VEVO network. Through social media, Tiffany’s amassed a considerable number of fans, and that number keeps on enlarging.

The music video for her debut single “High” (2013) is above the 1 million views mark on YouTube, she dropped an additional song before 2013 ended called "Phone Call", and throughout the first 8 months of 2014 she's released four original songs: "17 Again", "Love Like That", "Island" and “The Best” (which Tiffany dropped after our exclusive Q&A with her below). Music videos for "Island" and “The Best” aren’t available yet, but Tiffany loves music videos, so expect to have those on YouTube soon.

DirectLyrics recently caught up with Tiffany Houghton for a quick Q&A and she had a few things to tell us. From what her song-writing process is, revealing whether she plans to drop an EP/album soon, touring with MKTO, her love for Nick Jonas or willing to give Avril Lavigne one of her songs! Get into Tiffany's riveting music now!

The Interview Q&A with Pop Singer Tiffany Houghton

Q - At what age did you realize you had the God-gifted talent of singing and how did you exactly make it from Dallas to Nashville and then to release songs on iTunes and videos on VEVO?

A - When I was 6 years old I told my parents I would be a famous singer one day. I started writing in a journal at that age and then playing piano at 8! I started going to Nashville when I was 15 and then graduated early and made the move out there at 17!

Q - What’s the song-writing process like for you? Do you go straight to writing the lyrics or do you come up with a melody first?

A - Lyrics always come to me first. I love writing on a piece of paper with a pen, then I get out my guitar and start pairing a melody in my head with the emotion of the song.

Q - You’re currently releasing music independently, but your music video for “High” (released last year) has been watched over 1 million times on YouTube. Congratulations! Has “High” opened a few doors for you?

A - Thank you so much! More than anything, "High" was a personal success for me. I feel as if it gave me the confidence I needed to move forward into the world of pop music as both a songwriter and as an artist.

Q - “High” was a really good pop song and so summery! Are you planning to release a song of the same upbeat, cheerful pop style this summer? (We definitely need a new "High"!).

A - I love happy songs, but to be honest my songs aren't something I can plan for. They come as real life comes - day by day. Some happy, some sad, all real.

Q - You premiered last month a new song called “Island”. What’s the inspiration behind it and do you have a treatment for the video already in mind?

A - Yes! I am VERY excited about the treatment. I went into production on this song wanting it to sound like an 'Island'. I'm so proud of the way it turned out! Can't wait for everyone to see my vision come to life for the video.

Q - You said last year in an interview that you were to release in 2014 fourteen new songs and music videos! That's an impressive number of songs. Are you going to keep that promise? Also, what's the reason behind releasing songs individually and not packing them all up on for an EP/full-length album release?

A - I believe each song has it's own life. At least in my case, they're all life stories and I think an album can cheapen a song. I want each of my stories to have their own life. I'm putting out lots of songs this year, but they will each come out separately so they all have their own time to shine.

Q - You’re currently on the road with MKTO. What’s your favourite song of them and have you had any memorable anecdotes thus far?

A - I love "CLASSIC"!!! I dance on the side of the stage almost every night. The song doesn't get old. It's magical. My favorite moment with Tony was when we went and got some Mardi Gras masks in New Orleans! Malcolm and I like to play basketball. We're making a team!...I think we're better as musicians though.

Q - You’ve done a few amazing covers in the past. What’s one that you hope to do very soon?

A - Well, I love Nick Jonas!!!! He tweeted me the other day and I cried. And I just covered his new song "Chains". That's my new cover!

Q - What are Tiffany Houghton’s Top 5 songs of the moment?

A - 'Classic' - MKTO

'Air Balloon' - Lily Allen

'When'- Shania Twain

'Chains' - Nick Jonas

'She Looks So Perfect' - 5 Seconds of Summer

Q - Where are you answering this Q&A from and what's your day been like?

A - I'm in the back of a car on the way to 101.9 Amp radio in Orlando!! My day is just starting so I woke up on the bus then went into the the hotel and got ready!

Q - If you could give one of your songs for an artist that you admire to record, who would it be, what song would you give him/her and why that song?

A - I would give my brand new song "The Best" to Avril Lavigne. She's an idol of mine and I think she'd kill it on that song.

Q - You are very young girl and I'm sure you still have many dreams to achieve. What's the one dream you would like to accomplish in the next 5 years?

A - I want to play a tour in arenas and I want to meet nearly every single person that comes to my show. I LOVE seeing the light in a persons eyes. They put that same light into mine.