Another day in 2016, another iconic music star has passed, and this one might be the most shocking. Legendary singer and icon Prince passed away yesterday, April 21st, in his Minnesota home. Reports at first were a bit shifty as the general public didn’t know if this was true or not, however his publicist confirmed this later on in the day, leaving millions in mourning over the devastating news. [Read more…] about Music Pioneer & Legend Prince Has Passed at 57
Grammy Predictions 2015- Album Of The Year
When it comes to the music industry, the Grammy Awards still remain the Gold Medal when it comes to award achievement for artists and musicians alike. Last year’s saw newcomers like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Lorde take the top spots in the New Artist and Song of the Year Category, whereas perennial EDM megastars Daft Punk shocked many a music fans by winning the coveted Album Of The Year Grammy with “Random Access Memories”. Now with another year in music about to close, and the Grammy Nominations out in less than a month, Manhattan Digest digest’s what will be nominated and who might be left in the dust in a year that was less than stellar to say the least. With no major artists with the exception of Coldplay, Beyonce, Jason Aldean and Eminem releasing albums this year, the music industry was run by throwaway pop tracks and one hit wonders in the making (Sorry Meghan Trainor). That being said, there were some stellar exceptions that I hope that Grammy’s notice and crown this year- some who are overdue, some who are new, and some who have been here before and deserve it again. Today, we look at the potential noms for Album Of The Year.
Album Of The Year at the Grammy’s can be tricky. Sometimes they get it right (Mumford & Sons, Daft Punk, Adele) and sometimes we don’t know where they are coming from (Steely Dan, Herbie Hancock). Sometimes, they miss the ball completely, like last year when Justin Timberlake didn’t even get nominated in a category that many people thought he would’ve won. This year, the inevitable nominee and winner is simple- Beyonce. Beyonce has been in this category before, losing a couple of years ago to Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” over her insanely good effort “I Am… Sasha Fierce”. However, with her self titled debut this year, she really doesn’t have any competition as this album was one of the biggest music stories of the year. With no one knowing it was coming out, she quietly released this on a cold December night and drove the album to platinum status in less than two weeks, and outselling her previous effort “4” shortly after. The album spawned several huge singles (some will be discussed later), has insatiable duets with artists like Drake, Frank Ocean and her hubby Jay-Z and received generally positive feedback from fans and critics alike. No doubt the winner in my mind.
Others who could be huge contenders? Obviously, The “Frozen” Soundtrack for many reasons. Oscar winning, highest selling, songs parents and like minded people alike can’t get out of your head equal Grammy goodness. This is the first soundtrack in several years though that really can be a strong contender in the main categories so be on the lookout for this to be nominated several times throughout the night.
Hip-Hop this year wasn’t exactly stellar whatsoever. Last year had so many memorable people come out of the wood works with fantastic first efforts (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar) and icons who kept churning out some amazing tracks (Jay-Z, Kanye West). The sad fact that the biggest star in hip hop this year may have been Iggy Azalea says a lot about that industry and hopefully there will be some recharge in 2015. That being said, Eminem should no doubt be the 3rd nominee in this category with “The Marshall Mathers LP 2”. As someone who grew up when Eminem was really at his peek in so many different ways, I find it fantastic that 15 years after we first heard “The Real Slim Shady” he is still incredibly relevant and hip with a younger crowd that is just discovering what an epic rapper and legend he is. Whereas he had a better shot of winning this award years ago with “The Eminem Show” and the first Marshall Mathers LP” it would be a surprise if he was left out in this category.
The other two could be difficult to choose. One new artist who has gained quite a huge following this year is Sam Smith, who broke through with his gold selling “In The Lonely Hour”. A powerhouse on his own, Sam blasted through the charts with his first single “Stay With Me” as well as working with other fantastic artists such as Disclosure (“Latch”) and one of my favorite artists and tracks of the year, “Lalala” by Naughty Boy. He is this year’s big British import, sort of the male Adele when it comes to the impact that he has had on the industry. His music style is very eclectic, with tinges of pop, R&B and adult contemporary all mixed in one. He’s a surefire lock for Best New Artist without a shadow of a doubt, however don’t be surprised if he is able to seep his way into the pivotal Album Of The Year category at the Grammy’s.
Jack White’s “Lazaretto” seems poised to be the fifth and final nominee in this category. Jack, mainly known for his epic band “The White Stripes” is no stranger to this category having being nominated two years ago for his effort “Blunderbuss”. The 9 time Grammy Award winner’s Rock efforts paid off for him tend fold this past year, with “Lazaretto” receiving stellar reviews from the top publications and debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 Chart. If Jack doesn’t get the lock for Album Of The Year don’t be surprised if Coldplay takes the fifth spot for “Ghost Stories“, which is one of the highest selling albums of this past year. the 7 time Grammy Award winners lit up the charts this year with “Sky Full Of Stars” amongst other hits, and have been Grammy favorites in the past with “Clocks” winning Record Of The Year over ten years ago. Don’t expect Coldplay to take this award but expect multiple nominations for both “Stars” and “Ghost Stories” for sure.
Who do you think will be nominated Check out the Grammy official website for more info.
Get To Know Jazz Musician MRF- The MD Interview
Sometimes in the most unconventional of settings you will meet some really great people and the further you get to know them and their passion makes you understand just how awesome they truly are. This can be said of jazz musician Mike Flanagan, who goes under the stage name MRF. I conveniently met him through some mutual friends at this year’s Bear Week in Provincetown, Massachusetts. On top of being a brutally handsome, charismatic and an all around great guy, I got to know him a little deeper and found out what a successful artist he has become in the jazz world.
In a short couple of years, MRF has accomplished things that many artists wouldn’t even dream about doing. He has independently released two albums, the most recent called “Mob Music”, which both have had a considerable amount of success since each of their inceptions. In a short twenty hour time frame, “Mob Music” became the highest-selling jazz album in the country on iTunes, sharing in the same company as jazz legends Miles Davis and Harry Connick Jr. Some of the singles off of that album, including “Trying” have remained in massive rotations on stations in and outside the US from Germany to Spain to name a few. On top of all of this, MRF has been able to work throughout the world with Grammy winners and nominees Esperanza Spaulding, Issa Pointer of The Pointer Sisters and Surefire Music Group. The Berklee College Of Music Graduate has also received rave reviews for his LGBT anthem “Be Strong (LGBT Youth)” as it was selected for the Flag Raising Anthem for Boston Pride last year. Quite a lot of accomplishments for a guy in such a short period of time.
The day before his big performance at Bear Week, I sat down with MRF to discuss his meteoric rise in the music industry, what and who inspires him, and what his music has meant to his fans and in particular the LGBT youth. Take a look.
So tell me how you got started in the music industry.
I graduated from the Berklee College of Music, and I wasn’t really sure which direction musically I wanted to go in. I had been playing a lot of jazz in and out of school, but I came out in my last year and it changed gears with what I was doing. I started writing my own stuff and collaborated with a singer who lives in New York, which is ultimately how my first album “Elevator Music” came to be. Once I started recording that, I ended up developing my own sound and own approach and knew exactly the direction I wanted to go in.
Jazz is such a unique part of the industry right now, so who would you say are your biggest inspirations?
I would say my number ones are D’Angelo and Lauryn Hill. That is the kind of stuff that I grew up on and it’s in me. Also, Meshell Ndegeocello is a good example. There are a whole bunch of jazz musicians and even country artists that I draw inspiration from in terms of their approach as well.
Many of my readers are unfamiliar with your work, so how would you describe your sound to them?
Its kind of a hybrid of R&B and Jazz. It also has a pop aesthetic to it as well because of the lyrics and forms of the songs. The music leaves a lot of room for my vocalists to interpret it in their own way, and for myself to stretch out on my instruments (saxophone, piano, etc) as well. The objective of my sophomore album, Mob Music, was to capture and document the magic of what we do on stage.
You are here enjoying Provincetown’s Bear Week, just as I am. Is this your first Bear Week?
This is my seventh actually!
Oh wow! This is my first time experiencing Bear Week in all of its glory, what would you say to convince people who are consistently on the fence about going to actually get them to go?
I really think it’s most important to figure out what Provincetown means to you, because it has so much to offer. It’s actually a great music town, and you can meet incredible people here. You can definitely go outside of the routine bear events that are going on and find something unique and different. So I would definitely recommend coming to “Bear Week” as there is plenty to love about the experience.
You have a song called “Be Strong (LGBT Youth)” which is a very empowering LGBT anthem. There isn’t a lot out there now that are like that, so tell me about the processing in recording this amazing song.
In 2010, when Asher Brown took his own life, and the epidemic of LGBT youth suicides made the media around that time, it made me insane. I started thinking about the work I was doing in my classroom by myself and how there are far too many kids without someone to turn to. Far too many kids that do not have an adult telling them that they are normal, and beautiful, and that they should love who they are. I felt I had to create something through music that could hopefully and potentially reach far beyond the classroom of students I was helping in my small corner of Boston. Originally, I wanted to name the song ‘Asher Brown’ but I was unsuccessful in getting in touch with his family to assure that was okay. So, “Be Strong”it was. That’s where the inspiration of the song came about.
Being an out musician yourself, do you find it to be a hindrance or a blessing to be so in the music industry?
I think everyone needs to come out. I hope everyone does. Sam Smith for example, love him. He is an incredible artist. He is in a position now where he can make a change, not saying he has to or wants to. He got rave reviews recently for his rendition of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” but one thing that stood out to me was that he changed the pronoun“he”to “you”and instead of “there’s a boy I know”he says, “oh it’s you I know”to make the song entirely gender-neutral. I think most people didn’t think about that, however when I was doing my first album, I made a lot of my music gender-neutral in fear that there would backlash. It felt like I was regressing after working so hard to be who I am. I realized how important it was that I not do that on Mob Music. So, thought it may seem small, it’s a big step that fosters much needed change.
I love Joan Osbourne’s “What If God Was One Of Us”, so why did you choose to remake that on your latest album, “Mob Music”?
I started working with Lisa, Justin and Sheree in Boston, shortly after my first album was released. The first was singer Lisa Bello. Our styles have so much chemistry and when we come together, it really makes some incredible magic. We were raised similarly, share influences, and the way we approach music is similar as well. We started performing weekly in Boston at a place called “Club Cafe”every Thursday night. They were like, “What do you want to call the night?” and I was like, “Well, we are both Italian, so let’s call it Mob Music”. We loved it, and Mob Music just grew and grew. After our first month, singer Justin Waithe started coming on Thursdays and harmonized with Lisa. Then Sheree Dunwell filled in for Lisa while she was in LA and we she got back, the whole package of “Mob Music” was truly formed.
We would do popular songs and treat them like jazz standards, elevating them to the point where we took the audience on a journey every week! One of the songs we did was “One Of Us”and I knew that had to be the one cover on the ‘Mob Music’album.
On the “Mob Music” album, my favorite track is one called “This Love”. What is your favorite on this album?
I love that song, but I would say that my favorite is “Trying”. “Trying” is the smooth jazz radio single on the record, and it is the most personal for me. I wrote that about a guy I was with, and that relationship ended right before I went into the studio to finish this record. We had two singles done at that point, and were heading in to track the rest of it. “Trying” was written right as that relationship was ending, and to this day remains my favorite.
OK, let’s do some fun questions so that my readers can see a different side of you. If you had a dream concert, with two artists (dead or alive) that would never be on the same bill for ONE night only, who would it be?
The two on the same bill. Hmmm. I’m going to say D’Angelo and The Dixie Chicks. I’m a huge Dixie Chicks fan. I saw both live within a year’s time, and both were incredible. D’Angelo’s show had such an energy to. Knowing his entire catalog, I was dancing my ass off the entire time. When I saw The Dixie Chicks, my friends and I were lucky enough to stand right under Natalie Maines, and she was winking and smiling at us the whole time. Just great experiences for both.
Got it! So you are stuck on an island with a CD player but it only has one song in it. What do you want that song to be?
“Who Knew” by P!nk. It is my favorite song of all time. Everything about it, from her voice to the lyrics to the melody. The song is somewhat ambiguous, and even though it is a song about her losing a friend to an overdose I believe, it’s able to be interpreted in a lot of different ways. After my first relationship ended, I would come down here to Ptown and it was playing everywhere. So the song itself, my love for her, and the connection to PTown and gay life sort of culminates in why this truly is my favorite song.
You go to a 90’s dance party. Which phase do you hope they play?
I’ll pick the Aaliyah, Brandy, Monica phase. I want them, I want Ginuwine, Jagged Edge, Toni Braxton, etc. Love 90’s R&B.
What do you have going on for the future?
So, I already have a third album planned. I want to continue to make music with the group I have right now. I’m hoping to go back into the studio in September in Orleans here in Mass. It will be similar to the second album however this one will be more saxophone driven. A challenge for me is the human voice. It’s something I love on others but hate my own. I’ve heard Me’Shell and Lenny Kravitz are like that too. I am tempted to get over that fear I guess and use it and see if I can come up with something that I am okay with releasing. I don’t know if it will be on this album, but sometime in the future it is something I definitely want to accomplish.
Grammy Award Predictions: Record Of The Year
Music’s biggest night is only three weeks away now, where the 2014 Grammy Awards will take place live on CBS at 8PM Eastern, 7 Central. The Grammy Committee released its nomination list in early December to much fanfare and shock. One of the biggest awards of the night, if not the biggest, is “Record Of The Year”, an award that is recent years has gone to Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”, and most recently Gotye & Kimbra’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”. This year’s category is interesting as it really isn’t that cut and dry as it was in previous years, which makes this category amongst others that much more interesting. Let’s break down the nominees, and see who was left out, who should win and ultimately who will win.
Record Of The Year Nominees-
Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams- “Get Lucky”
Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams- “Blurred Lines”
Bruno Mars- “Locked Outta Heaven”
Imagine Dragons- “Radioactive”
Who Got Snubbed Yo-
There were a couple of people that I thought could’ve definitely been in the running for this category, but above all I think the Grammy Award Nomination Committee got this one right. Justin Timberlake was the biggest snub in my opinion for his song “Mirrors” as I thought he was kind of a shoo in for this and the other two main categories (Song, Album of the Year). Other hopefuls for this were Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home” and Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” as they tend to love both artists in their perspective categories (Rap, Country).
The Long Shot-
The Long Shot here in my opinion is Bruno Mars, as when you look at his track record at the Grammy’s he always seems to be the bridesmaid and never the bride in terms of the big categories. The Grammy Award committee always nominates him for these particular awards, yet he never seems to win them. Granted he has won one, but he also has been nominated about 10 times in the past couple of years. So this will come and go for him again as he is always up against bigger fish.
Who Will Win-
There can definitely be an argument for each of the nominees for who will win this, minus Bruno Mars. I feel like Pharrell might be the thorn in both nominees sides because each song came out at the same time over the summer, and received similar fanfare in terms of chart positions, airplay and overall sales. I get the feeling that the Grammy Award committee that votes for this won’t really be able to differentiate between the two, and they will cancel themselves out. So this leaves “Radioactive” and “Royals”. Alternative has definitely had its moments for “Record Of The Year” over the past decade, with acts like Gotye, Kings Of Leon, Green Day and Amy Winehouse winning. That being said, my money is on “Radioactive” to win, as it seems to go with how the Grammy’s have voted on in the past. An upset for Lorde would be great, but I’m not counting on it that much.
Who Should Win-
I have a hard time breaking this down as for me it is between two songs- “Royals” and “Get Lucky”. “Blurred Lines” was great but I felt like it was overplayed and redundant after a while. I do feel as though “Blurred Lines” in the grand scheme of things could be considered the ROTY as it was the highest selling song on iTunes and stayed number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for such a long time, but personally I don’t feel that it is. Neither do I feel this way about “Locked Outta Heaven” and “Radioactive”. “Royals” has a simple beat with some simple backup singers, yet Lorde’s amazing falsetto and message of an anti bling society that she wants to be the queen of really rang true for me. In a world of Miley/One Direction mania, she really comes in to counteract something like those two and bring a more authentic sound to what she is doing. “Royals” would be a great winner. As for “Get Lucky”, two words- Nile Rodgers. Anytime you hook him up on a song it is going to be dope. “Get Lucky” is one of those songs that is just as good instrumentally as it is with Pharrell’s smooth vocals. It was the best dance track of 2013 in my opinion, and I would just love to see this win off the sheer fun of Daft Punk getting on the Grammy Award stage with those helmets to accept. Tee hee.
Who do you think should win? Take a listen to a Grammy podcast that I did with my good friend John Campanario last month after the nominations were released to hear our perspective on who should and will win. Best of luck to The Grammy Award nominees!
2014 Grammy Nominations- Shockers, Delights and Kendrick!
The 2014 Grammy Nominations were announced live last night in Los Angeles at the annual “Grammy Nominations Special” they do each year, hosted by LL Cool J. They had some pretty off the chain concerts from some of the biggest artists in the world, and it truly set the stage for a great night to come in February. When I read the list of nominees this year, some I expected, some I was somewhat surprised on, and some I was insanely baffled that got left out. Let’s break each category down and see what went right and what went really wrong.
Record Of They Year-
Imagine Dragons- “Radioactive”
Robin Thicke Featuring TI & Pharrell Williams- “Blurred Lines”
Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams- “Get Lucky”
Bruno Mars- “Locked Outta Heaven”
In my original prediction blog, I had four out of five right (Hooray for me) with Imagine Dragons as an “Honorable Mention” but definitely a contender. Not surprised by any of these as they were all great nominees. Justin could’ve made this category, but I will delve much further into that on the next one. These five songs were really some of the biggest of the year, each of them representing a different genre of music in my opinion. Lorde on that pop/alternative tip, Imagine Dragons are pure alternative, Robin Thicke as the R&B crooner, Daft Punk bringing in the EDM and Bruno Mars giving us straight soul. This is going to be an interesting category of sorts because I don’t think there really is a clear cut winner here. Moving along.
Album Of The Year-
Sara Bareilles- “The Blessed Unrest”
Daft Punk- “Random Access Memories”
Kendrick Lamar- “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- “The Heist”
Taylor Swift- “Red”
No Justin Timberlake in this category, I am beyond shocked about that. I pegged “The 20/20 Experience” as winning this award beyond easily and I truthfully believe he was the biggest snub of the night. Kind of sad when you have the biggest album of the year and you are left off such a crucial list. I think Sara and Kendrick are the surprising nominees here, in a good way. I thought Bruno Mars was a shoo in as well for “Unorthodox Jukebox” but I am somewhat glad to see him left off this list as I think Sara and Kendrick had stronger showings. Not shocked by Macklemore, Taylor or Kendrick but for the sake of my sanity I pray that Taylor doesn’t win AOTY again because “Red” wasn’t really a strong showing. It was a continuation of her last album, and I hope when she releases her new effort it has a bit of maturity to it. This is a tough one to call right now, but if I had to be personal on this- KENDRICK. Please.
Song Of The Year-
Pink & Nate Ruess- “Just Give Me A Reason”
Bruno Mars- “Locked Outta Heaven”
Katy Perry- “Roar”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Mary Lambert- “Same Love”
In my original article, I had three out of five right (Pink, Macklemore, Lorde). Katy Perry wasn’t really on my radar, and this was the category I thought Sara Bareilles had a chance at with “Brave”, which Katy insanely ripped off for “Roar”. I actually had Drake in this category for “Hold On We’re Going Home”, a song he didn’t even get nominated for this year. That to me is frustrating, as it is one of the best tracks of 2013, and its the same sentiment I felt two years ago when his song with Rihanna “Take Care” got snubbed as well. This is a pretty standard list, so nothing too surprising. They could’ve given Miley something in the main categories, especially for the teen voters, and “Wrecking Ball” is in fact a very well written song. That being said, “Same Love” has got my vote. The lyrics are incredible and if there is one award Macklemore & Ryan Lewis should win it is this one folks.
Best New Artist-
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Two out of five in my original predictions, with Macklemore and Kendrick easily getting nominated. The others, I don’t really know how I feel about it. First off, where the heck is Imagine Dragons and Lorde on this? Ed Sheeran has been around for a while, so I don’t get why he is nominated this year and not last year. I am beyond floored that Florida Georgia Line didn’t get ANY nominations, and I thought that they would be the perennial country nominee as well over Kacey, but I am glad to see she got in here. The shocker here is EDM producer James Blake, who is following similar pathways with EDM being recognized in the main categories as Skrillex earned a Best New Artist nod last year. Fun! won this last year, something that I thought was completely shit as it should’ve been Frank Ocean, but this is a pretty strong group across the board. Best New Artist has proven to be an award that is never really cut and dry, and many artists that have won in recent years are the one you least expect (Bon Iver over Nicki Minaj, Esperanza Spalding over Justin Bieber). So James Blake really is the odd one out in this. Macklemore really isn’t a new artist in my opinion because he has been around a lot longer than people think, so once again I would love for Kendrick to take this one home. Country nominees never win this award, so it really comes down to Kendrick and Macklemore in my opinion.
Check out the official Grammy website for all the nominees and keep checking on Manhattan Digest for our official prediction blogs in all the categories for months to come. Congrats to all the nominees, especially Kendrick and my homegirl Kathy Griffin who got a sixth nomination for Best Comedy Album! 🙂
2014 Grammy Predictions- Song Of The Year
Miley’s song could be nominated, folks. Be aware.
The announcement of the songs nominated for the 2014 Grammy Awards are only 18 days away at this point where they are set to be announced live on CBS the night of December 6th. A tradition that they have been doing for a couple of years, the event will take place at 8/7 central, hosted by LL Cool J and featuring performers (and potential nominees) Drake, Macklemore and Keith Urban to name a few. As exciting as the performances are themselves, millions of music fans and performers alike will be giddy with anticipation over who will be the actual nominees for next year’s biggest music event. But who will be nominated in each category?
The award for “Song Of The Year” is different from “Record Of The Year” in that Song is awarded to its composers whereas Record can go to the performer and production team for that song. To me, this award exemplifies the best written song of the year, the one that is different from the rest and really made you think about its lyrical content in order to win this type of award. In recent years, this has been won by John Mayer’s “Daughters”, Adele & Paul Epworth’s “Rolling In The Deep” and the guys from Fun’s song “We Are Young” last year (Miguel’s “Adorn” should’ve won, in my opinion). So who has the chance to win the award this year? Take a look at who I think are some of the potential nominees.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert- “Same Love”(Written by: Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert, Ryan Lewis & Curtis Mayfield). I love it when an artist of this caliber comes and makes a song about marriage equality, especially when he is in an industry that is known for its overabundance of homophobia. Written in particular about legalizing same sex marriage in Macklemore’s home state of Washington, the song does a simple yet extraordinary way of flowing lyrically why the use of the words “gay” and “faggot’ are truthfully wrong and why we should accept people as a whole no matter what their backgrounds are. In my opinion, this has never been doing before hip-hop wise, and I give Macklemore a ton of credit for being brave enough to do this. I also love that he has featured a ton of relatively unknowns on his album as he himself was practically one before the release of “Thrift Shop” in late 2012. Just like he did with Thrift Shop (Wanz) and Can’t Hold Us (Ray Dalton) he features the beautifully gifted Mary Lambert on this track to add a soft yet powerful female element to the song. Definitely the winner in my book here.
Miley Cyrus- “Wrecking Ball” (Written By: Henry Russell Walter, Sacha Skarbek, Stephan Moccio, Maureen Anne McDonald and Lukasz Gottwald). Let’s keep it 100 here folks, this was the year of Miley. We couldn’t escape her presence this year and say what you want about her but she does do a pretty good job at keeping us talking. The second release off of her album “Bangerz” became known a bit more for its very controversial video than it did the actual song. The song itself talks about the end of a relationship and the dealing of heartbreak at a young age (mainly this song is about Liam Hemsworth, whom she was engaged to until recently). It is her best effort yet, in my opinion, and has a lot of raw energy and grit to her which is something that she hasn’t really done in the past, being all Disney and whatnot. This song earned her her first number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and a permanent spot in our brains (for that video and other stuff) but more importantly in pop culture. She ain’t Hannah Montana anymore that’s for sure.
Pink & Nate Ruess- “Just Give Me A Reason” (Written By: Pink, Jeff Bhasker & Nate Ruess). It really drives me nuts that almost fifteen years into her career I still feel like Pink doesn’t get the recognition she deserves. The third release off of her popular album “The Truth Above Love”, “Just Give Me A Reason” is another one of those amazing songs that talk about the woes of a relationship and how hard it is to hear the other person when you yourself are in a ton of pain that you can’t see your way out of. Pink’s deep and low falsetto blends very well with Nate Ruess’ high-pitched vocals and makes this song that much more special. Pink, who we usually see do songs from a more solo perspective, truly shines on this one and proves why even after all this time she is still one rocking chick.
Drake- “Hold On We’re Going Home” (Written By: Aubrey Graham, Noah Shebib, Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman). Something that I am still in shock about is the fact that Drake’s title track and album for “Take Care” didn’t get a single nomination in the main categories at last year’s Grammy’s, which is crap. I am really pulling for this talented guy to be grab a nomination for this song on some type of level, because this is one of his best one’s he has put out thus far. Blurring the lines of rapping and singing, the R&B crooner and hip-hop mainstay released this song second off of his very successful third album “Nothing Was The Same” to the delight of fans and critics. A simple song about how he feels for his female counterpart, the song has been a hit on the charts and in the minds of many of his female fans as he continues on his path to being one of the greatest hip-hop artists today.
Lorde- “Royals” (Written by: Ella Yelich O’Connor & Joel Little). I fucking love this song, forgive me for my language but I feel like that emphatic “FUCK” needs to be in there. A surefire lock for a Best New Artist, this song is the anti “Bling Bling” and “Beemerz, Benz & Bentley’s”. Meaning that she is aware of her background and upbringing and doesn’t have to sing about the jet set lifestyle in order to make it big in the industry, kind of like Sara Bareilles “Love Song” did with her tongue and cheek version of not writing a love song for her debut record. I am really pulling for her in February and really in the future because she is definitely one to watch out for.
Justin Timberlake- “Mirrors”
Taylor Swift- “Red”
Bruno Mars- “Treasure”
Sara Bareilles- “Brave”
Imagine Dragons- “Radioactive”
Who do you think should and will be nominated?
Grammy Predictions 2014: Best New Artist
As award season has truly kicked into gear, many of us entertainment fans await with baited breath to see who is going to be nominated for each award show. The one that I particularly look forward to every year is The Grammy’s, which is set to take place in early February. This happens to be the biggest social networking event of the year, besting other award shows and even The Super Bowl.
Now with nominations expected to be announced on December 6th, I wanted to share with you my predictions on who is most likely to be nominated at next years ceremony. My first category is Best New Artist, an award that has gone to Adele, Maroon 5 and most recently Fun! (Something I truly don’t agree with). Here is who I think will be the 5 up for the big award this year.
Lorde- talk about a late in the game entry. The 16 year old New Zealand native blasted onto the scene in the late summer of 2013 with her hit “Royals” which has been at the top of the alternative charts as well as dethroning the current cockroach of pop Miley Cyrus’ song “Wrecking Ball”. Lorde has a great deep falsetto and is reminiscent of everyone from Etta James to Amy Winehouse. A good contender in my books.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- The Grammys tend to nominate people who aren’t necessarily new in this category, yet if these two are eligible they are a shoo in to be nominated and I believe win. This will be their night unless JT has something to say. “The Heist” is an incredible effort by these two, churning out hits like “Same Love”, “Can’t Hold Us” and hrs pivotal “Thrift Shop”. Expect these two to take home Grammy gold that night.
Florida Georgia Line- the perennial country nominee but won’t win, they never do. FGL had quite the year with their platinum selling album “Here’s To The Good Times” which features their huge hit “Cruise”. The song became even bigger with the help from Grammy winning hip hop artist Nelly, whom in my opinion made the song that much better. Expect at least a win in the country portion for this song, but they are the long shot for this one. Sorry guys.
Imagine Dragons- Alternative is slowly making it’s way back into the mainstream thing, and this band has done a pretty great job in aiding that. Fueled by the biggest alternative song of the year “Radioactive” from the almost double platinum selling “Night Visions”, these guys plan on making a name for themselves on Grammy night. Expect “Radioactive” to be a huge contended in Record and Song of the year categories as well.
Kendrick Lamar- usually in the BNA category there is only one hip hop nominee, yet if they don’t nominate Kendrick they are fools. Dude is the best thing to happen to hip hop in a long freaking time and he deserves credit on Grammy night. “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City” is one of the best hip hop albums in a long time and I am really hoping that the nomination committee recognizes him in this category and many more.
Who do you think will be nominated this year? Voice your thoughts and check out the official Grammy site for more info.
Skrillex Takes it All: DUMBstep!
So, unfortunately, my predictions for the winners in the Dance music category at the Grammy’s this year were off. I must admit I had a feeling the outcome would be this way but I hoped that the Grammy board would step away from the commercial front runner and actually give it to someone with talent.
So Skrillex’s single Bangarang took home the Grammy for Best Dance Recording. Yawn! Dubstep is so 2011! But I guess the Grammy awards didn’t get the memo. Although I wanted SHM to take it I would’ve been happier to see Avicii win then Skrillex.
He also won Best Dance/Electronica Album. I listened to Bangarang, the album, and was totally unaffected. It was the same mechanical beats over and over. Kaskade was definitely robbed, but I think this is just the beginning for Dance Music. Hopefully in the years to come dance artists will be recognized for their talent and of their commercial appeal.
I am so tired of DUMBstep and Skrillex! I’m sure everyone agrees! First off, that hair! Last night he looked like he hadn’t showered in months. I get it, you’re a DJ and you’re so unique and special, but it’s the Grammy Awards! Show some respect and wash your hair.
I am really angry with the outcome last night and hope that other dance music fans were as well. Feel free to let me know how you feel!
Boobs or Snooze; The 2013 Grammy Awards
This year’s Grammy awards brought out an array of fashion. Despite CBS’s comical dress code, the stars still looked hot this year. CBS sent a notice that the attendees of the Grammy awards should not wear anything revealing; no plunging necklines, side boobs, or butt views. Although CBS tried to control the fashion, many artists clearly disregarded the networks warnings. This is the 2013 Grammy Fashion review.
One artist who visibly paid no attention to the dress code was Katy Perry. Perry’s revealing mint green Gucci dress was skin tight and the peep hole at her chest was anything but censored. Her cleavage was fully exposed! The dress was unattractive and Katy Perry looked a little undone. Not her best.
Another artist who ignored the no “bare skin’ rule was Kelly Rowland in Georges Chakra. The fitted black gown was beautiful and had many, many revealing lines. If she moved the wrong way all of her naughty parts would have been on display. Thankfully there were no slips, but it was obvious Rowland was unfazed by the clothing regulations this year.
I have to admit I was slightly let down by the fashion at the Grammy’s this year. Nothing really astounded me. That being said, there were a few celebrities whose choice of dress was beautiful and warrants mentioning.
My best dressed this year goes to; Rihanna!
I must admit I fully expected Rihanna to completely go against the dress code and shock us all, but she decided to keep it tasteful. The singer rocked a dazzling red Azzedine Alaia gown, sheer panels’ criss-crossed over the chest and haltered on the neck. The skirt was full and flowing chiffon. She looked elegant and still made a statement.
Carrie Underwood looked striking last night. She was put together from head to toe. The strapless Roberto Cavalli gown hugged her curves and accentuated her toned arms. The pattern on the dress was elegant and the beading on the skirt was breath taking.
Faith Hill really surprised me this year. The knee length frock she wore fit her perfectly and the sheer, embroidered top was lovely. The lace jacquard on the skirt was so subtle you could barely see it. This J. Mendel dress looked stunning on Faith Hill.
And now for my favorite part of the Grammy’s… the WORST DRESSED. The Grammy’s always brings out some of the most outrageously heinous fashions. And, oh, they did not disappoint me this year! I’ll try and narrow it down to my top 5 this year.
#5 – Jennifer Lopez
J.Lo’s dress looked like a hefty bag. The cut out for her leg to stick through made no sense!
#4 – Nicole Kidman
Her dress aged her and the muted colors washed her out.
#3 – Adele
I feel wretched naming Adele as one of my worst dressed, but the pregnant Grammy winner looked like she was wearing curtains!
#2 – Solange Knowles
Beyonce’s younger sister looked like a cracked out Diana Ross. The sparkly green dress was cheap looking and the orange heels were horrible.
#1 – Ashanti
Ashanti’s floral dress was too revealing and looked cheap.
Lastly, I want to shout out a few of the men who rocked it last night…
Country cutie Hunter Hayes looked handsome in his Hugo Boss black suit.
Justin Timberlake rocked his Tom Ford suit and had all of us ladies swooning.
The fashion at the Grammy’s this year was toned down compared to previous years. No one really amazed me. I remember tuning into the Grammy’s and being dazzled by the unique costumes the musicians would adorn. I look forward to the outrageous red carpet and can only hope that next year will be more eventful.
Dance Music at the Grammy’s
Dance music has come a long way in the past decade. From music you could only hear at 5 am in NYC at clubs like Sound Factory and Crobar, to now being played out by commercialized mainstream radio. Dance music is beats and vocals dubbed together by artists who can hear melodies where others do not. Having said this, it is amazing to see these artists being honored, as musicians, at the Grammy awards.
The nominees for Best Dance Recording are all very talented DJ’s. Avicii is a great DJ who brought dance music to the mainstream when Flo Rida remixed his song Levels. Although he should be recognized for helping bring dance music to the forefront of American radio, I don’t think he deserves the Grammy this year. The Best Dance Recording, in my opinion, belongs to Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin, Don’t you Worry Child. This song mixes beautiful vocals and lyrics with genius melodies and beats. Not only can you sing along to this track but you can also get lost in its atmosphere. Swedish House Mafia is a trio of talented DJ’s and ingenious producers. They mix just the right amount of commercial feel to get radio air time and still keep the respect of dance music lovers around the world.
The Grammy for the Best Dance/Electronica Album hands down belongs to Kaskade Fire and Ice. Kaskade is one of the few American DJs and producers to draw followers around the world. In 2011 Kaskade was voted America’s Best DJ 2011 by www.djtimes.com. The Fire and Ice album peaked at #17 on the US Charts and #1 on the US Dance Charts. Kaskade brings together different artists and other DJs in this album and still manages to keep his authentic sound. The album includes two discs’ (Fire and Ice) which contain the same tracks but mixed in two completely different ways. Fire is smooth and alluring, while Ice is loud and hard. Although the same songs, each disc feels and sounds completely unique. Kaskade deserves this award, in my opinion, and I believe will take home the Grammy this year. Although the other albums in this category are all great none has the originality and range of skill like Kaskade Fire and Ice.