Sheryl Crow performed the upbeat new single “Be Myself” in a preview of her upcoming AT&T Audience Network concert special.
The singer-songwriter plays bass on the soulful pop tune, belting about being diagnosed “terminally normal.” Over groovy congas and lightly psychedelic sitar tones, Crow admits to clashing in a modern music scene filled with selfie-obsessed hipsters and Twitter-tracking indie bands – but being OK with that. “If I can’t be someone else, I might as well be myself,” she sings.
The career-spanning concert special, simply titled Sheryl Crow, premieres Friday, April 21st at 9 p.m. ET via DirecTV (channel 239), AT&T U-verse (channel 1,114) and streaming platform DirecTV Now. The show was filmed in 4K last month at Hollywood’s Red Studios.
“Be Myself” is the title track from Crow’s upcoming 10th LP, also out April 21st via Warner Bros. Records. The singer’s new, pop-focused album follows a brief foray into country with 2013’s Feels Like Home. For her latest release, she reunited with producers Jeff Trott and Chad Blake, who helped craft many of her biggest hits.
While Crow finished the album before Donald Trump’s presidential victory, her new lyrics still tap into the division and hostility that consumed the U.S. during the campaign. “Fear is definitely present in the songs,” she told Rolling Stone. “I think the election really incited a feeling of us against them, and a feeling of trying to get back to reason, so thematically there’s a lot of that on the record. Also, technology, for better or worse, is a theme. I really think that so much vitriol in our dialogue is partially due to the fact that people communicate over technology without having a sense of empathy.”
Sylvia Moy, the Motown songwriter who helped pen Stevie Wonder hits like “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and “My Cherie Amour,” died Saturday at the age of 78.
Moy’s sister Anita told the Detroit Free Press that the producer-songwriter died at a Dearborn, Michigan hospital of apparent complications from pneumonia.
Marvin Gaye, then a Motown artist, discovered Moy while she was singing at a Detroit club in 1963. The label signed Moy to a dual songwriting/performing deal, although her talents were largely focused on penning songs for Motown’s stable of artists, which included Little Stevie Wonder.
“Motown came forth with a recording contract for me, a management contract and a songwriter’s contract — which shocked me,” Moy told the Free Press in 2016. “Then I was told, ‘Sylvia, we’ll get to you as a singer. But in the meantime, we’ve got all these artists and they have no material. You’re going to have to write.’ I said OK. Because I was kind of shy anyway. And so that’s what I started doing. I got into it, and the hits started coming.”
A year after a 13-year-old Wonder topped the Hot 100 with “Fingertips” in 1963 – the youngest artist ever to accomplish that feat – the singer struggled to record another hit, and as his voice began to change, Motown’s Berry Gordy debated terminating Wonder’s recording contract. It was Moy who is credited with persuading Gordy to keep Wonder.
After dropping the “Little” from his name, Wonder, Moy and songwriter Henry Cosby teamed to write 1965’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” which quickly became a hit for Motown’s Tamla label and Wonder’s first hit as a songwriter (even though he, at the time, credited his contribution as “S. Judkins,” a nod to his father).
Over the next three years, Wonder, Moy and Cosby partnered for a string of Hot 100 hits like “I Was Made to Love Her,” “Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day,” “I’m Wondering,” “My Cherie Amour” and Signed, Sealed & Delivered‘s “Never Had a Dream Come True,” the final track the trio co-wrote together; a year later, the Jackson 5 covered the track.
In 2006, when Moy was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Wonder made a surprise appearance at the ceremony to perform “Uptight” for his former collaborator.
In addition to Moy’s work with Wonder, she also co-wrote Motown/Tamla classics like Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston’s “It Takes Two,” the Isley Brothers’ “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” (a collaboration between Moy and the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland tandem) and Martha and the Vandellas’ “Honey Chile.”
After her tenure at a Motown songwriter, Moy remained in her native Detroit to mentor schoolchildren in the arts and operate her own recording studio. In recent years, Moy founded the Center for Creative Communications, which worked with underprivileged Detroit children.
LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Danny Wimmer Presents is thrilled to announce the official headliners and first phase of musicians, chefs, food and beverage experiences for BOURBON & BEYOND, its bold, new, bourbon-inspired festival taking place for the first time on…
Last month, a new track titled “The Great Divide” climbed into the Top 25 on Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs chart. It’s the typical mainstream floor-filler – sweeping verses, merciless beat – with an atypical backstory: The single marks the start of a second pop career for former viral sensation Rebecca Black.
Her stealthy return to the charts contrasts strongly with her initial arrival in 2011 as a mass-culture flashpoint. Black’s “Friday” video appeared online that year, celebrating the banal choices that dominate teen life and the impending arrival of the weekend. After the clip was picked up by Comedy Central’s Daniel Tosh, it became one of the early viral YouTube videos – with more than 100 million views in a month – as well as a convenient punching bag for anyone looking to vent about pop music, Auto-Tune singing, tween culture and the possibility of becoming famous with help from the Internet.
That history still stings: “I’d be lying if I said I was totally over the ‘Friday’ stuff and that it doesn’t affect me,” Black tells Rolling Stone. “When you’re 13, and you get so many people giving you death threats, telling you that you don’t deserve to live this life, calling you ugly, fat, terrible, the worst person in the world, that will affect you. I just try to give myself a break every now and then, and take some of the pressure off of trying to prove myself to everybody.”
Despite the vitriol aimed at “Friday” and its singer, the track’s main crime was being ahead its time. Viral song eruptions weren’t as common as they are now: Just this year, one meme-aided Hot 100 Number One song, Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles,” has already been replaced by another, Migos’ “Bad and Boujee.” Also, the Billboard charts didn’t account for streaming activity in 2011, so Black wasn’t fully able to reap the benefits of her online cachet. And Auto-Tune is more widely accepted, at least by critics, as a stream of acclaimed artists – Future, Chief Keef, Young Thug, Lil Yachty – have used pitch manipulation to their advantage.
All these shifts should help Black as she steps back into the pop world at age 19. “The way the industry works now, this is not out of the norm,” says Nadine Santos, Director of Programming for Music Choice, which controls audio content for cable TV subscribers. “[Black] came out, she was young, she had ‘Friday.’ Whether people liked it or not, it got her name out there, and it reflected her age and where she was at the time. Now I feel like this new track can be looked at a little bit differently – more respected.”
Santos also points out there is recent precedent when it comes to an artist bouncing back from a song he or she might not be proud of: Look no further than the Chainsmokers, who held the Number One spot on the Hot 100 for nearly three months last year. “When they had ‘#Selfie’ [the Chainsmokers first hit, from 2014, which the group has referred to as “our stupid novelty song”], that was something they didn’t want to be remembered for either,” Santos says. “Now they’re one of the biggest duos in the industry.”
If Black pulls off her own version of the Chainsmokers’ turnaround, she will do so with help from YouTube, where she started her own channel at age 16. “I was homeschooled, and I got really lonely,” she remembers. “Through Twitter I started randomly reaching out [to video creators]. You’re at the point where you have nothing to lose, so you reach out to these people. Sometimes you connect.”
Although she’s been heavily cyberbullied, she still praises the Internet as a welcoming place. “Whatever you like and you can’t find in your immediate circle at school or in your hometown, there’s a great chance that you’re gonna find it online,” Black says. “There is a home for everybody.”
She presents her channel, which has amassed more than 1.3 million subscribers to date, as a space to exercise creative control and experiment: On YouTube, Black can be artist, music critic, karaoke-session leader, baker, shopping consultant and more. In an episode from last December, she rollicked across decades of pop music, discussing a new song from JoJo – the former teen star who recently mounted her own comeback – next to the Carpenters’ seasonally appropriate “Merry Christmas Darling.” Black talked about the joys of listening to albums from start to finish as her cat occasionally crept across the screen behind her.
“With ‘Friday’ came a lot of baggage.”
While honing her YouTube presence, Black also obtained her high-school diploma, moved to L.A. and started to woodshed her songwriting. “This time last year it was every day at studio sessions,” she says. “Every time I was in a studio or a writer’s room, I tried to soak in as much as possible.” She eventually fell in with Shari Short, a member of a songwriting group called the Writing Camp, whose affiliates have contributed to records from Beyoncé, Rihanna and Selena Gomez.
The first result of Black’s new phase was “The Great Divide,” which exists both as a plaintive piano ballad and a floor-wrecking dance cut. The downtempo version came first, bidding goodbye to the “Friday” era: “Wash my hands, turn my back,” Black sings. “I don’t need the memories we had.” “With ‘Friday’ came a lot of baggage,” she explains. “There were so many things that I was holding on to. I wanted to let those things go.”
This type of ballad has led to some surprising pop successes recently, such as Ruth B’s “Lost Boy,” an unusual, beat-less, keyboard-driven tune that climbed to Number 24 last year on the Hot 100. Santos also sees shadows of established stars Katy Perry and Demi Lovato in “The Great Divide.” “It was a great avenue for [Black] to go down,” Santos adds. “It comes from a more musical background, instead of the one-hit wonder type of song.”
The lung-busting hook and stately keys of “The Great Divide” primed it for transposition onto the dance floor. This is standard and savvy practice in pop – when you release a ballad, commission a remix, too, so a listener has more than one way to encounter a track. One of the three remixes of “The Great Divide” was put together by Dave Audé, who has 14 Number Ones as an artist and won a Grammy award last year for his rework of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” “I wasn’t worried about any Rebecca Black[–related] backlash,” he says. “In fact, I was hoping I could help her go the other way with that, since she’s awesome and she’s very talented. She’s matured, and she can sing.”
On Friday, Black is releasing another song – an Eighties-pop-indebted cut titled “Foolish.” She co-wrote it with Short, Greg Ogan (another Writing Camp member) and Spencer Neezy. Black promises that an EP is coming this summer. At the moment, she says she is operating as an indie artist, without label support.
Occasionally a cyberbully still crawls out of the Internet’s woodwork. “Every now and then you get the ones that say the same things they’ve been saying for six years,” Black admits.
But more and more, the fans outweigh the trolls. “I had no idea the feeling of someone singing back the words that you wrote, or feeling the words that you wrote,” Black says. “That connection that YouTuber’s go for that we were talking about earlier? That’s getting it – and feeling like, ‘Oh, my God: I have a home.'”
Gorillaz have announced a North American tour, their first since the promotional run behind 2010’s Plastic Beach. The virtual band led by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett will kick off their Humanz trek July 8th in Chicago and conclude with a slot at Miami’s III Points Festival, which takes place October 13th through 15th.
The 17-date multi-media tour will feature Albarn onstage along with real-life musicians and virtual Gorillaz Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, Russel Hobbs and 2D. An eclectic group of guest artists will join the band, including Jehnny Beth (Savages), Danny Brown, Benjamin Clementine, De La Soul, D.R.A.M., Peven Everett, Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones, Zebra Katz, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Vince Staples, Popcaan, Pusha T, Jamie Principle and Kali Uchis, among others.
General tickets for the newly announced dates go on sale April 21st via the group’s website.
Gorillaz’ upcoming fifth LP,Humanz – their first in six years – is out April 28th. The cartoon crew detailed the album last month and released four new songs: “Andromeda” (featuring D.R.A.M.), “Saturn Barnz” (with Popcaan), “Ascension” (featuring Vince Staples) and “We Got the Power” (with Beth).
Gorillaz 2017 North American Tour
July 8 – Chicago IL @ Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island July 10 – Toronto ON @ Air Canada Centre July 12 – Boston MA @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion July 13 – Philadelphia PA @ Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing July 15 – Quebec City QC @ Quebec City Summer Festival July 17 – Washington DC @ Merriweather Post Pavilion August 11-13 – San Francisco CA @ Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival Sept. 15-17 – New York NY @ Meadows Music & Arts Festival Sept. 18 – Detroit MI @ Fox Theatre Sept. 20 – Minneapolis MN @ Roy Wilkins Auditorium Sept. 22 – Kansas City MO @ Sprint Center Sept. 24 – Las Vegas NV @ Life Is Beautiful Sept. 26 – Denver CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre Sept. 30 – Seattle WA @ KeyArena at Seattle Center Oct. 5 – Los Angeles CA @ The Forum Oct. 11 – Atlanta GA @ Infinite Energy Center Oct. 13-15 – Miami FL @ III Points Festival
Lorde premiered a pair of new Melodrama tracks during her Coachella gig Sunday night, titled “Homemade Dynamite” and the LP’s title track. Melodrama will be released June 16th.
“This next song that I’m about to play you is brand new. Nobody has heard it,” Lorde told the crowd before “Homemade Dynamite.” “I want you to do me a favor, Coachella: I want you to give this birthday the biggest fucking birthday of all-time. Let’s bring it into the world in the best way.”
“I thought about all the ups and downs of being a twentysomething, specifically all the ups and downs of an evening. So I spent a lot of time going out, as you do, and I was struck by all of the facets of an evening,” Lorde said of Melodrama, explaining that each night has good and bad moments that scale the emotional spectrum. “It was the dichotomy of those two things that I’m very interested in.”
“Homemade Dynamite” resides “in that first category where everything is good,” Lorde added.
Later in the set – following “Sober,” which Lorde debuted two nights earlier at a surprise small-venue gig outside Coachella, her first full show in nearly three years – the singer also performed the moody ballad “Melodrama” for the first time:
Lorde performed all five of her new songs at Coachella with “Sober,” “Liability” and “Green Light.” Lorde will perform main stages at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Governors Ball and the New Orleans Jazz Fest.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Licensing Expo, the world’s largest and most influential licensing industry event, today announced that Sony Music will co-host its prestigious Opening Night Party and present country music singer and songwriter Jessie James Decker…