Author Archives: M Fund

CMA Announces 2015 Broadcast Awards Finalists

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — CMA and Kelsea Ballerini joined forces with ABC Radio to announce the 2015 CMA Broadcast Awards finalists for Radio Personality and Station of the Year today during a media tour in New York City.

The finalists were surprised by the…


Songwriter Poo Bear: Justin Bieber's New Album Is His 'Thriller'

Songwriter Jason Boyd, better known as Poo Bear, has seen Justin Bieber through the entirety of his fourth studio album, out November 13 — an LP he assures is the pop superstar’s best. Boyd, a longtime collaborator, was there for Bieber in the days when the world loved to hate him, working with him on 2013’s Journals.

“It was a trying time but we made it through, and he definitely matured, which leads us to this new album,” Boyd says. “It’s incredible. And if I had to compare it to something, not the sound of it but the impact and amount of songs that are undeniable, I would have to compare it to Thriller.”

Poo Bear has helped Bieber stage a comeback that’s nothing short of amazing, co-writing the lyrics for Jack Ü’s “Where Are Ü Now,” which became Bieber’s first Top 10 release since 2012, and his new single, “What Do You Mean?” which broke Spotify’s first-week record with 21 million streams and recently debuted atop the Hot 100.

When they first met at rapper Lil Twist’s birthday party in 2013, Boyd figured that they were from two different worlds. A songwriter of 20-plus years, 36-year-old Boyd wrote R&B hits like 112’s “Peaches and Cream” and won a Grammy for Usher’s “Caught Up.” But the pop star soon had him on the road while touring for Believe. What started as messing around, like flipping the acoustic guitar loop in Craig David’s “Fill Me In” for kicks, turned into sessions where they wrote the majority of the digital download-only, Eighties- and Nineties-R&B-inspired Journals.

Boyd’s solo work had inspired the young star to revisit the more patient R&B he grew up listening to, from Boyz II Men to Ne-Yo.

“There would be times where I would bring up, like ‘Hey, can we do some EDM, a little electronica with a hint of R&B?'” says Boyd. “He’d be like, ‘No, I want to sing R&B.’ In the back of my mind I’m like, ‘Man. I’m working with the biggest pop star in the world, and we’re doing R&B.’ I love R&B because it got me to where I am today, but at the same time R&B just doesn’t sell.”

Based on the small team of producers they formed, Bieber’s fourth album may strike a balance in the sounds that Boyd was craving. Skrillex and Diplo assist here. So do the Audibles, the hip-hop production duo featured in Journals, and Andre Harris, one half of neo-soul architects Dre and Vidal. Kanye West and Rick Rubin also contribute, though a small amount.

“We just really wanted that influence — a hint of it to rub off on the music,” Boyd says. “I can’t say that they played a huge role in the album, but it was just, like, pieces of them.”

Boyd says that he has topped himself as a songwriter with Bieber’s latest, in large part because of the subject matter. The two of them had similar upbringings, having been raised as Christians by single mothers. But Boyd also saw Bieber turn 21 in public, which had critics lambasting him for arrests and mischief. As a result, Boyd says, Bieber’s new music can be instructive.

 “We recorded a lot of songs, 103 songs, over the past couple of years,” he says, “just making sure that everything is in the direction we want to stay in, which is uplifting music, real-world music. This is so the world can understand: ‘If you’re going through what I went through, this is what I did to get through my problems.’ Justin always wanted to be that light, that example. And we really hit it with this album.

“You’ll get to hear him really get intimate with things that he went through in his life in the last couple of years, so that people can understand him, kind of like with ‘Human Nature,’ says Boyd. “Big, powerful records that everyone can listen to. This album is so inspirational.”

Announcing the Bonnaroo Spotlight Series Presented by Angry Orchard: Bringing 'Roo Alumni and Hard Cider to Venues Across the Country this Fall

Bonnaroo Spotlight Series Presented by Angry OrchardCINCINNATI, Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Angry Orchard Cider Company announced that this fall the cider maker will be teaming up with the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival — a staple in the American music festival scene – to host the Bonnaroo Spotlight Series Presented by…


Marvel Music To Release Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Soundtrack

BURBANK, Calif., Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Marvel Music is releasing the soundtrack for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. physical CD on October 9, 2015.  The digital album is available now.  EMMY Award® winner Bear McCreary (Outlander, The Walking Dead) composed the…


Carrie Underwood Plots New Tour and London Performance

Six months after the birth of her first child, Carrie Underwood is gearing up for another headlining tour.

Speaking with CMT, Underwood hinted at plans to hit the highway in early 2016, explaining, “We’re working out the details right now — tour routing and figuring out who’s going to come out with us and all that stuff. It takes a lot of love and a lot of planning. I feel like within the next couple of months, we should be announcing everything. We’ll just put it out there!”

The tour will help promote Storyteller, Underwood’s first album of new material in more than three years. Released on the heels of Greatest Hits: Decade #1, the album already sports a Top Five radio hit in “Smoke Break,” a song Underwood wrote with Chris DeStefano and Hillary Lindsey. Although she’s kept a tight lid on the rest of the album’s sound, “Smoke Break” points toward the familiar intersection of modern country and polished, punchy pop-rock, an area the singer has mined with platinum-selling results before. Storyteller arrives October 23rd. 

Also on the horizon is a headlining appearance at this year’s Apple Music Festival in London. Underwood will perform on September 21st, three days into the 10-day festival, and joins a roster that also includes Pharrell Williams, Ellie Goulding, One Direction, Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Take That and Disclosure. Although the event takes place inside the 168 year-old Roundhouse, Underwood’s set will also be streamed live via Apple Music. She is the first country music artist ever to headline the event.

Longtime Friends, Cellist Yo-Yo Ma & Pianist Kathryn Stott Collaborate On New Album Songs From The Arc Of Life

Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott - New Album: Songs From The Arc Of Life - Available September 18, 2015NEW YORK, Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott create a unique classical music experience with their new Sony Classical recording Songs from the Arc of Life available September 18, 2015. This all-new recording also celebrates thirty years of friendship…


NJTV And NJPAC Announce Star-Studded Line-Up Of Performers For Third Season Of Award-Winning American Songbook At NJPAC Series

NJTV, New Jersey Public Television.NEWARK, N.J., Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) announced a talent-rich line-up for season three of the award-winning American Songbook at NJPAC series.  Performances will be taped…


Eric Church, Little Big Town Lead 2015 CMA Awards Nominations

Eric Church and Little Big Town lead all nominees at this year’s 49th CMA Awards. The high-energy performer and the acclaimed “Girl Crush” vocal group each scored five nominations when the categories were revealed this morning. 

For Church, the nominations mark his first time competing in the coveted Entertainer of the Year category. He’ll face off with reigning Entertainer Luke Bryan, the out-of-retirement Garth Brooks, two-time Entertainer nominee Miranda Lambert and four-time winner Kenny Chesney, with whom Church shared stadium stages this summer. The “Like a Wrecking Ball” singer also received nominations in the Male Vocalist of the Year category, Single of the Year for “Talladega,” Song of the Year for “Wrecking Ball” and Musical Event of the Year for his collaboration with Keith Urban, “Raise ‘Em Up.”

Related: Fall Country Music Preview 2015: 25 Essential Albums, Events

Little Big Town, meanwhile, are soaring on the strength of the universally lauded single “Girl Crush.” The ballad scored the quartet a Single of the Year nomination, and Song of the Year recognition for its writers Liz Rose, Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsey. Little Big Town are also nominated for Vocal Group of the Year, Video of the Year (“Girl Crush”), Musical Event (for “Smokin’ and Drinkin'” with Miranda Lambert) and Album of the Year for their sixth studio effort, Pain Killer.

Chris Stapleton, however, stands as the biggest surprise of the CMA nominations. The hit songwriter behind Bryan’s “Drink a Beer” and Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn” released his debut solo album Traveller in May and voters clearly took notice. Stapleton is up for Album of the Year, New Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist, with no less than Bryan recently describing Stapleton as a “miraculous singer” to Rolling Stone Country.

Breakout artist Kelsea Ballerini, who announced the nominations with Steven Tyler on Good Morning America, also turned in a strong showing, scoring a Female Vocalist of the Year nomination and a slot in the New Artist field. Along with Stapleton, she’ll compete against Sam Hunt, Maddie & Tae and Thomas Rhett in the New Artist race.

Here is the complete list of nominees for the 49th CMA Awards. The ceremonies will be broadcast live Wednesday, November 4th, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Entertainer of the Year 
Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan
Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Miranda Lambert

Album of the Year
Old Boots, New Dirt – Jason Aldean
Pageant Material – Kacey Musgraves
Pain Killer – Little Big Town
The Big Revival – Kenny Chesney
Traveller – Chris Stapleton

Single of the Year
“American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
“Girl Crush” – Little Big Town
“I Don’t Dance” – Lee Brice
“Take Your Time” – Sam Hunt
“Talladega” – Eric Church

Song of the Year
“American Kids” (Kenny Chesney)
“Girl Crush” (Little Big Town)
“Like a Cowboy” (Randy Houser)
“Like a Wrecking Ball” (Eric Church)
“Take Your Time” (Sam Hunt)

Male Vocalist of the Year
Dierks Bentley
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Chris Stapleton

Female Vocalist of the Year
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood
Lee Ann Womack

New Artist of the Year
Kelsea Ballerini
Sam Hunt
Maddie & Tae
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

Vocal Duo of the Year
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae
Thompson Square

Vocal Group of the Year
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

Music Video of the Year
“Biscuits” – Kacey Musgraves
“Girl Crush” – Little Big Town
“Girl in a Country Song” – Maddie & Tae
“Little Red Wagon” – Miranda Lambert
“Something in the Water” – Carrie Underwood

Musical Event of the Year
Django and Jimmie – Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
“Lonely Tonight” – Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe
“Raise ‘Em Up” – Keith Urban featuring Eric Church
“Smokin’ and Drinkin'” – Miranda Lambert featuring Little Big Town
“Wild Child” – Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter

Musician of the Year
Sam Bush (Mandolin)
Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
Paul Franklin (Steel Guitar)
Dann Huff (Guitar)
Mac McAnally (Guitar)

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Announces 25th Season

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO), the big band-in-residence of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a season of “Jazz Innovations” October 2015–July…


Eric Church and Little Big Town Lead the List of Finalists For "The 49th Annual CMA Awards" With Five Nominations Each

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Eric Church and Little Big Town top the list of final nominees for “The 49th Annual CMA Awards” with five nominations each. The stellar lineup of finalists includes staunch traditionalists, format icons, roots rockers, and contemporary…