One of our favorite You Oughta Know artists, The Civil Wars, have made it to the cover of Billboard magazine, and while they say you should never judge a book by it’s cover, you can expect the accompanying story inside the publication to be every bit as enticing as the formidable couple staring down the camera on the front. Here is a band who, as relative unknowns three odd years ago, are now one of the most talked about, and not to mention talented young bands catching the attention of everyone from Taylor Swift to Hollywood. The Civil Wars (Joy Williams and John Paul White) met in 2008, at a meeting that both parties tried to cancel (it can only be described as intensely fortuitous that neither succeeded); shortly after they began writing music and White asked Williams to start a band, which she says was, “Like being asked to prom.”
Everything since has been somewhat of a fairytale, with the band catching the ear of super star Taylor Swift. “We were doing a West Coast run and Taylor got in touch with us to say she was working with Burnett on The Hunger Games” says Williams. The Civil Wars then joined Taylor in the studio and, “We wrote ["Safe & Sound"] within two-and-a-half hours, got in the studio and recorded vocals and the temp version in another two hours. Less than a month later it was up on iTunes. We had no idea an afternoon would culminate in a thing like that. She had great ideas-everything was really easygoing with her. Walking into the studio with Taylor and T Bone felt like the most natural thing in the world.” The band also opened for Swift at the Grammys with a brief one minute performance that attracted the attention of critics, and was largely touted as one of the best performances of the night, leading to a 178% spike in sales for the band the following week. The Civil Wars’ manager, Nate Yetton says, “The Grammy stage and performing almost a trailer for the song was kind of the next natural step in the progression of the band, being exposed to a much broader audience.”
The band describe Swift’s support as “surreal,” but we imagine the blink-you’ll-miss-it rise to fame might be described the same way. Williams reflects on the bands success: “If John Paul and I had met at a different time I think we would’ve had an afternoon of a co-write and maybe missed something that could have been special… It set the tone surprisingly at an early stage. We said, ‘Let’s just do what we love and write music that we’re proud of and throw everything else to the wind.” White shares a similar sentiment, “I don’t want to paint us as so forward-thinking in this… There was a bit of naivety on our part. We didn’t have a label so we didn’t have anyone stopping us. It was just us following our noses.” The interview is intriguing, as are The Civil Wars; you can read more at Billboard.com.
If you thought the day of the boy band was dead and buried then you, gentle reader, have been severely misinformed. Rising from a third place position in UK The X Factor, British-Irish boy band One Direction signed with Sony subsidiary Syco Records and are now set to be the next big thing in pop. The boys have had huge chart success in the UK, and with their new single, “One Thing,” their catchy, fairy-floss sound is starting to infiltrate our airwaves. So here are five reasons why you must know One Direction right this instant:
1. “One Thing”
Their new single from their debut album, Up All Night, “One Thing,” is a cute-as-pie pop song about pop’s favorite subject, love. As the boys romp around London in the video, there’s an infectious cheekiness to the clip, and it’s definitely a tune you’ll find yourself replaying over and over in your head.
2. They’re going to be on Saturday Night Live
Now, we know how much an SNL appearance means after Lana Del Rey’s controversial appearance earlier this year, so this is a pretty big deal for One Direction, as in, make or break. We’re rooting for “make,” and think it’s pretty cool that the boys have been booked for the iconic show so early in their career. The episode airs on April 7th, 2012.
Billboard have released their Music’s Top 40 Money Makers list based on 2011′s earnings. And the biggest music earner of the past year is none other than country babe Taylor Swift, who made a whopping $35.7 million. Her financial success can largely be attributed to her smash hit album Speak Now and subsequent tour, which made $88.5 million in the US alone, $29.8 million of which went into Taylor’s pocket. Billboard also named Taylor Woman Of The Year in 2011 after she racked up 1.8 million album sales and 7.8 million digital single sales from Speak Now. Swift wrote 14 songs from the album, royalties from which contributing in no small way to her earning capacity.
Billboard states that, “As the concert business rebounded in 2011, touring remained the biggest source of income for the top earners in the U.S. music business… But not all of the 40 artists on the Money Makers list relied heavily, if at all, on touring income.” Indeed, there seems to be little to no consistency in tours as related to earning capacity (some top earners toured, others didn’t), nor does there seem to be much of a correlation between chart success and earning, as Adele, who still dominates the charts, came in at number 10 (where we would have expected her at number one given her phenomenal, history making sales), and Katy Perry, who broke records with five number ones from the same album, came in at 14. Surprisingly, Beyoncé and Jay-Z don’t even make the Top 40 — shocking because in 2011 we came to think of Bey as one of the most powerful, and therefore lucrative, personalities in music. Check out the top 10 music earners after the jump, and the full list at Billboard.com.
It looks like Brandon Flowers has ticked off our February Posted band, The Fray. Flowers caught the attention of The Fray front man Isaac Slade when he made some derogatory comments at a concert, but Slade seemed to take it in good humor, saying, “When we started making the album, I saw footage on YouTube of Brandon getting mad at a Killers crowd who were a little sedate. Brandon was yelling, ‘Come on, stand up and dance. This isn’t a f**king Fray show’… All I could do was laugh because that’s true — we do have a very thoughtful, sensitive crowd who don’t get to dance much. Still, I’ll pay Brandon back for picking on our fans. Next time I see him I’ll have to punch him in the mouth.” We’re guessing that Slade’s threat of violence is a little bit tongue-in-cheek, as we can’t imagine him raising a hand in anger to anyone. But good on him for sticking up for his fans — it’s nice to feel important!
What Happens When A Mashup Is Better Than The Sum Of Its Parts?
The answer is this: “Every Tear Drop Has A Super Bass”. Featuring Sean Paul, Coldplay, Nicki Minaj, and Childish Gambino this mashup is better than any of the songs included. So good in fact, we think the mash up should be a song; any chance the artists involved would be interested in a collaboration? [Buzz Feed]
The Notorious L.D.R.
Speaking of mashups, what do you get when you cross Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die with The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die? You get Born Ready To Die, that’s what! [Mixstream]
Today marks the 15th anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G‘s assassination, and if you don’t know, well, now you know. Biggie’s legacy has been lasting — from thaticonic dance scene in 10 Things I Hate About You featuring “Hypnotize”, to Rita Ora’s recent sample of “Party & Bullsh*t” in her new track of the same name, after 15 years, Biggie continues to be both pervasive and influential. Biggie, born Christopher George Latore Wallace, is an icon of hip hop, and a pioneer of East Coast rap, drawing attention to artists from New York at a time when West Coast rap was generally favored in the mainstream. He was murdered exactly 15 years ago today on March 9, 1997, and his killer is yet to be found. His posthumously released and poignantly titled album Life After Death, was released 15 days later to critical acclaim, reaching the pinnacle of number one on the US charts, proving that the legend of an artist is all the life that is needed to sustain their vision, even after they are passed.
We absolutely loved having The Fray as our February Posted artist, and each week we hung out impatiently waiting for their intimate blog posts. Just when we thought our candid glimpse into the life of The Fray was over, the boys threw us yet another bone — this time in the form of a behind the scenes sneak peek at their new video for “Run For Your Life.” Filmed in the California desert, the boys took some time out to talk to us about the inspiration for the video. “Conceptually I love the idea of survivors guilt it’s an insidious black hole that people fall in,” says front man Isaac Slade. Guitarist Joe King adds, “Just lyrically alone it’s not a fluff song, it’s not about the club… it’s a serious song.” Serious indeed, according to Ben Wysocki who explains, “The video is a collection of people from different places in life deciding to use everything in them, emotionally, physically, to run… a beautiful portrayal of freedom and liberation.” Now we’re excited to see the full video — watch this space, because the full clip is due for release next week!
Nicki Minaj is really milking the slow burn for all it’s worth. With the release date of her new album being pushed back from its originally intended Valentine’s Day release, Nicki is keeping us interested with a succession of announcements related to the highly anticipated release. The new release date has been touted as April 3rd, and in the meantime, Nicki’s given us some revealing album art as a teaser. Here’s the art for Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded:
An explosion of neon color, we’re thinking Nicki is reminiscent of Ke$ha‘s chaotic, otherworldly party aesthetic. In the same theme is the cover for the Deluxe Edition, which is ambiguously NSFW (in that we’re not sure if it really is or not), but you can check that out after the jump just to be on the safe side. What do you think of the album art? Let us know in the comments section!
John Mayer has run into some health problems, according to a blog post the singer published today. With a new album set to be released on May 22nd, a gig at next week’s SXSW festival and an upcoming tour, this isn’t exactly great news for the Mayer-stro. Indeed, it should be John Mayer’s year, with his first release and tour schedule since his controversial Rolling Stone interview in which he called Jessica Simpson “Sexual Napalm”, so the bad news is not particularly well timed for the performer.
In the blog post announcing the news, Mayer writes, “During rehearsal on Tuesday, it came to mind that I should see my throat doctor because something didn’t feel/sound right. I went in for a visit on Wednesday and a scope of my vocal cords revealed that the granuloma has grown back where it had mostly healed. This is bad news. Because of this, I have no choice but to take an indefinite break from live performing. Though there will be a day when all of this will be behind me, it will sideline me for a longer period of time than I care to have you count down.”
He goes on to explain granuloma, before laying out his plans for the new album and his recovery; “Okay, so here’s the plan… Born and Raised will be released as scheduled, but because I don’t make a very good anything-other-than-a-musician, I’m going to begin writing the next album very soon. I feel really vibrant as a writer at the moment and there’s no reason not to begin the next album project in the time I would have been touring. Somewhere in all of this is another surgery and a very long chemically-imposed period of silence, so I hope you’ll understand that I have to really pick that date carefully.” Seemingly distraught, apologetic and sincere in his post, we’re wishing John Mayer a speedy recovery, and hope to see him back on stage for 2013!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, they have it on good authority that Britney Spears is deep in negotiations (via her fiance Jason Trawick) to become a judge on The X Factor. Since the show axed judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, there’s been speculation that Simon Cowell will be looking to replace them with some mighty super star strength — and Britney, love her or hate her, is undoubtedly one of the most powerful and influential women in pop. As Britney is signed to Sony Music’s RCA Records, which retains exclusive rights to X Factor artists, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine Britney on the show. While there’s no comment yet from Britney’s camp, Cowell coyly states, “There’s going to be a lot of twists and turns over the next few weeks and a lot of things we’re going to announce.”
The Hollywood Reporter opines on the matter; “As one of Sony’s Music’s marquee acts (33 million albums sold in the U.S. and counting), Spears brings legitimacy as a successful recording artist, something critics of X Factor say was missing in last year’s competition, as well as a level of unpredictability and drama that also was largely absent from the Fox show when Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul were judges.” But what to you think? Would Britney be the perfect judge, given her long, iconic career in the pop spotlight? Or has Britney’s star dwindled with the rise of other popettes, throwing her credibility as a top-tier performer into question? Or do you not care, and think that regardless of her credentials, Brits will bring high drama to the show? Let us know in the poll below!