Posts By Zara Golden

by (@zaragolden)

VH1 Diva Keri Hilson On Her New Album And Vin Diesel

Last weekend, Keri Hilson performed a sizzling “She Works Hard For The Money” for VH1 DIVAS 2012‘s spectacular Donna Summer tribute, reminding us that Hilson’s got the pipes, Hilson’s got the moves and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Hilson’s got the legs and looks, as well. It’s been two years since No Boys Allowed dropped and we’re still pumping “Pretty Girl Rock” on a more than semi-regular basis, to be sure, but every spin has us asking: where’s Keri been? We caught up with the Hilson back stage, and she promised us that she’ll be back to pretty girl rocking in 2013 with her acting debut and new music, too!

“I took a little break, and I’m back,” Hilson explained, teasing a new album set for release in the first quarter of next year and beaming with excitement for her upcoming silver-screen debut. Hilson is set to star alongside Vin Diesel — “He’s become my mentor!” — in Chronicles of Ridick: Dead Man Stalking, and she is “super excited” about getting back to her more theatrical roots. “I was a theater major in college,” she said, “Acting is just as much a part of the things that inspire me, and the things that keep me creatively juicy, just as much as music is. I’d love to have a lasting acting career.” And as long as that doesn’t mean an end to the music, we would love her to have that, too.

Related: VH1 Divas: Adam Lambert, Kelly Rowland and Keri Hilson Pay Tribute To Donna Summer

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by (@zaragolden)

Ke$ha Explains Her Concerns With “Die Young:” It’s Actually About “The Importance Of Living Every Day To The Fullest”

She wasn’t “forced” to record it, and she was concerned that the song’s title might be misunderstood; but “Die Young” is supposed to be about living life to the fullest, and that’s something Ke$ha “truly believes.” Quick rewind: radio stations the nationwide have slowed the roll on “Die Young” in the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown last week, not necessarily because the song anything to do with it, but because those are words that nobody particularly wants to hear right about now. We understand, and so does Ke$ha. On Twitter yesterday she expressed sympathy for those effected, and then, in a quickly deleted tweet, she suggested that she had been “forced” to sing the song. Everything okay over there, Kesh?

In a note posted to her website Ke$ha explains that she was concerned that the phrase “die young” might give some of her young-ish fans the wrong idea, but that she was not “forced” to sing it against her will:

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by (@zaragolden)

Today In Best Of’s: Pitchfork, Slate And The Fader Demonstrate Three Good Ways To Breakdown A Year In Music

We indulge in our fair share of constructing and consuming year end lists, but Pitchfork, Slate and The Fader’s year end’s are three we especially look forward to. Each takes a different approach at breaking the year in music down, and the insights that result tend to vary: Pitchfork’s is complete, Slate’s is super rigorous and The Fader’s always manages to spotlight the truly important things (in music, and also just in general, e.g.: “Top Four Pictures of Usher and Animals”). We heart these lists.

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by (@zaragolden)

Happy Holidaze! Seven Swans A Singing Have Nothing On Charles Bradley’s “Amazing Grace”

Happy Holidaze! In lieu of the traditional advent calender stocked with stale chocolates or tiny toys, VH1, MTV and CMT are gearing up and counting down the days to Christmas with 12 Holidaze worth of cheer. Each day until the 25th, we will unveil a new holiday-themed performance from some of your favorite artists. Already we’ve enjoyed Paloma Faith‘s retro “Santa Baby,” Austin Mahone’s “Jingle Bells;” Gavin DeGraw‘s blustery “O Holy Night,” and The Wanted‘s puppy-aided “White Christmas”; and today on this seventh day of Holidaze, VH1 has gifted unto you Charles Bradely‘s from-the-gut turn of “Amazing Grace.”

Seven swans a singing have nothing on the Screaming Eagle of Soul. Bradely’s inimitable voice “Amazing Grace” lends itself nicely to the 18th century hymn, and you may think you’ve heard all the possible covers before, but we assure that this one will rattle any and all bedecked halls. Really, this is special.

Seven down, five more days of videos to enjoy. Happy Holidaze!

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by (@zaragolden)

Thank You Paul McCartney, Thank You Kanye West: 12-12-12 Concert Raised $50 Million For Sandy Relief

You may or may not have been so into Paul McCartney‘s divisive jam sesh with the surviving member of Nirvana, you might have found the line-up a bit too old and a tad to British, or felt that Kanye‘s showstopping kilt was, well, something; but alas, there is now quantifiable proof that the night was for good: The 12-12-12 Concert For Sandy Relief raised roughly $50 million for victims of November’s devastating storm, and the show’s producers expect that number to grow in the coming weeks as additional donations and funds from album sales continue to trickle in.

Ticket sales and corporate sponsors made up the bulk of that $50 million, though merch sales and the phone bank brought in a hefty $20 million. And even the popular ticket resale site StubHub chipped in, donating the $1 million worth of fees they collected off of 12-12-12 tickets (they keep 25 percent of every sale, and tickets were being up-sold for as much as $60,000). Not so shabby, eh?

The New York Times figures that the benefit’s final tally falls a smidge short of the $61 million MTV’s Hope for Haiti concert made in 2010, and that the number pales in comparison to the $55 million (or, about $118 million in 2012 dollars) 1985′s Live Aid raised, but we are certain that those 50 million dollars will be put to good use by the 140 groups the Robin Hood Foundation has lined up and much appreciated by those left devastated by Sandy all the same. A hardy congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to all involved!

12-12-12 Producers Say Concert Brought In $50 Million [NYT]

by (@zaragolden)

Taylor Swift Goes With Harry Styles To Get A Tattoo, Is Now Living The “Trouble” Video

It’s no secret that Taylor Swift‘s art imitates her real life, but so it seems as if her life has begun to imitate her art as well. And so if sensed a little more sub frequency trembling in the Earth’s atmosphere this morning than usual, here’s why: On a recent date, Taylor followed latest new beau, One Direction‘s Harry Styles, to Shamrock Tattoo Parlor in L.A. for an inking. Taylor watched while Styles got a big ole’ boat tatted on his arm, and afterwards the someone posted the moment to Instagram so we know it’s real. Styles has plenty tattoos and both pop stars are old enough to make their own decisions when it comes to their bodies; what concerns us here is that — ohh OHHH! — this is a scene right out of “I Knew You Were Trouble.”

See what we mean?

by (@zaragolden)

Tuned In: Ed Sheeran Brings His A-Game And “The A Team” To Jimmy Kimmel Live

The thing about Ed Sheeran is that, the first time one of his songs comes up on Pandora, it may not sound all that different than any of the other singer-songwriter-y jams that populate your Paolo Nutini channel. He’s a talented songwriter –just ask Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber, who has apparently enlisted his help for his acoustic album — but what really sets Sheeran apart is his stage show, where he expertly loops his vocals and guitar riffs into a full band’s worth of sound. He didn’t do that last night when he performed his Grammy-nominated anti-drug anthem “The A Team” on Jimmy Kimmel Live, but his heartfelt but bare-boned performance was the perfect way to show off his chops to a late night audience that may be less familiar with the work he’s done with the One Direction cuties.

We’ve watched proudly as our former You Oughta Know star has climbed the Billboard (“The A Team” is currently ranking at #16 on the Hot 100) and iTunes (+ ranks at 20 on the album chart) charts over the past few months, thanks in part to his friends in high places, and when he earned his first Grammy nod (that he did himself). A few more fine showings like this and 2013 is his for the taking.

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by (@zaragolden)

Community Star Alison Brie Is Kind Of Okay At Rapping, Apparently!

Community stars Alison Brie and Danny Pudi hopped on stage with at the Viper Room in Hollywood last week to flex their freestyle and beat boxing skills, respectively. “I want to know this was sprung on me, and your welcome!” joked Brie, preparing for the best and the worst possible outcomes alike before going in over Pudi’s beatboxed beat. Generally it is recommended that stars who are not rappers, no matter how otherwise talented they may be (ahem, Taylor?), not do this sort of thing; but somehow, for some reason and to our great surprise, Alison “We Watch TV, We Don’t Even Know What To Do” Brie was kind of good? Or spirited, at least. And all the bonus points for being so game.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

This Video of Alison Brie and Danny Pudi Freestyle Rapping Will Break The Internet [Splitsider]

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by (@zaragolden)

Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson And Avril Lavigne Sent The Voice Winner, Cassadee Pope, Off In Style

Last night before Cassadee Pope was crowned the winner of Season 3 of The Voice (congrats!), Rihanna and Bruno Mars hit the stage to show of their most definitive voices. These two have been been making the competition show rounds this season — recently: Rihanna killing it on The X Factor UK, Mars bringing down the house on The X Factor — and sounding pretty great on all of the stages. Last night was no exception, Rihanna literally shinning bright and beautiful while performing “Diamonds” in a black bedazzled jumpsuit (above); and a dashing and sunglass shaded Mars singing his gutting new ballad, “When I Was Your Man” (below). Pope would be wise to take some cues from these two, because — see how easy they make sounding so good seem? They’ve got this down pat.

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by (@zaragolden)

Ke$ha Responds To Newtown Controversy, Says She Was “Forced” To Sing “Die Young”

Poor Ke$ha says she never even wanted to sing “Die Young,” anyways. Yesterday we learned that the shock-pop queen’s current Warrior single has been pulled from radio stations in the wake of the tragic shootings in Newtown last week. The song doesn’t glorify dying young so much as it insists we stay up all night and party hard with K$, but the song’s title and principle refrain (“let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young”) don’t sit well right now. Ke$ha seems to get that, and last night she apologized for the song’s poor timing — and then she confessed that she never liked the song’s lyrics anyways. Did someone make Ke$ha do something she didn’t want to?

“I had my own issue with ‘Die Young’ for this reason,” she tweeted last night. “I did NOT want to sing those lyrics and was FORCED to.” Those tweets have since deleted and replaced with one that keeps her business out of it while more directly addressing the events in Newtown:

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