When 25-year-old British singer Emeli Sandé visited the VH1 offices a few months back, her performance left several employees in tears. Her live performance of “Clown” at Williamsburg Music Hall moved me to tears as well. Her poignant voice coupled with the mastery she possesses of writing beautiful songs is why she’s our June You Oughta Know artist. Her debut album, Our Version of Events, may be new to the U.S. audiences, but it has already topped the UK Album Charts at number one. Within the first two weeks of release in the UK the album sold 300,000 copies, and has already reached platinum status according to the British Phonographic Industry. Her official U.S. first single, “Next to Me,” is an ode to her boyfriend. Sandé wrote the song because she wanted a radio hit that uplifted good men, which she says there isn’t enough of. Read more…
Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg stirred up the biggest hip hop controversy of the last few months when he put Nicki Minaj on blast during the pre-game tailgate before the powerhouse radio station’s annual Summer Jam concert two Sundays ago. “I know there are some chicks here waiting to sing ‘Starships’ later,” he said to the crowd. “I’m not talking to y’all right now. F*** that bullsh*t. I’m here to talk about real hip-hop sh*t.” Word of this hardcore dis quickly made its way to Young Money head honcho Lil Wayne, who reacted by pulling Minaj from her headlining spot on the show just hours before she was supposed to hit the stage.
Minaj later called into Funkmaster Flex’s program on Hot 97 to defend herself, but she has yet to bury the hatchet with Rosenberg. However, Rosenberg himself seems ready to put the whole situation behind him, as he and his fellow Hot 97 compadre Angie Martinez showed up at Caroline’s Comedy Club in Midtown Manhattan the other night and showed this “surveillance camera footage” of what “really” happens when Rosenberg and his crew go off the air (please note the use of scare quotes). You guessed it, Rosenberg puts on a pink wig and dances around the studio lip syncing “Starships”!
Zac Efron (pictured above) has famously inked the motto to his wrist, and kids are adopting it as a clever excuse. Your mom probably knows what it means. And Drake can hardly believe it. “It’s like an epidemic,” he said, suggesting that “Y.O.L.O.” — the acronym he uses for “You Only Live Once” on the hook of “The Motto” — has taken on a life of its own. And he doesn’t seem upset that you all like it so much, but he has begun to wonder if he can still use it as a title for that collaborative mixtape he and Rick Ross have been teasing for some time now.
“The title has become so… it’s like an epidemic,” Drake told MTV’s Sway Calloway. “I hope by the time we finish it, it would still hold weight and substance. We might have to call it something different.”
But worry not: as Y.O.L.O. or otherwise, the tape will probably still happen. “A Drake and Ross project I think would be amazing,” he says, adding that, “That’s something even I would want to listen to.”
Lil’ Kim‘ probably didn’t imagine that, when she rapped “no matter where you from, put your lighters up” in “Lighters Up,” a young troubador from England would eventually take heed. But, here we have it: Ed Sheeran, putting his lighter up, so to speak, during a set last night at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. In town to celebrate the stateside release of his debut album +, the 21-year-old You Oughta Know artist who hails from Halifax, England skillfully wove a cover of the Queen Bee’s ode to Brooklyn into his own “Grade 8.” And, of course, the crowd went wild.
In the above video, Keernan sets up with a little beat boxing and then transitions into his half-rapped “Grade 8,” at one point dropping in (at around 2:40) a few lines borrowed from Kim. “It’s the land of trouble / Brooklyn home of the greatest rappers / Big comes first then the queen comes after,” he rhymes, leaving —at least for now— himself out of it.
Patti Smith has done it, as have Childish Gambino and Jamie XX and probably also everyone else you know with a YouTube account. And now we have Celine Dion, legendary chanteuse, adding to the cannon and giving Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep” a go of her own. Obviously, she kills it.
Powerful and sultry, Dion’s cover is at once faithful to the Grammy-sweeping original and worthy of its place in Dion’s hugely successful Vegas show. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the cover takes the place of that the Michael Jackson medley she did in runs past. It may also show up on her upcoming album, Water and Flame, which will include covers, some new material, and a duet with Ne-Yo.
“I love Adele so much. She’s amazing,” Celine professed to the approving Sin City crowd. So do we, Celine. So do we.
Waka Flocka’s first album may be a nod to the late poetic Tupac, but Flocka, lyrically, is no Pac. And he knows it. His sophomore album Triple F Life: Friends, Fans, Family drops today, but the southern rapper, better known for club bangers than lyrical content, wants listeners to know if they’re expecting lyricism they will be disappointed. In an interview with Billboard.com the rapper said, “If you’re looking for lyrics, throw it out the window. Go throw on Watch the Throne.” We’re not sure if that’s a great marketing tactic, but at least he’s honest. That’s got to count for something. Read more…
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals are embarking on some exciting projects, including assisting The Flaming Lips with breaking the Guinness World Record during the O Music Awards. In addition, this Friday VH1 Storytellers: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals premieres with a riveting musical set accompanied by the stories behind the songs. The first single “Never Go Back,” co-written by The Black Keys, is from The Lion the Beast the Beat album, which is in stores today. And in this sneak peek clip not only do we hear the vibrant vocals of Grace Potter, she also delves into the making of “Never Go Back.” Read more…
No Doubt‘s long await comeback album has, at last, a name! The band revealed in a note on their website that their first record in 11 years, which is set for release this September, will be called Push and Shove. They also shared news that the album’s first single “Settle Down” will drop July 16th (finally!) with a video treatment by Sophie Muller, whose past work with the band includes classics like “Don’t Speak” and “Simple Kind of Life.”
Last month in a webisode, the No Doubt previewed a track — which we now know is the title track — called “Push and Shove.” Over a beat produced by the on-trend Diplo and Switch, Gwen Stefani sings: “You push and shove / I take the bait / It’s a risky business / Gonna play it anyway.” Which, given the time the that’s eclipsed since their last outing, could perhaps be about the pressures of returning to the studio. If so, it’s good to know that, solo albums and clothing lines and babies later, they are still willing to play together.
Loyal readers of VH1 Tuner will recognize that we’re pretty excited about Elle King, a brand new artist whose career trajectory looks incredibly promising. She first caught our attention with her powerful new single, “Playing For Keeps,” a track that our Creative Music Integration team liked so much that they made it the theme song to Mob Wives: Chicago.
Today sees the release of her new, four-song EP, simply entitled The Elle King EP. In addition to “Playing For Keeps,” the record features two other original tracks (“Good To Be A Man” and “No One Can Save You”) and a live cover of Khia’s XXX-rated hip-hop classic “My Neck, My Back.” Before you decide to head over to the iTunes store to purchase it, you can stream the entire album right here on VH1 Tuner for FREE for the next seven days. So take a listen to this talented new artist whose powerful pipes are drawing favorable comparisons to Adele, and let us know what you think in the comments below!
As Jay-Z’s latest protege there are high expectations for 21-year-old Rita Ora. Ora’s success in the UK is just the beginning; and if the pattern of British singers successfully owning the UK charts and eventually taking the US airwaves by storm continues, Ora is headed for the top of the charts. In front of 80,000 fans with their hands in the air, Ora performed “R.I.P.” at the Capital FM Summertime Ball in London. In eccentric jeans and midriff top, on a scale of one to 10, Ora’s energy was at 20. And with 80,000 onlookers every bit of her energy was reciprocated. Read more…