Javier Colon got a fresh shot at music superstardom when he was announced as the winner of NBC’s The Voice last night. But before he caught his (second) big break, he recorded two albums with Capitol Records, 2003’s Javier and 2006’s Left Of Center. While he was working the promotional circuit in support of his eponymous self-titled album back in ’03, he stopped by our VH1 offices for a lively Unplugged show. We decided to unearth two of the clips from this session, his cover of Bill Withers’ “Use Me” (above) and his very first single as a major label recording artist, “Crazy” (which is below). As you’ll see, even then, his trademark cap was in place.
The season finale of The Voice and the season premiere of Behind the Music (now streaming in full on our site!) stole the thunder of the two bands that performed last night on television, but you wouldn’t know it by watching them. Parachute, a band of University of Virginia graduates whose blend of Something Corporate emo-pop piano balladry and soul-band backup vocals and bass guitar works way better than it has any right to, kept the crowd excited on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with their single?”Something to Believe In.” The track has gained some traction on adult pop radio, even as the band is wearing t-shirts for bands like Snapcase while playing for rooms full of kids on their first headlining club tour. Before the show, lead singer Will Andersontweeted, “My goal on?@jimmykimmel tonight is to always be staring into whatever camera is on. Seriously. Watch for it.” We’d say he was fairly successful.
Meanwhile, on Late Night with David Letterman, Marty Stuart cranked out “Country Boy Rock & Roll,” a barnburner of a single from Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions. Stuart is a country traditionalist, which describes not only his sound but also his look. Did you ever think you’d see hair like this on television in 2011? Read more…
A hearty congratulations are due tonight to Javier Colon, the winner of the first season of NBC’s The Voice. The 34 year-old, who was dropped from his label Capitol Records after releasing two albums under their watch, triumphed over his competitors Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez, and Beverly McClellan.
We first felt like the Javier wave was about to crest last week after his stirring rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” a performance which also saw him shed his (then trademark) cap for the first time. At the time, we opined that he might have pulled this maneuver a week too soon, but you know what they say about hindsight.
Last night, though, Javier proved himself to be one of this competition’s frontrunners with an engaging performance of his original song, “Stitch By Stitch” (which we have for you below). And tonight, he proved he had nerves of steel when he stood toe-to-toe with Stevie Nicks during a duet of the Fleetwood Mac classic, “Landslide,” never losing confidence despite Stevie’s not-so-subtle direction on how he should inflect his vocals. Judge/coach Adam Levine described it, perhaps with a smidge of hyperbole, as “one of the most beautiful duets I’ve ever heard in my life,” but there is no denying that Javier Colon is having one of the best nights of his life. He’s got a second chance at music superstardom, but only time –and perhaps the ticket sales for this summer’s The Voice multi-city tour– will tell if he’ll end up making Capitol Records regret their decision to let him go.
MISSY ELLIOTT SPEAKS ON HER BEHIND THE MUSIC EPISODE: “I THOUGHT, ‘LET ME REINTRODUCE MYSELF'” Missy Elliott talked to Gerrick D. Kennedyat Pop & Hiss about her ongoing collaboration with Timbaland, the legacy of Aaliyah, and her Behind the Music episode, which premieres tonight at 10PM ET/PT. Also check out our sneak peeks of the episode, which will get you excited for the episode, and also remind you that Missy looks like a Gmail Robot in the video for “Sock It 2 Me.” [Pop & Hiss/LAT]
International superstardom is exhausting, especially if you’re Beyonc?! After a fierce Sunday set at Glastonbury, Beyonc?’s4 finally hits shelves this week, and yes, we’re absolutely ready for this album’s off-the-charts intimacy levels to stupefy our senses. As a hard-working entertainer dedicated to her craft, it’s no surprise that the talented renaissance woman needed and deserved a break from years of relentless recording, promoting and touring prior to releasing this record. But what, exactly, did Queen B do during her year away from the music business?
Premiering tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. on VH1 and Palladia (7 p.m. ET/PT on MTV and BET), VH1 special Beyonc?: Year of 4 arrives just in time to bring the icon’s year-long adventure to light. (If you miss it, we’ll have it streaming on VH1.com for 24 hours, too). Capturing her many experiences while traveling the world and re-examining her career, the film is equipped with footage taken with Bey’s camera and her own very-personal narration. Truly bringing us into her often-private world, Beyonc? ruminates on her life thus far, her marriage to rapper Jay-Z, her company and brand (after parting ways with father and former manager, Matthew Knowles), and the future she intends on building as a role-model for women around the world. In the sneak above, we follow Bey as she toboggans down the Great Wall of China, hangs with friends and family, and recognizes how taking time off never even occurred to her.
Ke$ha and Conan O’Brien are really running with their collaboration. When she returned to his show on Monday for its summer concert series, she also curated her own installment of It Came from the Intertubes (a Best Week Ever-type feature that Conan’s site launched last month), and taped the above sketch about Auto-Tune. Gags about the oft-used software are a little played out, but voice modulation is always at least a little funny, and Ke$ha really sells it, so it works. She neighs!
She also takes the opportunity to slip a little actual criticism into the bit. After facetiously explaining that Pavarotti, Bob Dylan (ha!), and The Beatles all used Auto-Tune, she flatly intones, “Being against Auto-Tune is like being against the idea of a DJ. It just lets people know you’re old.”
And on that note, here’s Dylan rapping the first verse of “Mama Said Knock You Out”:
Which is not to say that there are none. Chicagoans need not resort to the Chi-town rework of LMFAO‘s “I’m In Miami, Trick”; there is a small but significant pantheon of Chicago songs, which Stump’s new single joins:
5. Sufjan Stevens, “Chicago”
The centerpiece of Sufjan Stevens‘s 2005 concept album about Illinois, aptly titled Illinois, “Chicago” quickly became a fan favorite that closed out the artist’s live sets, despite never being a “single” as such. Stevens would release three alternate versions of the song on the b-sides collection The Avalanche. The song resonated outside the city as well: Snow Patrol mentioned the song in the lyrics of their own “Hands Open,” Little Miss Sunshine featured the song on its soundtrack, and Chiddy Bang sampled it for “All Things Go.”
The first thing Coldplay‘s fun new video for “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” might bring to mind is the Shynola-directed Chris Martin and the Purple Crayon Box of Chalk video for 2009’s “Strawberry Swing”. (It’s certainly what some fans are thinking.) This video, however, is actually the sixth directed by the band’s college buddy Mat Whitecross, and his bright, stylized clip, with splashes of Michel Gondry and, yes, Shynola, might be better described as “Coldplay Goes to Madchester.”
On the penultimate episode of NBC’s The Voice last night, two music business also-rans and two “singing lesbians that America loves” (to paraphrase a recent Los Angeles Times piece) wowed viewing audiences with their passionate final performances. However, as we have come to expect from The Voice, there was one very big twist: Over the course of the last ten weeks and change, Javier Colon, Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez and Beverly McClellan have built themselves a passionate fan base with their personal renditions of already familiar songs originally performed by other artists. Last night, though, the contestants showed off something new. Namely, their own original songs!
Obviously, this last-minute twist gives a HUGE advantage to the two performers who already have experience writing and recording their own material, Javier Colon and Dia Frampton. They both took advantage of the opportunity given to them to not only showcase their voice, but also their artistry, and America seemingly approves. As of this morning, Dia’s slow-burning, piano-driven ballad “Inventing Shadows” and Javier’s slow-burning, guitar-driven ballad “Stitch By Stitch” are sitting atop the iTunes singles chart.
They look just a little too put-together in their press shots. We point this out not to give the band a hard time, but because we thought you might have noticed, too, and that’s the sort of thing that would make us a little wary of the band, if we didn’t know better. We don’t blame their label for making them look good?after all, that’s part of what labels are for?but the band, especially frontman Mark Foster, looks a little uncomfortable in the photographs.
That’s why we try to record these You Oughta Know Live performances. We think the best way to experience a band is to see them live, and the next best is to see a live performance. Here’s where you get to see why we are such fans of the band (the VH1 Blog’s own Mark Graham picked “Helena Beat,” which the band performed as part of this set, as a Song of the Summercontender).
We embedded the last song of the set, “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls),” above because it was, not coincidentally, the strongest of the four performances. Foster in particular undergoes a visible transition as the set goes on, loosening up, losing his jacket, smiling more, until the near-maniacal laugh-vocals in this song’s bridge, which he nails. His all-out rendition belies the uncomfortable nature of the press photos?as does (sorry if this embarrasses you, Mark Foster) the fact that he’s wearing the same t-shirt he did when the band played the Sasquatch Festival in Seattle on Memorial Day. Now that’s the undeniable sign of a songwriter trying to get a break in L.A.: a favorite t-shirt.