Until watching Alicia Keys‘ very own VH1 Storytellers we’d almost forgotten the number of hits this woman has under her belt. Song after song the audience sung the lyrics only hoping to hit a note even remotely close to Alicia’s pitch. The wait to hear the story behind a handful of her classics is almost over. On Monday, November 12 at 11PM EST you’ll have the chance to witness her piano playing greatness on VH1 Storytellers: Alicia Keys. Read more…
Alicia Keys is a musical force to reckon with considering her magical fingers stroke white and black piano keys while she sings powerfully into the mic. Since her introduction to the world in 2001 with the chart topping hit “Fallin’” she’s continued to wow us with relatable music that will get spins decades from now. As we gear up for VH1 Storytellers: Alicia Keys, which airs Monday, November 12 at 11PM, we excitedly dug through her 11 year music history for her greatest career milestones. Read more…
Written six years ago, P!nk‘s “Dear Mr. President” spoke directly to former President George W. Bush. And now, it speaks directly to the history of politically charged anthems, one that spans years of candidates and every age of our country’s history. P!nk’s open letter to George W. never made it to the charts, as she decided it would never be a single because “it was too important to be perceived as a publicity stunt.”
Meanwhile, the lyrics are loud and clear on the singer’s feelings on our former President. Unabashedly, she calls him out for his reported contradictions:
What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You’ve come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.
If all goes as P!nk hopes, as she’ll be voting Obama today, she won’t be writing our President such a strongly-worded musical letter for (at least!) the next four years. To hear more of the story behind “Dear Mr. President”, check out P!nk’s full VH1 Storytellers on Tuesday, November 13th at 11PM EST.
You guys! Starting this Sunday night, November 12, we’ve got three consecutive nights of VH1 Storytellers amazingness coming your way. When we first found out that we’d have back-to-back-to-back nights of Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys and P!nk coming our way, the first thing that popped into our heads was a twist on the famous Brady Bunch theme. “Here’s a story of some lovely ladies.” And, well, we couldn’t resist…
Taylor Swift is not one who abides by the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” She’s sold over 20 million albums worldwide with her uniquely personal musical style that blends confessional lyrics with pop-tinged-yet-still-Nashville-friendly instrumentals, but seems committed to shaking things up on her fourth studio album, Red. The first single from the album, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (watch the video!), was a pretty stark departure from her past material in that it’s an unapologetic swing for the pop music fences. That collaboration with Swedish hit-making machines Max Martin (Katy Perry, Britney Spears) and Shellback (Maroon 5, Adam Lambert) resulted in her first career #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100, but Taylor’s willingness to experiment didn’t stop with Top 40 friendly beats.
Recently, VH1 News’ own Lauren Smith caught up with Taylor Swift here at VH1 headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and asked her about the risky decision to embrace dubstep on her song “I Knew You Were Trouble” on Red. (See video above.)
Taylor Swift‘s new album Red dropped on Monday, and since then we’ve been obsessed with figuring out who each song is about. After all, Taylor is known for writing deeply autobiographically tunes, some more obvious than others (“Dear John,” for example). We dissected “All Too Well” and concluded that it’s 100% about her ex Jake Gyllenhaal, and we’ve read all about her coded messages in the liner notes and assume “Begin Again” is totally about Conor Kennedy. But according to Taylor herself, we could be way off. When we interviewed her last week, she said that us fans are often totally wrong when it comes to the Swiftie Song Guessing Game.
“There are songs that people play the guessing game with. It’s kind of the king that happens when I put out a record. Either blogs or fans will make guesses because I write really detailed songs. I always have and I just never wanted to change that aspect of writing. Because the magnifying glass is wider.
And so there are a lot of songs that people think is about this dude, but it’s really not, it’s actually about this guy you have no idea I even dated. Or you’ll sit there and go ‘that song was inspired by three different situations with three different people.’ And you don’t ever want to go out there and be like, ‘this song is about this guy, first name, last name,’ because it’s just the one piece of the puzzled I have just locked in. I never really talk about who my songs are about.”
Hmmmmm. So are we way off in our assumptions above? What songs are about three different dudes? And most importantly: who has Taylor dated that we have no idea about? Any guesses?
Taylor Swift hugged me, and somehow I have lived to tell about it. And yes, being embraced by the woman with the most digital record sales of all-time IS like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street: exhilarating and emotional, a split second of life on the edge. The most magical moment of my life went down Monday afternoon, right before the singer took the stage in front of a room full of college students for her VH1 Storytellers performance. That too was awe-inspiring and uplifting, complete with lots of “I love yous!” from Taylor to the crowd as she strummed a sparkly guitar.
If it sounds like I’m gushing, I am. The woman completely won me over.
Alicia Keys is passionate about her music. Whether it’s her riveting VMA performance of “Girl On Fire” or her more stripped down version of the same song from VH1 Storytellers, this passion is what drives her on-stage persona. Almost in a shout, Alicia sings to the tune of the piano keys she is stroking. Her energy is highest when she wails, “This girl is on fire.” She sings each note like they all mean something to her. The back story behind the song, which is not shown in the clip, is that the title was inspired by a New York Times article she read about herself. The writer used “girl on fire” as a descriptor. From that moment Keys was determined to write a song of the same title. Read more…
During the last few seasons of VH1 Storytellers, we have been fortunate that some truly amazing artists have taken the stage and shared their stories with us. Earlier this year, Jason Mraz, Norah Jones and Grace Potter blew us all away by opening themselves up and giving us the emotional backstories to the songs in their respective catalogs. This November, though, the VH1 Storytellers franchise is taking things to the next level.
We’re excited to announce that the 17th season of VH1 Storytellers will feature appearances from bona fide music industry superstars Taylor Swift, P!nk, and Alicia Keys. Collectively, these three women have sold more than 80 million albums worldwide and have over 20 Grammys sitting on their respective shelves, and they have more more hits than we can count. We cannot possibly be more psyched to share these sessions with you in November, but before that, we have some even more exciting news: Take it away, Taylor!
In case you missed any of that, be sure to head to TaylorSwiftOnCampus.com to enter YOUR school. Who knows, maybe your vote will be the one that sends Taylor Swift to your school to record her episode of VH1 Storytellers!
And now, here’s the rest of the press release!
Jason Mraz teared up while talking about “I Won’t Give Up” during his VH1 Storytellers taping. The song speaks to the stagnant points in life and love. “I was really bummed out, and I hate sharing that, because I’ve had everything, I’ve had all my dreams come true,” he said. “And yet,” he continued, “One still experiences melancholy.” And so he set — or, he says it “was coming out whether I like it or not” — the feelings to song, and it has since become his mantra.
Though there were no tears last night on Conan, he performed still with all the same emotional charge. His long locks tucked underneath his trademark fedora, he played the Love Is A Four Letter Word single quietly at first, then building drum rolls and conviction to the song’s climax — “I had to learn what I got, and what I’m not and who I am” — before jamming it out until the end. We might make this our mantra, too.
Check out Mraz’s Conan performance above, and hear him talk about the song on VH1 Storytellers below.