If you’re not familiar with Olly Murs from his charismatic performances on The X Factor UK or genre-bending tracks with the likes of Flo Rida and Chiddy Bang currently climbing the charts, it’s time to get acquainted. Our You Oughta Know artist for the month of February is prepping for a full-blown U.S. takeover in 2013, which began last year when he opened for fellow U.K. act One Direction. Having honed his craft in front of both screaming girls and Simon Cowell, Olly’s drawing serious crowds in his own right thanks to his massive stage presence, throwback sound, and undeniable charm. He’s also a good enough sport to subject himself to our rounds of questioning and photo shoot requests.
We were lucky enough to spend the day with the up-and-comer here in New York City, before his sold-out gig at Irving Plaza. VH1′s fearless photographer Lauren Weissler was on hand to capture every moment, from makeup touch-ups to pre-show rituals, and we’ve got all the special stuff down below, ready for your enjoyment.
Sadly, the answer to that question is “No.” Or, if you’re an optimist, “Not yet!” Country singer Gary Allan stormed the album charts at No. 1 this week, while You Oughta Know alumni the Lumineers are clapping and stomping right behind him at No. 2. Here’s a look at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales figures:
“HO HEY,” LET’S GO: The self-titled debut album from folky jangle-pop upstarts the Lumineers hits No. 2 on this week’s chart, a new high for the Denver trio. The sons of Mumford‘s performance on the Jan. 19 SNL certainly didn’t hurt, nor did “Ho Hey”’s prominence in all those Silver Linings Playbook TV ads. The band is up for Best New Artist at next month’s Grammy Awards, and they also landed a prime slot on this year’s Coachella bill. Meanwhile, “Ho Hey” has now crossed the 3 million sales mark, after selling 141,000 digital copies this week (good for #3 on the singles chart). No matter how big they get, we’ll always remember when they came by our office last summer for a You Oughta Know Live set.
SINK “FRIDAY”: While the beef between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj continues to be this year’s most propulsive American Idol narrative, it hasn’t done anything for Ms. Minaj’s sales. Her second album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded freefalls 29 spots on this week’s chart to No. 115, after falling seven spots the week prior. The set has sold 805,000 copies to date, which is certainly nothing to scoff at, but hearing Nicki bicker with Mimi hasn’t exactly sent new fans running to the stores to pick up her album. Neither Carey nor auxiliary judge Keith Urban —we keep forgetting he’s even on the show!— have current products they’re pushing, so their Idol sales impact has yet to be felt.
You Oughta Know artists continue to make us proud. Last year’s featured act, Walk The Moon, stopped by VH1 HQ on this snowy Monday morning to perform “Tightrope” on the latest edition of Big Morning Buzz Live. Today’s visit marks their third trip to our very own morning show, and the group was more than willing to accept their newly-minted record with a spirited rendition of their title track and good humored enough to put up with questioning about a full-length LP. We’re sorry to nag, boys, but we just can’t wait for more music.
We’re quite fond of our January You Oughta Know artist, and it appears that the feeling is mutual. After Allen Stone included his visit to VH1 headquarters in the official video for current single “Sleep”–we’re blushing!–we’re more than tickled to be pulling back the curtain on his exclusive acoustic performance from within the cozy walls of YOK Live.
Today marks the release of The Civil Wars: Unplugged On VH1, a 7-song album that was recorded last spring when the band performed a knockout VH1 Unplugged set (while, we might add, Joy was pregnant). For the low low price of just five American dollars and 99 American cents, you can get your hands on a copy of the video AND audio of this truly memorable entry in the famed Unplugged canon. In addition to originals like “Barton Hollow” and “I’ve Got This Friend,” the set includes remarkable covers of Portishead‘s “Sour Times” and Michael Jackson‘s “Billie Jean” (the latter of which did not air in the original special!). Read more…
The weather may be dreary, but things are heating up here at VH1, thanks to the voice of January’s You Oughta Know artist, Allen Stone. The deeply soulful singer-songwriter brings a unique spin to everything from accessories to his blonde-haired, blue-eyed stamp on the rhythm & blues, capitalizing on the crave for funky, retro sound that has been so kind to acts like Amy Winehouse, Adele and Bruno Mars in recent years.
Having honed his performance skills before church pews in small town Washington, Stone has experience winning over crowds and is comfortable taking time to preach to the unconverted. Inspired by—and often compared to—Stevie Wonder, now he’s giving the likes of Miguel and JT a run for their money in the panty-dropping department thanks to his ability to blissfully distract us from everyday stresses with a rich timbre. His is also a warm and inviting sound that welcomes us in a cozy embrace, and encourages to stay put all winter long.
Ace VH1 photographer Lauren Weissler followed Stone throughout his whirlwind day here in New York City just before the holidays, which included which included a festive stop by Big Morning Buzz Live and some quality catch-up time with his cell phone. Check it out below.
This month we will shine the You Oughta Know spotlight on Allen Stone, an emergent soul singer-songwriter from Washington state who has forgone sleep in an effort to earn your attention. Or at least so he sings in “Sleep,” and given his recent grind — complete with stops at Leno and VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live, as well as that new music video he cut — we’re inclined to believe him.
This morning Stone dropped by The Ellen Show for a mid-morning howling of his aforementioned hustlers anthem. In her introduction, Ellen accurately likened him to Stevie Wonder and to Amy Winehouse, and we might add that he showed up in a Whitney Houston tee that looked rather well loved, which may explain some of his gospel tendencies. There weren’t any stars up in the early hour, but that didn’t seem to stop him from aiming high with his performance. And as always, he nailed it.
The most-cute moment came at the end of what we can only assume was a rousing set (the only sort Delta Rae know how to play, as far as we’re concerned). Elizabeth Hopkins and Brittany Hölljes hopped into the crowd and pulled Ian Höllje‘s girlfriend of seven-years onto the stage, Ian serenaded her with a verse before getting down on one knee — and this is where she, the band and the entire audience really lost it — to propose. Obvs she said yes, and then there was a lot of grinning, some more singing and a very happy couple caught kissing:
Last month The Civil Wars left their growing cadre of fans brokenhearted when they cut their North American tour short over “internal discord and irreconcilable difference of ambition.” However, we were touched by their generous return policy, and we were able to take solace in the fact that the announcement didn’t disqualify new Civil Wars music in the future. And so it seems a little time off the road was all it took to reconcile ambitions, because as Rolling Stone points out, the duo seem to be back at work on new music!
It’s not exactly an official announcement or anything, but last night Joy Williams let slip during a Twitter interview with Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy that she was in the studio and — better yet! — listening to new Civil Wars songs. Then later on in the evening, Williams’ husband and the band’s manager, Nate Yetton, posted a photo of a studio (above) with the caption that read “Today.” Good thing that Mayan Apocalypse was a bust, because 2013 is shaping up quite nicely.
Last night’s momentous date made for an equally momentous musical event: The Big & Best of 2012. The all-live, all-fun event collected the best music from the year, having some of our favorites perform in honor of the special date. 12/12/12 is a once in a lifetime date and The Big & Best of 2012 was a once in a lifetime event. Check out the top five performances from yesterday, and be sure to watch it all in its entirety over at MTV.
1. With 5(!) Grammy nominations this year, Miguel blowing up. Here’s “The Thrill” from his album, Kaleidescope Dream.