With live renditions of “Angels” and “The Climb” catapulting him to a second-place finish on The X Factor UK, you may not have pegged Olly Murs as a hip-hop fan. “I grew up listening to a lot of rappers and styles of music like Dr. Dre–I’ve got the Chronic, 2001 albums–I’ve got 50 Cent stuff, I’ve got Eminem stuff,” says the big-band enthusiast, proving our February You Oughta Know artist’s own musical tastes are as eclectic as his assortment of vests and bowler hats.
You Oughta Know
The wrath of Elton John is scaring Ed Sheeran into having bad dreams. There’s a lot of pressure for the You Oughta Know alum to nail Sunday’s Grammy performance with the legendary Brit. And nobody wants to be called a ” f****ing fairground stripper” by EJ so Ed has no choice but to hit a home run. Read more…
Now that the BeyBowl is safely in the rearview mirror, we now turn our attention towards the 2013 Grammys, which will be airing live from Los Angeles this Sunday night, February 10. Just today, we learned that our You Oughta Know alumnus Bruno Mars is set to perform alongside Sting (which makes PERFECT sense when you consider that “Locked Out Of Heaven” sounds exactly like an old Police song), which is yet another in a long line of performances that we’re looking forward to on Sunday. And while we’re on the topic of You Oughta Know artists…
Our You Oughta Know alumni scored an impressive 17 nominations when the 2013 Grammy nominations were announced back in December, including four nominations in the big four categories. Our February 2012 YOK artist Gotye picked up a nomination for Record Of The Year for his song “Somebody I Used To Know,” a song that he performed for a standing room only crowd in our 20th floor lobby earlier this year; our May 2012 You Oughta Know artist Ed Sheeran scored a nomination for Song Of The Year for his haunting ballad “The A Team”; our July pick, The Lumineers, were nominated for Best New Artist; and our YOK friends from way back in 2010, Mumford & Sons, picked up a nod in the Album Of The Year category for their massive new LP, Babel.
Here’s a complete list of the 2013 Grammy awards that our awesome YOK alums are nominated for this weekend:
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.
As we go to press tonight, the future of The Civil Wars is still very much up in the air. Back in November, the Grammy winning duo and You Oughta Know alumni abruptly canceled their planned slate of tour dates citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” However, December brought a shimmer of good news when the band’s manager posted a photo to Instagram of the band in the studio working on new material. Our fingers and toes are beginning to cramp after having them crossed for the last few months in hopes that we haven’t heard the last of John Paul White and Joy Williams, and today brought The Civil Wars faithful some more good news.
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!).
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.