Up, up and away! Tomorrow we ship off to Miami for the SCOPE International Contemporary Art Show where we will celebrate a crop of fledgling visual artists who we think You Oughta Know (learn more about them here), and we are very excited to be bringing Metric, our You Oughta Know musical artist for December, with us to play the opening party!
When we caught up with the group last month, Metric lead singer Emily Haines assured us that “it will be great,” offering that “they have had too much fun there in the past” as evidence of the good art, music and beach town fun sure to come. “Different film and art inspiration come to us when we’re making music and sort of keep us going throughout the process,” she explains, citing an Italian radical architecture school as a particular inspiration and stop she’ll certainly be making when she’s down there. The boys in the band voiced excitement for late night beach trips, and we’ll offer that we are very excited to hear them perform some of the new stuff of Synthetica, like “Youth Without Youth,” as well as an oldie/goodie, like “Gimme Sympathy,” or two!
Keep up with our coverage at @VH1Music; and more information on SCOPE events, head over here.
You may recognize Metric‘s dynamo frontwoman Emily Haines‘s voice from Broken Social Scene‘s breathy classic “Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl” (which surely was an anthem to us when we were a seventeen), or from that lovely scene at the end of Eclipse wherein Bella and Edward make out in a field of flowers. Or perhaps you were turned onto them by Lou Reed, a notoriously hard-headed legend who shows up at the end of Metric’s fifth studio album Synthetica because he’s got a soft spot for Haines. We do too, and that’s why we are celebrating the prolific indie-rockers as our You Oughta Know artist for the whole month of December. And so for those just joining us and Reed in the Metric fan club, here are five things we think you really oughta know:
It’s no real secret that Rihanna doesn’t write her own music, but as Leona Lewismight tell you, just because she can make a song famous does not necessarily mean she always does it best. And so when we first heard “Diamonds,” we noted that Rihanna seemed to be mimicking the song’s author Sia‘s enunciation and vocal quality at times. Sia sounded good on Rihanna, but the eerie verisimilitude got us wondering — if Rihanna’s is this good, just how great could the former You Oughta Know Artist‘s take be?
Sia performed the song at the Norwegian-American Achievement Awards ceremony a few weeks back and — to nobody’s great surprise — it turns out Sia’s version is really, really, very good. Stripped of the glimmering production and 808 thump, her go is interestingly haunted and maybe a bit mournful where Rihanna’s is hopeful and inspiring. Sia’s got a much more expansive vocal range and she was able to open new corners of the her song that’s since become Rihanna’s hit. And because it’s not duplicitous or better but just different, we now have two “Diamonds” to enjoy.
We think that the world is a better place for having both these “Diamonds” out there for out listening pleasure, but what say you: Do you think Sia should have kept “Diamonds” for herself? Or is it better suited for someone so #unapologetic as Rihanna?
We’re ushering in the winter with some blues from our November You Oughta Know artist, Gary Clark Jr. The sweet sounds of his mellow voice from his You Oughta Know live session and Big Morning Buzz Live performance have seriously assisted in fighting the blues the cold weather brings about. But “Ain’t Messin ‘Round” won’t leave you with feelings of melancholy. In fact, the speedy guitar riffs are likely to inspire you to grab a dance partner and allow the two-stepping and swing to ensue. And you’ll certainly feel uber confident with lyrics like, “I don’t believe in competition/Ain’t nobody else like me around.” So, “play cool” as you lose yourself in the intoxicating guitar strings.
You can download an MP3 of this incredible Gary Clark Jr. performance of “Ain’t Messin’ Round” here on VH1 Tuner for free! But be quick — the link expires at midnight on Monday, December 3 and you don’t want to miss out.
Gary Clark Jr – “Ain’t Messin’ Round” (MP3) (UPDATE: Sorry, this link expired!) Read more…
Their month may be passed, but we just can’t quit VH1 You Oughta Know artist Delta Rae and this last clip from their You Oughta Know Live session has just been freed from the vault and is way to good not to share. After a rousing run of their own tracks — “Morning Comes,”“Bottom Of The River,” and “If I Loved You,” – they broke out this cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s “The Chain,” so stormy and impassioned that the original sounds almost like a lullaby by comparison.
It’s definitely Gary Clark Jr.’s time to shine. Our November You Oughta Know artist is the 28-year-old guitarist you’d find on stage singing the blues peppered with a bit of rock, a bit of R&B and a touch of country. His major label release Blak and Blu has been praised for its showcase of his “well-rounded tool kit.” Now we get to show you a behind-the-scenes look of Gary’s musical style.
Our fantastic photographer Jennifer Marigliano spent the day with Gary Clark Jr. trekking around New York City before the blues singer prepped for and rocked his You Oughta Know live session. Gary’s a no fuss kind of guy. It’s through his guitar all of his energy flows like a river. Read more…
Gary Clark Jr. may be the future of blues. His sound stretches widely covering various genres so squeezing him into the compacted box of one genre isn’t fair, but it’s clear blues is in his soul. This month’s YOK artist has been making music for years although he’s fairly new to the mainstream eye. His talent supersedes his young 28 years enough for an invitation to play at the White House. On February 21, GCJ played at the “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” alongside legends like B.B.King, Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger. And sharing a joke with the president turned this into a dream gig of a lifetime for the guitar player and singer. Read more…
A one man show. All our newest You Oughta Know artist, Gary Clark Jr., needs is his guitar. During his live set for VH1, GCJ performs “Things Are Changin’” on a stool with one mic, one guitar. There’s no band or gimmicks, just Gary. Add this to the five reasons You Oughta Know Gary. Read more…
VH1 has partnered with our friends at FIAT to present a twist on our You Oughta Know franchise. Usually, we use the You Oughta Know program to introduce you to musical artists on the rise, but since we’re excited to be attending the SCOPE International Contemporary Art Show in Miami next month, we’d like to introduce you to a few visual artists who we think You Oughta Know, too.
Meet Patrick Martinez, an artist whose work in the neon medium has earned him a highly coveted slot at this year’s SCOPE Art Show. As he explained to us, his work is heavily inspired by music. “I’ve been listening to rap music since I was a teenager, so [the musical influence] has always kind of been there. I started using it in my work a few years ago. If the lyric or phrase kind of resonates with me, it speaks to people and the current events that are going on, I find the opportunity to link the two.”
Allow us to introduce you to the guy Entertainment Weekly was referring to when the magazine wrote, “Every generation has its chosen one and right now, this is Clark’s time.” His name is Gary Clark Jr. You’ll soon understand why he’s November’s You Oughta Know artist. Labeling him as a soul mixed with jazz mixed with blues artist is the obvious choice. Truth is, the 28-year-old guitarist and singer reaches across the aisle touching the crevices of rock, country, R&B and hip-hop. The chill soul crooner grew up in Austin, TX where he first fondled with a guitar at the age of 12. He honed his craft, gaining local attention by playing in small pubs in his hometown. His journey has brought him far from the handful of fans he once played for. Blak and Blu, his first major label project with Warner Bros. debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 charts. And its all an upward climb from there. You oughta know Gary Clark Jr. for several reasons, but let’s start with five.
1. Already compared to the greatest Jimi Hendrix is the greatest guitarist of all time. Not just any artist can be mentioned in the same breath as him. Yet, Gary Clark Jr. has already been compared to the legend. His performance at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival blew us away with his ease, the comfort, the mastery over his cherry red Epiphone Casino guitar (which he named Cassie, by the way). He makes playing the guitar look as natural as breathing. Living up to the G.O.A.T. guitarist’s comparisons is certainly a daunting task. Something tells us GCJ has it in the bag.
2. Come on homie we major…as in ESPN major
It’s not every day ESPN calls to ask if they can feature an artist’s music for its three-day NFL draft telecast. GCJ along with one of hip-hop’s greatest emcees, Nas, received those calls. In April GCJ’s “Bright Lights,” with an added verse from Nas, was one of the upbeat bluesy tracks played during the channel’s commercial break package. “Bright lights, big city going to my head” was the perfect backdrop for a football themed commercial.
3. Paint the White House Blak and Blu
The ultimate swerve of the year is when you can (truthfully) say, “I’ve played for the President and First Lady, yo!” GCJ probably didn’t use those exact words, but he definitely performed at the White House for the Red, White and Blues event for Mr. and Mrs. Obama. Alongside legends like B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck he fit right in. His email signature should include: “I played at the White House. ‘Nough said.”
4. He “Ain’t Messin ‘Round” with showing you how to do this, son
GCJ told us he did “Ain’t Messin ‘Round” because no one would expect a fast, uptempo song from a blues artist. The country-rock mix is a testament to his versatility as an artist. It’s light, it’s fun. Directed by Noble Jones, the video has the same party-like-a-rockstar/soul-singer vibe. Not to mention his sexy cherry red guitar makes a cameo. The lead single sounds like something the popular doo-wop groups of the ’50s and ’60s would make, only with a modern twist. It glides through your eardrums as your body dances on cue. Just stop messin’ ’round and let loose to this song. You know you want to.
5. Never too big to be checked by mama
How does GCJ stay grounded with all the buzz surrounding him as this burgeoning artist? “My mom still calls me and keeps me in check,” he tells us in an interview (more from that soon). He’ll never be so huge of a star that his mom won’t give him a reality check that brings him back down to earth. “And then if she feels I’m tripping she’ll tell me that she’ll call my grandma.” The power of a “tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear” mom and grandma will keep this talented musician humble.
Stay tuned for more exclusive interviews and live performances from our newest YOK artist. Welcome to the family, Gary!