When I first met Ryan O’Neal, who performs under the monniker Sleeping At Last, on the red carpet of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, I quite literally squealed in his face. His song “Turning Page” had landed a spot on the most exclusive soundtrack in town and was featured in the movie’s most crucial scenes. (The wedding and the sex scenes, duh.) “Oh my god, your song is ah-ma-zing.” I gushed, and he offered up a very gracious and humble reply. I spoke the truth; Twitter was filled with fans detailing the many ways in which “Turning Page” moved them to tears.
I sat down with O’Neal last month at my local Coffee Bean in Los Angeles, where we discussed what comes next after Twilight mania, his big break meeting Billy Corgan as a teen, and touring with songbird Christini Perri. He also refused to let me pay for our coffee — because in addition to being a talented musician, the dude’s also a gentleman. Enjoy our interview below (and his latest video for the song “Emphasis” above).
VH1: Let’s start where we left off – at the Breaking Dawn premiere. Did being featured on the soundtrack change the trajectory of your career? RO: You know it fit really well with what I was doing, so it didn’t really change the direction as much as it changed the audience. That was a really special thing. The Twilight fans are so sweet and so supportive. So, that’s been one of the biggest things. They’ve been so sweet and so nice about some of my other music as well, not just that song, which has been a really great thing. So I have this upcoming tour coming up, and they’ve been really sweet and supportive about that. I do feel like I’m a little bit a part of their Twilight world, which means a lot.
When G-Dep’s“Special Delivery” came on, no matter where you were, getting hype was the only logical thing to do. That was in ’01, and we haven’t heard much from the former Bad Boy Records rapper since. Trevell “G-Dep” Coleman was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a murder he committed 16 or 17 years ago (he couldn’t really recall when). Last year he turned himself in cold turkey saying he had to make it right with God, according to Global Grind. G-Dep told cops he shot a man three times in a robbery when he was 18 or 19. With his confession on the table, the jury convicted him as guilty.
In a strange turn of events, GQ editor Jim Nelson was on the jury that found G-Dep guilty. In his monthly “Letter from the Editor” for the June 2012 issue, Nelson recalls his feelings about being on the jury that sent a once well known rapper to prison. He writes:
Once the D.A. matched him to the crime, we the jurors wrestled with a mess of things, but couldn’t avoid the evidence. I sometimes wondered if I was fit to judge this man who was capable of acts of public violence and personal honor I couldn’t even imagine having to wrestle with. And I’d think: Hasn’t this man suffered enough? He’s done twenty years in his head already. That’s a slower, more infernal form of justice, the interior kind, isn’t it?
And yeah, tell that to the guy he killed.
We found him guilty, because he was, and no one’s excusing anything. (After the trial, he talked to MTV and, sounding like a man unburdened, thanked “everybody that was involved in the case.”) Still, it’s a heavy feeling: I helped put him away, and yet when I think of someone who did his duty, I think of Trevell Coleman.
Wow. Everything about this story is tough no matter how you slice it. We’re not sure it’s appropriate to give G-Dep props for turning himself in since he did murder someone. But the growth apparent by that decision is at least notable. Kudos to Nelson for his transparency. Unfortunately, no one really wins in the end.
Many of our favorite musicians were all about glitz and glam at last night’s annual Met Gala in New York City. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, hosted by Vogue, is a night celebrating the opening of the museum’s fashion exhibit. Celebrity, fashion, couture, oh my! Think of the Oscars mixed with NYC Fashion Week and you have the visual of the red carpet at the Met Gala.
Artists from Beyoncé to Mick Jagger to Lana Del Rey to Kanye West turned heads on the red carpet with their stunning attire. It’s totally cool to see your favorite musicians taking a break from their walk-around-the-streets-of-LA gear and see them dolled up in Valentino and Rachel Zoe and Givenchy. Beyoncé, in particular, was a show stopper for the night in her sheer Givenchy gown. Solange was absolutely stunning in an all yellow Rachel Roy dress. Justin Timberlake kept it classic with an all black tux. Take a peek at some of our favorite musicians that put the “S” in stunning.
Nicki Minaj was serious in her 2010 MTV special “My Time Now” when she said she wanted to be the first female rapper to build an empire. Let’s not forget Queen Latifah already did that, but we marvel in seeing Minaj turning her dream into reality. Her latest endeavor? Glad you asked. This larger than life star landed a global advertising campaign for Pepsi. Scoring big, Minaj isn’t just featured in the commercial — a remixed version of “Moment for Life,” from her debut album Pink Friday , is the spot’s soundtrack.
Everything about the Pepsi promo is fun, light, colorful and conceptual. Various memorable moments are captured and literally frozen in time. Viewer can follow a vibrant couple from the beach to a runway to a concert, and yes, watch them pop open a can of Pepsi at every stop they make. At the end, Minaj is frozen in place sporting her signature long pink wig and in an instant she becomes alive performing for a crowd of thousands, but only for a few seconds (if you happen to have 3-D glasses lying around, you can enjoy this spot in an extra dimension!). Over the course of the last few years, Minaj and all her alter egos accelerated from a mixtape unknown to worldwide rapper. Two chart topping albums, a custom made M.A.C. lipgloss line and a global Pepsi ad later, that mogul thing may not be too far in the wind.
It’s been an incredibly sad 72 hours or so since we learned of the death of The Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch, who lost his courageous, three-year battle with cancer at the age of 47. As a means of helping everyone (including ourselves) through the grieving process, we put together this compilation of five moments from MCA’s life that aren’t necessarily the things that you would automatically remember when thinking of him, but moments that are nonetheless essential to capturing who he was as an individual.
1) Before The Beastie Boys Got Famous (1983)
Years before they got signed to Def Jam and became household names with the release of Licensed To Ill, Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz and Kate Schellenbach (later of Luscious Jackson) were a noisy punk outfit. (That’s MCA slappin’ da bass.)
It has been more than 10 years since No Doubt released Rock Steady, their 2001 album that won them two Grammy awards. In the years since that album’s release, Gwen Stefani released two solo records, but as a unit, the group has undergone a series of struggles. Many have wondered if the group was stuck in a similar mindset as Dr. Dre, another artist who has been artistically crippled by (largely self-imposed) creative expectations. However, over the weekend, the band took to YouTube to announce that their comeback record will be released on September 25th (or September 26th).
Stefani, of course, is one of the most influential female figures to emerge from the world of music in the last twenty years. That said, it remains to be seen whether “the kids” will still care about the band after a decade-plus of virtual inactivity. No Doubt has always been known for being forward-thinking, sonically speaking, when it comes to the production of their tracks, but now that we’re in the era where clubby, Eurodance beats rule the airwaves, will there still be room on the airwaves for the ska-meets-dancehall-meets-pop sound that the band pioneered in the 90s? Guess we’ll have to wait until September 25 (or 26!) to find out*.
Leave it to Kanye West to unexpectedly release a video to “Lost in the World” from his multi-platinum album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which was released in November of 2010. It’s not that we’d forgotten about the album, as it is an undeniable masterpiece. But lately we’ve been preoccupied with his new shocking (not really) relationship with Kim Kardashian, and the G.O.O.D. Music cuts “Mercy,” “I Don’t Like” and “Way Too Cold.” However, we’re totally okay with him revisiting his pre-Watch The Throne project, and on this video, he teamed up with with fashion filmmaker Ruth Hogben to create a black and white aesthetic experience, because calling it a music video would be an understatement.
Remember how we were ecstatically anticipating a new solo album from Andre 3000, or even another Outkast album? Well, there doesn’t seem to be any new albums on the horizon for Three Stacks, but IFTN.com reports the Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik rapper is set to star as the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix in an upcoming biopic about the late musician.
According to reports, All Is By My Side will focus on Hendrix’s time in England from 1966 through 1967. It was during that time Hendrix was discovered in a New York night club by the girlfriend of Rolling Stones‘ guitarist Keith Richards. Hendrix then traveled to London, recorded his debut album Are You Experienced and, well, the rest is history. Read more…
This week on That Metal Show, TMS alum Frank Hannon (Tesla) returned to shred as our guest musician. Joining the boys on set were Michael Schenker, of UFO and MSG fame (and, in case you didn’t know, Eddie Trunk’s idol), and Mike McCready (Pearl Jam). Since Schenker has been playing music for the last 40 years, we thought we would dedicate this week’s TMS TOP 5 to him, and come up with a list of The Top 5 Albums that Michael Schenker has played on. Here it is, this week’s THAT METAL DEBATE.
Eddie, Don, and Jim each listed UFO’s Strangers In The Night on their Top 5 lists, so it was unanimous when deciding it was worthy of a Top 5 position. Though deciding how far up on the list is a different discussion as Eddie argued that the Scorpions Lonesome Crow wasn’t Schenker’s best album due to him only being 17 years old when it was recorded. As much we all love that album by the Scorpions, can you say that it is Schenker’s best work? What about UFO’s Obsession or Force it? With Schenker making music for over 40 years it’s a tough list to put together. After much debate and Eddie physically taking Lonesome Crow off the list (and throwing it into the crowd), the guys finally decided on their Top 5 Michael Schenker albums.
VH1′s latest You Oughta Know artist is 21-year-old Ed Sheeran, a U.K. based troubadour whose appreciation of musical theory and craft is light years beyond most artists his age. He’s a real throwback to singer-songwriters of yore, the kind of artist who crafts highly detailed and personal stories, as well as someone appreciates those musicians that paved the way for people like him to be successful many, many years before he was even born.
Take, for example, his cover of Nina Simone‘s “Feeling Good.” The song has undergone a bit of a rebirth of late, thanks to being sampled by Jay-Z and Kanye West on the RZA-produced Watch The Throne track “New Day.” Sheeran is able to successfully channel the raw emotion of Simone original, utilizing nothing but his soulful voice and trusty acoustic guitar. It showcases his vocal range in a way that we had not really witnessed before, and is easily one of our all-time favorite You Oughta Know Live performances.
We paired this incredible cover with a series of incredible photographs by VH1′s own Michele Crowe, who trailed Ed for an entire day here in New York a few weeks back to produce the latest addition in our long-running Music Seen series. Enjoy!