One of our favorite You Oughta Know artists, The Civil Wars, have made it to the cover of Billboard magazine, and while they say you should never judge a book by it’s cover, you can expect the accompanying story inside the publication to be every bit as enticing as the formidable couple staring down the camera on the front. Here is a band who, as relative unknowns three odd years ago, are now one of the most talked about, and not to mention talented young bands catching the attention of everyone from Taylor Swift to Hollywood. The Civil Wars (Joy Williams and John Paul White) met in 2008, at a meeting that both parties tried to cancel (it can only be described as intensely fortuitous that neither succeeded); shortly after they began writing music and White asked Williams to start a band, which she says was, “Like being asked to prom.”
Everything since has been somewhat of a fairytale, with the band catching the ear of super star Taylor Swift. “We were doing a West Coast run and Taylor got in touch with us to say she was working with Burnett on The Hunger Games” says Williams. The Civil Wars then joined Taylor in the studio and, “We wrote [“Safe & Sound”] within two-and-a-half hours, got in the studio and recorded vocals and the temp version in another two hours. Less than a month later it was up on iTunes. We had no idea an afternoon would culminate in a thing like that. She had great ideas-everything was really easygoing with her. Walking into the studio with Taylor and T Bone felt like the most natural thing in the world.” The band also opened for Swift at the Grammys with a brief one minute performance that attracted the attention of critics, and was largely touted as one of the best performances of the night, leading to a 178% spike in sales for the band the following week. The Civil Wars’ manager, Nate Yetton says, “The Grammy stage and performing almost a trailer for the song was kind of the next natural step in the progression of the band, being exposed to a much broader audience.”
The band describe Swift’s support as “surreal,” but we imagine the blink-you’ll-miss-it rise to fame might be described the same way. Williams reflects on the bands success: “If John Paul and I had met at a different time I think we would’ve had an afternoon of a co-write and maybe missed something that could have been special… It set the tone surprisingly at an early stage. We said, ‘Let’s just do what we love and write music that we’re proud of and throw everything else to the wind.” White shares a similar sentiment, “I don’t want to paint us as so forward-thinking in this… There was a bit of naivety on our part. We didn’t have a label so we didn’t have anyone stopping us. It was just us following our noses.” The interview is intriguing, as are The Civil Wars; you can read more at Billboard.com.
If you thought the day of the boy band was dead and buried then you, gentle reader, have been severely misinformed. Rising from a third place position in UK The X Factor, British-Irish boy band One Direction signed with Sony subsidiary Syco Records and are now set to be the next big thing in pop. The boys have had huge chart success in the UK, and with their new single, “One Thing,” their catchy, fairy-floss sound is starting to infiltrate our airwaves. So here are five reasons why you must know One Direction right this instant:
1. “One Thing”
Their new single from their debut album, Up All Night, “One Thing,” is a cute-as-pie pop song about pop’s favorite subject, love. As the boys romp around London in the video, there’s an infectious cheekiness to the clip, and it’s definitely a tune you’ll find yourself replaying over and over in your head.
2. They’re going to be on Saturday Night Live
Now, we know how much an SNL appearance means after Lana Del Rey’s controversial appearance earlier this year, so this is a pretty big deal for One Direction, as in, make or break. We’re rooting for “make,” and think it’s pretty cool that the boys have been booked for the iconic show so early in their career. The episode airs on April 7th, 2012.
Billboard have released their Music’s Top 40 Money Makers list based on 2011’s earnings. And the biggest music earner of the past year is none other than country babe Taylor Swift, who made a whopping $35.7 million. Her financial success can largely be attributed to her smash hit album Speak Now and subsequent tour, which made $88.5 million in the US alone, $29.8 million of which went into Taylor’s pocket. Billboard also named Taylor Woman Of The Year in 2011 after she racked up 1.8 million album sales and 7.8 million digital single sales from Speak Now. Swift wrote 14 songs from the album, royalties from which contributing in no small way to her earning capacity.
Billboard states that, “As the concert business rebounded in 2011, touring remained the biggest source of income for the top earners in the U.S. music business… But not all of the 40 artists on the Money Makers list relied heavily, if at all, on touring income.” Indeed, there seems to be little to no consistency in tours as related to earning capacity (some top earners toured, others didn’t), nor does there seem to be much of a correlation between chart success and earning, as Adele, who still dominates the charts, came in at number 10 (where we would have expected her at number one given her phenomenal, history making sales), and Katy Perry, who broke records with five number ones from the same album, came in at 14. Surprisingly, Beyoncé and Jay-Z don’t even make the Top 40 — shocking because in 2011 we came to think of Bey as one of the most powerful, and therefore lucrative, personalities in music. Check out the top 10 music earners after the jump, and the full list at Billboard.com.
It looks like Brandon Flowers has ticked off our February Posted band, The Fray. Flowers caught the attention of The Fray front man Isaac Slade when he made some derogatory comments at a concert, but Slade seemed to take it in good humor, saying, “When we started making the album, I saw footage on YouTube of Brandon getting mad at a Killers crowd who were a little sedate. Brandon was yelling, ‘Come on, stand up and dance. This isn’t a f**king Fray show’… All I could do was laugh because that’s true — we do have a very thoughtful, sensitive crowd who don’t get to dance much. Still, I’ll pay Brandon back for picking on our fans. Next time I see him I’ll have to punch him in the mouth.” We’re guessing that Slade’s threat of violence is a little bit tongue-in-cheek, as we can’t imagine him raising a hand in anger to anyone. But good on him for sticking up for his fans — it’s nice to feel important!
What Happens When A Mashup Is Better Than The Sum Of Its Parts?
The answer is this: “Every Tear Drop Has A Super Bass”. Featuring Sean Paul, Coldplay, Nicki Minaj, and Childish Gambino this mashup is better than any of the songs included. So good in fact, we think the mash up should be a song; any chance the artists involved would be interested in a collaboration? [Buzz Feed]
The Notorious L.D.R.
Speaking of mashups, what do you get when you cross Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die with The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die? You get Born Ready To Die, that’s what! [Mixstream]
“Rodney King was the confirmation of everything we have been rapping about since the early 70s,” KRS-One explains in Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots, one of two VH1 Rock Doc features that will debut next week at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. Narrated by Snoop Dogg and featuring new interviews with Nas, Boyz N The Hood director John Singleton and more, as well as rare archival footage of the likes of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, the film takes a look back at the riots that went down in South Central Los Angeles back in 1992 in the wake of the acquittal of four police officers accused of beating Rodney King. The documentary will examine the relationship between the violence manifested on the streets and the rage expressed in hip-hop music, and will premiere on Wednesday, March 14th at 10 p.m. CT.
For those of you who won’t be down in Austin next week, you’ll be able to catch Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots on VH1 on May 1, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Today marks the 15th anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G‘s assassination, and if you don’t know, well, now you know. Biggie’s legacy has been lasting — from thaticonic dance scene in 10 Things I Hate About You featuring “Hypnotize”, to Rita Ora’s recent sample of “Party & Bullsh*t” in her new track of the same name, after 15 years, Biggie continues to be both pervasive and influential. Biggie, born Christopher George Latore Wallace, is an icon of hip hop, and a pioneer of East Coast rap, drawing attention to artists from New York at a time when West Coast rap was generally favored in the mainstream. He was murdered exactly 15 years ago today on March 9, 1997, and his killer is yet to be found. His posthumously released and poignantly titled album Life After Death, was released 15 days later to critical acclaim, reaching the pinnacle of number one on the US charts, proving that the legend of an artist is all the life that is needed to sustain their vision, even after they are passed.
If you’re not already familiar with French Montana, you will be soon: the Moroccan-born, Bronx-repping rapper recently recruited one of your favorite VH1 stars for his next music video, which will shoot next week in New York City. Having not yet been introduced in person, Mob Wives’ star Drita D’avanzo has been tweeting back and forth with Montana for about a week, expressing her excitement to be involved in bringing the visual for his song “Everything’s A Go” to life, a potential single that she’s already partial to.
And why wouldn’t Drita be excited? After being courted by Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group and Kanye West’s GOOD Music imprint, French Montana chose to ride out with Diddy and the good folks at Bad Boy Records/Interscope, making his already growing street buzz even more audible. Earlier this week, we caught up with the recently signed “Coke Boy” rapper to find out how this incredible collaboration came to fruition.
We absolutely loved having The Fray as our February Posted artist, and each week we hung out impatiently waiting for their intimate blog posts. Just when we thought our candid glimpse into the life of The Fray was over, the boys threw us yet another bone — this time in the form of a behind the scenes sneak peek at their new video for “Run For Your Life.” Filmed in the California desert, the boys took some time out to talk to us about the inspiration for the video. “Conceptually I love the idea of survivors guilt it’s an insidious black hole that people fall in,” says front man Isaac Slade. Guitarist Joe King adds, “Just lyrically alone it’s not a fluff song, it’s not about the club… it’s a serious song.” Serious indeed, according to Ben Wysocki who explains, “The video is a collection of people from different places in life deciding to use everything in them, emotionally, physically, to run… a beautiful portrayal of freedom and liberation.” Now we’re excited to see the full video — watch this space, because the full clip is due for release next week!
Nicki Minaj is really milking the slow burn for all it’s worth. With the release date of her new album being pushed back from its originally intended Valentine’s Day release, Nicki is keeping us interested with a succession of announcements related to the highly anticipated release. The new release date has been touted as April 3rd, and in the meantime, Nicki’s given us some revealing album art as a teaser. Here’s the art for Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded:
An explosion of neon color, we’re thinking Nicki is reminiscent of Ke$ha‘s chaotic, otherworldly party aesthetic. In the same theme is the cover for the Deluxe Edition, which is ambiguously NSFW (in that we’re not sure if it really is or not), but you can check that out after the jump just to be on the safe side. What do you think of the album art? Let us know in the comments section!