On Sunday, Rihanna closed the festival with a spectacular set of her own. On an Egyptian-themed stage and in cut-off fishnets and a leather jacket, RiRi surprised the crowd by bringing back Jay – in a black leather Brooklyn Nets cap — out for three songs at the end of her set. They did a reprise of “Run This Town,” and then gave “Talk That Talk” its live debut, before launching into their now-classic hit “Umbrella.” This run of songs, spanning Jay-Z’s 2009 Blueprint 3 to Rihanna’s current Talk that Talk to 2007′s Good Girl Gone Bad really goes to show just how deep that Barbadian star’s catalog goes at this point. “The Roc is in the building, and we love you so damn much,” she said, thanking the umbrella-baring audience. After delivering his verse, Jay slipped off and Rihanna sent fans home with “We Found Love” and a fireworks show. It’s safe to say, not Roc fan left disappointed.
We’re not gonna lie, everyone here at VH1 is pretty smitten with Elle King. So much so that from the moment our Creative Music Integration (CMI) team heard this 23 year-old’s raw, soulful-beyond-her-years voice on “Playing For Keeps,” they knew that it would make the perfect theme song for Mob Wives: Chicago. Elle came by our offices last week to celebrate the release of her brand new, eponymous EP, and our own Lauren Weissler spent the day trailing Elle and taking these gorgeous photographs —some of which come with commentary from Elle herself!— for the latest entry in our ongoing Music Seen series.
“Usually at 7 am my make up is the same from the night before. I was also really excited that for the first time I got to look and dress how I wanted and really be myself.”
When our June You Oughta Know artist Emeli Sandé isn’t making people cry from the beauty of her voice and lyrics, her cool, mellow demeanor makes you feel at ease. On the day she stopped by VH1 Headquarters she was spunky and full of energy. Her smile was radiant, her laughter infectious. There was no inner diva with this British soul singer whose debut album topped the UK charts at #1. Our photographer Michele Crowe captured a range of Emeli, from the songstress cackling with laughter before a pose for her live set to prepping for a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg earlier this month. Speaking of live sets, the strength of her vocals are exemplified in her performance of “Heaven.” The clarity and sound of her voice, yes, heavenly indeed.
While Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have been melting the faces off audiences all over the country for a decade, they didn’t hit the mainstream until last year’s sexy single “Paris Ooh La La.” From their start on the jam band circuit to being a VH1 You Oughta Know artist in 2010 to collaborating with The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach on their latest album The Lion The Beast The Beat, the tight-knit, fun-loving, ridiculously talented band has plenty of stories to tell.
As a GPN superfan, it was a test in my professionalism to contain my excitement as I trailed them all day, camera in tow, from the Lucerne Hotel on NYC’s Upper West Side to Metropolis Studios in Harlem for rehearsals and what turned out to be one hell of a rock show. Insidery highlights of the day included Grace singing Nicki Minaj‘s “Starships” en route to the taping, her gushing about a recent splurge on a hot plate for her gourmet tour bus cooking, drummer Matt Burr revealing his colorful sock fetish, and the enthusiasm when Grace revealed new album art to bandmates Benny Yurco, Scott Tournet, and new bassist Michael Libramento. Below you can take a sneak peek at Grace prepping for the show, the gorgeous Storytellers set, some goofy backstage antics, and of course, plenty of rockin’ out goodness.
Be sure to tune into VH1 Storytellers: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals on June 15th at 11 p.m. ET/PT, but for now, please enjoy the latest entry in our ongoing photographic series, Music Seen!
The 16th season of VH1 Storytellers got off to a rousing start a few weeks back when Jill Scott blew the roof off New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. After taking a break for the Memorial Day weekend, we’ve got three incredible performances lined up for you to enjoy over the course of the next three Friday nights: Jason Mraz (6/1), Norah Jones (6/8), and Grace Potter (6/15).
We can’t wait for you to see Jason Mraz’s emotional VH1 Storytellers set, which will premiere this Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/PT. He played a rich assortment of songs from his truly outstanding body of work, including a few stunners from his brand new album, Love Is A Four Letter Word. We’ll be bringing you a few sneak peeks at his set as the week progresses, but for now, we just couldn’t wait to share these photos of Jason getting prepped for his set a few weeks back. Our ace photographer Jen Marigliano took all of these photos, which is the latest entry in our ongoing Music Seen series. Enjoy!
The highly anticipated debut episode of VH1 Storytellers: Jill Scott premieres tonight at 11 p.m. ET/PT. You’re in for a treat with the musical act Scott has put together, including her awesomely talented band and the soulful sounds of both new and old music. VH1 captured a peek of Jill’s preparation prior the show, and when we tell you she goes all out, it’s not an exaggeration. The beautiful gold architecture inside the Hammerstein Ballroom is off set by the intimate lights and candles on stage.
Her most recent album, Light of the Sun, reached #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, but expect her to take you back to the songs that made this Philadelphia spoken word poet became such a timeless artist. Below you can check out her hair and makeup preparation, the band sharing a laugh and Jill getting into character. Once you see the show you’ll understand why Scott is one of the best artists of our time. Tune in tonight for VH1 Storytellers: Jill Scott at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
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!
It’s been a little bit over a year since The Civil Wars were named VH1′s You Oughta Know artist, and what a year it’s been! The duo, made up of John Paul White and Joy Williams, went from being virtual unknowns to two-time Grammy winners thanks to the outstanding batch of songs that appears on their debut LP, Barton Hollow. Still riding high after their Grammy success back in February, they’re on a bit of a victory lap at the moment: They have not one but TWO songs on the super successful soundtrack for The Hunger Games, they’re in the early phases of writing for their follow-up, and they just taped a brand new episode of VH1 Unplugged, which is scheduled to make its online debut on May 1.
As a means of whetting your appetite in advance of next Tuesday’s Unplugged premiere, we’d like to present to you the latest installment of our exclusive photographic series here on VH1 Tuner, Music Seen. A lot has changed since Joy and John Paul shot their last Music Seen here at our VH1 headquarters in Times Square last May, and we’re not just talking about the critical and industry acclaim. Joy and her husband, Nate Yetton, are expecting their first child in June, which makes Joy the first person to perform an Unplugged set while pregnant in the show’s 22 year history. She definitely had the radiant glow that you always hear about, which you can see in our set of amazing photographs that Colin Gray shot in Harlem’s Metropolis Studios last week.
If you didn’t already know, this is K’naan! We caught up with our You Oughta Know artist of the month at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC’s Greenwich Village earlier this month, where he performed a sultry set featuring his songs “Take a Minute” (which you can watch below), “Bulletproof Pride” and “Is Anybody Out There?” (which you can watch here). Hearing his passionate vocals over live acoustics was musical heaven, and seeing him perform in such an intimate setting really accentuated both the power and poetical flow of his lyrics.
Before, during and after his performance, K’naan proved to be a super friendly and very chill guy. Our ace photographer Colin Gray got to spend some extra time with him for the latest installment of our on-going Music Seen series. Enjoy!
The 2012 SXSW Music Festival is in the books, y’all. Your friendly neighborhood VH1 Tuner team was down in Austin for five days, but it felt more like a month (in a good way!). By that, we mean that Austin is a very inviting place, the kind of city that is big enough that you don’t get bored by it, but small enough that you get familiar with the layout quickly. In short, by the time we left the city on Sunday afternoon, it sort of felt like home.
If you’ve never been down to Austin —this was actually the first time down there for both myself and our ace photographer, Jen Marigliano— we wanted to give you a vibe of what the city is like during the festival. So, in this special SXSW edition of our long-running Music Seen feature, you’ll get a sense of what we experienced during our short trip to the Lone Star state. You’ll see some of the artists that we spent time with (like B.o.B, T.I., Neon Hitch, Train, Kimbra and more!), the crowds of people who fly in from all over the world to see live music at intimate venues, and how music truly takes over this awesome college town for six days each and every March. Enjoy!