by (@unclegrambo)

Music Video Premiere: Delta Rae, “Morning Comes”

Delta Rae‘s new music video for “Morning Comes,” the second single off the band’s new(ish) Carry The Fire LP, begins in a fairly non-descript manner: a solitary man, wearing a ratty white button-down, appears in the frame and adjusts his skinny black tie. He’s got a pained look on his face, and it’s not quite clear what he’s getting dressed up for (Another sad day at the office? A funeral of a loved one?). However, the video kicks into gear just as the chorus does, and all of a sudden, what we thought was a sparsely decorated room in the middle of nowhere turns out to be set on a beach.

At this point, the video transforms into a combination of ABC’s Wipeout, “Bittersweet Symphony” and an OK Go production. The man, who we learn is Delta Rae singer Eric Holljes, strides purposefully toward the camera while being made to suffer a number of indignities at the hands of his bandmates: He gets sand thrown in his face, gets pummeled by a pair of puget sticks, pushed into a shallow sand grave and buried with bouncy balls, and sprayed with fire extinguishers (to name just a few of his obstacles). Importantly, he does so with a huge grin on his face (and no cuts by the camera).

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by (@zaragolden)

Taylor Swift And Ed Sheeran Perform An Acoustic “Lego House”

Country cutie Taylor Swift and You Oughta Know artist Ed Sheeran have been logging lots of studio hours together, working hard — mostly! — on the follow-up to Swift’s Speak Now. Last night, the two took a break from whatever they’ve got cooking there to record this acoustic duet of Sheeran’s hit, “Lego House.” And it’s pretty much the sweetest thing you will see today.

Posted to Twitter late last night by Swift, the Viddy finds the two in her kitchen, on the floor in front of the stove, where Sheeran strums an acoustic version of his hit, “Lego House,” while Swift harmonizes. We’ll have to wait to hear what more they’ve got in the works, but, for now, this glimpse shows a promising chemistry between the two.

And as for Sheeran, he will be on VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live tomorrow to celebrate the stateside release of his debut album, +.
Zara Golden

Taylor Swift And Ed Sheeran Perform An Acoustic “Lego House” [Idolator]

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by (@unclegrambo)

Is “Home” By Phillip Phillips The Best Original American Idol Song Ever?

We’d like to offer a hearty congratulations to Phillip Phillips today, and not just because he’s recently become the single most famous person in the United States who has the same first and last name since Sirhan Sirhan (though this is certainly an achievement in and of itself). Phillip Phillips won the 11th season of American Idol last night, thanks to his rootsy acoustic guitar fingerplucking, laconic Southern charm and #realwave stylings. When Ryan Seacrest announced that he had defeated Jessica Sanchez, Phillip performed his final song — in Idol lingo, they’re called “coronation songs” — called “Home.” And you know what? It might just be our favorite original Idol song of all-time, and not just because P.P. teared up somethin’ fierce during it.

“Home,” which was written by Drew Pearson and Greg Holden, has a very Mumford & Sons kind of feel to it; whereas most Idol originals are so syrupy that you can contract diabetes just by listening to them, “Home” was not constructed to be a showcase for melisma. The lyrics, while certainly uplifting thanks to their reinforcement of the notion that it’s important for one to stay strong and grounded in the face of adversity, take a back seat to the verbalized melody of the bridge, which are quite beautiful and simple in that they are but a series of soothing “ooohs” and “ahhhs.” It’s a very traditional and safe song, which isn’t to say that it’s boring. Rather, it’s quite comforting, and we wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few high schools around the nation pick this as their Prom Theme this year.

But, is this the BEST Idol song ever? It’s really hard to top Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This,” and we still have a soft spot in our heart for Fantasia’s “I Believe.” Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Music Seen: Ed Sheeran Reveals His Deeply Soulful Side In New York City (PHOTOS)

Ed Sheeran Music Seen

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!

Ed Sheeran VH1 Music Seen
Ed Sheeran VH1 Music Seen
Ed Sheeran VH1 Music Seen

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by (@unclegrambo)

You Oughta Know Live: Watch Ed Sheeran’s Intimate Performance Of “The A-Team”

The 21-year-old British troubadour Ed Sheeran first caught our eye back in February, when his moving rendition of his original song “Lego House” went viral after his performance at this year’s BRIT Awards. However, as soon as we saw him perform a handful of times at this year’s SXSW Music Festival, our admiration for his talent (and his cool demeanor) skyrocketed. With all this in mind, we are excited to announce that Ed has been named as our You Oughta Know artist for the month of May, an honor that he is incredibly well-deserving of.

Ed’s debut album, +, was released in the U.K. in September of last year, where it entered the charts at #1 and has sold over 1 million copies to date. It is being released here in the United States on June 12, but Ed is currently in the midst of a barnstorming tour of the United States to get the word out in advance of its street date. When we spoke to Ed down in Austin last month, he compared his singer-songwriter sound to other British artists like James Morrison, Damien Rice and David Gray, but we think that he belongs just as much to the burgeoning “realwave” movement, alongside acts like The Civil Wars, Dawes and Mumford & Sons. Decide for yourself by checking out Ed Sheeran’s entire You Oughta Know Live set, including his single “The A-Team”—which, we should note, has nothing to do with Mr. T—a song that went all the way to #3 on the British charts last year.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Last Lap: Mary J. Blige Is NOT Happy With Burger King For Airing “Unfinished” Spot

We stand by our initial feelings of appreciation for the Queen of Hip Hop Soul’s new commercial for Burger King, mainly because we’ve never seen MJB be so self-effacing before. However, no matter her station in life, drama always seems to find her. She tells TMZ that “I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip.” [TMZ]

Ed Robertson and Tyler Stewart of the Barenaked Ladies appeared on VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live this morning and declared their appreciation for the new commercial. They even worked a few references to the commercial into their hit, “One Week”! [VH1.COM]

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by (@unclegrambo)

SXSW 2012: Rising Star Ed Sheeran Talks Troubadours, Texas And Why Singles Artists Are “F*cked”

Ed Sheeran Performs Live At A VH1 Party At SXSW 2012

Ed Sheeran is a 21 year-old singer-songwriter who, over the course of the last nine months or so, went from being an aspiring musician to a household name in his native England. His grippingly dark single, “The A Team”, debuted at #3 on the UK charts last June and it’s been a rocket ride for the fresh-faced troubadour ever since. His first full length album, +, is currently available as an import, but will be on shelves and in the iTunes store here in the U.S. soon. We caught up with him last night at the W Hotel here in Austin, where he performed a spirited and energetic set as part of the the VH1 Rock Docs party at the SXSW Music Festival.

VH1: Is this your first trip to SXSW?
Ed Sheeran: This is my first time anywhere other than New York or LA. Not only is it my first Texas show, it’s my first middle America show I guess. It’s been going great. I just did my first gig and I’m really looking forward to this one. I’m lovin’ it, it’s a crazy vibe out here.

How many shows are you playing this weekend?
Seven. It’s cool. My one addiction is to live shows, and I love getting out there and doing ‘em.

So, the song that really broke you in the U.K. and will be your first single over here in the States is “The A Team.” The subject matter of the song is very dark, lyrically, but also incredibly compelling. What was it about this song that resonated so well with audiences?
The whole kind of ethos around it is that it encompasses pain and suffering. I know that that sounds really deep, but with enough dance tracks on the radio, sometimes people need a little bit of raw, real stuff. It’s sort of the same thing as The Police and their song “Roxanne”. People can’t necessarily relate to it 100%, but they can relate to the feeling of it.

We’ve noticed the same thing, too. With the proliferation of dance music on the airwaves, do you feel like there will be a counter-movement where fans will be drawn to more “authentic” music, the kind of stuff that you excel at?
In every single generation, when there’s been a really big seller, there’s always been singer-songwriters. Before me, there was James Morrison. Before him, James Blunt. Before him, it was Damien Rice and before that, it was David Gray. It just goes back so, yeah, you’re always going to get the kind of raw, acoustic singer who comes out at the time where everything else seems to be headed in another direction. It always cuts through, there will always be troubadours.

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by (@kat_george)

How “Realwave” Is Taking Over Music Courtesy Of Ed Sheeran’s Performance At The Brit Awards

There’s no doubt that 2011 was the year of the “doof doof”. From the rise of David Guetta and LMFAO to the euro-club beats adopted in an overwhelming majority pop songs from Rihanna‘s “We Found Love” to Britney Spears‘ “I Wanna Go”, there was no avoiding the thudding sound of the sub woofer and all the manic, Ibiza-esque dance-party vibes that went with it. But if you abide by the laws of physics, you’ll know that for all actions, there is an equal and opposing reaction — and we can see the specter of antithesis looming for 2012. While last year saw an almost completely unblemished carpet of techno beats upholster the music landscape, 2012 looks set to tear that carpet up and replace it with raw wood.

We’re talking about the new guard, a genre of new artists we’ve dubbed “realwave” (thanks to Carles for giving us the ability to invent genres with the simple suffix “wave”), who have been lurking on the sidelines but still managing to make some noise despite the deafening reverberations around them. It began with the ascent of Adele, Mumford & Sons and Bon Iver — artists, who are, for all intents and purposes, artists. In 2011, these artists represented “authenticity,” or the ability to make music that was not only chart topping and relateable, but that also relied on the strength of songwriting, real instruments and organic talent. Yep, that means no auto-tuned voices, synthetic bass lines or garish costuming.

From Adele’s beautiful, heartfelt lyricism and emotive live vocal to Mumford & Sons’ rootsy instrumentals and Bon Iver’s gently experimental, dynamic sound, these artists have provided a much needed sanctuary from banging beats and flashing lights. And perhaps now, after we’ve worn the soles of our dancing shoes right into our heels, we’re actively seeking more realwave. We went to the party, sure, and we had the time of our lives, but it’s morning now, the sun is shining through the cracks in the curtains, our heads are splitting and we’re groping at the bedside table for Advil and Gatorade.
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