Say hello to VH1′sJune You Oughta Know artist, Sam Smith! At just 22 years old, the English crooner has already performed on Saturday Night Live and hit the Coachella stage, and now he’s prepared to make a big splash in the United States with his debut album, In the Lonely Hour.
Can we get it crunk up in this dancery, please? Today marks the 43rd birthday of the one and only Mary J. Blige, the Queen of Hip Hop Soul and one of most important artistic voices of the last three decades.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! After successfully putting the national nightmare that is Black Friday firmly in the rearview, it’s time to move forward and focus on the important stuff … like listening to tons of Christmas carols while decking your halls with bows of holly. Savvy artists have long understood that releasing an album comprising solely of holiday tunes is a relatively easy way to make a buck (not to mention fulfilling one’s pesky record contract), which is why virtually every singer of note has released at least one of these LPs throughout their career.
With Lorde‘s cover of Tears For Fears’ hit “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” having just been released, we’re wondering if the new version could possibly become more memorable than the 1985 classic. And even if the latest rendition doesn’t conquer the original, which cover songs actually were more successful than the first take?
Back by popular demand, y’all! A few weeks back we brought you 20 super-famous songs that you probably didn’t know were actually cover versions. But we had so many great undercover cover cuts stored up that we just had to come back for a second helping. So without any further ado, read on to discover 20 more tunes that were actually somebody else’s baby. Prepare to have a few rock myths shattered…but at least you’ll get to hear some pretty cool stuff!
You know you’ve made it when the major dough starts rolling in for endorsement deals. Ask Beyonce about that $50 million Pepsi deal or 50 Cent‘s partnership with Vitamin Water (which netted him somewhere between $60-$100 milli). Taylor Swift didn’t let the ink dry before announcing, via video, her new venture with Diet Coke. It’s unclear how much Taylor made from this collaboration, but it’s T. Swift. She’s definitely not accepting chump change. In honor of Taylor being the newest addition to #teamCoke, we present the most unexpected and/or outrageous musician endorsements. Read more…
Please forgive us if this post is only moderately coherent. Last night, the iHeartRadio Music Festival came to a close by showcasing some of the best artists ever to enter the game. And one of the most jaw-dropping performances came from a guy — a legend, really — who wasn’t even in the lineup.
When Mary J. Blige announced she was going to perform a cover, the audience went into a frenzy when it realized the song in question was “Sweet Thing,” Blige’s cover of the Chaka Khan classic. But heads nearly exploded when Blige turned to stage right and introduced her friend Prince. Immediately, every person in the MGM Grand Garden Arena gasped and then screamed. The sound was deafening, the excitement palpable.
After an already action-packed weekend of Superlounge performances, empowerment panels, and headline-grabbing mainstage sets, Essence Music Festival came to a close last night in New Orleans. Like many other festivals, Essence is notorious for headlining sets extending late into the early morning of the next day, but when the artists performing are esteemed members of music’s nobility, you stay put!
Kirk Franklin kicked off the festival’s third and final night, handing the mic off to VH1 star Fantasia before soulful crooner Anthony Hamilton and his phenomenal back-up vocalists transformed the Mercedes Benz Superdome into a refreshing gospel experience. The big-ticket performers – Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and Queen of Funk Chaka Khan – would soon follow.
As the first woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Aretha Franklin has free reign to pretty much do whatever she wants on stage, and did just that. She’d open her mouth, and magic would pour out; graciously bestowing gifts like “(Your Love has Lifted me) Higher and Higher,” “Natural Woman,” “Think,” and “Something He Can Feel,” the 18-time Grammy winner who sang at President Obama’s inauguration was met with a respectful, hyper-attentive audience that contrasted the normal bustling-in-and-out-of-their-seats EMF crowd. Despite the fact that she would at times meander into telling stories and jokes, appropriating an audience-member’s fedora, complaining about the venue’s sound, and acknowledging friends of hers that were in the crowd by asking them to stand, Franklin’s lengthy 90-minute set was any music fan’s dream even that late in the evening.
While Franklin changed her wardrobe from an orange gown to a green and gold frock mid-performance, a presentation was held in her honor, giving Queen of Soul a key to the city of New Orleans by its mayor Mitch Landrieu, a state award by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, and the Essence Power Award from Essence Communications President, Michelle Ebanks. Representing “entertainment, empowerment and elegance,” Franklin was clearly the ideal choice for this year’s awards, and once the Queen of Soul returned to the EMF stage, she performed crowd favorite “Chain of Fools,” sang from what she called “the book of Simon and Garfunkel,” performing a cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and even found time to pay tribute to the late and legendary Whitney Houston. “She was beautiful, she was warm, she was real,” recounted Franklin of her beloved “Christian sister” as she took to the piano to execute a rendition of Houston’s heart-wrenching “I Will Always Love You.”
In a season busied with festivals, iHeartRadio has proven itself in just two years to be a formidable force when it comes to bringing in the big acts. The Clear Channel festival debuted last year with a lineup chocked full of marquee names like Jay-Z, Carrie Underwood, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj. And by the looks of the lineup released this morning, this year’s show will be as big a blowout as the last.
Set for September 21 and 22 at the MGM in Las Vegas, this year’s line-up includes blockbuster pop stars P!nk, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Adam Lambert, and Pitbull; shining country stars Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, and Brad Paisley; R&B crooners Usher and Mary J. Blige; as well as old favorites who are steady on the comeback like Green Day, Aerosmith, and No Doubt. And as if that were not enough, more acts will be announced in the weeks prior to the event. Tickets for the festival go on sale July 14th, and more info can be found here.
Check out the full press release below:
For the fifth time in as many years, Mary J. Blige graced the Essence Music Festival stage last night in New Orleans. Galvanizing her legion of ravenous fans during a set that followed main-stage performances from Tank, Mary Mary, Ledisi and comedian Kevin Hart, even the ushers were two-stepping unapologetically; in between performing a number of hits that spanned her entire twenty-year career, Blige also made time to unleash covers of Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” and Charlie Wilson’s “Outstanding” for the Mercedes Benz Superdome crowd.
When the beat dropped for songs like “Real Love,” “Family Affair,” “Just Fine,” and “Not Gon’ Cry,” audience members took to their feet and assisted the sequin-clad star with lyrics and adlibs alike, creating an energetic exchange with their heroine that was, on more than one occasion, acknowledged by a grateful, “so pleased” Mary J. Blige. Read more…