Ponder on this: Brandy was 15-years-old when her debut self-titled album Brandy dropped. At 33 the R&B songstress still has the powerful voice beautiful enough to put goosebumps on your arms. At 93.9 WKYS’s free concert held at the Howard Theatre in D.C., Brandy performed Put It Down in a royal blue romper. Brandy is back like she never left! Along with a couple backup dancers, B puts the ‘umph’ in every choreographed move hitting each gyration flawlessly. Similar to her BET Awards tribute to Whitney Houston, it’s obvious Brandy is here to win. The vocals? My god. Like every time Brandy opens her mouth (remember her singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” in her bathroom acapella?), even performing a song about putting it down between the sheets, she reminds you why she’s a true vocalist to the core. Read more…
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.”
It’s the 4th of July, which means that it’s time to wish another happy birthday to the US of A! In honor of our country’s 236th bday, we’ve put together this spectacular, über-patriotic GIF Wall featuring some of the music industry’s biggest stars paying salute the stars and stripes, everyone from chart legends like Bruce Springsteen and Madonna to up-and-comers like Lana Del Rey and Azealia Banks. Ain’t that America?
For the rest of the year the most anticipated moment of any music award show is going to be the Whitney Houston tribute. It’s no different with this Sunday’s BET Awards. The Associated Press reported that both Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z have been confirmed as guests for the big night. The power couple haven’t attended the award show in years. This year the Carters will be in the building ladies and gentleman. Read more…
Whitney Houston may be missing from the “Celebrate” video, the last song she ever recorded, but her presence is felt. Jordin Sparks and Houston collaborated on “Celebrate” for their upcoming remake of the 1976 film Sparkle. Since Houston couldn’t appear in the video as originally planned, Sparks and her Sparkle co-stars turn “Celebrate” into a tribute to the one and only Whitney Houston. One can easily catch themselves snapping to the catchy upbeat tune. The dancing and laughing shown in video makes one want to have a celebration of their own. Whitney may not be present physically, but scenes from Sparkle show her just the way we’d like to remember her–happy! Read more…
There’s almost almost no better way to sum up Rihanna’s career than “that Rihanna reign just won’t let up.” What makes the magnitude of her success notable is the short time its taken her to break records in the way new artists can only imagine. “Where Have You Been” from Talk That Talk recently jumped from the No. 11 to No. 9 spot on Billboard Hot 100 charts making this her 22nd top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. That makes 22 top 10s in seven years. No wonder she lives by her own rules with very few f’s to give. She talks the talk and clearly walks the walk. Read more…
Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
In the past four months, music has lost the following legends: Whitney Houston, Jim Marshall (Marshall amps), Levon Helm (The Band), Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys), Dick Dunn (Booker T. and The MG’s), Donna Summer, and Robin Gibb (Bee Gees).
Of the aforementioned, Houston and Yauch’s work directly impacted MTV.
Houston brought vocal talent to pop music and Yauch —although his uncle Nathanial Hornblower may take credit— directed and starred in some of the most memorable videos ever seen on MTV. Just last year he won a Moonman for “Best Director.”
Since Houston and Yauch helped put MTV on the map —or at least in millions of cable systems throughout the world— their tributes at the upcoming VMA’s (Sept. 6) best befit their groundbreaking accomplishments. Read more…
We were impressed with Jordin Sparks heartfelt tribute to the late Whitney Houston at last night’s Billboard Music Awards. According to Radaronline.com, the last song Houston recorded was released today. Produced by R. Kelly, “Celebrate” is a happy upbeat duet Houston recorded with her Sparkle co-star Jordin Sparks who plays her daughter in the upcoming movie. If Whitney’s strong vocals in this song are any indication of the direction she was headed in prior to her untimely passing, it indeed proves what many have already said–Whitney Houston was ready to make a big comeback.
Houston opens the track sounding nearly as good as she did before her vocals became strained. “Everybody’s been so uptight. Everybody forgetting to live their life,” she sings. Sparks’ higher octave is a beautiful complement to Whitney’s lower gospel tone. “It’s time to celebrate, come on and celebrate,” the duo sing together. This song seems like a perfect embodiment of Whitney Houston–celebrating life and taking in the younger generation of singers with open arms.
Whitney Houston’s Final Song Released [Radaronline.com]
The Billboard Music Awards may not be known for scandalous surprise girl-on-girl kisses like the VMAs or interesting collaborations like the Grammys, but the 2012 Billboard Music Awards is offering performances by the hottest artists of today. Carrie Underwood, Linkin Park, Nelly Furtado and Kelly Clarkson are only a few of the A-listers hitting the stage this Sunday at MGM in Las Vegas. We’re curious to find out if BMA can pull off a tribute to the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, in just three days. Watching how artists bring their songs to life at a major award show is always exhilarating, but here’s the five singers we’re most excited to see and why.
Finally, a full Whitney Houston tribute. Jennifer Hudson did an amazing job at the Grammy Awards, but we were left wanting so much more. Thanks to Billboard, our wish came true in the form of John Legend and Jordin Sparks (who actually co-starred with Houston in the remake of Sparkle). It’s no easy feat to cover The Voice’s songs for even the best vocalists in the business. We’d love to hear the two sing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” or “How Will I Know” as they are Houston’s earlier songs that are light and fun. It was announced that Bobbi Kristina and Cissy Houston are making special guest appearances to accept awards on Houston’s behalf. Will the gospel legend sing and take everybody to church? A lot is riding on this tribute, we’re hoping they nail it. Read more…
Whitney Houston‘s death has been an emotion roller coaster for those that loved her the most. If it’s not the Houston’s upcoming Lifetime reality show it’s salacious interviews with Bobby Brown‘s sister claiming the pop star’s death wasn’t an accident. On a brighter (but still sad) note, Bobby Brown debuted a song for Whitney on “The tonight Show with Jay Leno.” “Don’t Let Me Die” is featured on his upcoming album Masterpiece, scheduled for release on June 5. Brown details his feelings in the heartfelt tribute to his late ex-wife of 15 years. Disguised in dark sunglasses Brown sings, “I didn’t realize, every breath I took was for you, and you were my air.” Beautiful words to honor The Voice, but we don’t know if his current fiancee will think it’s so sweet.
Struggling to get the words out in what sounds more like him talking than singing, Brown reveals he has regrets from his tumultuous relationship. “I guess I messed up pretty bad,” he croons. “I didn’t know who you were, I didn’t know what we had.” Recently he rebutted the rumors that he was the cause of Whitney’s drug use in an interview with “Today’s” Matt Lauer. But he’s not denying the fact that the relationship was troubled, which we all witnessed on “Being Bobby Brown.” Emotions are high when he nearly hollers, “It’s killing me softly…don’t let me die.” Dang, Bobby. We can’t imagine the type of pain he’s in, especially since he’s admittedly living with regrets. This is a thoughtful tribute coming from an honest place. We want the reformed badboy to take some time to grieve. And while he’s doing that hopefully his fiancee doesn’t question whether or not he’s yearning for the love that once was.
[Photo: Getty Images]