|Mon, February 21, 2011 at 2:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Hip hop mogul and advertising exec Steve Stoute has slammed the Grammy awards with a full-page ad in Sunday's New York Times in which he states the ceremony is a "series of hypocrisies and contradictions."
The founder of the Translation advertising company, who is famous for being Nas' on-off manager since 1995, wrote in a column for The Huffington Post that he used the ad as "an open letter" to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), which is behind the Grammys, and to Neil Portnow, the president of NARAS.
Stoute claimed that best-selling artists like Kanye West, Eminem and Justin Bieber were snubbed by a ceremony that had "no qualms" in using the same musicians as performers during the show to "to ensure viewership and to deliver the all-too-important ratings for its advertisers."
In his ad, Stoute said the Grammys' failure stems from "over-zealousness to produce a popular show that is at odds with its own system of voting" and "fundamental disrespect of cultural shifts as being viable and artistic."
He used the example of Eminem's 2001 hit "The Marshall Mathers LP" losing Album of the Year to Steely Dan.
"Not only is Eminem the best-selling artist of the last decade, but The Marshall Mathers LP was a critical and commercial success that sold over 10 million albums in the United States (19 million worldwide), while Steely Dan sold less than 10% of that amount and came and went as quietly as a church mouse," he wrote.
Stoute wrote that Eminem and Kanye West -- whose 2007 album "Graduation" lost Album of the Year to Herbie Hancock's "River: The Joni Letters" -- both define a generation.
"It is this same cultural impact that acknowledged the commercial and critical success of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' in 1984," he wrote.
To prove that he wasn't partial to hip-hop artists, Stoute also took issue with Justin Bieber -- "an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist" -- losing the Best New Artist award to Esperanza Spalding this year.
Towards the end of his ad, Stoute admitted that...Click to continue reading
Source: Soraya Roberts/NY Daily News
|Wed, February 16, 2011 at 9:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Universal Records artist gets endorsed by R&b singer Chris Tian with a photo at the Grammy Pre-Party in Beverly Hills. The artists were on the red carpet at the Paley Centre on Saturday night. Tian gets a snapshot of H. Smoove.
Chris also interviews Hollwood Smoove on UrbanMusicBuzz about his latest hit song, "Do The Mac" which is distributed by Bungalo / Universal Records
, music news
, Hollywood Smoove
|Mon, February 14, 2011 at 11:12 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES – The Recording Academy week of Grammy festivities kicked off with the Grammy Museum's first exhibit on the history of hip-hop, exploring rap's triumphs over three decades while also presenting the academy's own history with the genre.
This year's awards, however, were the lowlights in the Grammys' complicated relationship with hip-hop. Eminem again found himself on the losing end in the album of the year category, trumped by rockers Arcade Fire for "The Suburbs" in an evening that saw him lose eight of his leading 10 possible Grammy bids.
It marked Eminem's third loss in the category over his 12-year career and underscored the Recording Academy's inability to fully embrace a type of music it only started to recognize in 1989, at least a decade after its birth in the Bronx.
Despite groundbreaking hip-hop albums that have changed music's landscape — from Dr. Dre's "Nothin' But a G Thang" to Jay-Z's "The Blueprint" to Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP" to Kanye West's masterpieces — a rap act has only won the coveted album of the year trophy twice.
The first award went to Lauryn Hill in 1999 for "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," which featured the fierce Fugees rapper mostly singing. The second was in 2003 for OutKast's double album "Spearkerboxxx/The Love Below," which also featured singing, including the rock-tinged retro hit "Hey Ya."
While rap has enjoyed a major role in the Grammys broadcast over the last decade, it wasn't always so: It took a few years after the Grammys established a category for rap artists to be included in the television ceremony, leading some prominent rappers to boycott the show. And the Grammys were initially derided for their early honorees, including Vanilla Ice.
Now, though, rappers are taken more seriously by the Grammys and even best new artist nominee Drake raps about hopefully one day holding a trophy.
Eminem has 13 Grammys, but all have been in the rap categories. Jay-Z has 10; except for one award, all his wins were in the rap field (he won best rhythm and blues song with wife Beyonce for "Crazy in Love"). Kanye West has 14 trophies — four less than Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoree Aretha Franklin — yet, he has never won outside of rap.
A rap song has never won for record or song of the year. This year, it seemed like that might change: Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie," featuring Rihanna, was up in both categories, while Jay-Z's anthem with Alicia Keys, "Empire State of Mind," and B.o.B's "Nothin' on You" featuring Bruno Mars, were both up for record of the year.
Instead of picking one of those hits, the Grammys — voted on by artists, executives, technical professionals and other industry insiders — instead went with "Need You Now," the mellow ballad from country's crossover trio, Lady Antebellum. The Academy also shunned "(Expletive) You" by Cee Lo Green, a retro groove sung by the former Goodie Mobb member.
A rare triumph for hip-hop outside the rap categories came in 2001, when Dr. Dre walked away with producer of the year. But that was also the year that the album he produced — Eminem's groundbreaking "The Marshall Mathers LP" — lost to Steely Dan in an upset that may only rival Jethro Tull's much-derided win in the hard rock/heavy metal category.
Earlier this month, in an interview with The Associated Press, Grammy CEO and President Neil Portnow said the Grammy Museum's "Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey" exhibit, titled after the new book by the same name, was an opportunity to see how much the genre has grown since it's inception.
"Hip-hop really has a milestone this year, in the sense that it'
|Mon, February 14, 2011 at 4:39 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
The Grammys love Eminem. Over his decade plus career, they've showered him with 13 Grammy Awards — and gave him two during this year's ceremonies.
But their love for Eminem seems to only extend to the rap categories. Despite being regarded as one of music's geniuses, he has never won a Grammy outside of the genre — a streak that continued on Sunday.
Eminem, who went into the Grammys as the leading nominee with 10 nominations, including in the prestigious album, record and song of the year categories, walked away with just two: best solo rap performance and best rap album for "Recovery," which was last year's best-selling album and marked a triumphant comeback for an iconic figure who stumbled in recent years due to a former drug addiction.
He lost album of the year to Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs," and his Rihanna-assisted "Love The Way You Lie" lost to Lady Antebellum in the record and song of the year categories.
It marked the third loss in his career for Eminem in the album of the year category, as well as his Eminem's third loss in the record of the year and second with song of the year.
While the night was a disappointing one for Eminem, it was a dream come true for the night's top winner, Lady Antebellum. The country trio was the night's top winner, earning the song and record of the year trophies for "Need You Now." They won five of their six nominations.
It was their night on top in the pop world after a year of coming in second place. Their crossover hit, "Need You Now," peaked at No. 2 on the pop charts, and their album of the same name was 2010's second best-selling album, behind Eminem's "Recovery."
But on Sunday night, they were No. 1.
"That is the most humbling feeling in the entire world. It's going to make us work even harder to make a better record," said Hillary Scott, as bandmates Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley stood by her backstage.
It was the second year in a row that a country act with multiplatinum crossover appeal won big at the Grammys: Last year, it was Taylor Swift, who got four awards and won album of the year for "Fearless."
This year, that award went to "The Suburbs," which marked Arcade Fire's only Grammy win that evening, and in 10-year career in which they have been consistent critic's darlings. Though the album was considered to be among the year's best, Eminem was still the favorite — so much so that Arcade Fire's Win Butler uttered "What the hell?" when they went onstage to accept their award.
Immediately following the win, the group — who had just performed — headed to the stage in an apparently spontaneous move and played their song "Ready to Start," where band member Win Butler advised: "Everyone leave to this song."
The night's biggest upset came in the best new artist category, as jazz singer Esperanza Spalding picked up the coveted best new artist Grammy.
Spalding, 26, was the first jazz artist to win the award, and beat out 16-year-old pop phenom Justin Bieber, along with Drake, Florence and the Machine and Mumford and Sons.
"I feel really lucky today," she said backstage. "From the world that I come from this is the beginning of the beginning for me."
Other key winners on the night included Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and John Legend, who all won three awards each, tying them for most wins following Lady A. Usher, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck and the Black Keys joined Eminem with two wins each.
Gaga performed her new single "Bor
|Mon, February 14, 2011 at 12:55 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES – Lady Antebellum was the big winner at the Grammys with five awards, including record and song of the year for the band's yearning crossover ballad "Need You Now," but rockers Arcade Fire won Sunday's biggest prize, album of the year, for their highly acclaimed "The Suburbs."
Arcade Fire's Win Butler was visibly stunned as the group accepted their trophy and then quickly rushed to perform the last song of the night.
Eminem perhaps had reason to be stunned as well. Though nominated for a leading 10 awards, including record, song, and album of the year, he took home just two — both in the rap categories, for best album and solo performance. It was the third time Eminem lost in the category, despite a critically acclaimed work that marked his resurgence after time out of the spotlight, a few sub-par projects and successful recovery from a prescription drug addiction.
While Arcade Fire's win was a surprise, it wasn't totally unexpected, as "The Suburbs" dominated many critic's best-of lists of 2010. The true upset, however, came as Esperanza Spalding — a jazz bassist and singer who sold a fraction of Justin Bieber's music and is perhaps best identified by her voluminous Afro — beat the perfectly coifed 16-year-old pop phenomenon, and also Florence & the Machine, Mumford & Sons and Drake for best new artist.
She is the first jazz artist to ever win the category.
"I take this honor to heart so sincerely and I'll do my damnedest to make great music for all of you. It's such an honor and God bless," said a shocked Spalding, who released her third album, "The Chamber Music Society," last year.
While Bieber-nation was in an uproar, the teen sensation himself was cheerful backstage after the loss — perhaps assuaged by the fact that he's sold millions and owns the nation's No. 2 movie with his documentary "Never Say Never."
"I'm really happy for her and I had a great night. We performed, I got to perform with my mentor which is amazing," said Bieber, who playfully jumped on Usher in the press room. "I'm really happy for her and hopefully she has a good year."
The evening's other top winners included Jay-Z, John Legend, and Lady Gaga, who each had three trophies; Muse, who won best rock album; and Train, whose "Hey, Soul Sister (Live)," one of the year's top songs, captured best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals.
Lady Antebellum's wins mark the second straight year a country crossover act was the night's top story; Last year, Taylor Swift captured best album among her wins.
The Grammys give out 109 awards — but most of those are doled out before the live telecast in a ceremony before the CBS show. Instead of focusing on the awards, the Grammy show emphasized performances for the year's most celebrated artists, along with emerging acts and true legends.
Lady Gaga entered the Staples Center, where the Grammys were held, in dramatic fashion, encased in an egg as dancers carried her to the stage. When she "hatched," she seemed to have turned into Madonna, circa 1987, as she sashayed across the stage to her new song "Born This Way."
But the singer, normally the most outrageous performer on any bill, was out-Gaga'd by Cee Lo Green, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jim Henson Co.'s puppets, who gave a hilarious performance of "Forget You" that would have done Elton John proud.
Decked out in feathers of seemingly every hue, Green — who was nominated for record and song of the year for the dirty version of the song, "(Expletive) You," crooned alongside a sassy gaggle of puppets and Paltrow, who performed "Forget You" on the Fox T
|Sun, February 13, 2011 at 6:31 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
The Grammy music awards show paid tribute Sunday to recovering soul legend Aretha Franklin, in a star-studded evening including performances by veterans Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and Barbra Streisand.
Lady Gaga was among early acts at the three-and-a-half-hour show, appearing in inimitable style from an egg to sing "Born this Way," while other acts on the bill included Katy Perry, Eminem and teen sensation Justin Bieber.
The glittering gala began with Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine belting out a string of Franklin's hits including Respect, Think and "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman."
Franklin, 68, has been mostly out of the public eye since she had surgery in December for an undisclosed ailment. Local media reported that she was battling cancer, after canceling concerts in October citing "health reasons."
On Sunday she sent a video message to the Grammys, played after the tribute section to her, thanking everyone who sent cards, flowers and "most importantly your prayers" when she was in hospital.
"I wish that I could have been you all tonight, but since I couldn't, next year, OK?" said Franklin, in a white dress and looking slimmed down from recent years.
While showcasing new talent, the glittering 53rd Grammys event will also pay tribute to past greats including "The King of Rock 'N Soul" Solomon Burke, who died last year.
Dylan, appearing at the Grammys for his fifth time, was to perform with country-tinged Brits Mumford and Son and folk-rock band the Avett Brothers in a special salute to acoustic music at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
The Grammys are the music industry's equivalent of the Oscars, the climax of Hollywood's annual awards season that this year takes place in barely two weeks' time, on February 27.
Front-runners for Grammys glory include Eminem, nominated in 10 categories including best album and best song, in what could cap a comeback year for the once-troubled rap star.
The singer -- real name Marshall Bruce Mathers III -- dropped out of music-making in the middle of the past decade as he battled with drug problems. He returned with the album "Relapse" in 2009, before 2010's "Recovery."
"Recovery" was the top-selling album of 2010. Song "Love the Way You Lie" stood as number one in the charts for seven weeks, the year's second-longest run behind Ke$ha's "Tik Tok," while "Not Afraid" also hit the top spot.
Hawaiian-born singer Bruno Mars came second to Eminem with seven nominations including Best Male Pop Vocal, while US rap megastar Jay-Z, Nashville-born country trio Lady Antebellum and Lady Gaga each earned six nods.
Perry is also in the running for Best Album along with Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire and Lady Antebellum.
Best New Artist nominees were Canadian teen idol Bieber, quirky British singer Florence Welch, Mumford and Son, as well as Drake and Esperanza Spalding.
Nominations in the main categories include:
- Record of the Year: "Nothin' on You" by B.o.B with Bruno Mars; "Love the Way you Lie" by Eminem featuring Rihanna; "F*** You!" by Cee Lo Gr
|Sat, February 12, 2011 at 5:06 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Rehabbed rapper Eminem will likely seal his comeback on Sunday with a slew of Grammy awards at a ceremony dominated by hip-hop stars and pop singers.
Now, it might be rock 'n' roll's turn to seek treatment.
Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire are the sole standard bearer for rock in the album of the year race, the event's top prize.
No rock acts made the cut for the similarly coveted song and record of the year categories. The best new artist competition features two genre-spanning British groups with rock elements: Mumford & Sons, and Florence the Machine.
Grammy organizers do honor rockers in specific categories, and artists such as veteran British guitarist Jeff Beck and blues-rock duo Black Keys received multiple nominations.
But the field is headed by Eminem who received 10 nominations, largely for an album detailing his recovery from a near-fatal addiction to prescription medication. Grammy voters love these sorts of comeback stories.
Top contenders also include pop/R&B hitmaker Bruno Mars with seven nominations; and rapper Jay-Z, pop singer Lady Gaga and country group Lady Antebellum with six each. Beck received five nominations and the Black Keys four.
FANS JUST WANT TO DANCE
Rock is not exactly dead, as pundits occasionally declare during low points in the cycle. Kings of Leon, Coldplay and Green Day won key Grammys in recent years. Bon Jovi, AC/DC and U2 were the world's biggest concert draws in 2010. Newer groups such as Muse and Vampire Weekend are enjoying commercial and critical acclaim, along with Grammy nods.
But neither is rock capturing the Zeitgeist in the same way as colorful pop singers like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, and popular TV shows like "American Idol" and "Glee."
"The public is using music differently, or liking it for different reasons," said producer Bill Bottrell, who worked on hits for Sheryl Crow and Michael Jackson. "It's lighter, less profound. It's just something to dance to, or wash dishes to."
Bottrell said Eminem has "the rock 'n' roll spirit," writing provocative lyrics and casting himself as an outsider in the same way that canny rock heroes of yore did.
But for the most part, the biggest selling songs last year were breezy dance-pop confections like Perry's "California Gurls," Kesha's "Tik Tok" and Taio Cruz's "Dynamite."
Indeed, pop tunes were the most popular downloads in the United States last year, accounting for 33 percent of sales among tracks released in 2009 or 2010, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Rock (17 percent) came in at No. 4 behind R&B/hip-hop (27 percent) and rap (20 percent).
The most popular rock band last year broke up in 1970: the Beatles, who ranked No. 10 among U.S. album sales. No rock releases made the 10 biggest selling albums.
Beck said there is "some truth" in the old saw that rock died with Buddy Holly in 1959, a few years before the Beatles formed. He said too many rock acts have no appreciation of the "nuclear explosion" that occurred during the mid-1950s with the emergence of acts like Gene Vincent and Little Richard.
He, paradoxically, could be on the same page as younger songwriters who say rock needs to break out of its stale mold.
British producer Alex "Da Kid" Grant, a Grammy-nominated collaborator with Eminem, said he is on a mission to get rock bands -- his wish list includes U2 and Coldplay -- to incorporate elements of hip-hop, albeit carefully.
"Rock definitely is due a comeback in some form or another. We just need to get t