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|Thurs, February 10, 2011 at 10:17 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES – The Grammy Awards will feature star-studded performances by music icons Bob Dylan and Dr. Dre.
Dylan, a 10-time Grammy and lifetime achievement winner, will join nominee Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers for a salute to acoustic music, while Dr. Dre will make his debut on the Grammy stage when he joins protege Eminem.
It will be Dr. Dre's first performance on live television in a decade. Eminem, who leads all nominees with 10, also will be joined by Maroon 5's Adam Levine.
The Grammys also announced Thursday that Zac Brown, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas will present awards.
The Grammys air live at 8 p.m. EST Sunday from Los Angeles.
|Thurs, February 10, 2011 at 3:41 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
KEM already was a successful R&B artist, churning out a pair of well-received albums for Universal Motown.
His latest effort, though, "Intimacy," which was completed on the 20-year anniversary of his sobriety date and his 42nd birthday last summer, has taken KEM to a different level.
"Intimacy" debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts (second only to fellow Detroiter Eminem), and he'll soon be heading out on the road, where his headlining tour kicks off Feb. 18 at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas, near Dallas.
To top it off, KEM picked up the first two Grammy nominations of his career, in the categories of best male R&B vocal performance and best R&B song, both for "Why Would You Stay," a confessional ballad addressed to a spurned lover.
He calls the double Grammy nods "the highlight of my professional career so far."
"I'm a different person now," KEM said in a recent interview, followed by a laugh. "I walked out of the house the next day, I was like, `Yeah. It's different now.'"
In all, not bad for a guy who battled drug and alcohol addiction for years and, as he says, used to wake up thinking: "Where am I going to sleep tonight?"
Two decades of sobriety later, KEM is happy to report he'll be escorting his mother to the Grammy ceremony on Sunday in Los Angeles.
The Associated Press: Have you prepared a speech?
KEM: No. I'm pretty good, pretty adept at being able to speak in front of an audience. There's no speech. You just thank the people. I heard a comedian say, "Thank your momma, thank the Lord and sit ... down." (Laughs.)
AP: Who are your influences?
KEM: I'm more attracted to songs than to a particular artist. ... Cats get in my car and I have my iPod plugged up, and they're just like, "Dude, this doesn't make any sense." You go from Cameo to Jill Scott to David Bowie. Sting's "Sacred Love." I just like great songs. Good music is good music. It doesn't matter what the genre is.
AP: You're open about having had harder times in your life.
KEM: Drug addiction. Homelessness here in the city of Detroit and other places. I started using drugs and alcohol to motivate myself as a teenager, early as 13, 14 years old. I had a lot of what we would call today low self-esteem, childhood depression, anxiety — all of the normal things adolescents go through magnified by 50. Sexual abuse when I was a kid. All of these things laid the foundation for me to try to find something outside of myself to make me feel OK, make me feel comfortable in my own skin. That outlet was drugs and alcohol. I probably used from when I started to my early 20s, ended up on the streets here in Detroit, sleeping outside, the whole dance. In and out of treatment centers, soup kitchens, rescue missions, hospitalized because of my addiction, ruined all of my relationships, couldn't go back home. All of that. It's the best time of my life (laughs). I have no regrets about that at all.
AP: Explain that. Why don't you have regrets?
KEM: Because had I not had those experiences, you and I probably wouldn't be having this conversation. I have a tremendous life today, and I have an opportunity to affect and infect people all over the world with a message of empowerment, overcoming, perseverance. ... That you can go through all of this stuff and still find value and add value to not only your life but potentially the life of everybody you come in contact with.
AP: I have to as
|Wed, February 09, 2011 at 3:29 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Magic Johnson is playing point again, this time as chairman of Vibe Holdings, the owner of the magazines Vibe and Uptown and the "Soul Train" TV show.
The former Los Angeles Lakers superstar said Wednesday that he and partner Ron Burkle have invested more than $10 million in the company, and are planning to make it the starter in a fledgling urban-media empire.
"This is just the beginning of what we're going to start buying," said 51-year-old Johnson, a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player, in an interview. "We're looking to roll up other urban-based brands up under these three. We're out there looking for deals as we speak."
Johnson said that the Vibe business was running at about break even following a reorganization that began in 2009.
In June 2009, the hip-hop and urban culture magazine founded in 1993 by producer Quincy Jones shut down amid a sharp decline in advertising revenue. It was bought by private equity fund InterMedia Partners, which is still an investor, and saw its assets merged with Uptown, a lifestyle magazine for affluent African-Americans, and interactive sales firm Blackrock Digital.
Vibe Holdings now represents TV shows, publications and 25 websites such as BallerStatus.com, Vibe.com and AllHipHop.com that reach 19 million people a month.
Johnson said an equity fund he is invested in with Burkle's The Yucaipa Cos. has $550 million to put into film and TV properties and other brands.
He said he plans to find a Saturday morning time slot to bring "Soul Train," a syndicated variety show that ran from 1971 to 2006, back to TV. It is already making money from DVD box sets and on-demand orders of its 1,100 one-hour episodes.
"There's a lot that's going on in 'Soul Train.' We know that we can take it to a whole other level," he said.
|Mon, February 07, 2011 at 4:11 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
From Michael Jackson to James Brown, Harlem's The Apollo Theater is famed for helping launch some of the most successful figures in U.S. black entertainment and marking their influence in popular culture.
A new exhibit, "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," displays images, videos and artifacts including instruments, shoes and costumes from music greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Sammy Davis Jr. who performed at the theater over the past 75 years.
From swing to Motown to hip hop, it details the 1500-seat music hall's history of propelling styles of music and artists that have graced its stage from Nat King Cole in the 1940s to its famed Apollo Amateur Night, which helped the careers of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix and The Jackson 5.
"The first time I appeared at the Apollo was during Amateur Night -- my gospel group during a gospel caravan show. And we won. And the next time was at the very beginning of my career in 1962," Dionne Warwick told Reuters Television.
"The Apollo Theater is the creme de la creme. And as is said, and is so true, if you can make it at the Apollo, you can make it anywhere," Warwick added.
The exhibit, held from Feb 8 to May 1 at the Museum of the City of New York, also explores Harlem's history as a hub of U.S. black culture and the theater's role in hosting memorial services for James Brown and a public tribute to Michael Jackson.
Jackson first performed at Amateur Night at age 9 with his brothers. Their group, the Jackson 5, won the competition in 1969, when the pop singer was 11 years old, performing Smokey Robinson's "Who's Lovin' You."
"When I think of a soundtrack for the second half of the twentieth century, it's the music that was launched by the Apollo," Susan Henshaw Jones, director of the Museum of the City of New York, said in a statement.
Letters from Martin Luther King and Frank Schiffman, the owner of the Apollo from 1935 until his death in 1974, are also included in the exhibit.
(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Jill Serjeant)
|Mon, February 07, 2011 at 9:19 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
NEW YORK – In the Super Bowl of advertising, Justin Bieber replaced Ozzy Osbourne and Joan Rivers became a GoDaddy girl. But a pair of commercials by automakers took the early trophy for online buzz.
A two-minute ad for Chrysler starring Eminem and a Volkswagen ad featuring a mini-Darth Vader that went viral before it even aired were two of the most talked-about spots during advertising's big night, the Super Bowl, in which Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25.
Chrysler was one of nine automakers that took advantage of advertising's biggest and most expensive showcase, at $3 million for 30 seconds, to try to show they're back after two tough years for the industry.
The cinematic third-quarter Chrysler ad starred Eminem driving through Detroit and introduced a new car, the Chrysler 200 sedan, amid scenes of the city that shift from the gritty to the glamorous. A voiceover talks about how the city has survived going through "hell and back."
"This is the Motor City and this is what we do," Eminem says.
The Chrysler ad was "the big story of the night," according to NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey Co. that tracks online buzz.
Consumers repeated the "imported from Detroit" slogan over and over in online buzz, the company said.
"It was a very risky commercial, but it scored very well with our panel" that rates the ads, said Tim Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management.
Another hit was Volkswagen's ad that showed a boy in a Darth Vader costume trying to use "The Force" on objects, including the Passat.
"It really wasn't selling a car, it was selling a feeling, and it tapped into its target market of families very effectively, which you usually don't see in a car ad," said Robert Kolt, an instructor at Michigan State University College of Communication Arts & Sciences.
Volkswagen released the ad early on Youtube.com and it had more than 13 million views before the game started.
Elsewhere, celebrities and humor dominated. A scantily clad Kim Kardashian broke up with her trainer for Skechers, Roseanne Barr took a big hit from a log in a Snickers ad and comedian Joan Rivers, her head at least, became a GoDaddy girl.
According to the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter, the best-scoring ads featured dogs: A Doritos ad that showed a man taunting a tiny pug and getting smashed under a glass door, and a Bud Light ad that showed dogs catering a party. The newspaper uses a panel of viewers who rate the commercials as they watch them.
After avoiding the Super Bowl for two years as it went in and out of a government-led bankruptcy, General Motors came back with five ads for Chevrolet. In one ad, a seemingly mundane car dealership ad is disrupted when a Camaro suddenly morphs into the Bumblebee character from the "Transformers" movies.
One miss was daily coupon website Groupon's fake public service ad with Timothy Hutton, which appeared to be a plea for help for people of Tibet but instead touted a deal from Groupon for fish curry.
While aiming for humor, "It wasn't a very effective piece of communication and clearly rubbed some people the wrong way" for making light of sensitive topics, Calkins said.
A Homeaway.com ad featuring a "test baby" smashed against a window also garnered negative reaction from ad experts and "didn't resonate with people," Calkins said.
Some ads, predictably, drew criticism for being entertaining without doing much to sell people on the item being advertised.
Among those was an ad for Lipton
|Fri, February 04, 2011 at 9:33 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Grammy-winning hip hop band the Black Eyed Peas are promising a high-energy show packed with hit songs at the halftime performance at the Super Bowl on Sunday.
"Playing at the Super Bowl it seems so surreal," group leader Will.I.Am said on Thursday. "As a kid I would watch halftime shows, watch Super Bowls ... I used to dream to play football until I got a concussion and then didn't want to play football anymore."
The annual Super Bowl is the most viewed TV program in the United States and has a potential viewing audience of over a billion people.
The group's hits, including "Let's Get it Started," "I Gotta Feeling" and "Boom Boom Pow" are staples of sports teams and stadiums around the world, and while Fergie would not reveal which of their hits they would play Sunday she did promise their performance would be packed with energy.
"We do a lot sports anthem type songs," Fergie told a news conference. "We all like to party have a good time.
"My father was a high school and college quarterback and I am a limited owner in the Miami Dolphins, so this is very special for me.
"Sunday football is a serious day in our home."
The multi-ethnic Black Eyed Peas join a list of musical greats who have played the Super Bowl including Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, The Who, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, whose wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl caused an uproar.
The notorious incident that saw Jackson's breast bared on stage in front of millions of viewers prompted the National Football League to turn to older, safer acts for their halftime shows.
But after six years of playing it safe, the NFL has decided once again turn to the hip-hop scene injecting a youthful, fresh vibe into the halftime showcase.
"Even though football is an American tradition and an unofficial holiday we're taking football places where it is not part of their culture but this is part of our culture and I am so proud," Will.I.Am. "It's a dream come true for us."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
|Thurs, February 03, 2011 at 12:45 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
ATLANTA - Looks like Jay-Z - rapper, businessman, and husband of Beyonce - is considering opening a sports club in Atlanta, at the airport. Things are still in the planning stages, we're told.
The Web site for his New York-based 40/40 Club gives a few hints. Namely, Atlanta is one of the cities listed on the site, which details plans to expand in cities including Chicago, Dallas and Las Vegas.
"Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality and food service, has entered into an agreement with Jay-Z's 40/40 Club that will bring the exclusive sports bar concept to select airports across the United States," a news release on the site reads.
The concept would "give travelers access to the elite, modern sports bar to watch the game of their choice in an opulent lounge setting, all without leaving the airport," it reads.
The original 40/40 Club in Manhattan is owned by Jay-Z and partners Juan and Desiree Perez. The club's name refers to baseball players who achieve 40 home runs and steals 40 bases in a single season; players Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco and Alfonso Soriano all have jerseys hanging in the New York City club. The original club is slated to shut down for renovation this spring; there's another location in Atlantic City, N.J.
Jay-Z stopped by Atlanta for a quick visit this week. Here's a photo of him with Mayor Kasim Reed and Young Jeezy. We're working on getting more details about the planned club.
Source: Jennifer Brett/AJ