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|Tue, October 12, 2010 at 10:46 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Eminem and country music band Lady Antebellum led nominations for the 2010 American Music Awards on Tuesday, followed closely by Canadian teen idol Justin Bieber.
Pop diva Lady Gaga earned just two nominations, including the coveted artist of the year award, where she will compete against Bieber, Katy Perry, Ke$ha and Eminem.
Eminem, whose latest album "Recovery" was released earlier this year, had five nominations including favorite male artist and favorite album.
Lady Antebellum also had five nods. Bieber, 16, claimed four including best breakthrough artist, while Usher, Katy Perry. hip-hop singer B.o.B, and newcomer Ke$ha collected three apiece.
Winners will be determined by online voting and the American Music Awards will be presented at a televised ceremony in Los Angeles on November 21, organizers said.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)
|Mon, October 11, 2010 at 9:22 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysian authorities have ordered US glam rocker Adam Lambert to tone down his act when he performs in the conservative Muslim-majority country on Thursday.
Lambert, who shot to fame in the American Idol contest, is openly gay and has created controversy with his performances, including at the American Music Awards where he simulated a sex act on stage and kissed a male keyboardist.
Malaysian authorities have given the green light to Lambert's show in the capital Kuala Lumpur, part of his Glam Nation tour, despite objections from the hardline Islamic opposition party PAS.
However, he has been told to comply with a list of conditions, including not removing his clothes while performing.
"Previously we stopped (hip hop artist) Akon's concert... because the singer had acted indecently by removing his clothes during a previous concert," information ministry official Mohamed Dian Nais told the Star daily.
Mohamed Dian said that concert organisers had been given a briefing on the regulations.
Lambert said on Twitter that he had agreed to the demands, but defended his show against allegations from the Islamic party that it promotes a gay lifestyle.
"While I don?t believe that my glamnation tour is in any way offensive I have agreed to make a few minor adjustments out of respect for the Malaysian government," he said.
"Does my show 'promote the gay lifestyle'? It promotes living ANY lifestyle that includes the freedom to seek love and intimacy," he said.
Homosexual sex is a criminal offense in Malaysia, carrying penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment.
Performances by foreign artists frequently come under fire, forcing events to be cancelled or modified. Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas and Gwen Stefani were both forced to swap skimpy outfits for more modest attire.
|Sun, October 10, 2010 at 10:36 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Lil Wayne may still be behind bars on gun charges, but that hasn't stopped developers of videogame "Def Jam Rapstar" from launching an interactive karaoke game featuring him and other hip-hop stars.
Lil Wayne, who is serving a sentence in New York on a gun possession charge, has been among the key promotional faces of "Def Jam Rapstar" which aims to cash in on the craze for music-related video games in at least one unique way.
The game's developers hope to take the genre a step further by linking it to a social networking website in which gamers face-off with their karaoke recordings of hip-hop songs.
"This is actually one of the first video games to really include a social media platform, and that's going to make all the difference because hip-hop is very social," said Scott Steinberg, video game analyst at consultancy Tech Savvy.
The game, released this week on Microsoft XBox, Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii, comes loaded with over 40 old and new hip-hop classics such as Notorious B.I.G's "Big Poppa," Nelly's "Hot in Here" and Lil Wayne's "A Milli."
The concept is simple. In classic karaoke style, the user selects a song to rhyme over, matching the words and pitch as the music video flashes in the background. The twist, however, is that all of this can be recorded on video, edited and uploaded to the game's website.
The website, www.defjamrapstar, is a sort of Youtube and Facebook mash-up where users are meant to "battle" one another, competing for votes determining whose filmed rendition of a particular song is best.
"Listen, at the end of the day, we wanted everybody to have an opportunity to rap to their favorite songs, to rap over the hottest tracks from producers around the world and to battle people around the world," Kevin Liles, Def Jam Enterprises president, told Reuters.
The rap aspect, however, might be what will keep the game from being a smash hit, said Michael Pachter, a video games analyst at equity research firm Wedbush Securities. "Rap is harder to actually do," Pachter said, alluding to other games that might just involve strumming a plastic guitar.
"The market's pretty saturated," he said, adding "karaoke games are not that popular in the United States."
Others were more enthusiastic. "It's a fantastic game," said Jermaine Hall, chief editor of Vibe magazine. "I can see a hardcore hip-hop fan in Japan battling somebody in America."
Previous games on rap culture might have been like "'oh, ok hip-hop culture, how can we create some caricatures?'" Steinberg said, but "Def Jam Rapstar" is "the first game that really captures what hip-hop is all about."
The game's developers declined to say how much the it cost to develop or what their target sales are.
"Def Jam Rapstar" was developed by 4mm Games and Def Jam Interactive, and distributed by Konami. It retails for $59.99 for the XBox and PS3 and $49.99 on the Wii. Bundled with a microphone and software, the game costs $10 more.
(Reporting by Basil Katz; Additional Reporting by Gemma Haines; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)
|Sun, October 10, 2010 at 8:29 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
AMSTERDAM - U.S. soul singer Solomon Burke died at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Sunday morning, aged 70, after flying in from Los Angeles, Dutch media reported.
Known as the King of Rock and Soul, the Grammy winner was a preacher turned singer and had released his latest album "Nothing's Impossible" in April.
He mixed gospel with rhythm and blues and made several soul classics, including the 1964 hit "Somebody to Love." Famed R&B producer Jerry Wexler referred to him as the "best soul singer of all time," according to Burke's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame biography.
Local news agency ANP said Burke was declared dead at the Schiphol morgue and a doctor said he had died of natural causes. His body will be returned to the U.S. next week.
A Schiphol airport spokeswoman in Amsterdam confirmed Burke had died, but could not provide further details.
The burley Burke, who often performed in the Netherlands, had been due to release a new compact disc, Hold on Tight, with the Dutch band of De Dijk on Tuesday in Amsterdam. His last concert was on September 4 in Seattle.
Born March 21, 1940 in Philadelphia, Burke started singing in church choirs at a young age and later became a minister.
He presented gospel music on a local radio station and made some recordings between 1954 and 1958 before obtaining a contract with Atlantic Records in 1960.
He won a Grammy as recently as 2003, owned a church a funeral enterprise and a limousine rental service.
He was known for his showmanship and on stage would sometimes sit on a stage, resplendent in regal robes. He had 21 children and 90 grandchildren.
|Fri, October 08, 2010 at 7:21 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – A surprisingly tone-deaf romantic comedy, "Hot Summer Days" impresses mostly by its lack of genuinely original humor. Although a top box-office earner in China earlier this year, Fox International Productions' first Chinese-language film, which opened October 1 in New York and October 8 in Los Angeles, is unlikely to acquire adherents stateside beyond Chinese-language speakers in major metropolitan areas and perhaps a somewhat broader audience among the more adventurous on DVD or cable.
Over several weeks of what's set up as the hottest summer on record in Hong Kong and southern China, a series of love stories plays out with varied results. An emotionally withholding sushi chef (international star Daniel Wu) resists the entreaties of his former lover (Vivian Hsu) to rekindle their relationship, until she decides that perhaps her absence may make his heart grow fonder.
Ah Wai (musician Nicholas Tse), an air-conditioner repairman, finds his popularity skyrocketing during the heat wave, but can't seem to get the attention of a mysterious girl (Barbie Hsu) who rides a motorcycle, until a late-night street race piques her interest. If he's willing to accept her secret life, perhaps he'll win her over.
Across town, a driver (pop star Jacky Cheung) for a celebrity hip-hop performer, overcome by heat exhaustion, ends up in the hospital, where he mistakenly sends an errant text message received by an unemployed pianist (Rene Liu) working as a foot masseuse. The two carry on a flirtatious cyber-romance by adopting fictional identities, even as their feelings for one another grow increasingly authentic.
Meanwhile in mainland China, a young shopworker (Jing Boran) falls for a local factory girl (Wing Yeung), who tells him he must stand in the hot summer sun for 100 days outside the window of her workshop to earn her affection. But his determination to win her begins to flag in the unbearable heat, even though his apparent loyalty engages her sympathy.
In Beijing, a famous photographer (Duan Yihong), who loses his sight after firing a vindictive young female model from a fashion shoot, must rely on the kindness and compassion of his assistant (Fu Xinbo) in their quest to find the girl that the younger man has fallen in love with and lift her suspected curse.
Throughout the movie, the starry ensemble cast struggles with a cookie-cutter script weighed down by coincidence and cliches that leaves little opportunity for inspired interpretation. Co-directors Wing Shya and Tony Chan (one of two screenwriters) seem to have lifted nearly every familiar shot from the rom-com playbook, substituting imitation for originality and sentimentality for comedy. Aside from the unusual weather, "Hot Summer Days" generates too little heat to spark much fervor.
|Fri, October 08, 2010 at 4:15 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
CHICAGO – Albertina Walker's singing once stopped the filming of a movie because so many actors were moved to tears by the "Queen of Gospel." At home in Chicago, she babied her beloved French poodles, wore rhinestone sunglasses and was a fixture at the city's gospel music festival.
The Grammy-winning singer died Friday at age 81 of respiratory failure at RML Specialty Hospital in Chicago, said her granddaughter, Tina Nance. Walker, a protege of Mahalia Jackson, formed her own gospel group, the Caravans, as a young woman. Later, she played the role of mentor to many young singers.
She also was the only grandparent Nance ever knew. In bits and pieces, Nance figured out as a girl that Walker wasn't her biological grandmother, but she never got a straight answer about it from Walker.
"She said to me, 'I am your grandmother. That's all you need to know,'" Nance told The Associated Press on Friday.
Taking young people under her wing started early for Walker. Delores Washington, 72, who joined the Caravans in 1958, said Walker was like a big sister, keeping her and the other younger singers out of trouble when they toured. They sang in churches and stayed in people's homes because segregation kept them out of many hotels, Washington recalled.
"There was name-calling. We'd have to go in through the back door (at restaurants) if we wanted something to eat," Washington said. "It came as a total shock to me. I was born in Illinois. I was not familiar with all this hostility toward black people" elsewhere.
Walker set an example by demanding respect with her demeanor.
"We held our heads up high and kept pushing," Washington said. "We were on a mission: To sing for God."
Agent and friend Sasha Daltonn said Walker stuck with gospel music even though she'd been encouraged to sing R&B during the 1960s and 1970s.
"She was revered in the gospel community because of her commitment to gospel, her distinctive style and her uncompromising faith in God," Daltonn said. "It wasn't about the money. It was about the message."
A foundation Walker started to help young people get formal musical training now gives away $10,000 a year, Nance said.
Nance remembered her grandmother wowing the cast of the Steve Martin movie "Leap of Faith" when she sang a solo for a scene. Nance, an extra in the 1992 movie, said filming stopped because so many of the actors were moved to tears.
"It was like the spirit of the Lord came into that place. They had to take a break because everyone was crying," Nance said. Later, Martin sent Walker a bouquet with a card that read, "You are truly the greatest gospel singer in the world," Nance said. Walker treasured the card because she admired Martin's comedy.
"One of our favorite movies was 'The Jerk,'" Nance said.
Pam Morris, a close friend of Walker's and WVON radio host, called Walker a "legend" who was responsible for launching more than a dozen gospel artists' careers.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush said in a statement that Walker was a voice for the civil rights movement whose music was "a healing balm to those who struggled for justice."
Walker, a lifelong Chicago resident, was a member of the West Point Baptist Church. Funeral arrangements are pending.
|Fri, October 08, 2010 at 1:13 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
He is well-known for using foul language in lyrics, but rapper Eminem says bad words have no place in his own home with children around, he told television news magazine "60 Minutes."
Early in his career, the Grammy-winning artist was often the object of complaints about violent, explicit, misogynistic and homophobic lyrics in songs from his albums such as "The Slim Shady LP" and "The Marshal Mathers LP."
But at home, Eminem will have none of it. "Profanity around my house? No," he told "60 Minutes" correspondent Anderson Cooper.
"I'm not saying there's not glimpses of me in the music, there's not truth in...things that I say, but this is my music, this is my art," he added.
Eminem said he does not feel comfortable using profanity in front of his daughter Hailie, now 15, and his two other adopted daughters, Lainey and Whitney.
"I'm a parent, I have daughters. I mean, how would I really sound, as a person, walking around my house 'Bitch, pick this up.' You know what I mean? I don't cuss," he said.
During the interview, which airs Sunday October 10 on the CBS television network show, Eminem also discusses his childhood, his rise in the music industry, being white in the predominantly black rap world, and his drug addiction.
Additionally, Eminem takes Cooper through the rhyming process and to his hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
|Thurs, October 07, 2010 at 3:05 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Bruno Mars should be having the best week ever: He has the No. 1 song in America, his debut album, "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," was released this week and his 25th birthday is on Friday.
But while singer-songwriter-producer has much to smile about, at the same time, his success is being tainted by a recent felony charge.
Mars was arrested last month for allegedly possessing 2.6 grams of cocaine after performing at a Las Vegas nightclub. He's due in court Nov. 18 and if convicted, he faces up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
But some industry experts believe the drug charge won't do much harm to the singer's rising career.
"I don't think he meant it to come off that way, but his recent arrest shows that he has a little bit of edge I suppose," said Craig Marks, the editor of Billboard.
Marks said the arrest might have the unintended effect of introducing Mars to a wider celebrity audience than he would have enjoyed before.
"It's not the best kind of publicity and hopefully it doesn't really indicate some kind of deeper problem," Marks said, "but the fact is that I don't think it will harm his following."
The drug charge for the talented musician comes as a surprise. Though a newcomer, the image Mars built was an easygoing, wholesome one.
He's the man with the cooing falsetto and guitar grooves, behind the scene and in front of it. He sang on, co-wrote and co-produced two of the year's biggest songs: Travie McCoy's jam "Billionaire" and B.o.B's No. 1 rap groove "Nothin' on You." And Mars' own single, the pop tune "Just the Way You Are," has made it to the top spot of Billboard's Hot 100 chart.
"He's got a good mix of R&B and pop styles, which is very 'right' right now," Marks said.
Mars is one-third of the production trio the Smeezingtons, which includes Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine. Mars said they put together "Nothin' on You" and "Billionaire" in a single day. The Smeezingtons have also produced international hits like Flo Rida's "Right Round," K'Naan's "Wavin' Flag" and Cee Lo's "(Expletive) You!" And they've penned tunes for Justin Bieber, Brandy, Matisyahu, Mike Posner and Sean Kingston, among others.
They met in Los Angeles where Mars moved in 2002 after graduating from high school in Hawaii.
Mars' mother, from the Philippines, and his father, of Puerto Rican descent, met in Hawaii. Mars said he was singing professionally since the age of 6, and credits the island with helping him discover his musical talents.
"I was real lucky because I come from a real musical family and Hawaii's already so musical, like everybody already plays instruments, everybody's already singing," he said. "You have your Top 40 radio so you can get your hip-hop and your R&B, but then you get this other stuff, this cool folk music, these really beautiful songs on ukulele and acoustic, and (I) just grew up with a lot of (that)."
When Mars started writing for "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," he focused on creating songs that would translate during live performances, drawing inspiration from Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Prince.
"I like watching rock stars, people that come up on stage and do their thing. Even Tupac. That's what I idolized," said Mars, who is currently on the road with Maroon 5 and OneRepublic (his own tour kicks off in November).
He found creating songs for his own album somewhat complicated.
"It's easier for me to do it for someone else, an