Art Garfunkel Schedules Series of US Shows on East Coast

Image Courtesy of Art GarfunkelArt Garfunkel will be returning to the road in the coming month for his first concerts of 2015.  The lauded folk-rock singer will kick things off with a February 27 show in Aventura, Florida, before heading overseas for a European trek that runs from a March 10 performance in Dublin, Ireland, though a March 20 stop in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The 73-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer then will return to the States for a series of multi-night stands -- March 29-31 in Vienna, Virginia; April 17-18 in Pittsburgh; and April 24-25 in Niagara Falls, New York.

After being struggling with a vocal ailment that sidelined him from 2010 until 2013, Garfunkel has been playing shows regularly ever since.  His recent concerts feature him performing as a duo with guitarist Tab Laven, and include Simon & Garfunkel classics, various songs from his solo career, cover tunes of some of his favorite composers, an audience Q&A segment and readings of his prose and poems.

Here are all of Art's confirmed 2015 U.S. tour dates:

2/27 -- Aventura, FL, Broward Arts Center
3/29 -- Vienna, VA, Wolf Trap
3/30 -- Vienna, VA, Wolf Trap
3/31 -- Vienna, VA, Wolf Trap
4/17 -- Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Library,
4/18 -- Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Library
4/24 -- Niagara Falls, NY, Falls Casino
4/25 -- Niagara Falls, NY, Falls Casino

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Def Leppard Touring Canada in the Spring; Schedules Late-Summer US Dates

Image Courtesy of Press Here PublicityDef Leppard will kick off its 2015 tour itinerary with a 13-date Canadian leg in April and May, and the '80s rock legends also have just announced their first U.S. shows of the year -- a pair of appearances at summer fairs.

The Canadian trek gets under way on April 15 in Penicton, British Columbia, and runs through a May 5 show in London, Ontario.  The outing also includes stops in such major cities as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa.

As for the U.S. concerts, they're scheduled for August 27 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and September 1 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Tickets for the Canadian gigs are already available, while tickets for the St. Paul show go on sale this Tuesday, February 3, and for the Allentown performance on Saturday, February 7.

Def Leppard also will embark on a European tour that's scheduled from a May 15 show in Minsk, Belarus, though a June 6 appearance in Tampere, Finland.

Meanwhile, the band has just launched a new fan club called Rock Brigade that offers fans special tickets deals, VIP packages and merchandise.  Membership costs $45, not including shipping and handling.  Find out all the details at DefLeppardRockBridge.com.

Here are all of Def Leppard's confirmed 2015 North American tour dates:

4/15 -- Penticton, Canada, South Okanagan Events Centre
4/17 -- Victoria, Canada, Save on Foods Memorial Centre
4/18 -- Vancouver, Canada, Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena
4/20 -- Dawson Creek, Canada, EnCana Events Centre
4/22 -- Calgary, Canada, Scotiabank Saddledome
4/23 -- Edmonton, Canada, Rexall Place
4/25 -- Lethbridge, Canada, Enmax Centre
4/26 -- Regina, Canada, Brandt Centre
4/28 -- Saskatoon, Canada, SaskTel Centre
4/29 -- Winnipeg, Canada, MTS Centre
5/2 -- Montreal, Canada, Bell Centre
5/4 -- Ottawa, Canada, TD Place Arena
5/5 -- London, Canada, Budweiser Gardens
8/27 -- St. Paul, MN, Minnesota State Fair
9/1 -- Allentown, PA, Great Allentown Fair

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Geronimo! Sheppard Lines Up TV Performances, Sets Debut Album Release Date

Republic RecordsAustralian band Sheppard, which is making waves on the charts with their single "Geronimo," has set a March 10 release date for their debut album, Bombs Away. The band, which will be opening for Meghan Trainor on her upcoming tour starting February 11, also has booked a slew of TV appearances.

Sheppard, which takes its name from the three Sheppard siblings who are part of the lineup, will perform February 9 on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and March 10 on NBC's Today show.  On March 13, they'll perform on ABC's Live with Kelly and Michael.

"Geronimo" and Bombs Away were massive hits in Sheppard's native Australia, and they've already won an ARIA Award, Australia's equivalent of a Grammy.

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The Black Keys' "Austin City Limits Episode" to Air Saturday 

Credit: Danny ClinchThe Black Keys' bluesy live show will be on full display when the band's Austin City Limits episode airs on Saturday. The episode includes Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney's performances of their Turn Blue hits "Weight of Love" and "Fever," plus older songs like "Your Touch" and "Lonely Boy."

In anticipation of their ACL episode, The Black Keys have released a few clips from the show. The clips include the band's performance of "Weight of Love," plus web exclusive videos showcasing their renditions of "Howlin' for You" and "Too Afraid to Love You" -- two tracks from their 2010 album, Brothers. You can watch all three videos on RollingStone.com.

This season of ACL, the program's 40th, also featured performances from Spoon, Ryan Adams and former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis. The season's penultimate episode, airing February 7, will feature the Foo Fighters.

The Black Keys' Austin City Limits episode airs Saturday, January 31 on PBS.

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D'Angelo Playing Saturday Night Live Tonight 

Photo Credit: Jesper SkouboellingD'Angelo will appear on tonight's episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live.

The reclusive singer and his band The Vanguard will perform on the show which will be hosted by actor J.K. Simmons.

The singer will showcase new material from his first album in 15 years, Black Messiah, in his first televised appearance since the record's surprise release last month.

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Super Bowl National Anthem Singers: A History

NFL MediaThis Sunday, Idina Menzel will take the stage to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, marking the second year in a row that the NFL has chosen a female performer who isn't a pop superstar to do the honors.

While Idina scored her first top-10 pop hit this past year with "Let It Go," she's better known as a Tony-winning Broadway star, or as an actress, having appeared in Glee and movies like Enchanted.  Last year's Super Bowl anthem singer was opera legend Renee Fleming.  Prior to that, we had six years of female pop divas taking the mic, including Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, and four American Idol alums: Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, and Carrie Underwood

The last time a male performer sang the anthem was in 2007, at Super Bowl 41, when Billy Joel did the honors.  By the way, Billy is one of only two artists ever to have done it twice.  In addition to Super Bowl 41, he also did the honors at Super Bowl 23 back in 1989.  The other artist who's done it twice is Aaron Neville, in 1990 and in 2006.

Most cite Whitney Houston's performance of the national anthem in 1991 as one of the best Super Bowl anthem performances ever.  Idina Menzel certainly agrees.  Whitney's performance made a big impact, not just because she sang so well, but because it came during the Gulf War.  Her rendition was so popular that it was released as a single, was included on her greatest hits album, and was re-released to capture the patriotic spirit after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

For a historical perspective, here's a list of everyone who's ever performed or sung the National Anthem at the Super Bowl:

1 -- Universities of Arizona & Michigan Bands (1967)
2 -- Grambling University Band (1968)
3 -- Anita Bryant (1969)
4 -- Al Hirt (trumpeter) (1970)
5 -- Tommy Loy (trumpeter) (1971)
6 -- U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale (1972)
7 -- Little Angels of Holy Angels Church (Chicago) (1973)
8 -- Charley Pride (1974)
9 -- Grambling University Band (1975)
10 -- Tom Sullivan (1976)
11 -- Vicki Carr (sang "America the Beautiful") (1977)
12 -- Phyllis Kelly of NE Louisiana State University (1978)
13 -- The Colgate Thirteen (1979)
14 -- Cheryl Ladd (1980)
15 -- Helen O'Connell (1981)
16 -- Diana Ross (1982)
17 -- Leslie Easterbrook (1983)
18 -- Barry Manilow (1984)
19 -- Children's Choir of San Francisco (1985)
20 -- Wynton Marsalis (1986)
21 -- Neil Diamond (1987)
22 -- Herb Alpert (1988)
23 -- Billy Joel (1989)
24 -- Aaron Neville (1990)
25 -- Whitney Houston (1991)
26 -- Harry Connick Jr. (1992)
27 -- Garth Brooks (1993)
28 -- Natalie Cole (1994)
29 -- Kathie Lee Gifford (1995)
30 -- Vanessa Williams (1996)
31 -- Luther Vandross (1997)
32 -- Jewel (1998)
33 -- Cher (1999)
34 -- Faith Hill (2000)
35 -- Backstreet Boys; “America the Beautiful” performed by Ray Charles (2001)
36 -- Mariah Carey (2002)
37 -- Dixie Chicks (2003)
38 -- Beyoncé Knowles (2004)
39 -- Combined Choirs of the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Army Herald Trumpets (2005)
40 -- Aaron Neville with Dr. John And Aretha Franklin (2006)
41 -- Billy Joel (2007)
42 -- Jordin Sparks (2008)
43 -- Jennifer Hudson (2009)
44 -- Carrie Underwood (2010)
45 -- Christina Aguilera (2011)
46 -- Kelly Clarkson (2012)
47 -- Alicia Keys (2013)
48 -- Renee Fleming (2014)
49 -- Idina Menzel (2015)

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Kix Brooks Reveals Which Role on "Nashville" He Had to Turn Down

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleKix Brooks has appeared in several independent films in the last few years, so it seems a little odd he hasn't made a cameo on ABC's Nashville yet. It turns out, the show's producers approached Kix with a pretty meaty guest role late last year.

He tells ABC News Radio, "They gave me a great opportunity. Made me an offer to play a great part about a homeless person who had been in the music business and was kind of washed up. It was, like, six episodes, and I was just booked."

The Nashville offer came just two weeks before they wanted Kix to start filming his part, but the shooting schedule interfered with concerts he'd had on the books for months.

Kix explains, "I really, really wanted to do it, but it's not like you can go cancel shows because you gotta do another one."

Even though he couldn't take on that role, which went to film actor Mykelti Williamson, Kix's winery, Arrington Vineyards, has benefitted from the tourism boom Nashville has created in Music City since it debuted in 2012.

Says Kix, "A lot of people that come to the winery are visiting here because they've seen the show, and they want to see it. It's been a great thing for us."

Kix is reuniting with his Brooks & Dunn duo partner Ronnie Dunn and their pal Reba for a residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas starting this June.

Of note, Reba is taking part in the taping of ABC's Nashville: On the Record special Saturday night in Music City. Cast members Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson and Chris Carmack are among the other stars slated to perform. The special will air later this spring.

Nashville returns with all-new episodes this Wednesday night at 10 ET on ABC.

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Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Rihanna's New Video with Kanye West & Paul McCartney

Westbury Road Entertainment/Roc Nation RecordsRihanna has debuted a behind-the-scenes look at at the upcoming video for "FourFiveSeconds," her collaboration with Kanye West and Paul McCartney.

In the video, we don't hear from Paul or Kanye; they just walk around, and Paul strums a guitar.  But speaking directly to the camera, a nearly make-up free Rihanna, with slicked-back hair, says, "This is the first song that fans are gonna hear from the new album, and the first visual they see." 

We then see Rihanna choosing clothes for the shoot, and explaining that Kanye had the vision for the clip's stripped-down fashion.

"Kanye came up with the idea of doing just some real street denim, All-American look," she explains.  Modeling her denim shirt, she adds, "This is actually his jacket, that is some Sean John throwback vintage jacket, that is f***ing major."

"That's the look. That's the fashion tip," she continues.  "Denim never goes out of style. It's classic. It's iconic, just like the f**ing Beatles."

No word on when the video will debut, or when Rihanna's new album will drop. There are rumors that the unlikely trio will perform together at the Grammys next weekend.

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Jordin Sparks & Idina Menzel Join Charli XCX & FOB for Tonight's "VH1 Super Bowl Blitz"

Courtesy VH1Jordin Sparks and Idina Menzel have joined the lineup of VH1 + Papa John's Super Bowl Blitz: A Concert for the Troops, which will air tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Hosted by Nick Lachey, the concert will feature headline performances by Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX.  Arizona native and football fanatic Jordin will introduce a group of top NFL players who'll be saluting the troops, while Idina, who'll perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Sunday, will discuss how important the anthem is to the military.

NFL stars Charles Tillman, Jeremy Hill and Maurice Jones-Drew will also appear on the show, which in addition to airing on TV will also stream live at VH1.com and on the VH1 app. 

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Hozier Rocks Out with Ariana Grande's "Problem" on British Radio 

Alex LakeThe music of Hozier and Ariana Grande couldn't be more different, and that's why it's so much fun to hear the Irish singer/songwriter put his own spin on the pop diva's smash hit "Problem."

Hozier covered Ariana's hit for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge program, which features artists doing cover versions of other artists' current tunes.  Hozier gave the song a rock feel, performing with a full band and even a 10-person choir.  Hozier told BBC Radio 1 that he chose the song because he "always found it to be quite an irresistible little beat in the verse and we could have a lot of fun with it."

Hozier and Ariana are both Grammy nominees.  Both will perform on the Grammy telecast February 8, and both are kicking off U.S. headlining tours in February.

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Jay Z Makes $56 Million Bid for Swedish Music Streaming Company 

Life + TimesJay Z has set his eyes on the music streaming business and he's looking to acquire Swedish tech company Aspiro which operates the streaming music services WiMP and Tidal.

A press release from Aspiro on Friday says a company committee has recommend that Aspire accept a bid worth around $56 million from a company Jay Z controls called Project Panther. Although shareholders of the publicly held company will have to approve the deal, tech news site TechCrunch says "completion seem imminent."

WiMP offers ad-free streaming while Tidal offers high-resolution audio streaming.  If it goes through, the acquisition would expand Jay Z’s Roc Nation empire, which already includes entertainment and sports divisions.

With the deal Jay would join fellow hip-hop icon Dr. Dre in the music streaming space -- Dre's Beats Music service was acquired by Apple in a $3 billion deal last year.

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Drake, Kendrick Lamar & Nicki Minaj to Headline 2015 UK Wireless Festival

Image Courtesy Eric McCandless/CBSAfter canceling last year under doctor's orders, Drake will get to redeem himself at the U.K.’s Wireless Festival, this summer at Finsbury Park in London.

Organizers have announced that the rapper will headline the three-day festival alongside Kendrick Lamar, Avicii, David Guetta and Nicki Minaj. The festival takes place July 3 through July 5.

Additional performers include August Alsina, Joey Bada$$, iLovemakonnen, G-Eazy, Childish Gambino and Logic.

Tickets will be available, beginning February 3 at 9 a.m. local London time.

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J. Lo Selling L.A. Mansion for $17 Million

Matthias Vriens-McGrath/FOXAnyone in the market for a $17 million Hidden Hills, California mansion? Jennifer Lopez just put her nine-bedroom property up for sale, according to Variety.

Records show J.Lo and her third ex-husband Marc Anthony paid $8.2 million for the 17,129-square foot property in late 2010. The main house has an unassuming brick facade, but the interior is as swanky as it gets. The master suite reportedly occupies the upper floor’s entire south wing and includes a corner fireplace, a private stone terrace with a gorgeous view and a pair of walk-in closets.

Other famous residents within the Hidden Hills gated community include Jessica Simpson and her hubby Eric Johnson, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and singer Colbie Caillat.

It’s not yet known if Jennifer has plans to buy another house in Los Angeles, but the American Idol judge has been snapping up East Coast properties of late. In May 2013, she purchased a Hamptons mansion for nearly $10 million, and in October 2014 she dropped $20 million for a duplex penthouse in a New York City boutique building.

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Sam Smith Reveals How He Stays "Normal" 

Theo Wenner for Rolling StoneIn the past year, Sam Smith has managed to hit career highlights that some artists who've been around for 20 years have yet to do: he's appeared on Saturday Night Live, graced the cover of Rolling Stone, sold out Madison Square Garden, duetted with Mary J. Blige, partied with Taylor Swift and been showered with Grammy nominations.  With all this success, how does he keep himself from believing his own hype?  By going with his gut.

In a video posted on Rolling Stone's website, Sam explains, "When I’m sad, I’m sad. And when I’m having a down day, I’m having a down day. It’s important not to pretend everything’s OK because sometimes things aren’t OK, and that’s all right. It’s all right to have moody days and to be upset, you know, and be tired. I’m a human being, that’s how it should be."

"And so the way I stay normal," he adds, "is by letting my feelings take over and letting my feelings lead, not my mind."

It also helps, Sam says, that he never thought that he'd be an instant smash hit as soon as he launched his career, even though that's exactly what happened.

"I wanted to be well known at 22 and be making music, but for the success that I’ve had, I never dreamed of that happening now," he tells Rolling Stone. "I wouldn’t think I’d be playing Madison Square Garden on my first record, didn’t think I would get six Grammy nominations on my first album, I didn’t think I’d sell five million records on my first album, especially in the first year."

We'll see if Sam can continue being "normal" after the Grammys on February 8, where he's sure to take home at least a couple of trophies.

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Watch Death Cab for Cutie Play "Black Sun" on "Letterman" 

Credit: We Are the RhoadsDeath Cab for Cutie's new lineup made their television debut Thursday night when they took the stage at The Late Show with David Letterman. The band performed "Black Sun," the first single from their forthcoming album, Kintsugi.

The new lineup is without founding member Chris Walla, who left the band last year. Guitarist Dave Depper and keyboardist Zac Rae were recruited to DCFC's touring band in place of Walla.

Before DCFC played "Black Sun," host David Letterman asked the Washington-based band if they had ever climbed Mt. Whitney, to which frontman Ben Gibbard replied, "No." That may be because Mt. Whitney is in California. After the performance, Letterman realized that he meant Mt. Rainier, which Gibbard had actually climbed.

"He's been up Mt. Rainier, ladies and gentlemen," replied Letterman. "That's pretty cool."

Kintsugi will be released 31. Death Cab for Cutie will be touring North America in support of the new album starting in April.

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Limp Bizkit Guitarist Criticizes ShipRocked Fans

Image Courtesy of Interscope RecordsLimp Bizkit will be headlining the ShipRocked concert cruise next week, but guitarist Wes Borland isn't particularly happy about it.

"Can't wait to see me some roided out tribal tattooed spray tanned Jell-O shot filled bohunks do their best drunk MMA impressions in the top deck mosh pit," Borland writes on Instagram. "Whenever we aren't on stage, I'll be curled up fetal position in my cabin, palms up, while I desperately cling to the last week of my thirties as it slips through my hooked fingers."

"I'd like to give a shout out now to all the other over-the-hill late nineties/early 2000s bands going on the cruise," he continues. "Let's give these people the raging alcohol fueled nostalgia fest they're paying for guys! I know we can do it if we tune down low enough!"

The ShipRocked lineup of "over-the-hill late nineties/early 2000s bands" also includes Chevelle, Black Label Society, Buckcherry, P.O.D., Sevendust and Andrew W.K.

ShipRocked 2015 will be held February 2-6, whether Borland likes it or not.

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Trey Songz, The-Dream, and T-Pain Guest on Remix of Ne-Yo's "She Knows" 

Image courtesy Frank Micelotta/FOX

Following the release of his latest album, Non-Fiction, Ne-Yo has surprised fans with an official remix for "She Knows."

The singer recruits his R&B peers Trey Songz, The-Dream and T-Pain to breathe new life into his Dr. Luke-produced banger, which originally featured Juicy J.

"I told my partner Ne-Yo to hit me when she comes around, and I'ma tear that body up," Trey sings before Ne-Yo delivers a new verse. "She aware that I'm watching, so she gon' put on a show/ She look back and drop it because she knows, she knows," Ne-Yo croons.

Non-Fiction is available now.

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First Known Color Film of The Beatles to Be Sold at UK Auction on Thursday

Image Courtesy of Ewbank's AuctioneersAn eight-millimeter film of The Beatles at the ABC theater in Blackpool, England, that's considered to be the earliest known color footage of the band is up for bid as part of a memorabilia auction scheduled for this Thursday in Surrey, U.K.  Shot in 1963, the silent three-and-a-half-minute film shows the Fab Four performing on stage and clowning around and socializing backstage at the venue.

The footage was shot by Chas McDevitt, the leader of a popular skiffle group who was on the bill at that evening's show.  The lot also includes a DVD copy of the flick, a letter from McDevitt and a copyright letter from the film's current owner.  It's estimated to sell for between 7,000 and 9,000 pounds, or between about $10,500 and $13,500.   You can watch a brief clip of the footage at the official Ewbank's Fine Art Auctions YouTube channel.

Also going on the block is a collection of 109 black-and-white negatives of previously unreleased photos of The Beatles taken during their first trip to the U.S. in 1964.  The images, which were taken by the photographer Eve Bowen, include pics of the band on The Ed Sullivan Show, on a train headed to New York City, performing in Washington, D.C., and rehearsing in Miami.  The negatives, which will be sold with full copyright, are estimated to bring in between 8,000 and 12,000 pounds, or between about $12,000 and $18,000.

Other collectibles being sold at the auction include items related to The Rolling Stones, Queen, Eric Clapton, The Who, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix and more.  To see the complete list of memorabilia up for bid, visit EwbankAuctions.co.uk.

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Billy Currington Plays the Romantic Leading Role in His New Video, "Don't It"

Image Courtesy Mercury Nashville/Jeff JohnsonBilly Currington has released the video for his new single, "Don't It." The clip finds Billy taking on the role of romantic lead with his female co-star. He recently shot the video at Nashville's Roxy Theater with his band backing him up during the performance portions. "Don't It" is the lead single from Billy's upcoming, sixth album, and he'll be singing it on the road this summer opening Tim McGraw's Shotgun Rider tour.

Says Billy, "I've spent the last few months creating an album with [producer] Dann Huff that I couldn't be more proud of. I look forward to bringing this new music to life out on tour this summer!"

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T.I. Weighs In on Iggy Azalea's Steven Madden Beef

ABC/Randy HolmesIggy Azalea seems to have no problem venting her frustrations via social media. Following beefs with Snoop Dog and Azalea Banks, the rapper has called out designer Steve Madden for releasing unauthorized modeling images for their latest shoe collaboration. Although she's since apologized via Instagram, her mentor T.I. feels the rap rookie is handling her Twitter rants the wrong way.

A TMZ photographer caught up with Tip to ask if he agreed with Iggy's actions. 

"Absolutely not, I think she should focus on what got her here and that's her music, her performing, and continue to just present her talents to the world," he said. When the photog asked if she should just leave the drama alone, Tip replied, "Pretty much, man."

On Thursday, Madden released images via Tumblr from what Azalea says was an unapproved photo shoot, which prompted the rapper to tweet about how "livid" she was at the time.

"Everything in a collaboration is supposed to be mutually approved. But Steve madden did the most disgusting photo shoot ever and never Even told me about it, I'm just now seeing it as its uploaded on some random tumblr page and iam livid," she wrote in a series of tweets, which were deleted but captured by Fader.

Steve Madden has not only password-protected the Tumblr page, but the brand has addressed this misunderstanding.

"This was a lover's quarrel," the company tells USA Today in a statement. "We love Iggy and are very excited about our collaboration. When you get two artists working together sometimes there are fireworks. It's our creative differences that allow us to design an incredible collection and we are looking forward to sharing it with the world!"

Meanwhile, fans can expect Iggy's upcoming capsule collection of shoes to arrive in February.

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