Country Star Trivia

Comstock/Thinkstock Released in March 1994 as the second single from Tim McGraw's Not a Moment Too Soon album, this song would go on to become the Louisiana native's first #1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Can you name it? ANSWER:  "Don't Take the Girl."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Shania Twain Expects to Finish "Schizophrenic" New Album by the End of the Year

CMTShania Twain expects to finish her new album before the end of the year, and the country/pop icon admits making her first record since her divorce from husband and longtime producer Mutt Lange was tough.

“I didn’t know where to begin,” she tells Billboard. “I’d write every type of song, every type of lyric, every type of melody. Who is going to say, ‘All right, let’s hone in on this style?’ I didn’t have that direction, whereas with Mutt I did.”

Shania crafted much of the project at her home in the Bahamas, seeking refuge in a variety of places, from the bathroom to the basement to the beach. She admits she even wrote one song in a hotel closet.

“It’s a strange thing, but I do need that isolation,” she confesses. “I need to feel alone and intimate with my thoughts.”

As for whether the album leans more to the country or pop side, Shania classifies it as “kind of schizophrenic musically,” adding that in the end, she’s very satisfied with it.

“I talk a lot more about pain, but… It’s very triumphant in the end,” she reveals. “I felt like, ‘Whew! I made it through the album! I made it through writing all the songs!’ It was an emotional roller coaster, and the lyrics reflect that.”

Billboard will bestow its Icon honor on Shania Friday in New York City at the annual Women in Music gala. The show is set to air as a special December 12 on Lifetime.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Did Michael Jackson Have a Secret Romance?

Dave M. Benett/Getty ImageAn alleged secret romance between Michael Jackson and a young woman named Shana Mangatal will be revealed in a tell-all book written by Mangatal, reports Electronic Urban Report.

In the book, titled Michael and Me: The Untold Story of Michael Jackson's Secret Romance, Mangatal claims that her love affair with the late pop icon began the first time she saw him at his 1988 Madison Square Garden concert in New York City, and lasted until 2009.  

She states that Jackson pointed at her while performing his hit song "Human Nature," while singing the lyrics, "See that girl -- she knows I'm watching. She likes the way I stare." 

"He kept glancing at me for the remainder of the concert and I was sure we had made a love connection," Mangatal writes in the memoir.  

Throughout Michael and Me, Mangatal discusses her alleged two-decade relationship with the legend, which includes tales of MJ flying Shana "to events out of the country, details of Jackson initiating phone sex and Mangatal claiming that Jackson took her virginity."

Michael and Me: The Untold Story of Michael Jackson's Secret Romance is currently on sale everywhere. 

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Ex-Yes Keyboardist Rick Wakeman Releasing New Solo Album, "Piano Portraits," in Early 2017

PRNewsFoto/UMeFormer Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman will release a new solo album titled Piano Portraits in early 2017 that features covers of a variety of well-known rock and pop songs, including some tunes on which he originally performed.

The record boasts solo piano versions of Yes' "Wonderous Stories," The Beatles' "Help!" and "Eleanor Rigby," David Bowie's "Life on Mars" and "Space Oddity," Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," Cat Stevens' "Morning Has Broken" and 10cc's "I'm Not in Love," as well as classical pieces by Debussy and Tchaikovsky. The virtuoso musician says he was inspired in part to make Piano Portraits in response to the positive reaction to his tribute performance of "Life on Mars" on BBC radio earlier this year after Bowie's death.

"I've been wanting to do a piano album for years and I spent quite a bit of time looking at everything from straight classical pieces to stuff that I'd played on in the past like 'Morning Has Broken' and 'Life on Mars'," Wakeman explains. "Plus pieces of music that I thought would work really well like 'Stairway to Heaven' and classics like 'Clair de Lune.' Nearly all of the tracks have a memory for me somewhere down the line and it just seemed to work."

In addition to "Life on Mars" and "Morning Has Broken," Rick also contributed his talents to the original versions of "Wonderous Stories" and "Space Oddity."

Piano Portraits will be released on CD and as a digital download on January 13, and as a two-LP vinyl set on February 3.

You can check out videos of Wakeman's solo performances of "Help!" and Debussy's "Clair de Lune" at

Here is the full track list of Piano Portraits:

"Stairway to Heaven"
"Life on Mars"
"I'm Not in Love"
"Wonderous Stories"
"Amazing Grace"
"Swan Lake"
"Morning Has Broken"
"Space Oddity"
"Dance of the Damselflies"
"Clair de Lune"
"I Vow to Thee My Country"
"Eleanor Rigby"

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Joy to the World! Mariah Carey Headed to YouTube Red for Christmas Special 

James Dimmock/ E! EntertainmentMariah Carey will headline a YouTube Red holiday special called The Keys of Christmas, says Variety.

The Christmas-themed webcast also will feature CiaraDJ KhaledFifth Harmony, rock band Boyce Avenue and YouTube star comedian Rudy Mancuso

"Music is wildly popular on YouTube, and we're excited to bring together some of the biggest names in music alongside some of the biggest stars on YouTube," says Ben Relles, YouTube's head of unscripted original content. 

The Keys of Christmas will be directed by Grammy-winning music video director Dave Meyers, known for working with some of music's biggest stars, including Katy PerryPinkRihannaShakiraMissy Elliot and Britney Spears.  

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Travis Barker's Musink Festival Announces 2017 Lineup

ABC/Alycia MonacoThe details for the 2017 Musink music, tattoo and car festival, produced by Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, have been revealed. The 10th edition of the annual event will be held March 17-19 in Costa Mesa, California, and will feature performances by NOFX, Bad Religion, The Used, Pennywise and The Vandals.

"Stoked to be bringing in the 10th year of music, tattoos and cars with such legendary bands as NOFX, Pennywise,  Bad Religion and The Vandals," says Barker in a statement.

For the full lineup and ticket info, visit

Barker's 2017 schedule also includes a European tour with Blink-182.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Train Releases New Video for Their First-Ever Christmas Song 

Sunken Forest RecordsTrain's first holiday song, the original composition "Shake Up Christmas," came out in 2010.  The band re-recorded the song with a somewhat different arrangement for their 2015 holiday album Christmas in Tahoe, and they've just now released a new video for it.

The video shows Train singer Pat Monahan waking up on a boat on Lake Tahoe, just like the one pictured on the cover of Christmas in Tahoe, on December 24.  Realizing Christmas is coming, he hits the road, picking up decorations and a Christmas tree in a truck.  That's intercut with footage of adults and kids toasting marshmallows and lighting sparklers on a lake shore. 

Monahan eventually joins the group on the shore, and they end up partying and drinking wine on several boats on the lake, all decorated with Christmas lights.  A sleepy dog wearing fake reindeer horns completes the festive scene.

In addition to "Shake Up Christmas," Christmas in Tahoe also features the band's current holiday single "This Christmas," which has just topped the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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New Kids on the Block Announces Extra Dates for The Total Package Tour 

Austin HargravesIt seems fans are really clamoring for their ‘90s nostalgia. New Kids on the Block has added extra dates for their The Total Package Tour, featuring special guests Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men.

The band has added second shows to their sold-out stops in Chicago and Toronto, as well as new shows in Indianapolis and Hollywood, Florida.

Tickets for the Chicago, Toronto and Indianapolis dates go on sale Friday, December 9 at 10 a.m. local time. You can purchase tickets for the Hollywood, Florida show starting Thursday, December 15 at 10 a.m. local time.

The tour kicks off May 12 in Columbus, Ohio.

Here are the new dates:

6/16 -- Chicago, IL, Allstate Arena
6/18 -- Indianapolis, IN, Bankers Life Fieldhouse
6/21 -- Toronto, ON, Air Canada Centre
7/16 -- Hollywood, FL, Hard Rock Live

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


David Bowie's "Blackstar" Scores Four Posthumous Grammy Nominations

Columbia RecordsDavid Bowie may be gone, but his musical achievements continue. He and his last album, Blackstar, has been nominated for five Grammys, including Best Rock Song and Best Alternative Music Album.

Bowie died just two days after releasing the critically-acclaimed Blackstar.  The title track has earned the late legend nods for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song, and the album itself is up for Best Alternative Album, where its competition includes discs by PJ Harvey, Iggy Pop, Bon Iver and Radiohead.  The album is also up for Best Recording Package and Best Engineered Album Non-Classical.

Other rock nominees include Metallica, whose song "Hardwired" is up for Best Rock Song, and the Beatles, sort of: Ron Howard's documentary about the Fab Four, Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years, is up for Best Music Film.  Peter Gabriel is up for Best Song Written for Visual Media for "The Veil," which he wrote for the movie Snowden.

Paul McCartney's reissue of his album Tug of War is up for Best Boxed or Special Edition Limited Package.

Finally, Bob Dylan, who's already won a Nobel Prize this year, is up for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for his disc of standards, Fallen Angels. Bizarrely, his competition includes Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban and opera star Andrea Bocelli.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Beyonce Leads 59th Annual Grammy Nominations with 9 Nominations 


Beyonce's Lemonade has turned into Grammy gold.

Queen Bey leads the nominations for the 59th annual Grammy Awards with a total of nine nods, including Album of the Year for Lemonade, plus Record and Song of the Year for her single "Formation."  Close behind her are Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West, who each have eight, and Chance the Rapper, who scored seven.

Competing for Album of the Year against Lemonade are Adele's 25, Drake's ViewsJustin Bieber'sPurpose and Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide to Earth.  Best New Artist nominees are country stars Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris, plus The Chainsmokers, Chance the Rapper and Anderson .Paak.

Here are the nominees in the top Grammy categories. 

Album Of The Year:
25 — Adele
Lemonade — Beyoncé
Purpose — Justin Bieber
Views — Drake 
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson
Record Of The Year:
“Hello” — Adele
“Formation” — Beyoncé 
“7 Years” — Lukas Graham
“Work” — Rihanna Featuring Drake
“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots
Song Of The Year:
“Formation” — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)
“Hello” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
“I Took A Pill In Ibiza” — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)
“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)
“7 Years” — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)
Best New Artist:
Kelsea Ballerini 
The Chainsmokers 
Chance The Rapper 
Maren Morris 
Anderson .Paak


Best Pop Solo Performance:
“Hello” — Adele
“Hold Up” — Beyoncé
“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber
“Piece By Piece” (Idol Version) — Kelly Clarkson
“Dangerous Woman” — Ariana Grande

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:
“Closer” —  The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey
“7 Years” — Lukas Graham
“Work” — Rihanna Featuring Drake
“Cheap Thrills” — Sia Featuring Sean Paul
“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album:
Cinema — Andrea Bocelli
Fallen Angels — Bob Dylan
Stages Live — Josh Groban
Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin — Willie Nelson
Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway -- Barbra Streisand

Best Pop Vocal Album:
25 — Adele
Purpose  — Justin Bieber
Dangerous Woman  — Ariana Grande
Confident — Demi Lovato
This Is Acting — Sia

Best Dance Recording:
“Tearing Me Up” — Bob Moses
“Don’t Let Me Down” — The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya
“Never Be Like You” — Flume Featuring Kai
“Rinse & Repeat” — Riton Featuring Kah-Lo
“Drinkee” — Sofi Tukker

Best Dance/Electronic Album:
Skin — Flume
Electronica 1: The Time Machine — Jean-Michel Jarre
Epoch — Tycho
Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future — Underworld
Louie Vega Starring…XXVIII — Louie Vega


Best Rock Performance:
“Joe” (Live From Austin City Limits) — Alabama Shakes
“Don’t Hurt Yourself” — Beyoncé Featuring Jack White
“Blackstar” — David Bowie
“The Sound Of Silence” (Live On Conan) — Disturbed
“Heathens” —  Twenty One Pilots

Best Metal Performance:
“Shock Me” —  Baroness
“Silvera” — Gojira
“Rotting In Vain” — Korn
“Dystopia” — Megadeth
“The Price Is Wrong” — Periphery

Best Rock Song:
“Blackstar” — David Bowie, songwriter (David Bowie)
“Burn The Witch” — Radiohead, songwriters (Radiohead)
“Hardwired” — James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich, songwriters (Metallica)
“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)
“My Name Is Human” — Rich Meyer, Ryan Meyer &amp; Johnny Stevens, songwriters (Highly Suspect)

Best Rock Album:
California —  Blink-182
Tell Me I’m Pretty — Cage The Elephant
Magma —  Gojira
Death Of A Bachelor — Panic! At The Disco
Weezer — Weezer


Best Alternative Music Album:
22, A Million — Bon Iver
Blackstar — David Bowie
The Hope Six Demolition Project — PJ Harvey
Post Pop Depression — Iggy Pop
A Moon Shaped Pool — Radiohead


Best R&B Performance:
“Turnin’ Me Up” — BJ The Chicago Kid
“Permission” — Ro James
“I Do” — Musiq Soulchild
“Needed Me” — Rihanna
“Cranes In The Sky” — Solange

Best Traditional R&B Performance:
“The Three Of Me” — William Bell
“Woman’s World” — BJ The Chicago Kid
“Sleeping With The One I Love” — Fantasia
“Angel” — Lalah Hathaway
“Can’t Wait” — Jill Scott

Best R&B Song:
“Come See Me” — J. Brathwaite, Aubrey Graham & Noah Shebib, songwriters (PartyNextDoor Featuring Drake)
“Exchange” — Michael Hernandez & Bryson Tiller, songwriters (Bryson Tiller)
“Kiss It Better” — Jeff Bhasker, Robyn Fenty, John-Nathan Glass &amp; Natalia Noemi, songwriters (Rihanna)
“Lake By The Ocean” — Hod David & Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)
“Luv” — Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin &amp; Daystar Peterson, songwriters (Tory Lanez)

Best Urban Contemporary Album:
Lemonade — Beyoncé
Ology — Gallant
We Are King — KING
Malibu — Anderson .Paak
Anti — Rihanna

Best R&B Album:
In My Mind — BJ The Chicago Kid
Lalah Hathaway Live — Lalah Hathaway
Velvet Portraits — Terrace Martin
Healing Season — Mint Condition
Smoove Jones — Mya


Best Rap/Sung Performance:
“Freedom” — Beyoncé Featuring Kendrick Lamar
“Hotline Bling” — Drake
“Broccoli” — D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty
“Ultralight Beam” — Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream
“Famous” — Kanye West Featuring Rihanna

Best Rap Song:
“All The Way Up” — Joseph Cartagena, Edward Davadi, Shandel Green, Karim Kharbouch, Andre Christopher Lyon, Reminisce Mackie &  Marcello Valenzano, songwriters (Fat Joe & Remy Ma Featuring French Montana & Infared)
“Famous” — Chancelor Bennett, Ross Birchard, Ernest Brown, Andrew Dawson, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Noah Goldstein, Kejuan Muchita, Patrick Reynolds, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West Featuring Rihanna)
“Hotline Bling” — Aubrey Graham & Paul Jefferies, songwriters (Drake)
“No Problem” — Chancelor Bennett, Dwayne Carter & Tauheed Epps, songwriters (Chance The Rapper Featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)
“Ultralight Beam” — Chancelor Bennett, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Kirk Franklin, Noah Goldstein, Samuel Griesemer, Terius Nash, Jerome Potter, Kelly Price, Nico “Donnie Trumpet” Segal, Derek Watkins, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream)

Best Rap Album:
Coloring Book — Chance The Rapper
And The Anonymous Nobody — De La Soul
Major Key — DJ Khaled
Views — Drake
Blank Face LP — ScHoolboy Q
The Life Of Pablo — Kanye West


Best Country Solo Performance:
“Love Can Go To Hell” — Brandy Clark
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert
“My Church” — Maren Morris
“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:
“Different For Girls” — Dierks Bentley Featuring Elle King
“21 Summer” — Brothers Osborne
“Setting The World On Fire” — Kenny Chesney & P!nk
“Jolene” — Pentatonix Featuring Dolly Parton
“Think Of You” — Chris Young With Cassadee Pope

Best Country Song:
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” —  Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey & Steven Lee Olsen, songwriters (Keith Urban)
“Die A Happy Man” — Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett & Joe Spargur, songwriters (Thomas Rhett)
“Humble And Kind” — Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw)
“My Church” — busbee & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris)
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

Best Country Album:
Big Day In A Small Town — Brandy Clark
Full Circle — Loretta Lynn
Hero — Maren Morris
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson
Ripcord — Keith Urban


Best Music Video:
"Formation" — Beyoncé
"River" — Leon Bridges
"Up & Up" — Coldplay
"Gosh" — Jamie XX
"Upside Down & Inside Out" — OK Go

Best Music Film:
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead —  Steve Aoki
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week The Touring Years —  (The Beatles)
Lemonade — Beyoncé
The Music Of Strangers — Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble
American Saturday Night: Live From The Grand Ole Opry —  (Various Artists)


Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media:
Amy — (Various Artists)
Miles Ahead — (Miles Davis & Various Artists)
Straight Outta Compton —  (Various Artists)
Suicide Squad (Collector’s Edition) — (Various Artists)
Vinyl: The Essentials Season 1  —  (Various Artists)

Best Song Written For Visual Media:
“Can’t Stop The Feeling! — Max Martin, Shellback & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel)
“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)
“Just Like Fire” — Oscar Holter, Max Martin, P!nk & Shellback, songwriters (P!nk)
“Purple Lamborghini” — Shamann Cooke, Sonny Moore & William Roberts, songwriters (Skrillex & Rick Ross)
“Try Everything” — Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler & Tor Erik Hermansen, songwriters (Shakira)
“The Veil” — Peter Gabriel, songwriter (Peter Gabriel)


Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling):
The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo — Amy Schumer
In Such Good Company: Eleven Years Of Laughter, Mayhem, And Fun In The Sandbox — Carol Burnett
M Train — Patti Smith
Under The Big Black Sun: A Personal History Of L.A. Punk — (John Doe With Tom Desavia) (Various Artists)
Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink — Elvis Costello


Best Comedy Album:

…America…Great… — David Cross
American Myth — Margaret Cho
Boyish Girl Interrupted — Tig Notaro
Live At The Apollo — Amy Schumer
Talking For Clapping — Patton Oswalt


Best Musical Theater Album:
Bright Star —  Carmen Cusack, principal soloist; Jay Alix, Peter Asher & Una mJackman, producers; Steve Martin, composer; Edie Brickell, composer & lyricist (Original Broadway Cast)
The Color Purple — Cynthia Erivo & Jennifer Hudson, principal soloists; Stephen Bray, Van Dean, Frank Filipetti, Roy Furman, Scott Sanders & Jhett Tolentino, producers (Stephen Bray, Brenda Russell &Allee Willis, composers/lyricists) (New Broadway Cast)
Fiddler On The Roof — Danny Burstein, principal soloist; Louise Gund, David Lai & Ted Sperling, producers (Jerry Bock, composer; Sheldon Harnick, lyricist) (2016 Broadway Cast)
Kinky Boots — Killian Donnelly & Matt Henry, principal soloists; Sammy James, Jr., Cyndi Lauper, Stephen Oremus & William Wittman, producers (Cyndi Lauper, composer & lyricist) (Original West End Cast)
Waitress — Jessie Mueller, principal soloist; Neal Avron, Sara Bareilles & Nadia DiGiallonardo, producers; Sara Bareilles, composer & lyricist


Best Recording Package:
Anti  — Ciarra Pardo & Robyn Fenty, art directors (Rihanna)
Blackstar — Jonathan Barnbrook, art director (David Bowie)
Human Performance  — Andrew Savage, art director (Parquet Courts)
Sunset Motel — Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds, art directors (Reckless Kelly)
22, A Million — Eric Timothy Carlson, art director (Bon Iver)

Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package:
Edith Piaf 1915-2015 — Gérard Lo Monaco, art director (Edith Piaf)
401 Days — Jonathan Dagan & Mathias Høst Normark, art directors (J.Views)
I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It (Box Set) — Samuel Burgess-Johnson & Matthew Healy, art directors (The 1975)
Paper Wheels (Deluxe Limited Edition) — Matt Taylor, art director (Trey Anastasio)
Tug Of War (Deluxe Edition) — Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors (Paul McCartney)

Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical:
Benny Blanco
Greg Kurstin
Max Martin
Ricky Reed

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Madonna's Carpool Karaoke Appearance Airs Wednesday

Image courtesy CBSWe already knew Madonna was James Corden's next guest on Carpool Karaoke.  Now The Late Late Show has posted a preview clip of her appearance, and she uses all of the real estate the passenger seat provides.

The 58-year-old material girl, dressed in a black leather jacket and black denim jeans, cruises the streets of New York City with Corden, at one point turning around to kneel in her seat and twerk. 

The clip also teases whether or not Madonna once kissed Michael Jackson."So you want me to kiss and tell, then, don't you?" Madonna asks.

Some of Corden's past Carpool Karaoke guests include Ariana Grande, Adele, One Direction, Selena Gomez, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga.

Madonna's appearance will air during this Wednesday night's Late Late Show on CBS.

It's probably not a coincidence that two nights later, Madonna's documentary film Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour premieres on Showtime.  It'll feature behind-the-scenes footage and performances from the final leg of her 55-city tour in Australia back in March. Her 82 shows grossed over $100 million.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


"The Voice" Recap: The Top 10 Artists Each Perform Twice 

Wé McDonald performs on “The Voice”; Trae Patton/NBCOn Monday’s edition of The Voice, the eight remaining artists for Teams Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys each performed twice for a chance to earn America’s vote: a solo performance and duet with another artist. Only four of the artists ultimately will advance --  the others will be sent home.

Christian Cuevas, representing Team Alicia, got things going, He went back to his roots to perform the gospel song “To Worship You I Live (Away),” by Israel & New Breed. Adam praised Cuevas for being able to wear his heart on his sleeve. Alicia was proud of the way her artist lost himself in the moment, adding that it was a “dream-come-true performance.”

The first duet of the evening featured Team Miley’s Aaron Gibson and Wé McDonald, from Team Alicia, performing “Four Five Seconds,” by Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney.

Another Team Miley member, Ali Caldwell, followed with Whitney Houston’s version of the Dolly Parton classic, “I Will Always Love You.” Alicia was impressed with the confidence Ali exuded, even as she tackled a song that was such a huge hit. She summed it up by calling it a perfect performance. Miley agreed, adding that just as Dolly and Whitney are different artists, so are Miley and Ali, yet like Houston and Parton, they too were able to find success, in spite of their stylistic differences.

Brendan Fletcher, representing Team Adam sang Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” which he dedicated to a fellow performer who passed away. Blake praised Brendan for his consistent growth and “infectious” voice. Adam urged America to vote for Brendan because vocally, he offers “something different.”

The next duet came from Team Blake’s Sundance Head and Team Adam’s Josh Gallagher, teaming up for the Dave Mason song “Feelin’ Alright,” popularized by Joe Cocker.

McDonald returned for her solo performance, Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful.” Her coach Alicia Keys felt its message about inner beauty was perfect for the 17-year-old, who experienced being bullied while growing up. Miley said she would go to Wé’s concert and wear her tee shirt. Alicia gave credit to McDonald for knowing who she is as an artist.

Gibson returned with a version of Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do (I Do It for You),” chosen by his coach, Miley Cyrus, because she felt Aaron needed a “big moment.” Afterwards, she praised him for tackling the song and urged America to vote for him.

Christian Cuevas returned for a duet with Team Adam’s Billy Gilman on “Unsteady,” by X Ambassadors.

Next, Team Adam’s country artist, Josh Gallagher, returned for a solo performance of “Danny’s Song," by Loggins and Messina, which he dedicated to his wife. Adam boasted that his artist delivered, vocally and feel-wise, the best performance of night.”

Team Miley’s Ali Caldwell and Team Adam’s Brendan Fletcher were up next, with a cover of “It’s Only Love,” by Tina Turner and Bryan Adams.

Team Blake’s last remaining member, Sundance Head, returned to perform The Judds’ “Love Can Build a Bridge. The duo’s Wynonna Judd called Sundance to wish him luck and advised him to “just be you” and “let it rip.” The performance left Blake at a loss for words, except to say that the performance could not have been better.

Billy Gilman closed out the night with a performance of Céline Dion’s “I Surrender.” Adam noted that there’s nothing left to be said about Billy’s vocal ability, except that in addition to being a great singer, he’s also humble.

The Voice returns Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Florida Georgia Line Recalls Their Elementary School Memories of Tim McGraw

ABC/Image Group LAFlorida Georgia Line celebrates the twelfth number-one of their career this week with “May We All,” and what’s even sweeter is they get to do it with one of the men who helped pave the way for their success.

“Honestly, Tim McGraw's been a huge hero of ours for a long, long time and a huge inspiration and a huge influence,” Tyler Hubbard says. “So for him to be featured on this third record is a super special thing for [Brian Kelley] and I both. We really are diggin' our roots and we're taking it back to our influences and for guys like Tim McGraw to be willing to sing with us is just a huge honor.”

In fact, Tyler says Tim’s musical imprint on Florida Georgia Line dates back to when they were just little boys.

“You know what? [Brian] always says he can remember the first time he heard 'Don't Take the Girl' and I can remember driving to elementary school and watching my mom cry to that song,” Tyler recalls.   

Coming on the heels of “H.O.L.Y.,” “May We All” is FGL’s second number-one from the Dig Your Roots album.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Singer/songwriter Mark Gray, who was perhaps best known for his 1985 hit “Sometimes When We Touch” with Tammy Wynette, died Friday at the age of 64.

Jason AldeanThomas Rhett and Lady Antebellum will headline the festival formerly known as Jamboree in the Hills July 13-15 in Belmont County, Ohio. This will be the 41st year for the gathering, which will now be known as Jambo Country.

Eric Church’s singles “Love Your Love the Most,” “Springsteen,” “Like Jesus Does,” “Talladega,” “Like a Wrecking Ball,” and “Creepin’” were all certified platinum during the month of November.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Grammy Nominations Announced This Morning -- Besides Adele and Beyonce, Who'll Clean Up? 

Courtesy The Recording AcademyThe nominees for the 59th Grammy Awards are announced this morning; by 8:45a.m. ET, we'll have contenders in all 84 categories.  And some artists whose names have come up in pre-Grammy predictions are pretty excited about the chance of scoring a nod for music's most prestigious honor.

"Our biggest dream is to get a Grammy nomination," admits Lukas Graham frontman Lukas Graham Forchhammer.  The Danish band's been mentioned as a possible nominee for both Best New Artist and Song of the Year.

Lukas tells ABC Radio, "Our biggest dream so far has been touring America, [and] now we're in the middle of our second headlining tour here. So, yeah, a Grammy nomination would mean the world.  But...'hope for everything, expect nothing and then work harder than the rest of them,' right?"

Shawn Mendes, who's scored two #1 albums, also has been mentioned as a Best New Artist nominee.  "I hope so, man. You can only hope," he laughs. "We'll have to see."  But Shawn doesn't think awards are the be-all and end-all, either.

"I think they're very important, but I also do think they're a bonus," he tells ABC Radio. "It's always nice to just be recognized…."

Rachel Platten scored a huge hit last year with "Fight Song," but wasn't eligible for Best New Artist because her debut album didn't come out until this year.  Rachel's already won a Daytime Emmy, so how would it feel to get a Grammy nod?

"It would be the most amazing honor," she tells ABC Radio. "I'm not expecting it...this whole year has been already so incredible and that would be icing on an amazing cake." 

Even if all, or none, of these artists get nominated, the one thing you can count on is plenty of nods for Adele and Beyonce.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Kesha Talks New Music, Dream Collaborators & "Beautiful Soul" Adele

Getty Images via ABCThis Friday in New York City, Kesha will be honored with the Billboard Women in Music Trailblazer Award.  The singer, who's been locked in a legal battle with producer Dr. Luke, tells the publication that her new music will finally reveal the artist she's always wanted to be.

Kesha tells Billboard that the songs she's working on “showcase my vulnerabilities as a strength and not as a weakness."  She explains, "In the past, I always felt like I was trying to prove something. Now, I’m writing what I want to share with the world, rather than trying to give the world what it wants. For better or worse, I’m just me.”

“I’ve grown into an adult woman who realizes the power of my voice," she adds.

After the details of Kesha's lawsuit -- in which she accused Dr. Luke of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, charges he's denied -- were made public, fellow female artists rallied her, including Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Lorde and Demi Lovato.  But Kesha has special feelings for Adele, who at the Brit Awards in February said during her acceptance speech, "I'd also like to take this moment to publicly support Kesha."

Kesha tells Billboard, "Adele is nothing but class. She reached out to me privately and publicly in the middle of winning her own award. What a beautiful soul.”

The singer reveals that she's been "writing a lot" with Wrabel, who scored a hit a few months ago with "11 Blocks."  But she has a long list of other people she'd like to write with, and she's set her sights pretty high.

"I’d love to collaborate with Mick Jagger" -- who she name-checked in her first #1 hit "Tik Tok" -- Bob Dylan and Neil Young," she tells Billboard, adding, "A girl can dream!”

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Rolling Stones' "Blue & Lonesome" on Pace to Debut at #1 on UK Albums Chart

Interscope RecordsThe Rolling Stones' new album, Blue & Lonesome, is on track to debut at the top of the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart. According to, the rock legends' first studio effort since 2005's A Bigger Bang was sitting at #1 at the halfway point of the chart week after racking up nearly 66,000 in sales.

The band's last new studio album to top the U.K. tally was Voodoo Lounge in 1994, although the reissue of The Stones' classic 1971 record Exile on Main St. made it to #1 on the chart in 2010. The Rolling Stones have topped the U.K. albums chart nine other times -- with their self-titled debut in 1964, Rolling Stones No. 2 in 1965, Aftermath on 1966, Let It Bleed in 1969, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out -- The Rolling Stones in Concert in 1970, Sticky Fingers in 1971, the original Exile on Main St. in 1972, Goat's Head Soup in 1973 and Emotional Rescue in 1980.

As previously reported, Blue & Lonesome features cover versions of 12 blues songs, including tunes previously recorded by such influential artists as Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, Eddie Taylor and Howlin' Wolf. Eric Clapton plays guitar on two of the tracks: "I Can't Quit You Baby" and "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing."

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Mario Says Fans Would Be Surprised to Know How "Attentive" and "Weird" He Is

Hao ZengMario fans can see the superstar in the Art Basel issue of Miami Living magazine. However, what they may be surprised to find out about the singer is how "attentive" is he, among some other things. 

"How weird I am. How much of a loner I am, but at that same time I've [sic] very social. How deep I am as a person and how deep I can go when it comes to relating or connecting with someone," he explains, in reference to other facets of his personality. 

Mario also talks about his love of animals, including his dog, Smoky, adding, "He's not a dog though -- he's a human. I know a lot of people say that but sometimes it be too scary."  

With his fifth studio album, Paradise Cove, slated to arrive early next year, Mario gives thanks to his late grandmother for passing along many life lessons and wisdom before her death. 

"I learned how important a foundation was from her, and how important a relationship with God was, and how important it was to work hard for what you wanted," says the singer.   

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K.Flay Found a "More Powerful, Happy Place" to Write "Blood in the Cut"

Night Street Records/Interscope RecordsWhen K.Flay wrote her new single "Blood in the Cut," it was Christmastime, she was at her family's house "hanging out" while also feeling "kind of sad." However, when the song, which currently sits in the top 10 at Alternative radio, came together a few months later, the musician, born Kristine Flaherty, found herself writing from a different emotional place.

"It was kinda an interesting thing, 'cause typically I'll write a song and then finish it pretty shortly thereafter," Flaherty tells ABC Radio. "But this, there was like a little bit of time in between, which I think was good because by the time we recorded it, I was in a much more powerful, happy place."

"Blood in the Cut" certainly retains a certain harshness, though, as evidenced by its title. As Flaherty explains, the track's central metaphor isn't an image of violence or "bleeding out" -- "that sounds terrifying," she says -- but of "catharsis."

"If blood sort of symbolizes an emotional experience, the more you can participate in that and feel that, the more you start to have control over it," she says.

Sonically, "Blood in the Cut" pulls from a lot of influences, from hip-hop to industrial rock. In particular, Flaherty took notes from Nine Inch Nails, The Kills and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

"[They are all] bands that I've loved, and I feel like, especially with someone like Nine Inch Nails, it's like they occupy a lot of spaces simultaneously and over periods of time, which is really compelling to me," she says. 

"Blood in the Cut" is a track from K.Flay's new EP Crush Me, which is out now.

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Bring Them to Life: Amy Lee Breaks Down the Stories Behind Evanescence's Hits

Concord Bicycle Evanescence's The Ultimate Collection vinyl box set will be released this Friday, December 9. In celebration, frontwoman Amy Lee spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the stories behind some of the band's biggest hits.

Talking about "Bring Me to Life," Lee reveals that the song was inspired by an encounter with a friend she "didn't really know very well."

"We went into a restaurant, he sat down across from me and goes, 'Are you happy?' My heart sank into my stomach, and I was just so not ready to talk about it," Lee says. "I played it down, but I instantly was like, 'How does this person see into my eyes? How does he know what I'm feeling?'"

In a twist, that friend eventually became Lee's husband.

"I obsessed over that moment on my own and ended up writing that first verse and chorus of 'Bring Me to Life' and how he opened doors," she says. "Very dramatic."

The song "Everybody's Fool," meanwhile, was written "with the voice of an angsty teenager."

"It's about my frustration with fakeness," Lee explains. "It was the late ’90s and early ’00s, when all these bubblegum pop acts were super popular. I had young siblings, junior high and younger, who looked up to them at the time. It sickened me because I felt like these pop acts were put together like products. I wanted to say, 'Hey, you're not real!' I wanted to feel something real."

Lee also spoke about the song "Call Me When You're Sober," which she wrote with ex-Evanescence guitarist Terry Balsamo during a "campout writing session."

"I love this song because it has this fun spirit that was new for us as a band," Lee says. "You can still be heavy with a smile on your face."

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