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Monday
Feb042013

Ne-Yo Having "Conversation" About Joining "The X Factor" Lineup

Simon Russell/WireImage for Malibu RedThe judging panel for The X Factor currently has two big openings to fill since the departures of both L.A. Reid and Britney Spears, and one of those openings may be a perfect fit for Ne-Yo.

The singer, songwriter, producer and record company executive tells the Hollywood Reporter that he's in the early stages of talks to serve on the panel, but says it's by no means a sure thing.

"I don't want anybody to put too much stock in that,” Ne-Yo explains. "It honestly and truly may not happen. It’s just conversation right now, and everybody knows that in L.A., until the ink is dry on the contract, nothing is for certain."

If he were eventually offered the spot on the panel, Ne-Yo says, he thinks he could do a great job. "I feel like I have some vital information that I can give to an artist that will guarantee them as a career as opposed to a flash-in-the-pan,” he insists, adding, "So, yeah, I could definitely do it.”

Ne-Yo has already proved that he can mentor up-and-coming talent -- he did it on The Voice, helping guide Cee Lo's team members on season two.

Regarding his qualifications, Ne-Yo says when his name has come up in online speculation as a possible pick for a judge, he was unfairly dissed.  "I heard that there were some people that felt like that I hadn't been as successful as Britney Spears or L.A. Reid...They didn't feel like that I would have any kind of input to give to an up-and-coming artist," Ne-Yo says. "I feel like nothing could be farther from the truth."

Ne-Yo added, "I really don't feel like I would have a job as an A&R person at a prestigious record label if I didn't have something to give to an up-and-coming artist."  Ne-Yo is also the senior vice president of A&R at Motown.

The X Factor will return for a third season later this year.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Josh Groban Hits Movie Theaters Tonight with "All That Echoes: Live"

JoshGroban.comFans who are anxious to check out Josh Groban's new album All That Echoes will get the chance tonight, as he takes over movie theaters coast to coast with a special live interactive event.

Theaters around the country will screen Josh Groban Live: All That Echoes, a one-night-only event featuring hits from the singer's entire career, as well as selections from the new disc.  Josh will also answer fans' questions during a live interactive Q&A session.  Visit FathomEvents.com to find out about submitting questions.

Speaking to AccessAtlanta.com, Josh explains why he wanted to do such an event.  "We wanted to do something that gave back to the fans and allowed for as many fans who wanted to come to see something special to do so," he says. "It’s not just your two-minute song on a morning TV show...it seemed like a fun thing we hadn’t done before."

Josh says he's not afraid of the kinds of crazy questions that fans will ask him, either.  "One thing I’ve learned about that interaction is that when it goes great, it’s great," he says. "But when it’s embarrassing, it’s still great. You can’t lose at that stuff." The 90-minute screening will begin at 7 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. CT, and will be tape delayed, starting at 7:30 p.m. in all other time zones. 

Fans who want to see Josh in the flesh will have to wait until this summer, when he'll be playing outdoor arenas with orchestras, including three night at the Hollywood Bowl over July 4 weekend.  Then, he'll tour arenas in the fall.

All That Echoes is in stores on Tuesday.  Josh will appear on ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

 

Monday
Feb042013

Sevendust's Lajon Witherspoon Reveals Spontaneous Recording Process for "Black Out the Sun"; Says Debut Solo Album Coming

7 Bros/AsylumWhen Sevendust headed into the studio to record their ninth studio album, Black Out the Sun, the band decided to try something they had never done before.  Frontman Lajon Witherspoon says that the band experimented with a new songwriting process for the forthcoming release, which is due on March 26.

“We entered the studio with no music really and no lyrics for any songs,” he tells Alternative Addiction. “We wrote the whole album in 28 days and it was a really fresh outlook. I think after being away for a year and to get back together, it was easy for us to come up with ideas and hone in on something we’ve been doing our entire lives.”

The singer also reveals that he plans on make a solo album after Sevendust finishes its current tour.  “Once this album has taken its course and Sevendust slows down again, I’ll start working on my solo stuff,” he explains.  “I think it will always have that Sevendust sound to it…but I think my stuff will definitely have rock and a lot more soul.  And I plan on not shutting the door to anyone who would want to work with me.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Beatles "Please Please Me" Recording Session Recreated at Abbey Road Studios

Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSimply Red lead vocalist Mick Hucknall, the Stereophonics, Blur's Graham Coxon, and Joss Stone are among the artists who will recreate the recording session that produced The Beatles' debut album Please Please Me in 1963. According to The Telegraph they will join several other performers at Abbey Road Studios in London on February 11 to tape The Beatles' Please Please Me - Re-making A Classic, television special that will air on British television February 15.  The session will culminate with "Twist and Shout" which was the final song recorded in 1963.

The event marks the 50th anniversary of the album which was recorded in one day.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Kenny Chesney Details His Escape to the Islands with "Pirate Flag"

Facebook.com/KennyChesneyKenny Chesney gives some insight into his decision to spend more time on the islands in the Caribbean in his new single, "Pirate Flag." Though the references to romancing models and moving on to an island girl may seem specific to Kenny's life, he says the overall message of the song applies to everyone.

"'Pirate Flag' is a huge part of my truth," Kenny says. "It's a very real song for me. But no matter who you are or how you life, there's a part of you that wants to be free to say, you know, 'What the heck? I just want to go do what I want to do.'"

Even if you're not weighed down by a lot of worries, Kenny thinks you can still adopt "Pirate Flag" as an anthem of freedom for your daily life.  He says, "Just because life is good doesn’t mean you don’t sit and think about gettin’ away from it all every now and then."

On first listen, "Pirate Flag" brings to mind Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance," but we're not sure if that vibe runs throughout Kenny's new album, Life on a Rock, due out April 30. The project features eight songs Kenny wrote himself, as well as a collaboration with Willie Nelson.

Kenny launches his No Shoes Nation tour March 16 in Tampa, FL.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Björk, Belle and Sebastian to Headline 2013 Pitchfork Music Festival

Facebook.com/BjorkThe Pitchfork Music Festival returns this summer, and the event’s producers have unveiled the first few performers set to take the stage at the event. Björk, Belle and Sebastian and R&B singer R. Kelly will headline the fest, which will be held July 19-21 at Union Park in Chicago, IL. A full lineup of more than 40 artists will be announced in the weeks to come.

Tickets for the event are on sale now. Single-day tickets will run you $50, while three-day passes start at $120. Visit the festival’s website for more information.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Justin Timberlake Debuts New Songs During Pre-Super Bowl Party

Facebook.com/JustinTimberlakeJustin Timberlake debuted a couple of new songs at a pre-Super Bowl party in New Orleans on Saturday night that marked his first live performance in nearly five years.

Vibe reports Justin not only performed his new single "Suit & Tie," but also two other tracks from his upcoming album: "Push Your Love Girl" and "That Girl."

With Paul McCartney and other celebrities looking on, Justin delivered an hour-long set that included guest appearances from Jay-Z and Timbaland. Aside from his new music, Justin mixed in hits like "SexyBack" and "Cry Me A River" with covers of INXS' "What You Need" and The Jacksons' "Shake Your Body (Down To the Ground)."

Justin's album The 20/20 Experience drops on March 19.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Selena Reportedly Spends the Night at Justin's Home

ABC/RICK ROWELLThere's another twist in the Justin Bieber-Selena Gomez saga. Selena was photographed leaving Justin's home Saturday morning, sparking rumors that they've reconciled again.

X17Online.com has posted pictures of Selena at Justin's Los Angeles home after reportedly spending the night there. The website's photographer is quoted as saying, "Selena looks like a young girl in love. And obviously Justin's trying to win her back -- sending her home in his car and everything -- giving her the royal treatment."

The couple had reportedly split late last year following a fight in Mexico. Justin even included a song about the breakup on his Believe Acoustic album.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Whitney, Alicia Honored at NAACP Image Awards

WhitneyHouston.comThe late Whitney Houston was honored multiple times Friday at the 44th NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles.

She won two awards in the music categories: outstanding song, for the "I Look To You" duet with R. Kelly; and outstanding album, for I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston. That album featured the new version of "I Look To You."

Alicia Keys and Mary Mary also won twice. Alicia received the prizes for outstanding female artist and outstanding music video, the latter for "Girl on Fire."

Usher was named outstanding male artist, and Elle Varner was selected the outstanding new artist.

Check out the full list of music winners below:

Outstanding New Artist
Elle Varner

Outstanding Male Artist
Usher

Outstanding Female Artist
Alicia Keys

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration
Mary Mary

Outstanding Jazz Album
The Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Outstanding Gospel Album (Traditional or Contemporary)
Go Get It,  Mary Mary

Outstanding World Music Album
All of Me, Estelle

Outstanding Music Video
"Girl on Fire," Alicia Keys

Outstanding Song
"I Look to You," Whitney Houston and R. Kelly

Outstanding Album
I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Frank Ocean Says He Won't Pursue Charges Against Chris Brown

Facebook.com/TheFrankOcean; Facebook.com/ChrisBrownFrank Ocean wants to put his reported brawl with Chris Brown behind him.

In a post on his Tumblr page published on Saturday, Frank says he will not pursue criminal charges against Chris following their reported fight at a Los Angeles-area recording studio a week ago. Chris allegedly punched Frank during an argument over a parking space.

The post in full reads: "as a child i thought if someone jumped me it would result in me murdering or mutilating a man. but as a man i am not a killer. i’m an artist and a modern person. i’ll choose sanity. no criminal charges. no civil lawsuit. forgiveness, albeit difficult, is wisdom. peace, albeit trite, is what i want in my short life. peace."

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesperson previously said that Frank desired for Chris to be prosecuted.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Eric Burdon Talks New Album, Reveals He Likely Won't Be Celebrating Animals' 50th Anniversary

ABKCO RecordsEric Burdon is back with a brand-new album, 'Til Your River Runs Dry, which hit stores last week.  The British-born rocker has always been enamored with American roots music, and that love is reflected in the genres he tackles on 12-song collection, including blues, R&B, gospel and New Orleans jazz.  The album has been described as the founding Animals singer's most personal to date, and finds him musing on such topics as politics, war, religion, romance and the environment.

As the record's title suggests, the environment is a particularly concern for Burdon, specifically the subject of water -- both the lack and the overabundance of it.  The album's first track and lead single is called "Water," and Burdon says it reflects his interest in the issue.

"We have to address water and what we do with it, and what we don't do with it," he explains to ABC News Radio.  "Who regulates that industry?  What's in it?  Should it be in plastic?  It's probably not a good thing to store water in plastic for long periods of time."

The singer notes that, as someone who's lived in the California desert for 20 years, it was "only natural" for him to get involved in the issue, adding, "out there you get to really appreciate water."

Another song on the album, "River Is Rising," deals with the theme of flooding, which Burdon has observed is a problem more people around the world have become aware of in recent years.  Burdon used the story of Fats Domino's delayed rescue from his home after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as specific inspiration for this brooding gospel-soul tune.

"I heard through friends who lived down there this incredible story Fats being overlooked by the first responders," he explains.  "They put an 'x' on his door and continued on their way, thinking that he was [dead].  But he wasn't.  He was asleep."

Also on the album, Burdon pays homage to one of his musical influences, the late Bo Diddley -- not once, but twice.  The album features "Bo Diddley Special," a tribute to the rock 'n' roll pioneer that he co-wrote, as well as a cover of Bo's "Before You Accuse Me."

"Any excuse to do the Bo Diddley 'Bolongo' beat, sign me up…I love it," Burdon tells ABC News Radio.  "I thought that was one of the most innovative approaches to rock 'n' roll.  And I love Bo's character.  He was just so strong and so full of fun, and yet so powerful.  I mean, you wouldn't wanna mess with him."

Burdon laments that he never met Bo, revealing that the only time he ever came "face to face" with the blues-rock legend was at his 2008 funeral service, at which the Animals frontman performed.

Eric recently kicked off a series of North American concerts to promote 'Til Your River Runs, and plans to schedule more shows throughout the year.  Meanwhile, 2013 also marks the 50th anniversary of The Animals, but Burdon reports that he's not planning to take part in any special reunion gigs to commemorate the milestone.  The reason, he reveals, is that he recently lost a legal battle with some of his former band mates over the right to use the Animals moniker.

"[I] would probably embrace such a thing as performances, but there's no band," notes Burdon.  "The remainder of the band just took me to court in London for using the name, and they won.  So, I'm excommunicated from The Animals and I feel pretty bad about it, to tell you the truth."

Meanwhile, The Animals' and Burdon's label, ABKCO, has announced plans to release a special retrospective this year to celebrate the anniversary.

Regarding the situation, Eric adds, "What's done is done and, sure, the records stand by themselves, so the record company, I'm sure, are gonna do something.  But, as for me, it'll just be another day in paradise."

Visit EricBurdon.com to find out more about 'Til Your River Runs Dry and to check out Burdon's full tour schedule.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Britney Spears Las Vegas Deal in Jeopardy? 

EPIXThe prospect of a Britney Spears headlining residency in Las Vegas, once thought of as a safe bet, may now be more of a long shot.

A spokesperson for Caesars Entertainment, which runs numerous properties in Sin City, told Buzzfeed.com that it is not currently in talks with Britney, and that there is currently no room in the schedule for her at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which hosts shows by Celine Dion, Elton John and Shania Twain

In addition, a source tells the website that a reported deal for Britney to headline at the theater at Planet Hollywood is now off, following the announcement that a hypnotist would begin an open-ended residency there starting March 19.

That's a far cry from reports of a three-way bidding war that was supposedly going on in an effort to secure Britney's services.  However, there remains a possibility that Brit will bring her show to Vegas.  A source tells Buzzfeed that there are still a couple of offers out there, and at least one is under "serious consideration," but no moves will be made until the singer is done recording her new album.

GossipCop.com, meanwhile, says that a source close to the situation has told them that reports of the Planet Hollywood deal being dead are "premature and inaccurate," and in fact, Britney is still talking to the property about a residency.  The website adds that the possibility that Britney will end up being a Vegas headliner is "alive and well."  Stay tuned.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Train Changes Tour Name to Get Twitter Love

Trainline.comThe members of Train are very active on Twitter, and that's why, they claim, they've changed the name of their newly-announced tour.

Originally dubbed the California 37 2013 tour, the trek has now been renamed the Mermaids of Alcatraz tour.  "We changed the name, we thought it would have a better shot at trending on Twitter," the band tweeted.

The old name of the tour is the name of the band's current album: California 37.  As for the bizarre new name, well, "Mermaids" is Train's new single, while Alcatraz is, of course, one of the iconic landmarks in their home city of San Francisco.  No word on how Train's tourmates Gavin DeGraw and The Script feel about the change.

The tour kicks off July 17 in Cleveland, Ohio and tickets go on sale February 9, but there will be a limited number of pre-sale tickets that will be available starting Tuesday at 10 a.m. local time.  Check Trainline.com on Monday to find out how to access those.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Billy Joel: "I Still Write Music. Just Nobody's Hearing It"

Jemal Countess/WireImage for Songwriter's Hall of FameThis August will mark 20 years since Billy Joel put out River of Dreams, the last pop album he's released to date.  And despite being hassled by everyone from Elton John to Bruce Springsteen about making another record, the Piano Man says he has no plans to do so.

Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, Billy says, "A lot of people don't understand -- why would you retire from rock stardom?...[But] I've given away a lot of my own life in these songs and now I feel like I want to have a little bit of my own life for me."  In fact, the final song on River of Dreams is called "Famous Last Words," and Billy says, "By the time I got to River of Dreams and [that song], I felt like, 'OK, I've had my say.'"

However, that doesn't mean that he's completely stopped working on his craft. "I still write music. Just nobody's hearing it and I'm not recording it and it's not songs," he explains. "It's instrumental music.  I haven't, y'know, discarded the idea of ever writing songs."

Billy puts it this way: "I like to say I broke up with me.  The singer broke up with the songwriter and the performer didn't want to work with the piano player anymore."

By the way, Billy did write two actual songs with lyrics since the release of River of Dreams: both of them came out in 2007.  One of them, "Christmas in Fallujah," was originally recorded by an artist named Cass Dillon, and the proceeds went to a charity that builds homes for disabled American service members.  Billy released a live version of "Christmas in Fallujah" in 2008 that featured his own vocals.  The other, "All My Life," was an anniversary present for his then-wife, Katie Lee.  They split up in 2009.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

 

Monday
Feb042013

French Montana Wants Jay-Z to "Pass the Crown Down"

Facebook.com/FrenchMontanaOfficialFrench Montana's Excuse My French is packed with star-studded collaborations, from Nicki Minaj and Drake to Lil Wayne and The Weeknd.   Still, French is hoping for one more contribution, and he reveals to ABC News Radio that he's asked for a verse from Jay-Z

For the record, French's debut set already includes contributions from other industry vets like Scarface and Snoop Dogg, as he tells ABC News.  So why would the Jay collabo be so valuable to him?  "I just feel like, now since I'm the, I'm the new kid on the block -- I feel like it's very important for the, for the OG to pass the crown down," French says.

When it comes to Jay-Z, French says, "I feel like he's the king of New York, so I feel like -- I'm sure he know, I'm the hottest thing in the city.  So I'm just waiting for him to say, 'You know what, come on.  Come over, youngblood, let's knock the track out real quick."

So far, there's no official word on whether Jay will drop in on Excuse My French, which is set for release April 16.  But having the participation of Hova "would be real big for me," French says.  "But you know, if not, then the next album.  Sometimes people gotta see you prove yourself." 

French, who is signed to a joint venture deal between Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group and Diddy's Bad Boy Records, will promote his new album with his recently announced Excuse My French tour.  The trek kicks off Feb. 26, starting with a show in Washington D.C.  So far, it looks like the tour will wrap up March 26 in West Hollywood, California. 

Check French's Facebook page to see if he'll be in your city.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Keith Sweat Reveals How to Find Love and Make It Last Forever

Photo Courtesy of Simon & SchusterWho knows love and relationships better than Keith Sweat?  Well, to put it in the words of his 1996 smash, the answer is "Nobody."  But instead of keeping all that knowledge to himself, Keith will share the secret to long-lasting love in his new book Make It Last Forever.

Named after his 1987 debut album of the same title, Make It Last Forever arrives on shelves February 12, just ahead of Valentine's Day.  In the book, Keith shares a blueprint for how to communicate with your mate.  He also offers suggestions on how to fix a broken relationship and spice up your partnership.

On the project Keith partnered with Zane, a New York Times best-selling author who is known for writing over two dozen erotic books.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Nashville Note

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockX Factor winner Tate Stevens will premiere the video for his song "Holler if You're With Me" during the Grammy Awards Sunday night as part of his partnership with Pepsi.

Craig Morgan will take part in the CMA Songwriters Series show at Joe's Pub in New York City March 19.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Eric Church Scores Multiple Gold and Platinum Single Certifications

John PeetsEric Church has racked up quite a few digital certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America lately including double platinum honors for "Springsteen," which has sold two million digital copies.  "Smoke a Little Smoke" and "Homeboy" have gone platinum with a million paid downloads, and "Hell on the Heart, "Creepin'" and "Drink in My Hand" have reached gold status for sales of 500,000.

Eric is now climbing the country chart with "Like Jesus Does" from his platinum-selling album, Chief.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Justin Moore Launching Outlaws Like Me Tour March 14

Valory Music CompanyAfter serving in the opening spot on shows with the likes of Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Eric Church and Miranda Lambert, Justin Moore is set to launch his first headlining tour March 14 in Pikeville, KY.  The Outlaws Like Me tour will feature Dustin Lynch and Jon Pardi, and Justin is ready to take the audience on a big ride during his headlining set.

"Over the last few years I have been out with some of the best artists in our genre and I have learned so much from each of them,” Justin says.  “I’m ready to take everything they have taught me to build our show.  It’s going to be a blast I can’t wait!”

Dustin has played several dates with Justin over the last few years, and he has nothing but glowing reviews for Justin's live show.

"He's an incredible singer, and he puts the crowd in the palm of his hand," Dustin tells ABC News Radio of Justin's onstage presence.  "I've learned a whole lot on how to work a stage, and his shows are really choreographed great as far as how he takes you from highs and lows throughout the whole time." 

Here are the tour dates:

3/14 -- Pikeville, KY, Eastern Kentucky Expo Center
3/15 -- Troy, OH, Hobart Arena
3/21 -- Kearny, NE, Viaero Event Center
3/22 -- St. Joseph, MO, St. Joseph Civic Arena
3/23 -- Farmington, MO, Farmington Civic Center
3/28 -- Davenport, IA, Adler Theatre
3/29 -- Brookings, ND, Swiftel Center
3/30 -- Bismarck, ND, Bismarck Civic Center
4/13 -- Dodge City, KS, United Wireless Arena
4/18 -- Erie, PA, Erie Insurance Arena
4/19 -- Johnston, PA, Cambria County War Memorial Arena
4/20 -- Corbin, KY, The Corbin Arena

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder Writing New Solo Track for Upcoming Film, "Out of the Furnace"

Edu Andrade/Getty ImagesEddie Vedder will be once again contributing his talents to the silver screen. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Pearl Jam frontman, who has previously created tracks for films including Dead Man Walking, Eat Pray Love and Into the Wild, has signed on to create a new solo track for an upcoming film, Out of the Furnace.

In addition to writing a new song, a source close to the production tells the newspaper that it’s possible that a number of “previously recorded Vedder songs” will appear in the upcoming flick.

Out of the Furnace, which stars Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck, is a dark thriller about “two brothers in a down-and-out Pennsylvania town who get caught up in the web of violent crime,” according to producers. While the film doesn't yet have a firm release date, it's expected to arrive in theaters sometime this year.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio