Ruben Studdard explains why now is the perfect time for his Luther Vandross tribute album 

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Ruben Studdard, the American Idol season 2 champ who's been compared to Luther Vandross, comes full circle today with a new album, Ruben Studdard Sings Luther Vandross  While the album has been something that fans have wanted for a long time, Ruben says it's only now, later in life, that he feels he can do justice to Luther's classic tunes.

He explains, "I feel like I understand who I am musically and what I want to accomplish musically now more than I did when I was 25, or 24 when I was releasing my first three albums."

He adds, "I was kind of really trying to find myself, but every single time I would cover somebody's song, the excitement for that was really phenomenal."

That excitement started on American Idol, when he covered Leon Russell's "Superstar" to great acclaim. He included that song on his debut album, Soulful, and it earned him a Grammy nomination.  Another cover on that album -- The Bee Gees' "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" -- was also a fan favorite.

"Everybody was just like, 'Oh my God! These should be your biggest records,'" Ruben recalls of the reaction to those songs. "It took me awhile to grow to understand that the people I idolized the most were the ones that were the best song interpreters."  

So, when it comes to Luther, Ruben says, "It was just the perfect time for me to pay homage to somebody that I feel like is one of the greatest song interpreters of all time."

Ruben will launch a tour in support of the album on April 8, and it'll be designed to replicate as closely as possible the experience of attending an actual Luther concert.

Here's the album tracklist for Ruben Studdard Sings Luther Vandross:    

"Always and Forever"
"Never Too Much"
"So Amazing"
"Don’t You Know That"
"Bad Boy/Having a Party"
"Love Won’t Let Me Wait"
"Here and Now"
"Til My Baby Comes Home"
"A House Is Not a Home"
"Power of Love"

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Meghan Trainor's dying to have *this* star sing at her upcoming wedding

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeedWhen Meghan Trainor ties the knot with her fiance, Daryl Sabara, she'll probably be too busy to actually perform at the reception.  Of course, there is another artist she'd absolutely love to have sing at her wedding -- but she's not really sure he'd say yes.

In a video for Buzzfeed where Meghan answers fans' questions while playing with puppies -- yes, you read that right -- she was asked, "Which celeb would you die to have sing at your wedding?"

"Oh Lord, can they be dead or [do they have to be] alive?" she responded. "I would die to have Frank Sinatra, even though [I] can’t do that one!"  When she was unable to come up with a name, she asked Daryl, who was off camera, "Who should sing at our wedding, that won't?"  He said Bruno Mars, which was evidently the right answer.

"Bruno! Bruno, come sing for me! Sing at my wedding!" she begged. "I went to your concert, y'know. It’s, like, the same!"

During the same interview, Meghan also revealed what her upcoming third album will sound like.

"The rest of the album’s gonna be pop! Pop anthems," she explained. "A lot about love, a lot about happiness, and songs about loving yourself. Every song is like a dance song except one, there’s a beautiful ballad in there."

As for who inspired her the most while making the record, Meghan said it was actually other artists.

"I listened to a lot of ABBA before this, and O.G. pop, like young Britney Spears," she revealed,  adding, "That's what I grew up on...'NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, I listened to a lot of that."

Meghan also revealed that her biggest splurge since finding fame was buying a Tesla, and that the one celebrity who left her starstruck was Adele.

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"Seasons Change": The aural autobiography of Scotty McCreery 

Triple Tigers Records / Sony Music Seasons have changed for Scotty McCreery.

The 2011 American Idol went from having #1 albums to parting ways with his record label in early 2016. Thankfully, things changed again for the North Carolina native, and last year, he signed a new deal, launched on the strength of “Five More Minutes,” the touching ballad he wrote after the passing of his grandfather.

Just last month, “Five More Minutes” became Scotty’s first #1, and on Friday, the hard-fought full album that features the tune arrives.

“That's why I love this record so much, is because it's so personal,” Scotty tells ABC Radio. “Because it's really just non-fiction. The stories that I'm telling -- there's a song 'Boys from Back Home' -- every name that you hear, they're my best friends in my group text that we talk every day. And all the stories you hear in that song are things that actually happened.”

Along the way, Scotty proposed to his longtime girlfriend Gabi Dugal, and they plan to tie the knot soon.

“Songs like 'This Is It,' and every love song on the record pretty much, they're all for Gabi,” he says. “And 'This Is It' in particular is like a blueprint for the day we got engaged and the whole story behind it.”

While some artists might shy away from being so open with their fans, Scotty welcomes the transparency.

“I love that I can listen to these songs personally, and [they] take me back to where I was on that day,” he confesses. “I feel like folks, when they listen to it, they'll get a glimpse into my life.” 

Seasons Change is new in stores and online today.

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Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockIf you eat at Romano's Macaroni Grill on Wednesday, March 21, the Italian restaurant will donate 25% of your check to Zac Brown Band's kids' charity, Camp Southern Ground. All you have to do is show your server the announcement on Twitter.

You can check out the latest designs in Luke Bryan's 32 Bridge and HFE lines now at

Morgan Evans' debut U.S. single, "Kiss Somebody," has already been certified platinum in his Australian homeland.

If you missed Scotty McCreery Thursday morning on Megyn Kelly Today, you can watch his appearance online.

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Snoop Dogg says releasing his first-ever gospel album is "a dream come true" 

Photo Courtesy of Snoop DoggSnoop Dogg's first-ever gospel album, Bible of Love, arrives everywhere today. 

The celebrated rapper, who credits his late grandmother, Dorothy Tate, for introducing him to gospel music and inspiring him to release a gospel album of his own, talks to ABC Radio about his longstanding connection to gospel and his grandmother's influence. 

"My upbringing, we was in church and that's the first time I heard music," he says. 

Snoop continues, "That's the first time I was inspired to do music was in church. And to be able to have a record deal and to make rap records and then to finally say that I want to make a gospel album and not have nobody stop me or be in the way." 

"This is a dream come true -- to be able to put something together that's inspired by my grandmother and everybody in my family that's ever played gospel music or introduced me to gospel music." 

As for the title of the "Lodi Dodi" star's 32-track double disc, he says that he wanted to put together his own bible "based on love that's just all about love." 

Snoops explains, "A lot of times the Bible that people like to preach out of, it's like seven different versions. So, I don't know which one is real and which one is fake, and I don't even know who wrote that Bible. I ain't never seen it. So I don't believe it."  

And with Bible of Love, Snoop promises that the album will teach listeners "how to love and just be all about love."  

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Skillet drummer Jen Ledger announces debut solo EP 

Jason Squires/Getty ImagesSkillet drummer Jen Ledger is going solo. According to Billboard, she'll release her debut solo EP LEDGER on April 13.

"I feel I've just been growing and changing over the last few years and I feel the time is now," Ledger tells Billboard. "It just feels like everything is lined up all at once. It's super exciting because it is a little bit of a destiny moment."

Ledger says her Skillet bandmates John and Korey Cooper have helped her find her own "unique style," but adds that her solo material won't sound like "mini-Skillet."

"I'm edgy and rocky, but I'm also soft and got a little bit of pop in me too," she says.

Ledger will be opening for Skillet on the band's upcoming Joy.UNLEASHED tour, which kicks off April 12 in Amarillo, Texas.

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Who is the "hardest" Radiohead member?

Credit: Alex LakeFollowing his Oscar-nominated score for the film Phantom Thread, you can hear Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's soundtrack work again in the upcoming movie You Were Never Really Here, a violent thriller starring Joaquin Phoenix. Greenwood and Radiohead aren't known as a particularly fierce bunch, which begs the question: which member would be the best fighter?

In an article answering fan questions for The Guardian, Greenwood was asked who is the "hardest," or toughest, member of Radiohead, to which he responded, "It's not a very strong field." However, his first guess is guitarist Ed O'Brien.

"Ed's had boxing training -- he was sparring with the head of our concert security on the last tour -- so he's probably quite tasty," Greenwood says. "But also the most placatory and pacific of all of us."

His next instinct is to pick drummer Philip Selway, who Greenwood says "would be pretty handy if he had his wild up with someone."

"Unlikely, but still, don't push him," Greenwood cautions.

As for the rest of the band, Greenwood admits that they are "not a threat."

You Were Never Really Here opens in the U.S. April 6. Greenwood and the rest of Radiohead launch a North American tour July 6 in Chicago.

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Gene Simmons hired to promote Canadian cannabis company; releasing new book about the "27 Club"

CNW Group/Invictus MD StrategiesKISS' Gene Simmons is known for abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but the long-tongued rock legend has just been named the "chief evangelist officer" of Invictus MD Strategies Corporation, a Canadian cannabis company. As part of his new job, Simmons will use his branding and marketing expertise to help raise public awareness about the products the company is planning to introduce if Canada goes forward with its expected legalization of marijuana this year.

Among Simmons' responsibilities will be marketing consultation, media spokesman and taking part in various corporate events.

"Gene Simmons is a branding and merchandising genius, who not only created one of the most iconic bands of all time but has spent decades building successful brands internationally in various industries," says Invitus CEO Dan Kriznic. "Gene will lead marketing initiatives that will help spread the positive messages that dwell at the heart of Invictus in accordance with the strict regulations of Health Canada's Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, the Food and Drugs Act and the Narcotic Control Regulations."

In other news, Simmons has written a new book titled 27: The Legend and Mythology of the 27 Club that's scheduled to be published on August 14. The book looks at the slew of famous musicians who have passed away at the age of 27, among them The Rolling Stones' Brian Jones, The Doors' Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.

In addition to profiling the various artists, Simmons looks at the often-decadent rock 'n' roll lifestyle that led to many of their deaths, and delves into why people are fascinated by stars who die young.

Meanwhile, Simmons has a number of North American solo concerts lined up to promote his massive Vault Experience compilation. Here they are:

5/2 -- Clear Lake, Iowa, Surf Ballroom
5/3 -- St. Charles, IL, Aracade Theater
5/4 -- Fort Wayne, Indina, Foellinger Theatre
8/10 -- Grand Forks, BC, Canada, Cannafest - James Donaldson Park
8/25 -- St-Joseph-de-Beauce, QC, Canada, Acceleration de Camion St-Joseph

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Boss moves: Queen Latifah and Toni Braxton ink production deals with Lifetime

Toni Braxton; ABC RadioQueen Latifah and Toni Braxton are making some major boss moves at Lifetime. 

At the Lifetime upfront presentation on Thursday, attended by The Hollywood Reporter, the network announced that Latifah and Braxton have signed their own production deals.

Latifah will be an executive producer of the upcoming documentary Where Did the Women of Hip Hop Go? and will also star in and executive produce the one-hour special U.N.I.T.Y., which will follow her as she remakes her hit 1993 single. 

Meanwhile, Braxton, who recently starred in Lifetime's Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story, cemented a multi-picture production deal with the network. 

It includes It's a Wonderful Lifetime that will be the "centerpiece" of the network's holiday programming block. 

“Both Queen Latifah and Toni Braxton have been part of the Lifetime family for many years and it's proven that our audiences love them as much as we do and we are excited they will be back on the network for even more,” said Tanya Lopez, an executive for Lifetime and LMN.   

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Pearl Jam auctioning VIP package to benefit Parkland victims and families

ABC/Craig SjodinPearl Jam is auctioning off a special VIP package for their upcoming shows at Chicago's Wrigley Field this summer in support of the victims of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and their families.

The winning bidder will receive four tickets to either the August 18 or August 20 Wrigley show, a meet-and-greet with frontman Eddie Vedder, and a guitar signed by the whole band. For more info, visit

At Pearl Jam's show in Chile earlier this week, Vedder dedicated their performance of the new song "Can't Deny Me" to the Douglas students.

The Chicago shows are a part of Pearl Jam's summer stadium tour, which kicks off August 8 in Seattle.

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More Blake, more often: "The Voice" star sets out to own the NBC schedule

Trae Patton/NBCIf you’re not getting enough Blake Shelton Mondays and Tuesdays on The Voice, the Texoma Shore hitmaker is ready to do everything he can to help you out. The perpetual prankster is going for an all-out takeover of the NBC schedule the beginning of next week.

On Monday, Blake will stay up late to perform his latest single on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which starts at 11:35 p.m. ET. He’ll showcase his top-15 hit again on Tuesday morning, as he wakes up for appearances in both the 8 and 10 a.m. hours of Today.

The Oklahoma native won’t stop there:  he’ll also show up to do his ACM-nominated “I’ll Name the Dogs” Tuesday on Late Night with Seth Meyers, which starts at 12:35 p.m. ET.

In addition to his TV appearances, Blake’s also in the middle of a busy tour schedule. He recently sold out the first six dates on the Country Music Freaks Tour with Brett EldredgeTrace Adkins and Carly Pearce. The 14-concert run wraps March 17 in Philadelphia.

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Kehlani promises she's "never cheated" on new duet with Charlie Puth

ABC/Image Group LAKehlani has teamed up with pop singer-songwriter Charlie Puth for a duet called “Done for Me.”

The retro-inspired groove track is about a couple on the verge of a breakup. 

Each person feels like they’ve given it all to the other, and questions what they’ve gotten in return.

“I never cheated/Deleted everyone cause they made you uncomfortable/These accusations/I can't apologize for something that I didn't do,” Lani sings.

The "Distraction" star was announced as one of this year's L.A. Pride Festival headliners. 

She'll be performing at the festival's Park Stage on June 9. 

Tickets are on sale now on L.A. Pride’s website.

“Done for Me” will appear on Charlie’s upcoming sophomore album, Voicenotes.  

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Don McLean to be honored with Lifetime Achievement Award in hometown of New Rochelle, NY

Credit: Keith PerryAs Don McLean prepares to release his latest solo album, Botanical Gardens, the "American Pie" singer/songwriter will be honored in his hometown of New Rochelle, New York, at two special events on Wednesday, March 21.

At 4 p.m. ET that day, a ceremony will be held during which McLean will dedicate his existing plaque at the city's Walk of Fame in Ruby Dee Park. Then, at 7 p.m., Don will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Dinner Dance and Awards event organized by the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce.

McLean also will be taking part in a variety of interviews and promotional appearances in support of Botanical Gardens, which will be released Friday, March 23.

On Tuesday, March 20, Don will be featured in a new episode of Heartland TV show More Than the Music, premiering at 8 p.m. ET/PT.  The program will also be available on the Heartland TV Roku channel and online at An encore viewing will air Sunday, March 25, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

McLean also will celebrate the album's release with a March 23 concert at City Winery in New York City, and he has more than a dozen other confirmed U.S. shows on his tour schedule.  The trek includes a lengthy series of concerts in the U.K. and Ireland that runs from late April to mid-June.

As for Botanical Gardens, the 13-track collection features the 72-year-old musician reflecting on love and aging, as well as reminiscing about his youth.

Here are all of McLean's scheduled U.S. dates, according to his official website:

3/23 -- New York, NY, City Winery
4/13 -- East Greenwich, RI, Greenwich Odeum
4/14 -- Alexandria, VA, The Birchmere
7/21 -- Ridgefield, CT, Ridgefield Playhouse
7/27 -- Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
7/28 -- Clearwater, FL, Capitol Theatre
8/11 -- Berkeley, CA, Freight & Salvage
8/19 -- Chicago, IL, City Winery
8/24 -- Steamboat Springs, CO, Strings Music Pavilion
9/8 -- Westbury, NY, NYCB Theatre at Westbury
9/22 -- Derry, NH, Tupelo Music Hall
11/17 -- Tarrytown, NY, Tarrytown Music Hall
1/15/19 -- Oakland, CA, Yoshi's Oakland
2/9 -- Hartford, CT, Infinity Hall

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Does Taylor Swift's 3-D VIP tour invite reveal her stage design?

TAS Rights ManagementFans who paid for a VIP package for Taylor Swift's upcoming tour have evidently received their personal invitations to the festivities, and boy, are they impressive.

A British journalist tweeted a video of the invitation, a 3-D popup extravaganza complete with a video screen that shows a message from Taylor.  "Hey guys, if you're watching this right now, then you got a VIP package for the Reputation tour and I'm so excited that you did. I'm so excited that you wanted to come. I am so stoked about it," she says in the brief video clip.

The invitation might also give a sneak peek at the stage design for the tour.  It appears to show a stage with two crossed runways, each ending in a small mini stage.  Behind that are some panels, and the whole thing is wrapped in the fake newsprint that's on the cover of the Reputation album.  Behind and above the stage is a video screen.

In addition to the invite, the most expensive VIP package also includes admission to the "ultra exclusive Snake Pit," as well as a hardback book of poetry, paintings and photos, a tour laminate, a commemorative ticket and ticket holder, a patch, and the Reputation album.

The Reputation tour kicks off May 8 in Glendale, AZ.

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Remy Ma lands guest starring role in USA's "Queen of the South"

ABC/Randy HolmesRemy Ma is officially making her jump from reality TV to scripted television.

USA has announced that the Love & Hip Hop star has landed a guest-starring role on the upcoming third season of USA's Queen of the South.

According to the network, Remy will play Vee, a "key member of Chicago drug mogul Devon Finch's security detail." 

Vee is described as deeply loyal and "efficient in combat and weaponry," and someone her boss can depend on.

Queen of the South follows Teresa Mendoza, played by Alice Braga, a woman who flees Mexico after her drug-dealing boyfriend is murdered and later manages to build a drug empire of her own in the U.S.

The third season of Queen of the South is currently in production and does not yet have a set date for its premiere. 

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"Every Mile a Memory": Dierks recalls a crazy ride with Tim McGraw, as he joins Walk of Champions

ABC RadioOn Thursday, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt honored Dierks Bentley with the inaugural star on its new Walk of Champions.

The “Woman, Amen” hitmaker has raised millions of dollars for the Nashville hospital through his Miles and Music for Kids motorcycle rides and concerts.

Just as in his 2006 chart topper “Every Mile a Memory,” the Arizona native couldn’t help but reminisce about those who helped him with the cause through the years.

“I think back to Tim McGraw being my riding mate one year,” Dierks said in his acceptance speech. “Every year I'd have a different person riding next to me… and one year it was Tim McGraw.”

“I don't think Tim got the memo that we ride about 25 miles an hour the entire time,” he explained. “It's not really a ride. It's more of just a 'coast,' you know. And he's over there popping wheelies before we even left the Harley-Davidson dealership. He's revving it up, he's swerving in and out of my lane. It was a long two-hour ride with McGraw,” he laughed.

With the funny memories, also comes the bittersweet.

“Some sad memories too,” Dierks recalled, “of our buddy Troy Gentry, who was always the first guy to call me up to volunteer every year to be part of that ride.” The Montgomery Gentry singer was killed last year in a helicopter crash in New Jersey.

In 2016, after doing Miles & Music for ten years and raising around four million dollars for the cause, Dierks decided to take a break from the event. You can see one of his motorcycles from the ride, above the bar in his Whiskey Row honky tonk in downtown Nashville.

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Watch now: Sneak peek of Katharine McPhee in Broadway's "Waitress"

Matt MurphyAs Katharine McPhee gets ready to make her Broadway debut in Waitress next month, we now have a sneak peek of her in the role.

Entertainment Tonight has an exclusive mini-music video of Katharine performing one of the show’s songs, “What Baking Can Do,” as pregnant pie-maker Jenna. We see her crafting recipes for her famous pies and placing the sugary creations out on the diner’s counter as she belts out the tune.

On April 10, the singer/actress will take over the lead role in the musical, based on the 2007 romantic comedy of the same name and featuring songs written by Sara Bareilles.

The former American Idol finalist will star in Waitress through June 17.

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Drake sets Twitch viewing record while playing Fortnite video game

Ethan Miller/Getty Images via ABCIt looks like Drake has set another record, but this time not on the Billboard charts.  

Wednesday, the "God's Plan" star posted on Twitter that he was playing the popular survival video game called Fortnite with pro-gamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, which came as a complete shock to fans on social media. 

One fan tweeted, "Ninja is playing Fortnite with Drake right now on Twitch, what a time to be alive," while another wrote on Twitter, "NINJA playing FORTNITE with DRAKE. This is HUGE. At this moment.. everyone that hasn't heard of Twitch, now knows LOL."  

According to CNET, Drizzy and Ninja's Fortnite session managed to reel in more than 600,000 viewers who tuned in to watch the two play the video game on the streaming video platform called Twitch

The previous record of viewers was 388,000 set by famous Twitch streamer Dr DisRespect.  

What's even more interesting is that Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers' JuJu Smith-Schuster joined Drake and Ninja in the Fortnite fun. 

Travis shared a screenshot of his video game character on Twitter, while JuJu tweeted, "In the same week I met and recruited LeBron to the Steelers and played Fortnite with Drake, Ninja and Travis Scott. What a time to be alive."  

Fans who missed out on watching Drizzy, Travis, JuJu and Ninja's Fortnite game night can watch a video of all the highlights on YouTube now.  

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ACM After-Party for a Cause: The scoop on where to celebrate after the awards

Academy of Country MusicWe know the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards will be Sunday, April 15 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas -- but where’s the after-party?

This year, the official event will be at The Joint at nearby Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and you’re invited. Luke CombsLauren AlainaLee BriceHigh ValleyTracy LawrenceJerrod NiemannEric Paslay and Cassadee Pope are among those already scheduled to take the stage, with more talent still to come.

The post-awards gathering is part of the 6th Annual ACM Party for a Cause, which raises money for the charitable arm of the organization, ACM Lifting Lives. Tickets are on sale now at, and will run you anywhere from $55 to $105.  

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New Nine Inch Nails EP to be released in time for summer

Credit: John CrawfordThis summer will feature new music from Nine Inch Nails. Speaking with BBC Radio 6 Thursday, frontman Trent Reznor says the band will release a new EP in time for their upcoming European tour, which kicks off June 22 in London.

The new release will be the third installment of Nine Inch Nails' planned trilogy of EPs, which also includes 2017's Add Violence and 2016's Not the Actual Events.

Reznor also said that he and bandmate Atticus Ross have a few more composing projects lined up, but didn't reveal any specific details. The pair recently scored the 10-part PBS documentary series The Vietnam War.

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