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Monday
Mar272017

Lorde wanted album cover to make her look like "a teenager...after a long night"

LAVA/Republic RecordsLorde has spoken a lot about how her upcoming album Melodrama is a document of her life as a new "adult," but for her album cover, she specifically wanted to look like a teen.

According to the New Yorker, Lorde hired New York artist Sam McKinnis to paint the cover of Melodrama after meeting him through mutual friends and attending his exhibition "Egyptian Violet." That exhibit featured McKinnis' paintings based on photographs of pop culture people and things, including Prince, Laura Dern, Lil Kim, and Snoop Dogg.

McKinnis says he set up a photo shoot in a friend's New York apartment. When Lorde arrived, she changed into a vintage negligée. "She was just ready for it,” McKinniss says. "She told me, ‘I want to be a teenager in my bedroom after a long night, at daybreak.’” He then painted the album cover from the photos he took.

Because Lorde credited McKinnis as the artist when she Instagrammed the album cover, he is now being bombarded with messages from Lorde fans, who've created their own interpretations of the painting, or done their makeup to approximate the image.

Melodrama will be released June 16.

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Monday
Mar272017

Natasha Bedingfield encourages us to “Let Go” in new song for NESTEA campaign

Business WireNatasha Bedingfield is giving us a “taste of freedom” with her latest collaboration.

The singer is teaming up with NESTEA for its Taste of Freedom campaign, which aims to get people to take a break from their busy lives and enjoy small moments.

As part of that campaign, the "Unwritten" singer has released a new song and an accompanying video. The song will serve as the soundtrack for TV advertisements, digital marketing efforts and social content.

“In the busy world we're living in, it’s far too easy to get stressed out, clinging to our mobile phones, working too hard and not unplugging as much as we could,” Natasha says in a statement. “I love the idea of NESTEA’s Taste of Freedom campaign -- asking us all to 'Let Go,' put the sun on our faces and give ourselves a moment to take a deep breath.”

She adds, “This freedom is very much the spirit of what I believe music should be about: letting go.”

The video for the song features two office coworkers who sip NESTEA and are magically transported to a tropical beach.

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Monday
Mar272017

Phoenix announces North American headlining tour 

Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagicPhoenix will embark on their first North American tour in three years this spring. The French rockers will hit the road starting May 12 in Miami, and they'll wrap things up June 15 with their previously announced show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. For ticket info, visit WeArePhoenix.com.

Along the way, Phoenix will headline the Shaky Knees festival in Atlanta and New York City's Governors Ball.

Phoenix is currently working on their new album, the follow-up to 2013's Bankrupt! Since then, they've released a cover the Beach Boys song "Alone on Christmas Day" with actor Bill Murray.

Here are Phoenix's North American tour dates:

5/12 -- Miami, FL, The Filmore
5/13 -- Orlando, FL, House of Blues
5/14 -- Atlanta, GA, Shaky Knees Festival
5/15 -- Nashville, TN, Ryman Auditorium
6/2 -- Philadelphia, PA, The Fillmore Philly
6/3 -- New York, NY, Governors Ball
6/4 -- Toronto, ON, Field Trip Festival
6/5 -- Chicago, IL, Aragon Ballroom
6/7 -- Morrison, CO, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
6/13 -- Phoenix, AZ, Marquee Theater
6/14 -- Las Vegas, NV, Brooklyn Bowl
6/15 -- Los Angeles, CA, Hollywood Bowl

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Monday
Mar272017

Drake scores #1 debut with "More Life"

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Drake's new project is giving the album chart life.

More Life, the rapper's new release, has debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, setting a new streaming record in the process.  It debuted with 505,000 equivalent album unit sales -- that's the biggest week for any album since Drake's own album Views debuted with over one million units in May of 2016.

Of the units earned by More Life, a record 257,000 units were streaming, according to Nielsen Music.  That beats the old record of -- you guessed it -- Views, which had 163,000 streaming units.

More Life is Drake's seventh consecutive #1 album.  He's now tied with Kanye West and Eminem for the second-most #1 albums among rappers.  Only Jay Z has more, with 13.

And speaking of rappers, Rick Ross scores his ninth top-10 disc with Rather You Than Me.  With 106,000 units, it's Rozay's largest one-week sales total since 2014's Mastermind.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar272017

Report: Fetty Wap involved in New Jersey incident that led to gunfire

ABC/Randy HolmesFetty Wap reportedly was involved in a dispute that led to gunfire which left three people wounded in South Paterson, New Jersey in the early morning hours Sunday.

Paterson Deputy Police Chief Troy Oswald confirmed to the Paterson Press that Fetty, born Willie Maxwell, and several of his friends were involved in the incident although they are not suspects in the shooting or in an alleged robbery that happened during the incident. 

Police said the rapper was not injured and that the three who were, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

According to the paper, a dispute at an all-night deli in Paterson led to the gunfire at around 5 a.m. Sunday, but police provided no further details of the dispute nor information about any possible connection between the rapper and the wounded.

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Monday
Mar272017

Harry Styles solo single coming April 7

ABC/Phil McCartenHarry Styles is the latest One Direction member with new solo music on the way.

Harry will release his debut single on April 7.  On Saturday, Harry appeared in an enigmatic TV commercial on British television which features him walking across a dark room and opening a door to the light while piano music plays before the date "April 7th" appears on screen.

The ad was posted to Harry's YouTube channel with a note a acknowledging that the spot is for Harry's debut single.

Last month Columbia Records CEO Rob Stringer told Billboard that Harry's first solo album was nearly complete. “We're close and we're very excited,” he said. “We have a record we're incredibly excited about and it’s not far away from being ready. We obviously want everything to be beautifully done, because we think he's here to stay.”

Stringer added, “Harry has stepped up with the vision of someone who's authentic.”

Harry also will be on the big screen soon.  He'll make his movie debut in Dunkirk, the WWII movie from Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan.  The movie is due July 21.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar272017

Keith Richards talks Chuck Berry: "You see a sort of almost demonic power"

Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesIf it weren't for Chuck Berry, there may never have been a Rolling Stones.  After all, the story is often told that Keith Richards and Mick Jagger met and bonded on a train as teenagers because Keith noticed Mick carrying a Chuck Berry album.  Now Richards is remembering the late rock and roll pioneer in a new interview with The Los Angeles Times.

Of Berry's famous guitar intros, Keith tells the paper, "People don't realize Chuck used his whole body to play that riff, he doesn't just use his wrists.  I'm still working on it."  And, says Keith, that tied into Berry's whole performance style.  "Everything was syncopated and synchronized to his body movements. We all know the duck walk — that’s the famous one, and it’s a good one too, " he says.  "But if you look at old footage of him...you see a sort of almost demonic power going on in that rhythm and his delivery of it."

In the interview Keith remembers his time spent with Berry talking about songwriting, saying, "He was very interested in various kinds of music.  He used country music...[and] he was a great admirer of Hank Williams. We used to sit around talking about country writers."

Richards adds that he last saw Berry in 2012 when Berry was awarded PEN New England's Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award. Remembers Keith, "Apparently, it was the first time they sort of acknowledged that songwriting could possibly be called literature."

Chuck Berry died March 18 at the age of 90.  The album he was working on at the time of his death, Chuck, his first new record since 1979, is due June 16.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar272017

Report: Snoop Dogg to induct Tupac into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty ImagesRolling Stone reports that fellow Death Row rapper Snoop Dogg will induct the late Tupac Shakur into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the upcoming induction ceremony, April 7 in Brooklyn.

According to the magazine, despite rumors that Snoop and Dr. Dre also would be performing a Tupac tribute at the event, the lineup for the tribute has yet to be determined.

Snoop and Pac of course collaborated on the 1997 track "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" and in 2012 Snoop performed alongside a digital projection of the late rapper at the Coachella music festival.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place April 7 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.  Highlights will air at a later date on HBO.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar272017

John Mayer's Finally OK with "Your Body Is a Wonderland" 

ABC/Randy HolmesIt's safe to say that when people want to mock John Mayer, they often focus on his romantic hit "Your Body Is a Wonderland."  John admits that for that reason, he went through a phase where he didn't even want to perform it...but now, he's finally come to terms with it.

Speaking to The New York Times, John says, "'Your Body Is a Wonderland' lives so much in its own atmosphere that it's like it's been handed to me by some other person."

He continues, "There was a time where I didn't want to play it, where I took it very personally that people were making jokes about it. Now I go: 'It’s kind of cool to have [such a big song].'"

Mayer adds with a laugh, "I don't know if you've made it if you don't have the one [thing] that the least initiated person can yell at you when they see you. Dave Chappelle has 'Rick James,' you know?"

John's latest album, The Search for Everything, includes more romantic songs, as well as tunes about breakups and self-reflection, but what you won't find on it is political songs.  He says they're not for him.

"We live in a time right now where the message will be judged against the messenger," he explains. "There are times when I say to myself, 'I don't have the right to [sing political songs].' Because I haven't introduced myself to the world or placed myself as a mouthpiece in that way, I guess I shied away from it."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Monday
Mar272017

Marian Hill's identity crisis improves thanks to "Down's" success

Timothy SaccentiEver since Marian Hill's single "Down" debuted in a Super Bowl ad last month, it's topped the U.S. Shazam chart: everyone wants to know, "Who does that song?"  Only problem is, when they find out it's by Marian Hill, they assume that's the name of the woman who's singing it...and it's not.

Marian Hill is a duo made up of two people who've been friends since middle school: Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd.  They got their name by combining the names of the two main characters -- Marian Paroo and Harold Hill --  in the musical they both appeared in during eighth grade: The Music Man.  So, how often does Samantha get called "Marian?"

"Too much, but understandably so," she tells ABC Radio. "I mean, it sounds like a girl’s name, and I’m a female vocalist. But I think it’s getting better. I think the more that 'Down' becomes known and the more that we become known, they’re realizing it’s a duo, so it’s great."

Also helping is the duo's new video for "Down," which shows both of them riding up, down and every which way in an elevator.

"Down" is the first track on the duo's debut album Act One, and they describe it as an "invitation."  So what does that mean?

"I don’t think there is an easy answer," admits Samantha. "I mean, it’s about giving in to possibility, about the possibility of this person that you’re meeting, of the evening and taking a chance. It’s definitely one of our favorites and, I think, open to interpretation too."  

Marian Hill has a show Tuesday night in their home base of Brooklyn, NY, and then they're off the road until May 22, when they kick off a major headlining tour.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Monday
Mar272017

Darius Rucker joins former Late Night with David Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer on new album

Sire/RhinoFormer Late Show with David Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer has just released a star-studded album that features Darius Rucker singing on the R&B classic "Why Can't We Live Together."  While that might seem an odd pairing to country fans, Darius and Paul have a special connection through Darius' pop/rock band, Hootie & the Blowfish

"I hope people remember how far back we go, because I remember so clearly the first time that Hootie and the Blowfish appeared on the Letterman show," Shaffer tells ABC Radio.

In fact, Darius has credited Letterman for launching his group to superstardom after he invited them to perform "Hold My Hand" on his original talk show, Late Night with David Letterman, more than two decades ago.  In fact, in 2015, Darius and Hootie appeared on one of Letterman's final shows before he retired.

So, when Paul Shaffer began putting the album -- titled Paul Shaffer & the World's Most Dangerous Band -- together, he knew it had to include Darius.

Paul tells ABC Radio, "You know, that low voice of his, that baritone is magical. And something about him singing the sentiment of [Why Can't We Live Together], it just strikes a chord in me."

The song is a pacifist anthem, with lyrics that go, "No more war, no more war/All we want is some peace in this world."

Paul Shaffer and the World's Most Dangerous Band is available now and includes other guest vocalists such as rock legend Dion, indie rocker Jenny Lewis, actor Bill Murray, reggae star Shaggy and Valerie Simpson of R&B duo Ashford and Simpson.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar272017

Michael Stipe working on photo book of things he's "obsessed with" 

Dave J Hogan/Getty ImagesMichael Stipe is feeling bookish these days.

The former R.E.M. frontman tells the Creative Independent he’s working on “a series of books,” the first of which is a volume of photos. Stipe explains, "This one focuses on my timeline, on the work I've done all along, all through the band and back to my early 20s."

He adds, "It's all photo-based, but some of it's just documentation of things I'm obsessed with and that I focus on to make new pieces from."

Stipe has always been visually oriented. He recalls, “I took pictures before I made music...my father had loaned me his Nikon and I would shoot black and white photos."

"I took a course in photography when I was 13 or 14 years old and that just became something I always did," he continues. " had these really amazing experiences and relationships, and I’d find myself in these very odd places. I just happened to have taken pictures the whole time.”

Still, Stipe is the first to admit the importance of music in his life and how it has consumed him.

He says, “Music was always like a beautiful fog around me. I’m very susceptible to music. Anyone who has been…out in public with me, will tell you how distracting music can be for me. It blocks out all other input."

"In a way, the band blocked out all this input for me for a long time," he notes. "It made it very hard for me to be able to focus on other things, like reading books.”

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Monday
Mar272017

Rolling Stones' "Olé Olé Olé!" Latin American tour documentary coming to DVD and Blu-ray in May

Eagle Rock EntertainmentThe recent Rolling Stones documentary about the band's early-2016 América Latina Olé Tour will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 26.

Olé Olé Olé! A Trip Across Latin America follows the band throughout the 10-city trek, which culminated with a historic free concert in Havana, Cuba. The film, which was directed by Paul Dugdale, offers a candid behind-the-scenes look at The Stones and their Latin American fans, and also incorporates some live performance footage from the tour.

The documentary, which includes interviews with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts, also focuses on the organization of the band's first-ever show in Cuba, and the excitement the event generates among the citizens of the Communist country.

The Olé Olé Olé! DVD and Blu-ray features bonus footage of seven full-length performances captured at various shows during the trip that weren't in the original film.

Here the list of the bonus performances, as well as the cities where they took place:

"Out of Control" (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
"Paint It Black" (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
"Honky Tonk Women" (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
"Sympathy for the Devil" (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
"You Got the Silver" (Lima, Peru)
"Midnight Rambler" (Lima, Peru)
"Miss You" (Lima, Peru)

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar272017

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockHoda Kotb, co-host of NBC’s Today Show’s fourth hour alongside Kathie Lee Gifford, is hoping her new baby, Haley Joy, is a country music fan like her mom. Hoda revealed via Instagram that Little Big Town sent her a gift for her little bundle of joy, and she's already playing their music for the baby.

Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley will be guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday to preview the 52nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards which airs live Sunday night, April 2.  Also on Wednesday night, the Zac Brown Band will perform on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Today, March 27th, is International Whiskey Day. Here’s a list of songs to help you celebrate:

“Whiskey Lullaby” – Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss

“Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” – Hank Williams, Jr.

“Tennessee Whiskey” – Chris Stapleton

“The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’” – Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart

“Whiskey River”—Willie Nelson

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar272017

Xscape's Tameka "Tiny" Cottle didn't know Ed Sheeran's #1 hit until she got a songwriting credit

Atlantic RecordsEarlier this week, it was revealed that Xscape members Tameka "Tiny" Cottle and Kandi Burruss had been added to the credits of Ed Sheeran's smash #1 hit, "Shape of You," due to its similarity to TLC's "No Scrubs," which they co-wrote.  

Now, Tiny tells Billboard that when she and Kandi got the news, it was just as much a surprise to her as it was for fans. 

Tiny and Kandi, along with their co-writer Kevin Shek'spere Briggs, were added to the credits because certain parts of "Shape of You" were rhythmically reminiscent of the "No Scrubs" chorus: "No, I don't want no scrub/A scrub is a guy that can't get no love from me."  

But Tiny had no clue, because she'd never heard "Shape of You."

"Kandi [Burruss] had called me and told me, 'You know we might get some credit for the song a guy named Ed Sheeran did,' and I was like, 'Oh.' I didn't know about the song, so I started listening to the song and honestly I didn't hear [the similarities] at first."

"I had to keep listening and keep listening and I was like, 'Okay I hear it, I hear it," she adds. 

Tiny goes on to explain what she believes those similarities are: "The part in his B-section ['Girl, you know I want your love/Your love was handmade for somebody like me'] right before the hook comes in." 

Tiny and the rest of Xscape surprised fans earlier this month with the announcement of a reunion. The R&B group is currently working on plans for a forthcoming tour.  

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

Monday
Mar272017

Mastodon turns their deluxe album package into an adult coloring book 

Credit: Travis Shinn

Mastodon has something special in store for fans who order the band's new album, Emperor of Sand: a chance to show off their artistic talents.

Fans can pre-order a special deluxe package online. It includes a two-disc, 180-gram vinyl version of the album housed in a gatefold jacket with a bonus Color-In-Your-Own jacket. It even comes with an exclusive box of Mastodon colored pencils. All those who pre-order the album will also get a digital copy of the album upon its release date.

Emperor of Sand, the Atlanta-based progressive metal outfit's eighth studio disc, is due March 31. The complex, conceptual storyline concerns a man sentenced to death in a forbidding desert landscape.

Emperor of Sand was produced by acclaimed studio veteran Brendan O’Brien, whose past clients include AC/DC, Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine. O’Brien first worked with Mastodon on the band’s 2009 album, Crack The Skye.

Mastodon has also posted the seventh in a series of video clips offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the recording of the new disc.

As previously reported, Mastodon will perform on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 3.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Mar262017

Elton John marks 70th birthday with help from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, James Corden & more

L: Bernie Taupin, R: Elton John/Michael Kovac/Getty ImagesElton John's milestone 70th birthday bash brought out the stars to L.A. on Saturday night.

According to People magazine, the guest list at the charity gala included Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, James Corden, Jon Hamm, Neil Patrick Harris, Ryan Phillippe and more. 

In addition to Gaga, the musical guests included Roseanne Cash, Stevie Wonder and Ryan Adams, but Gaga and Stevie led the "Happy Birthday" singalong to the guest of honor.

Some big stars who couldn't make it to the event sent video greetings, including Prince Harry, Bono, Ellen DeGeneres and David Beckham.

Elton also shared a photo of himself and his two sons, Zachary and Elijah, admiring a huge chocolate birthday cake, with the caption "Birthday bliss."

The party doubled as a celebration of the 50-year songwriting partnership of Elton and Bernie Taupin, who also attended the event.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Mar262017

Liam Payne and girlfriend welcome baby boy

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty ImagesOne Direction's Liam Payne is a new daddy.

He and his girlfriend, British singer and entertainer Cheryl Fernanez-Versini, aka Cheryl Cole, welcomed a baby boy this past Wednesday, March 22.  On Instagram, Liam posted a photo of himself holding the newborn,  and wrote, "My close friends and family know there are very few times when I'm left speechless... wow!"

He added, "I'm incredibly happy to welcome our new baby boy into the world, it's a moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life and my favorite memory I have so far. I'm completely in awe of his incredible mother and how she has been the whole way through this, she's really made my dreams come true."

"We haven't named him yet but he's already capturing hearts including mine. I feel very blessed," he continued. "Happy Mother's Day everyone!"

Cheryl's post revealed the birth date of the boy, as well as the fact that he weighed in at 7lb 9oz and is "incredibly beautiful" and "healthy."

"Although he still doesn't have a name he is already stealing hearts," she added. "We are all madly in love and overwhelmingly happy with our little arrival. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers around the world. A day that now has a different meaning to me forever."

Liam is the second member of One Direction to become a father: Louis Tomlinson and his ex-girlfriend welcomed a son, Freddie Reign, in 2016.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar242017

Paul McCartney working on new album with Adele producer; his "Flowers in the Dirt" reissue released today

Mary McCartney/MPL CommunicationsPaul McCartney has revealed that he's working on a new studio album with Greg Kurstin, who produced and co-wrote three songs on Adele's Grammy-winning album 25, including her smash hit "Hello."

Speaking with the BBC Radio 6 Music channel, McCartney said, "I'm making a new album, which is great fun. I'm in the middle of that. I'm working with a producer I first worked with two years ago on a piece of music I'm doing for an animated film."

Sir Paul then pointed out that Kurstin had just won Grammys for Song of the Year and Record of the Year for "Hello," as well as the Producer of the Year award.

"My only worry is, people are going to go, 'Oh there's Paul going with the flavor of the month,'" he admitted. "I suppose you always think the worst of it…But [Greg's] a great guy, [and he] is musical."

The main focus of McCartney's radio interview was the just-released deluxe reissue of his 1989 album, Flowers in the Dirt, which features several songs co-written with Elvis Costello.

Paul explained that when it was first suggested that he collaborate with Elvis, "It seemed like a good idea. I thought, 'Well, yeah, he's from Liverpool. He's good, which helps. And we have a lot of things in common.' And so, I thought, 'Well, that could work.'"

McCartney noted that the way he wrote songs with Costello was the same way he and Lennon collaborated on tunes, sitting down across from each other with acoustic guitars and bouncing ideas back and forth.

"Elvis was very happy to work like that," McCartney said, adding, "So he was John, basically…and I was Paul."

You can check out full details of the Flowers in the Dirt reissue at PaulMcCartney.com.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar242017

Up with "People": New Little Big Town single reveals the secret to happiness

ABC/Image Group LALittle Big Town has released a second single for their album The Breaker.

"Happy People" is the follow-up to their smash hit "Better Man," which was penned by Taylor Swift.

The rhythmic track was written by Hailey Winters and Lori McKenna.  McKenna co-wrote Tim McGraw's award-winning "Humble & Kind."

All the lyrics contain wise words, but the song's biggest piece of advice comes in the chorus, where the group explains the path to true happiness.

“If you wanna know the secret: Can’t buy it, gotta make it/ You ain’t ever gonna be it by taking someone else’s away," they sing. "Never take it for granted, you don’t have to understand it/ Here’s to whatever puts a smile on your face/ Whatever makes you happy, people.”

LBT is currently performing their first set of concerts in Australia.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

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