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Monday
Jan232017

Thinking Out Legos: Ed Sheeran Reveals Obsession with Plastic Blocks 

Greg WilliamsIf you think it'd be great to have Ed Sheeran as a boyfriend, you may want to reconsider -- this is a guy whose idea of a hot date is the girl sitting there while he builds Lego sets.

Appearing on the British talk show The Graham Norton Show, Ed admitted that when he finally started making money, he didn't splurge on fancy cars or a big house: he bought toys instead.

"Any good parent will know...if a kid wants a Lego set, you get them the small one, you don’t get them the big one that’s like 359 [pounds]," said Ed. "So when my album went to number one, I was passing the Lego store and I saw the big Death Star [set] and I went, 'You know what? It’s time.'”

In fact, Ed loves the plastic blocks so much that, he revealed, "I once went on a date and brought a Lego set and made the Lego set and then left."  As the audience cracked up, a horrified Norton asked him exactly what he built on that date.

"A Pirates of the Caribbean pirate ship," Ed replied sheepishly. "I hope you gave it to her as a gift at the end!" Norton scolded him.  An even more sheepish Ed said, "Uh, no."  No wonder he has a song called "Lego House" on his first album.

And it's not just Legos that Ed spends his money on.  He revealed that when he buys toys for actual kids, he buys even better ones for himself.

"I went to buy my goddaughter a Ninja Turtle toy for her birthday," he said. "And then...there was a huge Ninja Turtle truck, and I was looking at the small toy I got for her and the big truck and I was like, 'I’m getting that for me!'”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jan232017

The Chainsmokers Owe Their Success to "Eclectic Interest in Music" 

Image Group LA/ABCThe Chainsmokers have scored a string of hits with singles featuring female singers who were either relatively unknown, or very up-and-coming: Rozes, Daya, Halsey, Phoebe Ryan and, on their new song "Paris," Emily Warren, who's uncredited.  The Grammy-nominated duo says they like to mix things up with every track.

"I think it's really important to always be having, you know, an eclectic interest in music because there's so...many great things," the duo's Drew Taggart tells ABC Radio. "People do things so differently that you can pull just different things from all your favorite pieces. And I think our music is like a collage of everything that we've ever been into."

It's no wonder that the duo's EP, released this past November, is called Collage.  But where do the Chainsmokers find all these undiscovered or semi-undiscovered collaborators?

"We're both music fanatics, so we're listening to tons and tons of new music," the duo's Alex Pall tells ABC Radio. "Obviously stuff that's popular and then stuff that's, like, unknown. There are lots of great websites were you can find new songs, indie artists that are unsigned -- that's obviously a great place to find them."  

Not long ago, the Chainsmokers themselves were somewhat unknown -- they had one novelty hit, "#Selfie," but that was it. Now, thanks to "Closer," everyone knows their name, and they've scored three nominations at next month's Grammy Awards, not to mention a residency at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Monday
Jan232017

Twenty One Pilots' Josh Dun on Grammy Noms: "I Don't Even Know How to Describe That Feeling"

Image Group LA/ABCTwenty One Pilots had a giant 2016, and with five nominations at this year's Grammys, including in the category of Record of the Year for "Stressed Out," the duo's 2017 could be even more eventful.

"I don't even know how to describe that feeling," drummer Josh Dun tells Metro of being nominated. "It was a proud moment for us as a band, and knowing what the people who listen to us are capable of doing. Making that much noise has gotten us recognized to this point.

The Grammys will be held February 12 in Los Angeles, but in the meantime, Twenty One Pilots are currently traveling the U.S. on their Emotional Roadshow tour.

"I put [the nominations] aside when I'm thinking about going on stage every night," Dun says. "At this point, walking in front of that many people every night is such a surreal task in itself. I don't think it's a natural feeling to walk in front of that many people and be expected to entertain, but it's my favorite thing to do."

"Then, before and after the show, I sit in a dark, quiet room with a candle going and some soft music," he continues. "I like that dynamic of contrast -- feeling very isolated to being in front of thousands of people. It's that surging of emotions that rids us of our dark thoughts and anxiety."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Jan222017

Luke Bryan Scores Coveted Performance Slot at the Super Bowl

ABC/Image Group LA We’ve know for some time that Lady Gaga will do the halftime show at this year’s Super Bowl, but on Sunday, we found out Luke Bryan is set to sing the national anthem.

You’ll be able to watch Luke’s performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” live from Houston’s NRG Stadium Sunday, February 5 on Fox, before the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in the NFL championship game. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Luke joins the ranks of country performers like Garth BrooksFaith Hill, and the Dixie Chicks, who’ve sung the national anthem at the Super Bowl in years past.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jan212017

Rachel Platten, One Direction Songwriter Upset at Use of Their Songs at Inaugural Ball 

ABC NewsRachel Platten and a songwriter for One Direction spoke out on Twitter after their songs were performed at Donald Trump's inaugural ball on Friday.

One of the performers, The Piano Guys, performed a mash-up of "Amazing Grace" and Rachel's "Fight Song," despite the fact that "Fight Song" was used at many Hillary Clinton campaign rallies last year, and was also played at the Democratic National Convention.

A clearly upset Rachel tweeted, "While I respect the office of the President and the peaceful transfer of power, I want to make clear that at no point did the Piano Guys ask for permission, nor did I or anyone on my team know of, approve or endorse their decision to play Fight Song tonight."

The Piano Guys also performed One Direction's hit "What Makes You Beautiful" at the ball, leading the man who wrote it, Savan Kotecha, to take to Twitter to denounce the performance.

“They were absolutely NOT given permission to use WMYB at the inaugural ball. I will be looking into taking action,” Kotecha tweeted. "There’s nothing I can do re WMYB now, but the song was written out of love for my wife. It’s just heartbreaking that it was used to celebrated [sic] a man who stands for divisiveness.”

In their defense, the Piano Guys later tweeted, "Our performance tonight, which combined "Fight Song" and "Amazing Grace" had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton or politics...We chose to perform our version of "Fight Song/Amazing Grace" - it was not endorsed by Rachel Platten. We love Rachel and we love her song."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jan212017

"Any Bit of Positivity We Can Put Out Right Now in Our Country Is Much Needed": Sevyn Streeter on Women's March on Washington & Anthem Controversy 

Dennis LeupoldSaturday's Women's March on Washington has the support of numerous artists, including BeyoncéJanelle MonáeMaxwellQuestlove and now, Sevyn Streeter. The Girl Disrupted singer tells ABC Radio that the need for and importance of the event is tremendous. 

"I think it's uplifiting and it's motivating and I think it's amazing. And we all need a little bit of that," she says. "It's a women's march, but any bit of positivity and that type of energy that we can put out right now, in our country, is much needed."  

Those participating in the march will come together to unite against social injustice, which Sevyn understands very well. Last October, the vocalist was scheduled to sing the national anthem during a Philadelphia 76ers versus Oklahoma Thunder basketball game. However, backstage she was told she could not perform wearing a "We Matter" jersey.   

"A representative from the organization came in and he saw my jersey, my 'We Matter' jersey, and told me that I couldn't perform. That I couldn't sing the anthem unless I were to change my shirt. I really didn't get it. I knew my shirt came from a peaceful place, a positive place. I just wanted to spread awareness about an ongoing injustice in our country," Sevyn explains.

The Women's March on Washington is a women-led grassroots movement created to take a stand on a variety of social justice and human rights issues. For more information, check out www.womensmarch.com.  

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

Big Sean Releases New Track Ahead of "SNL" Debut

ABC/Richard CartwrightBig Sean's new song, "Halfway Off the Balcony," is the third release from his forthcoming album, I Decided.  

"I'm living proof that you don't need a Master's just to be a masterpiece," he says on the self-reflective track.  

Sean will perform for the first time on the long-running NBC comedy sketch series Saturday Night Live January 21. Comedian Aziz Ansari will be the host.  

Both entertainers are featured in two promotional clips for the show, with one involving SNL cast member Kate McKinnon.  

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

Sam Hunt Storms the "Billboard" Charts with His Non-Single, "Drinkin' Too Much"

ABC/Mark LevineSam Hunt’s new song, “Drinkin’ Too Much,” may not officially be a single, but it’s making its mark on the Billboard charts anyway. In fact, it’s the Georgia native’s highest debut ever on the Hot Country Songs tally, making its initial appearance at #16.

Written about how the success of Sam’s breakthrough Montevallo album affected his fiancée Hannah Lee Fowler, “Drinkin’ Too Much” is making an even more impressive showing when it comes to digital sales. It moved 26,000 downloads in its first week, landing at #3 on the Country Digital Song Sales ranking -- all without any official radio promotion.

Sam’s next single release is expected to come from his sophomore album, which is currently in the works.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith Previews "Landmarks Live in Concert" Interview Series

Credit: Steve KerosGreat Performances: Landmarks Live in Concert, a music and interview series hosted by Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, premieres tonight on PBS. On the first episode, Smith will talk with R&B star Alicia Keys about her music and her connection to the iconic Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

"The premise for me is to get them talking about why this is a landmark for them and what it means for them to play there, and we talk about their career and music -- the usual," Smith tells Billboard. "I just feed 'em an easy line or to and they start talking. The different angle is the musician to musician, artist to artist thing; I think that frees them up a little bit to feel like they're talking about somebody who gets it, who's doing what they do. That's a real connection there."

Smith realizes that, tonight, his show will be up against coverage of today's inauguration of President Donald Trump. The drummer is certainly no fan of Trump --  "It blows me away that this is actually happening," he says -- but he's been able to find a positive energy in the Chili Peppers' current tour.

"At the show's we've been playing there's a feeling of, 'Hey, we're here right now, in this moment and we've got a cool thing going on. There's a real connection and let's celebrate it,' and that's a beautiful thing," Smith explains. "You know, in dark times sometimes the best art comes out of it. To connect with people and the human experience is more powerful and important than ever."

Country singer Brad Paisley will guest on the next Landmarks Live in Concert episode, which airs January 27, and the show will pick back up in June. 

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

New Edition to Be Honored with Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Courtesy of Hollywood Chamber of CommerceNew Edition will be honored with their very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, January 23. 

Legendary producer Jimmy Jam, who co-wrote and produced many of the band's hit songs, including "If It Isn't Love," "Can You Stand the Rain" and "You're Not My Kind of Girl," is scheduled to speak at the ceremony, along with BET's President of Original Programming, Stephen Hill.  

New Edition formed in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 1970s, became a sensation in the 1980s with their single, "Candy Girl" and continued to receive countless accolades, including four American Music Awards, 14 #1 hits and 18 multi-platinum albums.  

The quintet also sparked controversy in 1986, when member Bobby Brown left the group to begin his own solo career. Singer-songwriter Johnny Gill replaced Brown, and  eventually, Gill and fellow bandmate Ralph Tresvant launched their own solo careers.  

The remaining members -- Ricky BellMichael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe -- went on to create one of music's most successful R&B trios: Bell Biv DeVoe.  

New Edition fans can watch the story of the group's rise to success in a forthcoming three-part miniseries titled The New Edition Story. The three night event is set to air January 24, 25 and 26 at 9 p.m. ET on BET.  

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

Mary J. Blige, Jay Z & Roxanne Shanté Take Center Stage During the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

ABC/Fred WatkinsMary J. BligeJay Z and hip-hop pioneer Roxanne Shanté are all making their presence known on the silver screen during this year's Sundance Film Festival. 

Mary stars as Florence Jackson in director Dee Reesperiod dramaMudbound, which is set in the post-World War II Mississippi. The movie is based on Hillary Jordan's 2008 novel of the same name. 

Jay Z's documentary Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which the rapper executive-produced, offers an in-depth look at a former Bronx high school student who was incarcerated for three years on New York City's Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack.  

After surveillance footage of Browder being assaulted by fellow inmates and an officer was shown via The New Yorker, Jay Z met with the young man. Browder committed suicide in 2015 after being released from prison.   

And Sundance audiences will be introduced to Roxanne Shanté in the biopic Roxanne, Roxanne. The film explores the artist's life and role in a series of hip-hop rivalries, records and answer records -- including her own "Roxanne's Revenge" --  in New York City in the 1980s.

For more information about each movie, including premiere dates, check out sundance.org.  

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

Chase Rice Heads Back to the Bars, Previewing New Album at Pub Shows

ABC/Image Group LA Chase Rice’s new album likely won’t be out until summer, but he’s planning to give fans a preview during a series of "Pub Shows" in March.

Named for his backstage hang known as Pub 44, the concerts will be a throwback to the intimate dive bars where the “Ready Set Roll” hitmaker cut his teeth.

Expect to hear his current single, “Everybody We Know Does,” which is from Chase’s as-yet-untitled project.

Here are the initial dates on Chase Rice’s Pub Shows trek, with tickets on sale now:

3/23 -- Rome, GA, Brewhouse Music & Grill
3/24 -- Valdosta, GA, Bluewater Bar & Grill
3/25 -- Americus, GA, Dillinger’s

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

John Mayer Explains "Wave One" of "The Search for Everything" 

ABC/Randy HolmesOn Friday, John Mayer released "Wave One" of his new album The Search for Everything: He plans to release four songs a month, every month.  John also spoke to Rolling Stone about what inspired the new songs.

The single "Love on the Weekend," John says, was inspired by Los Angeles. "The reason I love L.A. is because it's the world's greatest backdrop for love," he says. "There is a culture here of the lovers' getaway."

"Moving On and Getting Over" was inspired by a breakup, but John says that by the time he was done with it, he was feeling more hopeful and less heartbroken. "The end has a jam...," he says. "If I'd had to finish this song a year ago, it wouldn't have this ending. This ending is me coming back to it two years later and going, 'I've moved on, so it gets a happy ending.'"

"Changing" is what John calls "the spiritual centerpiece of the album," and says the whole first verse came to him in an instant.  But that was only 30 seconds, so he then had to turn it into an actual song.  "It sounds simple, but it took forever," he recalls.

"You're Gonna Live Forever in Me" is a song that John describes as "open and revealing." He says he wrote it one night, and adds, "What you hear on the song is the original take. I couldn't sing the vocals again if I tried."

John will continue to release new songs in the next few months, and the entire physical album will arrive in the spring.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

Pat Benatar Releases New Song, "Shine," in Solidarity with Women's March on Washington

Al Pereira/WireImagePat Benatar released a brand-new song titled "Shine" on Friday in support of the Women's March on Washington, which takes place in the U.S. capital on Saturday. The track, which was co-written with renowned songwriter and producer Linda Perry, is the Benatar's first new song in more than 10 years.

While she isn't able to attend the march, the legendary singer says she's releasing the song to coincide with the event because she wants to show her "support for everyone marching and the importance of standing up for women's rights." Pat adds, "By joining together and lifting each other up, we will show the world that women's rights must continue to move forward -- we're not going back."

Along with the release "Shine," a new campaign called Shine Together conceived by Benatar has been launched in support of the Women's March. According to a press statement, Shine Together "is a movement that uses the universal language of song to inspire women to support each other and continue to move forward on issues affecting women of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds."

"Shine" is available for purchase now as a digital download via ShineTogether.info and at iTunes, Amazon and other online music sellers. The track is priced at 69 cents to draw attention to the per-dollar wage gap that exists between men and women in the U.S. Proceeds from the tune will be donated to the B.A. Rudolph Foundation, which supports women who are seeking careers in public service and government.

You can check out an official video for "Shine" now on YouTube. The clip shows Benatar working on the track in the studio with Perry and Pat's husband and longtime guitarist Neil Giraldo.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

HELLYEAH Premieres "Love Falls" Video; Announces Texas Tour 

Courtesy of Eleven Seven MusicHELLYEAH has shared the video for "Love Falls," a track from their latest album, Unden!able. The emotional visual follows a woman struggling with suicidal thoughts following a devastating breakup. You can watch the "Love Falls" video now on YouTube.

The video ends with a message from HELLYEAH and the You Rock Foundation, which helps those who suffer from depression.

"We encourage you to add your voice to the chorus and empower others who are suffering," the message reads. "Together, we not only survive, we thrive. Self-expression can overcome depression. Please join us in spreading hope, fostering healing, and helping everyone live a life that rocks."

Along with the video, HELLYEAH has announced a batch of tour dates through their home state of Texas, starting March 1 in Amarillo. Visit HELLYEAHBand.com for ticket info.

Here are HELLYEAH's Texas tour dates:

3/1 -- Amarillo, TX, Midnight Rodeo
3/3 -- El Paso, TX, Speaking Rock Casino
3/4 -- Lubbock, TX, Wild West
3/5 -- Houston, TX, House of Blues
3/7 -- Corpus Christi, TX, Brewster Street Ice House

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

The xx Tops UK's Official Albums Chart with "I See You"

Young TurksThe xx has the number-one album in their home country for the second time in their career. I See You, the third studio effort from the English trio, has debuted at the top of the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart.

Prior to I See You, The xx topped the Official Albums Chart with their 2012 sophomore record Coexist, which debuted at number five on the Billboard 200.

This spring, The xx will embark on a North American tour in support of I See You. The trek begins with the band's set at Coachella on April 14.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

Adam Levine's New Movie Gets Theater & Online Deals Before It Premieres

ABC/Craig SjodinAdam Levine's new movie must be pretty good: It hasn't even had its world premiere and it's already gotten deals for theatrical and online distribution.

Deadline reports that Netflix will have the streaming video-on-demand rights for the movie, Fun Mom Dinner, while eOne's Momentum Pictures will distribute the movie in theaters.  The deals are said to be worth $5 million.

As previously reported, the movie stars Adam as a bar owner who plays a pivotal role in a night out planned by four moms which takes an unexpected turn. In addition to the Maroon 5 frontman, Molly Shannon, Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Bridget Everett and Katie Aselton star in the film, which marks the directorial debut of Alethea Jones.

The movie will world-premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

Lou Gramm, Mike + the Mechanics, Loverboy Part of Lineup for 2018 Edition of The 80s Cruise

Courtesy of Entertainment Cruise ProductionsThe lineup for the 2018 edition of The 80s Cruise has been announced, and among the many acts taking part in the seagoing festival are ex-Foreigner frontman Lou Gramm, Mike + the Mechanics, Loverboy and The Tubes. Rick Springfield will host and headline the cruise, which takes place in March of next year.

The Australian pop-rocker will be the first music star to serve as emcee of the seagoing festival, which also will feature Tommy Tutone, Thomas Dolby and former Katrina & the Waves singer Katrina Leskanich. Co-hosting the nautical extravaganza will be original MTV VJs Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood and Alan Hunter.

The 2018 80s Cruise will embark from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on March 17 and will visit Nassau in the Bahamas; St. Thomas; Tortola in the British Virgin Islands; and CocoCay in the Bahamas before returning to port on March 24.

In addition to the various concerts, the cruise will offer themed parties, autograph sessions, Q&A events, a celebrity poker tournament, a 1980s trivia game show and more. Coinciding with the event's theme, '80s music videos and movies will play non-stop in all the cabins, while the ship also will feature an old-school video-game arcade.

For more details, visit The80sCruise.com.

First up, The 80s Cruise's 2017 installment takes place from February 11 to February 18, and stops at Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and CocoCay. The star-studded lineup of performers includes Cheap Trick, The Romantics, Survivor, Go-Go's singer Belinda Carlisle, Men at Work's Colin Hay and other well-known acts.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

Alicia Keys Stars in Series Premiere of PBS' "Landmarks Live in Concert" 

RCA RecordsAlicia Keys stars in the premiere episode of PBS' new music series, Landmarks Live in Concert.  

The show will take viewers around the world to cities such as London, Paris, Philadelphia, Havana and Los Angeles where they will be interviewed one-on-one by Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith.  

Perfomances and additional lifestyle segments with special correspondents -- television personality Matt Pinfield and Instagram celebrity Gabby Epstein -- will also take place. 

In her episode, Keys performs all over her native city of New York in various locations including Harlem's world famous Apollo Theater.

The debut episode of Landmarks Live in Concert airs tonight on PBS, check local listings for air times and dates in your area.  

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jan202017

"Everything's Good": Chance the Rapper Gives Hope During Inauguration Weekend with #OptimisticChallenge Video

ABC/Image Group LAChance the Rapper wants fans to give optimism a chance this inauguration weekend. The Coloring Book star recently dared fans to dance their troubles away with his #OptimisticChallenge video.

The clip, which soon went viral, features Chance and three friends exhibiting some impressive dance moves to the 1991 song "Optimistic," sung by R&B-gospel group Sounds of Blackness.  

Leave it to Chance to share the power of positivity.  

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