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Sam Smith Cancels Australian Tour Due to Vocal Problems

Derrick SantiniSam Smith has been getting great reviews for his Australian concerts, and his album recently hit #1 on the chart Down Under.  Unfortunately, the singer has now had to cancel the rest of his Australian tour due to vocal problems.

In an Instagram post, a "deeply deeply saddened" Sam writes, "I have been vocally exhausted for a while now, however, last night in Sydney I had a small hemorrhage on my vocal chords. The doctors have told me I need to fully rest until my vocal cords have healed, otherwise this could become a huge long-term issue. I am so sorry to all who have bought tickets, I truly am. This kills me."

Sam still had a number of shows left to go, plus an Australian awards show appearance, but those dates have all been scrapped. He's looking to reschedule them for later this year.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Josh Groban Says Recording Show Tunes on New Album "Stages" Was "Really Rewarding"

Warner Bros. RecordsJosh Groban fulfills a lifelong dream today by releasing Stages, an album of songs from Broadway musicals and films.  Josh originally trained in musical theater, and he's always loved singing these kinds of songs.   In fact, he says not having to hold back his powerful voice while recording the new album was a welcome change.

"To be able to kind of let what my voice does, I think, best and what it really feels like the wheelhouse is of my voice, [to] really let that rip in these kind of songs and to not have to tone back at all for the sake of pop influence or things like that, was really rewarding and really nice," Josh tells ABC Radio.

Stages was recorded at London's famed Abbey Road studios, where Josh has worked before.

"I recorded my Christmas album there as well, and many of these same orchestra members are from that record," he tells ABC Radio. "The orchestra is such a star on a record like this, and the arrangers are part of the band on a record like this, so it was worth it for us to travel over there, because it's magic there."

Stages features songs from beloved musicals like A Chorus Line, Sunday in the Park with George, Les Misérables and Carousel, just to name a few.  But despite his love for these songs, Josh himself has yet to take a starring role on Broadway.  As far as that actually happening, though, Josh says it's more "when" rather than "if."

"It’s just been a matter of dedicating the right amount of time to do it because I don’t want to go in as like a stunt casting kind of deal," he explains. "I don’t want to just kind of jump in for three months after something’s already been on for a year. I want to start something from scratch, I want to workshop it, I want to be the original cast of something, you know? And so having that standard means it’s gonna take a year or two."

Josh knows that he's unlikely score a big hit single from an album like Stages, but he says that he tries not to worry about that, because sometimes, he's pleasantly surprised.

"I really believe that when you think about that kind of thing, it winds up being a square peg in a round hole," he tells ABC Radio. "And when you just make albums and make music because you love it, sometimes you get the sleeper. Sometimes people wanna play something because they want to pull over their car and it makes them cry. Whatever it is, it’s just that human element that you can’t really formulize." 

Josh performs on ABC's Good Morning America this morning. Here's the track listing for Stages:

“Pure Imagination” (from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory)
“What I Did for Love” (from A Chorus Line)
“Bring Him Home” (from Les Misérables)
“Les Temps Des Cathédrales” (from Notre Dame de Paris)
“All I Ask of You” (from The Phantom of the Opera) (feat. Kelly Clarkson)
“Try to Remember” (from The Fantasticks)
“Over the Rainbow” (from The Wizard of Oz)
“Children Will Listen”/”Not While I'm Around“ (from Sweeney Todd/Into the Woods)
“You'll Never Walk Alone” (from Carousel)
“Old Devil Moon” (from Finian's Rainbow) (feat. Chris Botti)
 “Finishing the Hat” (from Sunday in the Park with George)
“If I Loved You” (from Carousel) (feat. Audra MacDonald)

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDarius Rucker is getting back together with his rock band, Hootie & The Blowfish, to perform "Hold My Hand" on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman Thursday night. The group's appearance on Letterman essentially launched Hootie's career in the mid-'90s, and they're making a rare appearance on the show in honor of his last month on the air.

Tim McGraw sits down for an interview and gives a performance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday night. He also appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday afternoon.

Jana Kramer is set to perform her new single, "I Got the Boy," on the Grand Ole Opry Tuesday night.

Lee Brice has released "That Don't Sound Like You" as the new single from his latest album, I Don't Dance.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Tyler Farr Indulges His Love for Sad Country Songs on New Album, "Suffer in Peace"

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleTyler Farr's new album, Suffer in Peace, is out this week. As you might have guessed from the title, there are plenty of sad country songs on the new project, including his latest hit, "A Guy Walks into a Bar." Tyler named the album after one of the songs on the project, and he knew it would grab people's attention.

Tyler tells ABC Radio, "Suffer in Peace, for me, the title is kind of like a book, where you read a chapter, and if it's good and interesting, you want to read more and dig more into it --'I wonder what the rest of it's gonna be like,' you know?  That's why I picked the title for the album."

Other album cuts, like "Withdrawals" and "I Don't Even Want This Beer," pull no punches when it comes to addressing heartbreak. While there are a few uptempo songs on Suffer in Peace, Tyler felt it was important to honor his love of classic country music with those sad ballads.

"I'm not a trendsetter," Tyler says. "That's been going on for years all the way back to Hank Williams to now. So, I'm just trying to keep it alive."

He adds, "There's a lot of stuff going on right now [in country music] that's all happy, rays-of-sunshine and flower songs, so I think a lot of other people got all the 'Happy Happy Joy Joy' stuff covered, so I guess I gotta cover the darker end of the spectrum, which I'm fine with 'cause I'm a sucker for sad songs."

Fans looking for some lighter fare will find it on Tyler's album-opening song, "C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.," and his duet with Jason Aldean, "Damn Good Friends."

Tyler says of his song selection for Suffer in Peace, "We tried to create a painting that had something for everyone."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


How Walk the Moon Knew "Shut Up and Dance" Was "Special"

RCA RecordsWalk the Moon is riding high on the charts thanks to their platinum, top-10 hit "Shut Up and Dance"; they'll perform it on May 12 on The Voice. While the band had some initial mainstream success a couple years ago with their song "Anna Sun," the super-catchy '80s flavored "Shut Up and Dance" has taken them to the next level.  So why is it connecting?  Frontman Nick Petricca thinks it's because the track is both emotional and nostalgic.

"The song is kinda based on a true story and so it’s got a lot of heart in it," Nick tells ABC Radio. "And, you know, at the time we were listening to a lot of influences in the mid-late-‘80s, like The Cars and Pat Benatar...bands that have been timeless, you know? So we wanted to incorporate some of those elements into it. Maybe that has something to do with it."

But Walk the Moon had a feeling that the song would be a hit even before they recorded it, because of the instant reaction it got when they debuted it at a concert.

"The first time we played 'Shut Up and Dance' right before we went in to record, we were at a college show," Nick recalls. "And there was just this feeling in the room. It was the first time we had ever performed it and the kids certainly didn’t know the song, but by the second chorus they were singing along and so we knew that there was something special about it."

As for that true story, Nick says it happened when the band was in L.A. writing songs for their current album, Talking Is Hard.  They were working on the song that would eventually become "Shut Up and Dance," but they still needed a chorus.  That's when fate intervened.

"I went out with some friends to go dancing and kind of blow off some steam and maybe get some inspiration," Nick recalls. "And there was actually a girl there with a backless dress and beat-up red Chucks and she told me to shut up and dance with her. And that night I came home and wrote the lyrics for the chorus."  

The girl's outfit found its way into the song's second verse, and what she told him became the chorus.  Nick says that girl is still a part of his life, so it seems he got a romance out of the incident, as well as a hit single.

Walk the Moon continues their tour in support of Talking Is Hard in New Orleans on Wednesday.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Neil Young Announces Honor the Treaties Benefit

Credit: Danny ClinchNeil Young will take part in a new "Honor the Treaties" benefit concert on July 3 in Edmonton, Canada.

The fundraiser will benefit the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s legal fight against oilsands development in its territory, reports the Edmonton Journal. Four similar shows last year raised $750,000 for the cause.

Honor the Treaties is an organization that amplifies the voices of indigenous communities through art, states its website.

Young is passionate lending his own artistic voice to the cause, and was quite outspoken last fall during a news conference kicking off a short tour to raise money for the organization.

"Canada is trading integrity for money," he said.

Blue Rodeo will also appear at the concert, which will be held at Rexall Place. Tickets start at $45 and go on sale Friday, May 1.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Nelly Is Recording Country EP Titled "Heartland"

Photo by Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty ImagesNelly is gearing up to record his first country project.

In an interview with Billboard, Nelly’s manager J. Erving revealed that the rapper, who recently parted with his longtime label Universal, is currently recording a country EP called Heartland.

"He’s a free agent on the label side now, and is working on a country-based Heartland EP, which should be really interesting," said Erving. "He may be one of the first hip-hop artists to jump into that space in an authentic way with Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw, so we think he has an opportunity to grow that base even more."

Nelly is no stranger to country music -- he previously worked with McGraw on "Over and Over" from Nelly's 2004 album Suit, and Nelly was featured on country duo Florida Georgia Line's chart-topping "Cruise (Remix)" back in 2013.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Ciara on "Jackie": "I've Always Wanted to Make This Kind of Album"

Epic RecordsCiara is on the cover of the May issue of the Singapore edition of French fashion magazine L'Officiel Singapore. Inside, the singer describes how she hope people will react to her new album, Jackie.

"I want you to feel realness, feel happiness and the positive energy that I have in my life right now. I wanted to also give a better perception on how I view things as a woman," she says. "This is my dream album and I’ve always wanted to make this kind of album. Most importantly, I hope you play the album over and over."

She adds, "This album really took me back in time when I didn’t over think the creative process. I just let my music and the natural moments guide me."

Ciara recently teased images from the photo spread but the issue is available now as a for-pay download.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Stone Temple Pilots Adds Fall Tour Dates 

Credit: Chapman BaehlerStone Temple Pilots are winding down a month-long headlining tour, and now they've added new dates for the fall. The band's fall tour will begin on September 15 in Cleveland, Ohio and will wrap up September 25 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Tickets will go on sale May 1. Visit StoneTemplePilots.com for all ticket info.

As with the spring tour, $1 per ticket sold from the fall dates will be donated to Music for Relief.

STP's current tour concludes April 30 in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, STP's original frontman, Scott Weiland, is currently on tour with his new band, The Wildabouts, in support of their debut album, Blaster. Weiland's headlining trek lasts into June.

With the current tour and the fall tour coming up, current STP frontman Chester Bennington is having quite the busy year, especially for someone who recently broke his ankle. Bennington injured himself earlier this year touring with Linkin Park, which forced the band to cancel the majority of its dates. Linkin Park does have some dates scheduled for 2015, including headlining sets at Rock in Rio USA, Rock on the Range, Rocklahoma and Summerfest.

Here are Stone Temple Pilots' fall tour dates:

9/15 -- Cleveland, OH, House of Blues
9/16 -- Detroit, MI, Filmore
9/22 -- Cincinnati, OH, Bogarts
9/23 -- Louisville, KY, Palace Theatre
9/25 -- St Paul, MN, The Myth

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


"The Voice" Recap: The Top Eight Take the Stage

Trae Patton/NBCSeason eight of The Voice rolled on Monday night with the top 8 performing live after receiving a little help from three of the show's former coaches.

Usher was on hand during rehearsals to advise Adam Levine's team; Cee Lo Green assisted Blake Shelton's artists; and Gwen Stefani offered her two cents to Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera's contestants. We also saw a brief videotaped message from another former coach, Shakira, who gave birth to her second child in January and is currently in Spain.

The two-hour broadcast began with the top 8 singing a medley of Avicii hits. Here's what followed:

Team Blake's Hannah Kirby belted out the Tina Turner tune "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)," from Turner's movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Christina said the performance had Cee Lo's stamp all over it, with the presence of kid dancers on stage. Blake said Hannah has become one of his all-time favorite Voice artists.

Joshua Davis, who was instantly saved last week and is the only member remaining on Team Adam, played Sting's "Fields of Gold" on an acoustic guitar. Joshua's former coach, Blake, said the artist got back to what works for him after taking a detour on the previous performance show. Adam said Joshua did something different, with class and elegance.

Team Christina's Kimberly Nichole put a soulful spin on the Radiohead hit "Creep," surrounded by lit candles and low-level fog. Pharrell called it a masterful performance. Blake added that Kimberly is a star. Christina said she was in awe of Kimberly's talent, declaring that she embodies what the competition is all about.

Meghan Linsey of Team Blake sang a slowed-down version of The Beatles' "Something," backed by strings. Adam liked what he heard, noting how much he loves the song. Blake said Meghan's singing improves with each passing week, and he believed that she'll reach the finals.

Team Christina's India Carney dazzled with The Wizard of Oz classic “Over The Rainbow.” Blake had little doubt that India would move on to next week's shows. Christina said India brought the lyrics and themes of the song to life.

Sawyer Fredericks of Team Pharrell played "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Adam said Sawyer has the ability to translate any song into something powerful. Pharrell appealed to every Sawyer fan to cast a vote in his artist's favor.

Team Blake artist Corey Kent White belted out the 1989 Bad English hit "When I See You Smile." Blake described it as a breakthrough performance, as well as Corey's best performance of the season.

Koryn Hawthorne of Team Pharrell closed the night with a rendition of Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire." Adam said she came off like a grown woman. Pharrell said everyone was inspired by Koryn's performance.

Also during the broadcast, Blake performed his song "Sangria," and season-seven runner-up Matt McAndrew entertained the crowd with his new single, “Counting On Love.”

Two artists will be eliminated on Tuesday night's results show, airing on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Jason Derulo will make an appearance.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 


Heart's Ann Wilson Gets Married

Ann Wilson, right; Norman SeeffAnn Wilson followed her heart and got married over the weekend.

The Heart member tied the knot with Dean Wetter in front of close friends and family in her manager's backyard in Topanga, California, on Saturday, the newlyweds tell People magazine.

Heart's official Twitter feed confirmed, "A harmonious melody of devotion was felt on 4/25 as #AnnWilson & #DeanWetter were married in an intimate ceremony in front of family&friends."

Wilson and Wetter told the publication, "We are super blessed to be sharing life together."

The romance between Wilson and Wetter, who are both 64, was a long time in the making. She recalls to People, "Dean and I first met in the '80s and went on a date where we both got smashed and I tried to seduce him. Like the gentleman he is, he declined. Years passed, we got back in touch after we had both grown up, and Pow! -- It worked! Did it ever!"

Wilson, who has two children, was romantically involved with Heart soundman/manager Mike Fisher in the 1970s.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 


The-Dream Releases Lyric Video for "Cedes Benz"

Image Courtesy Island Def JamThe-Dream has chosen "Cedes Benz" as the next single from his recently released Crown EP

The singer announced via Twitter that he's released an accompanying lyric video for the tune, which was directed by Steve Pyne.

"Brand new Cedes Benz, you can put that on my uncle/Pretty black thing, she remind of my mama," he sings on the explicit track.

The Crown EP, which includes a guest feature with T.I., is available now. Later in the year, the crooner plans to release another EP, Jewel.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Billie Joe Armstrong Thanks Fall Out Boy for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Speech

Pamela Littky; BBGunPRFall Out Boy got the opportunity to honor their heroes by inducting Green Day into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month, and now Billie Joe Armstrong has expressed his appreciation for the Chicago band and their induction speech.

"I just want to thank Fall Out Boy for an amazing induction speech at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame," Armstrong writes on Instagram. "Heartfelt and eloquent. Stay weird fellas!"

In his speech, FOB bassist Pete Wentz spoke of Green Day's most punk rock moments, including their 2004 album American Idiot.

"When in an era of basically no socially-conscious discourse in pop music, you put out a scathingly political rock opera and somehow managed to make that your career-redefining, Grammy-winning, smash-hit second act," Wentz said. "That was insanely f***ing punk rock!"

Last week, Armstrong took to social media to express his gratitude to the Green Day fanbase.

"I can't express enough how much love is in my heart for all of you in our Green Day community," he wrote. "For me to try to put it into words almost feels awkward. Sometimes I don't always like to use the word 'fan'. I think I can speak on behalf of me [bassist] Mike [Dirnt] and Tre [Cool] when I call you family or community. Because you all truly grew up together with us and shared this journey together."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which included performances by Dave Grohl, Beck and Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, will air on HBO May 30.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.




Atreyu to Release New Album in September

Image Courtesy of Atom Splitter PRAtreyu will release their comeback album this September. The band confirmed the news in a Facebook post, along with the words "Long Live," which could be the new record's title.

Last fall, Atreyu returned with "So Others May Live," their first new song in five years. The band released "So Others May Live," along with another new track titled "When the Day is Done," as a seven-inch single for this year's Record Store Day. Atreyu's last album was 2009's  Congregation of the Damned.

Before the new album comes out, Atreyu will be hitting up a few summer festivals, including the U.K.'s Reading and Leeds and the Amnesia Rockfest in Quebec.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


A Thousand Horses, Kelsea Ballerini and More Playing Free Shows at CMA Music Festival

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleA Thousand Horses, Keslea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, CAM, Chris Janson, Jana Kramer and Michael Ray are among the new artists performing at the CMA Music Festival's Bud Light Plaza Stage outside Nashville Bridgestone Arena. These concerts are free and open to the public during each day during the festival which runs from June 11 through 14.

Lauren Alaina, Greg Bates, Nashville star Chris Carmack and Sunny Sweeney are on the bill for the Belk Park Stage at Walk of Fame Park that weekend, too.

Go to CMAFest.com for a full list of talent performing free shows during CMA Music Festival this June in Music City.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Abigail Breslin Tells Selena Gomez to "Keep Rocking Those Bikinis"

ABC/Randy HolmesSelena Gomez has Abigail Breslin on her side. The Little Miss Sunshine actress defended Selena after the singer faced criticism for flaunting a fuller figure in recent bikini photos.

"All this stuff about Selena Gomez online in her bathing suit is RIDICULOUS,” Abigail wrote on her Tumblr page. “Everyone is always saying how we shouldn't judge each other, so why are you commenting on a gorgeous, talented and smart young girls body when she's on the beach having fun with her friends AND SHE LOOKS AMAZING.”

She went on to criticize Hollywood’s unrealistic standard of beauty and pointed out the negative effects it has on young girls. "How are young girls supposed to grow up normally and not feel bad about themselves and not develop eating disorders if it's literally national headline news that a THIN girl may or may not have put on a few pounds, and YET still remains THIN?" she asked.

Abigail encouraged people to focus on making others feel good, not tearing them down. She ended with some words for Selena. "Selena, you look amazing and more importantly look like you're having fun," she wrote. "Keep rocking those bikinis."

Earlier this month, Selena defended her curves by posting a sexy bathing suit pic of herself on Instagram and captioning it, "I love being happy with me yall #theresmoretolove."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Did Calvin Harris Cheat on Girlfriend with Taylor Swift?

Big Machine RecordsDid Taylor Swift start hooking up with Calvin Harris while he was still dating someone else? According to the New York Daily News, the DJ-producer told a pal that he cheated on his model girlfriend Aarika Wolf with Taylor.

Calvin reportedly had been dating Aarika for six months, after they met on the set of his “Blame” video last year. The Daily News reports that in early March, Calvin confessed to a close friend that he began seeing Taylor while he was still attached.

He and Aarika eventually broke things off, and he and Taylor were first seen together in public on March 25. “He ended up breaking up with Aarika, and then just pretended that the Taylor Swift stuff happened after [the breakup],” a source said. “Aarika probably knows now that she was cheated on.”

Taylor and Calvin haven’t even officially confirmed their relationship, so it’s hard to say if there’s any truth to these rumors.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Ed Sheeran Reveals He's Lost More than 40 Pounds

Ben WattsSam Smith isn’t the only pop star who has slimmed down recently. In an interview with Australia’s 60 Minutes, Ed Sheeran revealed he’s lost more than 40 pounds.

Ed and 60 Minutes reporter Peter Stefanovic stopped at a Subway sandwich shop during their chat, and Ed jokingly called himself “fat.” When Peter pointed out he’s actually looking quite thin these days, Ed admitted that he recently dropped some serious weight.

“No, I lost a lot of weight,” he said. “I was like 15 stone, and now I'm 11 -- well, almost 12."  A stone is 14 pounds, meaning Ed, who's about 5' 8" tall, was 210 pounds, but now is around 168 pounds.

Ed previously revealed to The Sun that he started drinking green juices in an effort to get healthier. But that doesn’t mean he’d turn down a romantic dinner. Ed described himself as a “hopeless romantic” during the 60 Minutes interview and said he comes from a family where “you find a partner and stick with them.” He said his parents have been together for 30 years and his grandparents were together for 66 years.

One place he won’t be looking for love is with pal Taylor Swift. He said the two are great friends and “very similar people,” but they’ll never date. “She’s a brilliant wingman, anyway,” he said.

Ed recently finished a March/April arena tour of Australia and New Zealand, and he’s set to begin another U.S. leg of his tour in May.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Yoko Ono Lands Dance Hit with Remix of '70s Tune

Image Courtesy of Tom HallerShe may be 82 years old, but Yoko Ono is shooting up the dance charts with an EDM reworking of her 1973 song, "Woman Power."

Remixed by DJ/Producer Alyson Calagna, “Woman Power" (Alyson Calagna Vocal Mix) is currently #13 position on the Billboard Dance Club Songs charts.

The original version of the track, which featured the late John Lennon on guitar, appeared on Ono's fourth record Feeling the Space. Recorded for Apple Records, Feeling the Space was Ono's final official release of the 1970s.  The feminist anthem, features the lyrics: "You've heard of Woman Nation/Well, that's coming, baby/ What we need is the power of trust/It's coming."

The track is available on SoundCloud.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Report: Jamie Foxx to Sing National Anthem at Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight

ABC/Ida Mae AstuteJamie Foxx reportedly has signed on to sing the national anthem before the upcoming boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

TMZ reports that Foxx was recently approached about performing the song and agreed to do so when the fight takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 2.  If this proves to be accurate, it will mark his second time singing before a fight -- Jamie belted out "America the Beautiful" before the Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley fight back in 2011.

Jamie seemingly has an affinity for boxing -- he starred opposite Will Smith in 2001's Ali and he's also starring as Mike Tyson in an upcoming biopic.

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