Tuesday, April 29, 2014

THE RELUCTANT POP STAR

New York Times Magazine profiled the woman who is the secret weapon behind many of the songs topping the pop charts these days. Most people would be basking in the glory but not Sia Furler.  The Australian singer/songwriter began in music seeking her own career but after getting a little taste of success, it made Furler uncomfortable and backed away. She began working behind the scenes and wrote songs for some of the biggest female names in music such as Rihanna, BeyoncĂ©, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Kylie Minogue, Celine Dion and Shakira. Sia has even made it to the U.S. top-ten on her own by providing vocals for songs by Flo Rida ("The Wild Ones") and David Guetta ("Titanium").

Click below to read the article:

Sia - The Socially Phobic Pop Star

Sia has reluctantly return to making her own music and has her sixth solo album, "1000 Forms of Fear" due out in June. Have a listen to the first single, "Chandelier":

"Chandelier" - Sia (2014)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

NEW SOUNDS

GEORGE MICHAEL


In 2011, George Michael embarked on a tour that traveled throughout Europe with an symphonic orchestra. Those performances were captured on his newest CD, "Symphonica" which is his first live recording and only the sixth solo album released over his thirty years in music. Co-produced by the late Phil Ramone, the songs are mostly from his last two studio albums, "Songs From the Last Century" and "Patience" and they are given a lush makeover with Mr Michael sounding better than ever.

Here is one of the new songs written by George Michael for the tour:

"Through" - George Michael (2014)


KYLIE MINOGUE



Kylie Minogue has never gotten much love here in the U.S. during her twenty-five year music career but the rest of the world is still crazy for Kylie. Now under new management with Jay-Z's Roc Nation, Kylie is trying once again to win America over with her twelfth musical offering, "Kiss Me Once". She's opening up her more funky side and received some help from current hit-makers, Sia and Pharrell Williams. If you already dig the pop styling of Ms Minogue, then you will most certainly be in heaven as the record offers plenty of the great dance beats she is known for however it may not be enough to convert over any new fans. Be on the lookout for Kylie's world tour beginning later this year.

Listen to the first official single, "Into The Blue" which has managed to reach the top of the U.S. dance chart:

"Into The Blue" - Kylie Minogue (2014)

Take a look at the video for another tune from the album, "Sexercise" (co-written by Sia) and it should be no surprise, considering the title, that it is overtly sexual:



The latest song from Lady Gaga, "G.U.Y." is nothing special but it does have a music video that's a wild, over-the-top extravaganza that only she can pull off:



"I Luh Ya Papi" is another mediocore song from Jennifer Lopez but it's enhanced greatly by a hot video. This very sexy clip puts a female spin on those 90's hip-hop music videos that featured cars, boats and flowing champagne but instead of ladies in tiny bikinis we now have scantily-clad gentlemen:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MY TUNE OF THE DAY


Out of over 5000 songs on my Ipod, the song that has been played the most is . . . "Don't Let It Go To Your Head" by Jean Carne at nineteen times. Although my pod is played on shuffle mode most of the times, I really love this tune as Ms Carne's soaring vocals makes it extra special.

The Atlanta-raised singer (born Sarah Jean Perkins) was a gifted child prodigy with a five-octave range who sang in her church's choir at the age of four. She went on to learn the piano and clarinet. Perkins attended Julliard in New York where she met her future husband, Doug Carn, a jazz musician. Carne (who later added an "e" to her name due to the advice by a numerologist) performed as a vocalist with her husband's band and recorded three albums together. After separating from Carn, she went on to collaborate with musician/producer, Norman Connors which lead to background vocal work with George Duke and Earth, Wind & Fire.

By 1976, she signed with Philadelphia International Records and went on to record four solo albums on the label. Carne made many appearances on the disco and r&b charts over the years with her song, "Closer Than Close" reaching the top spot on the r&b chart in 1986. Jean Carne currently resides in Atlanta and still occasionally performs.

"Don't Let It Go To Your Head" - Jean Carne (1978)

Friday, April 11, 2014

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NEW YORK POP MUSIC



For their annual "Yesteryear Issue",  New York Magazine has decided to focus on the influential musical artists who made their start in this magical city. The story traces back to near the beginning of the last century right up to present day. While some of these performers may have been born elsewhere, they all used the city to seek out fellow kindred spirits, hone their craft and eventually find their creative voice. Many of these musicians will be quite familiar while others have been, sadly, long forgotten. It's a fascinating profile that you should definitely check out.

Click below to read the article:

The Encyclopedia of New York Pop Music

Here are some songs from a few of the artists who made their breakthrough in the Big Apple:

"Lady Sings The Blues" - Billie Holiday (1956)

"Don't Rain On My Parade" - Barbra Streisand (1968)

"Gloria" - Patti Smith (1975)

"Holiday" - Madonna (1983)

"Shake Your Rump" - Beastie Boys (1989)

"Big Poppa" - The Notorious B.I.G. (1995)

"South Side" - Moby (1999)

"Family Affair" - Mary J. Blige (2001)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SAM SMITH


Sam Smith, the latest UK blue-eyed soul singer, made quite an impression during his major U.S. television debut on the March 29th episode of "Saturday Night Live". He performed "Stay With Me" and "Lay Me Down" which are both on his forthcoming first album, "In The Lonely Hour". At only twenty-one, Smith (who looks and sounds like if Adele and Boy George had a baby) is a bold and dynamic vocalist.

The winner of this year's BRIT Critic's Choice Award and the BBC's Sound of 2014 first got noticed back in 2012 when he sang on "Latch", the first single from the electro-pop group, Disclosure. The song reached number eleven on the UK pop chart and the Billboard Electronic/Dance chart in the U.S. The following year, Smith provided vocals on a track for British producer, Naughty Boy. "La La La" has become a world wide smash and now climbing the charts here in America. Now, Sam Smith is ready to conquer the globe with his own music and I, for one, can't wait to get my hands on his debut. The record is due to be released in Britain on May 26th and in the U.S sometime in June.

Listen to a couple of songs to hear Mr. Smith do his thang:

"Nirvana" - Sam Smith (2013)

"Money On My Mind" - Sam Smith (2014)

In case you missed it, here is Sam Smith's amazing live performance of his current single, "Stay With Me" on "SNL":

NEW SOUNDS

WHITNEY HOUSTON Words cannot express how much I miss the glorious voice of Whitney Houston . It's been five years since her passing...