Watch Ariana Grande’s video for ‘Right There’ with Big Sean

By Mikael Wood

9:23 AM PDT, October 30, 2013

Ariana Grande puts her well-established love of princess dresses to work in a new music video for her song “Right There.”

The clip, which also stars Patrick “Son of the Governator” Schwarzenegger, features the two youngsters in a modern-day telling of “Romeo and Juliet,” with Big Sean (who contributes a guest verse) in the role of the priest.

Does this mean we see Grande gazing wistfully down from a balcony while wearing said princess dress? Oh, yes.

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

The concept also gives the bubblegum-soul singer an opportunity to bat her eyes behind a bejeweled hand fan and to dive into a swimming pool as a small crew of synchronized swimmers makes elaborate shapes in the water. (Pop & Hiss doesn’t recall the latter set piece from Shakespeare’s original, but it’s been a while.)

“Right There” is the latest single from Grande’s excellent debut, “Yours Truly,” which last month entered the Billboard album chart at No. 1. Next month she’s to take part in KIIS-FM’s Jingle Ball — alongside Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Enrique Iglesias and others — on Dec. 6 at Staples Center.

Watch “Right There” below.

ALSO:

Chris Brown heads to rehab

Watch Justin Timberlake’s video for ‘TKO’

Review: Kanye West brings ‘Yeezus’ to Staples Center

Twitter: @mikaelwood


Read more

Stevie Wonder to play ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ album in concert

By Randy Lewis

2:35 PM PDT, October 29, 2013

Stevie Wonder has something extra special in the bag of goodies he’ll be toting to his 18th House Full of Toys holiday benefit concert in Los Angeles: He’s going to perform the entire “Songs in the Key of Life” album at the Dec. 21 show.

That double LP was named album of the year for the 1976 Grammy Awards, and earned Wonder three other statues, as producer of the year and pop male vocal performance for the album as a whole and R&B male vocal performance for the track “I Wish.”

It held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart for 14 weeks, remained on that chart for 80 weeks and has been certified by the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million copies in the U.S., and topped many music critics’ year-end best albums lists for 1976. The album contained four singles that made the Billboard Hot 100: “I Wish” and “Sir Duke,” both of which reached No. 1, along with “Another Star” and “As,” which charted in the Top 40.

RELATED: The 10 Commandments of smartphone use during concerts

“This is my celebration of song, life and love,” Wonder said Tuesday at a news conference at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, where the concert will take place. “What is amazing to me is how relevant this album is today.  After all, I could never write all the songs in the key of life; but there will be others who will carry on the message of song, love and life.”

Wonder plans to enlist the services of some of the musicians who played on the album originally and will also feature performances by both younger and veteran musicians. Wonder spearheads the event at which unwrapped new toys are collected for people in need.

Tickets for this year’s show go on sale Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. Pacific time at AXS.com or by phone at 888-929-7849.

ALSO:

Wonder leads energetic benefit at the Forum

Justin Bieber, Drake to appear at Stevie Wonder’s toys benefit

Steve Jobs gave ‘the blind eyes; the deaf ears’ — Stevie Wonder

Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 


Read more

Dolly Parton talks ‘Blue Smoke’ album, tour, Imagination Library

Dolly Parton was a fireball of energy when she called for a quick 10-minute chat about her forthcoming album, “Blue Smoke,” and the companion tour that takes her to Australia in February and then across Europe next summer, with some U.S. dates along the way.

“I can talk fast, so we can cover a lot of ground,” she said out of the gate, sounding fine despite the minor traffic accident in which she was involved in Nashville on Monday. (“I was in a fender bender this morning, here in Nashville,” she told fans in a Twitter posting. “But I am all good. Just a little tired and sore, resting at home.”)

Up first, we delved into the album, which she’s releasing early next year in Australia to coincide with her visit to the country, and then a few months later in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

PHOTOS: Concerts by The Times

The title reflects the character of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee where she grew up, and the tone to an extent harks back to the rootsy, back-to-basics albums she put out at the turn of the 21st century, “The Grass Is Blue,” which collected her a Grammy Award for bluegrass album, and its successor, “Little Sparrow.”

“This tends to have more of the bluegrass-country flavor,” the 67-year-old singer-songwriter-actress said. “We used all the bluegrass instruments. One of the reasons I called it ‘Blue Smoke’ is that it has a tinge of the bluegrass of the Smoky Mountains — a mountain music flavor. The ‘Blue Smoke’ song is about a heartbreak train called Blue Smoke.”

The majority of the songs are her own, but she said she’s recorded versions of Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands on Me” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right” to round out the collection.

Of the Bon Jovi song, she said, “I kinda countrfied it, the way I do. I did it with more of a gospel flavor and added some new words. When I first heard that, I thought, ‘Man, what a great title.’ It has a great feel, gospel sound and that message of ‘lay your hands on me’ for people who believe in prayer, it’s a good, uplifting song. It’s going to be a nice tune for our concerts. And I did ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right,’ which has always been a favorite of mine. That turned out very nice in a country-bluegrassy way.”

PHOTOS: Unexpected musical collaborations

She’s making a quick jaunt out west in January, for some dates in Arizona, Nevada and a Southern California stop Jan. 24 at the Agua Caliente Resort and Casino in Rancho Mirage. Her more extensive U.S. tour run in May is still to be announced.

While she’s in Australia, she will also deeply be involved in rolling out her Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, funded by her Dollywood Foundation, that puts free books into the hands of preschool children.

United Way has joined with the program to expand it world-wide, and  “They’re doing amazing things,” she said. “Every day, something new happens, and they’re getting more books into the hands of more children.”

After dropping in a good word about her 30-year-old Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., at which an accompanying resort is being built — “that’s new and exciting” — she was ready to move on before we could discuss her appearance as herself in the Lifetime movie “A Country Christmas Story,” which premieres Nov. 9.

“Mostly, we’re promoting the new CD and the world tour, and with the Imagination Library and Dollywood,” she said with her signature squeaky laugh, “that oughta be enough for a simple country girl.”

ALSO:

For Dolly Parton, it’s just instinct

Live: Dolly Parton at the Greek Theatre

Review: Vince Gill honors Buck Owens, Merle Haggard in Bakersfield

Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 

Watch Justin Timberlake’s video for ‘TKO’

By Mikael Wood

12:03 PM PDT, October 29, 2013

Justin Timberlake is bringing … Justin Timberlake back.

After a lengthy stretch in which he all but ruled the kingdom of pop music, the singer-actor-formalwear enthusiast has been lying relatively low since the release last month of “The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2,” his straightforwardly titled sequel to the biggest-selling album of 2013.

But now he’s with us again! (Yay?)

PHOTOS: Justin Timberlake’s career highlights

Timberlake on Tuesday put out a music video for his song “TKO,” in which the native of Memphis, Tenn.,  stars opposite Riley Keough (a.k.a. Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) as a guy who seems so bored in his relationship that he looks kind of excited to be dragged behind a pickup truck driven by his girlfriend.

The timing of the video’s appearance is likely no coincidence: Next week, Timberlake is set to launch a massive North American tour at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, a road show he previewed rather promisingly at the iHeartRadio Music Festival last month in Las Vegas. It’ll reach the Southland with shows Nov. 26 at Staples Center and Nov. 27 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, then circle back early next year for a Jan. 20 date at the refurbished Forum in Inglewood.

Watch “TKO” below.

ALSO:

Lou Reed: Listen to covers of five of his songs

Album review: Arcade Fire blazes ahead on ‘Reflektor’

Beck signs with Capitol Records, new album due in 2014

Twitter: @mikaelwood


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Jonas Brothers call it quits

By Gerrick D. Kennedy

The Jonas Brothers, as a musical entity, are no more.

A few weeks after shuttering an upcoming tour due to “creative differences on the music,” the trio have decided to call it quits, a rep for the band confirmed to The Times.

The brothers — Nick, 21, Joe, 24, and Kevin, 25 — didn’t issue a statement, but they told People magazine that the decision was mutual.

Growing tension among the brothers was first reported by People, which reported a “deep rift within the band” as the catalyst for canceling a 19-date tour two days before it was to have begun.

PHOTOS: Concerts by The Times

The trio had been working on their fifth album, “V” — the tour was to have previewed tracks from the record — but they were unable to mutually agree on their musical direction, the rep said.  

The three had each explored solo paths as they transitioned into adulthood after 2009’s “Lines, Vines and Trying Times,” their last album under Hollywood Records, the label that launched them into teen pop superstardom with their own Disney series and films.

Kevin got married and launched a reality show with his wife (they are expecting their first child), Joe and Nick went solo to drastically different results, and they’ve racked up their fair share of more adult-friendly headlines along the way (shirtless selfies, bombshell girlfriends, salacious rumors, etc.)

PHOTOS: Unexpected musical collaborations

Earlier this year, they launched the first leg of the tour, which wrapped with a sold-out show at Gibson Amphitheatre in August.

The new music they previewed packed a harder punch than some of their earlier, sweeter pop melodies — but there was an array of tastes present. Their driving, drumline-soaked single “Pom Poms” was steeped in the pure pop sexiness Joe flirted with on his solo debut, while “The World” showed Nick’s knack for bluesy, John Mayer-inspired pep, and crowd standout “What Do I Mean to You” was a moody rock-electro mid-tempo that could have easily been crafted by the Weeknd.

Last week, both Joe and Nick took to Twitter to ask fans to bear with them. But fans were already likely bracing for the end, as the official Jonas Brothers Twitter handle had been deleted a few days prior. 

ALSO:

It’s home for Haim

The women of Warpaint go for unbroke

Listen to Lady Gaga’s new song ‘Venus’

Watch Ariana Grande’s video for ‘Right There’ with Big Sean

January 22, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment

By Mikael Wood

9:23 AM PDT, October 30, 2013

Ariana Grande puts her well-established love of princess dresses to work in a new music video for her song “Right There.”

The clip, which also stars Patrick “Son of the Governator” Schwarzenegger, features the two youngsters in a modern-day telling of “Romeo and Juliet,” with Big Sean (who contributes a guest verse) in the role of the priest.

Does this mean we see Grande gazing wistfully down from a balcony while wearing said princess dress? Oh, yes.

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

The concept also gives the bubblegum-soul singer an opportunity to bat her eyes behind a bejeweled hand fan and to dive into a swimming pool as a small crew of synchronized swimmers makes elaborate shapes in the water. (Pop & Hiss doesn’t recall the latter set piece from Shakespeare’s original, but it’s been a while.)

“Right There” is the latest single from Grande’s excellent debut, “Yours Truly,” which last month entered the Billboard album chart at No. 1. Next month she’s to take part in KIIS-FM’s Jingle Ball — alongside Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Enrique Iglesias and others — on Dec. 6 at Staples Center.

Watch “Right There” below.

ALSO:

Chris Brown heads to rehab

Watch Justin Timberlake’s video for ‘TKO’

Review: Kanye West brings ‘Yeezus’ to Staples Center

Twitter: @mikaelwood


Read more

Stevie Wonder to play ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ album in concert

January 21, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment

By Randy Lewis

2:35 PM PDT, October 29, 2013

Stevie Wonder has something extra special in the bag of goodies he’ll be toting to his 18th House Full of Toys holiday benefit concert in Los Angeles: He’s going to perform the entire “Songs in the Key of Life” album at the Dec. 21 show.

That double LP was named album of the year for the 1976 Grammy Awards, and earned Wonder three other statues, as producer of the year and pop male vocal performance for the album as a whole and R&B male vocal performance for the track “I Wish.”

It held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart for 14 weeks, remained on that chart for 80 weeks and has been certified by the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million copies in the U.S., and topped many music critics’ year-end best albums lists for 1976. The album contained four singles that made the Billboard Hot 100: “I Wish” and “Sir Duke,” both of which reached No. 1, along with “Another Star” and “As,” which charted in the Top 40.

RELATED: The 10 Commandments of smartphone use during concerts

“This is my celebration of song, life and love,” Wonder said Tuesday at a news conference at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, where the concert will take place. “What is amazing to me is how relevant this album is today.  After all, I could never write all the songs in the key of life; but there will be others who will carry on the message of song, love and life.”

Wonder plans to enlist the services of some of the musicians who played on the album originally and will also feature performances by both younger and veteran musicians. Wonder spearheads the event at which unwrapped new toys are collected for people in need.

Tickets for this year’s show go on sale Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. Pacific time at AXS.com or by phone at 888-929-7849.

ALSO:

Wonder leads energetic benefit at the Forum

Justin Bieber, Drake to appear at Stevie Wonder’s toys benefit

Steve Jobs gave ‘the blind eyes; the deaf ears’ — Stevie Wonder

Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 


Read more

Dolly Parton talks ‘Blue Smoke’ album, tour, Imagination Library

January 20, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment

Dolly Parton was a fireball of energy when she called for a quick 10-minute chat about her forthcoming album, “Blue Smoke,” and the companion tour that takes her to Australia in February and then across Europe next summer, with some U.S. dates along the way.

“I can talk fast, so we can cover a lot of ground,” she said out of the gate, sounding fine despite the minor traffic accident in which she was involved in Nashville on Monday. (“I was in a fender bender this morning, here in Nashville,” she told fans in a Twitter posting. “But I am all good. Just a little tired and sore, resting at home.”)

Up first, we delved into the album, which she’s releasing early next year in Australia to coincide with her visit to the country, and then a few months later in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

PHOTOS: Concerts by The Times

The title reflects the character of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee where she grew up, and the tone to an extent harks back to the rootsy, back-to-basics albums she put out at the turn of the 21st century, “The Grass Is Blue,” which collected her a Grammy Award for bluegrass album, and its successor, “Little Sparrow.”

“This tends to have more of the bluegrass-country flavor,” the 67-year-old singer-songwriter-actress said. “We used all the bluegrass instruments. One of the reasons I called it ‘Blue Smoke’ is that it has a tinge of the bluegrass of the Smoky Mountains — a mountain music flavor. The ‘Blue Smoke’ song is about a heartbreak train called Blue Smoke.”

The majority of the songs are her own, but she said she’s recorded versions of Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands on Me” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right” to round out the collection.

Of the Bon Jovi song, she said, “I kinda countrfied it, the way I do. I did it with more of a gospel flavor and added some new words. When I first heard that, I thought, ‘Man, what a great title.’ It has a great feel, gospel sound and that message of ‘lay your hands on me’ for people who believe in prayer, it’s a good, uplifting song. It’s going to be a nice tune for our concerts. And I did ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right,’ which has always been a favorite of mine. That turned out very nice in a country-bluegrassy way.”

PHOTOS: Unexpected musical collaborations

She’s making a quick jaunt out west in January, for some dates in Arizona, Nevada and a Southern California stop Jan. 24 at the Agua Caliente Resort and Casino in Rancho Mirage. Her more extensive U.S. tour run in May is still to be announced.

While she’s in Australia, she will also deeply be involved in rolling out her Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, funded by her Dollywood Foundation, that puts free books into the hands of preschool children.

United Way has joined with the program to expand it world-wide, and  “They’re doing amazing things,” she said. “Every day, something new happens, and they’re getting more books into the hands of more children.”

After dropping in a good word about her 30-year-old Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., at which an accompanying resort is being built — “that’s new and exciting” — she was ready to move on before we could discuss her appearance as herself in the Lifetime movie “A Country Christmas Story,” which premieres Nov. 9.

“Mostly, we’re promoting the new CD and the world tour, and with the Imagination Library and Dollywood,” she said with her signature squeaky laugh, “that oughta be enough for a simple country girl.”

ALSO:

For Dolly Parton, it’s just instinct

Live: Dolly Parton at the Greek Theatre

Review: Vince Gill honors Buck Owens, Merle Haggard in Bakersfield

Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 

Copyright © 2013 The Standard Music Venue.