The Force is clearly strong with Rick Rubin.
The legendary Grammy Award-winning producer has lent his talents as executive producer and curator to a new Star Wars Headspace compilation, featuring production from top dance music artists paired with sound effects and dialogue drawn from the sci-fi film franchise.
7 ‘Star Wars’-Themed Songs That Will Bring You to the Dark Side
On the star-studded tracklist, Baauer contributes “Cantina Boys,” a rework of the timeless Mos Eisley standard, while Kaskade and Flying Lotus tackle songs inspired by beloved droids C-3PO and R2D2, respectively.
The compilation also features Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams (under his Shag Kava alias) on “Jabba Flow: Rick Rubin Re-Work (feat. A-Trak),” as well as some homegrown Rubin production on “NR-G7.”
Walk The Moon — Perhaps a wildcard selection, this Cincinnati rock band got listeners to “Shut Up And Dance” all throughout the summer of 2015. The Hot 100 top fiver may have only two albums, but their catalog is as up-tempo and energetic as their performance execution.
Adele — Alright, we know what you’re thinking. “Hello” doesn’t immediately spark hands-in-the-air hype. But as the record-breaking songstress has shown in both bombastic (and human) performances like her triumphant Radio City show and in the close-knit confines of James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke,” this lady is all about the Super Bowl’s true values: a cackle and a cold one.
Kanye West — Haven’t you heard? Kanye’s dropping the greatest album of all time on Thursday. The honeymoon phase should hardly falter in about 360 days. We also wouldn’t hate it if he brought out Rihanna and Paul McCartney for “FourFiveSeconds.”
Calvin Harris — There should be a place for dance music at the Super Bowl table, and who better to take the head seat than Harris? He’s the first DJ to play Coachella as the premier headliner; he might as well be the first one to play a halftime show.
BACK STORY At 17, East (yes, that’s her real name) made it past X Factor U.K. auditions with her girl group Addictiv Ladies in 2005 — much to judge Simon Cowell’s skepticism — but only lasted a week on the show. Still, it sparked a hunger: “I knew from that moment that music is 100 percent what I wanted to do,” the singer-rapper-dancer says.
SECOND CHANCES After a stint at journalism school, East eked by as a session vocalist and waitress. “It got to a point where I had to take my final shot or switch to a different career,” she says. She took a friend’s advice to audition for The X Factor in 2014 again, this time as a solo act. “Simon said to me, ‘We don’t want to repeat the last time,’ ” she recalls. “I thought, ‘Great, thanks, no pressure.’ ” But East rose to the challenge and then some: She came in second place — thanks to a performance of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!” that hit No. 1 in the U.K. iTunes store — then signed with Cowell’s Syco imprint in 2015.
‘American Idol’ Crew on Potential Future, If Simon Cowell & Brian Dunkleman Will Make Farewell
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow used to double date with Beyonce and Jay Z. Bey duetted with Martin on Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams. And unless you spent the last 24 hours in a coma, you are aware that Beyonce stunned during Coldplay’s Super Bowl 50 halftime show.
So Bey and C are BFFs, right? Sure, but that doesn’t mean she’ll hold back from cutting the British singer-songwriter down to size where applicable. In a new Rolling Stone cover story, Martin reveals Bey once shut him down on a Coldplay duet in no uncertain terms.
Super Bowl 50 Review: Coldplay, Beyonce & Bruno Turn on an Electric Halftime Show
After sharing a song with her called “Hook Up,” Martin says Beyonce told him, “In the sweetest possible way, she told me, ‘I really like you — but this is awful.'”
Obviously, they eventually found a song they could agree to duet on. Not only does Beyonce sing on “Hymn for the Weekend,” but she brings it in the music video, too.
VFX Artist Defends Coldplay & Beyonce Music Video
As you probably recall, Beyonce isn’t the only artist to make headlines for turning down Coldplay. Back in 2014, Martin was similarly forthcoming about David Bowie declining a duet. “One time
America’s Got Talent’ alum Cami Bradley and Whitney Dean, friend of Civil Wars’ John Paul White, unite as a folk-pop duo.
The Sweeplings — the folk-pop duo of Cami Bradley and Whitney Dean — are an acoustic act whose music is reminiscent of the poignant ruminations of the Civil Wars. That shouldn’t be too surprising, considering that vocalist/guitarist Dean once performed backup for ex-Civil Wars member John Paul White, and the men have known each other since their days as students at the University of North Alabama.
What is startling about The Sweeplings is how the pair got together: When Dean’s wife, Bethany, saw Bradley perform during season eight of America’s Got Talent, she urged him to invite the singer/pianist to record with him.
“She’s acutely aware of what I’m after. I tell her all my woes and concerns and dreams. She’s really aware and responsive to those types of things,” he says of Bethany, who helps in everything from management to publicity for The Sweeplings. “I was upstairs in the studio area I set up working on some songs for a project I was singing with another girl at the time, and Bethany called me down and said, ‘You got to hear
At this point, not setting a ratings record is essentially a disappointment for the Super Bowl. So Sunday’s Denver-Carolina showdown, which aired on CBS, played out under a shroud of lofty expectations — and it will have to settle for No. 3 status.
An average 111.9 million viewers watched the 2015 Super Bowl, trailing last year’s game by roughly 2.5 million. That update is in line with the first number for Super Bowl 50, per Nielsen’s metered markets, a 49 rating and a massive 73 share among households. The 2015 overnight rating marked an all-time high for the Super Bowl, ultimately translating to a best-ever 114.4 million viewers. It topped the previous year’s game (112.2 million viewers) to become the most-watched telecast in U.S. TV history, a record it still holds.
Rudy Giuliani Says Beyonce’s Super Bowl Performance Was ‘Attack’ on Police
Working against Super Bowl 50 was the fact that it was a relatively low-scoring game. Quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos ultimately topped the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in a pairing that was not nearly as competitive as the year prior. But scores are not something that appear to affect the Super Bowl. 2014 set a record with an absurdly lopsided
Beyonce‘s quick appearance during Coldplay’s Super Bowl halftime show delighted many fans, but one person was decidedly not impressed — and had a lot to say about it.
Former New York City mayor and failed Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani spoke to Fox News Monday about the performance, which since airing has drawn criticism from some quarters for a perceived Black Panther salute and homage. (A rep for the singer declined to comment to Billboard about Guiliani’s remarks.)
“I think it was outrageous,” Giuliani said on Fox News Monday about Beyonce’s performance. “The halftime show I thought was ridiculous anyway. I don’t know what the heck it was. A bunch of people bouncing around and all strange things. It was terrible.”
“This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive,” he continued. “And what we should be doing in the African-American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers. And focus on the fact that when something does go wrong, okay. We’ll work on that. But the vast majority of police officers risk their lives to keep us safe….let’s have decent, wholesome entertainment.”
The halftime performance
The London producer describes his disenchantment with the EDM scene ahead of his sophomore record.
At just 25 years old, Mat Zo has already reinvented himself three times over.
The London producer began his career as a trance artist, signing his first track to a:Loud Recordings at 16. He was soon picked up by Anjunabeats, releasing his first EP with the label in 2008. At the same time, Zo began making waves in the drum ‘n’ bass world with releases on Hospital Records under the pseudonym MRSA. When it came time for his debut album in 2013, Damage Control, he’d already morphed into a genre-less dance music renegade. Now, in 2016, on the brink of his sophomore album, Zo is more of a wild card than ever.
Mat Zo Uploads Rejected Album Demos to SoundCloud: Listen
The new record, titled Self Assemble, finds Zo musing about dystopianism: “It’s a story about the future,” he says. “How technology will make everything immediate, yet as we reach the singularity, other problems will arise.”
As these things tend to go, however, Zo inevitably found himself writing about his own life. “I wanted it to be like a score for a movie that doesn’t exist,” he says. “No matter
Singer-songwriter Mike Posner talks to Billboard about his Hot 100 hit “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” Avicii’s reaction to the song that he inspired and why there was a “dark spot” after his debut album, 31 Minutes to Takeoff.
So did you really take a pill in Ibiza?
I was working with Avicii in Sweden, and it was ice cold — so when he had a gig in Ibiza, I flew down there. He played a song he had written that week, and people liked it. I’m an artist — I’m insecure and a bit narcissistic, so I’m feeling a little jealous. Then these people recognized me. People don’t usually know who I am, so that felt good. When they were like, “You want one of these?,” and offered me this plastic baggie, I said, “Sure, man.”
How did Avicii react to being mentioned in the song?
He’s one of the first who heard it. He even gave me a quote for the press junket. We talked about him producing the song, but I thought, “Nah, I got to do this on my own.”
Singer Mike Posner on Writing for Maroon 5 & Releasing His Long-Awaited Second Album
You have written for acts like Maroon 5 and
Atlanta rapper Future’s supremely busy 2015 includes the release of three mixtapes and a studio album, and just a few weeks into the new year, he already seems destined to best it. In mid-January, he put out a serviceable new mixtape called Purple Reign, and now, just three weeks later, he has a surprise album, sold as part of a new deal with Apple Music. EVOL is a deep dive into a hazy world of pharmaceutical drugs and raunchy sex, and a refinement of the sounds and ideas of the mixtape that preceded it. Like Purple Reign, whose arch expression of affection was an offer for free drugs (“I’ma give the perkys to you, baby, no charge,” he sings on “No Charge”), EVOL is allergic to romance. Its title, Future noted on Twitter, is the word “love” spelled backwards. The spite of 2014 mixtape Monster, the woe of 2015’s Beast Mode, and the devilish glee of his No. 1 album DS2 have all chilled into a dull malaise here. “Welcome to the xanny family,” early album highlight “Xanny Family” intones. “I’m on savage time,” Future boasts on “Photo Copied.”
Future Releases New Album ‘EVOL’ on Apple Music
The remarkable speed at which Future
Flavor Flav pleaded no contest Monday (Feb. 8) to misdemeanor driving under the influence in Las Vegas, marking the second plea in two weeks involving similar charges in Nevada.
The 56-year-old rapper and reality television star acknowledged that he had marijuana residue in his system when police stopped his vehicle last May. Flavor Flav, whose real name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr., lives in Las Vegas.
Flavor Flav Arrested in Las Vegas on DUI & Drug Charges
He also pleaded no contest Jan. 25 in suburban Henderson to having marijuana metabolite in his system when he was found asleep in the front seat of a vehicle on the side of a street in August, defense attorney David Figler said.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum fined Drayton $685 — the same amount he had been fined in Henderson — and ordered him to attend a victim impact panel and drunken driving school to satisfy plea requirements in both cases.
The Las Vegas case stemmed from the Nevada Highway Patrol stopping him for speeding May 21 not far from McCarran International Airport. Misdemeanor speeding and open container charges were dropped Monday as part of the plea.
Another defense attorney, Kristina Wildeveld, said
In recent years, regional Mexican singer Roberto Tapia’s profile has only become bigger as one of the genre’s most recognized names.
His Feb. 6 showcase at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles delivered a milestone for the San Diego-born crooner, who was raised in Mexico. Wearing his signature black cowboy hat, jeans and boots, Tapia hit the stage to celebrate his sixth official performance at the venue, formerly known as the Nokia Theatre. His female fans, some barely able to walk in their 6-inch heels, screamed his name, along with other requests more sexual in nature. Male fans gleefully mouthed the words to his songs while sipping on beer.
For Tapia, who also enjoyed some kind of libation while on stage (it looked like tequila), it was a homecoming of sorts, since the entertainer has legions of fans in Southern California thanks to the number of Mexican Americans living here. Lifting his glass after every few songs, Tapia thanked his loyal fans and acknowledged his parents who were sitting in the front row.
Tapia is known for romantic songs such as “Mirando al Cielo” (Looking Toward the Sky), but his repertoire on the recently captured drug-trafficking king Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman really catapulted fans into a frenzy.
Tapia thanked members of the media
Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Janelle Monae round out the performer lineup for this year’s Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival. The 11th annual music and food fest will take place at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on March 18-20.
Aretha Franklin Live: Watch 10 Must-See Performances
Franklin will headline the first night of performances on March 19. The evening’s lineup includes Kool & the Gang, Michael McDonald, the Average White Band and the Jazz in the Gardens All Stars, featuring Najee, Alex Bugnon and Regina Belle. The following evening, Usher leads a roster co-starring Babyface, Janelle Monae, jazz/R&B/funk keyboardist Brian Culbertson and gospel icon Fred Hammond. Comedian/actor/radio personality Rickey Smiley will host. For ongoing updates, visit JazzInTheGardens.com.
More than 73,000 attended last year’s Jazz in the Gardens, which marked the festival’s 10th anniversary. Performers included Maxwell, Erykah Badu, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, Sheila E. and Roy Ayers with onstage cameo appearances by Empire’s Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Y. Gray.
After the singer’s arrest, his wife filed a handwritten request for protection.
Don McLean’s attorney says the singer has entered a not-guilty plea to a domestic violence charge in writing and will not appear in court later this month.
Police arrested the “American Pie” singer on the misdemeanor count on Jan. 18.
‘American Pie’ Singer Don McLean Arrested on Domestic Violence Charge
The next court date is Feb. 22, but attorney Walter McKee says nothing substantial will happen that day because McLean has already entered the plea.
After McLean’s arrest, his wife filed a handwritten request for protection. The couple later announced through McKee that they had “agreed to move forward” and the protection order was dismissed.
“American Pie” topped the Billboard Hot 100 44 years ago. The singer lives in coastal Camden, Maine.
“It’s springtime weather in New York! I missed the storm!” Emily Haines happily tells me over the phone, referring to recent snowstorm Jonas. The Metric singer’s sunny disposition parallels the optimism reflected in her band’s new album Pagans in Vegas. The release, a New Order, Depeche Mode-styled throwback, has been well received by both critics and fans, debuting at No. 9 on Billboard’s Independent Albums chart.
The fertile creative process for Pagans, which involved Haines traveling to Nicaragua and Spain, led the band to start working on a companion album, which was planned for release in 2016. Just as Metric’s extensive North American tour is about to begin, Haines took some time to talk to Billboard about Pagans and its companion album, her affection for cassette tapes and why “The Shade” music video features a mock Billboard magazine.
Alt in Our Stars Podcast: Downtown Boys Talk ‘Redefining’ Punk
I keep reading about this upcoming companion album to Pagans in Vegas. Can you give us an update on when that album is coming out?
It’s really funny. We kind of do what we want, which leads us to interesting crossroads. So last year when we embarked on this, we said, “Yeah, we’re going to go all
Peter Cetera’s on-again, off-again involvement in Chicago’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction is now back in the off position, effectively turning the band into this year’s version of Kiss, Guns N’ Roses and other inductees plagued with personal (and personnel) drama.
The group’s original singer and bassist — who left Chicago in 1985 — has posted a copy of a note he sent to Rock Hall Foundation chief Joel Peresman and induction ceremony producer Alex Coletti on his website that reverses previous statements that he was willing to play with the band on April 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Cetera writes that, “Unfortunately this scenario doesn’t work for me. I know we all did our best to make it happen, but I guess it’s just not meant to be. Personally I’m frustrated and tired of dealing with this and it’s time to move on. I have a life with two beautiful daughters and a solo career and its time to get back and give them the full attention they deserve. Thanks for all your help and consideration! Have a great show and please send any individual award I receive to the contact you have for me.” The
With the 2016 Grammys a week away, you can’t chat with a nominee and not ask for their thoughts on the Feb. 15 awards show.
So when James Bay talked with Radio Disney host Alli Simpson (yes, Cody’s 17-year-old sister) for her show, she had to ask him who he thinks will win the Grammy album of the year honor.
Grammys 2016: All Our Coverage
And while pundits are predicting it will be a tight race between Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and Taylor Swift’s 1989, the British best new artist nominee think it’s a “no-brainer” that Swift will emerge victorious.
“Taylor Swift feels like somewhat of a no-brainer,” Bay tells Simpson. “It’s a great album and she has had an enormous year — an enormous two years. It would be entirely deserved.”
We could get a new Killers album before 2016 is out, and there’s a good chance Elton John’s name will be in the credits.
In a recent interview with Shazam, Elton got on the subject of collaborating with other artists and matter-of-factly stated that he was about to hit the studio with Brandon Flowers and the boys.
“I’m hoping to go to Vegas and write with Brandon for the new Killers record,” he said. “I’m leaving today. So that’ll be interesting.”
This is pretty interesting. The Killers have always been vocal about their rock and roll worship, but that usually led them to new wave or Springsteen. They haven’t released a studio album since 2012’s Battle Born, which was not as successful — critically or commercially — as Hot Fuss or Sam’s Town. Four years later, a collaboration like this one sounds like the sort of thing that could really revitalize the Las Vegas band.
Elton John Joins James Corden For Post-Super Bowl ‘Carpool Karaoke’: Watch
Flowers recently told NME the Killers were writing a new album, and that he hoped to have new music to share with fans “at the end of 2016 maybe.”
Drake blasts in at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (dated Feb. 20), taking the top spot with his latest release “Summer Sixteen.” (The new chart will appear on Billboard’s websites on Feb. 9.) The rapper replaces himself at No. 1 a week after his chart-topping debut as the featured artist on Rihanna’s “Work,” which falls one spot to No. 2. He becomes only the third act to earn two crowning entrances on the chart, following Rihanna and The Notorious B.I.G.
Only 13 songs have debuted at No. 1 on the chart, which began as an all-encompassing singular R&B songs chart in October 1958. Until now, Rihanna and The Notorious B.I.G. being were the only acts to score more than one chart-leading debut.
Drake Premieres ‘Summer Sixteen’ & Future ‘March Madness’ Remix Feat. Nas on OVO Sound Radio
Before “Work,” Rihanna’s collaboration as a feature on Eminem’s “The Monster” earned the singer her first topping entrance in 2013. The Notorious B.I.G. is the only act to have two No. 1 debuts as a lead act — when “One More Chance” opened at the top in 1995 (the first track ever to claim a No. 1 debut), followed by “Hypnotize,” which led the list on the chart dated April 26, 1997