Archives For 2017 American Music Awards

Bebe Rexha is ahead of the curve when it comes to pop music; it’s one of the reasons why she is one of the most in-demand songwriters and artists ranging from Louis Tomlinson to David Guetta to G-Eazy are enlisting her vocals for the hooks of their songs. Her latest single, the Florida Georgia Line-assisted “Meant To Be,” is yet another example of both her range and her tenacity to break ground.

“I’m going to change it and do this new thing called, ‘Expectations,’ the Brooklyn-born artist responded after I asked if there would be an “All Your Fault Part 3” recently. The first two installments were EPs that yielded the singles “I Got You,” “The Way I Are,” and the aforementioned “Meant To Be.”

“It’s a new sound,” Rexha continued. “It’s a more No Doubt-sound. I just feel like ‘Meant To Be’ has kind of been an interesting thing for me and I want to pivot a little bit.

“I think everybody is kind of going in to this rhythmic/urban lane, and I want to just be different and do more guitar-based stuff.”

When Rexha initially announced the new project via Twitter, she also revealed the existence of “Home,” a song she is featured on with Machine Gun Kelly and X-Ambassadors. A collaboration with the former certainly makes sense given the band’s recent history – recording seamlessly with both labelmates Imagine Dragons and Eminem.

“Home” ended up as a part of the star-studded “Bright” soundtrack; no word on if it it’ll also make “Expectations,” a piece of work that Rexha simply said would be out at some point in 2018.

G-Eazy spent most of 2017 in one place (home) doing one thing (creating). The final product is his fourth studio album, “The Beautiful & Damned.” It dropped last month and the rapper, born Gerald Gillum, will tour behind it later this year.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” the Oakland-born emcee told me regarding the project. “The album is everything I wanted it to be conceptually, sonically.”

There are a number of features on the LP including Charlie Puth who contributes his writing skills and soulful vocals to the hook of the sure-fire hit “Sober” and Halsey, who is featured on the current single at pop radio “Him & I.”

Of course, just a quick scroll through G-Eazy’s Instagram will show you that he and the “Now or Never” singer are an item. Hearing him talk about her certainly confirms it.

“I’m really excited about that one,” he told me of the song they performed together. “(Halsey’s) incredible. Yunno, she’s beautiful beyond measure, talented beyond measure… she’s really special. Her and I have a special connection.”

G-Eazy attributed the small circles that artists live in, constantly bumping in to each other on red carpets and at award shows, to how he linked up with Halsey.

And in his words, “The rest is history.”

I recently bore witness to a rather unique interaction: one of my favorite bands, Walk The Moon chatting and exchanging numbers with Diane Warren, who is a legendary songwriter. The guys from WTM were leaving my broadcast booth and thankfully, Warren was on her way in. I immediately wanted to know what they all chatted about.

“They were in the audience at the ASCAP Awards; I got a big award that night,” Warren recalled, later revealing that she might collaborate with the band. “Snoop gave (the award) to me, and I had worked with Snoop the year before. We were just joking that he had this giant blunt in his hand and I’m like, ‘Who has a match?’”

There is little if nothing that Warren, whose discography of penned tracks dates back to 1979, hasn’t seen or experienced. But if there has been one constant throughout her storied career, it is her approach to songwriting.

“I always went with my heart,” Warren insisted while noting that this very mindset led her to write “Stand Up For Something,” a song that Andra Day and Common performed for the movie, “Marshall.” She is proud of the final product and rightfully so; the track is up for Best Song Written For Visual Media at this year’s GRAMMYs. It is the eleventh time Warren has received a nomination in this category; she won the GRAMMY for it in 1997 thanks to Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” from the 1996 film, “Up Close & Personal.”

He is a three-time GRAMMY Award winning, multi-platinum producer who has been in the game for 20 years. Yet this past year, RedOne experienced a first: he couldn’t clear vocals for a song that he had already worked on with an artist.

“These things happen in the record industry,” the producer, nee Nadir Khayat, told me recently. The particular instance we were talking about involved rapper Fetty Wap. “I think it was more because (Fetty Wap) was releasing his single, coming up with an album, the label needed to focus on him and not have confusion – so I respect that.”

At least publicly RedOne took the high road and on the outset it’s understandable because when you’ve had as much success as he has, it’s easier to do so.

But the story of the single Fetty Wap was originally on doesn’t end there; RedOne looked at the situation as an opportunity to chance and perhaps improve on the song. The final track also features original artists French Montana and Dinah Jane (Fifth Harmony) but added to the mix is reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee. “Boom Boom” is a more Latin-sounding song than its predecessor. The single ended up taking over a year to create but for RedOne it was well worth it as the video alone has garnered over 95 million YouTube views since its release last October.

Recently on the show, Noah Cyrus dished to us about her experience supporting Katy Perry on tour, her latest collaborations and what she planned to do (and well, eat) for the holidays.


It’s a new era in Jake Miller’s music career and so it’s only fitting that he is using an unconventional tool, or rather condiment, to promote it.

The Florida-born singer is currently promoting his latest album, the self-released “2:00 AM In LA.” The LP’s first track is “Can’t Help Myself,” a song that is near to Miller’s heart for more than just its lyrics.

“It’s actually the first song really that I ever made completely from scratch by myself,” he told me recently in of all places, Los Angeles. “I’m independent for the first time in a long time so, when I got off the label I kind of went back to the drawing board.”

Miller concluded that he would use his newfound musical freedom by teaching himself how to produce. He went to Guitar Center, bought equipment and “learned on YouTube for 10,000 hours” how to make beats and play piano.

“Can’t Help Myself” was the jump-off for the rest of the album and serves as its first radio single. The song is also accompanied by its own chipotle hot sauce.

“Andrew McMahon reached out to me,” Miller explained. “He owns an organization and he’s like, ‘Do you want to customize your own bottle of hot sauce?’ I’m like, ‘Absolutely!’”

The offering is appropriately titled, “Can’t Help My Sauce” and benefits the Dear Jack Foundation, which “supports initiatives and provides programming that directly benefits adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer to create more positive health outcomes and an improved quality of life for all young adults in this fight” according to its website. McMahon was the founder of Jack’s Mannequin and is also a cancer survivor.

A lot of things felt different about my latest trip out to Los Angeles for The 2017 American Music Awards. I think a lot of that was rooted back in New York; I didn’t book my flight until about two weeks out and it was my first cross-country trek since I packed up and moved downtown in to my new apartment. The move, along with a change in schedule at work and my marathon training/completion have all hindered me from settling in to a new routine. That’s fine; I am flexible and can work around life events. But it doesn’t mean it comes easy; especially relative to my prior routine.

For example: my dry cleaners and wash-and-fold also handle my alterations. Most of their services could be turned around in 24 hours and they are located a block away from my old apartment on the route I’d walk to take the subway to-and-from the studio. The woman who cuts my hair is also still on the Upper West Side and was a five minute cab ride from my prior place.

I now live 30-40 minutes away from both. Grocery shopping? Still haven’t found a one-stop-shop in the hood. Cobbler or computer repair technician? Probably will still go to my old stomping grounds uptown for those.

Before I moved, I had trip preparation down to a science; it actually got to the point where my getaway day (24 hours before my flight) because rather relaxing because I was able to accomplish every errand necessary the prior weekend. On this trip, my getaway day was jam-packed and there were at least two or three tasks I didn’t complete.

When I landed in LA, I had to drop off dry cleaning (which I forgot to pickup), shop for clothes and buy a wireless keyboard from Target because my laptop’s enter button is broken (need to find a new computer guy). Then, I attempted to compensate for the craziness of the lead-in to the long weekend by not going out as much during my trip. The positive from this is that I was able to both publish all of the content I hoped for while also getting a little bit of sleep; the negative is that socializing with colleagues can be one of the more important and enjoyable parts of the experience.

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Friday and Saturday went as planned with one caveat: I feel like for whatever reason, perhaps one aforementioned, I was focused more on the content and my radio show than myself. For example, I don’t think I stressed as much about my wardrobe this time around. I also never really went out of my way to get good photos of me on each day in front of the step-and-repeat. But I encountered another curveball on Sunday: my job responsibilities changed. For the first time in my five years of covering the AMAs, I did not have a red carpet or one-on-one room assignment. Heck, I didn’t even have a credential; rather a VIP ticket in the orchestra level of the Microsoft Theater. So I used my free time during the day to get a little more work done and check out my Buffalo Bills, who happened to be in town and playing the Los Angeles Chargers in StubHub Center.

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The positive? I got to experience my first live NFL game on the west coast, support my hometown team and check out a new venue.

The negative? I’m a Buffalo sports fan, and sadly nothing has felt different about that since I was a kid.

Some news and notes after Sunday night’s American Music Awards broadcast from my vantage point as an audience member inside Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater…

– Fun fact: This was my first time actually watching the AMAs from the crowd? My previous four years were spent in the press room. I was given a VIP Orchestra seat and hung out with my fellow Cumulus Media/Westwood One colleagues.

– There were other familiar faces nearby though – Rachel Platten was at the end of the row in front of us! Always love when she and I have a chance to catch up. Rachel is heading to New York for Thanksgiving; she’ll be singing for children in local hospitals on Turkey Day. How amazing is that? Not-so-amazing: after we snapped this selfie, a waiter walking up the aisle spilled a cup of ice on her. Thankfully, no harm no foul.

– During his opening, Jamie Foxx went a bit off script. Ahead of the broadcast, the instructions given to us by Executive Producer Larry Klein were that we were to stay seated and quiet for Jamie’s speech and the P!nk/Kelly Clarkson performance, saving our energy for the opening credits. But Foxx had a different plan, asking everyone to make noise and stand. It contracted what we heard and it might have come off weird on TV because Foxx was the only person lit for the entire segment.

– Especially considering it didn’t happen right in front of us on stage, the audience inside Microsoft Theater was really captivated by the P!nk “Beautiful Trauma” performance. dick clark productions really outdid itself again – Drake performing in the Bellagio fountains for the Billboard Music Awards was epic. You could say the latest stunt reached new heights…

– The BTS phenomenon was fun to witness in real life. Every time the guys stood up, the audience screamed. Every time there was a cut-away shot to the guys, the audience screamed. It got so bad that I’m pretty sure producers had to stop showing some of the cut-aways in the venue because the suddenly loud screams were probably startling performers. And there was just as much noise outside; over 5,000 people gathered in L.A. Live to try and catch a glimpse of the K-Pop boy band.


– When the crowd figured out during the commercial break that BTS was next to perform, well… here’s what it looked and sounded like…

– Some of my personal favorite performances: Demi Lovato, Niall Horan, Shawn Mendes and Portugal. The Man. Demi sang to a track for the chorus of “Sorry Not Sorry” but had no backing vocals on the verses, which she slayed.


– Final fun fact: In order to get everyone in their seats so the place looks full when the broadcast begins, the venue shut down concessions 15 minutes prior to the show’s start. As soon as the AMAs went live on ABC, the alcohol began flowing again… or at least, that’s what a well-placed source told me.

It was the day before The 2017 American Music Awards and we were very, very busy at our backstage perch by Microsoft Theater. The day started with a visit from K-Pop boy band BTS. Demi Lovato, Bebe Rexha and many more swung through as well to talk about the AMAs, holiday plans and more. Watch and listen below!



A number of familiar faces stopped by day one of our backstage broadcast from the American Music Awards in downtown Los Angeles. We caught up with Kelly Clarkson, Julia Michaels, Walk The Moon and many more artists – watch and listen below.