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“So You Think You Can Dance” is returning for season 14 to the 18-30 age group with an old friend of the show’s back in the mix: Mary Murphy.

“We’re putting people on the Hot Tamale Train!” an exuberant Nigel Lythgoe commented on my radio show last Friday. The show’s co-creator and judge called from Los Angeles in what is now seemingly an annual tradition after the competition’s renewal. “I’ve got to say, I’ve supported Mary. I’ve got a great chemistry with Mary that I love. She can beat me up and hurt me and I can be rude to her, and that’s all part of the fun of the show.”

Both Lythgoe and Murphy were in Brooklyn earlier this month for auditions alongside Vanessa Hudgens, the former Disney star who as of late saw herself star both on Broadway and in “Grease: Live”.

“She’s just the triple-threat,” gushed Lythgoe about Hudgens. “They can act, they can sing, they can dance. Therefore for a start, they recognize the amount of work that goes in to being a great performer, and number two the talent that is required.”

The former “American Idol” producer was pleased with the talent he saw in Brooklyn, going as far as to make a rather bold prediction.

“I would suggest, and I’m not going to name names, that one of the kids we saw there is going to be the overall winner,” Lythgoe said. “There was a young man there that was outstanding.”

There have only been two other contestants that made Lythgoe feel that way: Carrie Underwood and Season 11 “Dance” winner Ricky Ubeda. Not a bad group to join.

After setting sail with Train on its cruise and performing with Pat Monahan, my buddy Marc Scibilia dropped a new music video for his single “Summer Clothes.” He wrote the song back in our hometown of Buffalo. The video pays homage to old Americana and Western New York using stock footage and home videos from the Scibilia family. Marc even snuck in a few Snapchat-inspired clips as well to give the piece something that almost anyone could relate to; kind of like the song’s message.

“My dad, every couple weeks when I first moved to Nashville would always call me,” the singer/songwriter recalled. “We would talk for 20 minutes; just catch up. And he’d end every conversation with, ‘Hey, one more time, what’s your address?’”

Scibilia found this funny because his dad never sent him mail. After reflecting on it, he also found a song because of it.

“So I unfolded this song that’s kind of about my family, kind of about my hometown but it’s really about someone that really wants to call someone and just has an excuse like, ‘Hey, I just called to send you something,’ but they just want to talk because they miss the person.”

The family will get to see Marc in action when he brings his “Summer Clothes” tour to Buffalo. It’s his first headlining trek, and it kicks off on April 13 in New York City’s Mercury Lounge.
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Dua Lipa’s success makes her want to work harder. It does not make her want to leave the place she’s called home since birth though.

“I travel so much so I like being at home in London,” she replied when I inquired if she would relocate any time soon. “I like that being my base.”

London is where Dua Lipa is recording a majority of her work, including the vocals for Martin Garrix’s “Scared To Be Lonely,” and where she flew to after The GRAMMYs to spend Valentine’s Day.

“It’s overwhelming and exciting,” Lipa said both looking back at her past few months, which saw “Blow Your Mind (Muah)” chart at pop radio in the States, and ahead of her first U.S. headlining tour. “It’s exciting when I see some of my songs being received so well… it gets me excited for the next thing.

“The second I do something, I want the next thing to be better than the last,” she added when I followed up about if the success is changing her as an artist. “I want to always be progressing in the right direction; seeing things grow.”

At the moment, Lipa is seeing the country on a trek that started February 24 in Chicago and wraps March 17 in San Francisco. She’ll hop on a quick six-date Europe tour in April and then head back stateside in June for Bonnaroo.


Last November I met Martin Garrix for my first time and despite feeling ill, the DJ was in great spirits. Fast forward to February, when I saw Garrix again in Los Angeles, and he was still in great spirits although he also felt a lot better.

So, how does the number one DJ in the world stay healthy amidst the partying and jet-setting?

“Food, working out, trying to sleep as much as I can,” Garrix began listing, before digressing. “Sometimes I’m not that good at that.”

The electronic dance music star revealed that between the flights and live sets he relies heavily on power naps. As for working out, Garrix doesn’t even leave the hotel room for that – utilizing his bodyweight for closed kinetic chain exercises.

It makes sense given his busy schedule of touring and recording. Garrix is one of the hottest DJs in the genre right now, so when he’s not traveling for gigs or making the media rounds, chances are he’s working on new music. His latest release is the Dua Lipa-featured “Scared To Be Lonely.” Over The GRAMMY weekend, Dua sang Garrix’s praises to me.

“The energy in general is most important,” the producer told me in regards to collaborating with others. Garrix broke in to mainstream with the wildly popular instrumental “Animals” but has since scored hits thanks to “In The Name Of Love” featuring Bebe Rexha and “Lonely.” “If you can’t connect with a person, the music won’t be good either.”

Regarding the Dua Lipa track, Garrix said that originally she sent over her vocal and he replied by asking for the entire vocal session. From there, he and producer Valley Girl built out the new compilation heard on airwaves today.

It wasn’t all a dream… it actually came true for Little Mix last week.

The girl group, which is currently supporting Ariana Grande her “Dangerous Woman” tour, traveled through a schedule last week that is hectic even by the girls’ standards. Little Mix started in Uncasville, Connecticut at the original Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday February 17. The day began with a whirlwind radio promo schedule, continued with an album signing and acoustic performance in The Shops at Mohegan Sun and ended with a performance for the sold-out arena crowd.

Then the girls crossed the pond to perform at The Brit Awards, the UK’s version of our GRAMMYs, on the 22. Little Mix was also nominated for three awards and took home the hardware for “British Single Of The Year” thanks to “Shout Out To My Ex.” The track hit number one in the UK for multiple weeks and served as the first single from the group’s fourth LP, “Glory Days.”

The next day: back to the U.S. Little Mix hopped back on Grande’s tour to open up for the pop star at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden.

“We love it,” Jesy Nelson responded when I inquired about how they navigate the long travel and many responsibilities. “It’s tiring and it does take its toll but at the end of the day when we get on stage that just makes up for it because we get to see all of our fans and it’s just the most incredible feeling.”

I chatted with the girls in between the acoustic performance and autograph signing in Connecticut and when I brought up the week that included both The Brits and the MSG performance, there seemed to be more excitement than nervousness amongst them.

“To make two dreams come true,” Nelson said as the other girls talked about the idea of both possibly winning a Brit and taking the stage at The Garden, “C’mon, that’s pretty cool.”

They’ve even found some time amidst the madness to celebrate the success of their latest album.

“We do go out quite a bit,” Jade Thirwall admitted, rather sheepishly, before eliciting laughter from her bandmates. “Hey if we’ve got something to celebrate, there’s nothing wrong with that!”

Of course, the only thing better than having something to celebrate is having two things to celebrate. But the quartet, which formed during the eighth season of “The X-Factor” in 2011, will be hard-pressed to fit that into its schedule. Little Mix will continue to tour with Grande through mid-April and then embark on its own headlining trek overseas in May. There’s a sizable break in shows during the months of September and October, but the ladies revealed that those months are set-aside at the moment for studio time to begin work on the next album.

Julia Michaels is attempting to complete a transition that a handful of other artists are familiar with: Keri Hilson, Ne-Yo, Jason Derulo and Ryan Tedder come to mind immediately.

The songwriter is now keeping the hits for herself, and singing them. It all started with a track that is currently climbing up the pop radio charts: “Issues.”

“The song was so personal to me,” Michaels explained to me. “It felt uncomfortable thinking that someone else was going to sing such a personal song of mine.”

So Michaels sang it and now radio stations are playing it. It’s far from the first time she’s heard her lyrics on the airwaves though; the songstress has a co-write credit on Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and has also penned tracks for Demi Lovato, Britney Spears and the aforementioned Derulo to name a few.

“Of course I had respect for them before, but now I’m like, ‘You guys are my heroes,’” Michaels said of her newer-found-respect for the artists she has worked with. “This is so different.”

In example: instead of at an event or in the studio on GRAMMY Week, there Michaels was at our backstage broadcast, granting interviews with radio stations across the globe regarding her past discography and current single. But with

“The first time I heard ‘Issues’ on the radio I bawled like a baby,’” she admitted. “I was like, ‘Whoa, this is happening. It’s so crazy.’”

And if the success of her prior hits is any indication, it’s only going to get crazier.

The times’ they are-a-changin’. It used to be based on call-in requests or “call-out” research panels. Lately it’s charts populated by tweets or “Shazams.” And for Starley, it was a zero-percent skip rate on Spotify.

“It went nuts online,” Starley, surname Hope, said of her track “Call On Me.” A remix by producer Ryan Riback made its way to a playlist on the streaming service and what followed was the makings of a hit record, although some stations in the U.S. opt for the original opposed to the dance version. “It broke my career as an artist and it’s really cool.”

And interestingly enough for Starley, the newcomer has zero preference on which version people hear.

“I think it’s really good to have different versions out of something because if certain people like that dance version, that’s great,” she explained. “But if it reaches a certain other type of people with the slower version, I’m cool with that… the more, the merrier.”

Hey, the idea of a popular remix worked out well for Mike Posner, who scored a GRAMMY nomination in part to the popularity of SeeB remixing “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” from its original form. There Starley and I were, talking about this inside Staples Center during GRAMMY weekend as Posner’s track was up for “Song Of The Year.” But first things first – the singer wants to release more music.

“I’m working on an album, working on my next single,” she revealed. “I haven’t got any dates, but it’s definitely coming.”

Hopefully for Starley like “Call On Me,” her fans will be sure not to skip over it.

For day three of our broadcast with Westwood One Backstage at The 59th GRAMMYs we chatted with a bunch of current and former nominees while also speaking with a few friends-of-the-show. It was great to see Train’s Pat Monahan and Gavin DeGraw. I also interviewed Lukas Graham for the second time; the first time was at The GRAMMYs last year and now they’re up for three awards including Record and Song Of The Year, plus they’ll perform with Kelsea Ballerini. Noah Cyrus stopped by and compared me to her dad, LeAnn Rimes remembered her big GRAMMY wins from 20 years ago and Charli XCX explained how she chooses to collaborate with people before I brought up Selena Gomez to her.








So great to see a couple of current and possibly future GRAMMY nominees on my second day here in Los Angeles and our first day inside Staples Center for Westwood One’s Backstage at The GRAMMYs. I asked Mike Posner and Daya about the big day plus met Dua Lipa. Also, we chatted about a couple neighborhoods in Manhattan when “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Paige Mobley and singer/songwriter Max stopped by.




On my first day of coverage in Los Angeles for The 59th GRAMMYs, I attended The Recording Academy Producers And Engineers Wing 10th Annual event which honored 12-time GRAMMY winner Jack White. The artist’s friend Conan O’Brien was on hand and stopped to chat about his Patriots winning Super Bowl 51. I also spoke with Regina Spektor and Academy President Neil Portnow.