Archives For audio

If there’s one thing you can expect when Halsey kicks off her “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” tour later this year, it’s this: fire.

“I’ve always been very extra with the fire,” the Washington, New Jersey-native told me last month. “Any chance I have to bring fire on my stage, I’m going to do it.”

Matter-of-fact, Halsey revealed to me that during her Billboard Music Awards performance rehearsal, she kept practicing the song over-and-over in part due to the fire that was planned for the set. She certainly didn’t mind the rehearsing; she was once hit with her own fireworks during a Coachella performance (Halsey escaped unscathed).

But besides the obvious visual, there is also a meaning behind the use of fire that relates to the singer’s chart-topping album.

“My record, ‘Hopeless Fountain Kingdom,’ is kind of about an underworld,” Halsey, born Ashley Frangipane, explained. “It’s kind of about this parallel universe where love conquers all. It’s a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ story so bringing in the fire is a really, really cool way for me to kind of rope my audience in to my universe that I’ve tried to create.”

Fans across the country will have the opportunity to witness that universe on the singer’s first-ever arena tour, although Halsey is no stranger to big rooms. She headlined and sold-out Madison Square Garden in 2016; the show went on-sale three weeks after her debut LP “Badlands” came out.

“The whole world went, ‘What do you think you’re doing? You just put out your album. You can’t play MSG,’” she recalled of critics’ initial reaction to the news. “That venue has always been the pinnacle of music for me.

“I was playing a show at Webster Hall. I was playing to 1,500 people (the night tickets for The Garden were released). And I walked up-stage and I got the news that we were about to sell-out Madison Square Garden.”

Halsey said that as amazing as she thinks the arena dates will be, it will be hard to top playing MSG, which she described as, “one of the best experiences of my life.”

She’ll find out when the tour kicks off at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on September 29… her birthday.

“Versatile” would be one way to describe Ne-Yo’s musical capabilities given how many different radio formats have played his songs over the years and the number of genres he has actively participated in. Electronic Dance Music is one of those genres, whether it is working with Afrojack or Calvin Harris for the GRAMMY-nominated “Let’s Go,” and the singer/songwriter doesn’t think that its popularity is going to decline anytime soon.

“It’s a genre that’s based off of crowd participation,” Ne-Yo replied when I asked him if he was surprised at dance music’s sustained prominence, especially in the pop world. “If you’ve ever been to an EDM show, it’s not even so much about the DJ. Most EDM DJs wear a black t-shirt and black jeans…you’re going for the music and the way that the music makes you feel.

“We’re in a time where things that make you feel something are few and far between, and that music has always been based on getting that energy. I don’t feel like energy will ever go out of style, so I don’t feel like EDM will ever go out of style.”

While not of the electronic variety, there is a bunch of energy on Ne-Yo’s new single, “Another Love Song.”

“I wanted to do something kind of up-tempo, summertime, fun,” the artist, nee Shaffer Smith, explained. “Still have an R&B edge but could also you know, play with the pop folks if you felt like it and I feel like ‘Another Love Song’ is just that.”

Ne-Yo wrote the song himself and tasked Dr. Luke to produce it. It’s the first single from his forthcoming seventh studio album. Given his longevity and track record, perhaps he knows a thing or two when he speaks about staying in style.

Since 2010, Niall Horan has been on quite the rollercoaster. The Irish-born singer first came to fame on “The X-Factor” across the pond, where Simon Cowell hatched the bright idea to pair him and four other contestants together. What followed was a phenomenon: five chart-topping albums, sold-out stadium tours and millions upon millions of screaming fans.

But now Horan is signed to a different record label, releasing music as a solo artist and moving at a speed that must feel more comfortable.

“Yeah, it’s great,” when asked Horan about the pace of his new project with Capitol Records. “I kind of just made a decision that I would do everything at my own pace and I said it to my manager and to my label and they were completely supportive of it.”

Horan essentially told them that he would work on the album and he would notify them when it was finished. Update: it’s pretty much done.

“I’ll probably release it in the fall or something,” he said. “I just have to do a little bit of production stuff and it’s all kind of recorded and stuff like that.”

The Irishman doesn’t have a title yet but he has released two songs from the LP, “This Town” and “Slow Hands.” When I asked about the song selection, it sounded like the former wasn’t really intended to be a proper first single.

“I just wanted to let people know I was still doing music to be honest and it just kind of happened,” Horan explained of releasing “This Town.” “It took a life of its own.”

There was definitely a more methodical approach behind “Slow Hands.”

“I wanted to kind of beef things up a little bit and show I was a little bit more diverse,” Horan noted. “The whole album wasn’t going to be all finger-picking stuff.”

Horan started writing for the project in “March or April of last year.” The singer hopped in-and-out of the studio between days off before “This Town” started climbing the charts and the project’s timeline sped up – something Horan credits to those aforementioned fans, who have stuck with him throughout the entire ride.

Andy Grammer is reading the room. Summertime is here. To some, our nation and the world are in a… let’s just say “precarious” place. And if there is one thing people are seeking, it’s love.

“My mom was an incredible lady and she taught me to basically just give love in every interaction that I had,” the artist recalled of his mother, Kathryn, while talking about his forthcoming single. “I think that with the climate that we’re in right now of the world, maybe sometimes this message would be a little too sweet but I think right now, it actually lands perfectly.”

Grammer immediately followed that assessment with a description of the song’s tempo.

“It’s not too heavy,” he clarified. “It’s ‘up.’ It’s a fun summer thing.”

“Give Love” is the title and that thing will be released June 9. It’s far from the first piece of work that Grammer’s mother has inspired. In 2013, the “Honey I’m Good” singer started the KathyGramm campaign to raise awareness for women who were victims of gender-based violence, a cause that was near to his mom’s heart. And besides the new track, Grammer will have a little more love and to love in his life soon: this past March he and wife Aijia announced that they are expecting their first child.

As for the single, Grammer will celebrate its release on June 10 with a headlining performance at the Belmont Stakes.

“It makes you feel good,” he said of the song. “And we need more of that, for sure.”

Hailee Steinfeld has been no stranger to pop radio over the past few months between collaborating with Zedd and Grey on “Starving” along with her feature on Machine Gun Kelly’s “At My Best.” The 20 year-old is back with her own single, “Most Girls” and maybe some more music to come.

“Maybe,” she slyly replied when I asked if the song was a first single from a forthcoming project. “I’m working on music, which I’m very excited about, and I can’t wait to put more out. It’s going to be a good summer.”

Steinfeld, who I caught up with backstage at the Billboard Music Awards last month, was just as excited for singer/songwriter Julia Michaels. The actress’ first single “Love Myself” was co-written by Michaels, who now has her own breakout debut hit with “Issues.”

“She is genuinely one of my favorite people in the world,” Steinfeld gushed. “We met and five minutes in to our time together it felt like we had known each other for years. She’s so incredibly talented and deserves nothing but the best.”

Whether it’s Michaels, Zedd (who retweeted a fan suggestion that he produce a song with Steinfeld before the two even got in to the studio together) or MGK, the singer keeps a relatively simple rule in place for deciding who she’ll work with on music.

“I love collaborating, especially with friends, because that never really feels like work.”

Bad news if you’re expecting a new DNCE album: don’t.

“For us, we focus on songs right now,” lead singer Joe Jonas told me backstage at the Billboard Music Awards. “We’re always writing so, if something just kind of comes together and it’s an album (then) so be it, we’re going to release it.

“We’re not really trying to lock us down to like, ‘Here’s a release date for a record.’ We got a song? Let’s just put it out.”

Jonas and company dropped an EP with the breakout hit “Cake By The Ocean” before releasing a full length album a year later. The quartet is back with its first single since: the Nicki Minaj-featured “Kissing Strangers.”

“We’re huge fans of her’s,” bassist Cole Whittle said. “We thought about it and she hadn’t really done anything in the rock-and-roll world with like a raw band and we approached her. She was in to it.”

Whittle noted the “aesthetic marriage” between the two acts and how both thought it was a good idea. For Minaj, the only time she really came as close to a “rock band” vibe was her feature on the track “Knockout” from Lil Wayne’s “Rebirth” album. While the song did not fare too well on the charts, it did sell over a half-million copies in less than a year.

Meanwhile, DNCE probably wouldn’t mind replicating the success of “Cake,” which earned platinum-certification in a number of countries including over 3 million served in the U.S. The band will play a smattering of shows this summer before joining Bruno Mars on the Latin America leg of his “24K Magic World Tour.”

The diverse career of Amber Tamblyn’s became even more varied with the release of “Paint It Black,” a movie based on the Janet Fitch novel. Originally the 34 year-old actress was set to star in the film – instead she decided to make her directorial debut with it.

“I initially read the book in 2006. I was in my early 20’s,” Tamblyn explained to me of what led to her decision to move behind the camera. “It would have been very different to have the character, who is very naïve and gets put in a really bad position with this woman who’s much older than her, who sort of takes advantage of her and almost puts her under a spell… it would tell a different story if you had someone in her early 30’s doing that, if it was happening to them as opposed to someone in their early 20’s.”

So Tamblyn found Alia Shawkat to plays Josie, a hard partier whose boyfriend commits suicide. The movie follows Josie struggling to not only cope with the loss of her lover but also the wrath of the boyfriend’s mother, played by Janet McTeer.

“I really wanted the film to be less about someone taking their life, less about suicide and more about what happens after the fact,” the director explained. “(The boyfriend) is really not in the film very much on purpose because I wanted to make a movie that was sort of devoid of answers.”

Thus “Paint It Black” focuses on two women who are trying to fill in the blanks of the boy’s death. In the process, the audience is brought in to a plot that can twist, turn or flash back to an earlier time at any second.

The movie received generally positive reviews, especially for a first-time director.

“I hope so. I love directing,” Tamblyn responded when I asked if this was the start of a new career. “I certainly know the type of voice that I have and the type of movie that I like which are films that err on the side of a little more arch.”

Tamblyn was 12 years old when she had her first brush with a storyline: her breakout role as Emily Quartermaine on the ABC soap opera, “General Hospital.” In hindsight, Tamblyn feels that starting out in daytime television was instrumental in her development as an actress.

“People will always ask me, ‘How do I get in to acting?’ or ‘How do I get my kid in to acting?’ she said. “I’m always like, ‘Don’t do it! It’s awful; terrible business!’ But, I do suggest over getting acting classes, over getting most types of jobs – get on a soap opera.

“You shoot 70 pages of dialogue if you’re on an hour-long, a day. That’s crazy. Nobody does that. It’s like doing a one-act play, every single day.”

Speaking of which, Tamblyn is still in an off-Broadway show, the comedy “Can You Forgive Her? at Union Square’s Vineyard Theater. It runs through June 11. “Paint It Black” is in theaters now.

It was a crazy six hours that saw nominees, presenters and performers all stop by our broadcast area as everyone prepared for the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. We chatted with everyone from the show’s co-host Ludacris, performers Jason Derulo, Halsey and Julia Michaels plus presenters Lindsey Stirling, Chris Daughtry and Hailee Steinfeld. Check out more below!







BradsDeals.com‘s Caroline Thompson called in to the show Thursday and offered up some solid options for last-second Mother’s Day gifts. The full guide is here.

Miley Cyrus is back on the cover of “Billboard” and set to perform her new single “Malibu” for the first time next weekend on the 2017 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.

If it seems like déjà vu, well that makes sense. Back in 2013 Cyrus used The BBMAs as a springboard to promote her return from a three-year music hiatus. On the red carpet she talked about the comeback and “We Can’t Stop,” which would be released later that month to much fanfare.

“I don’t ever label anything,” Cyrus told me outside of the MGM Grand Garden Arena that May, while standing alongside Renaissance man will.i.am. The duo collaborated on “Feelin’ Myself” and the uber-melodic “Fall Down.” “All my party jams are real s— too. It’s all what I really need to say.”

And she said quite a bit with her fourth studio album and first on RCA, “Bangerz.” From the aforementioned lead single to the smash-hit “Wrecking Ball” followed by the tour to support the LP, Cyrus demolished any remnants of the “Hannah Montana” era.

Now seems that the songstress is in a different place. A better place? Maybe – you’d have to ask her. She’s rumored to be back on with fiancé Liam Hemsworth. She shouldn’t be judged for her appearance but from the Billboard cover this much is obvious: the edginess is either changed or gone altogether.

As for “Malibu” – well it certainly sounds more “real s—“ than “party jam” – not that Cyrus makes a distinction.