The 67th annual Tony Awards enjoyed some added star power this year. Tom Hanks, Steven Van Zandt, Cyndi Lauper, Scarlett Johansson, and Jake Gyllenhaal were in attendance, all either returning to or making their Broadway debut in some capacity this past season. The show, hosted again by actor Neil Patrick Harris, saw its highest ratings since 2009.
The times are certainly changing, and if anyone in music has experienced that, it is rapper T.I. TIP has sold almost 7 million albums and 15 million singles in the U.S. alone. Yet the Atlanta-native currently finds himself without a record label and on a tour with Lil Wayne that is selling tickets in some markets for as low as $10.
“This is what we call a paradigm shift in society right now,” T.I. explained over the phone in an interview with “The Ralphie Show.” “This is a generational shift where new people are coming in to power and there’s a new day and age; a new way of doing things.”
The “Whatever You Like” artist notes that anyone in business has to adapt to a changing climate.
“I’m in a very unique position where I have artists, including myself, I have producers, I have writers under my wing,” he said. “For me to go to any distributor and walk in any building and give them instant market share, and give them instant credibility, instant relevance, and also an already-made superstar, that’s going to take a considerable investment.”
With the feasibility in this day and age of recording and releasing music independently, especially under an already-known name, there’s no reason to believe that T.I. is simply showing a poker face. He told me he’d like to release Trouble Man II: He Who Wears The Crown by this December. If there’s no deal in place with a record label, the rapper insists that he’ll release it without a major label. Coincidentally enough, the first single, “Wit Me,” features his summer tour-mate.
“Wayne was in Atlanta man, and he hit me,” T.I. recalled. “I think he might have hit me about 5 in the morning, say he was on his way to the studio. So I was just up watching TV at the house and I was like, ‘Hell man, I’m not going to let him out work me, I’m going to the studio too!’”
The two superstars listened to tracks from T.I.’s Hustle Gang in-house producers. A beat produced by Cordale “Lil C” Quinn stood out from the rest, and shortly after hearing it both Weezy and TIP started cutting verses.
“We didn’t get out of there that morning… might have been about 9:30 in the morning,“ he said. “And (Wayne) was still working!”
T.I. says that Lil Wayne is “doing good” following reports that speculated various conditions of his health.
“He’s in awesome spirits,” TIP said. “One thing I can say, it has nothing to do with drugs, because I’ve been around him several times, shooting the video and on personal time and I haven’t seen him around or doing anything anywhere related to any kind of narcotics. I can attest to that.”
Life & Style Weekly reports that Kanye West might not be in the delivery room when Kim Kardashian gives birth. Editor Laura Lane also talked about an interview sister publication In Touch Weekly did with Shakira on “The Ralphie Show.”
On the outset, it looks like Khyati Shah simply locked up an attorney and changed her story with a big pay day insight.
“Now she’s not okay, she’s got head trauma, head injuries… what are my fellow lawyers doing!” joked HLN TV contributor and New York attorney Joey Jackson on “The Ralphie Show.” Shah told Billboard backstage at the magazine’s award show last month that she was fine following the accident. Singer Miguel missed the stage while jumping over a pit of fans and landed on Shah’s head.
Her attorney, Vip Bhola, told TMZ that his client may have brain damage. All kidding aside, Jackson doesn’t necessarily doubt the story.
“There may be times when you are traumatized and you don’t know it,” the lawyer explained. “When you have brain injuries, you later consult a professional. You go to the doctor and they say, ‘Wait a minute. There’s something significant here.’”
But there’s another side to the coin, no pun intended.
“Miguel’s a deep pocket. He’s successful. He’s got some cash, and they’re looking to cash in,” Jackson speculated on another possible motive for the new wave of reports that have returned this story to the headlines. “What the facts are? What the truth is? That’s ultimately going to be for a jury to decide, if it moves forward and it goes that far.”
From a legal perspective, Jackson also mentioned the assumption of liability, which falls in Miguel’s favor.
“People who are at concerts assume a certain risk,” he said. “It’s sort of like being at a baseball game and getting hit with a ball. Can you sue the player? No.”
Leave it to Miguel to bring a new meaning to the term, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” We may find out sooner rather than later if the legal system agrees.
For five of the past six years, Armin van Buuren has topped DJ Mag’s list of the world’s best DJs. Of 2012’s top five, he is arguably the only one to not obtain mainstream success on the radio… yet.
“First of all, I’m very thankful and grateful for so many people that take the time to go online and vote for me,” van Buuren explained during a phone interview on “The Ralphie Show.” “Fans saying that they love what you do, your work, that’s just the best feeling.”
But, van Buuren cautions that while there’s “a list,” it is really impossible to compile “the list.”
“Comparing DJs is comparing apples to oranges,” he said. “You can compare me to other trance DJs, that’s fine. But it’s just very different music.”
The Dutch producer said that while he’s a fan of some of the more familiar DJs played on the radio, he would never place the type of electronic music found in their playlists.
“I know Afrojack. I know David Guetta. They’re good friends. I sometimes go and see their show,” he said. “Not to say that I don’t like their music, but it’s just not what I want to represent as a DJ.”
Like the aforementioned mixers, don’t be surprised if van Buuren soon hits not just the club sound system, but also the airwaves. The first single from his new album Intense, “This Is What It Feels Like,” is heading to U.S. radio. It has already gone top 10 in four different countries.
“Trevor was inspired with this song by his neighbor who was diagnosed with a brain tumor,” van Buuren said, referring to Canadian singer Trevor Guthrie who is on the track. “Fortunately that’s cured now; the neighbor is alive and she’s doing well. But he was shocked to hear (the diagnosis).”
As serious as the song’s roots are, the track’s music video is just as light-hearted. It features adult film star Ron Jeremy.
“It was a bit cheeky, wasn’t it?” van Buuren asked, while laughing. “It’s a little bit of a sad song, so I wanted to make a big contrast with that by having a fun video.”
In yet another sign that the EDM movement isn’t completely about partying, van Buuren called me from Las Vegas and revealed the one thing he always partakes in while in Sin City. You could say it involves staying on top of another list, arguably a more important one.
“I like the shopping here so I like to bring stuff to my wife and daughter,” he said. “They have some really cool stuff here. Sometimes they have sales and stuff and my wife always goes online and tells me what she wants.”
Life & Style Weekly reports that Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine has a new girlfriend. Senior Reporter Andrew Nodell also talked about Lady Gaga’s continued recovery on “The Ralphie Show.”
Perhaps you forgot that Akon played a big role in introducing Lady Gaga to the masses. In addition to the “Konvict Music” artist appearing on her breakout single “Just Dance,” he also convinced Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine to sign the singer. The joint label-deal with Kon Live yielded that GRAMMY-nominated song as well as her debut album, The Fame. The rest, as they say, can be looked up on Wikipedia.
Fast forward through two albums and an unprecedented amount of success, and we find that Lady Gaga is preparing to release her third album, ARTPOP. The timeline for the project though was derailed when Gaga sustained a hip injury that forced her to cancel her “Born This Way Ball.”
“Only she can give you news on that,” Akon told me when I asked him about any type of album update. “I’m from a distributor side; I’m on the label side.”
The “Sexy Chick” singer explained more, revealing a bit about Gaga’s current deal.
“I was involved in the first and second album,” he said. “After that, like she’s more in control of her own content now so we just allow her to do her own thing. And then when the album is turned in, then that’s when I play the role as far as distribution.”
Speaking of distributing albums, Akon plans on doing just that with his own music soon. It seems his situation has stabilized following his record label, Universal Motown, folding in to the now Republic Records.
“Unfortunately, it does affect artists like myself when there is changes happening within the label,” he said, while also agreeing with my assessment that he could have gone independent if need be. He argued that despite his own name recognition and business acumen, he’d rather work inside a bigger machine. “If the system is broken, you can’t really move until they get it fixed.”
Akon says Stadium will be out by year’s end.
If you’re like me and you follow YES Network analyst Jack Curry on Twitter, you know that the seasoned reporter is well-versed in more than just baseball. Curry is an avid music fan who tweets about Gaslight Anthem and Mumford and Sons in between updating his 40,000-plus followers on Derek Jeter’s rehab progress.
With his new YES Network web series, “JCTV,” Curry hopes to combine his loves for sports and tunes with his profession of telling great stories and interviewing newsmakers. When I asked the reporter who he’d most like to chat with from the music-sphere, one person he responded with was Jay-Z.
“He was a part owner for the Nets and now he’s one of Robinson Cano’s agents,” said Curry via telephone. “There’s a nice baseball-sports connection there, so I would love to interview somebody like that as well.”
Curry tapped former Yankees catcher and current YES co-worker John Flaherty as his first guest. The 11-minute long episode premiered Wednesday, and the former New York Times writer aims to release a new show weekly. “JCTV” is currently shot in black and white, with two handheld cameras, and in a more casual setting – all variables that Curry doesn’t see changing as the show moves forward.
“We want people to have a destination, we want people to care about it,” Curry explained. “I want to trend on Twitter like you did in New York last night!”
Yes, “#RalphieShow” did trend in to the wee hours of the morning, due to dedicated fans of the groups Emblem 3 and Little Mix. Curry joked that he could call in a favor with Jeter, and that isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound: the reporter and Yankee captain co-wrote a book together in 2000.