Don’t expect a new single from Sean Kingston’s sophomore LP tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after.
Checking in to The Ralphie Radio Show via telephone, Kingston told me that Tomorrow is yesterday, as he is already in production on his third album.
“We’re gonna go to a brand new album, with some crazy joints,” revealed Kingston. “I’ve been so inspired that I’ve been in the studio… and I’ve been coming up with a lot of smashes.” — Download the mp3
— The “Fire Burnin’” singer did confirm that J.R. Rotem is contributing to the new effort. Rotem produced the number one hit, “Whatcha Say” – a song performed by Jason Derulo but originally intended for Kingston’s album. Perhaps it’s that song, along with “Replay” – which is by Kingston’s artist I-Yaz, that inspired the new material.
Kingston closes out the year with the “Tomorrow Tour” and radio promo dates, and then will continue production on his next LP.
He’s the lead singer of OneRepublic. The guy’s band is currently on tour with Rob Thomas. The group is releasing a new LP this month. He’s also writing and producing some of the biggest hits on radio for some of the most popular artists. But if you’re Ryan Tedder, you know you’re busy when you miss the deadline for Rihanna’s new album.
“(Laughing) Man, that week literally, I was working on stuff, and they were closing out her record, and I just missed (the deadline) by the cusp,” Tedder revealed. OneRepublic’s front man called in to The Ralphie Radio Show while on the road, and sounded optimistic about a future opportunity to work with Rihanna. “I mean, I know they’ll be repackaging it at some point. Yunno, they repackage everything at some point, so. I talked to her label and I’m definitely gonna bring some heat for the reissue.” —
Part 1: Rihanna, Michael Bolton, Making Radio Hits
Part 2: Balancing OneRepublic/Side Projects, New LP, New Hit Predictions
— Rihanna’s last LP, Good Girl Gone Bad, spawned Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, which included the mega hit, “Take A Bow.”Other projects that Tedder worked on included the new release from Leona Lewis (Tedder co-wrote “Bleeding Love”, and wrote her new single, “Happy”) and Adam Lambert’s For Your Entertainment. Tedder is responsible for the song, “Sleepwalker” – which he predicts will be a radio hit. Another big song prediction of Tedder’s is the next OneRepublic track, “Secrets”
“It connects, man,” Tedder noted of the song, which already reached the top of the iTunes sales charts overseas (The German movie, Zweiohrküken featured “Secrets” on its soundtrack). “We have a lot of high hopes for ‘Secrets’.”
While the song is reminiscent of the sound that made Dreaming Out Loud such a success, if it doesn’t take off in the States, it wouldn’t mark the first incorrect prediction by Tedder. The songwriter admits he is still learning the skill of marrying the right song to the right artist, and cited Jennifer Lopez’s “Do It Well” as an example.
“It sounded like such a hit for her,” said Tedder. “It was kind of one of those deals where, I think people just really didn’t care. They were kinda like, ‘Eh, J-Lo, whatever.’”
Clearly, Tedder hopes for a different reaction when OneRepublic releases their sophomore LP, Waking Up, on November 17.
Of course, Jordin Sparks never thought that she would sample the 1983 hit “Let The Music Play” by Shannon for a track of her own. Before using the song, Sparks hadn’t even heard of it.
“I thought it was going to be really cool, just a different kind of experiment for me because I’ve never done like, a dance track before,” said Sparks, who called in to The Ralphie Radio Show from Los Angeles. “I played it for my mom and she was like, ‘Oh my god, I love this song!’ and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And she was like, ‘This is ‘Let The Music Play’ by Shannon!’ and I was just like, ‘Oh my goodness.’”
Sparks’ mom gave birth to Jordin 6 years after Shannon’s song burst on to the music scene. “S.O.S. (Let The Music Play)” is now Jordin’s second single from her sophomore LP, Battlefield. It’s the second album released since Sparks won American Idol Season 6 – at age 17. She is the youngest winner of the reality show in its seven season history. Now, at age 19, she is not only an Idol champ, but an American Music Awards winner, a Grammy nominee, and an opener for such acts as Alicia Keys, the Jonas Brothers, and Britney Spears. It’s quite the diverse roster of acts, and Sparks noted that there were some differences between touring with the Jo-Bros and Britney. — Part 1: World Series, Touring With Britney, The Jonas Brothers
Part 2: Self-Image, “SOS (Let The Music Play)”
— “On the Jonas crew, we were all around the same age,” said Sparks. “So we all got along, just hanging out, doing different things like that. With Britney, she’s trying to get back on track, and the people around her are definitely taking care of her. I did get to see her, but she’s Britney Spears. She’s busy doing her V.I.P. meet-and-greets and adding new songs and choreography and stuff, but it was amazing to be able to see her back on the stage.”
Certainly Sparks learned, both what to do and what not to do, from watching Spears so closely. Both entered mainstream as teenagers (Spears released “…Baby One More Time” when she was almost 16). Both now must stay conscience of the tabloids, blogs, and paparazzi. Spears and Sparks have even both posed for their own “Got Milk?” campaigns. But any type of downward spiral from Sparks seems highly unlikely, judging by a refreshingly honest answer she gave to a listener-generated question on The RRS about her look.
“The Hollywood obsession with being skinny and everything, it’s so crazy,” Sparks said. “For me, I’m just all about staying healthy. I mean, yeah I’ll work out and, yeah I’ll eat healthy. But it’s not like, to diet or to lose weight. Yunno, it’s to stay healthy and not get sick, like I did so many times last year.”
Jordin even went as far as to say that some of her detractors refer to her as “fat,” but does not waver in her stance on her image – citing her taller, curvier frame as the reason why she may not look the same as other artists or actresses. But clearly it isn’t just Sparks’s figure that sets her apart from others, but rather her talent, confidence, and perspective on young women and their self-image.
Most celebrities might not take working the red carpet of events as serious as others – walking through quickly, avoiding the media, briefly posing for photographers, and heading inside to the event. For Jamaican dance hall king Sean Paul, this is far from the case.
“Everybody always asks me, ‘What do you like about these events (while I’m on the red carpet)?’ I’m like, ‘The networking!’” Paul said last week – calling in to The Ralphie Radio Show from Jamaica.
In Paul’s case, he’s converted two different red carpet meet-ups in to big studio collaborations. Over the summer, he met Keri Hilson on the red carpet of the BET Awards. The two would duet for a track called “Hold My Hand” – which can be found on the iTunes version of Imperial Blaze. Now the singers will meet again – in Wilkes-Barre on November 13. 97 BHT and E&R Entertainment present Sean Paul, Keri Hilson, and Colby O’Donis at the Wachovia Arena.
“She gon’ be on the show, so I dunno what’s gonna happen there,” Paul teased, hinting to a possible on-stage performance of the track from the both of them. “Yo, I’m looking forward to it. I’m really, really looking forward to that.”
Sean Paul also converted another awards show meet-up in to a possible hit record – he first met Jay Sean at the MTV VMA’s this past September. Shortly after, the two headed in to the studio to record, “Do You Remember” – the follow-up single to Jay Sean’s “Down”, which features Lil Wayne.
“(Jay Sean) was like, ‘Yo, I like your music!’ and was like, ‘Yo, I ain’t heard all of yours, but I liked the first single that I heard and listen, let’s do something.’”
Lil Jon also cameos on the track – which features two British artists. Jay Sean is from England – and Sean Paul’s grandmother is from overseas as well. — Part 1: Wachovia Arena/Nov. 13, Keri Hilson, Jay Sean, Red Carpets, KanYe West
Part 2: Legalization of Marijuana
More on the big show here. — While Sean Paul recorded a potential hit record thanks to a VMA encounter, he also avoided a potential disaster – as he ran in to his friend KanYe West on the red carpet as well.
“(West) gave me some of that Hennessey,” revealed Paul. “I’m just glad I didn’t take more of that.”
Immediately after West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, Paul knew the alcohol played a role.
“I’ve been there before,” said Paul. “I know that feeling.”
Perhaps this is just more fuel to Sean Paul’s fire (no pun intended, here) in his argument that marijuana should be legalized. The singer of such tracks as “Gimme Di Light” and “We Be Burnin’ (Legalize It)” – Paul thinks that alcohol does much more hard to society than the illegal substance.
“Last time I drank, was one month ago dude. I was on the ground for like, a half hour,” Paul recounted. “You can take it for your own judgment. I’ve been doing what (President) Obama is not against for longest time, and I ain’t been on no carpet’s on the ground for a half hour.”
Paul also cited the overpopulation in America’s prisons as a reason he’d like to see marijuana legalized by the President, who has already said that the drug isn’t a priority for the administration at the moment.
He’s the teacher and the student – the leader and the follower. It is this trait that helped Miami born emcee Pitbull reach the top of his game, with back to back top 10 singles, his first LP distributed by a major label, a world tour, and many more cameos on the horizon.
On this particular night, Pitbull, real name Armando Perez, plays the role of teacher. Pitbull provides for his crew, which features your typical litany of managers and stage hands, along with a band and DJ. Pit’s company, Mr. 305 Inc., fronts the money for expenses incurred. The crew chows down on a mix of fried chicken and salad, with a conservative selection of beer, liquor, and soda. In the back of the tour bus, also covered by Pit’s company, where a second flat screen and video game system are stored, I plop down on the leather couch. There, I’m joined by the Miami emcee and another one of his students, David Rush.
“It’s like going to college for free,” described Rush of his jaunt on “The Rebelution Tour” – which bears the name of Pit’s recent release on Mr. 305/RCA. Rush, who is also known as “Young Boss”, wrote and appeared on the club banger, “Go Girl”. Every night of the tour, Rush joins Pit on stage for the track. However unlike most opening acts, the Jersey native sticks around for the entire set.
“I get to learn and experience what not to do, what to do, what works on stage, what doesn’t work on stage, and… you get to study, you get to watch and learn,” said Rush.
Pitbull feels Rush is someone who “knows how to make hit records,” as opposed to just someone who may “stumble over” a hit. But in addition to the creative side, Rush is learning the business aspect of the industry as well – as Pit balances both the demands of his own company and of the record label’s.
Part 2: Collaborations w/ Akon, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira; New Music
“I’m out here on my own dime. The label ain’t give me no money for this right here,” revealed Pit. “But to me, I am my biggest investment. Not that the label is treating me bad or anything like that, not at all, they just lettin’ me do what I do.”
What Pit has done is continued and extended the grass roots movement he started in 1997. From the outset, there doesn’t seem to be a magic formula to his success. Pitbull works 24/7 – rarely one to turn down any type of request – whether it’s for an interview, a record cameo, or an autograph. The “on-the-grind” mentality combined with the reliability of the person himself, mixed with a lucky break here and there – has landed Pitbull both street cred and mainstream notoriety, a tough status that only few artists obtain in this day and age.
But after speaking with the emcee, you realize there is one other ingredient to his successful recipe – the hunger and desire to continue to learn. This became evident when I asked Pitbull about his recent collaboration with Jennifer Lopez, who is now releasing music under her alter-ego, “Lola.”
“’Lola’ is what Marc Anthony calls her,” said Pit. “To work with Jennifer Lopez was an honor. Especially someone that’s opened the doors for the Latin’s the way she’s done it in the movie industry, in the music industry. More than anything, I watch them and I learn, yunno? And I’m studying, also.”
The Jennifer Lopez collaboration is just one of many on the way for Mr. 305 himself – also on the docket – tracks with Shakira, Kristinia Debarge, and Janet Jackson. Plus, similar to the Livvi Franc track – you never know what Pit will just hop on.
“Right now I’ve been on tour, since I’m the one funding the bus, I don’t get the studio bus,” he joked. “There’s a lot of riddims out right now, that don’t nobody really know about. I’m about to f*ck ‘em up!”
From the outset, Justin Bieber seems like your typical 15 year-old. He doodles on his own photos, cracks jokes with band mates, and will at times refuse to listen to anyone older than him. Getting ready to walk on stage at The Mall at Steamtown, he hops on his record label rep’s back, only to crash his head in to a door sill. Leaving the mall, in an attempt to retrieve his fallen hat, his ankle is stepped on by a fan, but of course, he tries not to let on to his staff, which laughs at him as he hobbles around, that its bothering him.
But a quick look at what the Canadian-born heart throb accomplished this past year, and “typical” will quickly become the furthest adjective from your mind.
Bieber performed last Thursday exclusively for 97 BHT listeners inside The Mall at Steamtown. Usher signed the teenage crooner to a deal after watching some of his YouTube videos – the most famous being Bieber’s cover of Chris Brown’s “With You”. But Usher wasn’t the only A-lister trying to court the 15 year-old.
“Well, what happened was, it was in Las Vegas. And it was Justin Timberlake in the red corner, it was Usher in the blue corner, and I’m pretty sure it was a technical knockout,” joked Bieber before he performed for almost 1,200 people inside the mall. I asked if Usher offered that much more than Timberlake, to which Bieber replied, “No, uhm… it was a technical knockout.” —
Now with the upcoming release of his debut LP, My World, Bieber sports an enthusiastic fan base throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as two hits charted in the Top 30. Just a few weeks ago he popped up on NBC’s “The Today Show”, and who could forget his cameo at the MTV Video Music Awards? Yes, the 15 year-old had the daunting task of introducing Taylor Swift’s performance, immediately after KanYe West interrupted the starlet’s acceptance speech on stage. Bieber witnessed the fiasco from the stage, and then went on to offer impromptu kudos to Swift on-air, before introducing her.
“I don’t think as a new artist, or anybody, really goes off topic of like, what they’re supposed to say on the teleprompter,” Bieber noted. “I kinda took a risk… having to introduce Taylor Swift on top of that was kinda scary, but I mean, she’s amazing. She’s a really nice girl so, I was honored to be able to introduce her.”
Bieber was also honored to take part in Kidd Kraddick In The Morning’s “Band Camp.” For a week straight, the singer joined the morning show to help a group of kids form a band. Bieber notes that he enjoyed the experience, but in typical 15 year-old fashion, did have one complaint. “The only crappy part was I had to wake up at like 5 in the morning, every single day,” Bieber said. He uses his iPhone as an alarm – and also as a way to connect with his fans. The same day he performed at the mall, uStream, a web site that allows for live web video chatting, sent Bieber an iPhone application that allows him to stream live video to the web site.
“I just got it today,” Bieber said, still kinda taken aback that uStream would send him the app before it makes it available to the general public. “But like, it’s cool that I can uStream from my phone.”
Bieber will then send the uStream link out to his Twitter followers, all 300,000 plus.
“I don’t know why (I have that many followers),” he joked. “I’m not that cool.”
Better late than never for We The Kings – who finished recording the new LP, Smile Kid about two weeks after expected.
Last time I chatted with WTK front man Travis Clark, the band was on the eve of releasing “Heaven Can Wait” to radio stations across the country. With The Ralphie Radio Show receiving the track a day early, I asked Travis when we could expect an LP. He originally noted that the band hoped to finish work on it before October. I reconnected with him and guitarist Hunter Thomsen on Tuesday, October 13. — Download the mp3
— “Last night I finished the last vocal for it,” said Clark. “So it was a little delayed, but it was worth it, because it’s perfect now.”
Clark is also relieved the band finished recording it before embarking on its current tour with All Time Low, Hey Monday, and The Friday Night Boys. We The Kings will release the sophomore LP on December 8.