Sure I was in Los Angeles covering The 59th GRAMMYs, but that didn’t stop me from making some headlines in my local neighborhood’s blog.
I’m a big fan of Westside Rag if for nothing else, it keeps me updated on the latest openings and closings in the area, and that alone is a lot to track in this day-and-age of Gotham. Recently, I read on the site about complaints regarding noisy neighbors just blocks from my apartment.
These weren’t just any neighbors though; they were cast members from the latest season of “America’s Next Top Model.”
So when recently-eliminated contestant Paige Mobley stopped by our backstage broadcast inside LA’s Staples Center, well I felt compelled to bring these rumors to her. And I was surprised to hear her response.
It probably doesn’t matter which Cyrus you’re talking about: for any of them, it’s pretty exciting to have a song on the radio and participate in GRAMMY Week.
The latest to partake in this is Billy Ray’s youngest daughter and Miley’s little sister Noah, who is making a name for herself with the Labrinth-assisted track “Make Me (Cry).”
“I’m like a little stressed out, a little nervous,” the teenager offered during our chat inside Staples Center. “This whole experience has been great.”
The experience has included releasing the track, performing on “The Tonight Show” and prepping for an upcoming spot on James Corden’s “The Late Late Show.” Corden hosted The GRAMMYs last weekend and Cyrus divulged to us that she would probably watch the award show at home, on the couch, Chinese food in hand.
It probably served as a well-deserved break from the promo run she’s been on behind the single. Cyrus is currently in the studio working on her debut album, “NC-17.”
“I don’t have a date for it yet,” she said. “It’s very far along but I still just want to get those final few songs that are like, ‘Alright, this is what makes the album me.’”
And something tells me that if she’s looking for advice on that, well… she won’t have to travel far from the couch to get 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.
Jeremy and Samantha (Sammy) have been friends since middle school although they waited until after completing college at Yale and NYU respectively to form Marian Hill. The duo’s single “Down” is taking off after a placement in the new Apple commercial and they’ve also collaborated with Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui. They talked about those topics and much more when they stopped by my show recently.
Singer/songwriter Adam Friedman stopped by the show to talk about his new EP ‘Green’ and the single, ‘What If?’ which he’ll be performing on “The Bachelor” February 13. Friedman also talked about his friend and collaborator Mike Posner’s GRAMMY nomination for “Song Of The Year.”
After spending her 2016 battling cancer and completing the New York City Marathon, American Idol alum Jax kicked off the new year with some new tunes.
The New Jersey native, nee Jaclyn Miskanic, released an EP on January 27 called “Funny.” Yes, she’s pretty lighthearted in person, but at times perhaps all she could was laugh when she dealt with both personal and professional highs and lows.
“It’s kind of just about a toxic relationship that you can’t get enough of,” she explained when I asked the inspiration behind “LSD” – a song which plays off of the Beatles’ classic “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and one that we world-premiered on the radio show last week. “I think everyone has been there in their own way.”
The first time Jax joined my show was about a year ago; she had just released “La La Land” and stopped by to promote it. The next time I interviewed her was over the summer, after she revealed the thyroid cancer diagnosis and her plans to not only defeat it but then conquer the NYC Marathon.
“I feel great. I ran a freakin’ marathon!” Jax insisted when I inquired last week how she was feeling. “Everything’s good.”
Jax was happy to complete the 26.2 mile trek through New York City’s five boroughs, an experience she simply described as “awesome.” Will she run it this year as well?
“I think I will… don’t quote me!” she responded. “I have to start running again. I just got an Apple Watch. I think that was like my mother’s way of telling me you need to start working out again!”
The annual marathon doesn’t take place until later in the year, giving Jax plenty of time to not only train but also promote and perform her new EP… or at least devise a plan to do so.
“I think we’re kind of winging it,” she revealed. “We’re just putting out the material and hoping that everyone kind of connects with it. We have some shows and ideas coming up so we’ll keep everybody posted but I’m just really nervous for the release.”
Also out January 27, a new EP from Hot Chelle Rae guitarist and long-time friend-of-the-show Nash Overstreet, who coincidentally co-wrote and produced a song on Jax’s project. The “Idol” runner-up recalled meeting Overstreet a few years ago during her run on the TV show but he actually remembered a chance-encounter with the singer at a talent show in New Jersey a few years prior to that. Regardless, the two linked up via social media and eventually hit the studio together to collaborate on “Stars.”
The track is one of six on the new EP; Jax recorded a number of other songs as well that she hopes to release in the not-so-distant future.
It definitely came as no surprise to long-time fans of One Direction and long-time listeners of my radio show that Niall Horan is a “massive” fan of President Barack Obama. Horan revealed his admiration for the First Family during a chat on my show back in 2012; the aforementioned quote attributed to the singer became a popular Tumblr meme (only second to the GIF-able moment when Louis Tomlinson decided to crash our interview).
“I’m a big fan of their dad,” Horan told me as we talked about Malia and Sasha Obama, the President’s daughters, who at the time had recently just hung out with One Direction at a concert in Fairfax, Virginia. “They were sitting on the side of the stage, so I was waving at them.
“They’re just regular kids,” he continued. “They got to have a childhood and then they became ‘the President’s daughters.’”
Fans of Horan retweeted a clip of the interview that I had posted after the Irishman posted a message to Twitter about the Obama’s on Wednesday.
“Don’t get me started but I’m going to miss the obamas (sic),” he said online. “The nicest family on earth.”
Horan and his bandmates connected with Malia and Sasha at the Kids Choice Awards that year. The First Family said that if One Direction couldn’t make it to the White House, then the kids could go to one of their shows. So with Secret Service in tow, the daughters traveled out to the Patriot Center where they hung out with the guys backstage.
“We just had a conversation about everything,” Horan said. “It went from food to roller coasters to life to them having loads of security all the time.”
Which at least on some level, One Direction could relate to, although even Horan was taken aback by the Secret Service detail – which at the time struck me as one of the more surprising moments of our interview.
As the band prepares for its upcoming tour that kicks off later this month, DNCE looks back on 2016 rather fondly.
“Getting a VMA for Best New Artist, that’s really special for us,” was one of the first things lead singer Joe Jonas told me he’ll remember about the year, besides of course releasing the quartet’s debut, self-titled album. “Touring with so many amazing artists and growing our fan base more and more, and we can’t wait just to be able to do it all over again hopefully.”
The LP, which dropped November 18, came out over a year after DNCE’s initial EP. According to Jonas, the prolonged success of “Cake By The Ocean” was one of the reasons for its delay.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he admitted. This was the first time that I had chatted with the group since the album’s unveiling. “Yeah the album’s out, and what a great way to kind of cap the year off with being in Times Square and celebrating with all of these amazing people that are kind of bearing the cold.”
I sat down with Jonas and his bandmates Jack Lawless, Cole Whittle and JinJoo Lee in their hotel suite before the group performed “Cake” and “Body Moves” on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” It was Jonas’ third time performing the event; in 2007 and 2009 he did so with his brothers Nick and Kevin. Lawless, who played drums for The Jonas Brothers, joined those times as well. But for Whittle and Lee, joining a million people to ring in the New Year was a new experience.
“We’re all wearing adult diapers underneath actually, just to keep things legit,” Whittle cracked when I inquired how they were staying warm. He eventually told me that because of how much the band moves around on stage, they wouldn’t have an issue with the temperature outside.
“It’s amazing how many people are waiting all day for this awesome event,” Lee said of her first New Years in Times Square. “I can’t wait to celebrate with all of those people.”
DNCE, which played the Orange Bowl Halftime Show in Florida the night before New Year’s Eve, now heads west for their headlining tour that starts January 17 in San Diego.
“We think the world needs more love,” Jonas responded when I asked if the band had a New Year’s Resolution. “And hopefully we can bring some joy and happiness to people.”