Emeli Sandé’s legal first name is Adele. She claims it isn’t a common name back in the UK.
“That’s why it was so weird,” she explained on “The Ralphie Show,” referring to her connection with THE Adele, surname Adkins. “Maybe three years ago someone said, ‘Oh there’s this new singer Adele and she’s getting bigger and bigger.’ That’s when I decided I should probably pick a different name.”
By this time, the buzz had already started around Adele with her album 19 and single “Chasing Pavement.” Sandé made the wise decision to use her middle name.
“I was featured on a rapper’s track,” she recalled. “I thought, ‘The name I pick here is going to have to be completely different.’”
Sandé went on to create her own name literally and figuratively in the UK. Her LP Our Version of Events was the highest selling album in the UK for 2012, moving over a million units. Now, she is making a splash across the pond with her hit single, “Next To Me.”
“I feel like a newcomer over here, which has been really fun,” she said. “It’s a massive country but we’re slowly kind of getting things rolling.”
For just beginning her U.S. run in January, Sandé has already accomplished quite a bit. “Next To Me” cracked the top 25 on six different Billboard charts, hitting number one at Hot Dance Club Songs. The singer performed at the “American Idol” finale, on “Dancing With The Stars,” “Today,” and at a special event in the White House. Sandé also covered Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” for the Jay-Z produced “Great Gatsby” soundtrack.
“I was asked if I’d like to come and do a version,” explained Sandé of her involvement with the project. “Brian Ferry and his orchestra had put together the 1920’s version. So, I was just honored to be involved with the project.”
She also made sure to seek-out Jay at the red carpet premiere in New York.
“I think he liked it. He seemed really cool,” she said. “I think because I did my own thing on it, and it was more suited for the film, then it worked.”
For those keeping track at home – yes, that’s events with Jay-Z and President Barack Obama in a month’s span. You could say Sandé’s plan to switch her name as to not cause any confusion worked out just fine.
When it comes to Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift simply “ain’t got time for that.”
“Can we have another question?” Swift responded when asked about Justin Bieber receiving Billboard’s ill-titled “Milestone Award” on Sunday night at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards. Swift answered a couple of questions from the media in the press room after the night ended. That of course, was not one of them.
Immediately I flashed back to the program and thought I knew why Taylor decided to dodge the question. Selena Gomez introduced Swifts’ performance of “22,” and the best friends sat next to each other all night. Of course, Gomez and Bieber recently broke up, again, for good… we think (hope?).
Then I flashed back to Saturday, backstage at the BBMA. Ed Sheeran, T-Swift’s current tour-mate on the “Red” tour, told me that Swift wanted to win the “Milestone Award” the most because it was a fan vote. You’ll hear my full interview with Ed later this week on “The Ralphie Show.”
But is Taylor’s snub of the Biebs simply award show sour grapes? She’s had her fair share of interesting moments at these events, but let’s not forget Swift was the big winner on Sunday night. The songstress took home eight awards, including Top Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album.
I still believe it’s the former: Taylor was not about to pay props to a kid that wronged her best friend. Regardless of how she answered, she would have made even more headlines than she did with her non-answer. Perhaps the T-Swift media machine wins yet again.
Curtis Finch Jr. was the first of the five men to be eliminated in succession on “American Idol” this season. Just in case any fans or “Idol” staffers forgot about him since the March 14, he quickly reminded them that he’s still around – and a bit skeptical about how the season unfolded.
“I think it’s been really pushed that they wanted a girl to win,” Finch said of the competition during an interview with “The Ralphie Show.” He clarified that by “they,” he meant the show producers. “That’s fine with me, because I think the girls are extremely talented.”
“I think they set it up in a way,” the singer explained. “From ‘Hollywood Week,’ yunno they separated the boys and the girls.”
Long-time “Idol” vocal coach Michael Orland didn’t believe that the fix was in.
“That’s how America voted,” Orland said. “It didn’t matter. What did they pick five bad boy singers? I thought we had five fairly strong boy singers. I thought the girls gave stronger performances every single week.”
Season two finalist Kimberly Locke argued that while weaker male singers may have been chosen this year, she has found “Idol” to be one of the fairest shows on television.
“Every year there is a conspiracy, or someone thinks there is a conspiracy,” she noted. “On season two, on the chyron for the numbers, they put up the wrong number for the wrong contestant. The votes got all messed up. The following weeks to come, standards and practices were there every day.”
Locke noted that working conditions and equal camera time were also monitored carefully. The competition crowned it’s season 12 winner Candice Glover last week.
Over 12 years ago, Ross Mathews was fetching coffee as a “Tonight Show” intern when he was approached with an opportunity that would prove to be the biggest break in his career: producers asked him to cover the red carpet for the premiere of “Oceans 11” when another comedian couldn’t make it. Despite his self-doubts, Mathews went in to the project with a plan.
“I’m self-aware. I know that when I open my mouth and start talking on this national television show, that the audience was gonna start laughing at me,” Mathews told me in studio on “The Ralphie Show.” “I decided… just make sure you get them laughing with you by the end.”
Jay Leno’s audience laughed as Mathews befriended some of the biggest names in Hollywood at star-studded events, and soon Mathews grew an audience of his own. He now is set to debut a new talk-show on E!, and is making the media rounds to promote his new book, “Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence.” His success can be attributed to not just Leno’s confidence in him, but also that of comedian Chelsea Handler.
“Most comics are kind of insecure,” explained Mathews. “So I’ve been luck with not only Jay Leno of course, but now people are seeing with Chelsea like, everyone can win. That’s something she says all the time. There’s room for everybody. When she’s gone, she lets me guest host her show.”
But the entertainer said that while Handler has a sweet side, she ultimately isn’t that different from what her audience sees on TV nightly.
“She’s exactly the same,” he said. “She is biting, and hilarious.”
Handler recognized Mathews rising star by offering him both the opportunity to write this book and shoot a pilot for the aforementioned talk show. His program will debut this fall.
“’Man Up!’ I define as this: yunno you are what you are what you are, and you have to celebrate what makes you different,” he said. “I think you have to use what makes you different to stand out… because that’s when things really happen.”
Mathews cautions that while his tale is one of a small-town boy who grew up on a farm and is gay, the moral of the story doesn’t concern your sexual orientation. But, when you look back at where entertainment was 12 years ago when Mathews first entered our TV sets, it is almost unfathomable.
“This is before ‘Will and Grace,’ before ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,’” recalls Mathews. “I remember being a kid and not knowing what a happy, successful, grown-up, gay person looked like.”
Now, all someone has to do is look at Mathews to see how one fits that description.
There is at least one breakup in Selena Gomez’s life that doesn’t involve any type of speculation, TMZ report, or deleted Instagram photo: the split with her band known as “The Scene.”
“I am solo for sure,” Gomez said of her performance, not relationship, status on “The Ralphie Show.” “I’ve had my band for so long and I love them so much. I think as musicians though, they want to go and do other things and they’ve been with me for a while.”
A new group of musicians will back Gomez on her upcoming tour; one of a few changes to her stage show.
“I wanted to get in to more performing than anything,” she elaborated. “I’ve tried to get better at dancing and getting more about the entertainment aspect of it, as opposed to more of just me and the band.”
Gomez’s “Stars Dance Tour 2013” kicks off August 14 in Canada. The trek will support her first solo album, due out this summer. The first single is “Come and Get It,” a catchy, mid-tempo song that sounds as if Rihanna could have sang it. Ester Dean, a frequent collaborator to RiRi, Katy Perry, and other pop stars, has a writing credit on the track.
“All artists inspire me, including her,” Gomez said of the Barbados-born singer. “That’s the best part of what I do. I get inspired by musicians that are older than me because I’m still kind of up-and-coming and figuring out what I want to do.”
Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato, two of Gomez’s friends, also inspire the artist, seemingly in more ways than one.
“I think what’s specific about those two individually is they represent the confidence of each things that they’ve gone through,” said Gomez, alluding to Swift’s relationships and Lovato’s stint in rehab. “I appreciate the fact that even as my friends, they’re able to share the things that they’ve gone through.”
So will Gomez take a cue from either on her next album? It doesn’t seem likely.
“It’s harder for me to do that because I tend to clam up about certain things, and I think it’s just because I’m a super private person,” Gomez explained. “But, there is a song on this record that was really personal to me.”
Trying to maintain her privacy in the spotlight is something the actress struggles with; Gomez admitted to me that she deals with anxiety over some of the headlines and hounding photographers.
“It’s never going to change,” she stated. “So even if I were to sit here right now and tell you guys everything that I’m going through, the media would twist it in some way, or they would make up a completely different story.”
Presumably, this is the reason why Gomez wouldn’t speak about Justin Bieber during our interview. The singer told me the coverage ultimately forced her to put “a guard up.”
Selena Gomez paid a visit to 95.5 PLJ and “The Ralphie Show” last week. Chatting in “The Corner Office,” a newly utilized interview space in the PLJ office, Gomez talked in front of a small group of lucky listeners about everything from her new music and forthcoming tour to her partnership with Adidas and return to the “Late Show” later that evening.
Hear the full interview Monday April 29, 2013 on “The Ralphie Show.”