This is my longest and one of my favorite interviews to-date.
I first met JAX earlier this year. She is a ball of good energy and simply a fun person to be around. And that’s why I’m not surprised how composed, outgoing and at times laugh-out-loud funny she was as she described the process of discovering that she had both Thyroid Cancer and Hashimoto’s disease.
In typical JAX fashion, she is overcoming both while yet again serving as an inspiration to the fans that adore her. And she’s coming through even stronger than ever; in November she’ll run the TCS New York City Marathon, which will be her first ever marathon. Hey, go big or go home.
JAX spoke candidly with me about this past year. Watch the interview below and contribute to her marathon cause here.
You’ve heard the song and your reaction may have gone something like this: “Wait, is there something wrong with my speakers? Why is my phone skipping? Is the radio messed up?”
There is nothing wrong with your speakers, your phone isn’t skipping and we’re fine. Hopefully you realized this 11 seconds in to “Gold,” as soon as the first verse kicked in. Hopefully you realized that there was still three minutes and 34 seconds left in the dark, twisted and rather interesting journey that 21 year-old Kiiara was going to take you on.
Or maybe you’re just transfixed on the song’s opening and chorus. It’s fine; you’re far from the only one.
“It’s interesting because I always knew what it was; like it’s a sample,” the Illinois-born emcee replied when I asked her on my show recently about people’s interpretation of the song’s open. “That’s all it is. So people trying to put words to it or like (ask) ‘What is she saying? What language is this?’ It’s interesting. It’s funny.”
“Gold” first blew up outside of the U.S. even though Kiiara, nee Kiara Saulters, is an American artist. The single is already a Top 5 hit and two-times platinum down in Australia. It has cracked or is on the door step of the Top 20 in five other countries, including here where it sits at 22 on the pop radio airplay chart.
Chart success and critical acclaim are certainly propelling Kiiara’s career in the right direction, and she doesn’t seem to mind.
“It’s really fun,” she said of her time in the music industry thus far. Kiiara grew up in Illinois playing high school volleyball and would eventually dual-major in accounting and finance before dropping out of college after a year to pursue music. “It’s cool to like, experience everything with shooting music videos to seeing what rehearsals and touring is about, because I’ve never performed before.”
That changed last month when the singer embarked on her first headlining tour, a six-date jaunt that culminated with a festival slot: Lollapalooza in Chicago, back where she had grown up.
“It was really weird to be back; like it was a good weird but I haven’t been there in over a year,” she admitted. Kiiara moved to L.A. shortly after recording “Gold” and continued on to finish her debut EP, “low kii savage.” “And then I’ve never been to Lolla, so performing was really dope, to see it from a different perspective.”
Seemingly the only item on Kiiara’s itinerary at the moment is the promotion of “Gold” as it continues to climb up airplay charts. The 21 year-old hopes to drop her debut full length album in January and noted that a full tour could come shortly sometime thereafter.
Violinist Lindsey Stirling stopped by to talk about her new album “Brave Enough,” which is out August 19. The lead single, “Something Wild,” is in the upcoming Disney film “Pete’s Dragon,” out August 12.
Stirling also chatted about performing with Celine Dion and meeting Steven Tyler at the Billboard Music Awards, the death of Christina Grimmie and the fact that she turns 30 in September.
Scoring an infectious song of the summer, touring with Maroon 5, collaborating with the likes of David Guetta and Shakira along with performing on almost every television show imaginable. These are the experiences that shaped “Primary Colours,” the sophomore album from Magic! that was released earlier this month.
“’Rude’ is a great song and so it never feels corny to sing; it always feels like there’s soul in it and there’s heart in it,” said lead singer Nasri Atweh. “Of course it was hard to sing it every night; it was monotonous.”
But the success of “Rude” only motivated the quartet as it wrote and recorded “Primary Colours.”
“If we could get that same reaction for other songs… because ‘Rude’ has a reaction that… nothing in the world has this reaction. Only like, chocolate ice cream has this reaction!” Nasri continued. “So when you get that for the one song you want it for all of the songs.”
Matter-of-fact, “Rude” directly inspired another track on the band’s new release, “Dance Monkey.” Like most of the other songs on the Canadians’ second LP, it’s catchy and born in the reggae-pop sound that Magic! has become known for. Other highlights include the Sean Paul-assisted lead single “Lay You Down Easy” and its follow-up, “Red Dress” about a girl who takes forever to get ready.
“The guy’s waiting (for the girl to get ready),” Magic!’s front man explained. “And then when she’s looking all hot, he’s like, ‘Alright, let’s take your clothes off.’”
Another cut with the same playful sentiment is “Gloria,” which documents the love a man has for a woman even though she clearly should not be trusted.
“Gloria is a dirty, dirty…girl,” Nasri said. “’Glorias’ are everywhere, girls and boys.
“The fun thing about that song is that my character is so helpless because he just wants a girl as beautiful as Gloria.”
The problem? Nasri’s character takes Gloria on a cruise, only to return to their cabin one night with a bottle of wine and find her in bed with two other men.
“We’re looking forward to making that video.”
In the meantime, Magic! will continue promoting the new album before performing a handful of dates in July and August, including a free concert in Syracuse, N.Y. on August 27. The group then plans to head out on tour this fall.
In episode number five of “2 Slices & A Story,” we overcome a lactose intolerant guest and construction to chat with Adam Friedman about his first show in New York City, possibly living here one day and growing up a Diamondbacks fan… kind of.