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Back in 2016, I was chatting with David Cook during our broadcast backstage at The 58th GRAMMY Awards. That previous November I saw David headline Gramercy Theater, and hung out backstage with him and the legendary Steven Van Zandt after the show. Just a few months after, we were talking about the performance and Cook described to me why of his top 10 shows, at least half of the list is comprised of New York City dates.

“There’s just no pretense,” he explained. “If you’re bad, they’re going to let you know. And if you hit it, they’re going to let you know. I love that honesty.”

Later in the conversation, we were talking about Cook’s pending return to “American Idol,” the show that catapulted him to stardom. While he was in LA that week, Cook was taping a segment for the competition, which was in its final season on Fox. He mentioned running in to another “Idol” alum, Constantine Maroulis. So off the cuff, I asked Cook if he’d ever consider Broadway.

“They are some of the most grandiose productions, they’re amazing,” the singer said of the shows he attended. “If the opportunity came up and it was the right role, hell yeah I’d do it, for sure.”

About two years later, the opportunity came up and the role was right. Billboard broke the story on Thursday that Cook will make his Broadway debut in “Kinky Boots.” He’ll play the role of Charlie Price, the son of the factory owner who takes over his father’s business.

Cook’s run commences April 3 and goes through May 5. His new EP, “Chromance,” is out today (Friday).

Pete Holmes is out to showcase a trait of the comedy world that few outsiders ever experience: compassion.

“I think we’re seeing a little bit of the true side of comedians which is that we are, under whatever gruff exterior there is, pretty sweet people,” Holmes told me in an interview for DISH Network’s DISH Studio to promote season two of his HBO series, “Crashing,” which he co-created and stars in. Holmes quickly added, “That’s not everybody. I’m not crazy. Every group has different types.”

But through this show, which is loosely based around Holmes’ real life, he aims to demonstrate how “this unlikely community shows love in unlikely ways.”

“In my experience, people are rooting for their friends, they band together and they care about each other,” he continued. “And, if that’s not your experience and you’re watching this, maybe get new friends. I mean, that’s not bad advice.”

And ironically enough, while Holmes advises against surrounding yourself with less toxic people, the person most prevalent in his life on-camera for the first two seasons is comedian Artie Lange.

“You might have an idea of Artie, like ‘He probably just cares about himself,’ and ‘He’s just a comedian and they just care about money or success.’

“I have experienced many times in my life, with Sarah (Silverman) in real life, with Artie on the show, is that these people can open up to you. And I love sharing that secret.”

Season two of “Crashing” is currently on HBO, with new episodes airing every Sunday night.

When you ask Vance Joy about the celebrities he encountered while touring with the world’s biggest pop star, the first people he brings up are Taylor Swift’s backup dancers. Then Joy will mention the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and eventually you’ll get a funny anecdote about telling his friend’s father that he once met Julia Roberts.

That is Joy in a nutshell. He’s a tall, good-looking guy with an Australian accent that can sing and play guitar; he can effortlessly command any room he’s in. The artist has a successful album with a big hit already under his belt and he played stadiums across the country with the aforementioned Swift. Yet none of it has seemed to affect Joy much. The singer, nee James Keogh, is still a kind and unassuming person who will even on occasion (and by accident) introduce himself by his birth name.

Joy is blessed with many talents, one being the ability focus on what matters and not take the rest of it too seriously.

“The most important thing is just songwriting and dedicating a lot of time and focus to the craft,” Joy responded when I asked what he learned from his first album that he’s bringing in to “Nation Of Two,” due out February 23. “It can be hard and it can be frustrating but you have to keep pushing and the songs will eventually come.”

There are four songs out ahead of the LP, including the lead single “Lay It On Me,” which he performed acoustic for us at Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17. Joy noted that the tracks were chosen because of how they represent his body of work, with special attention given to tempo.

“I’m proud of all of the songs, but those are probably the most upbeat,” he explained. “Those are the ones I wanted to show first, and then some of the slower songs I think will sink in to people over time.”

His fans will have a chance to hear them live as well, as shortly after our chat Joy announced a massive world tour, with dates in North America kicking off April 13.

I never thought this piece would end up seeing the light of day. There’s a long story as to why, and for now I will spare you, but nonetheless we have a brand new “2 Slices And A Story.” Basically I used the made-up holiday of “National Pizza Day” as an excuse to finally release this in an otherwise untimely manner; it was originally filmed back in November and features two Radio City Rockettes.

So “2 Slices And A Story” but with three people and three slices? We almost had a fix to that right from the start…

At The 60th GRAMMYs on Sunday, one of the night’s more poignant moments was delivered from a likely source: the live performance of “1-800-273-8255” by Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid. If you caught the trio’s rendition of the single at the MTV Video Music Awards then you knew it would be a can’t-miss part of the show. Just as memorable was Logic’s sermon that he delivered following the piece; he later revealed the Recording Academy asked him to speak there.

Still the song and its success are rather unlikely. It began when Logic, born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, noticed fans on tour and online reacting to his music and story in a way he didn’t expect: by saying it changed or saved their life. The reactions inspired Logic to head in to the studio and channel that energy in to a track that he would eventually entitle with the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“I never thought in a million years thought that that song would take me (to The GRAMMYs),” Logic said at The Garden following the ceremony’s conclusion Sunday night. “I love to make fun music, all types of hip-hop and even over trap beats.

“And I always thought it was something more like that, like a more fun or clubby or happy kind of vibe that would get me on that stage. So I can’t believe that I made a song that I never thought would ever do any of that, just from a place in my heart, strictly for my fans and anybody it could reach – and the fact that it actually reached them… it’s crazy.”

The track was up for “Song Of The Year” and lost to Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” but to Logic, it didn’t seem to matter much.

“I mean, I won. That’s how I feel!” he told me and the rest of the Media Center at The Garden following his performance. “This is insane.”


Bonus: I asked Alessia Cara a few questions following her GRAMMY win for Best New Artist.

Even before he won The GRAMMY for Best Remixed Recording, DJ/producer Latroit knew he would be taking home a gramophone of some sort.

“My mom made a GRAMMY statue cake,” he told me last Thursday during an interview for Westwood One’s coverage of music’s biggest night. “No matter what happens, I’m leaving with a GRAMMY statue! I can eat the one I have though.”

The artist, born Dennis White, hails from Detroit but noted that family from across the country had descended on New York for his first nomination. Latroit won with his remix of Depesche Mode’s “You Move.” The award was handed out during the Premiere Ceremony, which took place inside The Theater at MSG.

“My friend Jason Bentley was working on a project with (‘You Move’) and he is familiar with my sound and thought maybe something interesting would happen there,” Latroit explained. “He asked the band if they would like a Latroit remix, someone said yes, asked if I wanted to do it and I fell over because I wanted to do it.”

For Latroit, this was far from the average collaboration.

“There was a ton of pressure because I knew these guys were going to hear my interpretation of their song and their fans are devout fans,” he noted of Depeche Mode. “It was important to me to create something that really spoke to and rose to the occasion of Depeche Mode’s legacy.”

That legacy includes five GRAMMY nominations and now, a song that led to an awarded gramophone – of both the edible and non-edible varieties.

PIX11 Entertainment Anchor Ojinika Obiekwe stopped by Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 to chat with me about GRAMMYs week in New York City – from the cool parties and events to the local women who were nominated by the Recording Academy. A big thanks to Oji and PIX11 for having me contribute to their coverage; check out both segments below.

If you’re wondering whether artists who were once tour mates of singer Ed Sheeran’s have congratulated him on his pending nuptials, the answer is yes, at least in one instance.

“I did actually congratulate him,” Lauv told me on Tuesday before performing in front of a live audience at Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17. “It’s crazy. I remember him saying like, ‘I think I have the one, for real.’

“And then to see that they’re actually engaged now is beautiful.”

Sheeran popped the question to long-time girlfriend Cherry Seaborn before the New Year and then announced the engagement shortly after the first on his Instagram.

Lauv supported the “Shape of You” artist on the leg of his “Divide Tour” that stopped in Asia this past fall. He played HMH Stage 17 as the single “I Like Me Better” becomes a global hit, charting in a handful of countries and already cracking the top 10 in Australia and Germany. The singer, nee Ari Leff, has written all of his songs thus far about the four years he lived in New York City while attending New York University. Following graduation, Lauv moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of his dream.

“The weather is beautiful,” he remarked, noting that it is a cliché description of moving west to LA. “But I just feel like New York is a kind of a more ‘real’ place, if that makes sense?”

And for Lauv, that’s a good thing, as he always loves returning to the Big Apple. He’ll be back again next month as a part of his “I Met You When I Was 18 World Tour” – the first Lauv has ever embarked on as a headliner.

Phillip Phillips is just like you and me when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions.

“I love sweets,” the “American Idol” winner confessed to me. “I love chocolate. I love hot deserts. And so I’m trying to…”

Phillips cut himself off before he could finish the sentence.

“It’s hard to give up the sweets,” he finally admitted. “But I’m trying!”

In addition to his own admitted indiscretions, Phillips noted that his wife’s cooking is just too good to pass up.

“She makes them for other people, but I have to eat them,” he continued. “I make sure it’s not poisonous. I’d rather take my life than anyone else’s, you know what I mean?”

All kidding aside, Phillips’ wife Hannah is influencing more than his diet – she also played a role in the singer’s new album, “Collateral.”

“These songs came alongside a lot of struggle and also a lot of light and a lot of love with getting married,” Phillips explained after I asked about the title. Almost four years passed between his second and third LPs; part of that time can be attributed to a legal battle between the artist and 19 Entertainment, which produces “Idol.” The parties settled the dispute this past June, thus paving the way for new music.

“I just want them to have a connection with it,” the Georgia-native responded when I asked what he hopes listeners will take away from his latest body of work. “These songs I’ve had for, some of them for three years, some of them for a little less than that.”

While talking about the album, Phillips described its sound and content as both varying in genre and tempo. He mentioned one song in particular, “Dance With Me,” which Phillips wrote for his wife. It was released ahead of the full album and its cover art was a photo of the two’s first dance from the wedding. The idea to use it came from one of the couple’s friends.

As soon as Hannah relayed the suggestion to Phillip, he was on board and they selected a picture from the wedding photographer to use. No word on if the friend received one of Hannah’s confections in return.

When I first started at 95.5 PLJ in October of 2012, I was the new kid on a block of people who mostly had resided in the neighborhood for quite some time. You factor in the heritage of this legendary radio station with moving to a new city with a new job in a new living situation and yes, at times it was overwhelming.

Thankfully, I’m surrounded by a lot of great colleagues and coworkers. Plus, I’m living in the greatest city in the world. So it’s all gravy.

That said, when I was first starting out here, I would find myself asking at least one question every evening: “What’s for dinner?” And usually, there was only one person at the station when I asked it: our Creative Services Director, Dan Kelly, who works a similar schedule to mine.

Nightly, we’d order takeout from Seamless (which I introduced him to five years ago) or one of his other go-to spots. Dan has been at the station for well over 10 years now so naturally, he has a go-to taco and Chinese spot.

But then in the spring of 2014, I started eating much healthier: more salads, cold-pressed juices and a lot of greenery. By that summer, I experimented with veganism, trying it out for a month and a half. It was a life-changing experience; I saw what meat, fish and especially dairy were doing to the appearance of my body, specifically the complexion of my skin.

While I’m not a vegan, I do eat vegan cuisine quite a bit (usually breaking from it on special occasions/holidays and/or the weekend). And for my dinner partner, he is not only the exact opposite of vegan but will usually scoff at the mere notion of trying something classified as such.

Last week, a light-bulb went off: this could make for a perfect Facebook Live experiment.

I hopped on Seamless and ordered from a local vegan fast-food joint, Blossom du Jour. On our “tour de vegan” were three dishes: a “bacon, egg and cheese” sandwich, “mac and cheese” and Buffalo cauliflower.

What did Dan think? Check his reactions below.