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Kygo, DJ and producer, talked to me about his latest music and tour – plus I asked him if he’d be checking out season two of “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix.

Backstreet’s Back in more than one way. A new song on the radio, a new album on the way and a forthcoming tour to follow are all in the works for Kevin, Nick, A.J., Brian and Howie. The fellas, who are marking their 25th year as a group, stopped by our booth Backstage at The Billboard Music Awards to chat with me about the new projects and their existing residency at Planet Hollywood.

For my sixth consecutive year, I made the trek out west to Sin City on the weekend before Memorial Day to cover the Billboard Music Awards. This year, due to I presume the Vegas Golden Nights’ deep playoff run, the broadcast relocated from the T-Mobile Arena to its original home – the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The BBMAs also switched networks, moving from ABC to NBC. Despite the changes, the Billboard Music Awards held true to its trademark of celebrating the past, present and future of music in both the awards handed out and the performances showcased.

In addition to covering the show and interviewing artists backstage, I also served as the warm-up act for the broadcast. This was the fifth straight year that dick clark productions asked me to join the production in this capacity, and I could not have been more honored to stand on-stage in front of thousands, including many artists I adore, while previewing the big night ahead.

Check our interviews and photos from the event below.




David Cook stopped by Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 to chat with me about his role on the hit Broadway musical “Kinky Boots,” his favorite spots while living in New York City and what he has planned for the rest of the summer.

Before his group headlined Mohegan Sun Arena and were introduced by yours truly, I sat down backstage to chat with Chris Daughtry of the band Daughtry. He gave me a tentative timeline for the group’s fifth studio album, talked about his plans for the rest of the year and even reminisced with me about a moment we had backstage at last year’s Billboard Music Awards.

Then a few weeks later, we chatted at… the Billboard Music Awards, where he gave me another update on Daughtry’s next LP.

In addition to a new live album that’s currently in production and slated for release later this year, Goo Goo Dolls lead singer John Rzeznik revealed to me that the band is also currently writing new music.

“You got to keep it going,” he told me inside Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17. “You’ve got to move a lot quicker these days.”

In some sense, that’s why the Goo’s most recent body of original work was last year’s “You Should Be Happy,” an extended play rather than a full-length album.

“I had a couple new songs that I really liked, and we found some other stuff that we didn’t release and I was like, ’Well, let’s just put it out,’” he explained. “Then we went out and toured again and we had a great time.

“I’m still debating, ‘Do I do an EP? Do I do an album?’ What do you think?”

That wasn’t a rhetorical question by the way; my response somewhat echoed Rzeznik’s reasoning behind the EP, noting that amount of content and timing would ultimately be the factors. That certainly seems to have influenced the undertaking of the live album, a project that will eventually be served as a double-vinyl filled with various performances over “a couple-hundred shows.”

“It goes from places that are a thousand people up to like, 15,000 people,” he said. “It’s kind of interesting how the songs change around a little bit.”

Speaking of live performances, Rzeznik’s main reason for stopping by was to promote Friday night’s “Concert For Dreams” at Beacon Theatre, benefiting the Garden of Dreams Foundation. O.A.R. front man Marc Roberge, who received the charity’s 2018 Hero Award, personally asked him to participate.

“They’re like monsters; they’re crazy-talented musicians,” Rzeznik noted of O.A.R. “Yunno, (Goo Goo Dolls are) just a bunch of guys that learned how to play guitar in a garage.”

But hey, there’s something to be said for a couple of kids from Western New York with big dreams (ed note: I’m from Niagara Falls, New York so yes, I’m biased). And it’s pretty cool that four GRAMMY nominations and 12 million albums sold later, Rzeznik still values the importance of paying it forward.

“It’s a good thing; anything for kids is worth doing,” he said of working with Garden of Dreams, which helps kids throughout the tri-state area overcome obstacles.

Brendon Urie announced Wednesday that Panic! At The Disco will drop a new album this summer; a piece of work that he started thinking about well over a year ago.

“I’m literally trying to jump right in to the next record cycle,” is what Urie told me backstage at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut the night he kicked off the “Death Of A Bachelor Tour” in February 2017. “I know that seems crazy, but I have a bunch of ideas that I’ve been working on for the last couple of months and I’m seriously pursuing recording them in the next month or two.”

It definitely seemed, dare I say pretty odd, that he’d already be talking about album six just as he was kicking off the tour for LP number five. But as Urie spoke more it became clear that he had a plan in place for the next twelve months.

“I want to see what else outside of music I can get in to,” he continued during our chat, which streamed live on Mohegan Sun’s Facebook page. “Theater really interests me and acting really interests me. I’ve done a couple auditions a few years ago and they didn’t go so hot, so I want to try to redeem myself a little bit.”

Urie went on to do just that, starring in a run on Broadway of the Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots.” On Wednesday night, the singer found himself within walking distance from Al Hirschfeld Theater. Panic! At The Disco performed its new single “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” in 30 Rock’s Studio 6B for “The Tonight Show.” As for the album, it’s called “Pray For The Wicked,” and comes out June 22. A supporting tour runs throughout North America from July 11 through mid-August.

Perhaps then we can inquire about lucky number seven.

On Wednesday I headed to Radio City Music Hall, where rehearsals were underway for the upcoming Garden Of Dreams Talent Show, a free event on March 27. The annual show offers kids who are overcoming obstacles in the tri-state area the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform on the great stage at Radio City.

The participants also receive tutelage from a number of celebrity mentors, including Sports Illustrated model and dancer Damaris Lewis. She chatted with us during the rehearsal about working with the kids and on their curiosity as to who she knows and has worked with.

Lewis and her fellow mentors will be back at Radio City to support the kids on March 27; the event starts at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Nina Nesbitt stopped by the Artist Lounge at Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 to chat about her new single, “Somebody Special,” her upcoming international debut album and how she recently scored a free meal thanks in part to… Britney Spears.

Demi Lovato played to her hometown on Wednesday night, headlining the American Airlines Center in Dallas alongside DJ Khaled. After her performance, the singer tweeted about the experience.

“Just played my hometown in Dallas in the arena I watched so many concerts in growing up and I feel like crying,” she wrote to her 55 million-plus followers. “There were so many people, people were watching from BEHIND the stage!!! I can’t thank you guys enough for the love… truly grateful.”


Lovato has been cognizant of moments like these for years. When I chatted with her in the summer of 2013, the artist talked about how happy she was for her peers, especially Selena Gomez.

“I’ve known (Selena) since I was seven years old,” Lovato explained. “We went from being in the backseat of a car with her parents driving us to a radio show to listen to our favorite artists that were on the radio at the time to us having songs on the radio.”


And of course, performing those shows as well. Lovato’s reflection came on the eve of “International Women’s Day,” which the United Nations marks annually on March 8. According to the UN, the Day is marked, “to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

Through music, activism, advocacy and philanthropy, Lovato continues to set a positive example for not just her fan base, but women across the world. And on Wednesday night, her hometown witnessed that yet again.