Our former intern, Olivia Rudensky, was backstage at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards – she called in to the show the next night to chat about who she saw, including a random Scott Disick sighting!

It’s astonishing to look back at the events and people that Webster Hall has hosted over the years, from both a variety and historical standpoint. Politicians, unions, musicians, celebrities, students, ravers and pretty much anyone who wanted to be someone or been seen with someone filed in to the venerable East Village venue for decades.

But of course, especially in the ever-changing borough of Manhattan, all good things must come to an end. Brooklyn Sports Entertainment purchased the concert venue back in April and following Thursday night’s performance from Flushing emcee Action Bronson, it’ll close for renovations. The new Spectrum Hall, outfitted for sports and concerts exclusively, is expected to be finished in about two years.

For me, it’s easy to reflect on Webster Hall because I only have two distinct memories from the venue. The first came on November 23, a little over a month following my move to the city. I caught a performance from Long Island’s own Hoodie Allen (thanks Hoodie for the guest list hook-up). I’ll never forget running up to the balcony (VIP status, you know) and grabbing a Brooklyn Lager on draft just as Hoodie took the stage. The sold-out crowd exploded, singing along to every word from his debut EP “All American.”


The second took place a little less than a year later. I strolled down to the East Village with a camera man from 95.5 on September 30 to interview a then up-and-coming artist by the stage name of Lorde. Born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, the 16 year-old had just released her critically-acclaimed and soon-to-be GRAMMY Award winning debut album “Pure Heroine.” She was also about to headline three sold-out shows at Webster Hall, which is where her and I chatted before sound-check.


A couple things stand-out from that experience: for starters, we set-up for the interview on the aforementioned balcony which was still disheveled from the previous night. I didn’t really mind though, save the tampon wrapper that was on the ledge and in our camera shot. If my memory serves me correctly, my friend Nikki who at the time worked for Republic Records handled its disposal (thanks again Nikki!). As for the empty plastic cups, those were purposely left there because… Webster Hall.

The other unforgettable part of that day was Lorde pulling a 180 during the interview regarding comments she had previously made about her label-mate and now-BFF, Taylor Swift. In hindsight, it wouldn’t be the first-time she’d have to walk-back a statement about Swift but nonetheless, Lorde found herself in the headlines due to an interview with Metro, a publication back in her native New Zealand.

“Taylor Swift is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think it’s breeding anything good in young girls. ‘I’m never going to be like Taylor Swift, why can’t I be as pretty as Lorde?’ That’s f–king bulls–t,” she said at the time.

The following Monday in Manhattan, the artist sang a different tune when I asked about who she believes is setting a good example for teenage girls.

“Taylor Swift is a really good role model, and I think what she’s saying is pretty cool,” Lorde replied. “Yeah, I think (her lyrics are) empowering. I think it’s cool.”

Lorde also addressed the situation, albeit non-directly, via her Tumblr that day. However that video of the “Royals” singer talking about Swift eventually went somewhat viral, gaining almost a half-million views to-date. It’s one of 95.5 PLJ’s most-viewed YouTube clips ever, empty plastic cups and all.

I recently had the chance to sit down with Epic Records artist Tom Walker. His EP “Blessings” is out now. We chatted about his music, covering Imagine Dragons and his hometown of Manchester during our conversation inside New York City’s Stage 17.

A little over six years passed in between my last two interviews with the band All Time Low. During that stretch, I did run-in to the guys a couple of times. During a 2014 trip to Baltimore, the band’s hometown, for Derek Jeter’s last game at Camden Yards I ended up at the same bar as lead singer Alex Gaskarth. Talk about a small world: Gaskarth played a DJ set at that same venue the previous night. I was there the next day, Sunday, because it also served as Baltimore’s designated Buffalo Bills Backers Bar.

The place is owned by Alex’s bandmate Jack Barakat.

Then this past February while in Los Angeles for The GRAMMYs, I saw singer Cassadee Pope and her boyfriend, ATL drummer Rian Dawson outside of Microsoft Theater. They were chatting with friends and I was filming vignettes with Westwood One, so I just stopped briefly to say hello.

Of course, what I didn’t see was the engagement ring on Pope’s hand. Dawson popped the question that day. However a few weeks ago, the pending nuptials were reportedly called off.

Many things besides relationship statuses can change in six years. During the span in between our sit-downs, the Baltimore quartet added four studio albums to their discography and changed record labels twice. They switched up the band’s sound as well, although Gaskarth insists that the new sound has nothing to do with All Time Low’s new home at Fueled By Ramen.

“I think the change in direction of music was something that was already happening within the band,” the front man explained. “We knew we wanted to try some new things and go in some different directions on the album.”

With All Time Low’s previous deal at Hopeless Records up, the guys felt that signing with Fueled By Ramen made the most sense.

“Fueled By is rad, they always have been,” Gaskarth continued. “I love their roster now and I love what they do.

“I think the biggest part of us switching (to FBR) was that we sort of had the idea in mind that we kind of wanted to try some new things with our music, and (FBR) was all about it.”

Fueled By Ramen most notably housed Fall Out Boy and still counts Panic! At The Disco, Paramore, Twenty One Pilots and Young The Giant as a part of its roster.

“Fall Out Boy served as inspiration for us when we were younger,” Gaskarth noted. “Panic!, we kind of came up around the same time; obviously different trajectory and different path but (Brendon Urie) has been at it just as long as we have and works just as hard, if not harder than we do.”

For the three aforementioned groups, it is kind of fun to pause-and-reflect on both their longevity and evolution: FOB still headlines arenas, Panic! was nominated for a GRAMMY last year and All Time Low is charting a single at Adult Contemporary radio. Of course there have also been other acts that have come and gone not just from the label, but the scene; something ATL is cognizant of.

“Yunno, we’ve seen a lot of our friends’ bands and other bands fade out, and it’s amazing to sort of be in the other category of still being able to do it.”

And if All Time Low continues in that category for six more years, the band can celebrate a 20th anniversary.

For the fourth consecutive year I teamed up with The John Lennon Songwriting Contest, a year-long international event open to both amateurs and professionals, to announce the winner of the $20,000 Song Of The Year. Winners receive cash in addition to prizes from Yamaha, Audio Technica and others.

This year, the grand prize winning song came from the country category: “Alcoholiday,” a track penned by Andrew Peebles, Brett Sheroky and New Jersey native Joe Fox.

Check out the announcement, the $20,000 Song Of The Year and the full press release below.

Via JLSC.com: Joe Fox, Andrew Peebles and Brett Sheroky were announced as the winners of the coveted John Lennon Songwriting Contest ‘Song of the Year’ for their original song “Alcoholiday.” The announcement was made on 95.5 PLJ in New York with radio host Ralphie Aversa.

As ‘Song of the Year’ winners, songwriters Andrew Peebles, Brett Sheroky & Joe Fox won $20,000 in cash in addition to prizes from Audio-Technica, Yamaha, Other World Computing (OWC), Genelec, Disc Makers, Digital Media Academy, Neutrik and more. They have also received other prizing throughout 2016 after winning both the Lennon Awards and the Grand Prize packages in the Country category. The song was selected to win the top prize by the John Lennon Songwriting Contest’s Executive Committee of Judges, consisting of legendary and contemporary superstars such as Fergie, Prince Royce, George Clinton, Matthew Koma, American Authors, Switchfoot, Bootsy Collins & more.

A total of over $300,000 in cash awards and prizes will be distributed this year by the year-round John Lennon Songwriting Contest, which is open to both amateur and professional songwriters. Visit JLSC.COM for more information about the contest and to enter for your chance to become the next ‘Song of the Year’ winner. Entry fees from the contest help support the non-profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan is the fourth woman in the U.S. to receive the title of “Master Of Wine.” She recently penned a new book called, “Rosé Wine: The Guide to Drinking Pink” and explained on the show why Rosé is so popular. Simonetti-Bryan also offered a few thoughts on Rosé-in-a-can.

We all have different ways of getting over ex-lovers and coping with failed relationships. For Julia Michaels, her method involved releasing a debut cohesive body of work, the self-dubbed “mini-album” called “Nervous System.”

“I’m fully transparent. This whole (mini-album) is literally my life,” Michaels explained to me. “There were so many things that I couldn’t say to him and there are a lot of things that I don’t confront with myself that I put on this mini-album.”

Over the course of our sit-down interview Michaels noted that each track on “Nervous System” represents something that actually took place in the relationship. All of the songs were written about the same boyfriend referenced in the hit single “Issues.” The mini-album was penned over a two-month stretch after Michaels released the first track.

Perhaps the two most heart-wrenching songs are “Just Do It” and “Don’t Wanna Think.” The former describes a moment when Michaels knew her ex-boyfriend wanted to dump her but was worried he would break her heart. The latter is the only track on the mini-album that Michaels wrote alone; she is also the lone-producer on it as well. The ballad was originally titled, “Drinking Song”; Michaels composed it on a piano while drinking tequila.

“I wrote it about a fight I was having and it was just one of those songs that I had written in about 20 minutes because everything had just kind of flowed out of me,” she revealed. “Like I said, I don’t confront things and I suppress a lot of things and so sometimes when I listen down to something I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s how I feel.’”

Michaels clearly has no problem telling the world about her personal life, and the world doesn’t seem to mind; she turned-in a fantastic performance of “Issues” at the Billboard Music Awards in May and is up for “Best New Artist” later this month on the MTV Video Music Awards. Although she is currently focusing on her own music (Michaels told me that for the moment she hasn’t worked on any other songs with Selena Gomez), she still likes being able to tell other people’s stories as well.

“I love being that person that people can talk to and helping them get their stories out, because sometimes artists really want to say what they have to say but they don’t know how to articulate it in a way that fully makes sense,” Michaels said. “So I love helping them put puzzle pieces together and figuring all of that out together.”

In some aspects, Michaels provides therapy as much as collaboration. By using her debut mini-album to release an ex-boyfriend from her life, go ahead and add “self-therapy” to Michaels’ resume as well.

I can’t believe we’re less than a month away from Pumpkin Spice Lattes and football weekends. I detest humidity and absolutely love fall (not necessarily for the PSLs though; do you know what they put in those things?) but still am taken aback at how quick summer flew by.

Yes, I have no probably saying “flew” as opposed to “flying” because I’m not a beach person and the Yankees are giving me a reason to anticipate competitive September and October baseball. I do love summer weekends up in the Bronx though, and that’s where I spent the majority of my final July weekend. The Yanks won in walk-off fashion on that Saturday; a perfect, cool day to catch a game in Center Field, even if I didn’t score a Yankees camouflage cap (free giveaway to the first 18,000 fans that were age 21 or older). Then Sunday, I drove with a buddy up to Riverdale so I could check out a few apartments. I fell in love with the neighborhood: family-friendly, beautiful Van Cortlandt Park, plenty of bars and restaurants and easy access to Manhattan via Metro North.

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With my lease up on the Upper West Side October 1, that may be perhaps the one reason I definitely don’t want summer to pass much quicker. Short of a miracle, a change in location looks imminent, but I really love this neighborhood. Hopefully I don’t move but if so, it has been a fantastic five-year run on the UWS. Catching Sunday sunsets from the Boat Basin Café is just one of the many reasons why.

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Monday marked “National Tequila Day,” another capitalism-created “holiday” that no one would be aware of if not for a hashtag and radio DJs like myself talking incessantly about it. However for Panic! At The Disco lead singer Brendon Urie, it’s a holiday that he essentially celebrates before every Panic! performance with a double-shot.

“It just kind of kills the hyperawareness, so we’re not up there reading too many signs and I’m forgetting lyrics and stuff,” the frontman told me back in March before the band kicked off its “Death Of A Bachelor Tour” inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The interview originally aired on Mohegan Sun’s Facebook Live feed. “Yeah it’s nice; it just kind of kills the tension a little bit.”

Urie recalled a time before the band’s pre-show ritual of tequila when the group instead opted for whiskey.

“We all noticed on stage… this is going to sound weird but, we were on stage and we just kind of all looked at each other and we all felt grumpy,” he said while laughing about it. “Then after we got off stage we were just like, ‘Get off me!’”

After two sets, Panic! turned to tequila.

“That worked. Then it was just a party,” he noted. “It definitely makes a difference. I don’t know if it’s psychosomatic or something, but yeah.”

I assured Urie that it is normal for people to react in different ways to different liquors; knowledge I was able to secure without headlining sold-out arenas. No word if Urie is continuing the tradition during his run on Broadway but if the lead in “Kinky Boots” appears a little grumpy, perhaps now you know why.

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Check the full interview below.

“The Cocktail Professor” LaTanya White checked in on Friday, ahead of #NationalTequilaDay, to offer up a recipe for an awesome tequila cocktail that even non-tequila drinkers will enjoy.

(Pictured: My favorite tequila, jalapeño-infused Tanteo with a simple Margarita mix on the rocks)

LaTanya’s drink: The Jalisco
1-1.5 oz aged tequila
Your favorite coconut water
Agave nectar
Fresh lime