G-Eazy sent a direct message on Instagram to say he was a fan of her music. Katy Perry tweeted, “she’s one to watch,” with a link to the up-and-coming singer’s single. And a quick Google search of her work won’t yield a single negative review.

There is a lot of buzz around Lèon, a 23 year-old singer and the latest in the line of pop exports from Sweden. From Alesso to Tove Lo to Max Martin, the European country has gained a solid reputation across the pond for its music. Lèon certainly recognizes that, yet has to really wrack her brain when asked why so much good pop music comes from Sweden.

“We have a lot of dark days in the year,” the singer, who hails from Stockholm, attempted to explain during an interview on my radio show. “When summer arrives, you have like two months of bliss and then that’s taken away from you.”

Lèon also guessed that Sweden’s pop perfection could be attributed to the honesty of the songwriters’ lyrics and the country’s melodic language, but even she prefaced all of that with the fact that she just doesn’t know.

To one of her points though, the songstress’ debut single “Tired Of Talking” from her debut EP “Treasure” is based on a true story.

“I’ve had my fair shares of weird situations,” is how Lèon began the tale. “Basically it’s about a person that I had a thing with for years but we were never together.”

As Lèon began to fill in the facts of the story, things became more interesting: the guy is from Sweden, they met when she was 18 and that meeting took place outside of a McDonald’s.

And he probably hasn’t heard the song yet.

“But yeah, that’s basically what it is about. And me just being probably fed up and finally getting some self-respect I guess.”

I sensed Lèon was in a position where she didn’t want to say too much more about the guy but had more respect for me than to lie or change the subject. So naturally, I segued the conversation to McDonald’s – and what the chain is like overseas.
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“I don’t really (eat) McDonald’s,” she said before adding, “It’s pretty fresh I think in Sweden, I think they’re trying to make it (healthier).

Lèon herself has had to modify her diet a bit. At a young age she chewed so much gum that doctors told her she permanently injured her jaw.

“I could chew like, 25 gums a day,” revealed Lèon of her… gum addiction? “Sometimes my cheek swells.”

Now she has to wear a brace before she goes to bed in order to prevent further damage. It’s a rather bizarre story yet relatively speaking, the singer still falls on the tamer side of pop stars with addictions.

Chatted with DJ Pauly D, Aubrey O’Day, Willis McGahee and Jessica White – all stars of the new E! reality show “Famously Single.” We had a bit of fun.

A meeting, a run and a radio show… not running to a meeting about a radio show though.

A guy playing for money on my radio show was planning to have quite the time with it, then I had quite the time to celebrate my buddy’s birthday.

Some news and notes from my fourth consecutive Tony Awards red carpet:

– There was a major scene change this year as the biggest night on Broadway moved uptown from 6th Avenue to… Broadway! The Tony’s were held at the venerable Beacon Theatre, the sister-venue of previous host Radio City Music Hall. Both buildings are managed by the Madison Square Garden Company. Instead of wrapping around the venue, this year’s red carpet simply stretched down two blocks from the front entrance of the theatre.

– It didn’t matter if you were Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr. or the guy in charge of lighting… if you were a part of the hit musical “Hamilton,” everyone wanted to talk to you. The production nabbed 16 nominations in 13 categories and took home 11 trophies. Tickets are impossible to come by unless you’re willing to refinance your house. Alex Lacamoire, who won the Tony for Best Orchestrations thanks to the musical based on Alexander Hamilton, smiled when I asked about the amount of ticket requests he has received.
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“That’s wonderful because that means people want to see our show,” he said, in perhaps one of the bigger understatements of the evening. “So hey, no complaints.”

– Certainly Odom Jr. had zero complaints as he beat out his co-star Miranda for the Lead Actor in a Musical category. When I asked Odom if he and Miranda made a friendly wager over the Tony prior to the award show, he found the question so hilarious that he nearly spit out the water he was sipping.

– This was a first: two reporters next to me were hungry, so they decided to walk to a pizzeria, pick up a pie and bring the entire box, paper plates included, back to the red carpet. At least they shared (I did not indulge but they were very kind to offer).

– Neil Patrick Harris shouted, “Work!” when I asked him what inspired his new, shorter haircut. I was tempted to simply tell you that I asked him what his favorite Rihanna song was.

– Nice to see Sara Bareilles on the carpet; she said hello to me before her publicist dragged her inside so she wouldn’t miss the award ceremony. It has been a wonderful Broadway debut for the pop star: her musical “Waitress” nabbed four Tony nods including Best Musical and Best Original Score, which of course was penned by Bareilles herself.

– Of course, there are a lot of artists from all genres of entertainment on and/or involved with Broadway these days. The great Andrew Lloyd Webber offered an interesting response when I asked him about this.

“Providing that you’ve got the right people for the right roles, if that’s what you’re asking me, and they’re cast for the right reasons… that’s great,” the seven-time Tony Award winner, whose musical adaptation of “School of Rock” received multiple nominations, told me. “It really doesn’t matter who you have in a show. Like, ‘School of Rock’ doesn’t have a star, but at the same time it easily could. I mean, James Corden wouldn’t be bad in ‘School of Rock,’ would he?”

The rumor is that new music from Lady Gaga is coming later this year, and producer RedOne did nothing to quell that speculation.

“Yes, let’s hope,” the GRAMMY Award winning producer responded when I brought up said rumor recently. “Yeah, let’s see what happens. We did eight songs so far and we’ll see what happens, yunno?”

Red, as his friends call him, has also been in the studio with Kaya Stewart and Enrique Iglesias. The latter artist is featured on the producer’s new single, “Don’t You Need Somebody.”

“I sent it to Enrique with two other songs,” he explained of how the track came to feature the singer. “He got the three songs but for some reason, he did not hear (‘Don’t You Need Somebody’).”

It wasn’t until the two linked up for a session in Miami that Iglesias heard the song. And that’s literally all it took for the artist to want to contribute to it. Iglesias immediately asked if he could jump on the song, and of course Red obliged.

Shaggy, who is also featured on the track, became involved in a similar fashion. During a music meeting Red simply played him the song.

“He was like, ‘Red put the mic on right now!’” recalled the producer of how Shaggy reacted after he heard the beat. “’Put the mic on!’”

Serayah and R. City, who of course scored a big hit last year with “Locked Away,” also added their vocals to the final product.

Yeah, I would definitely have to say that throwing out the first pitch and kicking back in the Yankees’ farm team’s dugout pre-game was the highlight of my 31st birthday weekend.

Disclaimer: my birthday weekends almost always involve the Yankees. Ironically, the most memorable was the year people seem to forget the most: 21. I hit legal drinking age on June 6, 2006. The Yankees hosted the Red Sox at the old Stadium and I had bleacher seats, which provided a great view when Melky Cabrera robbed Manny Ramirez of a home run. The Yanks went on to win.

Actually, I can’t ever remember my team losing on my birthday or on the game I attended nearest to the date. For number 30 last year, I watched with friends and family in the Bronx as the Yankees beat the Angels. Coincidentally the exact same thing happened this year on June 6 but because my birthday fell on a Monday I didn’t attend; I do have a job after all.

That’s what led me to celebrate on Saturday, and with the Yanks in Baltimore for a three-game series, I took a bus to Scranton, Penn. My radio show airs in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and thus it made perfect sense for me to make an appearance at PNC Field and throw out the first pitch before the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders hosted the Columbus Clippers.


PNC Field is only a couple of years old and is absolutely gorgeous. There are great seats throughout the park, a club and suite level, a solid selection of concessions and even a lawn area similar to what you would see at an outdoor concert venue. Pre-game festivities include giveaways and a live band, and the in-game experience is a lot of fun.


It also doesn’t hurt that the RailRiders have a bunch of solid prospects and familiar faces on its squad, from 2009 World Series champion Nick Swisher to promising outfielder Aaron Judge.

Another great thing about the RailRiders: its management is making a conscious effort to link the rich history of the Yankees to its Triple-A franchise. This year, the minor league team is staging a “Legends Series,” where past Yankees come to the park and sign autographs. And on Saturday, former Yankee greats Bucky Dent, Chris Chambliss and Roy White were all in attendance.


Yeah, I wasn’t just happy to be there, I was pretty excited.

The RailRiders marketing staff, which by the way could not have been more accommodating, brought me down to the field around 3:20. A little over 10 minutes later, the PA announcer addressed the audience.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we direct your attention to the pitcher’s mound for today’s ceremonial first pitches,” he echoed throughout the ballpark. “First up, Ralphie from 97.1 BHT!”


And with that, I slipped my phone in my back pocket, gave a quick wave to the crowd and fired a strike to Barry, Director of Game Entertainment.

Little did I know, the fun was just getting started.

As a group of little leaguers began to proceed around the warning track, the marketing staff was kind enough to allow me to sit in the dugout for pregame ceremonies.

This led to me sitting in on the manager’s spot of the bench, right next to the bullpen phone, while chewing Double Bubble with Dent, Chambliss and White, who were also there waiting to throw their first pitches.

I clearly had the look of someone turning 11, not 31, based on one RailRiders staffer saying, “You’re having the time of your life, huh?” I replied that I loved baseball and was a diehard Yankees fan. “Well, you get to do all of the cool entertainment stuff. We have the sports.”

And on the weekend before my birthday, I felt pretty fortunate that I sometimes get to experience both.

The latest installment of the Fox competition “So You Think You Can Dance” has taken co-creator and judge Nigel Lythgoe a bit by surprise.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it as much as usual,” the former “American Idol” producer told me over the phone, calling in from Los Angeles. “We were asked by Fox to do a sort of junior version of it and I thought, ‘Oh, well I’m not sure how good these kids are gonna be.’

“I am absolutely delighted with the talent that we’ve seen. It is a new crop of dancers; they’re sort of 8 to 13 and they are just incredible.”
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The show is now in its 13th season. Lythgoe, along with judges Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo all return. With the spin on the age of the dancers, a fourth judge in 13 year-old Maddie Ziegler is also on the panel.

“She is a very talented girl and obviously a muse for Sia,” Lythgoe said of Ziegler, who hails from Pittsburgh. “We thought (that) if we’re going to have a panel of judges for these kids we should have like the kid sister (Ziegler), the older brother in Jason, the aunty in Paula and the granddaddy in me!”

“SYTYCD” airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on Fox.

DNCE is one of the more unlikely pop music success stories of the past 12 months. The band is comprised of a Jonas Brother, the brothers’ former backing drummer, a member of Semi-Precious Weapons and a woman who moved to the US from her native South Korea speaking no English and traveling with only her guitar.

A few chance meetings led to a sold-out tour, a four song EP, a top 10 hit and now a gig opening for Selena Gomez.

The story of Joe Jonas, his friend Jack Lawless, Cole Whittle and JinJoo Lee is about as unpredictable as it might seem. So of course it comes as no surprise that while breakout singles usually push up LP releases, the band has actually delayed its debut album due to the prolonged success of “Cake By The Ocean.”

“It’s only a good problem,” Jonas remarked after noting the original release target was spring (now he is thinking fall). “Now ‘Toothbrush’ is starting to take off, our second single, and we’re getting a lot of love from that.”
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The adoration is for more than simply another catchy song; the second from the band’s EP “SWAAY.” DNCE release the music video for the track with plus-sized model Ashley Graham cast as the main love interest. Graham is having a fantastic 2016; she already graced the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover.

“Ashley Graham is the hottest thing in the universe,” Whittle said, while also noting that he hoped to have Jonas’ role in the video. “We all have giant crushes on her. When we were talking about the video, that’s what you dream of when you’re 16, when you finally get to make a music video one day (and) you pick the hottest person in the world that you just kind of want to roll around in bed with all day.”

“I think we had an idea that people were going to talk about it because she’s really killing it right now. But our real thinking process was, ‘She’s amazing and beautiful,’” replied the lead singer when I asked if the band was prepared for a conversation about breaking down stereotypes to center around its music video. “Look, yeah, if we somehow change a standard with her for music videos, yunno knock on wood I think that’d be great. She’s a gorgeous woman and that’s what matters.”

DNCE’s four-track EP also includes “Pay My Rent” and “Jinx.” Jonas and company are trying out new songs, such as “Body Moves” and “Naked,” while on tour with his former fellow Disney star Gomez. The band’s trek on the “Revival Tour” continues throughout North America and will extend in to her Australian dates, wrapping on August 11.

And if DNCE’s history is any indication of its future, then the only thing that can be predicted is unpredictability.

What a week.

The eight or so days leading up to Memorial Day have proven to be some of the craziest since I moved to New York, and this year proved no different. The 2016 version of this stretch differed from previous years in that it didn’t begin until the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend; it usually commences on Thursday.

Nonetheless, I spent four days in Las Vegas covering the 2016 Billboard Music Awards and serving as the warm-up act for dick clark productions. This entails me going on stage in front of 20,000 people and hyping them up over what’s to come with the show.

A video posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


This is my third year serving in that capacity for dcp and by far the coolest part this time around was having my Mom and my Aunt Alice in the crowd watching me. I even squeezed in dinner with them Monday night before my red-eye back east.


I landed Tuesday morning and what waited was two days of a normal work schedule. But on Thursday I hit the road again, heading down the shore to Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey for 95.5 PLJ’s annual Summer Kick-Off. This year, my fellow Western New Yorkers, the Goo Goo Dolls were the headliners.


I drove back Friday morning, with a pit stop at Wegmans to stock up on groceries, and was on the air Friday night. I took Saturday and Sunday to myself but was back on the air Monday evening – my fourth Memorial Day both in New York and on the radio.


It was quite the week. It normally is. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.