Zella Day did not take a typical path to the stage. The 20 year-old grew up in a small Arizona town known more for skiing and snowboarding than sunbathing. When she was young, Day moved with her mother and sister to California, but the purpose of the trip was not so she could live out her dreams as an artist. Rather, her parents divorced, and Day’s grandmother lived in Long Beach.
The singer/songwriter’s first gig was on the stage of her grandma’s coffee shop; 11 years later she is now performing at much bigger venues across the U.S. Day stopped by our studio and chatted about her family, along with the transition she has made this year from supporting to headlining act. Day, a self-proclaimed “small-town” girl, also talked about exploring our wonderful city.
It is that time of year already. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular kicks off November 13, and the Rockettes held their annual media day on the Upper West Side. I attended, selfie stick in tow, to see how the ladies are preparing for the upcoming season of shows.
People Magazine Senior Editor Mary Margaret called in for this week’s edition of “Weekend Scoop.” She talked about People’s cover girl, Carrie Underwood, and gave an update on the status of Lamar Odom.
Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood and more descended upon the Upper West Side to premiere Vin’s passion project, a new film called “The Last Witch Hunter.” Diesel, along with co-stars Rose Leslie and Elijah Wood stopped to chat with us about making the movie. Ciara, who recorded a cover of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Paint It Black” for the trailer, also chatted with me.
“The Last Witch Hunter” is set in the city, and hits theaters October 23.
BONUS CLIP: Vin Diesel reacts to the news that “See You Again” is up for Song Of The Year at the 2015 American Music Awards.
BONUS CLIP: Elijah Wood, who scored his first movie role in “Back to the Future II” is asked if he is pulling for the Cubs (In the movie, it is predicted that the Cubs win the World Series in 2015).
“Locked Away,” the Caribbean-infused pop song with a catchy chorus sung by Adam Levine, could have been the song of the summer. Matter-of-fact, the duo that comprises R. City intended for the track to be just that. However Timothy and Theron Thomas were not able to release to the track to the masses until July; despite the fact that it was ready in May.
“We got Adam Levine on the song, and then just clearing it with his label and the time that it takes to get that process done took a little longer than we had expected,” Theron revealed to me. “We were so ready to get it out.”
Levine recorded his vocals at the beginning of May, and the Atlanta-based group planned on a June release. However at least one lesson was learned: once you’re on a major record label, you will not always have full control over a project’s timeline.
“As songwriters and producers, we come in, we write the song and then we leave,” Theron explained. “We’ve always been independent, and we’re really famous in the Virgin Islands, so we used to put out independent albums put out music on our own.
“When you’re signed to a label, you can’t do ‘guerilla-style’ stuff. People have to sign waivers and stuff has to be cleared.”
But on the flip-side it was the label, Dr. Luke’s RCA imprint Kemosabe Records, that enabled the Levine collaboration in the first place. Luke, nee Lukasz Gottwald, played the track for the Maroon 5 front man and he immediately agreed to sing its hook.
The whole project is quite improbable considering that when R. City first entered the studio with Luke, the goal was to write hit pop songs; “Katy Perry records.” Gottwald had already seen the duo’s talent first-hand as they collaborated on Becky G’s single, “Shower.” A mutual friend tipped Luke off to the Thomas brothers’ talents as singers. Any aspirations that they, or their manager had for a Perry placement quickly vanished.
You can only imagine the expression on the face of Ray Daniels, R. City’s manager, when Dr. Luke told him he had R. City records to play him instead of other collaborations; the artists weren’t even signed, although that too was about to change.
“He started to get a lot more cool about it once he heard the music,” Timothy said.
“Luke started playing him records and (Daniels) was like, ‘Okay, cool, I get it,’” recalled Theron.
And it all worked out the way it was supposed to: “Locked Away” hit number one on the pop radio airplay chart on the same week that the duo’s debut album, What Dreams Are Made Of, hit shelves.
I have had a lot of great weekends as of late, as I’ve broken out the “#RalphieOTRA” hashtag and traveled to a number of different cities; many of which I visited for the first time in my life. This past weekend included one of those trips, along with a few experiences in the tri-state area that I won’t soon forget.
To get a proper feel for the three day stretch I had, we should probably rewind to Friday. The details are covered in this Facebook post, but here are some of the highlights courtesy of my Instagram and Twitter.
I hosted the Devils Opening Night Red Carpet at the team’s Fan Fest outside of Prudential Center. Big thanks to the Devils along with Kerry and the PruCenter PR Team for the invite and hospitality.
I also was invited by my friends at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and Lennon Bus to the “Imagine Party,” celebrating John’s 75th birthday. Here’s me, VP of U.S. Tours and Promotions Matthew Reich and his band, the Command Sisters.
After about three hours of sleep, I hopped on a plane headed back to the greatest city in the world, but left with some fond memories of Nashville. Last #RalphieOTRA trip for a while is next weekend – Syracuse!
For “Weekend Scoop,” InStyle Magazine Senior Editor Sharon Clott Kanter called in to talk about her interview with Ariana Grande regarding the singer’s new fragrance. Read all about it in the October issue!