Archives For Dan Kanter

On Sunday I covered my fifth consecutive Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. I also acted as the on-stage warm-up act, hyping and prompting the crowd before the show and during commercial breaks, for my fourth year. Here are some news and notes from my perspective both on the Magenta Carpet and backstage.

– Any artist that actually stopped and did media on the carpet should get some type of award. The temperatures outside T-Mobile Arena were near triple digits. It was so hot outside that inside they actually blasted the air conditioning during rehearsals. Perhaps it was a nice way to test how cold the venue can become ahead of it receiving an NHL franchise?

– I brought a change of dress shirts to account for the weather. Almost everything I wore in both outfits came from my favorite designer, John Varvatos. The tuxedo pants were H&M and my flower and pocket square were both from TheTieBar.com.

– I’d hate to say I called it but… I called it. Celine Dion stole the show at the BBMAs. I had chills listening to 18,000 inside T-Mobile Arena sing-a-long to “My heart Will Go On.” Celine is beloved as an icon, her voice is still impeccable, the movie is adored and the song as of late has gained new life as a meme of sorts. It was one my second-favorite moment from Sunday night.

– Great running in to Dan Kanter backstage. I first met Dan in 2009 inside The Mall at Steamtown in Scranton; at the time he was playing guitar for this new artist… maybe you’ve heard of him… Justin Bieber? Kanter is Bieber’s musical director and assumed similar duties for Julia Michaels’ performance of “Issues” – which I was a big fan of.

– That Rachel Platten “La La Land” adlib was just that – it was not in the teleprompter. I got a kick out of it.

– Something I really loved about this year’s show is that the stars really seemed to be enjoying themselves. You had Young Money – Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake – front and center both literally and figuratively for the entire show. Instead of acting too cool for the room they decided to simply join in on the party. With Drake setting the new single-night record for awards, they had plenty to celebrate.

– One of my favorite backstage moments came when BK and Tyler from Florida Georgia Line walked off stage after accepting the BBMA for “Top Country Song.” The duo embraced, let out a Ric Flair-like “Woo!” and said to each other, “Man that never gets old!” Nice to see a genuine moment of gratitude between the two.

– Another cool backstage interaction involved Diddy, who was about to pay tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. and reveal the trailer for the new Bad Boy movie “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.” The Chainsmokers were walking off the stage after accepting another award and Puff gave them a standing O before chatting with Alex and Drew for a few minutes. That’d be a fun collaboration right?

– Give credit to Vanessa Hudgens for holding her own on national TV and to Ludacris for once again making the whole hosting gig appear way easier than it actually is.

– Some other familiar faces that said hello backstage: Chris Daughtry, Miss America Savvy Shields, Mark Cuban and Hailee Steinfeld.

– I mentioned my second-favorite moment but not the one that tops the list. That honor belongs to my Mom. She was in the crowd cheering on her son while putting the video camera on her new-er iPhone to good use. I am thankful I was able to share the night with her.

“Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen wouldn’t deny that she definitely took note when her song with Owl City, “Good Time” began to climb up the charts. The track has officially relieved her of the “one hit wonder” moniker.

“I think there definitely was a little bit of a ‘pressure-off’ when I saw that ‘Good Time’ was doing really well,” Jepsen explained aboard her tour bus to “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “But, I try never to focus on the success of a song. It’s more just I feel it when I’m writing it and when it’s done and when the product feel ready.”

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That “product” is Jepsen’s debut U.S. album, Kiss.

“No one’s heard it yet; it’s not released until September 18 but, I already feel really pumped and really proud and if people like it, that’s bonus.”

When the Canadian singer says “no one,” she of course means the public. But people inside her camp, including manager Scooter Braun and superstar Justin Bieber, have heard the record in its entirety.

“Scooter called me today saying, ‘You should feel really proud; this is fantastic,” Jepsen said. “At the end of the day, if my family, friends, and I dig it then I feel like I’ve won over my main crowd.”

Jepsen is ramping up press and public appearances leading to the release of Kiss. Then it’s off with The Biebs for a 40-plus date trek of North America on the “Believe” tour. During the run, Jepsen will reunite with a former tour-mate from years ago: guitarist and Bieber musical director Dan Kanter.

“He played with a band called Shiloh,” recalled Jepsen, who toured Canada, in a van, with the group. “We got to know him then, and now we’re gonna be doing it stadium-style later on in life. It’s really, really cool.”

The whole experience with “Call Me Maybe” has been cool in itself for Jepsen, culminating with President Barack Obama telling a radio station in New Mexico that he thinks the track is a “cute pop song.”

“I get surprised every day,” Jepsen admits. “There’s a moment where I’m having to pinch myself. You hear {The President’s comments), you hear that the (U.S.) swim team’s done it, you heard that Katy Perry has decided to make a parody of it. It’s really good news and keeps life really interesting and really exciting right now.”