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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.

For Walk The Moon lead singer Nick Petricca, the band’s new album and current tour have provided him with a New Year’s Resolution for 2018: letting go of fear.

“I feel like when I see my favorite artists on stage, I’m just like, ‘Wow, they just go out there and are hiding nothing,’” he explained to me over the weekend. “They seem fearless. And it’s interesting, ‘One Foot’ in front of the other has become this song that we’ve been kind of like forced to practice what we preach.

“You can’t really think twice,” Petricca continued. “You can’t be up (on stage) judging yourself the whole time or else the thing kind of crumbles.”

The aforementioned “One Foot” is a perfect example of this new era within’ the Cincinnati-based quartet: a catchy, infectious up-tempo sing-a-long that still contains some gravitas and vulnerability. Walk The Moon’s third LP, “What If Nothing,” is the group’s most vulnerable to date: so much so that another benefit arose as the band created the “Press Restart Tour.”

“We can put a little more of an emotional curve in to the set,” guitarist Eli Maiman noted. “I think prior to now, we had a disproportionate amount of songs that were kind of, ‘up.’ The set at this point is very contoured in terms of its emotional impact.”

A quick look back to Walk The Moon’s recent history reveals how this happened: following the worldwide hit “Shut Up And Dance” and the subsequent trek supporting the album “Talking Is Hard,” the band took a break… almost, for good. That changed at bassist Kevin Ray’s wedding; the first time since the hiatus that all four members were together. Shortly thereafter, the group re-entered the studio and began working on what would eventually be “What If Nothing.”

Petricca believes the band is hungrier than ever, and part of that may be attributed to what they learned about each other during their time off.

“We all are respecting our own humanity on a different level,” the front man admitted. “I think we’re seeing the ways that it serves the music as well; not just burning all of the candles at all of the ends and playing as many shows as possible but also just making sure that we are 100% for the listeners and for our fans.”

I caught up with three-fourths of Walk The Moon before soundcheck at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday; drummer Sean Waugaman was napping and understandably so. The guys just landed that morning from a red-eye flight after performing a radio show in Los Angeles the night prior. A full schedule of promo followed soundcheck; the band then took the stage around 9:10 pm.

And yet despite all of that, the quartet sounded fantastic Saturday night. It was if once on stage, they were fearless.

If there’s one thing you can expect when Halsey kicks off her “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” tour later this year, it’s this: fire.

“I’ve always been very extra with the fire,” the Washington, New Jersey-native told me last month. “Any chance I have to bring fire on my stage, I’m going to do it.”

Matter-of-fact, Halsey revealed to me that during her Billboard Music Awards performance rehearsal, she kept practicing the song over-and-over in part due to the fire that was planned for the set. She certainly didn’t mind the rehearsing; she was once hit with her own fireworks during a Coachella performance (Halsey escaped unscathed).

But besides the obvious visual, there is also a meaning behind the use of fire that relates to the singer’s chart-topping album.

“My record, ‘Hopeless Fountain Kingdom,’ is kind of about an underworld,” Halsey, born Ashley Frangipane, explained. “It’s kind of about this parallel universe where love conquers all. It’s a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ story so bringing in the fire is a really, really cool way for me to kind of rope my audience in to my universe that I’ve tried to create.”

Fans across the country will have the opportunity to witness that universe on the singer’s first-ever arena tour, although Halsey is no stranger to big rooms. She headlined and sold-out Madison Square Garden in 2016; the show went on-sale three weeks after her debut LP “Badlands” came out.

“The whole world went, ‘What do you think you’re doing? You just put out your album. You can’t play MSG,’” she recalled of critics’ initial reaction to the news. “That venue has always been the pinnacle of music for me.

“I was playing a show at Webster Hall. I was playing to 1,500 people (the night tickets for The Garden were released). And I walked up-stage and I got the news that we were about to sell-out Madison Square Garden.”

Halsey said that as amazing as she thinks the arena dates will be, it will be hard to top playing MSG, which she described as, “one of the best experiences of my life.”

She’ll find out when the tour kicks off at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on September 29… her birthday.

Last weekend I made the trek up to Uncasville, Connecticut where my friends at Mohegan Sun invited me to head backstage at Mohegan Sun Arena and interview the band Bastille. It was the first time the GRAMMY-nominated quartet played the venue; lead singer Dan Smith and company were fresh in to the North American leg of the “Wild, Wild World Tour” in support of the band’s sophomore effort “Wild World.”

Here are five takeaways from my chat with the group, which was initially broadcasted live on Mohegan Sun’s Facebook page, with a bonus fan-submitted question answered on Twitter.

1.) If Bastille could pick one artist to collaborate with at the moment, it would be Rihanna. “We’ve been asked this for years. We keep saying Rihanna and we haven’t heard a word from her,” drummer Chris “Woody” Wood joked.

2.) Smith confirmed that just as the band released a companion remix album for “Bad Blood”, Bastille will give the same treatment to “Wild World.” “It’s just a question of finding the time,” he elaborated.

3.) Bastille is currently writing it’s third album on the road; they have a designated “Writing Room” backstage. Although last Friday, “Woody” primarily used the space more to play FIFA on Xbox than craft Bastille’s next big hit.

4.) The album art for “Wild World” was not snapped from One World Trade Center, but rather “an undisclosed building, somewhere, maybe.” Smith wouldn’t elaborate but did mention that the cover’s creation is actually a focal point in the show’s production (and I won’t elaborate because I don’t want to spoil it for someone who may be reading this in another part of the U.S. before the concert).

5.) General consensus amongst the band led the members to designate guitarist Will Farquarson as the laziest member of the group, although Smith did mention that there are different genres of lazy. We wanted him to elaborate on this too, but perhaps he didn’t feel like exerting himself?

Watch the full interview and bonus clip below.

Just 11 months ago, Daya’s parents were pushing her to apply to college, just in-case this whole singing career didn’t pan out.

Fast forward to October 2016, just a few weeks shy of her 18th birthday, and suffice to say the artist will be deferring.

“I did apply last year,” Daya, nee Grace Tandon, told me last weekend after opening for Fergie inside Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. “It was just kind of a back-up and my parents wanted me to, blah-blah-blah.”

Daya’s older sister attends Brown University in Rhode Island. And the “Hide Away” songstress doesn’t rule out an eventual return to the classroom, but at the moment that certainly isn’t necessary. In less than a year, the Pittsburgh-born singer has scored two top 10 hits at pop radio as a title artist.
daya
But without question her biggest song to-date is the contribution she made to The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” a song that grabbed Daya her first ever American Music Award nomination for “Best Collaboration.” “Don’t Let Me Down” also ended up accumulating the most spins of any single this past summer at pop radio.

“That’s crazy! That’s just so wild!” a clearly excited Daya replied when I informed her of that fact. “I didn’t know that it would be that big. I mean, I knew that it was a great song and I was so happy to collaborate with them on it because they’re awesome but you never know with radio.”

Daya is certainly becoming more familiar with the airwaves though. Her latest hit is the title track from her debut album, “Sit Still, Look Pretty.”

“(The song) was always special to me,” she said. “It just kind of felt natural for me to name the album ‘Sit Still, Look Pretty,’ and I think that’s kind of what I want my brand to be as young female artist in this industry; don’t let people limit you in what you can do.”

After all, it’s not like Daya was born in Los Angeles or New York. She grew up in Pittsburgh and the man who executive produced her album, Gino Barletta, is from Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

“This is our baby together that we just created over this past year and a weight feels lifted off of all of our shoulders,” she noted. “We’ve all just helped each other out. We all work hard and are passionate and good things are happening.”

And if they keep that up, who knows what the next 11 months could have in store.

I stopped by WBRE’s “PA Live!” for my weekly segment, “The Ralphie Report.” This week, I dished on two big shows coming to Wilkes-Barre’s Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza: Guns N Roses and Lady Antebellum. Plus, I chatted about new albums from Allstar Weekend and Jason Derulo.

I will appear every Thursday on “PA Live!” – a new, daily show on WBRE that airs weekdays at 4 p.m. The show is co-hosted by Dave Kuharchik and Monica Madeja.