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So great to see a couple of current and possibly future GRAMMY nominees on my second day here in Los Angeles and our first day inside Staples Center for Westwood One’s Backstage at The GRAMMYs. I asked Mike Posner and Daya about the big day plus met Dua Lipa. Also, we chatted about a couple neighborhoods in Manhattan when “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Paige Mobley and singer/songwriter Max stopped by.




This is the story of a song, its GRAMMY nomination and how one small suggestion can have a ripple effect amongst multiple artists.

Yes, this is the story – as unlikely as it may seem – of Mike Posner’s “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” before the producer SeeB remixed it for pop radio’s indulgence.

The genesis of this track can be traced back to Posner’s actual trip to the Balearic Island where he took a pill in the presence of Avicii. But that experience did not immediately yield a hit record. Matter-of-fact, had it not been for a chat with popular country artist, Posner might have kept the story to himself.

That chat occurred with Jake Owen and it happened on Posner’s 26th birthday.

“Basically I played (Owen) a song, a different song, and he goes, ‘What inspired that tune?’ I said, ‘I just sort of made it up,’” Posner recalled during an interview that took place inside the Staples Center on his birthday last year, which fell on GRAMMY weekend.

“And he looked at me and he goes, ‘Well why don’t you just tell the truth?’”

Sounds easy, but it obviously is not something that any artist can do effectively. Yet that night, Posner tried. The Duke University alumnus hopped on a plane and wrote, “I Took A Pill In Ibiza.”

Soon after, Posner found himself on a plane again, but this time he was sitting across from singer/songwriter Nash Overstreet. The Nashville native once shared a record label home with Posner on RCA as a member of the pop-rock group Hot Chelle Rae.

“(Posner) told me he had been hanging with Jake Owen recently,” Overstreet said via telephone from Los Angeles. “And he told me he wanted to write painfully realistic, accurate truth in to music.”

It was almost as if Owen was now speaking through Posner to other artists. The result was similar: Overstreet was inspired to write the title track from his EP, “U Don’t Get 2 Do That.” The truth in that song even resonated with Hot Chelle Rae lead singer Ryan Follese, who after hearing it advised Overstreet to keep the song for himself and release it as a single.

The Gospel of Jake Owen continued to spread. Adam Friedman is another singer and songwriter who co-wrote and/or produced five different songs on Posner’s last LP “At Night, Alone.” While in-studio to promote his forthcoming EP “Green,” I mentioned the story of “Ibiza” to Friedman – a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.

“That theme has definitely shed on to me,” Friedman noted of writing songs with authenticity, specifically when talking about his single “What If?”which he’ll perform on “The Bachelor” February 13.

“I cried… not like balled, but I got tears,” the artist admitted after finding out that Posner’s “Ibiza” snagged the major GRAMMY nod. “I was on the same freeway that I had been on going to his house to work on that album. Just knowing where he was at when I met him three years ago and where I was at and just this three year journey that I’ve taken with him. To see that he got “Song Of The Year” (nomination), which was one of his goals, and to see him reach it… it was really, really cool for me to be a part of something like that.”

In the end, three artists were affected; two charts were topped (“Ibiza” hit number one on both Billboard’s Dance and Pop Airplay tallies) and one GRAMMY nomination was received. Posner will find out Sunday night if the song takes home the Gramophone.

Maybe that suggestion wasn’t so small after all.



Nash Overstreet called in to the show from Los Angeles to chat about his new solo EP, ‘U Don’t Get 2 Do That.’ The Hot Chelle Rae guitarist also talked about keeping in touch with his bandmates, Mike Posner inspiring him and working with other artists like Britney Spears and Rachel Platten on different projects.


After spending her 2016 battling cancer and completing the New York City Marathon, American Idol alum Jax kicked off the new year with some new tunes.

The New Jersey native, nee Jaclyn Miskanic, released an EP on January 27 called “Funny.” Yes, she’s pretty lighthearted in person, but at times perhaps all she could was laugh when she dealt with both personal and professional highs and lows.

“It’s kind of just about a toxic relationship that you can’t get enough of,” she explained when I asked the inspiration behind “LSD” – a song which plays off of the Beatles’ classic “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and one that we world-premiered on the radio show last week. “I think everyone has been there in their own way.”

The first time Jax joined my show was about a year ago; she had just released “La La Land” and stopped by to promote it. The next time I interviewed her was over the summer, after she revealed the thyroid cancer diagnosis and her plans to not only defeat it but then conquer the NYC Marathon.

“I feel great. I ran a freakin’ marathon!” Jax insisted when I inquired last week how she was feeling. “Everything’s good.”

Jax was happy to complete the 26.2 mile trek through New York City’s five boroughs, an experience she simply described as “awesome.” Will she run it this year as well?

“I think I will… don’t quote me!” she responded. “I have to start running again. I just got an Apple Watch. I think that was like my mother’s way of telling me you need to start working out again!”

The annual marathon doesn’t take place until later in the year, giving Jax plenty of time to not only train but also promote and perform her new EP… or at least devise a plan to do so.

“I think we’re kind of winging it,” she revealed. “We’re just putting out the material and hoping that everyone kind of connects with it. We have some shows and ideas coming up so we’ll keep everybody posted but I’m just really nervous for the release.”

Also out January 27, a new EP from Hot Chelle Rae guitarist and long-time friend-of-the-show Nash Overstreet, who coincidentally co-wrote and produced a song on Jax’s project. The “Idol” runner-up recalled meeting Overstreet a few years ago during her run on the TV show but he actually remembered a chance-encounter with the singer at a talent show in New Jersey a few years prior to that. Regardless, the two linked up via social media and eventually hit the studio together to collaborate on “Stars.”

The track is one of six on the new EP; Jax recorded a number of other songs as well that she hopes to release in the not-so-distant future.

A new single and a new look mark 2014 thus far for the pop-rock outfit Hot Chelle Rae. The band believes “Don’t Say Goodnight” will be the single that buoys its third studio LP. Meanwhile that album will be recorded without bassist Ian Keaggy, who left the band on amicable terms.

“I don’t think he was cut out for the road,” lead singer Ryan Follese told “The Ralphie Show.” “He loves playing music and he’s very passionate about art but I mean, we’ve been touring for two-and-a-half, three years.”

People change with the times. For Keaggy, that meant buying a house and settling down with a steady girlfriend.

“We’re ready to amp it up, where as he was ready to kind of tone it down,” Follese continued. “It all ended on good terms.”

Guitarist Nash Overstreet chimed in that the guys are all still close. It was simply just a matter of some people adjust better to life on the road than others. For HCR, most of their summer in 2013 was spent traveling with Justin Bieber’s “Believe Tour.”

“He was actually really, really nice to us,” Follese said. “He watched our show a couple times from side stage, which we thought was really cool. He even said songs that he liked in our set, which was really cool. It meant he actually did watch it.”

Overstreet went as far as to defend the beleaguered pop star.

“I went out to enough clubs during that tour to give eyewitness to the fact that like, ‘Oh, that club where he spit on the guy? That never happened!’” the guitarist said. “I was right there.”

With Follese’s brother Jamie still in the mix, HCR plans to stay a trio for now. The lead singer says the band has friends who can step in on bass once a tour pops up. No such plans were in place prior to the release of the new single.

“It’s got kind of, more of a classic like, soaring melody in the chorus, which is kind of a new thing for us,” described Follese of “Don’t Say Goodnight.” The song’s hook does sound like it could be related to something performed by the band fun. “But it’s got like this harder, almost rap-y verses which are really, really fun.”

Follese said the song’s inspiration came from bars closing too early out west. If “Don’t Say Goodnight” can be as big as Hot Chelle Rae’s “Tonight Tonight,” then the party won’t be ending any time soon.

Ryan Follese and Nash Overstreet recently paid a visit to New York City, and the trip could yield what Hot Chelle Rae fans have been looking for since the fall.

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“We’re having some meetings, and going to the label, and making some rounds and actually really narrowing down what it is that we’re going to be putting out in the early part of next year,” Follese said in studio on “The Ralphie Show.” “(The fans) want it, and we want to give it to them.”

Hot Chelle Rae spent the latter part of the year touring internationally. The band’s last U.S. trek was in support of Demi Lovato. How eager are fans to hear new music? Once HCR released the Verizon-sponsored cover of “Jingle Bell Rock,” some fans took to Twitter to request it on local radio stations. Others actually e-mailed the MP3 to DJs.

“As far as Christmas songs go, we’re super picky, and that’s one of the only songs we felt worked as a band,” Follese noted. “It’s something we could do and Nash could really play guitar on.”

The lead singer said Hot Chelle Rae is shooting to release the new single at the end of January on RCA Records.

Hot Chelle Rae seems pleasantly surprised at how well the band’s career continues to progress.

“It’s everything that we thought it would be, but it’s also surprising at the same time,” lead singer Ryan Follese told me backstage over the weekend. Hot Chelle Rae was on one of its many sold out stops for the “Beautiful Freaks” tour. “To be able to have this job and have it take us to the places we’re going, it’s incredible.”

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Case in point: the band recently wrapped a tour through Australia and New Zealand supporting fellow Nashville musician Taylor Swift. Follese said the band and Swift simply had one of “those moments.”

“We were on this boat with Taylor, and we were all just sitting there, trolling about in Sydney Harbor,” the front man recalled. “I was actually standing next to Taylor, and I was like, ‘This job is amazing.’”

Swift concurred.

“As big as she is, she knows too,” Follese said. “The fans are unreal. This whole thing is just incredible.”

Guitarist Nash Overstreet used similar adjectives to describe the tour itself.

“They’re very, very polite and welcoming,” Overstreet noted of the band’s New Zealand fans. “They’re stoked that you’re in their country, they’re stoked that you’re playing.”

But the fans overseas didn’t just make HCR feel welcome by acting as tour guides during the day, or using “please” and “thank you” when asking for photos.

“They knew every word to every song, not just the singles,” Overstreet said. “It gives us a validation of songs we wrote that haven’t been on the radio yet, and to see them fall in love with those is really cool.”

Hot Chelle Rae has charted two tracks from Whatever on pop radio, and a third could be on the way with “Honestly,” a break-up anthem with a music video that features “Pretty Little Liars” star Ashley Benson.

“I think somebody from a show like that is always a really cool edge to add to the video,” Follese said of Benson’s role as his eventual ex-girlfriend. “We reached out to her and she was down to do it.”

Of course, it wasn’t that simple. The actress was getting ready to shoot a movie, and HCR was on tour. All parties involved found one 24 hour window to film. The final piece took 17 hours. Benson left after for her movie; Hot Chelle Rae flew to Australia the next day.

In the end, the guys found a way to make it work. You can’t be surprised at that.

I honestly don’t know what is more compelling: the stories Cady Groves tells, or the manner in which she tells them. Regardless, the 22 year-old is quite the character.

Here’s one example: the Oklahoma-bred singer is currently supporting Hot Chelle Rae’s headlining tour. Groves and HCR guitarist Nash Overstreet are tight – and when I called Nash during my interview with Cady, I found out exactly how tight.

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“Nash and I, we like to play this thumping game, where we thump each other’s genitalia,” Groves revealed in studio, thankfully with the delay button working. “I thump his peen, and he thumps my V.”

You can’t make these quotes up. But back to the original point, it isn’t just the stories that make you laugh, cringe, or in some cases both – but the fact that Groves will rattle this stuff off to semi-strangers the way you talk about walking your dog or shopping for groceries.

“We like to play games where [Nash] is hungover on his bus, and I go and talk to him,” Groves continued. “And he pretends it’s food poisoning.”

“She got the band member wrong,” Overstreet shot back – eliciting “oohs” and laughter from the studio. The guitarist had just returned with his group from Australia and New Zealand, opening up for Taylor Swift.

Now HCR will tour the States with Groves and her stories in tow. She has plenty of tales, and not all of them are about anal sex (“I talk about that all the time”) or her bra size (“I’ll end tweets with, ‘#BCup’). No, some are actually quite serious. Like the one when she fell in love with a producer, only to find out that he was living a double life.

“I told my label (RCA) like, ‘I wanna make my whole album with this guy,’” Groves recalled of the 35 year-old producer. The singer linked up with him when she was 21. “We started looking at apartments together, and I literally thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with him.”

Everything unraveled when the producer uncharacteristically showed up late to a recording session one day. While Groves was actually making apologies for the guy, the engineer unknowingly dropped a bomb on the singer, revealing that the producer lived out in Santa Monica… with his wife.

“My life literally came crumbling down,” she said. “He got there that day, I called his wife, she ended up being like 40 [years-old].”

The producer and artist parted ways, and Groves retreated in to a deep depression. Then, RCA Records came calling, wondering what was happening to their once promising pop starlet.

“My label was like, ‘Dude, get out of bed. Write an album about this guy,’” Groves said. “Everything kind of stemmed from that.”

That album is an EP – This Little Girl – and is available on iTunes now.

If you’re still not convinced that Taylor Swift possesses a pretty good amount of clout these days, look no further than Ryan Follese, the lead singer of Hot Chelle Rae. Ryan used to go by R.K. (his middle name is Keith). Then, Taylor Swift tweeted.

“Taylor Swift called me ‘Ryan’ to her 8 million followers,” Follese explained of the change, while also noting it is easier to search for Ryan Follese on the Internet than R.K. “That many fans rolled over to our fan base and our stuff and it was just easier.”

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Swift is far from the only reason though that more people are discovering the Nashville quartet. After scoring a number one hit this year with, “Tonight Tonight,” HCR released its sophomore LP, Whatever. Promoting the new album took the band all across national TV, from “The Tonight Show” to “Live! with Kelly.” Although for guitarist Nash Overstreet, the group’s performance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” stood out from the rest.

“’Fallon’ was the coolest just because of like, the set, and it was later in the day so we’re not waking up and all groggy,” Overstreet said. “He was one of the coolest guys ever, just really friendly, and so it was great to be on that show.”

Certainly it didn’t hurt that the other guests that evening were actor Jeremy Piven and rapper T.I. It also didn’t hurt that Fallon told Hot Chelle Rae he was a big fan of the group’s work.

“He was like, ‘Next time you come back we’re doing (a parody),’” recalled Follese. Fallon spoofed the band’s hit single with The Roots in an earlier episode. “It was really cool to meet somebody in that realm, and do the show, who is also a fan.”

But as cool as “Fallon” was for HCR, perhaps the guys’ biggest TV appearance to date was during the American Music Awards, when the band won the Sprint New Artist of the Year award. The nominees and winner were voted on by the fans.

“We weren’t expecting to make it past the first round,” the lead singer admitted. “But our fans, they mobilized on another level.”

Hot Chelle Rae recently announced dates for the 2012 Beautiful Freaks Tour, which the band headlines across the country. In between those dates, HCR will once again rub elbows with the oh-so-influential Swift, as the band supports her through a tour of Australia.

Sure, “it was a really, really messed up week” for Hot Chelle Rae as per the opening of “Tonight Tonight.” But since that single climbed the top of the charts, it’s also been a really, really great year for the Nashville-based quartet.

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“Dude, I’m absolutely loving it, every minute,” guitarist Nash Overstreet told me via Skype on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” Overstreet checked in from Charlotte, NC where HCR was supporting The Script on tour. “We’re really, really busy, busier than we’ve ever been. But I would definitely not have it any other way.”

In addition to touring and making the media rounds, the guys have been busy finalizing Whatever, Hot Chelle Rae’s sophomore LP. The album hits stores November 29.

“They show up knowing all the words to everything,” Overstreet said of the crowds that the band has experienced on tour thus far. Apparently, HCR’s fans even know the lyrics to unreleased tracks. “It’s just really amazing to us to see people being so up-to-date on what we do.”

As of this moment, there may be no better example to support that notion than the number of views HCR’s “I Like It Like That” video has. The single eclipsed the million views mark weeks quicker than it took “Tonight Tonight” to surpass it. Nash revealed the band shot the video themselves while touring with a bus, as opposed to a van, for the first time.

The song and video feature the rap duo New Boyz, whom HCR linked up with in Syracuse, NY after a radio event.

“We went out in Syracuse one night and threw down, spent a few hours making trouble,” Overstreet recalled. “They’re really cool guys, great artists, and great writers, and they killed it.”