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Believe it or not, one of the more inspirational moments I experienced on The GRAMMYs red carpet involved interviewing Danny Gokey. You may remember the singer as the third finalist on the eighth season of “American Idol.” After an introduction so vast on a show so popular, it usually becomes difficult for artists to be known for anything other than appearing on the TV competition. That usually leads the contestants to either embrace it or spend the rest of their career attempting to erase it.

Gokey took a path less traveled: a career-reinvention of sorts. However his goal was far deeper than shedding a label or scoring a hit record.

“I got to create from what was on the inside of me at the beginning,” Gokey, standing alongside his wife Leyicet, told me. “What I tried to do was create an impact.

“We’re all created uniquely. I know a lot of times we deal with insecurities like, ‘Oh man, that person is getting a lot more looks than I am,’ but really people have to think, ‘No, what you do – no one else can do.’”

Gokey further explained that by people not conforming to others’ standards and staying true to themselves, they will be able to travel to places never imagined. And for the singer, that place was The 60th GRAMMYs, earning his first career nomination in the Best Contemporary Christian Music category for his album, “Rise.” Gokey attributes the album’s success to his record label, BMG, affording him the freedom to practice what he preached. It serves as yet another example that the most impactful art is the most honest.

Even before he won The GRAMMY for Best Remixed Recording, DJ/producer Latroit knew he would be taking home a gramophone of some sort.

“My mom made a GRAMMY statue cake,” he told me last Thursday during an interview for Westwood One’s coverage of music’s biggest night. “No matter what happens, I’m leaving with a GRAMMY statue! I can eat the one I have though.”

The artist, born Dennis White, hails from Detroit but noted that family from across the country had descended on New York for his first nomination. Latroit won with his remix of Depesche Mode’s “You Move.” The award was handed out during the Premiere Ceremony, which took place inside The Theater at MSG.

“My friend Jason Bentley was working on a project with (‘You Move’) and he is familiar with my sound and thought maybe something interesting would happen there,” Latroit explained. “He asked the band if they would like a Latroit remix, someone said yes, asked if I wanted to do it and I fell over because I wanted to do it.”

For Latroit, this was far from the average collaboration.

“There was a ton of pressure because I knew these guys were going to hear my interpretation of their song and their fans are devout fans,” he noted of Depeche Mode. “It was important to me to create something that really spoke to and rose to the occasion of Depeche Mode’s legacy.”

That legacy includes five GRAMMY nominations and now, a song that led to an awarded gramophone – of both the edible and non-edible varieties.

Fresh off rehearsing on The GRAMMYs stage, Bebe Rexha dropped a rather unsurprising yet noteworthy tidbit: her mom and Jimmy Fallon are basically BFFs.

“He’s actually cool with my mom,” the songstress replied when I asked her if she had any face time with Fallon following her performance of “Meant To Be” on “The Tonight Show.” “They were in the dressing room for like 30 minutes, my whole team was in there, but I had to run and go listen to the mix and I was like, ‘I don’t know what they’re doing.’ It was funny.

“I feel proud of that song,” Rexha added regarding the performance featuring Florida Georgia Line, “so every time I can perform it, it’s like a moment.”

The Brooklyn-born artist reiterated that the song is a departure both for her and for pop music at the moment. It inspired Rexha’s transition to a new project called “Expectations,” which she still plans to release this year.

But this past weekend, she was at home, getting ready to attend and perform at her first GRAMMYs.

“I’m like, ‘What? The GRAMMYs are in New York? Yas!’” she exclaimed. “I’m talking to Cyndi Lauper and she’s like (mimics New York accent), ‘Yeah, yunno, I gotta put my in-ears in, I gotta do all this,’ and I’m like, ‘Yes! I feel like I belong now,’ because people usually make fun of my accent.”

Rexha joined Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels and Andra Day in supporting Kesha’s performance of “Praying” at The 60th GRAMMYs on Sunday, in what was the most poignant moment of the show.

Bebe Rexha is ahead of the curve when it comes to pop music; it’s one of the reasons why she is one of the most in-demand songwriters and artists ranging from Louis Tomlinson to David Guetta to G-Eazy are enlisting her vocals for the hooks of their songs. Her latest single, the Florida Georgia Line-assisted “Meant To Be,” is yet another example of both her range and her tenacity to break ground.

“I’m going to change it and do this new thing called, ‘Expectations,’ the Brooklyn-born artist responded after I asked if there would be an “All Your Fault Part 3” recently. The first two installments were EPs that yielded the singles “I Got You,” “The Way I Are,” and the aforementioned “Meant To Be.”

“It’s a new sound,” Rexha continued. “It’s a more No Doubt-sound. I just feel like ‘Meant To Be’ has kind of been an interesting thing for me and I want to pivot a little bit.

“I think everybody is kind of going in to this rhythmic/urban lane, and I want to just be different and do more guitar-based stuff.”

When Rexha initially announced the new project via Twitter, she also revealed the existence of “Home,” a song she is featured on with Machine Gun Kelly and X-Ambassadors. A collaboration with the former certainly makes sense given the band’s recent history – recording seamlessly with both labelmates Imagine Dragons and Eminem.

“Home” ended up as a part of the star-studded “Bright” soundtrack; no word on if it it’ll also make “Expectations,” a piece of work that Rexha simply said would be out at some point in 2018.

G-Eazy spent most of 2017 in one place (home) doing one thing (creating). The final product is his fourth studio album, “The Beautiful & Damned.” It dropped last month and the rapper, born Gerald Gillum, will tour behind it later this year.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” the Oakland-born emcee told me regarding the project. “The album is everything I wanted it to be conceptually, sonically.”

There are a number of features on the LP including Charlie Puth who contributes his writing skills and soulful vocals to the hook of the sure-fire hit “Sober” and Halsey, who is featured on the current single at pop radio “Him & I.”

Of course, just a quick scroll through G-Eazy’s Instagram will show you that he and the “Now or Never” singer are an item. Hearing him talk about her certainly confirms it.

“I’m really excited about that one,” he told me of the song they performed together. “(Halsey’s) incredible. Yunno, she’s beautiful beyond measure, talented beyond measure… she’s really special. Her and I have a special connection.”

G-Eazy attributed the small circles that artists live in, constantly bumping in to each other on red carpets and at award shows, to how he linked up with Halsey.

And in his words, “The rest is history.”

I recently bore witness to a rather unique interaction: one of my favorite bands, Walk The Moon chatting and exchanging numbers with Diane Warren, who is a legendary songwriter. The guys from WTM were leaving my broadcast booth and thankfully, Warren was on her way in. I immediately wanted to know what they all chatted about.

“They were in the audience at the ASCAP Awards; I got a big award that night,” Warren recalled, later revealing that she might collaborate with the band. “Snoop gave (the award) to me, and I had worked with Snoop the year before. We were just joking that he had this giant blunt in his hand and I’m like, ‘Who has a match?’”

There is little if nothing that Warren, whose discography of penned tracks dates back to 1979, hasn’t seen or experienced. But if there has been one constant throughout her storied career, it is her approach to songwriting.

“I always went with my heart,” Warren insisted while noting that this very mindset led her to write “Stand Up For Something,” a song that Andra Day and Common performed for the movie, “Marshall.” She is proud of the final product and rightfully so; the track is up for Best Song Written For Visual Media at this year’s GRAMMYs. It is the eleventh time Warren has received a nomination in this category; she won the GRAMMY for it in 1997 thanks to Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” from the 1996 film, “Up Close & Personal.”

He is a three-time GRAMMY Award winning, multi-platinum producer who has been in the game for 20 years. Yet this past year, RedOne experienced a first: he couldn’t clear vocals for a song that he had already worked on with an artist.

“These things happen in the record industry,” the producer, nee Nadir Khayat, told me recently. The particular instance we were talking about involved rapper Fetty Wap. “I think it was more because (Fetty Wap) was releasing his single, coming up with an album, the label needed to focus on him and not have confusion – so I respect that.”

At least publicly RedOne took the high road and on the outset it’s understandable because when you’ve had as much success as he has, it’s easier to do so.

But the story of the single Fetty Wap was originally on doesn’t end there; RedOne looked at the situation as an opportunity to chance and perhaps improve on the song. The final track also features original artists French Montana and Dinah Jane (Fifth Harmony) but added to the mix is reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee. “Boom Boom” is a more Latin-sounding song than its predecessor. The single ended up taking over a year to create but for RedOne it was well worth it as the video alone has garnered over 95 million YouTube views since its release last October.

Recently on the show, Noah Cyrus dished to us about her experience supporting Katy Perry on tour, her latest collaborations and what she planned to do (and well, eat) for the holidays.


It’s a new era in Jake Miller’s music career and so it’s only fitting that he is using an unconventional tool, or rather condiment, to promote it.

The Florida-born singer is currently promoting his latest album, the self-released “2:00 AM In LA.” The LP’s first track is “Can’t Help Myself,” a song that is near to Miller’s heart for more than just its lyrics.

“It’s actually the first song really that I ever made completely from scratch by myself,” he told me recently in of all places, Los Angeles. “I’m independent for the first time in a long time so, when I got off the label I kind of went back to the drawing board.”

Miller concluded that he would use his newfound musical freedom by teaching himself how to produce. He went to Guitar Center, bought equipment and “learned on YouTube for 10,000 hours” how to make beats and play piano.

“Can’t Help Myself” was the jump-off for the rest of the album and serves as its first radio single. The song is also accompanied by its own chipotle hot sauce.

“Andrew McMahon reached out to me,” Miller explained. “He owns an organization and he’s like, ‘Do you want to customize your own bottle of hot sauce?’ I’m like, ‘Absolutely!’”

The offering is appropriately titled, “Can’t Help My Sauce” and benefits the Dear Jack Foundation, which “supports initiatives and provides programming that directly benefits adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer to create more positive health outcomes and an improved quality of life for all young adults in this fight” according to its website. McMahon was the founder of Jack’s Mannequin and is also a cancer survivor.

A lot of things felt different about my latest trip out to Los Angeles for The 2017 American Music Awards. I think a lot of that was rooted back in New York; I didn’t book my flight until about two weeks out and it was my first cross-country trek since I packed up and moved downtown in to my new apartment. The move, along with a change in schedule at work and my marathon training/completion have all hindered me from settling in to a new routine. That’s fine; I am flexible and can work around life events. But it doesn’t mean it comes easy; especially relative to my prior routine.

For example: my dry cleaners and wash-and-fold also handle my alterations. Most of their services could be turned around in 24 hours and they are located a block away from my old apartment on the route I’d walk to take the subway to-and-from the studio. The woman who cuts my hair is also still on the Upper West Side and was a five minute cab ride from my prior place.

I now live 30-40 minutes away from both. Grocery shopping? Still haven’t found a one-stop-shop in the hood. Cobbler or computer repair technician? Probably will still go to my old stomping grounds uptown for those.

Before I moved, I had trip preparation down to a science; it actually got to the point where my getaway day (24 hours before my flight) because rather relaxing because I was able to accomplish every errand necessary the prior weekend. On this trip, my getaway day was jam-packed and there were at least two or three tasks I didn’t complete.

When I landed in LA, I had to drop off dry cleaning (which I forgot to pickup), shop for clothes and buy a wireless keyboard from Target because my laptop’s enter button is broken (need to find a new computer guy). Then, I attempted to compensate for the craziness of the lead-in to the long weekend by not going out as much during my trip. The positive from this is that I was able to both publish all of the content I hoped for while also getting a little bit of sleep; the negative is that socializing with colleagues can be one of the more important and enjoyable parts of the experience.

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Friday and Saturday went as planned with one caveat: I feel like for whatever reason, perhaps one aforementioned, I was focused more on the content and my radio show than myself. For example, I don’t think I stressed as much about my wardrobe this time around. I also never really went out of my way to get good photos of me on each day in front of the step-and-repeat. But I encountered another curveball on Sunday: my job responsibilities changed. For the first time in my five years of covering the AMAs, I did not have a red carpet or one-on-one room assignment. Heck, I didn’t even have a credential; rather a VIP ticket in the orchestra level of the Microsoft Theater. So I used my free time during the day to get a little more work done and check out my Buffalo Bills, who happened to be in town and playing the Los Angeles Chargers in StubHub Center.

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The positive? I got to experience my first live NFL game on the west coast, support my hometown team and check out a new venue.

The negative? I’m a Buffalo sports fan, and sadly nothing has felt different about that since I was a kid.