The band American Authors made the trek up from Brooklyn to chat about playing our upcoming “Summer Kick-Off,” releasing its sophomore album and its new favorite social network, Snapchat.
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There’s one big difference between Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards and every other music award show on television: the winners are a true reflection of not just what fans like, but what they actually consume and spend money on.
“Those charts are what make our award show,” Billboard’s co-director of charts, Keith Caulfield, told me this week. “That’s the beauty of it. This award show is truly based on your performance on the Billboard charts throughout the year.”
The BBMAs serve as an annual scoreboard of sorts for the music industry’s biggest names. We’ll find out where the stars rank Sunday night at 8 p.m. on ABC.
“Billboard gets to honor the most popular artists, albums and songs of the past year on a great TV show, and we get to have amazing performances and it’s a star-studded event,” Caulfield said. “I’m really looking forward to the show.”
The list of performers alone could make this year’s program one of the more memorable in recent memory. Britney Spears, receiving the Millennium Award, will perform a medley of her hits. Justin Bieber will do the same. Rihanna is slated to sing on the show, almost exactly 10 years to the date she scored her first Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper. And Madonna will perform a tribute to the late Prince.
That doesn’t even scratch the surface: Celine Dion, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, Nick Jonas and Tove Lo, Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor, Fifth Harmony, Pink and Ariana Grande are also set to take the stage inside the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
As for the awards, The Weeknd is a finalist in 16 categories, leading all artists. Bieber follows him with nods in 11 categories. Taylor Swift and Adele are each a finalist in eight categories. Perhaps taking a cue from Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video premiere at last year’s BBMAs, Adele will unveil her video for the single, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” during the broadcast Sunday.
Appropriately, Swift holds the all-time high mark for wins at the show with 20. Adele has the record for most wins in one night with 12, which she scored back in 2012 off the success of “21.”
The Billboard Music Awards are produced by dick clark productions. Westwood One, the radio network owned by Cumulus Media, is once again an official partner of this year’s show. For the fourth consecutive year, I will broadcast from Las Vegas for the BBMAs. In addition to interviewing stars backstage Saturday and on the red carpet Sunday, we’ll have a full recap from Vegas on Monday evening.
Fuse Digital Deputy Editor Jaosn Lipshutz called in from his Manhattan office on Media Monday to talk about the surprise Beyonce album that dropped over the weekend and celebrity reaction to the death of Prince.
The world is still mourning the loss of Prince, who passed away at just 57 years old. Many of his fans would describe “The Purple One” as legendary or iconic. But supermodel Damaris Lewis came to know the “When Doves Cry” singer as a regular person, “just like you and me.”
“I think Prince has done an amazing job at building an immense amount of respectability around his career,” Lewis replied when I asked what it was like to be out in public with the superstar. Earlier this month, the model joined my show to chat about some of her charity work; this past March Lewis and Prince sat courtside at a Warriors/Thunder NBA game in California. “He says hello and does what he has to do but at the end of the day, people really respect his space.”
As far as any hang time with Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry, Lewis said that didn’t happen because they arrived to their seats just after the tip-off and left right at halftime.
“We are really big basketball fans,” she told me, just weeks before the singer’s demise. “I’ve been his dancer/muse since 2012; really good friend and we watch basketball. That day, we just went to the game.”
Prince played Oracle Arena, home to the defending NBA Champions, the following evening.
Lewis, who first met the “Purple Rain” singer six years ago, has been a guest on my show a handful of times over the past years. In one instance, I asked her what the kids she was mentoring through the Garden of Dreams Foundation could learn from Prince.
“Working with Prince, the one thing I notice is that he hears everything,” she noted. “He’s very observant and that’s important if you’re going to go in to a career in entertainment. You need to know what’s happening all around you at all times.
“Prince is definitely a person who has taught me to be very aware.”
Lewis’ comments reflect some reporting this past week from TMZ, which estimated Prince’s net worth at about $150 million. The website, which also broke the news of his death, said that figure could be much higher but Prince almost always refused to license his music catalog.
The reason? Like other artists, Prince was protective of his art, and was probably aware of others’ ulterior motives. This along with his notoriously private lifestyle and tight inner circle only added to the mystique and aura of the artist.
And in a day where so many public figures over-share their lives with others, this aspect of Prince’s life may have drawn fans closer to him. The artist has posthumously sold over 3.5 million albums and singles. His LPs “The Very Best Of Prince” and “Purple Rain” re-entered the Billboard 200 album chart as one and two respectively.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Damaris Lewis stopped by to chat about the upcoming Garden of Dreams Foundation Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall, where kids from throughout the tri-state area will have the opportunity to perform on stage at Radio City.
Lewis also chatted a bit about her recent outing to a Warriors/Thunder NBA game, where her and friend Prince (yes, that one) sat courtside to see Stephen Curry and the defending NBA Champions take on Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City.
The Garden of Dreams Talent Show is Monday, April 11, at Radio City Music Hall. Tickets to the event are free and will be distributed upon entrance in to the venue.
Damaris Lewis is a celebrity mentor for Thursday’s Garden of Dreams Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall. The Brooklyn-born star brings a diverse resume to the table: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model, backup dancer for Prince and cameo in Kanye West’s music video for “Monster” are just a few of the things found on her Wikipedia (of course, we confirmed). Not surprisingly, Lewis was able to answer a question about what kids participating in the show could learn from the aforementioned musicians with relative ease.
“Listen,” she responded when asked what “The Purple One” could teach others. “I think that working with Prince, the one that I notice is that he hears everything. He’s very observant, and that’s important if you’re going to go in to a career in entertainment. You need to know what’s happening all around you, at all times.”
Perhaps his public persona would prevent others from linking Kanye West to a mentorship role at a kids’ talent show, but GRAMMY Awards and chart-topping albums don’t come without hard work and talent.
“Be yourself,” Lewis said of what Mr. West could teach those performing at Radio City Thursday. “Never be afraid, just like Hoda (Kotb), to be the same person you are when you wake up when you’re on that stage. If you carry that energy that you have on the stage in to your real life, your confidence levels will be the same in both areas.”
The “Today” host, along with stars from Broadway and The Rockettes, also serve as mentors to those participating Thursday.
“I love Garden of Dreams because they bring you people who are the same on the camera and off the camera,” Lewis noted of her colleagues. “I think it’s really important for the kids to see that as well because they’re going to meet Hoda, and then they’re going to watch her and say, ‘Wow! That’s the same woman I met!’
“It’s really great energy for the kids to have, on-and-off the clock.”
The Garden of Dreams Talent Show will feature children found through its 25 partner organizations that are facing difficulties, such as extreme poverty or homelessness. The event takes place on Thursday at Radio City Music Hall, and is free to the public. It kicks off at 7 p.m.
Much is being made in the media over Nick Jonas and his new project: Nick Jonas and The Administration. How successful will they be? Are the Jonas Brothers no more?
The chatter is growing louder after E! News reported that Joe Jonas is now writing songs off on his own, with other musicians that don’t share his last name. However, the man the brothers refer to as “The President” told me exclusively on “The Ralphie Radio Show” that his brother Joe did recently talk shop with one artist – U2 front man Bono.
“The main thing that Bono was saying, was to just be honest with your music,” revealed Nick on his second-hand account of the conversation. “Yunno, when you write your lyrics, write things that are real to you. And don’t be afraid to be too honest.”
It seems the youngest of the 3 musical brothers already picked up on those traits though. Nick wrote a bunch of honest songs – and honestly believed they weren’t for the Jonas Brothers. He told Joe and Kevin how he honestly felt. Now Nick has an honest chance of breaking the stereotypes of an artist cultivated by the Disney machine and to be perceived as well, an honest musician.
Jonas offered up, sorry last time here, honest answers during our conversation, which lasted over 10 minutes. Apparently, the inspiration behind “Stay” – a song written after the initial recording process of the new album – is quite authentic.
“I actually wrote that song in (Washington) D.C. on a day off that we had, a couple weeks ago,” said Jonas. “I was going through some things in my life and that kind of inspired the song and it’s always good when you can pull from real inspiration and real stuff in your life.”
Part 1: Influences – Prince, Stevie Wonder, U2’s Bono
Part 2: President Obama, Blackberry, “Jersey Shore”, “Stay”
Nick seemed equally surprised and impressed that fans already know the lyrics simply from YouTube videos of the live performances. Jonas said the band recorded a studio version of the track recently in Boston, and that it will see the light of day somehow – possibly in an album repackage or as an iTunes bonus.
It’s also been reported that at one show recently – fellow Disney star Selena Gomez was crying as Jonas played the song. The two were recently photographed together in Chicago and ended up on the front of TMZ.com. I reminded Nick that while I’m sure he’d like to keep his personal life just that, he should still be happy that he’s relevant to the point where people care.
“Well, thank you – that’s very, very nice of you to say,” he responded with a chuckle. “Yunno, it is what it is.”
The conversation did not stray from music-related topics often, but the TV show “Jersey Shore” did come up. The Jonas clan was raised in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Nick heard of the MTV show, but has not seen an episode.
“I did see the YouTube video of Snooki, I believe it is, getting punched in the face,” he admitted. “For me personally, I feel like, coming from New Jersey, and going from that area, which, if you’re from that area, you just know that that’s kind of what it’s like. And so for people across the U.S., they’re thinking, ‘Wow, this is crazy, I’ve never seen this.’ But for me, it was like, ‘Man, that’s home.’”
Jonas still has a couple friends from Seaside Heights.
That album by the way, Who I Am, hits stores February 2. Jonas is in the midst of a 22 date-tour – a trek that he admits is much more scaled down in venue size and production from the massive schedules he embarked on with his brothers. Nick says it’s not a coincidence – as the group tries to center each performance on the music itself.
“This project in particular for me was about just being able to express myself as an artist and as a musician,” he said. “Hopefully, people will respond well to it.”