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Since 2010, Niall Horan has been on quite the rollercoaster. The Irish-born singer first came to fame on “The X-Factor” across the pond, where Simon Cowell hatched the bright idea to pair him and four other contestants together. What followed was a phenomenon: five chart-topping albums, sold-out stadium tours and millions upon millions of screaming fans.

But now Horan is signed to a different record label, releasing music as a solo artist and moving at a speed that must feel more comfortable.

“Yeah, it’s great,” when asked Horan about the pace of his new project with Capitol Records. “I kind of just made a decision that I would do everything at my own pace and I said it to my manager and to my label and they were completely supportive of it.”

Horan essentially told them that he would work on the album and he would notify them when it was finished. Update: it’s pretty much done.

“I’ll probably release it in the fall or something,” he said. “I just have to do a little bit of production stuff and it’s all kind of recorded and stuff like that.”

The Irishman doesn’t have a title yet but he has released two songs from the LP, “This Town” and “Slow Hands.” When I asked about the song selection, it sounded like the former wasn’t really intended to be a proper first single.

“I just wanted to let people know I was still doing music to be honest and it just kind of happened,” Horan explained of releasing “This Town.” “It took a life of its own.”

There was definitely a more methodical approach behind “Slow Hands.”

“I wanted to kind of beef things up a little bit and show I was a little bit more diverse,” Horan noted. “The whole album wasn’t going to be all finger-picking stuff.”

Horan started writing for the project in “March or April of last year.” The singer hopped in-and-out of the studio between days off before “This Town” started climbing the charts and the project’s timeline sped up – something Horan credits to those aforementioned fans, who have stuck with him throughout the entire ride.

It wasn’t all a dream… it actually came true for Little Mix last week.

The girl group, which is currently supporting Ariana Grande her “Dangerous Woman” tour, traveled through a schedule last week that is hectic even by the girls’ standards. Little Mix started in Uncasville, Connecticut at the original Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday February 17. The day began with a whirlwind radio promo schedule, continued with an album signing and acoustic performance in The Shops at Mohegan Sun and ended with a performance for the sold-out arena crowd.

Then the girls crossed the pond to perform at The Brit Awards, the UK’s version of our GRAMMYs, on the 22. Little Mix was also nominated for three awards and took home the hardware for “British Single Of The Year” thanks to “Shout Out To My Ex.” The track hit number one in the UK for multiple weeks and served as the first single from the group’s fourth LP, “Glory Days.”

The next day: back to the U.S. Little Mix hopped back on Grande’s tour to open up for the pop star at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden.

“We love it,” Jesy Nelson responded when I inquired about how they navigate the long travel and many responsibilities. “It’s tiring and it does take its toll but at the end of the day when we get on stage that just makes up for it because we get to see all of our fans and it’s just the most incredible feeling.”

I chatted with the girls in between the acoustic performance and autograph signing in Connecticut and when I brought up the week that included both The Brits and the MSG performance, there seemed to be more excitement than nervousness amongst them.

“To make two dreams come true,” Nelson said as the other girls talked about the idea of both possibly winning a Brit and taking the stage at The Garden, “C’mon, that’s pretty cool.”

They’ve even found some time amidst the madness to celebrate the success of their latest album.

“We do go out quite a bit,” Jade Thirwall admitted, rather sheepishly, before eliciting laughter from her bandmates. “Hey if we’ve got something to celebrate, there’s nothing wrong with that!”

Of course, the only thing better than having something to celebrate is having two things to celebrate. But the quartet, which formed during the eighth season of “The X-Factor” in 2011, will be hard-pressed to fit that into its schedule. Little Mix will continue to tour with Grande through mid-April and then embark on its own headlining trek overseas in May. There’s a sizable break in shows during the months of September and October, but the ladies revealed that those months are set-aside at the moment for studio time to begin work on the next album.

Louis Tomlinson is the latest One Direction bandmate to release music during the 1D-hiatus, but the single has resonated on a different level with the ever-passionate One Direction fandom.

The 24 year-old teamed up with DJ/producer Steve Aoki for the song, “Just Hold On.” Tomlinson offered an emotional performance of the track on “The X-Factor” in the UK following the death of his mother Johannah Deakin, who passed after a battle with Leukemia on December 7. The appearance was booked prior to her passing.



Now, similar to what “Directioners” attempted with the songs “No Control” and “Home,” fans are mobilizing online and lobbying radio stations to spin the single. The difference is that in addition to raising chart positions, the group is hoping to raise awareness for a handful of charities near to both Tomlinson and Aoki’s hearts.

“It just seems like a tribute,” said Lexi Preddie, one of the fans in the U.S. behind the movement. She is managing the Twitter account “@ProjectJHoldOn” which is keeping others informed on the latest news and figures regarding the track. “The things that (Tomlinson) sings in the song, it sounds like things (his mom) had said to the fans.

“She almost felt like a mother-figure to us, because she just was always spreading positivity.”

Now the fandom is spreading the word on the song, hoping in the process to shine a light on Eden Dora Trust, Believe In Magic, Leukemia Awareness/Bloodwise and The Aoki Foundation.

On Tuesday, Johannah’s husband Dan took to her Twitter account to send one final message to the fans.

“She wanted to thank you all, and to let you know that you have been amazing right from the start,” he relayed. “You changed Louis’ life, but also her life. Your support now is as strong if not stronger than ever.”

On September 4, 2014, Leona Lewis wrote a letter to her fans. Posted via a snapshot on Twitter, the singer talked about a “rollercoaster year” and “taking the huge step away from Syco and Sony.” Syco Entertainment is Simon Cowell’s record label; Lewis landed with Cowell after winning “The X-Factor” in the UK over eight years ago.

But after four albums, including one of the holiday variety, Lewis felt it was time for a change. She left Cowell for Island Records, and a year and a week to the date of dropping that open letter, Lewis will release her new LP I Am.

She does not find the timing too significant though.

“I didn’t even realize it would be a year,” she told me. “It wasn’t planned like that. Naturally it just happened that the album was kind of done around then and it was time to release it.”

Lewis later clarified that she had been working on this material for much longer than six or seven months; rather almost two years.

“Before (the letter) I had gone out on my own and started creating the album,” Lewis noted. “I was making it but I didn’t know what label I was going to sign to or what was going to happen.”
This album started by Lewis simply creating music with no other purpose or plan besides the creation itself. She collaborated with super-producer Toby Gad (“All Of Me,” “If I Were a Boy”) and their work led to I Am.

Outside of a track penned by Diane Warwick, Lewis and Gad receive writing credits on every song. Other writers who contributed to the LP include Anne Preven and Wayne Wilkins. There are no featured artists on any of the songs outside of Leona.

“I think for this album it was so important to just kind of have it as my own thing because it was so personal,” she explained. “So collaborations as far as producers yeah, but not artist-wise.”

Lewis will drop I Am on September 11. The first single at U.S. radio is called, “Thunder.”

Maplewood, NJ’s Bea Miller stopped by “Ralphie Tonight.” She first called in to the show a few years ago when she was a finalist on “The X-Factor.” Now 15 years old, the singer is signed to Hollywood Records and released an EP called Young Blood. The title track is the first single.

Miller also talked about experiencing so much at a young age, and the pros and cons of that situation.

It certainly isn’t easy spending your career in the limelight, especially in the day of instant reaction on Twitter and instant meme-ification on Tumblr. “The X-Factor” judge Kelly Rowland is well-aware of this.

“Sometimes it’s really hard for me to hide my facial expressions because… it’s hard,” Rowland tried to explain during a chat at the FOX TV Radio Junket for the Television Critic Association Awards. “Sometimes people get up there and you’re like, ‘Oh, why?’”

A Rowland reaction to a male attempting to cover Britney Spears’ “(Hit Me) Baby One More Time” already has the web buzzing. The Destiny Child singer cautioned that she’s already given “a lot of those looks,” but that she is also impressed with a lot of the artists that have auditioned thus far.

“America has some serious talent and people who are really ready and willing to work hard,” Rowland said. “They’re chasing a dream. I know what it’s like to chase a dream.”

Rowland’s fellow judges Demi Lovato, Paulina Rubio, and Simon Cowell also know what it takes to make a dream a reality.

“We’re three women who obviously love music and enjoy being on the panel, and we happen to get along,” Rowland said of her relationship with Lovato and Rubio. “Simon made a good decision. I don’t know if he knew that we’d get along or not, but it feels good that we do.”

Rowland also doesn’t know if Cowell realized he would be essentially pitting himself against three women, but he did.

“We totally team up on Simon,” Rowland admitted. “He gets a little challenge from us.”

Given Cowell’s recent trials and tribulations in the headlines, surely it’s a challenge that he doesn’t mind. The two night season premiere of “The X-Factor” airs this September on FOX.

You could probably guess that Demi Lovato wasn’t going to throw your stereotypical 21st birthday party this August 20. But could you have guessed that Lovato would travel far outside of America to partake in charity work?

“I’m actually going to go to Africa,” Lovato said of her birthday plans. After performing on “Good Morning America” Friday, the singer sat down with “The Ralphie Show” in an interview that aired Monday evening. “I’m just going to do a bunch of charity stuff. I feel the best way to celebrate anyone’s birthday is just giving back and helping others.”

Lovato is quite cognizant of the “typical” celebration for turning 21 years-old, and she seems quite intent on breaking down the stereotype.

“Birthdays are all about celebrating life, and people are very blessed to even make it to 21,” the singer explained. “So the last thing I think anyone should be doing on their birthday is poisoning themselves.”

If you have followed Lovato’s career to this point, the comments aren’t surprising. A Disney starlet who rose to fame touring with the Jonas Brothers and starring on TV, she checked out of entertainment and in to a rehab facility in October 2010 to deal with bipolar disorder and bulimia. The singer returned to the spotlight in the summer of 2011 with “Skyscraper,” an emotional ballad and the lead single from her third studio album Unbroken. That LP yielded the monster hit “Give Your Heart a Break,” and along with her story of hope and perseverance, sent the artist’s career to new heights.

“It still feels like a dream,” Lovato said of her success since leaving rehab. “I don’t think there’s ever one time where I heard my song on the radio that I didn’t get excited. And if I didn’t show it, I was secretly excited inside.”

Lovato is also excited for the success of the people she grew up with in the business: Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, and Miley Cyrus to name a few. She and Gomez have known each other since they were seven years-old, and while they both now deal with the burdens of the spotlight in their 20s, the “Heart Attack” singer doesn’t feel it necessary to offer advice based on her own personal struggles.

“For me personally, I’ve just learned to kind of not pay attention,” Lovato said. “When people call me names or whatever, or they spread rumors, it’s like at the end of the day, my family knows the truth, my friends know the truth, I know the truth, and that’s all that matters.”

Lovato is currently balancing a busy schedule that includes her role as a judge on “The X-Factor” and promoting her latest album Demi. The LP’s next single is “Made in the USA,” and the songstress makes her directorial debut with the music video. Although the piece is finished, no release date has been set yet.

Growing up in Mamaroneck, NY, Carly Rose Sonenclar is no stranger to Rye Playland.

“I used to go all the time,” she recalled during a sit-down interview with “The Ralphie Show.” “I haven’t gone in a while for the rides, but my friends and I are going to try and do that.”

But first, Sonenclar has a bit of business to attend to. The 14 year-old star is headlining her first ever concert at the amusement park this Saturday. She follows that up with a performance at the Encore Events Center in Freehold, NJ on Sunday. Info on purchasing tickets can be found on Carly Rose’s official website.

“Some of my friends said they’re going to try to watch me from the Ferris wheel,” Sonenclar said of Saturday’s show. “I don’t know how that’s going to work.”

“The X-Factor” runner-up will head to the west coast in July for a third performance at a place she used to hang out at while she competed on the show: the Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles. Sonenclar divulged that while there, she is also looking forward to recording in the studio. The teenager hopes to write and record on both coasts while traveling this summer.

Sonenclar released her latest cover online about three weeks ago, taking on One Direction’s “Stole My Heart.” She’ll wrap her summer of concerts on August 10 with a headlining gig at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square.

Most 14 year-olds aren’t taking time off of school to do press surrounding their first headlining concert. Of course, Carly Rose Sonenclar isn’t your typical teenager. “The Westchester, NY-native and “X-Factor” runner-up will play the Best Buy Theater on August 10.

“On the way here I was driving by, and I drove past the Best Buy (Theater) and I was just kind of like… smiling,” the singer gushed in an interview with 95.5 PLJ’s “The Ralphie Show.” “I couldn’t even believe it.”

This is the first show that Sonenclar will be the top bill for. In between school finals and other ordinary teenage escapades, she’s planning out the show’s set list.

“We have some ideas,” Sonenclar revealed. “I’ve never worked on anything like this before. It’s really fun.”

The set-list will include covers she’s performed on both the TV show and her YouTube account. The artist thinks there might be room to perform one original song. Sonenclar is currently in “pre-production on her first solo album with Simon Cowell’s SYCO Music. After informing Carly Rose that her fans, aptly named “Carly’s Angels” aren’t too thrilled with that term, she explained exactly what it entails.

“Basically, it’s just the early stages,” Sonenclar responded, referring to the album creation process. “It’s going to require patience, and for me as well. I’m going continue to be putting covers out on YouTube and I have the show coming up, but like as far as the album goes, it might be a little bit longer.”

As surreal as it was for a 14 year-old to preach about patience, Sonenclar showed her maturity even more in explaining why she isn’t in a rush to release new material.

“I want to be an artist that’s here for the long-run, not someone who puts out an album tomorrow and then by the time the next run of ‘The X-Factor’ comes around people are forgetting about me,” she explained. “I’d rather, yunno, if it takes waiting a little bit longer so that in the end, I stay in the music business for longer, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

When we were first introduced to Carly Rose on national TV, judge L.A. Reid referred to her as, “an old soul.” Apparently that characterization extends beyond her vocal range.

More info on the all ages show is available here. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Carly Rose Sonenclar stopped by “The Ralphie Show” to chat about her upcoming headlining show at the Best Buy Theater on August 10. More info on the all ages show is available here.

Sonenclar visited the studio on the day before her 14th birthday, so we decided to surprise her with a special treat! Hear her full interview Monday night April 22 on “The Ralphie Show.”