Saturday, May 23, 2009

Graham Coxon bans fans from Twitter

Graham Coxon has blasted Blur fans.

The 40-year-old guitarist - who is set to reunite with the band for a series of shows this summer - has banned his followers on social networking site Twitter from asking about the group, insisting their questions are dull.

He wrote: "dumbo questions about blur will result in blockage, dont bother, its boring (sic)."

Graham launched the rant after he was subjected to a series of strange questions by one of his fans.

In the first, Danomind wrote: "midlife?? Midwife?? Midlife Crisis at 40? U kidding? Did you choose the name? Please shed some light! (sic)."

Already losing patience with him, Graham replied: "did i choose the name? are you mad?? there are 4 people in the group, theres a management company, a record label....blaah (sic)."

Danomind then appeared to criticise Blur, writing: "ps there's nothing for us fansters :( hope there'll be more (sic)."

A confused Graham was forced to admit he had no idea what the comment referred to, prompting Danomind to explain: "um...guess not, the name doesn't matter much anyways, baah, who needs record companies nowadays?? Baah, 40 is not old mr!

"no live demos or anything, just good ol tracks.except course we'll buy it anyways, being total completists! For the new fans! (sic)."

Heather Mills has charity request snubbed

Heather Mills claims her request to donate money to charity was rejected.

The former model was asked to promote a computer game featuring a one-armed hero but when she asked the manufacturers to give her fee to a good cause they reportedly turned her down.

Heather - who lost her left leg below the knee in a motorbike accident in 1993 - wrote on her social networking website Twitter: "Got offered to promote an amputee bionic computer game, from a wealthy computer games company I said if you donate a large sum to charity.

"The stingy company came back saying they couldn't, what happened to charitable businesses, seems they just want to exploit and give nothing."

It was previously claimed Heather - the ex-wife of Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney - demanded a six-figure fee to front Capcom's 'Bionic Commando' advertising campaign.

She also reportedly incensed game bosses requesting her likeness be included in the game.

A source said: "She was insistent she wouldn't do it for a smaller fee and said the producers should make her the star.

"The request was way, way over their budget and they certainly weren't keen on basing the game on her."

Pink stops swearing at her pet

Pink claims her dog has calmed down since she stopped calling him F**ker.

The 'So What' singer was forced to change her pet's obscene name to Fred when her dad took charge of the animal.

Pink is quoted as saying: "My dog was called F***er. My dad adopted him and changed his name to Fred. He is a much happier dog now. He still responds to both names but he's happier."

This is not the first time Pink's choice of pet name has caused a problem.

She once shocked a packed restaurant in Beverly Hills by repeatedly calling out "F**ker" after she lost the canine in the upmarket eatery.

An onlooker said: "Suddenly she started screaming, 'F**ker! Here f**ker! Come to Moma, F**ker!'

"People were almost choking on their food. There were kids at the tables but she didn't care.

"It was outrageous - and nobody had the nerve to tell her to shut up."

Peter Andre to fight for full custody

Peter Andre met with lawyers to discuss a divorce from Katie Price yesterday

The singer's legal team reportedly advised him to request full custody of the children the couple raise together - son Junior, three, 23-month old daughter Princess Tiaamii and Katie's son Harvey, six, from a previous relationship - to ensure he ends up with at least shared custody.

Peter, 36, is set to meet estranged wife Katie today (22.05.09) - her 31st birthday - to discuss a possible divorce and custody arrangements.

A friend told Britain's Daily Star newspaper: "Kate's in for a real birthday shock when she arrives home and discovers Peter has already been to his lawyers to talk about divorcing her.

"There's really no turning back for him. It's all gone too far. He's not at all interested in seeing Kate to talk about the future. He is only concerned with seeing his children as soon as possible."

Katie arrived back in England with Princess and Junior yesterday, after flying to the Maldives shortly after the couple's split was announced two weeks ago.

Her security guard is quoted as saying: "She is devastated at what is happening but he knows if a divorce goes ahead Katie will fight tooth and nail for everything.

"He loves his kids and the idea he might have limited access is breaking his heart. There is a very large financial aspect for him to consider, but all he really cares about is the children."

Peter has been staying with his manager after he returned from seeing his family in Cyprus to find his belongings removed from his home and the alarm code changed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kanye West compares Jay-Z to Sinatra

KANYE WEST has said friend Jay-Z is like Frank Sinatra.

The R&B star said the rapper was one of many of today's musicians who he described as "the champions" and all show similar characteristics to icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters.

Writing on his online blog, West said: "I look at our current superstars like legends in the Justin is the new Mike, Beyonce's the new Tina Turner, GaGa's Madonna, Jay is Sinatra...Wayne is Hendrix, Thom Yorke is Roger Waters.

"These are the champions and should be documented as such."
He also used his blog to praise a paparazzi photograph of Rihanna, which he said had not only captured the singer's beauty, but had brought the idyllic landscape to life.

He added: "Why can't all paparazzi photos be this good? Well, obviously because most celebs just aren't Rihanna, LOL!

"But on the real, this pic is hardcore. Peep the perspective shot of the city in the back. Sometimes the paps overexpose the lens or have the flash too high taking all the emotion out of the moment.

"This moment is captured in time now. Good job on this one!"

Bruce Springsteen falsely accused of affair

THE WOMAN who is accused of having an affair with Bruce Springsteen said her husband made the false claim in order to make money.

Ann Kelly said her husband Arthur knew she wasn't romantically involved with the legendary singer but alleged that she did thinking that Springsteen would pay him off to make it "go away".

In divorce papers she filed yesterday, Mrs Kelly, 44, accuses her husband of naming Springsteen so he would get a cash payment that would 'humiliate' and 'harass' his wife, and get him "media attention." I

She added that Arthur, 45, told her "he and his attorney felt there could be 'big money' in this . . . because, true or not, [Springsteen] would want this to 'go away.'"

She said Arthur has admitted to her that his only "proof" of her alleged affair is "the gossip and impressions of some women who attend the same gym" as Ann, which Springsteen also used.

Mr Kelly filed for divorce on March 27, claiming his wife had "committed adultery with one Bruce Springsteen."

The Born In The USA singer, who has been married to Patti Scialfa for 17 years, said he wouldn't respond to "unfounded" rumours.

Pet Shop Boys censored by China

PET SHOP BOYS have had to censor their latest album after the Chinese government took offence to some lyrics.

The pop duo were forced to change the lyrics to a track on Yes, their 10th album, before it could go on sale in China.

Officials were offended by the words of Legacy, which read: "Governments fall/ Glaciers melt/ Hurricanes bawl.../ Resentment remains/ both east and west."

But singer Neil Tennant is baffled by the outrage the song has caused and said: "Does the Chinese government really fear the power of a song to bring about change?"

Marilyn Manson to meet fans in London's HMV

Fans of the multi platinum selling and notorious artist, Marilyn Manson, get the chance to meet him in person, when he visits HMV’s flagship Oxford Street store on Thursday 28th May 2009 to sign copies of his new album, 'The High End Of Low’.

Marilyn Manson and longtime bass player Twiggy, will be at the store from 6.00 pm to meet fans and sign copies of the new album which is officially released on Monday 25th May.

Marilyn Manson has already sold in the region of 44 million albums, and 'The High End Of Low’, will be his seventh studio album to date.

Due to limited time available, 300 wristbands will be issued for access to the event. Wristbands will be available from the store on the day of the event from 9.00am on a first-come first-served basis, one per person only, no reservations.

Dizzee Rascal biggest ever tour dates

Fresh from supporting the Prodigy on their UK arena tour, Dizzee Rascal has announced details of his biggest ever headlining UK tour to date.

Taking place this autumn, the tour will call at the following venues.

Dates are:

Tuesday 6th October – Newcastle O2 Academy
Wednesday 7th October – Manchester Apollo
Friday 9th October – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Saturday 10th October – Exeter University Great Hall
Sunday 11th October – Bristol O2 Academy
Tuesday 13th October – Nottingham Rock City
Wednesday 14th October – Bournemouth Opera House
Friday 16th October – Norwich UEA
Saturday 17th October – Birmingham O2 Academy
Saturday 24th October – Liverpool University
Sunday 25th October – Sheffield O2 Academy
Monday 26th October – Leeds O2 Academy
Tuesday 27th October – Brighton Dome
Friday 30th October – Swindon Oasis
Saturday 31st October – Preston 53 Degrees
Sunday 1st November – Southend Cliffs Pavillion
Monday 2nd November – Lincoln Engine Shed

Pet Shop Boys and Little Boots gets the Smirnoff Experience

This July (10th) the Smirnoff Experience™ comes to London to give people the chance to co-create their own event Smirnoff: U.R. The Night at Matter. With a mission to keep good times fresh and original, The Smirnoff Co. will ask people to be part of the night by submitting original ideas and voting on different aspects of the event - including the warm-up boat party, music on the night via the DJ’s playlist and original cocktails – in exchange for getting access to the event.

The night will see Pet Shop Boys, aka Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, taking to the stage for an exclusive club performance. Fresh off the back of winning an Outstanding Acheivement award at the Brits earlier this year and releasing their new album Yes, the electronic duo are bringing their magic to Matter. With a back-catalogue of hits including West End Girls, It’s a Sin, Always on my Mind and Go West, seeing this stadium act perform in such intimate surroundings promises to be a unique and unforgettable experience.

Performing alongside the Pet Shop Boys will be Little Boots, one of the brightest new stars of the year after coming top of the BBC’s 'Sound of 2009' list. With a 'space disco’ sound taking influence from the likes of Human League and David Bowie, Little Boots will bring her signature touch of glamour to the event. With DJ support from dancefloor popsters Hot Chip and cosmic Jedi Tom Middleton, The Smirnoff Co. are ensuring this is a night everyone will want to be part of.

If you think this all sounds destined to be a sell-out event, think again, as it will be creativity, rather than cash, that will earn people a place. Tickets can only be obtained via getting involved in creating the night itself. The Smirnoff Co. are inviting people to have their say in how they want the night to evolve, by submitting their ideas via Facebook in exchange for a chance to get free tickets. Employing an innovative co-creation format, attendees will vote on a number of different elements to help shape the night, including which drinks will be served, what the DJs will play and by choosing the theme for the pre-event boat party, all via polls on the event’s Facebook page.

For more information, including terms and conditions, on how to get involved, become a fan of Smirnoff: U.R. The Night at Idea submissions and voting will start on 19th May.

This event continues the Smirnoff Experience™, series which has already appeared in Moscow, Shanghai, Paris and New York. The events celebrate originality in nightlife by bringing to life original concepts, forming one-off collaborations and championing original drinking experiences.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Green Day rule U.S. and international pop charts

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – Green Day easily grabbed the top spot on the U.S. album chart, and also went to No. 1 in at least 13 other countries, the punk trio's label said on Wednesday.

"21st Century Breakdown" sold 214,828 copies across the United States during the week ended May 17, according to Warner Bros. Records. But it was on sale for only three days, having reached stores on Friday instead of the usual Tuesday.

The band's previous album, 2004's "American Idiot," which also debuted at No. 1, sold 267,000 copies during its first six days. Both "Breakdown" and "Idiot" were hampered by not being stocked in Wal-Mart stores, as the big-box giant declines to stock albums that carry parental advisory stickers. (Neither album was available in an edited version.)

The sales figure for "Breakdown" will perhaps grow on next week's chart, when it will have a full week's worth of sales reflected on the tally. However, Eminem's "Relapse" -- which was released Tuesday -- is expected to take over the top slot on the Billboard 200 with sales possibly reaching 650,000 copies.

"Breakdown" also went to No. 1 in the U.K., Canada, Japan, France, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Argentina, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, South Africa, and New Zealand, with more chart-topping performances expected by the end of the week, Warner Bros. said.

Elsewhere on the Billboard 200, the "Hannah Montana" movie soundtrack held at No. 2 with 68,000 copies. Rapper Cam'Ron's "Crime Pays," his first release since 2006, debuted at No. 3 with 43,000 copies.

Lady GaGa's "The Fame" moved up two slots to No. 4 with 41,000, while Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable" slipped one to No. 5 with 33,000.

Bob Dylan's "Together Through Life" fell one to No. 6, Taylor Swift's "Fearless" held at No. 7, reigning champ Chrisette Michele's "Epiphany" slid to No. 8, Rick Ross' "Deeper Than Rap" dropped four to No. 9, and Ciara's "Fantasy Ride" fell seven to No. 10.

Rapper Paul Wall's "Fast Life" entered at No. 15 with 22,000. His last set, "Get Money Stay True," bowed at No. 8 with 92,000 in 2007. He topped the tally with "The Peoples Champ" in 2005 when that set opened at No. 1 with 176,000.

Roots rocker Steve Earle achieved the highest charting album of his career as his "Townes" set bowed at No. 19 with 18,000. The effort is comprised of 15 songs written by late singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt.

New rock band Parachute landed at No. 40 with its debut album "Losing Sleep," starting with 11,000 solely from sales through the iTunes Store. The digital retailer got the set one week early -- all other physical and digital retailers releases the album Tuesday. Not coincidentally, the set's song "Under Control" was promoted as a free single of the week in the iTunes Store, which likely garnered a lot of consumers to snap up the economically priced $6.99 album.

Overall album sales in this past chart week fell 10.5 percent from the previous week to 5.82 million units, and were off 21.6 percent from the year-ago period. Sales so far this year are off 13.3 percent from the same period in 2008.

Natalie Cole receives new kidney

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Rhythm and blues singer Natalie Cole, who has been battling Hepatitis C, received a new kidney in Los Angeles and is resting comfortably, her spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Cole, the 59-year-old daughter of R&B legend Nat "King" Cole, underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The kidney came from a deceased organ donor, the spokeswoman said in a statement.

She has been receiving kidney dialysis three times a week since September, even as she toured the world to promote her new album, "Still Unforgettable." Cole will recuperate for the next three to four months, forcing her to postpone a summer tour, the statement said.

The singer revealed her Hepatitis C diagnosis last July, saying she probably contracted the liver disease from drug use more than 30 years ago.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infectious disease that can cause inflammation of the liver, and in extreme cases, liver cancer. It is usually contracted through transfusions of unscreened blood, or by injecting or inhaling drugs.

Cole has won nine Grammys in a 30-year career that has included albums such as "Everlasting" and "Unforgettable ... With Love," which featured her singing a duet with her late father via electronic technology.

Justin Timberlake restaurant in sexual discrimination suit

An ex-manager at Justin Timberlake’s BBQ restaurant in New York has filed a suit against the company, saying she was sexually harassed while at work.

Alison McDaniel says she was forced to watch porn in a locked office at Southern Hospitality by Timberlake’s business partners, Eytan Sugarman and Ronnie Kaplan, and that they made fun of her when she broke down in tears.

The suit was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court and claims that McDaniel was fired after she complained of the harassment in writing. She did not report the alleged discrimination to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission before filing the suit, reports the New York Daily News.

The restaurant was also sued in November by a busboy who said employees were not getting paid sufficient overtime or tips that were due to them.

Jennifer Love Hewitt to relaunch singing career

Jennifer Love Hewitt is set to become a country singer, according to her boyfriend.

The I Know What You Did Last Summer actress has moonlighted as a singer throughout her career, but she hasn't released any new material since 2002's BareNaked album, which was produced by singer-songwriter Meredith Brooks.

Love Hewitt's boyfriend Jamie Kennedy told that once Hewitt has written enough material, he wants to help her demo it.

"[Jennifer is] writing a country song," Kennedy said. "I really want to make her a new demo for her music, because I think she should do singing again. She's so good

AC/DC gig draws complaints for being 'too loud'

AC/DC's gig at Munich's Olympic Stadium on Friday (May 15) drew over 100 complaints from irate residents.

According to police, some people who protested about the "overly loud" gig were as far as 12 miles away from the stadium, where the band performed to 70,000 fans.

Despite the complaints, German news website reports that the gig was allowed to continue as planned and action has not been taken against the rockers.

Four people arrested at the gig for having counterfeit tickets.

Kanye West to headline 'Stay In School' concert

Kanye West is set to headline a concert in his hometown of Chicago, in which he will encourage teens to stay in school until graduation.

The rapper will perform the second "Stay In School" event in honor of his mother, Dr. Donda West, who passed away in 2007 after a cosmetic surgery procedure.

The idea for the concert came from teenager David Abrams, who approached West seeking his assistance. West then decided his Kanye West Foundation (KWF) would be the sponsor, reports

The concert takes place at Chicago Theatre on June 11. Tickets are priced from $49.50, and go up to $500 for VIP tickets. They go on sale on Thursday (May 21) at Ticketmaster.

Velvet Chemistry

Velvet (aka Jenny Petersson) has already scored European success with 'Chemistry’ and is looking to replicate this success in the UK. The track is a Top Ten smash across the continent, both commercially and as a club anthem.

Following StarPilots pseudo-80’s sound, 'Chemistry’ follows this with a semi-camp number that takes you back to legwarmers, Stock, Aitken and Waterman hits and general over production and big sound. It’s big, brash, in yer face pop/dance, and great fun with it

Velvet have already scored seven Top 10 singles in Europe – will this success continue in the UK?

Jackson is not suffering from skin cancer

MICHAEL JACKSON has denied reports that he has been diagnosed with skin cancer.

His spokesman, Dr Tohme Tohme said claims that the King of Pop had the disease were "not true".

A story published in the Sun newspaper on Saturday, said that spots of skin cancer had been found on the star's upper body, along with pre-cancerous cells on his face

According to the tabloid's anonymous source, Jackson was "at first very concerned, but says he has been assured by the doctors that they can treat this and he will recover".

But Dr Tohme Tohme told the New York Daily News today: "He is great. He is in perfect health...he doesn't have any diseases whatsoever."

The Mars Patrol headline Camden Barfly

This Saturday sees Scottish pop/rock upstarts THE MARS PATROL headline the Camden Barfly. Having relocated to London last summer the band has worked non-stop to become one of the most exciting new acts on the London circuit, building up a great following and playing some high profile shows at KoKo and a sold out Barfly last time around.

The band have a busy summer approaching with plans in place to record a new release overseas which will be filmed and documented in a follow up to the band's hugely successful web T.V. series.

Faithless percussionist Sudha releases debut album

Sudha is a ground breaking percussionist and pioneering personality of British-Asian music. She has also been the heartbeat of electronic band, Faithless for the last 11 years, enjoying huge global success. Alongside her underground status, performing live at legendary clubs like Cream and The Hacienda, her success has seen her featured as percussionist on records and tours with huge mainstream artists including Dido and The Spice Girls. On 3rd March, Sudha prepares to step into the spotlight to showcase her skills as an accomplished writer and producer, with the release of 'Anti-Freeze’ her first solo-artist album.

'Anti Freeze’ demonstrates Sudha’s lesser known side; that of intelligent, talented and prolific songwriter / producer. Recorded in the cultural centres of London, Paris and Berlin with a host of collaborators, 'Anti Freeze’ is an electronic concept album exploring the notion of 'defrosting’, whether politically, emotionally or spiritually.

Those simply expecting a showcase of Sudha’s skills as a percussionist will be surprised to find a rich collection of songs, encompassing soaring vocals, meaningful lyrics and an overall warm vibe that envelops the listener. From the deep electronica of 'Feeling Innovation’ to the laid back grooves of 'Colours’, the experimental sounds of 'Defrost’, through to the uplifting, atmospheric 'Leche’ and the funked up anthem 'Saiko’ this is an album that grows with each listen.

Sudha was a founder member of the ground breaking Asian music project Sister India. Her Asian roots are beautifully woven into the album with melodies and samples from the likes of Shilpa Shetty and Lata Mangeshkar. These influences somehow sit easily alongside her love for old skool electro (hence the 808 drums and vintage keyboards) and simple yet beautiful, hook-laden songs.

Of course, Sudha’s skills as a percussionist are not ignored and are evident throughout, yet she uses them in an understated fashion, further demonstrating her credentials as a skilled producer and world renowned musician.

Robbie Williams is splashing out thousands of pounds to visit his dogs.

Robbie Williams is splashing out thousands of pounds to visit his dogs.

The 'Angels’ singer, who recently returned to the UK from Los Angeles with girlfriend Ayda Field, misses his beloved pets Little Wallee and The Poops so much he is spending over £4,000 a month to see them while he waits for permission to bring them to England.

He wrote on his blog: 'We've come back to see the Dogs..... because of the ridiculous quarantine rules ......The Little ones and the big ones have to have Jabs then wait a whole 6 months before they re deemed fit enough(well, rabies free) to join us in England...It's a stupid law but one You can't do anything about (sic).'

Robbie – who is worth an estimated £80 million – is excited about bringing his pets to the UK but admits they are in for a surprise as he has bought some new dogs.

In a post accompanied by pictures of his new pooches, he added: 'I can't wait for them to see their new home. It’s only a month and a half and they can come with us....I do miss them but they are being well looked after by their Grandma Gwen.....they do have a surprise when they reach blighty and thats two new's Abba bear being adorable....... And me and baby in a remake of Alien.....(sic).'

Amy Winehouse rushed to hospital

Amy Winehouse was rushed to hospital after partying with friends.

The troubled singer – who is currently staying in St Lucia while she writes her third album – was reportedly taken to a medical facility by ambulance and received emergency medical treatment after a wild night of drinking on Friday (15.05.09).

Amy was discharged later that evening, but friends of the star believe her deteriorating health may jeopardise her scheduled UK show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire next Sunday (31.05.09).

A source told Britain’s The Sun newspaper: 'Amy’s concert might as well be cancelled now. She’s not going to make it. It’s not worth her while even if she does make it, it will be a shambles. She is not ready for it.'

The 25-year-old star – who has publicly battled substance abuse – was hospitalised last month after she fainted in her luxurious Caribbean villa.

Her spokesperson said it was due to dehydration. Just days later, Amy broke down in tears and appeared to be intoxicated as she sang at the St Lucia Jazz Festival.

One unhappy fan said: "Amy could barely stand up, she didn't know the words to her songs. It's a disgrace. She was so drunk she didn't know where she was. She's a lost cause."

Eminem 'done' with guns

Eminem is 'done' with guns.

The 'We Made You’ rapper despises firearms and doesn’t want to be around them after two of his uncles committed suicide and his best friend, rapper Proof, was shot dead.

He told the Detroit Metro Times newspaper: 'For me, personally, I mean, I'm done with guns. You know what I mean? They certainly never ever brought anything good into my life. Especially with my own family and our history of suicide and s**t like that. And my own personal experience with guns. And then you lose your best friend to guns. Guns are just bad news.'

The rapper also revealed 'Circle of Life’ singer Sir Elton John has been helping him in his battle to overcome drug addiction.

He added: 'I talk to Elton a lot. We became friends and I talk to him about things, career wise. And he had a substance abuse problem in the past. So when I first wanted to get sober, I called him and spoke to him about it because, he's somebody who's in the business and can identify and relate to the lifestyle.

'Me and him have had similar lives and stuff. So I reached out to him and told him, 'Look, I'm going through a problem and I need your advice.’ '

Meanwhile, Eminem has defended his use of an overweight Jessica Simpson character in the promo for 'We Made You’, insisting he has captured a moment in time.

He explained: 'We were going to have a chick who looked like Jessica Simpson.

'But then Jessica got fat. I mean, not really fat but she certainly got fat for Jessica Simpson!

'I think that my videos are little time capsules. So I've always wanted people to be able to look back at each video and go, 'Oh, remember what was going on at that moment! That's when Jessica Simpson got fat.’ '

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eminem felt like Bugs Bunny during rehab

Eminem felt like Bugs Bunny during his stint in rehab.

The 'We Made You’ rapper admits his worldwide fame left him feeling like the iconic cartoon character when he checked into a centre in 2005 to receive treatment for drug addiction.

The star – real name Marshall Mathers - told BBC Radio One: "When I landed myself in rehab in 2005 I felt like I wanted to reassess everything. I remember sitting in rehab thinking, 'Is this what it comes to, really?'

"So when I got out I knew I needed to pull back from the spotlight because of the fame thing.

"I was like Bugs Bunny in rehab, Bugs Bunny walking in the room. The second you walk in the room,

"There were some people who were as supportive as they could be, some people that were like, 'I don't look at you as Eminem. I'm seeing you as Marshall.'"

Eminem recently revealed he wanted to kill himself at the height of his problems. He said: "I just wasn't taking care of myself, at times I wanted to just give it up.

"I was in a dark place. I wanted to pull back from the spotlight to reassess my whole career. "I got sober but it was pretty rough. A couple of years were bad for me."

Sting's wife jet's hairdresser from New York to Washington

Trudie Styler paid for her hairdresser to fly by private jet from New York to Washington.

The environmental campaigner - who co-founded the Rainforest Foundation 20 years ago - has been blasted for shunning a regular flight or energy-saving Amtrak train when she and her entourage of eight, including stylist Antonio Prieto, travelled to the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday (09.05.09).

A spokesperson for the star - whose husband Sting has been using commercial airlines to fly between the US and London - told the New York Post newspaper: "The stylist was added to a previously scheduled flight to DC and flew back commercially."

Trudie added: "Yes, I do take planes. My life is to travel and my life is also to speak out about the horrors of an environment that is being abused at the hands of oil companies."

Last year, it was claimed Trudie and Sting have seven homes and "a carbon footprint estimated at 30 times that of the average UK resident".

Sting's 2006 star-studded Rainforest Foundation fundraising concert donated 41 per cent of proceeds to tree-saving programmes, compared with the 75 per cent spent by most charities.

The couple are not the only stars to be criticised for causing environmental damage. Last month, Mariah Carey was voted the "least green" celebrity by for flying her personal trainer from St. Barts on a private jet.

The site's editor explained: "People saw that as an extravagance rather than a necessity, and the consequences for the planet probably don't justify it."

Britney Spears counts cost of lavish lifestyle

Britney Spears has spent a staggering $10 million since last February.

The 'Womanizer' singer, who has a reported $100 million fortune, earned $12 million last year but the majority of her money was used on staff, legal fees, her lavish lifestyle and caring for her two young sons.

Her finances were revealed in papers filed by lawyers for her father Jamie, who is legally in control of her estate.

One of her main expenses was the $625,000 she paid in her ongoing custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline - father of Sean Preston, three, and two-year-old Jayden James.

She also spent $447,633 on security, $138,369 in credit card payments, $105,000 renting a Malibu home, $178,818 for childcare, $188,556 on assistants and employees, $285,594 on mortgage payments, $137,554 on living expenses, and $1.06 million in "miscellaneous business expenses".

In March, it was revealed Britney had spent $2.7 million in lawyers' fees in less than a year.

Lawyer Geraldine Wyle - who represents Britney's father Jamie - said: "Since the initiation of the conservatorship, as a result of the concerted efforts of Mr. Spears as well as the professionals involved, all aspects of Ms. Spears' life have been stabilised and continue to improve."

According to Wyle, Britney - who was twice held in a psychiatric ward before her father was put in control - faces "complex and challenging issues" which have run up huge costs.

However, she admitted the mother-of-two's mental health had improved over the last year and has won "substantial visitation" with her sons and her career "has been revitalised".

Britney is currently on a sold-out world tour and has been honoured with a plaque to commemorate the huge success of her latest album 'Circus'.

Leona Lewis set to split from her boyfriend

Leona Lewis is reportedly set to split from her boyfriend.

The 'Bleeding Love' star has struggled to maintain her relationship with long-term love Lou Al-Chamaa while she lives in Los Angeles and he remains in London.

Friends believe Leona - who shot to fame after winning UK TV talent contest 'The X Factor' - may have already ended the romance.

A source told Britain's Star magazine: "They are still in love, but Leona's lifestyle is making things really hard.

"Her career is doing so well, but to keep growing as a singer, she has to work even harder. Unfortunately, this leaves her very little time to work on her relationship. It could already be over."

The couple - who met at school aged 10 - have not been pictured together since January.

The source added: "It is sad, but unless Leona and Lou can find a magic solution, it looks like it could be the end of the road for them."

Leona, 24, had previously been travelling between the US and UK but recently began renting a $1.5 million mansion in Los Angeles and has been spending increasing amounts of time there.

Akon to record official World Cup anthem

Akon is to record the official anthem for next year's soccer World Cup.

The 'Lonely' rapper has been asked by FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) to co-ordinate the song as well as music for the opening ceremony at the South African tournament, which starts next June.

He said: "I've been hired as musical director for the World Cup. I will be overseeing the World Cup anthem and music at the ceremonies and I'm off to South Africa this week for meetings. "I love soccer so it's a great honour."

However, Akon – who says he will be supporting the host nation in the world's biggest soccer event – won't be following in the footsteps of other artists to record soccer songs by asking players to sing.

Talking about England star David Beckham, he said: "I know David, he's my man. But I'm not asking for his advice. Footballers should stick to football."

In 1990, New Order recorded the official England song 'World in Motion', which featured Liverpool star John Barnes rapping while other players, including Paul Gascoigne and Peter Beardsley, sang on the chorus.

The official song for the 2006 tournament in Germany was 'Celebrate the Day' by German actor Herbert Groenemeyer. Akon is the son of famed Senegalese percussionist Mor Thiam. The rapper split his time between America and Senegal until he moved to the US aged 15.

Eminem to continue health kick

Eminem is requesting fruit and vegetables on his riders to maintain his new slimline figure.

The 'We Made You’ rapper, who recently shed 28lbs by cutting out alcohol and fatty foods, was determined to stick to his new eating regime when he flew to London to appear on hit British talk show 'Friday Night With Jonathan Ross’.

Instead of the usual calorific drinks and treats demanded by many stars, Eminem asked for skinless chicken, mineral water, raw vegetables, fresh fruit and a seafood platter.

A source close to the 36-year-old star – real name Marshall Mathers – told Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper: 'Marshall looks amazing now. He’s never really taken pride in his appearance but after getting clean, he’s quit alcohol altogether. For him, this goes hand in hand with eating sensibly.

'He used to live off fried chicken, fries, burgers and his real favourite, drumsticks. Now he’s eating only grilled meats and fish, fruit and vegetables, but no refined carbs. His riders are unrecognisable from those of four years ago.'

During his interview with Jonathan Ross, Eminem revealed he wanted to kill himself at the height of his addiction problems.

He said: "I just wasn't taking care of myself, at times I wanted to just give it up. "I was in a dark place. I wanted to pull back from the spotlight to reassess my whole career. "I got sober but it was pretty rough. A couple of years were bad for me."

Christina Aguilera’s 16-month-old son loves housework

Christina Aguilera’s 16-month-old son loves doing housework.

The 'Beautiful’ singer is amazed by how much Max Liron – her first son with husband Jordan Bratman – loves cleaning and says helping in the home is his favourite pastime.

She said: 'Vacuum was one of his first words! He has a cleaning fetish and he loves to run around with a rag and dust and clean, and he loves to clean his high chair after he’s done eating. It’s so cute! I’ll lift him down and the first thing he does is to take a rag and clean off his chair. He’s mommy’s little helper.'

The 28-year-old star says Max is learning every day and is even speaking two languages – but admits she and Jordan have to be careful what they speak about in front of him, She added: 'He’s absorbing everything like a sponge right now. We have to be cautious what we’re saying around him! He’s speaking a little Spanish too. He said mama and papa months ago.'

Despite admitting her body has changed since having Max, Christina says she feels 'sexier' than ever – and her music executive spouse agrees. She said in an interview: 'Since becoming a mom, I feel I have more knowledge and that makes me feel beautiful. I feel more centered, which makes me feel confident and sexy.

'The other night, my husband and I were in the bathroom getting ready for bed. I mentioned something on my body that was different before I had the baby. I said, 'That was never like that before!’ And he said, 'Are you kidding me? That’s what makes you even sexier. The fact that you’re a mom and that your body has gone through all those changes, that makes you even sexier.’ It was such an amazing compliment.'

Rihanna writes Chris Brown break-up song

Rihanna has written a song about her split from Chris Brown.

The 21-year-old beauty – whose on/off boyfriend Chris allegedly assaulted her on February 8 - is believed to have penned the track 'Silly Boy’ to warn him their relationship is over for good.

She sings: 'I said I’m not coming back / You fooled me once but you can’t have that ego turning.

'Just too bad for you, that when you had me / Didn’t know what to do, she’s over you.

'Cause you had a good girl, good girl / Girl that’s a keeper / You had a good girl, good girl but didn’t know how to treat her. 'So silly boy get out my face / Why do you like the way regrets taste?'

A demo of the song – which featured vocals from Lady Gaga - has been posted on the internet by her rapper friend Kanye West. This is not the first time Rihanna has written a song about separation and revenge.

The Barbados-born beauty was working on a track about killing a cheating partner at the time of Chris’ alleged attack on her. Rihanna had teamed up with rapper Akon for the track 'Emergency Room’, in which she dreams about seeking revenge on an unfaithful boyfriend by hospitalising him and removing his drip.

She sang: 'I’m going to leave your heart broken on the floor / You’re gonna be in the emergency room / I’m standing by your bed / And so tempted to pull out your IV.'

Last month Chris, 20, pleased not guilty to felony assault and making criminal threats in relation to his alleged attack on Rihanna.

He is accused of punching, biting and choking Rihanna until she was unconscious during an altercation in his rented silver Lamborghini.

Pink still sings of break-up that is no more

Pink loves singing songs about splitting from her husband, even though they have reunited.

The 'So What’ singer – who recently got back together with motocross racer Carey Hart – admits performing tracks she wrote when they separated makes her laugh because the lyrics are so mean.

She explained: 'It’s funny to sing them now. Because he's in the audience, so when I sing 'He's a tool,’ now that's my favourite line. I’m like, 'Hi honey, that’s you!’ '

Pink’s track 'So What’ includes the lyrics: 'And guess what, I’m havin’ more fun/ And now that we’re done, I’m gonna show you tonight.'

Several other songs on her 2008 album 'Funhouse’ include lyrics about her split from Carey. After confirming her reunion with Carey, the 29-year-old singer has refused rule to out claims they are planning to reaffirm their wedding vows.

Pink said: 'Well, I do love a party!' Carey has was the first to reveal he and Pink were back together, adding they were planning to take things slowly. He has said: 'We're sorting s**t out, I admit it. She's just totally normal and low-key.

'We're on the mend and just rebuilding. That's all I can ask for right now." The couple split in February last year after two years of marriage, but neither side filed for divorce.

Madonna and Jesus Luz to wed

Madonna and Jesus Luz are getting married.

The Brazilian model's father Luis Heitor Pinto da Luz has revealed the couple are planning a Kabbalah ceremony to have their union recognised by the mystical Jewish faith followed by the 50-year-old singer.

However, their union will not be legally binding.

Luis said: "The Kabbalah ceremony in New York that will link up my son Jesus Luz and Madonna only confirms that he is extremely happy.

"I don't know if there will, in fact, be a real marriage between Madonna and my son. It will be a type of ritual, but I do not know Kabbalah or if the ceremony will have legal validity."

Luis - who confirmed the couple are living together in New York - revealed his 22-year-old son has bonded well with the 'Hung Up' star's three children, Lourdes, 12, Rocco, eight and David, three.

He added to Brazil's Quem magazine: "She has small children, and Jesus helps her out with various tasks involving all of them. He plays ball with the kids. Jesus has charisma and loves children."

Despite the 28-year age gap between Madonna and Jesus, Luis insists he approves of their relationship.

He said: "I've spoken by phone with Madonna - in French, because my English is not fluent - and she appears to me to be a normal and polite person. She is feminine. I don't feel she is a harsh person."

Madonna announced last October she was divorcing British film director Guy Ritchie after almost eight years of marriage.

Kylie Minogue excited about US tour

KYLIE MINOGUE said she is looking forward to touring the States now she's got over her fears.

The pop star said touring isn't as "scary" anymore and she actually enjoys it now.

Kylie, 40, who tours the US later this year, said: "I feel really very comfortable where I am at the moment and I think that's why I'm loving touring so much because it's not as scary as it used to be."

And she added that she's wanted to tour America "for the longest time" and said: "I've wanted to for ages, for the longest time, and it just never was feasible to do it.

"And I was tired of hearing myself say that, let alone answering other people's questions saying, 'Why haven't you come to the States?'

"I'm doing it simply to do it, it's not to promote anything, it's not on the back of anything else, and it's nice to have that freedom to create my show.

Alicia Keys in love with producer

Alicia Keys is dating a music producer.

Hip-hop star Swizz Beatz - who is currently divorcing his estranged wife, US singer Mashonda - has confirmed he and the R'n'B beauty are in love.

He said: "What we have is so precious. But we're nowhere ready for a baby or a ring."

Rumours of their relationship have been around since last year, when the 28-year-old singer reportedly threw Swizz a birthday party at New York's Guggenheim museum.

Recent song 'Best I Ever Had' - which Swizz produced with singer Drake - has now confirmed the gossip.

The lyrics read: "Wake up in the morning and my baby cooked me breakfast/A's wearing nothing on but a necklace/Yeah, she says she wanna treat me like a king/I get big gifts so the money ain't a damn thing/She gave me a party at the Guggenheim/What's next? The ring? The baby? She really loves me!"

But the 30-year-old star - who raises a two-year-old son Kasseem Jr. with Mashonda - admits the lyrics have been fabricated a little.

He said: "This whole song is not about Alicia. The part about her cooking breakfast for me naked - she's never done that for me!"

Swizz and his estranged wife are currently embroiled in a bitter divorce. He has always denied reports Alicia was to blame for the breakdown of his marriage.

Prince dedicates song to English actress

PRINCE has dedicated a new song to actress friend Kristin Scott Thomas after convincing her to go topless in his film.

The pop superstar cast Scott Thomas in his 1986 flop, Under The Cherry Moon, and talked her into taking her top off.

More than 20 years later, he said he is still a big fan of the Four Weddings and a Funeral star and wrote Better With Time for his new album MPLSound, about the her lasting looks.

The lyrics read: "This might seem strange/Since so much time has passed/And since only one of us/Still looks the same/Your words not mine, baby/You're still fine yes you are/ Like wine, you get better with time."

Scott Thomas said she was thrilled that he had penned a song about her.

Speaking to the New York Daily News, she said: "If it's true, it's fantastic. He is incredibly intelligent and talented - if he's written a song for me, it's just the most wonderful present.

"He's just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant at what he does. What's really great about getting older is that down the road you meet people you haven't seen for a long time and they're still doing something you really admire."

Scott Thomas isn't the only actress to inspire Prince - he also wrote a song about Salma Hayek for the new album.

John Lennon's artwork to be exhibitioned

AN EXHIBITION of John Lennon's artwork opens free to the public next week.

A complete collection of drawings by the late Beatle will be on display at The Gallery in Cork Street, Mayfair, London, from Wednesday 27th to Saturday 30th May.

There are 180 pieces of artwork on display, including 12 originals on loan from his wife Yoko Ono.

Fans will also be able to have the chance to purchase 14 recently released drawings that will be in sale for about £500.

Lennon saved and curated several hundred drawings at the time of his death in December 1980.

In 1986, Yoko Ono began releasing some as a limited edition using only fine art printing techniques, with the goal of re-establishing John Lennon as an important artist of the 20th century.

Lennon began drawing long before he had a guitar and attended the prestigious Liverpool Art Institute for three years (1957-60) before music became a full-time career.

But he continued to draw throughout his life, his primary medium being line drawing either in pen, pencil or Japanese sumi ink.

A complete suite of the 'Bag One' portfolio is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His original drawings have also been displayed by museums throughout the world.

Mariah Carey takes entourage to Cannes Film Festival

Mariah Carey has paid for her entourage to attend the Cannes Film Festival.

The 'Touch My Body’ singer – who is renowned for her diva-like behaviour – was told there were not enough free tickets for her staff to attend the prestigious event and see her new movie 'Precious’.

Rather than be separated from her team, Mariah shelled out for a number of exclusive passes to ensure they could all go together.

A source told Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper: 'Mariah’s really close with her team and couldn’t bear the thought of a couple of people not being able to come, so she paid for it out of her pocket. That’s virtually unheard of in the celebrity world.'

The 39-year-old singer, who plays a dowdy social worker in 'Precious’, revealed she is overwhelmed by how well the film has been received.

She said: 'The only reactions from fans who have seen the trailer and twittered me have said the movie’s amazing.'

Mariah – who married Nick Cannon last year – insists her fans and loved-ones are not put off by her plain appearance in the film.

She explained: 'No one has said, 'Girl, I can’t believe you are with those dark circles under your eyes and wearing a wig and looking nasty.’

"My husband's response was over-the-top supportive and amazing. It was not like 'I cannot believe you let yourself look like that in the movie.' "

Bob Dylan's dead dog poem for sale

A POEM about a dead dog written by a teenage Bob Dylan is to be sold at auction.

The verse, entitled Little Buddy and handwritten by the singer when he was 16, is expected to fetch up to $15,000 (£9,660).

Dylan was still going by his given name Bob Zimmerman when he wrote the two-page poem in 1957 during a stay at summer camp in Wisconsin, US.

Christie's auction house said the poem was about the murder of a boy's dog, and was "dark and mournful".

It reads: "I'll meet my precious buddy up in the sky / By a tiny narrow grave / Where the willows sadly wave."

Dylan wrote the piece for Herzl Herald, which was the summer camp's newspaper.

Lisa Heilicher, editor of the camp's Herzl Herald, kept the handwritten original, but decided to sell it to help raise funds for the camp.

She said: "I kept it with all of my stuff that I collected from camp. When I realised how famous he had become, I put it in a piece of plastic and stuck it in an encyclopedia."

Dylan himself authorised the sale, telling officials to "do what you want with [the poem]",

Kate Hudson 'making out' with Madonna's ex

Kate Hudson has been seen "making out" with Madonna's rumoured ex-boyfriend.

The 'Bride Wars' actress and New York Yankees baseball star Alex 'A-Rod' Rodriguez couldn't keep their hands off each other as they enjoyed an intimate date at New York's Mustang Grill restaurant last weekend.

An onlooker told the New York Post newspaper: "Staff were asking patrons not to go in the back room around 1am because A-Rod and Kate Hudson were back there making out."
A waitress also confirmed the pair were at the eatery, celebrating Alex's team's win. She said: "Yes, they were here together."

Other sources claim the smitten couple were spotted outside Alex's apartment block.

Alex, 33, and his wife Cynthia - with who he has two daughters - split in 2008 after she claimed he had "an affair of the heart" with Madonna.

Kate, 30 - who has a five-year-old son, Ryder, with ex-husband Chris Robinson - was recently linked to ex-boyfriend Owen Wilson, who she has dated on/off since 2007.

Katie Price throws out Peter Andre’s stuff

Katie Price has ordered Peter Andre’s belongings to be thrown out of their home.

The British glamour model has told housekeepers to remove all of her estranged husband’s possessions from their £2.5 million house in Surrey, Southern England, ahead of her return today (20.05.09).

A source told Britain’s The Sun newspaper: 'Katie’s still very hurt after Pete dumped her and wants to get him back. She phoned up and was screaming down the phone at staff to get rid of all his stuff.

'They were asking what she wanted out and she was screaming, 'Everything, everything!’ None of them wanted to do it to Pete, because he’s been kind. But Katie didn’t really leave them much choice.'

Katie – known as Jordan – made the angry phone call from the Maldives, where she fled to hours after news of the couple’s split broke last week.

Peter has also been out of the UK, choosing to spend time in Cyprus with his family in the wake of the separation.

Upon his return today, the 36-year-old singer will find his belongings – which include designer clothes, precious family photos, jewellery, gym equipment and the first copies of some of his CDs – gone. The source added: 'Peter is in for a bit of a shock.

Everything he owns has been taken from the home and put into storage.'

The couple are set to meet back in England tomorrow (21.05.09) to discuss arrangements for the children they raise together – son Junior, three, 23-month old daughter Princess Tiaamii and Katie’s son Harvey, six, from a previous relationship.

Meanwhile, Katie has insisted she will not cry for Peter anymore and is already planning to move on, just nine days after they separated.
The 30-year-old beauty said: 'No other guy has made me cry as much as Pete. But I’m not going to shed another tear over him. I don’t want us to split up. I love my husband but I can’t sit around crying. This is a new story and new chapter in my life.'

Beyonce on a mission to lose weight

Beyonce Knowles buys clothes which are too small for her as a motivation to lose weight.

The singer-and-actress, who is famed for her curvy figure, admits it takes a lot of hard work for her to stay in shape so she needs to have a goal.

She said: "I buy something too small and then say, 'I have a reason.' I need to wear these jeans or this hot dress."

The 27-year-old beauty also says her dream of winning an Oscar drives her on when she is working out. Talking about a painting in her gym which features the famous gold statue, she revealed: "I look at it, and I'm like, 'OK, I have to stay in shape.' "

Although she would like to lose a few pounds, Beyonce - who is married to hip-hop star Jay-Z - admits she wasn't happy when she shed 15lbs to play Deena Jones in 'Dreamgirls'.

She added to Self magazine: "I felt very chic, like a model. But it didn't look natural for me. I didn't feel very sexy or feminine, and I didn't have much confidence because I didn't feel like myself."

Britney sued by bodyguard

Britney Spears’ ex-bodyguard is suing her.

In court documents filmed on Monday (18.05.09), Kerry Vine claims he was hurt while working at her former home in Los Angeles in March 2008.

The documents state: 'Advanced Security Concepts negligently operated their business thereby causing injuries to Vine who worked for Spears at the time. Spears breached that duty of care to the plaintiff by failing to ensure that he could safely perform duties that Advanced Security Concepts ordered him to perform."

Kerry is suing for personal injury, battery and negligence which he claims caused him to lose wages and incur medical and hospital costs. He also alleges loss of personal property and earning capacity.

A hearing will take place on September 2. This is the latest legal issue to befall Britney. Last month, she was granted a restraining order against her former manager Sam Lutfi which banned him from being within 100 yards of her for three years.

Sam is also barred from trying to contact the 27-year-old singer via email, phone or mail.

Lawyer Jon Eardley - who previously questioned why Britney's father Jamie was made co-conservator of her professional and personal affairs last year – is also included in the same restraining order.

The Saturdays

Based on the premise that pop music needed a “kick in the arse,” The Saturdays formed to make accessible pop music fit for the dance floor -- and they succeeded. Almost instantly after forming, the band landed opening spots for Girls Aloud and The Jonas Brothers, and performed at parties thrown by Perez Hilton and gay advocacy groups. All of this garnered them enough recognition to start landing top 10 hits of their own.

The Saturdays consist of some of the former members of S Club 8, and they’ve proven to be a pop powerhouse in their own right.

the saturdays release chasing lights
The Saturdays’ debut album, Chasing Lights, was released in October 2008. Receiving largely favorable reviews, the album climbed to No. 9 on the UK charts and spawned four top 10 singles. The album’s second single, “Up,” appeared in an advertising campaign for the TV series Ugly Betty.

the saturdays have big plans for 2009
In 2009, The Saturdays plan to release their second album. This time around, the girls are doing some of the songwriting and have told their fans to expect a more mature record. At this time, The Saturdays have yet to release any material in North America, but that's also in the works for 2009. Perhaps their biggest plan for this year, though, is their own headlining tour, which will be a first in the group’s short history.


"I don't go anywhere without my video camcorder, which drives everyone round the bend!"
- Mollie King of The Saturdays

Lissy Trullie

The Washington D.C. native moved to New York with her mother when she was 16 years old. After attending Walnut Hill, a boarding school for the performing arts just outside of Boston, Trullie moved back to the city to study graphic design at Parsons. She began playing weird art openings and grimy loft parties around Brooklyn before being sucked into the black leather, skinny jeans-wearing downtown crowd. After befriending the likes of The Virgins frontman Donald Cummings and music impresario Mark Ronson, and booking a DJ gig at friend Paul Sevigny's ultra-exclusive Beatrice Inn -- where she spun marginal art-rock tracks to the delight of drunk starlets -- Lissy Trullie had staked her claim as New York's freshest homegrown star.

lissy trullie dj's at the beatrice inn
As a fresh-faced struggling musician in New York, Lissy chose to befriend the cool kids rather than mimic them. And how did she avoid getting rejected at all the coolest clubs in town? Simple: She became the DJ. When longtime friend Paul Sevigny (Chloe Sevigny's brother) opened his intimate booze den the Beatrice Inn in New York's ritzy West Village, he turned to his stunning friend with the impeccable taste to provide the tunes. When the Beatrice Inn became the choice bar for celeb-spotting in New York, and its stringent guest list made it nearly impossible to get in, Lissy became something of a mythic figure. Just dropping her name could determine whether revelers would spend their night cutting a rug next to Lindsay Lohan or drowning their sorrows with a Corner Bistro burger across the street.

lissy trullie becomes the face of moises de la renta's mdlr
Every fashion designer needs a muse. Moises de la Renta -- son of legendary designer Oscar -- found his in Lissy Trullie. After meeting Trullie at the Beatrice Inn, de la Renta asked her to be the face of his new line MDLR. Having already inspired Phillip Lim's 2009 collection and modeled for Elle magazine, Trullie knew how to carry herself in front of a camera. MLDR's affordable luxury line is infused with rock sensibilities, the same ones that have been ingrained in Trullie since she picked up a guitar at age four, making her a perfect fit for the upcoming collection. Now that Trullie has graced the pages of MDLR's latest look book, expect to see girls in a little black dress, a Swiss-dot hoodie, stretch-leather pants, and a biker jacket with removable sleeves coming soon to a rock club near you.

lissy trullie goes on tour
After conquering make-you or break-you New York venues like Santos' Party House and Bungalow 8, and releasing her debut EP Self-Taught Learner on Brooklyn-based indie label American Myth Recordings to rave reviews, Trullie and her bandmates embarked on a tour with good friends The Virgins. This summer, Trullie aims to take her unique brand of disaffected girl-rock overseas as she again hooks up with The Virgins and Anya Marina! on a tour that will take her across the U.S. and through Europe. Next stop: Rolling Stone cover.

"I like to test out songs on my twelve-year-old cousins and my 70-year-old grandparents. If they like them, then I'm super-psyched. I'm proud when people outside my age or world are into my music. That's when I can feel like I've actually done something."
- Lissy Trullie

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Working on a Dream Bruce Springsteen

Having been indoctrinated into the fold in '84 after seeing them live for the first time (I've been to many, many shows since), I'm pretty psyched that they're playing the Superbowl. Here's my song by song synopsis of the new album, "Working on a Dream".
'Outlaw Pete'-Always a master of the epic story song, Bruce doesn't dissapoint here at all. We've been to circuses, carnivals, city streets and back alleys, front porches, and boardwalks with Bruce, but, this is the first 'old west' themed storyline I can recall. Being from Kentucky, I find it cool that Pete comes from the "Appalachian Trail". This one's a little cornball at first, with Pete robbing the bank in his diaper and all, but, that just helps set up the story. The theme of this whole album, whether intentional or not, it 'time'. Here in this song, boys and girls, the lesson is: No matter what you do, you can't escape your past. You can't run from it. Instead you must find way to deal with it before you move on because like it or not, it becomes a part of who you are forever. Great song. Ranks among his best.
'My Lucky Day'-A great upbeat rocker. Wouldn't have sounded out of place on "Born in the USA".
'Working on a Dream'-Nice song. Used on a couple of late stops on the campaign trail.
'Queen of the Supermarket'-Lyrically, this one's a departure. Seems there may be more going on at the local Kroger than milk, cereal, and meat purchases. This'll be some folks' favorite. Not mine. I haven't really 'gotten' it yet. The surprisingly blatant "F" bomb he throws at the end is an intentional surprise. I'll have to skip this one when the kiddies are present.
'What Love Can Do'-Catchy hook. Some nice guitar work. Other than the "sunny" lyrics, this wouldn't have sounded out of place on 'Magic', musically.
'This Life'-Some critics will say this one's overproduced. I disagree. If anything, more of the Beach Boys type harmonies would have been welcomed. Wait'll you here this intro. It takes the layered sound that they were shooting for on 'Girls in their Summer Clothes' to a whole other level. In fact, the music on this is so much like the Beach Boys, it ain't even funny. Great song, and something different.
'Good Eye'-Now I know why Bruce counts Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters as some of his all time favorite singers. Bruce does the Delta Blues here. He's found a place for that fuzzbox vocal that first showed up on the D&D tour for "Reason to Believe". This one's awesome, and another musical departure.
'Tomorrow Never Knows'-Steve Earle doesn't sound this much like Steve Earle anymore.
'Life Itself'-I've been playing this one over and over for the past couple of weeks now. I love the jingle jangle Byrds sound they're getting out of the guitars on the breaks. Yet another musical stretch.
'Kingdom of Days'-Another one about 'time', and it's effect on our lives. Use it wisely. This one sounds like a lot of the stuff on 'Magic' as well.
'Surprise, Surprise'-This might be my least favorite so far. Nice hook, though.
'Last Carnival'-This one had to have been written with Danny Federici in mind. If you're a long time E Street Band fan, this one'll put a lump in your throat.
'The Wrestler'-Thanks to Mickey Rourke for asking for a song for "The Wrestler". Otherwise, we might never have gotten this one. Great. Very somber. But, danged if I ain't ever seen a one legged dog making it's way down the street. Maybe two legs, or three, yeah, but, a one legged dog? I'm going to youtube now.
"WOAD", in my opinion, is yet another sonic and lyrical masterpiece from the Earth Shakin', Soul Stirrin', Tongues a Waggin', Tail's a Rockin', mighty Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I might add that you can hear Federici all over the place on this whole album. I've loved most all of Bruce's stuff over the years, and the "Tunnel of Love" album was no exception, but, I remember when it came out, I searched frantically for any sign of "the band" in there, and it just wasn't happening for me. Little did we know back then...

No Line On The Horizon U2

The Irish band's 12th studio album was originally slated to come out before the end of last year, but the band pulled it back to mold and twist it some more, after the original material recorded with Rick Rubin was shelved.
They've been rocking since the early 80s, when it comes to stadium-filling anthems, there's no challenger to U2's crown.
It's been a while since their last release, 2004's "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb", but it's been worth the wait.
The result is 11 songs that thematically seem to have no link (although being lost surfaces quite a few times), but sonically unite the many sides of U2: the boys from get back to basics with their strongest offering in years. It was recorded in Dublin, New York, London and Fès, Morocco (but the rumoured North African influences are hardly audible).
Comfortingly, the production comes courtesy of Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite.
There may be some quibble as to whether this is the best U2 album since Eno and Lanois first worked with the band on 1984's "The Unforgettable Fire".
It starts out blustery and familiar, before gradually revealing an unexpected and almost lovable sense of vulnerability.
"Magnificent" with its drum crescendos, trademark guitar riffs and a soaring Bono vocal is easily the best thing here and is crying out to be released as a single.
There is the odd moment of rocking swagger which seems to be U2's way of saying that they are not too old to pull on the leather trousers yet - the trashy rock of "Get On Your Boots" and "Stand Up Comedy", the latter hinting at the muscular funk-infused rock of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
"Get On Your Boots", the album's lead single, is actually a good track : if this fails to get your foot tapping, we doubt anything will.
"Breathe" suggests that the band's classic approach can still sound contemporary.
And the albums ends in contemplative mood with "Cedars Of Lebanon", a Lanois-style soundscape, which takes shape amid a sonic fug that mirrors the exhaustion of its war reporter narrator: "Child drinking dirty water from the riverbank/ Soldier brings oranges he got out from a tank".
"Breathe" suggests that the band's classic approach can still sound contemporary.
Lyrics like 'the right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear' on "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" show that they still have a sense of humour.
Apart from a couple of the tracks being a bit too long and the album cover being a bit boring, the album - over 54 minutes - is a worthy addition to their catalogue.
"No Line on the Horizon is a bold, beautiful and highly speculative re-imagining of U2's music". - Telegraph
"The slower, meditative efforts where Bono sings rather than screams are surprisingly lovely and hint at a future of Rubin-era Johnny Cash potential. U2 are at their strongest when they play their age but when they try and rock, it's irrelevant and cringeworthy".- L. Bazley
My favourite tracks: "Moment Of Surrender", "Unknown Caller", "Breathe" and "Cedars Of Lebanon"

21st Century Breakdown Green Day

I had a hard time accepting this new album, as I loved American Idiot and didn't think it could be topped . . . further, I wasn't too excited about the whole "Christian and Gloria" narrative, etc. But I've found that, with repeated listens, the songs have really grown on me. And the narrative is so loose, and Christian and Gloria are referenced so infrequently, that there were times when I forgot I was listening to a "rock opera." This album is not as fun as American Idiot, it is more contemplative and introspective. And, with a few exceptions, it doesn't have the light-heartedness of earlier Green Day material. That's why you have to give it some time. The guys wanted to do something a little different (heck, they've been at this for 20 years). I personally feel like this album came from the heart, and that's why I listened to it two to three times to let it grow on me before making up my mind about it.

The following songs are my favorites:
1) Horseshoes and Handgrenades. I think this song has the most menacing "f$#k you" energy of any Green Day song ever. East Jesus Nowhere is also quite good, for similar reasons.
2) Last Night on Earth. I'm not usually one for ballads, but this one is very beautiful. It was written by Billie Joe for his wife . . .
3) 21st Century Breakdown. This hook grows on you, it has a sunny, grooving quality to it even though the lyrics are kinda pessimistic.
4) "Before the Lobotomy" also starts out as a serious ballad . . . again, not my favorite type of music usually. The track morphs into something else and then the ballad material returns, but set to a backbeat and distorted guitars. It sounds very powerful at the end.
5) Restless Heart Syndrome . . . another haunting ballad that improves with each listen.
6) 21 Guns. This has a great "everyone put your lighter in the air" vibe. I think this will sound excellent live.

There were other good moments on the album, too. I'm just getting too tired to type more :) And, at the risk of beating you over the head with a stick . . . give this album 2-3 listens and let the material sink in. You will be glad you did.

Monday, May 18, 2009


After a star reaches a certain point, it's easy to forget what they became famous for and concentrate solely on their persona. Madonna is such a star. Madonna rocketed to stardom so quickly in 1984 that it obscured most of her musical virtues. Appreciating her music became even more difficult as the decade wore on, as discussing her lifestyle became more common than discussing her music. However, one of Madonna's greatest achievements is how she manipulated the media and the public with her music, her videos, her publicity, and her sexuality. Arguably, Madonna was the first female pop star to have complete control of her music and image.

Madonna moved from her native Michigan to New York in 1977, with dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. She studied with choreographer Alvin Ailey and modeled. In 1979, she became part of the Patrick Hernandez Revue, a disco outfit that had the hit "Born to Be Alive." She traveled to Paris with Hernandez; it was there that she met Dan Gilroy, who would soon become her boyfriend. Upon returning to New York, the pair formed the Breakfast Club, a pop/dance group. Madonna originally played drums for the band, but she soon became the lead singer. In 1980, she left the band and formed Emmy with her former boyfriend, drummer Stephen Bray. Soon, Bray and Madonna broke off from the group and began working on some dance/disco-oriented tracks. A demo tape of these tracks worked its way to Mark Kamins, a New York-based DJ/producer. Kamins directed the tape to Sire Records, which signed the singer in 1982.

Kamins produced Madonna's first single, "Everybody," which became a club and dance hit at the end of 1982; her second single, 1983's "Physical Attraction," was another club hit. In June of 1983, she had her third club hit with the bubbly "Holiday," which was written by Jellybean Benitez. Madonna's self-titled debut album was released in September of 1983; "Holiday" became her first Top 40 hit the following month. "Borderline" became her first Top Ten hit in March of 1984, beginning a remarkable string of 17 consecutive Top Ten hits. While "Lucky Star" was climbing to number four, Madonna began working on her first starring role in a feature film, Susan Seidelman's Desperately Seeking Susan.

Madonna's second album, the Niles Rodgers-produced Like a Virgin, was released at the end of 1984. The title track hit number one in December, staying at the top of the charts for six weeks; it was the start of a whirlwind year for the singer. During 1985, Madonna became an international celebrity, selling millions of records on the strength of her stylish, sexy videos and forceful personality. After "Material Girl" became a number two hit in March, Madonna began her first tour, supported by the Beastie Boys. "Crazy for You" became her second number one single in May. Desperately Seeking Susan was released in July, becoming a box office hit; it also prompted a planned video release of A Certain Sacrifice, a low-budget erotic drama she filmed in 1979. A Certain Sacrifice wasn't the only embarrassing skeleton in the closet dragged into the light during the summer of 1985 -- both Playboy and Penthouse published nude photos of Madonna that she posed for in 1977. Nevertheless, her popularity continued unabated, with thousands of teenage girls adopting her sexy appearance, being dubbed "Madonna wannabes." In August, she married actor Sean Penn; the couple had a rocky marriage that ended in 1989.

Madonna began collaborating with Patrick Leonard at the beginning of 1986; Leonard would co-write most of her biggest hits in the '80s, including "Live to Tell," which hit number one in June of 1986. A more ambitious and accomplished record than her two previous albums, True Blue was released the following month, to both more massive commercial success (it was a number one in both the U.S. and the U.K., selling over five million copies in America alone) and critical acclaim. "Papa Don't Preach" became her fourth number one hit in the U.S. While her musical career was thriving, her film career took a savage hit with the November release of Shanghai Surprise. Starring Madonna and Sean Penn, the comedy received terrible reviews, which translated into disastrous box office returns.

At the beginning of 1987, she had her fifth number one single with "Open Your Heart," the third number one from True Blue alone. The title cut from the soundtrack of her third feature film, Who's That Girl?, was another chart-topping hit, although the film itself was another box office bomb. 1988 was a relatively quiet year for Madonna as she spent the first half of the year acting in David Mamet's +Speed the Plow on Broadway. In the meantime, she released the remix album You Can Dance. After withdrawing the divorce papers she filed at the beginning of 1988, she divorced Penn at the beginning of 1989.

Like a Prayer, released in the spring of 1989, was her most ambitious and far-reaching album, incorporating elements of pop, rock, and dance. It was another number one hit and launched the number one title track as well as "Express Yourself," "Cherish," and "Keep It Together," three more Top Ten hits. In April 1990, she began her massive Blonde Ambition tour, which ran throughout the entire year. "Vogue" became a number one hit in May, setting the stage for her co-starring role in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy; it was her most successful film appearance since Desperately Seeking Susan. Madonna released a greatest-hits album, The Immaculate Collection, at the end of the year. It featured two new songs, including the number one single "Justify My Love," which sparked another controversy with its sexy video; the second new song, "Rescue Me," became the highest-debuting single by a female artist in U.S. chart history, entering the charts at number 15. Truth or Dare, a documentary of the Blonde Ambition tour, was released to positive reviews and strong ticket sales during the spring of 1991.

Madonna returned to the charts in the summer of 1992 with the number one "This Used to Be My Playground," a single featured in the film A League of Their Own, which featured the singer in a small part. Later that year, Madonna released -Sex, an expensive, steel-bound soft-core pornographic book that featured hundreds of erotic photographs of herself, several models, and other celebrities -- including Isabella Rossellini, Big Daddy Kane, Naomi Campbell, and Vanilla Ice -- as well as selected prose. -Sex received scathing reviews and enormous negative publicity, yet that didn't stop the accompanying album, Erotica, from selling over two million copies. Bedtime Stories, released two years later, was a more subdued affair than Erotica. Initially, it didn't chart as impressively, prompting some critics to label her a has-been, yet the album spawned her biggest hit, "Take a Bow," which spent seven weeks at number one. It also featured the Björk-penned "Bedtime Stories," which became her first single not to make the Top 40; its follow-up, "Human Nature," also failed to crack the Top 40. Nevertheless, Bedtime Stories marked her seventh album to go multi-platinum.

Beginning in 1995, Madonna began one of her most subtle image makeovers as she lobbied for the title role in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's +Evita. Backing away from the overt sexuality of Erotica and Bedtime Stories, Madonna recast herself as an upscale sophisticate, and the compilation Something to Remember fit into the plan nicely. Released in the fall of 1995, around the same time she won the coveted role of Evita Peron, the album was comprised entirely of ballads, designed to appeal to the mature audience that would also be the target of Evita. As the filming completed, Madonna announced she was pregnant and her daughter, Lourdes, was born late in 1996, just as Evita was scheduled for release. The movie was greeted with generally positive reviews and Madonna began a campaign for an Oscar nomination that resulted in her winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Musical or Comedy), but not the coveted Academy Award nomination. The soundtrack for Evita, however, was a modest hit, with a dance remix of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and the newly written "You Must Love Me" both becoming hits.

During 1997, she worked with producer William Orbit on her first album of new material since 1994's Bedtime Stories. The resulting record, Ray of Light, was heavily influenced by electronica, techno, and trip-hop, thereby updating her classic dance-pop sound for the late '90s. Ray of Light received uniformly excellent reviews upon its March 1998 release and debuted at number two on the charts. Within a month, the record was shaping up to be her biggest album since Like a Prayer. Two years later she returned with Music, which reunited her with Orbit and also featured production work from Mark "Spike" Stent and Mirwais, a French electro-pop producer/musician in the vein of Daft Punk and Air.

The year 2000 also saw the birth of Madonna's second child, Rocco, whom she had with filmmaker Guy Ritchie; the two married at the very end of the year. With Ritchie as director and Madonna as star, the pair released a remake of the film Swept Away in 2002. It tanked at the box office, failing to crack seven digits, making it one of the least profitable films of the year. Her sober 2003 album, American Life, fared slightly better but was hardly a huge success. That same year also saw the release of Madonna's successful children's book, -The English Roses, which was followed by several more novels in future years. Confessions on a Dance Floor marked her return to music, specifically to the dance-oriented material that had made her a star. Released in late 2005, it topped the Billboard charts and was accompanied by a worldwide tour in 2006, the same year that I'm Going to Tell You a Secret, a CD/DVD made during her Re-Invention Tour, came out. In 2007, Madonna released another CD/DVD, Confessions Tour, this time chronicling her controversial tour of the same name. She then inched closer to the completion of her Warner Bros contract with 2008's Hard Candy, an R&B album whose first single, "4 Minutes", topped the singles charts in several countries.

Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette was one of the most unlikely stars of the mid-'90s. A former child actress turned dance-pop diva, Morissette later transformed herself into a confessional alternative singer/songwriter in the vein of Liz Phair and Tori Amos. However, she bolstered that formula with enough pop sensibility, slight hip-hop flourishes, and marketing savvy to become a superstar with her third album, Jagged Little Pill.

Morissette was born in Ottawa, Canada, and began playing piano and writing songs during her childhood years. She also joined the cast of You Can't Do That on Television, a children's television program. Using money that she earned on the show, Morissette recorded an independent single, "Fate Stay with Me," which was released when she was only ten years old. Morissette then concentrated on a musical career after leaving the show's cast, signing a music publishing contract when she was 14. The publishing contract led to a record deal with MCA Canada, and Morissette moved to Toronto before releasing her debut album, Alanis, in 1991.

Alanis was a collection of pop-oriented dance numbers and ballads that found success in Canada, selling over 100,000 copies and earning the singer a Juno Award for Most Promising Female Artist. However, no other country paid much attention to the record. In 1992, Morissette released Now Is the Time, an album that closely resembled her debut. Like its predecessor, it was a success in Canada, even if its sales did not match those of Alanis. Following the release of Now Is the Time, Morissette relocated to Los Angeles, where she met veteran producer Glen Ballard in early 1994. Ballard had previously written Michael Jackson's hit single "Man in the Mirror," produced Wilson Phillips' hit debut album, and worked with actor/musician David Hasselhoff. The two decided to work together, and despite their shared experience with mainstream pop, they opted instead to pursue an edgier, alternative rock-oriented direction. The result was Jagged Little Pill, which was released in 1995 on Madonna's label, Maverick Records.

On the strength of the angst-ridden single "You Oughta Know," Jagged Little Pill gained attention upon its release in the summer of 1995. The song soon received heavy airplay from alternative radio outlets and MTV, sending the album into the Top Ten and helping it achieve multi-platinum status. Jagged Little Pill's subsequent singles -- "Hand in My Pocket," "All I Really Want," "You Learn," "Ironic," and "All I Really Want" -- kept the album in the Top Ten for an astounding 69 weeks, and Alanis Morissette was nominated for six Grammys in early 1996. She won several of those awards, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

While she never managed to replicate the success of Jagged Little Pill, Morissette continued to release well-received albums into the 21st century. Her much-anticipated follow-up, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, was released in the autumn of 1998, setting a record for the highest first-week sales by a female artist. An Unplugged set appeared a year later and featured a cover of the Police's "King of Pain," while 2002's Under Rug Swept saw Morissette writing and producing without the help of collaborators. So-Called Chaos followed in 2004. A year later, she took Jagged Little Pill on the road as an acoustic tour. Those tour dates led to the release of Jagged Little Pill Acoustic, an album originally (and tellingly) sold exclusively through Starbucks outlets. Morissette and her fans had grown up, and Collection -- an 18-track retrospective of her work -- followed in November 2005. But Morissette wasn't done, returning in 2008 with her seventh studio effort (and fifth international release), Flavors of Entanglement.

Mariah Carey

The best-selling female performer of the 1990s, Mariah Carey rose to superstardom on the strength of her stunning five-octave voice; an elastic talent who moved easily from glossy ballads to hip-hop-inspired dance-pop, she earned frequent comparison to rivals Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, but did them both one better by composing all of her own material. Born in Long Island, NY, on March 27, 1970, Carey moved to New York City at the age of 17 -- just one day after graduating high school -- to pursue a music career; there she befriended keyboardist Ben Margulies, with whom she began writing songs. Her big break came as a backing vocalist on a studio session with dance-pop singer Brenda K. Starr, who handed Carey's demo tape to Columbia Records head Tommy Mottola at a party. According to legend, Mottola listened to the tape in his limo while driving home that same evening, and was so immediately struck by Carey's talent that he doubled back to the party to track her down.

After signing to Columbia, Carey entered the studio to begin work on her 1990 self-titled debut LP; the heavily promoted album was a chart-topping smash, launching no less than four number one singles: "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Someday," and "I Don't Wanna Cry." Her overnight success earned Grammy awards as Best New Artist and Best Female Vocalist, and expectations were high for Carey's follow-up, 1991's Emotions. The album did not disappoint, as the title track reached number one -- a record fifth consecutive chart-topper -- while both "Can't Let Go" and "Make It Happen" landed in the Top Five. Carey's next release was 1992's MTV Unplugged EP, which generated a number one cover of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There." Featured on the track was backup singer Trey Lorenz, whose appearance immediately helped him land a recording contract of his own.

In June 1993, Carey wed Mottola -- some two decades her senior -- in a headline-grabbing ceremony; months later she released her third full-length effort, Music Box, her best-selling record to date. Two more singles, "Dreamlover" and "Hero," reached the top spot on the charts. Carey's first tour followed and was widely panned by critics; undaunted, she resurfaced in 1994 with a holiday release titled Merry Christmas, scoring a seasonal smash with "All I Want for Christmas Is You." 1995's Daydream reflected a new artistic maturity; the first single, "Fantasy," debuted at number one, making Carey the first female artist and just the second performer ever to accomplish the feat. The follow-up, "One Sweet Day" -- a collaboration with Boyz II Men -- repeated the trick, and remained lodged at the top of the charts for a record 16 weeks.

After separating from Mottola, Carey returned in 1997 with Butterfly, another staggering success and her most hip-hop-flavored recording to date. 1's -- a collection featuring her 13 previous chart-topping singles as well as "The Prince of Egypt (When You Believe)," a duet with Whitney Houston effectively pairing the two most successful female recording artists in pop history -- followed late the next year. With "Heartbreaker," the first single from her 1999 album Rainbow, Carey became the first artist to top the charts in each year of the 1990s; the record also pushed her ahead of the Beatles as the artist with the most cumulative weeks spent atop the Hot 100 singles chart.

However, the early 2000s weren't as kind to Carey. After signing an 80-million-dollar deal in 2001 with Virgin -- the biggest record contract ever -- she experienced a very public personal and professional meltdown that included rambling; suicidal messages on her website; an appearance on TRL where, clad only in a T-shirt, she handed out Popsicles to the audience; and last but not least, the poorly received movie Glitter and its attendant soundtrack (which was also her Virgin Records debut). Both the film and the album did poorly critically as well as commercially, with Glitter making just under four million dollars in its total U.S. gross and the soundtrack struggling to make gold sales. Following these setbacks, Virgin and Carey parted ways early in 2002, with the label paying her 28 million dollars. That spring, she found a new home with Island/Def Jam, where she set up her own label, MonarC Music. In December, she released her ninth album, Charmbracelet, which failed to become a success. Although she took nearly three years for a follow-up, Carey found a hit with 2005's chart-topping The Emancipation of Mimi, her most successful record in years. Released by Island Records, the album climbed to multi-platinum status and earned Carey a Grammy Award, thus restoring her status as a megastar in the R&B arena. Two weeks before the release of her subsequent album, E=MC², Carey scored her eighteenth number-one hit with "Touch My Body", a feat that pushed her into second place (past Elvis, no less) amongst all aritsts with the most chart-topping singles. The well-timed accomplished also increased the public's appetite for E=MC², which arrived in April 2008.


Dubbed the "First Lady of Crunk & B" by the producer who should know, Lil Jon, singer Ciara burst onto the scene with the never-gonna-get-it single "Goodies," the breathy "answer song" to Petey Pablo's "Freek-a-Leek." She was born in Austin, TX, but with her father in the Army, Ciara spent time living in Germany, New York, California, Arizona, and Nevada before landing in Atlanta. In her early teens, she got a piece of paper out and wrote down her life's goal, to become a professional singer. She joined a girl group, worked on her songwriting, left the group, landed a publishing deal, and found a "music soul mate" when she met producer Jazze Pha. With Sean Garrett, the co-writer of Usher's massive hit "Yeah!," Ciara co-wrote "Goodies," and when Lil Jon heard the demo, he knew it was going to be big. LaFace released the Lil Jon-produced track in the summer of 2004, and its quick climb to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 was remarkable. With help from Pha, Garrett, and Lil Jon, Ciara released her self-titled debut in September the same year. The follow-up singles "1, 2 Step" featuring Missy Elliott and "Oh" featuring Ludacris both broke the Top Five in the U.S. in 2005. By the end of the year she joined Gwen Stefani on tour before teaming with Bow Wow and Chris Brown for a package tour in early 2006. The Evolution, her second album, was released near the end of the year; though it debuted at the top of the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and a handful of subsequent singles ("Get Up," "Promise," "Like a Boy") placed within the Top 20 of the Hot 100, it did not perform quite as well as the debut. The May 2009 release of Fantasy Ride, her third album, was preceded by a few delays, including a pre-release single that failed to catch fire. Fantasy Ride was, nonetheless, her most star-studded album to date, featuring collaborations with Elliott and Ludacris, as well as the-Dream, Young Jeezy, Chris Brown, and Justin Timberlake.

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson's cd is finally here and of course the question is was it worth the wait and hype? I can say yes for the most part. 'Jennifer Hudson' offers songs that fit this woman's voice - there are no odd selections that will leave you scratching your head or have her reaching far out of her genre. Most of the songs showcase her vocal range with her hitting notes and doing runs that will have you on your feet and applauding in the privacy of your home or car. Is it perfect? Of course not, there are a few things that make it a bit drab and predictable but the good points outweigh the weaknesses and flaws.

The Good: The variety of the songs is the strength of the album. There's variety BUT her voice is never 'off' or subdued. In each song or within each style, the producers and the artist both find ways to keep things interesting and fresh. Unlike many artists, you can tell Hudson actually connected with the music and lyrics, which results in some really moving songs and fun moments. Stand-out tracks for me is the Beyoncé-esque 'If This Isn't Love' which is Hudson at her best in this pop ballad. 'Pocketbook' is also a winner with Hudson bringing out her sassy-edge that makes her endearing. Other tracks that left an impression were 'We Gon' Fight,' and 'Invisible' which contain lyrics many can relate to on some level.

The Bad: A lot of the mid-tempo or slower songs simply blend into one another. While her voice is always on spot, these songs just seem a bit boring because they sound similar. I would have liked to have heard her experiment and take a few more chances as she does on the song 'Pocketbook' but still, these seem a bit too safe and expected or predictable. While I can understand the inclusion of her song 'All Dressed In Love' from Sex and the City: The Movie, I feel like everyone in the world has heard the Dreamgirls track 'And I'm Telling You' and would have rather seen a new track entirely or a remix of the song.

A little dull and unbalanced in parts but in all, it's a good debut album that doesn't seem to be getting the 'spotlight' attention I think it should be. Check it out, you probably won't be let down.


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