Jewel Announces 'Let It Snow' Holiday Album

That headline is no lie, folks. Just because it’s August does not mean it’s too early to discuss the holiday season.

According to a new story on Billboard this morning, folk-pop icon Jewel has announced plans to release a new holiday album entitled Let It Snow. The release, which is the singer’s second holiday themed album to date (Joy was released in 1999), will feature 12 renditions of seasonal favorites such as “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Silver Bells” and “White Christmas,” the latter featuring Vince Gill on guitar. Two original compositions will appear as well.

“I really had an amazing time doing this one,” Jewel tells Billboard. “The great thing about Christmas music is I can cover a lot of territory, from country to jazz style vocals to classical music, arias. That’s what drew me to the last one… And it’s fun writing Christmas music; you get to write in a more classic style and not have to think about current radio or current trends.”

Let It Snow is scheduled for a December release, but no specific date has been set just yet. We’ll update you with more details regarding the album’s release as new information begins to surface.

Friday, May 4th, 2012

"The Voice": Let The Games Begin

After several weeks of blind audition shows, battle rounds on The Voice finally began on Monday night…and they didn’t disappoint. For those of you unfamiliar with the structure of this show, each team has twelve members after blind auditions. The coaches then create six one-on-one battles, for which they also choose the song and celebrity mentor to help train the contestants. The contestants sing the song as a duet, with the coach choosing the winner immediately afterwards.

It’s always interesting to see how the judges match up their battle pairings. More often than not, they’ll choose two artists with very similar styles in order to make their final set of six as strong and diverse as possible. Other times, though, it kind of seems like they just picked names out of a hat. On Monday night, we saw a little of both… (more…)

Vocal Points: A Single Voice Rings Out

Adrina Thorpe, singer-songwriter from California, has been involved with music for a long time. Originally a classically trained musician, she fell in love with songwriting at the tender age of six. Since then, she has turned this love into a craft that she approaches masterfully. But it is not her songs which make her so special; it is her incredible voice that conveys emotion with such intensity and passion that makes her stand apart.

Her vocal ability is off the charts. She has such a powerful voice, but she sings in a way which is never forceful or overbearing. Her voice is flawless”not only can she carry a tune, she can work with her voice to create many different effects. At times her voice is soft and gentle, other times it pierces through you, giving you shivers. Thorpe has an amazing way of picking and choosing the right moments to let her full vocal power out. Obviously, this ability comes from familiarity with her voice and, of course, from practice. Because of her vocal control, Adrina’s second album Halflight & Shadows, which was released in 2009, is incredibly interesting to listen to. From a song like, “Everything Changes” which is more upbeat to “Midnight” which is hauntingly beautiful, you never know what pleasant surprises you’ll find when you listen to the album.


Hot Artist: Bianca Merkley

New York singer-songwriter Bianca Merkley‘s sultry sweet voice is self- described as “tasty as a cupcake”. Bianca lays sandy vocals over simple arrangements with stirring melodies that come together to rival the likes of Jewel and Tori Amos. Starting at only eight years old, Bianca began performing anywhere she could, from company Christmas parties to the 2002 Olympics. At sixteen, when most teenagers would kill to be gifted with a car, Bianca choose a guitar and never looked back. Armed with the same guitar, Bianca’s refreshing sound and conviction move listeners to “forget their problems”, in turn inspiring Bianca’s debut album.

Promise, released in 2007, bakes in everything delicious”from pop to folk and even jazz. Top it off with a dash of Latin influence and you’ve got yourself a tasty treat indeed. You can download Bianca’s track “The Canvas” below, and be sure to check out her interview on

Noms and Snubs: 2011 Grammy Awards

This year was a curious one in GRAMMY world, with some heavy hitters being shut out and some less popular acts finally getting a chance to shine. The ‘Record of the Year’ category is dominated by urban pop, with just one band”CMT Artist of the Year Lady Antebellum (nominated in six categories)”bringing up the rear with their country album Need You Now. Eminem leads the pack with ten nominations for his smash success Recovery, landing on the list for ‘Best Rap Album,’ and Love The Way You Lie, featuring Rihanna, scoring nominations for ‘Record of The Year,’ ‘Song of The Year,’ ‘Best Rap Song’ and ‘Best Rap Collaboration.’

Other hip hop standouts include Cee-Lo’s three nominations for [Forget] You for ‘Record of The Year’ and ˜Song of The Year’ and ˜Best Urban Performance’.  Jay-Z made the list for ˜Best Rap Album’ with Blueprint 3 and again with newlyweds Alicia Keys (with Empire State of Mind up for ˜Best Rap Song’ and Best Rap Collaboration) and Swizz Beatz (with Onto The Next One contending for ˜Best Rap by Duo’ and ˜Best Rap Song’). Keys’ album, Elements of Freedom was shockingly snubbed from all categories, despite its heavy radio play.  Swizz Beats is also nominated for Fancy, his collaboration with Drake, whose debut album,  Thank Me Later earned him a nomination for ˜Best Rap Album,’ while his single Overscored him a bid for ˜Best Solo Rap Performance.’

On the pop front, Katy Perry is the front-runner with four nominations for her album, Teenage DreamKe$ha’s debut,  Animal, failed to garner any attention for the saucy newcomer and Lady Gaga‘s Bad Romance popped up on the shortlist for ˜Best Female Pop Vocal’ but was slighted in the categories of  ˜Song and Record of The Year.’  “Dance In The Dark” earned Gaga a ‘Best Dance Recording’ nom and Telephone, her duet with Beyoncé, earned her a nomination for ˜Best Pop Collaboration.’

B.o.B fared well with his debut album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, earning him five nominations including ˜Record of The Year’ and ˜Best Rap Album’ while his single, Nothin On You featuring Bruno Mars is making a run for ˜Best Rap Song’,  ˜Best Rap Collaboration’ and ˜ Record of The Year’. B.o.B’s duet with Paramore front-woman, Hayley Williams is also up for ˜Best Pop Collaboration.’ Meanwhile, Mars came in with seven nominations for his work with B.o.B., his single, Just The Way You Are and his work as producer with The Smeezingtons who are up for the ˜Producer of The Year’ title.

˜The ‘Best New Artist’ category seems the most diverse with contender Justin Beiber going head to head with Florence and the Machine, Drake, Mumford & Sons, and Esperanza Spalding (who was curiously excluded for any noms in the Jazz category) for the honor. Usher‘s, Raymond V Raymond will go against Chris Brown’s, Grafitti for ˜Best Contemporary R&B Album.’

This is the year of new beginnings. In addition to  Chris Brown’s nomination, fellow tabloid darlings Lee Ann Rimes and Fantasia, whose troubling private lives made very public headlines, end their year on a happier note with nods for the former in ‘Best Female Country Vocal Performance’ and the latter in ‘Best Female R&B Vocal Performance’ and ‘Best R&B Song’ for “Bittersweet.”

There’s a good chance we’ll see last year’s ‘Best New Artist’ winner Zac Brown Band on stage again this year, this time sans stick puppet”2009 addition Clay Cook was unable to accept the award with the band for their win last year because he did not have a credit on their first album. They’re nominated for ‘Best Country Performance,’ ‘Best Country Song’ and ‘Best Country Album.’ Other country favorites Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Miranda Lambert, Jewel also received nominations.

No huge surprises found among artists in the rock categories, with multiple nominations for veterans Jeff Beck (‘Best Rock Album,’ ‘Best Rock Performance’ with Joss Stone and ‘Best Rock Instrumental’) and Neil Young (‘Best Rock Song,’ ‘Best Rock Album’ and Best Solo Rock Performance’) while Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Eric Clapton, John Mayer earning one nom each.  Hard rock and metal showcased no new artist nominations either: Ozzy Osborne, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Iron Maiden, Korn, Megadeth, Lamb of God and Slayer.

For the complete list of nominees across all 100 categories, visit

By Cortney Wills with additional reporting by Paula Gould

Cortney Wills is a pop culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in LA, Chicago and NYC and enjoys all things entertainment.