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Grammy Awards Nominations 2014

This past Friday, the 56th Annual Grammy Awards nominations were announced during the Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night which featured performances by Taylor Swift, Lorde, Katy PerryMacklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Among the nominees were the above mentioned performers, along with a slew of others that you’d expect including Daft Punk, Zedd, Michael Bublé, The National, and Vampire Weekend. Check out the full list of nominations below. (more…)

Lorde, The Beatles, Lady Gaga Contribute To Philippines Relief Album

What do The Beatles, Lorde, Cher, and Lady Gaga all have in common? No, this isn’t a bad joke. In fact, it’s pretty cool. The iconic superstars will be just some of the mega-acts contributing to a new relief album for Typhoon Haiyan. Coming in at a whopping 39 tracks, Songs for the Philippines is available on iTunes, with all proceeds being donated to the Philippine Red Cross. View the track list below and donate here. (more…)

'The Voice' Is Back: What's New For Season 3?

It’s hard to believe that The Voice is already back, but we’re not complaining.

The second season of the hit singing competition, which stars Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Cee-Lo Green as judges, only just wrapped in May. With the third season kicking off tonight, here are some exciting new twists you can look forward to.

  • Bigger teams: The teams have been increased from 12 up to 16 contestants, which is twice as many as were on the Season 1 teams. The result? Battle rounds AND “knockout rounds.” This is going to be intense.
  • Stealing: We’ve all seen this happen: Two amazing contestants go up against each other, their coach rambles on about how much s(he) loves both of them, and said coach eventually has to make the heartbreaking elimination. Now, the other three coaches will have the ability to steal the eliminated contestant and add them to their team. This is sure to cause some drama (and heightened competition between the coaches).
  • New mentors: The Voice is all about musical diversity. Last season, we had the opportunity to see contestants of all backgrounds get mentored by the likes of Alanis Morissette, Kelly Clarkson, Lionel Richie and Ne-Yo. This time around, they’ll be working with mentors from completely different genres than their coaches, which is sure to make for some great TV. Offering up their pearls of wisdom will be Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day (Team Christina), Mary J. Blige (Team Adam), Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 (Team Cee-Lo), and Michael Bublé (Team Blake).
  • More familiar faces: Viewers of the first two seasons may have noticed some singers they already knew, including Dia Frampton of Meg & Dia, Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter, and singer-songwriter Charlotte Sometimes. This season, we’ll be seeing former Hey Monday vocalist Cassadee Pope…and maybe even an OurStage artist or two?
  • More singing from all contestants: In the past, we’ve gone too long without seeing certain contestants sing, depending on the competition schedule. This season, all current contestants will sing during live shows, so you won’t miss your favorites.
  • More Purrfect: We all know that the real breakout star of Season 2 was Purrfect, Cee-Lo’s snow-colored, sour-faced cat. She randomly showed up in his arms about halfway through the competition, and was soon immortalized on his clothing (and on Twitter). Judging from her most recent tweets, the famous feline will be back on Mr. Green’s lap for more vocal warefare this fall.

Season 3 begins with a three-night premiere starting tonight at 8PM EST. Check out a special preview of the blind auditions below!

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Michael Buble Jessica Black
David Bowie Lana Del Rey

Tony Bennett Joins Forces With… Everyone

Few artists can include World War II veteran, jazz singer, painter and MTV fixture on their resume, but Tony Bennett has it sewn up. Almost twenty years after breaking through to the MTV generation and twice that in the industry, Bennett is relevant yet again with Duets II.

MTV Networks premiered Bennett’s duet of “Body and Soul” with the late, great Amy Winehouse (watch the video after the jump), and with another song recorded with the unstoppable Gaga, Duets II debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s top albums chart, selling 179,000 units in the first week and holding steady in the Top 5 on iTunes.

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The EP Effect: Ke$ha, Taylor Swift and Adam Lambert Mine Platinum In Under 10 Songs

They don’t make albums like they used to. These days, acts like Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé and  the cast of Glee are keeping it short and cheap with the EP” an “extended play” release that generally features under ten songs for under $10. Sure the full-length, full-price set is alive, if not altogether well, but lately the EP is giving it a run for its online retail money.

Leading the parade of EP-embracing pop stars is Sweden’s Robyn. Rather than following up her 2005 self-titled international breakthrough with a proper album, Robyn released three Body Talk EPs over the course of five months this year. Five tracks from each EP appear on her fifth full-length album, also called Body Talk, which hit stores on November 22nd. Twelve days earlier, another buzzed-about Swedish act, the Radio Dept. released their eleventh EP, Never Follow Suit.

Last year, fellow Canucks Justin Bieber and Drake both preceded their platinum 2010 full-length debuts with successful EPs, and Lady Gaga released The Fame Monster as an addendum to The Fame ” a stand-alone set. Not only did it go platinum and launch three Top 10 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100, but it just received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year (possibly an EP first). More recently, Usher’s Raymond v. Raymond EP spin-off, Versus, went Top 10, as did Michael Bublé’s Crazy Love offshot, Hollywood: The Deluxe EP. Ke$ha‘s Animal sequel and/or companion piece, Cannibal, came out on November 22nd,  followed by Adam Lambert‘s Acoustic Live! EP which arrived this week. Ke$ha’s Cannibal was the first of the recent flood of EPs to spawn a No. 1 single: the one-week wonder “We R Who We R.”

Of course, where there’s a music trend, Glee soon follows. There’ve been three Glee EPs so far, including Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart last spring.

This holiday season, Michael Bublé, Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift all have Top 40 Christmas EPs, as does America’s Got Talent‘s 10-year-old opera-singing sensation Jackie Evancho. O Holy Night, her four-song EP (with a bonus DVD) entered Billboard’s album chart at No. 2, with first-week sales of 239,000, beating out new albums by multi-platinum superstars Rihanna, Josh Groban, Kid Rock, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban. The lower retail list price ($8) helped, but EPs are cheaper to produce and usually aren’t marketed as heavily ”or expensively ” as regular albums, which in recent years have been producing significantly diminished returns on a still-costly investment. When the contents of EPs are mostly live tracks or leftovers from the studio sessions for the preceding album, artists and record labels can reap financial benefits from them with minimized overhead cost.

One already noticeable effect of the EP explosion is that full-length albums (in their original state, minus iTunes, deluxe-edition and Japanese-version extras) are getting shorter. Gone, for the most part, are those marathon seventeen-song sets, padded with filler just so fans can feel like they are getting a lof for their money. More pop stars are wrapping it up after ten to thirteen tracks. The official version of Susan Boyle’s The Gift features ten, while Rihanna’s Loud has eleven, which is the same length as Live It Up, the debut album from American Idol season-nine champ Lee DeWyze. Christina Aguilera and Cher’s Burlesque soundtrack is a concise ten songs (compared to Aguilera’s eighteen-track Bionic from June), as is Duffy’s just-released sophomore set, Endlessly.

Expect the lines between EPs and regular albums to become more blurred in the future, to the point where it’s hard to tell them apart. Fans may end up getting fewer songs per release, but for artists looking to make an easier buck while keeping new music on the radio (or elsewhere) less is going to be so much more.

By Jeremy Helligar

Jeremy Helligar is a former staff writer for People, Teen People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly, who now writes about celebrities and pop culture from his couch in Buenos Aires.

Viewer Discretion Advised: Greg Lato

Artists wear many hats here on OurStage. From singing to songwriting to performing to producing…the list goes on and on. Often times, artists are so good at multi-taking it can make our heads spin. It’s not easy to be a Jack of all trades, and artists often take many detours on the way to the finished product. OurStage artist Greg Lato started writing melodies at the tender age of 7 and went on to release his first EP to rave reviews which was followed by college tours, record store signings and television and radio appearances. But as to be expected with our musical magicians, his career took a detour.

Greg began writing for other artists and his time was consumed with traveling across the country. He decided to get back on track and record Monday Morning Breakdown, an album chock full of influences including late ’70s/early ’80s tunes and modern pop.

But despite all the writing, singing and recording, its his “acting” chops in the music video for “Monday Morning Breakdown” that makes us think he should to head to Hollywood next. The video (directed by Ryan Gibeau for Rock It Films) is cheeky and charming, and leaves us all longing for 5:00 PM. And while we can’t put our finger on exactly what it is, there’s just something about it that makes us think he could be a bit of Michael Bublé in training. Check it out below.

www.ourstage.com

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

OK Go debut another expertly timed music video

OK Go

On Monday OK Go debuted their video for This Too Shall Pass, and reaffirmed their status as music’s most synchronized video stars. This time around, they joined forces with Synn Labs in Los Angeles to build a large-scale chain-reaction machine to serve as the focal point of the video. The results include lots of funny, bizarre and often poetic effects, not to mention some pretty badass paintball action. Check it out here.

The Bad

Kanye’s got a new blog

Kanye West

Well Kanye West is back at blogging, and his newly redesigned site has made his all-caps-stream-of-consciousness rants at least 10 font sizes larger. In this edition, Kanye laments the passing of Alexander McQueen and his mother, muses about the ancient Egyptians being robbed of their MTV awards and still finds space to remind us all that he is brilliant and sometimes his genius makes him cry. That and the booze. Read all about it here.

The Ugly

Mini Lady Gaga and mini Ke$ha prompt the question, What’s wrong with kids these days?

What makes you fear the future more “ a small child pretending to brush her teeth with a bottle of Jack to Ke$ha’s Tik Tok or a small child crawling pants-less across the stage to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance? We’ll let you decide. We have to go lie down.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

OSBlog02_Discourse_Feb10_Week1

The Good

Entire music industry enlisted for remake of We Are The World

wearetheworld

We Are The World: Part Deux

Right, maybe not everyone. They didn’t invite Ke$ha, for example. (Possibly because she brushes her teeth with Jack Daniels.) But at least 100 of your favorite musicians took part in a remake of the famous 1984 musical collaboration, We Are The World. Quincy Jones, who produced the first version, and Lionel Richie, who co-wrote it, recruited stars ranging from Barbara Streisand to Lil Wayne to take part in a new rendition to benefit victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The event went down at Jim Henson Studio in Hollywood on Monday, and will be broadcast on February 12 on NBC prior to the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Check out the video here.

Simon Cowell leads charity recording of Everybody Hurts

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell

Quincy and Lionel weren’t the only ones busy producing benefit singles for the victims of Haiti. Simon Cowell enlisted the help of star talent as well for a recording of the REM song Everybody Hurts. Susan Boyle, Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Michael Bublé and a dozen or so more performers lent their voices to the track, which is already playing on UK airwaves and will be available for download on February 7th. Take a listen here.

The Bad

Fall Out Boy = dunzo?

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy

Looks like it. In an interview with Spin, frontman Patrick Stump confirmed rumors pretty succinctly when he said, I’m not in Fall Out Boy right now. This statement echoes a similar one made by Pete Wentz on his Twitter page in which the bassist says, I can’t imagine playing in FOB again. R.I.P. until the reunion tour, fellas.

The Ugly

Courtney Love and Mariah Carey (almost) collaborate

Courtney Love

Courtney Love

In the Diva Clash of 2010 that never was, Courtney Love reveals that she came this close to collaborating with Mariah Carey on Samantha, the first track off the new Hole album Nobody’s Daughter. Also revealed in the interview: Mimi likes to take up a lot of room in the photobooth.

Miscellany

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