So much for female empowerment. After winning fans with her “confident, fearless” debut album Shontelligence, the R&B babe is apparently starting over with a less subdued look and an “edgier” sound and style with her second, provocatively titled disc, Licky, out in April. In the video for the album’s second single, “Licky (Under the Covers),” Shontelle struts down Hollywood Boulevard dressed like Rihanna trying to be Lady Gaga (which we know RiRi already does so well). Comparisons to Rihanna are nothing new, since both R&B/pop stars were born in the Barbados, appeared in the vid for “Roll It” together and already share a striking resemblance to one another. Still, Shontelle swears she’s not trying to be a “copycat,” which is apparent in her “Licky” vid: she’s a lot more clothed than Rihanna’s been lately. (Sorry, fellas.)
We sincerely hope the video production crew power-scrubbed the chunk of sidewalk where Shontelle is writhing around. Otherwise, ew. (Amy Winehouse previously shot “Tears Dry on My Own” at that same location, if you needed another reason to consider reaching for your hazmat suit before strolling that section of Hollywood).
It’s only been a few hours and we already have our second Adam Lambert video of the day. Is Adam a true-to-life wild rockstar in this non-sequitur Vevo clip of him trashing a hotel room with an odd assortment of pals, or is he just playing one for the cameras? Either way, we want to party with him and find out. Parts of this nonsensical, but still highly amusing, vid are obviously plotted out (ie. a flatscreen TV thrown out of a hotel window from multiple high-def angles), but mostly it just looks like Glambert and his entourage having a good time jamming to “For Your Entertainment.” Check it out behind the jump.
What, no guitar smashing? No overdosing? No drowning in a pool of your own vomit? Some rockstar he is.
Apparently you can never be too exhausted to meet Oprah. After reportedly collapsing before taking the stage at Purdue University last night, Lady Gaga still managed to show up for her live appearance on today’s Oprah Winfrey Show.
Adorned with a spikey hairpiece, Gaga talked about her desire to inspire listeners of her music, and even teared up at one point while doing so. (Come on, this is Oprah—what did you expect?) That said, amidst all the earnestness, she still managed to toss out a few Gaga-esque gems, like, “I was a go-go dancer, so I like to wear stripper shoes.”
Watch Lady Gaga on The Oprah Winfrey Show below:
“Being provocative is not just about getting people’s attention,” Gaga told Oprah. “It’s about saying something that really affects people in a real way, in a positive way.”
And the singer will apparently put her money where her mouth is. She noted that all the proceeds from one of her upcoming concerts will be donated to relief aid in Haiti following this week’s devastating earthquake in the poverty-stricken nation.
“On the the 24th, the Monster Ball in New York City—all of the money that I make in ticket sales and merchandise that day is going to go to Haiti,” Gaga said. “And on the 24th, you can also go onto LadyGaga.com if you’re not going to the Monster Ball, and any merch that you buy on the website, not a dollar is going to anybody else but Haiti.”
When Winfrey asked what message Gaga most wants people to receive from her music, she replied, “I want them to free themselves and I want them to be proud of who they are. And I want them to celebrate all the things they don’t like about themselves the way that I did.”
Here’s Lady Gaga performing “Monster,” “Bad Romance” and “Speechless” on The Oprah Winfrey Show:
After visiting Anderson Cooper 360 earlier this week to call a “state of emergency” for his home country of Haiti following the disastrous earthquake, Wyclef Jean personally flew down to the devastation to provide hands-on support.
While standing right in the middle of what Jean describes as “the apocalypse,” he and his wife were interviewed by a Fox News reporter who calls the rapper/singer “Haiti’s version of Bono [and] Bruce Springsteen.” Interview after the jump, including other efforts made by Lady Gaga, Blink-182 and other notable names in music to help out the victims from Tuesday’s tragic 7.0 earthquake.
Wyclef Jean flies back to the U.S. today, but he spent the last few days in Port-au-Prince doing whatever he could do to help support the victims of the quake. “We spent the day picking up dead bodies,” he told Fox News on Thursday. “The cemeteries are filled up.”
Wyclef claims that the victim count is considerably higher than what’s being reported. “The count is not 100,000,” he desperately pleads. “It’s more like four to five hundred thousand that is about to die… We have to raise a million dollars a day, otherwise in four or five days, this whole country is going to be in chaos.”
He might very well reach his goal—his non-profit organization Yele Haiti has raised over $2 million in text message and online donations, and many other musicians are joining Wyclef in aiding the victims of the Port-au-Prince disaster.
Lady Gaga announced her own plans for relief while on Oprah today. “On the the 24th, the Monster Ball in New York City—all of the money that I make in ticket sales and merchandise that day is going to go to Haiti,” Gaga told Oprah. “And on the 24th, you can also go onto LadyGaga.com if you’re not going to the Monster Ball, and any merch that you buy on the website, not a dollar is going to anybody else but Haiti.”
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin is urging fans to donate to Oxfam. “I visited Haiti with Oxfam a few years ago,” says Martin. “It’s a country of extreme poverty and brutal living conditions. Most people in Port-au-Prince live in tin shacks. The earthquake that has struck Haiti will have turned the city into an unimaginable hell. The people of Haiti will be desperate for help and assistance.”
Blink-182 are selling T-shirts on their Merch page (which you can purchase here, first shirt on the left) for $15, with all the proceeds going to the Red Cross. So far, so good—according to Blink’s Twitter page, they’ve already raised ten thousand dollars.
Lady Gaga’s fans at Indiana’s Purdue University were prepared to be left “speechless” last night, but they got more than they bargained for when news came that the singer had collapsed just before taking the stage at the school’s Elliot Hall Of Music. Needless to say, her gig had to be rescheduled.
“I’ve been crying for hours, I feel like I let my fans down 2nite,” Gaga wrote on Twitter around 8 p.m. last night. “An hour before the show, I was feeling dizzy and having trouble breathing.”
UPDATE: Lady Gaga’s show in Atlantic City (Saturday, January 16) at the Borgata Casino has now been canceled, and the Monday gig in Mohegan, Connecticut, has been postponed, as well.
Gaga’s publicist later confirmed to Rolling Stone that the singer went down for the count due to exhaustion, and would be out of commission for a few days.
“Due to exhaustion and dehydration, Lady Gaga collapsed and passed out before her show tonight in West Lafayette, Indiana,” the press agent told the publication. “Her physician has advised her to take a few days off to rest.”
She can likely use the time downtime. In fact, just looking at her schedule—which includes her current tour, promoting new single “Telephone,” performing at the Grammys, performing at the amfAR fundraiser during New York Fashion Week, doing Oprah—is draining.
Gaga continued to lament on Twitter: “I hope you can forgive me. I love my little monsters more than anything, you are everything to me. I will make-up the performance on Jan 26.”
One thing that hasn’t been canceled (so far, at least) is the Oprah Winfrey Show appearance. Lady Gaga is expected to show up for the live taping today.
Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey, Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.
It’s a storyline that might sound familiar—unknown Scottish singer with pipes of determined to become a worldwide sensation. But this ain’t another post about Susan Boyle. It’s your introduction to Alex Gardner, a blue-eyed teen with a soulful voice, a guitar slung over his shoulder and demonstrated ability to write his own tunes. Think a U.K. version of Jesse McCartney, but without the hip hop leanings and nude photos. (Well, so far at least.)
Here’s what you need to know about Alex:
HOMETOWN: Edinburgh, Scotland
MUSICAL BACKGROUND: His mother played violin in a local orchestra, while his brother was in a heavy metal band. “I started having piano lessons when I was 5,” Gardner says on his MySpace. “Though I quit when I was 6. I couldn’t stand someone telling me how to do it. If music sounds right, then it has to be right. It shouldn’t matter about the method.”
INFLUENCES: Marvin Gaye, Aztec Camera, Toots & The Maytals and Elvis Presley. In fact, he’s officially being touted as having “the pop-writing craft of George Michael, the looks of a young Elvis and a soul-pop voice to die for,” though the Guardian describes Alex as being “Less techno-ish than Erik Hassle but more dancey than Gary Go… he could be the first breakthrough male star for eons.”
HIS BIG BREAK: Alex was snagged by fellow Scotsman Paolo Nutini to be his opening act. The 18-year-old went on to perform with the Winehouse-esque Paloma Faith and shirtless wonder Mika.
HIS BIGGER BREAK: “Edinburgh is absolutely beautiful, but it can be a bit of a slow-paced city,” Gardner continues on his MySpace. “I wanted to see if there was a bit more excitement in London.” It turns out there is—he was scooped up by U.K. über-producer Brian Higgins, head of the hitmaking Xenomania (Girls Aloud, Pet Shop Boys, Annie ) team, which has turned its attention toward developing artists in recent years. Higgins and Gardner spent the majority of 2009 crafting songs for the singer’s debut album, which is due out this year from A&M/Universal.
WAIT A MINUTE—XENOMANIA AND GUITAR POP? “Performing is such an essential part of what I do,” says Alex. “I was always the guy at parties who’d get the guitar out.”
Here’s a music video for Alex’s acoustic slowie “There Goes My Heart”:
And here’s the very Xenomania-fied “I’m Not Mad,” which is scheduled to be Gardner’s first single release (in March):
Somehow both are pleasant to the ears, though it’ll be interesting to see exactly how much of a high-gloss adjustment Alex’s initial “John Mayer for the teen set” sound is given for his album. (You can hear the acoustic version of “I’m Not Mad” on his MySpace audio player.)
OUR VERDICT: Expressive, soulful vocals blaring out of a skinny white kid from the U.K., laid over some synths and a mid-temp dance beat? Hey, it certainly worked for Rick Astley.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Grab Alex Gardner’s “There Goes My Heart” for free from his official website.
We already knew the photos of Rihanna in this month’s W magazine were stunning (and an eensy bit more demure than her photospread in GQ), but the revelations in her interview were eye-popping as well. The “Hard” singer, whose Rated R album was certified platinum this week, has obviously been reflecting quite a bit on whether she should’ve recognized that she was in an abusive relationship before it all spilled into public view. But she sure isn’t holding back now.
After spending most of 2009 silent, Rihanna has grown increasingly comfortable opening up about the ups and downs of life with Chris Brown. In her20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer she only hinted that their relationship had suffered from ongoing troubles before their fateful pre-Grammy run-in, saying, “The more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other, equally as dangerous.” She gets a bit more specific while speaking to W:
“There were control issues, insecurity. When people are insecure they become very controlling and they can get very aggressive and in turn abusive. It doesn’t have to be physical. Like they would say bad stuff to you to make you feel lesser than them just so they would have control in the relationship. It takes a big toll on your emotions and on your everyday life. It changes you.”
Rihanna explains why she is finally opening up about the assault, and says that it has nothing to do with trashing her ex’s reputation (he’s taking care of that himself, and handily):
“At first, I completely shut down. But now I feel like this happened to me so I could be a voice for young girls who are going through what I went through and don’t know how to talk about it. It’s not about Chris, about hurting him or sabotaging his career. I don’t care about that part of it.”
Well, apparently not that many people are concerned with Chris’ career either, since Graffiti (which currently sits at #43 on the Billboard 200) turned out not to be the giant hit he was looking for to secure a comeback in the public eye.
And as for the Tiger Woods sketch on Saturday Night Live (which aired on the same episode she guested on) that seemed to condone violence in relationships? “It wasn’t offensive to me in any way,” says Rihanna. So, chill, people.
:: OK Magazine does a round table with past Idol finalists Mikalah Gordon, Anoop Desai, Diana DeGarmo and Megan Joy to discuss Week 1 of auditions. Biggest surprise? If that photo is any indication, Megan Joy got hot. [OK]
:: Here’s Skii Bi Ski’s flipbook of mugshots for your viewing pleasure. Skii Bo Ski, baby! [TMZ]
:: Simon Cowell allegedly turned down $100 million to continue hosting American Idol. (Funny, last year that figure was up to $144 million.) And a possible X Factor judge? Former Sony music exec and Mariah Carey ex Tommy Mottola. [Page Six]
Meanwhile, Lambert’s “Whataya Want For Me” video finally premiered today. The toned-down clip finds him with flattened hair, wandering around his home in casual attire (for a change!) looking forlorn. Or is it his home? Fans are also clamoring to know: who’s in the photograph that Glambert keeps staring at? Find out the answers to both after the jump!
Here’s the “Whataya Want From Me” music video, directed by Diane Martel:
Now, just when you might be thinking Adam’s really letting his hair down by inviting us into his pad, the American Idol crooner let fans know that it’s all an illusion: “…the photo is just a random photo the art director pulled from a photo album on the rented location… the photo can be of whoever,” he tweeted.
Oh well, guess will have to hold out for Glambert’s episode of Cribs.
As for the Max Martin and Pink co-written “Whataya Want From Me,” that’s at least real, and it’s become something of a mantra for Lambert in the wake of all the media fire surrounding him since his performance at the American Music Awards in November.
In case you missed it, check out Adam in simpler times, in our pre-AMAs interview with him.
Poor Lady Gaga—the pop star had to cancel her concert in Indiana last night due to exhaustion and dehydration. She profusely apologized on her Twitter, but we’re sure her little monsters will forgive her, especially since they have her debut appearance on Oprah later today to look forward to. Watch a preview here, and check back later in the day to find out what freakazoid outfit Ms. Germanotta picked out for her big tete-a-tete with Momma O. In the meantime, let’s mix it:
Did You Hear?
:: Jason Derulo recounts his adventures on tour with Lady Gaga in a video blog. While shirtless. You’re welcome. [Radar Online]
:: Fantasia performed an hour-long set at the Barbados Music Awards and took home the International Award of Excellence. Her VH1 reality show drew a crowd of 2.3 million viewers, too, so she’s having a pretty damn good week. [Just Jared]
:: Country star John Rich named his new baby boy… wait for it… Cash. [OK!]
Behind the jump: we celebrate the unofficial anthem of Australia.
Music On TV Tonight: :: Last Call with Carson Daly (NBC) – Paolo Nutini (repeat) :: Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien (NBC) – Lifehouse :: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC) – The HotRats
VIDEO REWIND OF THE DAY: This day in 1983, Men at Work scored a number one hit with “Down Under,” which stayed at the top of the charts for four consecutive weeks. Twenty-seven years later, this is still played in just about every backpacker bar in Australia (I know, because I’ve personally been to each and every one of them). Some may find this ditty irritating, but you have to give Men at Work credit for writing a song that stands the test of time. (Sadly, I cannot recommend eating a Vegemite sandwich.)