Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley on 'Rising Star,' 'Planes' sequel and how to keep your band very happy

Come for the drama of 'Rising Star' and stay for the singing

Brad Paisley has been courted for TV talent competitions before, but “Rising Star” was one he couldn’t resist. “I just can’t believe the concept. It’s an idea whose time has come,” he says. “People are used to instant gratification, they’re used to short attention span theater…Being able to influence the outcome of a show like this while someone’s still singing their song will be unbelievable.”

He will be joined by fellow “experts,” Kesha and Ludacris on the show, as well as host Josh Groban. On “Rising Star,” viewers vote to allow a contestant to proceed to the next round as the singer is performing. Paisley, Kesha, and Ludacris will mentor the singers and will also control 7% of the vote.

Paisley will juggle the 10-week summer series, which debuts on ABC on Sunday (22), with his tour, writing songs for Pixar’s “Planes” sequel, “Planes: Fire & Rescue,” and wrapping up his new album, “Moonshine in the Trunk,” out Aug. 26.

“Planes: Fire & Rescue”  marks the third Pixar movie for which Paisley has provided songs.  “When [Pixar head] John [Lasseter] showed me the movie, he said, ‘this is a chance for you to pay tribute to your dad, your brother-in-law and the people in your family.’  I come from a family of firefighters. It was one of the easier most heartfelt song easiest songs I’ve had to write in years,” Paisley says. He also recorded another tune that plays during a scene at a country bar.

Speaking of bars, one played prominently in the recording of “Moonshine,” an album which Paisley says, appropriately enough, “is soaked in alcohol. I built a bar in the studio, an actual working Irish pub-like saloon, that’s got four taps and every sort of whiskey and scotch on the shelf. And if you build it they will cut, your band will come down and cut songs for you. We just made it a big party.”

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Sam Smith

Sam Smith totally owns Whitney Houston's 'How Will I Know': Listen

It's a new classic to go with the original classic

Sam Smith, whose “In The Lonely Hour,” came out this Tuesday, has been on the promotion circuit this week. In addition to playing his own songs during a stop at Sirius XM, he covered Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know.” And when we say “covered,” we mean “owned.”

He took her early, peppy hit and turned it into a heartbreaking ballad of uncertainty, longing, and with just the right amount of ache. Accompanied only by a keyboard, his restrained version upends the original. So now we have Houston's incomparable, exuberant original to make us smile and dance and Smith's rendition to make our bottom lip tremble a little. If you want a little more delicious synchronicity, both Houston and Smith were 22 when they recorded their versions of the song.

This is how you do a cover, folks…

 

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Gerry Goffin

Legendary lyricist Gerry Goffin, Carole King's songwriting partner, dead at 75

He and King created more than 50 Top 40 hits

Gerry Goffin, who co-wrote such pop classics as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,”  “The Loco-Motion,”  “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “One Fine Day,”  “Up on The Roof,” “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman” and many more with ex-wife Carole King, died today at 75.

“Gerry Goffin was my first love. He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world,” King said in a statement. “Gerry was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have His name will forever be remembered as one of the greatest songwriters of all time and his songs, which are among the best ever written, will live on forever, touching generations of the future just as much as they have touched the generations of the past.touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship…His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say.”

In addition, on her Twitter page, King posted “There are no words” along with a picture of Goffin in his early twenties.

Goffin put words to King’s soaring melodies. Together they crafted more than 50 top 40 hits, many of them with poignant, yearning lyrics. He continued writing after their divorce in 1968, including co-writing Whitney Houston’s “Savin’ All My Love For You” and “The Theme to Mahogany,” performed by Diana Ross.

King and Goffin’s relationship is the subject of current Broadway musical, “Beautiful.”  The pair were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.

On Twitter, a number of other legendary songwriters commented on Goffin’s passing, including the great songwriting team of Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, who also were Brill Building writers. “Now that Gerry Goffin is gone a part of us is gone 2 but we still have his lyrics and our great memories. We will miss him.”

Diane Warren tells HitFix in an exclusive statement, “His name will forever be remembered as one of the greatest songwriters of all time and his songs, which are among the best ever written, will live on forever, touching generations of the future just as much as they have touched the generations of the past.”

Goffin is survived by his wife, Michelle, and five children.

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Coldplay

Chris Martin plays an amiable Pied Piper in Coldplay's new 'A Sky Full of Stars' video: Watch

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Have drum, will travel

Chris Martin is a one-man band at the start of the video for “A Sky Full of Stars,”  but he’s far from alone. And by the time the song, the poppiest entry on  the British band’s new set, “Ghost Stories,” ends he has lots of new friends for his adventures.

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Fun.

Fun. debuts new song, 'Harsh Lights' on 'Jimmy Fallon': Watch

Nate Ruess-led band continues its anthemic ways


Fun. returned with the period in its name intact and with new music on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” last night when it  debuted “Harsh Lights.”

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alt-J

Alt-J samples Miley Cyrus on new 'Hunger of the Pine': Listen

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Yes, you read that right

Mercury Prize-winning British band, alt-J is back with the haunting, atmospheric, electronic ballad “Hunger of the Pine,” which samples, of all people, Miley Cyrus. The song, which debuted on NPR today, makes very judicious spare use of the the line, “I’m a female rebel,” from Cyrus’s tune “4x4.” While the sample may seem an odd choice, Spin reports that the band's drummer, Thom Green, talked about his desire to collaborate with Cyrus in an interview GQ. Maybe there's more than a sample comping.

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Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves releases new tune, 'The Trailer Song'

No, that's not her underwear hanging on the line, thank you very much


Kacey Musgraves, who hits the road with Katy Perry on Sunday (22) in Raleigh, N.C., performed a new tune, “The Trailer Song,” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” last Friday and now a recorded version of the song is available for purpose on iTunes starting today.

It's the first new music from Musgraves since the release of her Grammy-winning album, "Same Trailer, Different Park." The song, which melodically resembles a slowed-down “Merry Go Round” at times,” is an intentionally old-school, traditional country track about nosy neighbors.

“You ain’t got to act like you’re borrowing eggs just to see if my dishes are washed/What’s it to you if it’s Wednesday afternoon and I’ve traded my ice tea for scotch,” she sung. While her short black shorts were definitely not standard issue country, her hair —teased into a mini-bouffant— recalled early Loretta, Tammy and Dolly.

No word on the song, which she performs in concerts and has played at the Grand Ole Opry,, will be on her follow up to  “Same Trailer.”  Musgraves wrote the song with Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark, with whom she also penned “Follow Your Arrow.”

Musgraves' episode of CMT's "Crossroads" with Perry is airing now. Below is the "Tonight Show" version of the song. Fans can buy a studio version through her website or iTunes.

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Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea's 'Fancy' still rides high on singles chart

Nico & Vinz and Magic! also soaring with debut


Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, remains in the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 as the Australian rapper’s break through single spends its fourth week at No. 1.

She also holds at No. 2 as the featured guest on Ariana Grande’s “Problem.”  We’ll see if her guest spot on T.I.’s new track, “No Mediocre,” also zooms onto the chart.

Newcomers Magic! continue their zoom up the charts as first single, “Rude,” soars 7-3, pushing John Legend’s “All of Me” down one spot to No. 4. Learn more about reggae/pop act here.

Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” featuring Snoop Dogg, stays at No. 5 (Snoop Dogg also comes onto the chart at No. 26 as the guest on Psy’s “Hangover” at No. 26.). DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s  “Turn Down For What” drops 4-6.

Pop duo Nico & Vinz’s “Am I Wrong” continues its upward trajectory, rising 8-7. Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” drops 6-8. Both Calvin Harris’ “Summer” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” stay at No. 9 and No. 10 respectively, according to Billboard.

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Josh Groban

Josh Groban on 'Rising Star' and lessons learned from Kelly Ripa

What makes the singer feel like 'half a person?'

 

Josh Groban is, of course, known for his warm baritone, but he also has proven quite an affable host, as his guest stints on “Live With Kelly” showed.  The long-running morning show used his as a frequent fill in and the rumor was that he was considered a possible replacement for Regis Philbin before ultimately selecting Michael Strahan.

So it makes sense that Groban will serve as host for “Rising Star,” ABC’s new summer talent competition. He tells Hitfix that he’s certainly seen the work of fellow singing show hosts “American Idol’s” Ryan Seacrest and “The Voice’s” Carson Daly, but he plans to set his own path.

“I think the reason they got me is I’m me,” he says. “I don’t want it to be anything other than what I have to offer. Maybe they’ll like it maybe they won’t.”

He adds that he learned a lot about live TV from his co-hosting duties with Kelly Ripa: “When you have someone as brilliant as Kelly to riff off of and have dialogue with, she makes it look easy,” he says. “When you can make it look easy and put the audience at ease, that’s when it’s the best. That’s what I learned from that experience.”

Though he’s a host, he’ll also serve as an expert, “to give [the contestants] advice before they go out there, to talk to them about their song choices, to talk to them about bringing out that uniqueness that they may not know they have.”  The official experts are Kesha, Brad Paisley and Ludacris. Check out our interview with Kesha here.

Groban goes back on tour in August, while “Rising Star” is still in its 10-week run. It will be a bit of a juggling act, he admits: “I’m going to do a little flying. I’m going to have some great outdoor orchestra concerts this summer, mostly on the east coast this summer.”

“Rising Star,” which debuts June 22,  will rely on the experts and Groban, to mentor the contestants, who then perform in front of a wall. As viewers at home vote on whether the contestant should go on to the next level, the wall will either rise —if they get enough votes to pass on to the next round— or stay down. While the experts will get to vote (their total vote share is 7%), the fate of the contestants is in the hands of the at-home viewers and the results will be immediately known. To be able to vote, viewers can download the “Rising Star” app here.

Groban also explains in the video how the show works for viewers on the west coast, given that “Rising Star” airs live and the results are announced in real time. The short answer is yes,  Pacific time zone votes will count too.

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Sam Smith

Album Review: Sam Smith's 'In The Lonely Hour' is this year's most promising debut

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He backs up the hype with true talent


Sam Smith has already been declared the next big thing in his native U.K., where he has proved to be a superstar in the making. Will he similarly be able to conquer America with his debut full-length album, “In The Lonely Hour?” In a word, yes.

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