Mary Lambert

Interview: Mary Lambert on making Keith Urban cry

Why she co-directed her new video for 'Body Love'

Mary Lambert’s new video for  her poignant, powerful “Body Love”  truly celebrates all shapes and sizes.

“Gay rights and body acceptance are two things I feel very passionately about,” the “Same Love” singer told us on the red carpet at the ASCAP Awards, April 23. She felt so strongly about making sure the message was correct that she co-directed the “Body Love” clip herself with Jon Jon Augustavo (who helmed the “Same Love” music video).  “There was an element that I absolutely needed to have and that was the mother/daughter aspect. That a lot of what we encounter and how we view our bodies is generational.  A lot of times you watch your mother self-deprecate in front of you and you internalize that.”

Lambert is now bitten with the director bug, but “songwriting and music is my core right now and what I want to focus on, but I have a lot of aspirations.”

She still gets a smile out of the fact that the camera caught Keith Urban shedding a tear during the emotional same sex and opposite sex mass wedding that took place at this year's Grammys, as she and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed “Same Love.”  The song continues to touch people and Lambert continues to hear stories about how the song has affected them. Here she recounts a touching story about someone’s coming out journey.

Lambert also talks about her new album, coming out this summer. She wants to increase her commercial appeal.  “I want to hear these songs on the radio. I want people to sing them, but still put a positive energy out in the world.”

Lambert released an EP, “Welcome to the Age of My Body” in December.

Jermaine Dupri

Mariah Carey will tour behind new album, according to Jermaine Dupri

Watch our video: Dupri on why Carey's the last of the great singers

Mariah Carey’s closest collaborator,  producer and now co-manager Jermaine Dupri, understandably thinks that Mimi is the last of the great singers still regularly releasing albums.

We chatted with Dupri at the ASCAP Pop Awards Wednesday night. The video opens as we’re asking why she may be having a bit of a tough time taking off at radio, but he deflected us and explained that “The Art of Letting Go” was never an official single— it was meant to remind the fans what a great voice she has—when we were actually asking about “You’re Mine (Eternal),” which was released as an official single around Valentine’s Day. However, we both agree that Carey is one of the most successful artists ever.

“When I came in to help on the management side, I heard a lot of people saying they weren’t getting the Mariah Carey records they were used to. they weren’t getting the ballads. To this day, Celine Dion isn’t dropping records the way she used to and we lost Whitney Houston. There’s not really a person or people out there that’s putting this type of music out there. I feel like Mariah is that person.”

He reveals that Carey will be touring behind this album, which isn’t always a given with her.  He says “yes” when I asked if she was going on a full tour. Carey’s oft-delayed new album comes out May 6, although we don't see it listed as a pre-order on Amazon, so we're checking with the label and will keep you posted.

Dupri is working on new albums on Usher, Jagged Edge, and Bow Wow.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry shows off her 'golden nuggets' in hilarious 'Birthday' video

You may not want her to come to your party

Everyone loves to celebrate their birthday, but they might not want to invite Katy Perry after watching her video for “Birthday.”

In the very amusing clip, Perry plays several different characters, ranging from a geriatric stripper (nicknamed Goldie because of her “golden nuggets”) to an alcoholic clown, an unartistic face painter with a horrible case of vocal fry, a very hungry beat-boxing Bat Mitzvah MC straight out of the Borscht Belt, and an animal trainer who may want to rethink his career choice.  

In each scenario, let’s just say things do not go as planned for the birthday celebrants, and the video is appropriated dubbed “The World’s Worst Birthday Party Entertainers” for a reason. However, all's well that ends well, especially for a group of little girls, who get the surprise of their young lives.

Perry is such a natural in front of the camera, a great mimic, and totally fearless, which all makes for a very fun video that reveals something different on each viewing.

During her CMTCrossroads” taping with Kacey Musgraves, she revealed that this was her most “insane” clip yet and she wasn’t kidding…

Tom Petty

Interview: Tom Petty is ready to rock with new album, 'Hypnotic Eye'

Why it's been so long between albums

Tom Petty received the Founders Award Wednesday night from performing rights organization ASCAP for the contributions he’s made to songwriting, but when Petty talked with HitFix, he was much more interested in talking about his songs to come rather than the ones in his past, especially the tunes on his forthcoming album, “Hypnotic Eye,” tentatively scheduled for release this summer.

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Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams' 'Happy' makes it a fine nine at the top

Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown enter the top 10

“Happy” remains atop the Billboard Hot 100 for a ninth week, making Pharrell Williams one of only six solo male artists to spend a cumulative half year at No. 1, according to Billboard.

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Avril Lavigne
Credit: Epic Records

5 Steps Avril Lavigne needs to take to get her career back on track

Can she rebound from the 'Hello Kitty' fiasco?

Avril Lavigne has been all over the press the past two days for all the wrong reasons. Her tone-deaf video for new single, “Hello Kitty,” is already a leading contender for worst video of the year… so bad that YouTube yanked it (although it is still up on Lavigne’s website; you can watch it here while you chuck cupcakes and roll around in your underwear.

The nearly unlistenable EDM track is meant for Hello Kitty aficionados only (Lavigne, herself, being one), and the video features Lavigne awkwardly lip-syncing through the song backed by robot-like, expressionless Asian women. Didn’t she learn from Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls experience that even if you mean their inclusion as an homage (perhaps in this case, to Lavigne’s massive Asian following), it’s going to backfire?

The truth is that Lavigne has been on a bit of a downward slope even before “Hello Kitty.” She’s a global superstar, having sold more than 35 million albums and having won  eight Juno Awards, but she’s struggled at radio lately. Her last top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was “Girlfriend” in 2007, which went all the way to No. 1. So far, the highest a single from current album has risen is No. 20 for first single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up.”

Here are five steps she needs to take to get her career back on track:

1. Decide if she wants to make music anymore. On her latest self-titled album, it feels like Lavigne is calling it in from some very remote location. First single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up,” which recalled her brat punk past, wasn’t a good fit for anyone over 21. “Rock n Roll” was better, but it felt empty instead of fun, and it peaked at No. 91. The best track, “Let Me Go,” a lovely ballad with her husband, Chad Kroeger, didn’t get the attention it deserved, and current single, “Hello Kitty,” is a misfire in every way. The album felt like it was made by someone with one foot out the door.

2. Stop being in her own videos: It’s not just the “Hello Kitty” video that is horrific. (And if you want to read a piece that really doesn’t pull any punches about the clip, check this one out). Lavigne has never seemed comfortable in her videos. That’s OK, some artists just aren’t. In fact, most of the time, she looks distinctly unhappy to be there and like she can’t wait for it to be over. The exception seem to be the ballads, such as the video for “Wish You Were Here,” from 2011’s “Goodbye Lullaby” album or the aforementioned “Let Me Go” clip. But some of her other clips are cringeworthy in that her reluctance is palpable.

3. Figure out who she is as an artist and what she wants to say:  When she first burst on the scene in 2002, through songs like “Complicated,” “Sk8ter Boi” and “I’m With You,” we instantly understood who she was: a snot-nosed teenage kid with both attitude and heart. She was a toasty marshmallow: crusty on the outside, but soft on the inside. Over the years, she’s thrown us, veering in different directions and taking long breaks. She needs to find a producer who can take her vision and where she is now — as a married, 29-year old— and capture that instead of leaving her and us dangling and a little confused, like the last few albums have done.

4. Sell herself on the road: Lavigne hits the concert trail this summer with the Backstreet Boys. It seems like an odd pairing to me: the only thing they have in common is that they were having hits at approximately the same time. Regardless, it’s Lavigne’s opportunity to show her fans and BSB’s fans that she still wants to be in the game, that getting before an audience and performing these songs that many of them grew up on is enjoyable to her and that she lives to be on that stage and wants to keep doing it.

5. Find a way to communicate more effectively: Lavigne now has a perception problem. I interviewed her a few months ago and she was lovely and friendly.  I was struck by the difference in my perception of her as a somewhat remote artist versus the warmth she displayed in the interview, especially when she talked about her fans and what they mean to her and how much she loves being on stage. Somehow, the fact that she may actually enjoy what she does has gotten lost. She needs to find a way, either through more interviews, TV appearances, some other method, to get that across.

Coldplay
Credit: NBC

Coldplay debuts haunting new song, 'Oceans': Listen

Check out the trailer for the group's May 18 NBC special and Georgio Moroder remix

Coldplay's new album, "Ghost Stories," is shaping up to be quite the stripped down, atmospheric set, given the three songs the band has unveiled.

Following "Midnight" and "Magic," the British band debuted "Oceans" on BBC 1. The song, anchored by a lonely, steady, synth note reminiscent of a submarine sonar,  finds Chris Martin trying to resurrect a relationship, declaring he's "ready for the pain" as they prepare to meet in the rain. The song concludes with his singing,  "You've got to find yourself alone in this world."  Of course, now every song that band releases will be filtered through the prism of Martin's separation from Gwyneth Paltrow.

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Beyonce

Beyonce joins Boots on sexy "Dreams": Listen

Bey returns favor to 'Beyonce' producer

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours: After Boots produced cuts on Beyonce’s December Surprise album, Bey returns the favor by contributing vocals to his new single, “Dreams.”

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Lorde

Lorde cancels tour, citing illness

Dates will likely be rescheduled for November

Lorde has cancelled her Australian tour, citing “general ill health.” The outing was slated to begin Thursday (24) in Melbourne.

As a sweet reminder that she is still a young girl, the 17-year old noted on Twitter  that “I’m so gutted to have to do this, but my parents and my team stepped in telling me I needed a break after being non-stop since the Grammys in January.” Lorde snagged both best pop solo performance and song of the year for her breakthrough hit, “Royals.” at the awards show.

She broke the news of her “nasty chest infection,” just a day after playing for more than 40,000 at Coachella in Indio, Calif.

Lorde added that the eight dates will most likely be rescheduled for November. “I just need time to get back to full Gollum girl fitness before I go out playing shows again. I’m truly sorry if I let you down or if you feel inconvenienced by this and I hope you can understand.”

She’s the second young artist to cancel tour dates due to illness in a week: Miley Cyrus cancelled the remainder of her U.S. dates on Friday as she continues to recover from a “severe allergic reaction” to medicine.

Kacey Musgraves and Katy  Perry
Credit: CMT

Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves saddle up for CMT's 'Crossroads' taping

Read all about it before the episode premieres in June

LOS ANGELES—For the 50th episode of its genre-swapping performance show, “Crossroads,” CMT turned to two female performers at the top of their game: Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves. (SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading now if you don't know the songs they performed)

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