Mariah Carey

6 producers who should work with Mariah Carey now that Jermaine Dupri is out

What would it sound like if Rick Rubin produced Mariah Carey?

There’s more chaos in Mariah Carey Land as she and her manager Jermaine Dupri have parted  ways and veteran label executive Kevin Liles is now handling Team Mariah.

As you’ll recall, Dupri was only on board as her official manager since last fall, but he and Carey have a very long history as musical collaborators, going back to 1995’s “Daydream.” He served as executive producer on Carey’s latest set, “Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse," and co-produced five tracks on the album.

As you know, that album continues to circle the drain. It’s worst than if she’d never released an album because she now has this huge commercial failure around her neck. “Mariah” sold 58,000 in its first week of release in May, which was by far her poorest showing in her 25-year career.  It’s a shame because the album, as overstuffed and scattered as it was, had some strong cuts that got thrown out there, but didn't really get their due, like "You Don't Know What To Do," featuring Wale or "Make It Look Good."

But I would never, ever count Carey out. She has too much talent and too much determination. She can rise again. The question is who is the right partner to help her do so.

It’s unclear from today’s news if Dupri will continue working with Carey musically, despite his noting that it’s a possibility in his statement to Billboard about the management shift. It read, in part, “I put my all into every project. But when I’m not allowed to do what I do, then it’s time for me to move on. Mariah and I enjoy working together and will continue to make great music together in the future.” I'm not so sure the first part of that sentence doesn't overrule the second part. Regardless, they may need a break.

So if we take Dupri out of the picture, here are six potential producers for Carey’s next album and what they would bring to the table.

Pharrell: They’ve worked together before, including on 2005’s mega-successful “The Emancipation of Mimi,” when he co-wrote “Say Somethin’,” featuring Snoop Dogg, and co-produced the tune with Chad Hugo, his Neptunes partner-in-crime. Along with his newfound superstar status, Pharrell has become the most mainstream of producers: he makes songs that appeal to tweens and soccer moms and everyone inbetween. Carey’s known for her ballads and they could throw a few on here, but what if they just went for a sunny, upbeat, fun album that showed off her pipes, but also made it all seem effortless?

Don Was: Hey, if he’s good enough for the Rolling Stones, he’s good enough for Mariah, but we imagine him giving Carey the Bonnie Raitt treatment. His work with Raitt on 1989’s “Nick Of Time” catapulted her into stardom after she’d been dropped by Warner Bros. The album went on to sweep the Grammys. Was probably couldn’t get Carey back on the charts, but he could probably nab her some great taste-maker press and some Grammy noms if they made a record with stripped-down production and really confessional, heartfelt lyrics that reflected where she is in her mid-40s.

Dr. Luke: This is the most obvious choice if she wants to try to get back on Top 40 radio, but I don’t think it’s really a good fit. At this point, it would feel like a desperation play by Carey and she’s too good for that.

Dann Huff: Carey has a ragged determination to prove that she’s still street on every album and it’s hard to do that when you’re looking down from the penthouse. She also likes to pair with current hip hop or R&B acts to keep her credibility in those genres. What if she let all that go and just made a contemporary pop album that aimed for AC. Look at what Huff has done with acts like Faith Hill and Keith Urban…or even his work on Whitney Houston’s debut. He’s found a way to highlight their pop sensibilities without sacrificing their personalities. Carey would have to be willing to let go of her R&B side.

Walter Afanasieff: Yep. Take it back to the beginning. Afanasieff was there at the start and the songs the two created from “Vision Of Love” to “Love Takes Time,”  “Dreamlover” and “One Sweet Day,” remain among the best in her catalog. Afanaseiff also co-produced her most notable covers, including “Endless Love,” I’ll Be There,” and “Open Arms.” What if they put together a tasty album of covers? To be sure, the reality of this one is very slim since Carey's ex, Tommy Mottola, got Afanasieff in the divorce, but it's a thought.

Rick Rubin: This would probably be a clash of the titans and we’d never hear what they worked on before it all went down in flames, but Carey may need someone who totally takes the reins, does not let her co-produce and she just sings (and if she wants to, writes). Rubin would be completely in charge of the sound of the record. If we had our druthers, he even choose all the songs.  

Who did I leave out? Who would you like to see produce Carey?

Stevie Nicks

Listen to Stevie Nicks' confessional new tune, 'The Dealer'

She doesn't play it close to the vest on love song

Stevie Nicks knows when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. In “The Dealer,” the first single from her new album “24 Karat Gold — Songs From The Vault,” Nicks fires a warning shot to her current lover as she details her wanton past:  “If I’d really known you then/You’d had to watch out.”

In the mid-tempo track, she compares her love life to a card game where she is fully in charge: “I was the mistress of my fate, I was the card shark,” as she looks back with wisdom she didn’t have at the time.

“24 Karat Gold,” out Oct. 7, contains previously unreleased songs written by Nicks between 1969 and 1995. “The Dealer” was written around 1979, according to Rolling Stone, initially for Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” album.

Each song is a love story,” Nicks said in a statement.  “They represent my life behind the scenes, the secrets, the broken hearts, the broken hearted and the survivors. These songs are the memories—the 24-karat gold rings in the blue box.”

She and Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham were over by the time she wrote "The Dealer,"  so any guesses to whom she’s talking in the song?

 

 

WorldStarHipHop

Russell Simmons signs on to produce movie based on WorldStarHipHop

Popular website draws 30 million uniques per month. Will they head to theaters?


First there was “The Social Network,” which chronicled the birth of Facebook. Now get ready for another movie based on the internet… Ladies and Gentlemen:  prepare for a feature film about WorldStarHipHop.

Russell Simmons has signed on to co-produce  the Paramount Insurge production about the very popular urban culture site, according to Deadline. WSHH features a lot of music videos—it just premiered the new Jeezy “Me OK” clip— but also dedicates a lot of band width to videos of people fighting caught on tape or other “shock” clips. Highbrow, it ain’t, which is probably why it draws a staggering 30 million unique visitors per month.

Ian Edelman, who created former HBO series, “How To Make It In America,” will write the script, which Deadline says is “akin to ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ in tone.”

The movie will begin shooting this fall in New York.

Disclosure

Disclosure and Sam Smith lock up their 'Latch' performance on 'Jimmy Kimmel'

Compare it with their previous appearance on 'Jimmy Fallon'

Disclosure and Sam Smith reunited last night to play their hit, “Latch” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Six months earlier, they performed the song on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in their first US TV appearance and before Fallon took over the "Tonight Show" spot. It's  remarkable to see the difference in the ease with which Smith now appears before an audience.

Like the “Fallon” performance, the “Kimmel” performance includes projections of white outlined animated faces, like the ones on Disclosure’s “Settle” album cover and other promotional materials, sang the song along with Smith.

While the appearance is coming a bit late in “Latch’s” life span—the song has been on the Billboard Hot 100 for 19 weeks— the tune is still extremely popular: This week it returned to its previous peak, No. 7, on the Billboard Hot 100. Between Disclosure and Smith’s schedules, it probably took this long to get them in the same place at the same time again. Shame Smith couldn’t have thrown in a little bit of “Stay With Me” at the end. Would that have been so wrong?

Disclosure plays Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this weekend. Smith recently released the video for new single, "I'm Not The Only One.”

Below are both “Jimmy” performances.


 

The Civil Wars

The Civil Wars move from 'hiatus' to officially done and dusted

The duo leave us with one last song


Even though they separated more than a year ago, Joy Williams and John Paul White officially announced The Civil Wars’ divorce today. And they gave us all a little parting gift to remember them by to blunt the pain of realizing they are never, ever getting back together.

By the time the duo released its more recent album, “The Civil Wars,” in June 2013, they were already on “hiatus,” so this news comes as a surprise to no one. The Nashville-based duo burned brightly in its short time in the spotlight, winning Grammys for best country duo/group performance and best folk album in 2012 for 2011’s “Barton Hollow.” They also performed with Taylor Swift on "Safe & Sound," a T Bone Burnett-produced track on "The Hunger Games" soundtrack.

In a statement posted on their website, Williams commented, “I am saddened and disappointed by the ending of this duo, to say the very least. JP is a tremendous musician, and I will always be grateful for the music we were able to create together….Looking ahead, I’m excited to share the music that I am writing and recording in the midst of this difficult transition. I’ve loved being back in the studio, and have missed performing live. I look forward to seeing you soon.”

White added,  “I would like to express sincere thanks to all who were a part of the arc of The Civil Wars—from the beginning, to the end, and all points in between. My deep appreciation goes out to all who supported, disseminated, and enjoyed the music. Whatever shape or form the next chapter takes, thanks for being a large part of this one.”

Interesting that Williams threw White a bone there and he felt no need to do the same.

They leave us with their cover of the 1930s classic ditty, “You Are My Sunshine,” which the pair recorded in 2010. It was previously only available as the B-side to the limited edition “Barton Hollow” 7” vinyl release.

 

https://soundcloud.com/thecivilwars/the-one-that-got-away

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift drops hints about her new album...we think

Will we hear new music during the MTV VMA performance?

Is 18 about to replace 13 as Taylor Swift’s favorite number? Today, Swift posted a video on Instagram with the words, “So, here’s your first clue…”

The video shows a finger, perhaps Swift’s, pushing the number 18 in an elevator, patiently at first and then more adamantly.

Swift has been working on a new album for the last year so it’s likely a reference to her newest set. She has been remarkably reliable in terms of dropping new albums every two years in the fourth quarter. Her self-titled debut came out in October 2006, “Fearless” in November 2008; “Speak Now” in October 2010, and “Red” in October 2012.

Chances are we'll hear new music  live by Swift when she performs at MTV's Video Music Awards on Aug. 24. E News! reports that her performance will be "explosive," and that she is appearing alone, not as part of a collaboration.

And for sure she'll be singing new material when she appears at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, which takes place in Las Vegas Sept. 19-20. iHeartRadio DJ Kristin Cruz promised as much when she posted a photo with Swift and tweeted a few weeks ago that the singer would debut "new songs" at the event.

Ed Sheeran

Watch a dancer get all bendy in Ed Sheeran's new video for 'Don't'

If you like great dancing, you'll love Sheeran's latest clip


After Sia’s “Chandelier,” Ed Sheeran’s new video for “Don’t,” may deliver the best dancing in a video this year.

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Nicki Minaj and Beyonce

Beyonce takes on the 'elevator' incident in 'Flawless' remix featuring Nicki Minaj

Bey drops feisty new version in the middle of the night

Beyonce continues her pattern of releasing songs in the middle of the night.  While she and husband Jay Z were still on stage in the first of their two sold-out  “On The Run” shows at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl, a remix of “Flawless,” featuring Nicki Minaj, dropped down from Bey Heaven.

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Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy

Interview: Tyler Bates on the 'relief' of finishing the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' score

How touring with Marilyn Manson is good for his soul

It’s safe to say that “Guardians of the Galaxy” score composer Tyler Bates has never written a cue titled “What A Bunch Of A-holes” before. “That’s James Gunn,” Bates laughs, referring to the movie’s director. “That was in his dialog. It was fun.”

The fact that Gunn named a number of the music cues is a testament to the closeness that Bates and Gunn enjoy after working on a trio of Gunn-directed films together: “Slither,” “Super” and now “Guardians.” They met when Bates scored and Gunn wrote Zack Snyder’s  “Dawn of the Dead.”

The pair’s working relationship is such that Gunn brought in Bates as soon as the director got the “Guardians” job. “He started telling me his thoughts in terms of tone.  He wanted dramatic and thematic,” Bates says. “He asked if I’d be up to writing in advance.” Bates began writing material for the film in March 2013 with Gunn passing along pre-video sequences and often then filming to Bates’ music. The scoring process usually works the opposite way with the composer brought in in during post-production, but when Bates had worked with Gunn on “Super,”  and the director had wanted to film the end of the movie to music, so he similarly had Bates work in advance.

Bates’ early start didn’t give him much of a leg up when it came to the work; the film was constantly evolving as editing took place that would render Bates’ previous work obsolete. “You have a tendency to write and re-write and rewrite,” Bates says as the various bosses have their say. “It’s like trying to paint something on a bullet train. There’s the perception that we have endless resources to create, but they are often times limited as to how many players you can have or how much time.”

The sheer volume and layers of sound that Bates worked with are staggering: “At least half the cues in the movie have more than 500 tracks of audio,” he says because of orchestral passages that are doubled or tripled, choirs, overdubs and other instrumentation. “Everyone’s working with a sense of efficiency because there’s no margin  for error. We had to be calm and methodical.”

The “Galaxy” score, which is out now on Hollywood Records, cover a wide musical terrain from sweeping orchestral themes to crisp battle marches to celestial, dreamy soundscapes. “It was my most demanding score,” Bates says. “I love James dearly, it was paramount to me to make sure that the score was what he had dreamt it would be…like a space rock opera.”

With all the moving parts and the tight deadlines, Bates admits his overwhelming emotion once he finally finished the score was “relief…My team worked 100 hours per week for four months on end.”

Bates’ favorite cute remains an early piece, “Black Tears” — “Only because I wrote it and sent it to James. They were in pre-production. He called me and he was emotionally moved by it. Those are the moments you show up for,” he says. “This idea had just gown into something and it now has a life. It was establishing a piece of the musical language of what the film is about.”

Not content to have Bates score the movie, Gunn insisted that Bates, who has also scored such films as “300,” “Sucker Punch,” “Watchmen,” and “The Devil’s Rejects,” appear as an extra in the film. “Within three minutes” of getting to the British set, “someone from makeup grabs my hand and 40 minutes later I have dreadlocks and s scar,” he says. His scenes lasted for a day and a half. “It was cool for a minute, but after six hours of standing around,” he admits he was ready for his acting career to end.

While he doesn’t have many comedies on his resume, Bates has written scores for a diverse number of films. One that resonates the most to him personally was Emilio Estevez’s “The Way,” which chronicles a man’s journey as he walks Spain’s sacredEl Camino de Santiago. “People couldn’t believe I did that,” Bates says, “but that’s my natural headspace, that score, when I’m just thinking.”  Instead, he jokes, people think “I’m sitting around watching torture movies with Rob [Zombie] all the time.” When, in fact, he adds “I found the whole content of ‘Devil’s Reject’ to be abhorrent. I was thinking ‘Holy hell, this is fu**ed up.’ It was totally disturbing. It’s what Rob intended to do.”

Bates is a bit of a musical every-man and for his palate cleanser following “Guardians” release, he’s headed on the road as lead guitarist with Marilyn Manson to play the European festival circuit. He met Manson after the shock rocker appeared on season six of  “Californication,” a show Bates scored for all seven seasons. That meeting led to Bates writing and producing Manson’s current album.

“Films make me completely neurotic,” he says. Going out on tour and hitting the stage “gives me an energy that I can take to the next movie.”

 

Sam Smith

Dianna Agron and Chris Messina role play in Sam Smith's 'I'm Not The Only One' video

Watch out for a woman scorned

Sam Smith is bringing on the heartache in the video for the sultry  “I’m Not The Only One,” the British crooner’s follow-up to top 10 hit, “Stay With Me.”

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