Janet Jackson

Reports: Janet Jackson back at work on first album since 2008

She has been recording in Qatar and Paris

Is Janet Jackson back in the studio working on her first album since 2008’s “Discipline?”

According to her sound engineer, the answer is a resounding yes. In an interview with Barefoot Sound  (h/t Idolator),  Grammy-winning producer/engineer Ian Cross says he has been recording Jackson around the world.

“We’ve been working in Qatar. We’ve been working in Paris, the Middle East, and now we feel like we can work anywhere,” he says.

As far as the direction, he says “we’re going to be doing things that are completely unexpected that nobody’s seen before… The new album is going to be great. It’s a process. There’s a lot in store, yet to come. I can’t go into too many details but I think Janet Jackson’s fans are going to be very excited about the new album, and I think people who don’t know her as fans are going to be excited about it, too. The new paradigm of music, the real people in music now, are blending technology and music together. It’s becoming more and more seamless.”

The two first began working together in 2007, when he produced the vocals for “Discipline.”  He now works full time for Jackson.

 

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Katy Perry

Katy Perry creates a visual feast with 'This Is How We Do' video

Is she taking a swipe at Lady Gaga in her new Rolling Stone interview?

Katy Perry’s video for “This Is How We Do” has a little something for everyone and may even top her own record for the most costume changes in one clip.

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Lorde tapped to curate  'Mockingjay - Part 1'  soundtrack
Credit: AP Photo/Summit Entertainment

Lorde tapped to curate 'Mockingjay - Part 1' soundtrack

She will also provide the first single

Lorde and Katniss: it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?   The New Zealand superstar has been picked to curate the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.” Additionally, she will have the lead single from the set.

Lorde continues in the tradition of other strong females snagging the kick off single from the previous editions’ soundtracks: As Billboard notes, Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars had the T Bone Burnett-produced, Grammy-winning  “Safe And Sound” from “Hunger Games.” Christina Aguilera’s “We Remain” was on “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

“Mockingjay” director Francis Lawrence noted in a statement that Lorde was already fully aware of the “Mockingjay’s” characters— she is a teenage girl after all.  That knowledge “not only [has] enabled her to create a song of her own that completely captures the film’s essence, but her insight and passion for our project make her the perfect creative force to assemble the other songs on our soundtrack.”

This marks the first time that an artist on a “Hunger Games” soundtrack has also curated the album. “The cast and story are an inspiration for all musicians participating and, as someone with cinematic leanings, being privy to a different creative process has been a unique experience,” Lorde said in a statement.

“Mockingjay—Part 1” opens in theaters Nov. 21, 2014. No word on when fans can expect Lorde’s single or the soundtrack.

 

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Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey prepares for her big day in video for 'Ultraviolence': Watch

Does she make it to the altar?

It’s a lovely day for a white wedding— or so it seems at the beginning of Lana Del Rey’s video for “Ultraviolence.”

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Nick Jonas

Watch: Nick Jonas is all grown up in 'Chains' video

How soon before the song is in a '50 Shades of Grey' trailer?

“50 Shades of Grey’s” trailer got it wrong last week when it used a slowed-down version of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.”

Instead, it should have used Nick Jonas’ “Chains.”  As the new song from the youngest—and most talented— JoBro shows, he has grown up and out (check out those guns) and he’s got a lot on his mind. His previous side project, Nick Jonas & The Administration, certainly didn’t hint at this kind of heat.

The song has a sexy, slow grind, Usher- kind of vibe about how his girl and his passion for her has him all wrapped up in chains. And he’s more than fine with that.

The video, filmed in slow motion and co-directed by Jonas, perfectly matches the song’s sultry, spacey vibe as Jonas gets dragged along the floor and deals with police in riot gear and snarling dogs, to get to his love… or does he?  His love interest is played by Dylan Penn, daughter of Sean Penn and Robin Wright.

“Chains” is the first single from Jonas’ forthcoming solo album on Island Records. Jonas is also filming DIRECTV’s original series, “Kingdom,” in which he plays a MMA fighter.

 

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Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae throws a house party with T.I., Estelle in 'Electric Lady' video

How do we join Electro Phi Beta sorority?

We’ll be back with a review of Janelle Monae’s “Electric Lady” video after this brief commercial for Samsung.

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Minnie Driver

Exclusive Premiere: Minnie Driver performs Elliott Smith's 'Waltz #2': Watch

Actress's new album also includes covers from Neil Young, The Cure and more


After co-writing the material for her first two albums, actress Minnie Driver decided to turn to songs that others first made famous for “Ask Me To Dance,” out Oct. 7.

The Rounder/Zoe release, Driver’s first album since 2007, features her interpretations of such tunes as The Cure’s “Close To Me,” Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why,” Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster,” the Killer’s “Human,” Neil Finn’s “Better Be Home Soon,” and even going back to the Sinatra standard, “Fly Me To The Moon.”  

In this exclusive clip, HitFix premieres Driver singing “Waltz #2,” from the late Elliott Smith. As movie fans know, Smith’s “Miss Misery” was featured in one of Driver’s earlier film’s, “Good Will Hunting,” and the two were friends until his death.

She prefaces the performance by talking about being in the studio with Smith when he recorded the vocal for the haunting, bittersweet “Waltz #2,” and being struck by how “beautiful” the tune was.  She performs it live in the clip below.

The second season of Driver’s series, “About A Boy,” premieres on Oct.14. She plans to tour behind “Ask Me To Dance,” and will work dates around her “Boy” shooting schedule.

"Ask Me To Dance's" complete track listing is below the video.

 


 1.           Waltz #2 (XO) (Elliott Smith)
 2.          Close To Me  (Robert Smith)
 3.          Master Blaster (Jammin’)  (Stevland Morris)
 4.          Human  (Mark August Stoermer-Dave Brent Keuning-Brandon Flowers-Ronnie Vannucci Jr.       
 5.          Fly Me To The Moon  (Bart Howard)
 6.          Better Be Home Soon   (Neil Finn)
 7.          Wild Wood   (Paul Weller)
 8.          Tell Me Why (Neil Young)
 9.          Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness  (John Prine)
10.        Love Song  (Lesley Duncan)

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Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett duets album coming in September

On 'Cheek To Cheek,' the two dive into the Great American Songbook

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett will release their album of jazz standards, “Cheek To Cheek” on Sept. 23. The first track, a remake of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” came out today via iTunes.

The odd bedfellows formed a mutual admiration society three years ago and seemed besotted with each other’s talent ever since Gaga recorded “The Lady Is A Tramp” with Bennett for his “Duets II” album.

The album features the twosome singing in tandem and solo as they work through the Great American Songbook, performing such classics as “Lush Life,” “Anything Goes,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

Bennett, of course, helped bring much of the Great American Songbook alive over his seven-decade career. It turns out that Gaga grew up on the American standards. “It was very important to Tony that this was a jazz record,” Lady Gaga said in a statement. “I’ve been singing jazz since I was a child and really wanted to show the authentic side of the genre. We made an album of jazz classice, but it has a modern twist.”

The pair recorded the album in New York over the past year, utilizing members from both of their bands, as well as such noted jazzbos as saxophonist Joe Lovano and flutist Paul Horn, who died earlier this month.

Bennett and Lady Gaga have already taped a PBS special performing the songs that will air this fall.

 

 

 

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Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J

'Bang Bang' from Jessie J, Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande explodes: Listen

The song leaks a day before its official release

Bang Bang,” the new track from British popster Jessie J, featuring Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, is a bullet train of pop power that will head straight to the top of the charts.

The song, which leaked Monday night, hours before its Tuesday release, is a fast-paced track that relies just as much on a ferocious drum beat as the three leading ladies’ performances.

Though it is nominally Jessie J’s single, she generals shares the spotlight. The track opens with a rush similar to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” and with a fair amount of hand-claps and similarly up-tempo yelps, it could have the same successful trajectory. The tune also has the same lightness as Grande’s current smash, “Problem,” if that song were on speed. And for good reason: Max Martin with Savan Kotecha and Ilya produced both songs.

Jessie J opens the song, but quickly hands the mike over to Grande. However close to the 2-minute mark, Minaj comes in to lay down a rap in which she threatens both Jessie and “Ari” if they get in her way. It’s a busy track— voices, raps, drums, girl-group harmonies, guitars all overlap, but the chaos is totally intentional as the ladies are all about breaking hearts.

"Bang Bang" is the lead single from Jessie J's fall album and will also appear on Grande's album, "My Everything."

What do you think? We say it will be No. 1 by Labor Day.

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Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes is ready to commit in new video, 'Tattoo'

He's ready to take the ultimate step


After taking on bullying on “Invisible,” Hunter Hayes returns to affairs of the heart in the video for his new uptempo track, “Tattoo.”

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