NEW MUSIC: Sia, ‘Big Girls Cry’

maggie-ziedler-sia-big-girls-cry-video-officialSia has released yet another video for featuring Maddie Ziegler, this time for ‘Big Girl Cry.’ 1000 Forms of Fear is Sia’s biggest U.S. takeover and I’m excited for her new album. Sia and Maddie first teamed up with the Summer Smash, ‘Chandelier,’ ‘Elastic Heart,’ and now ‘Big Girls Cry.’ They’ve also taken over with their innovative performances on Ellen, Dancing With the Stars, Jimmy Kimmel, SNL, and at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.

This time around Maddie still has on the signature nude leotard and blonde wig, but she’s sitting which is different from the previous two videos. She’s stated in an interview with Entertainment Weekly (January 2015) that this type of dance is different than what she’s used to:

I didn’t even know what to say. It was such a big change for me, because I’m not used to doing that style in normal dance competitions. It was definitely very different for me, but I love being able to do that kind of style.

I don’t know! It’s like, quirky, contemporary-ish. It’s pretty much all different things put together, because some parts are really soft, some parts are quirky, and then there’s the huge dance break. It’s all different.

At 12 years old she’s living a dream. She has a bright future ahead of her and it’s great that she’s able to get out of her comfort zone now and taste the fame. Hopefully more artists will call her on for some choreography. ‘Chandelier’ is definitely one of the greatest videos of all time. She’ll always have that as a reminder of how talented she is.

Sia and Maddie have had quite the run. Check out their latest collab below:

Grammy Creators Alliance

There was an initiative launched last night at the 57th annual Grammy Awards (click HERE for my review) to launch a new initiative, Grammy’s Creator Alliance.

The GRAMMY Creators Alliance is a program of The Recording Academy, a non-profit membership organization representing songwriters, performers and studio professionals.

This could not come at a more perfect time when I am researching just how much streaming, piracy, and paid subscriptions affect album sales. Oh the joy of grad school. I find the information that I am finding to be rather interesting. We live in an age where technology makes it so easy to access music whether its through streaming or music piracy. In this digital age it is much easier and cheaper for consumers to just download the song whether it be from YouTube or a blog. Unfortunately, this is not putting any money in the artists pockets.

From a consumer perspective it can go as far as to say that the artists have enough money as is, but think of it from an ethical standpoint. They put time in to make music that they hope their fans will enjoy and buy. It’s their livelihood and yes it does make them quite a nice salary, but there’s a team behind every project. Those team members have to be paid. Studio time isn’t free. I personally don’t see streaming as an issue because it gives consumers an option on whether to buy based off what they like. I also know that this age is disposable and listen to the same things over and over, radio is proof of that, and then that artist is tossed to the side.

Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy, stated:

At a recent congressional hearing, I made the case that any updates to the laws set how creators are paid-must strongly protect those who create the soundtrack to our lives

I do believe that artists should be paid fairly for their music that is just shuffled around from site to site. As noted it is their livelihood and fans show the upmost respect in supporting their favorite artists artistry by not pirating their music.

Here are the founding members:

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I’m interested in who else will join the initiative. Taylor Swift has spoken on this after pulling her music from Spotify. I expect her to stand along the other artists above in the near future. For more information, click HERE.

2015 Grammy Review

Musics biggest night, The Grammy’s, has come and gone and social media has created a lot of buzz surrounding the show from the red carpet to the usual Grammy snubs. This review is not a play by play of the show being that I wasn’t fully interested. A lot of the performances were very somber and nothing made me jump out of my seat. Anyway, here are my highlights.

sam smithFirst of CONGRATS to the biggest winner of the night, Sam Smith. He won 4 Grammy’s: Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. His feat reminded me of Adele as they both capitalized on breakups to make amazing music.

FAVORITE Performances:

tumblr_njholmKhZ41r7mjwxo1_500The first performance that I loved was Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’ alongside Annie Lennox who then performed ‘I Put a Spell On You.’ I’ve heard Hozier’s song before, not any of his other music, but I do like his voice. Annie Lennox MADE the performance with her energy. I absolutely loved it.

giphyThe second performance that I loved is of course from Sia. She brought Maddie Ziegler along with her, of course, and added actress Kristen Wiig. I’m upset ‘Chandelier’ didn’t win anything. I guess she’s invisible to the Acaedmy. 1000 Forms of Fear is still my favorite album of 2014. I’m for any and all things Sia. Unfortunately Sia didn’t win any Grammy’s DESPITE ‘Chandlier’ being an amazing song with amazing performances.

I’m not discussing all performances simply because there’s nothing for me to discuss. I will say that I did like the Target ad being Imagine Dragons performing ‘Shots’ (click HERE for that review) LIVE from Vegas. Other performances were ok. I did like Katy Perry’s ‘By The Grace of God,’ and Miranda Lambert’s, ‘Little Red Wagon,’ but that’s about it.

Performances I DIDN’T Like:

There was talk of Pharrell performing a different version of ‘Happy’ which shouldn’t have been allowed based off the title of the song. He came out looking like a hotel Bell Hop speaking the lyrics and having it spoken in different languages, excuse me, creepily whispered in different languages before the song took a dark turn. What was supposed to be ‘Happy’ sounded like something that belonged on a soundtrack to a scary movie.

Another performance that I didn’t like was Rihanna’s with Paul McCartney and Kanye West. they all came out in suits and what not and did the song. As I stated in my review (click HERE for that), I don’t see this as a comeback track, but I’ll stick around for what’s coming.

Speaking of albums, Album of the Year went to Beck for Morning Phase. Other nominees in the category were: Beyoncè (Beyoncè), Sam Smith (In The Lonely Hour), Pharrell (G I R L), and Ed Sheeran (X). Kanye was about to go on stage and interrupt as he did to Taylor Swift at the VMAs, but he had a change of heart. Beck invited him to come back, but talk about another awkward moment. He did rant in an interview after the show saying:

And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncè.

I can’t sit here and completely agree with that although it would’ve been great to see Beyonce win an award she’s never won before. I will say that every artist has their own form of artistry and that it’s the people who pick the artist as the winner, no the artist that should get the backlash. Another artist that had something to say about Grammy snubs was Trey Songz. He tweeted (see right):

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In certain areas of music, I will say that there are a lot of artists that could be nominated yet they do get snubbed in one way or another. There’s not a huge presence of R&B aside from Beyoncè. Speaking of she won Best R&B Song for ‘Drunk In Love’ and fans watched her perform ‘Take My Hand Precious Lord’ as the introduction to the final performance of the night, ‘Glory,’ by John Legend and Common. The song on the Selma soundtrack was performed by Ledisi, a Grammy nominee, but she just sat back and watched as Beyonce did what she should’ve done.

Also Kendrick Lamar might have been snubbed last year in the Best Rap Album category, but he ended up winning not one, but TWO Grammy’s this year for his track ‘i’; Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. Better late than never.

Overall while the show moved rather quickly with few interruptions, it wasn’t all that entertaining to me. I love that there were a lot of performances, just not any that were upbeat enough to make the crowd dance like last year. Another thing was that these artists need to work on their acceptance speeches and keep them from 30-45 seconds. If you’re nominated you should have a speech prepared just in case.

Click HERE for full list of winners. Until the next award show…

Grammy Performers

It’s three weeks until the grandest stage of them all in the world of music. The 57th Annual Grammy Awards airs on February 8th. CLICK HERE for the list of nominees. Here’s who’s slated to perform:

  • PicMonkey CollagePharrell
  • Sam Smith
  • Madonna
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Ariana Grande
  • Usher
  • AC/DC
  • Erich Church
  • Miranda Lambert

I’m interested in seeing what Madonna will perform. Whether it be something new or a medley. Same with Pharrell, he could take the same route. Then again he’ll probably perform ‘Happy.’ Beyonce and Jay-Z opened the show last year and I can’t wait to see who opens up this year (insert that Madonna medley; wishful thinking). Sam Smith will probably perform ‘Stay With Me’, maybe ‘I’m Not The Only One.’ Usher hasn’t had much of  a buzz with any new music so I’m curious as to what he’ll perform.

Stay tuned for Grammy updates and as always I’ll be doing a review of the performances. CLICK HERE for my review of last years show.

MMF Celebrates Black History in Music, Feb. 28

On February 28, 1984 Michael Jackson swept the 26th Annual Grammy Awards with 8 wins of the success of his 1982 album, Thriller. He took home: Album of the Year, Record of the Year (‘Beat It’), Best Recording for Children (‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’), Best Pop Vocal Performance Male (‘Thriller’), Producer of the Year (along with Quincy Jones), Best R&B Vocal Performance Male (‘Billie Jean’), Best Rhythm and Blues Song; songwriter (‘Billie Jean’), and Best Rock Vocal Performance Male (‘Beat It’).

Here’s a compilation of his acceptance speech at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards.

Thriller was released on November 30, 1982. The album only featured 9 songs so for him to have won 8 Grammys for the album it’s like a Grammy per song! In addition to the 8 Grammy wins he won 8 AMAs, a special Merit Award, and 3 The video for ‘Thriller’ was more of a motion picture with their even being a special on the making of the video.

Jackson’s videos ‘Beat It’ and ‘Billie Jean’ are noted for breaking the color barrier on MTV. During the early 80s not many black artists were played except for a few. When ‘Beat It’ aired on MTV it was still not played on a high rotation. In fact, ‘Billie Jean,’ was not put into medium rotation (2-3 times a day) until it peaked on the Billboard Hot 100. Although those two songs set the tone for what what was to come with breaking the color barrier on the station the release of ‘Thriller’ was what really eliminated the barrier.

The album was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records on February 7, 1984 as the world’s best-selling album. On August 21, 2009 the album was certified platinum 29x by the RIAA having sold 29 million copies in the U.S. and over 20 million outside the U.S. The album is still iconic to this day averaging 130,000 in the U.S. yearly.

Below is a playlist of the album. ENJOY!

MMF Celebrates Black History in Music, Feb. 27

February 28th marked a day the rise of a singing superstar, Alicia Keys, and another artist solidified their acting career.

Alicia Keys took home 5 Grammys at the in 2002 at the 44th Annual Award show for her debut album, Songs In A Minor. Her Grammys that night included: Best New Artist, Best R&B Album Song of the Year, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song all for ‘Fallin’.

Songs In A Minor has sold over 6.2 million copies in the U.S. and over 12 million worldwide. Her Grammy wins in 2002 made her the second woman to win 5 in one night.

Jamie Foxx was nominated in Both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the 77th Academy Awards on February 27, 2005. He was the 10th actor to be nominated in both categories and took home Best Actor in a Leading role for his starring role in Ray.

In December of 2005, Jamie released his 2nd studio album, Unpredictable, and it peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 with over 500,000 copies sold.

MMF Celebrates Black History in Music, Feb. 24

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The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is by far one of the staples in not only greatest albums of all time, but a great album that merges both R&B and Hip-Hop.

On February 24, 1999, Lauryn Hill took home 5/10 Grammys at the 41st Annual Award Show which included: Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Album. Her having 10 nominations made her the only women to have been nominated for that many in one night.

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Here is her performance of ‘Zion’ with Carlos Santana:

Lauryn Hill was known for her vocals in rhymes as 1/3 of the Fugees. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released on August 25, 1998 with the mega hit, Doo-Wop (That Thing) leading the way. The album also held hit singles, ‘Ex-Factor,’ and ‘Everything is Everything.’ The album has garnered dozens of awards and in 2003 was placed at #313 on Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of all time.

Lauryn Hill might have left fans empty handed without more music, but this album still lives on and has become a staple in music history.