News / Arts & Entertainment

    Billboard Honors Katy Perry; Adele to Sing Next Bond Film Theme Song

     U.S. singer Katy Perry at the European Premiere of her film "Part of Me" in London, July 3, 2012.
    U.S. singer Katy Perry at the European Premiere of her film "Part of Me" in London, July 3, 2012.
    Katy Perry has been chosen as Billboard’s Woman of the Year.  The award recognizes “achievements of a trailblazing female recording artist over the past 12 months, and acknowledges her overall success in the music business and her leadership in embracing the changing industry.”  Billboard’s editorial director Bill Werde says, “Katy Perry broke into the industry not even five years ago and has already accomplished more than most artists can hope for in an entire career. …With what seems like a never-ending supply of record-breaking, chart-topping hits, coupled with her unique and fresh style, Katy Perry is hands-down one of the most exciting and inspiring artists in the industry today.”  Katy will receive the award on November 30 at the 2012 Billboard Women in Music event in New York City.

    Adele Tapped to Sing Next Bond Theme Song

    Singer Adele poses on arrival at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, August 28, 2011.Singer Adele poses on arrival at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, August 28, 2011.
    x
    Singer Adele poses on arrival at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, August 28, 2011.
    Singer Adele poses on arrival at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, August 28, 2011.
    British pop star Adele will sing the theme song for the upcoming James Bond film Skyfall.  The Skyfall soundtrack is set for release on November 6 and the movie will be in theaters on November 9.  Artists who have recorded Bond themes over the years include Carly Simon, Alicia Keys & Jack White, Madonna, Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney & Wings, and Sheena Easton.

    Pink Back on Top of Billboard Album Chart

    Pop star Pink (file photo)Pop star Pink (file photo)
    x
    Pop star Pink (file photo)
    Pop star Pink (file photo)
    This week, Pink earns her first Number One album on the Billboard 200 chart with her sixth studio collection, The Truth About Love.  The album sold more than 280,000 copies in the U.S. its first week of release, making it the third highest-selling debut this year.  The Truth About Love also debuted at Number One in Australia, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Canada and Switzerland.  The album’s debut single, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” holds at Number 5 on this week’s Hot 100 chart.

    This week’s other Top 10 entries on the Billboard 200 chart include “Kanye West Presents GOOD Music Cruel Summer” by various artists (Number 2), “Battle Born” by The Killers (Number 3), “Kiss” by Carly Rae Jepsen (Number 6), “Shields” by Grizzly Bear (Number 7) and “The Sound of the Life of the Mind” by Ben Folds Five (Number 10).

    Lil Wayne to Open Skateboard Park

    Recording artist Lil Wayne talks during an interview at the opening of a new skateboard park he helped finance along with Glu Agency and Mountain Dew, in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Sept. 26, 2012.Recording artist Lil Wayne talks during an interview at the opening of a new skateboard park he helped finance along with Glu Agency and Mountain Dew, in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Sept. 26, 2012.
    x
    Recording artist Lil Wayne talks during an interview at the opening of a new skateboard park he helped finance along with Glu Agency and Mountain Dew, in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Sept. 26, 2012.
    Recording artist Lil Wayne talks during an interview at the opening of a new skateboard park he helped finance along with Glu Agency and Mountain Dew, in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Sept. 26, 2012.
    Lil Wayne charts his 109th song on the Hot 100 chart this week.  He now surpasses Elvis Presley’s record of 108 charted singles.  The only act with more entries on the Hot 100 chart is the cast to the hit television series Glee, which has posted 204 songs.  In other Lil Wayne news, on October 1, the rapper will open a skateboarding park in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.  That section of the city was devastated by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.  “I just want to help out my city, help out the people and the kids, give them something to do, something they haven’t done before," Lil Wayne told the Associated Press.  "It’s always good to learn something new.”

    Kenny Rogers Autobiography Hits Book Stores

    Kenny Rogers’ first-ever autobiography, Luck or Something Like It, was released on October 2.  The memoir covers everything from growing up in poverty in Houston, Texas to his rise to international fame and legendary 50-year career in music.  Kenny will promote the release with a seven-city book tour, which begins in New Jersey on October 2.

    New Album Releases / October 2:

     “The 2nd Law” by Muse, “Glad Rag Doll” by Diana Krall
    “Sticks & Stones” by Cher Lloyd
    “Born To Sing: No Plan B” by Van Morrison
    “Songs From The Silver Screen” by Jackie Evancho
    “Fanatic” by Heart, “Paradise” by Cody Simpson
    “Gold Dust” by Tori Amos, “Sugaring Season” by Beth Orton
    “Glad All Over” by The Wallflowers
    “Transit of Venus” by Three Days Grace
    “Kaleidoscope Dream” by Miguel
    “Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City” by Kendrick Lamar
    “Now For Plan A” by Tragically Hip
    “Free The Music” by Jerrod Niemann
    “Sing The Delta” by Iris Dement, “Gospel Gems”
    The Oak Ridge Boys and “Cheers, It’s Christmas” by Blake Shelton

    Music Events/Festivals/Benefits:

    A benefit concert to help support the legacy of The Band’s late vocalist and drummer Levon Helm will be held in East Rutherford, New Jersey on October 3.  Among the artists appearing at the “Love For Levon” concert are Roger Waters, Gregg Allman, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Bruce Hornsby, Mavis Staples and John Mayer.  Proceeds will help Helms’ estate keep ownership of his home, barn and studio.

    On October 5, the 2nd annual Johnny Cash Music Festival will take place in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  This year’s performers include Dierks Bentley, Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash, the Civil Wars and Willie Nelson.  Proceeds from the event will fund the restoration of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess, Arkansas and a scholarship fund established in the late singer’s name.  Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, said, “I’m very excited about this year’s event, and I know that it will benefit a great area and a lot of great people.  Dyess is an area that really needs help.”

    Star Birthdays

    On September 30, pop singer Johnny Mathis  celebrated his 77th birthday.  In 1957, the San Francisco native recorded his biggest hit and only solo Number One song, “Chances Are.”  Mathis reached the top of the charts again in 1978 with “Too Much Too Little Too Late,” a duet with Deniece Williams.  His greatest hits album, released in 1958, stayed on the Billboard chart for seven years.  In 1996, Mathis celebrated his 40th anniversary in music with the album, “All About Love.”  For his 1998 CD, “Because You Loved Me,” he recorded some of his favorite love songs.  In 2003, Mathis received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  His 2005 album, “Isn’t It Romantic: The Standards Album,” contains pop standards by Rogers & Hart, George and Ira Gershwin, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Lerner & Lowe, Harold Arlen, and others.  In 2008, Mathis recorded “A Night To Remember,” which features such guests as Yolanda Adams, Dave Koz, Gladys Knight and Kenny G.  Mathis covers Country classics on his latest album, “Let It Be Me - Mathis In Nashville.”  He recently had hip replacement surgery, which forced him to postpone concerts through mid-October.  He’ll resume his 2012 tour dates on October 26.

    On October 2, Sting turned 61.  Born Gordon Sumner, the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist performed with the British rock band The Police from 1976 to 1983.  Since then, he has recorded several solo albums and is actively involved in various environmental and humanitarian causes, including Amnesty International and efforts to save the tropical rainforests.  His first live album in 15 years, “All This Time,” came out in 2001.  The following year, he received an Emmy Award for his television special, “A&E In Concert: Sting In Tuscany … All This Time.”  He dedicated the award to his late friend Timothy White (Billboard magazine editor-in-chief), who died of a heart attack in June 2002.  In 2003, Sting received a Century Award, Billboard’s highest honor for creative achievement.  In 2007 and 2008, the Police performed a worldwide reunion tour.  Sting’s 2009 album, “If On A Winter’s Night,” contains traditional songs, carols and lullabies of the British Isles, plus two original songs.  In 2010, he released his tenth and latest album, “Symphonicities,” in conjunction with a concert tour of the same name.  He’s backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the album, which features symphonic versions of his popular hits.

    On October 2, singer Don McLean celebrated his 67th birthday.  In 1971, McLean recorded the Number One single “American Pie,” which he wrote as a tribute to the late Buddy Holly.  The song remained at the top of the chart for four weeks.  Ten years later, McLean scored a Top Five hit with the Roy Orbison tune “Crying.”  In 1997, he joined Garth Brooks on stage in New York’s Central Park to perform a duet version of “American Pie.”  McLean released two studio albums in 2003 - “The Western Album” and the children’s collection, “You’ve Got To Share.”  Also released that year was a re-issue of “American Pie,” which includes two additional tracks from the original studio sessions.  In 2004, McLean was inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.  McLean’s 2005 release, “Rearview Mirror: An American Musical Journey,” includes his biggest hits, plus some rare and never-before-heard tracks from his personal archive.  McLean visited the Voice of America on September 14 to appear on Larry London’s live music show “Border Crossings.”  He talked about his legendary career and CD and DVD, “American Troubadour.”  On October 19, he’ll take his 40th anniversary tour to Europe.

    Singer and actress Ashlee Simpson celebrates her 28th birthday on October 3.  The younger sister of Jessica Simpson recorded her Number One debut album, “Autobiography,” in 2004.  Its biggest hit was the Top 5 single “Pieces of Me.”  Later that year, she was criticized for lip-synching on “Saturday Night Live.”  In 2005, Ashlee rebounded with her second chart-topping album, “I Am Me,” which produced the chart hits “Boyfriend” and “L.O.V.E.”  Her latest album is 2008’s “Bittersweet World.”  Ashlee married Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz in 2008.  She gave birth to their son, Bronx Mowgli Wentz, in November 2008.  Ashlee and Pete divorced in November 2011.  Simpson will appear in the 2013 film “Pawn Shop Chronicles.”  She’s also working on her fourth studio album, which she describes as having both a rock/pop and dance feel. 
     
    On October 3, Gwen Stefani of the rock group No Doubt turns 43.  No Doubt broke onto the music scene in 1995 with the album “Tragic Kingdom.”  By 1999, the collection had surpassed sales of 10 million copies in the U.S.  That was followed by “Return To Saturn” in 2000 and “Rock Steady” in 2001.  Gwen married Gavin Rossdale, leader of the rock band Bush, in 2002.  Her 2004 debut solo album, “Love, Angel, Music, Baby,” featured the hits “Rich Girl,” “What You Waiting For” and “Hollaback Girl.”  Also in 2004, Gwen launched her own LAMB clothing line and made her film debut in Martin Scorcese’s “Aviator.”  In 2006, Gwen gave birth to her first son, Kingston.  Later that same year, her second solo album, “The Sweet Escape,” was released.  Gwen and Gavin welcomed their second son, Zuma, in 2008.  Last year, Gwen launched her Harakuju Mini children’s line of clothing.  On September 25, No Doubt released its first album in 11 years, “Push and Shove.”

    On October 3, South Carolina native Chubby Checker (real name Ernest Evans) will turn 71.  Checker is nicknamed “The King of the Twist.”  His best-known song, “The Twist,” appeared on the charts and reached Number One twice.  It spent 18 weeks on the list in 1960 and another 21 weeks in 1961.  Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is the only other song in history to re-enter the pop charts and return to the Number One position.  In 2007, Chubby released the new single “Knock Down the Walls,” which became a hit on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.  In 2008, Billboard magazine named “The Twist” the biggest chart hit of all time.  Now celebrating his 50th year in music, Chubby still performs concerts and also has his own line of food products. 

    Country singer Heidi Newfield will celebrate her 42nd birthday on October 4.  Heidi performed in the Country trio Trick Pony from 1996 to 2006.  The band’s hits included “Pour Me,” “On A Night Like This” and their cover of the Bonnie Tyler classic “It’s A Heartache.” In 2007, Heidi was signed to Curb Records, which released her debut solo album, “What Am I Waiting For.”  The album produced the Top 20 hit “Johnny & June.”  (“Johnny & June”  CDP-33921)

    2006 American Idol winner Taylor Hicks turns 36 on October 6.  Taylor was born in Birmingham, Alabama and spent ten years working toward a career in music.  After winning the “American Idol” title in May 2006, he was signed to Arista Records.  The label released his self-titled album in November 2006.  Its first single, “Do I Make You Proud,” debuted at Number One on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.  In 2007, Random House published Taylor’s memoir, “Heart Full of Soul.”  The following year, he was dropped from Arista Records.  In 2008, Taylor released the compilation album “Early Works,” which includes songs from the two CDs he recorded before appearing on “American Idol.”  In 2009, Taylor released his latest album, “The Distance,” on his own Modern Whomp Records label.  He recently extended his show at Bally’s Las Vegas for another year.

    Awards Presentations / Winners

    Juan Luis Guerra leads the nominees for the 2012 Latin Grammy Awards.  The Dominican singer’s six nominations include Record of the Year for “En El Cielo No Hay Hospital.”  Following close behind with five nods is Mexican pop duo Jesse & Joy.  Ricardo Arjona, Edgar Barrera, Juanes, Carla Morrison, Arturo Sandoval, Ivete Sangalo and Caetano Veloso each earned four nominations.  The 13th annual Latin Grammy Awards will be handed out in Las Vegas on November 15.  (Complete list of nominees available at www.latingrammy.com.)

    Look Who's Going On Tour!

    On October 3, Country singer Luke Bryan will begin his fourth annual “Farm Tour” in Claxton, Georgia.  He’ll perform eight shows in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida through October 13.  The four-year run of Luke’s “Farm Tour” has provided 20 scholarships to students of farming families.  During the past year, Luke has scored three consecutive million-selling singles from his latest album, “Tailgates & Tanlines.”  The album is nominated for the Country Music Association’s 2012 Album of the Year Award.  He’s also up for Male Vocalist of the Year.

    You May Like

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Mali, a Way Station for Syrians Headed to Europe

    Another door may be closing for Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, this time in Africa

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Border Crossings: Bannersi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 04, 2016 1:07 PM
    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.

    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.