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
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.
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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)
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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.
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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.

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Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”