News / Arts & Entertainment

Lady Gaga Cancels Concert Tour; New Mariah Carey Single Drops

Lady Gaga arrives at the Versace atelier in Milan, Italy, Oct. 1, 2012.
Lady Gaga arrives at the Versace atelier in Milan, Italy, Oct. 1, 2012.
Mary Morningstar
A serious injury has forced Lady Gaga to cancel the remaining dates of her "Born This Way Ball" tour.  She initially canceled a few concerts and tweeted an apology to her fans that said she was suffering from severe inflammation of the joints.  Doctors, however, found a labral tear of her right hip that will require surgery.  According to reports, her full recovery could take three to six months.  Lady Gaga launched her “Born This Way Ball” tour in April 2012.  The tour sold 1.6 million tickets and grossed $168.2 million.

Mariah Carey's New Single Drops

Mariah CareyMariah Carey
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Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
On February 19, Island Def Jam Records released the new Mariah Carey single, “Almost Home.”  The track will appear on the soundtrack to the upcoming Disney animated film, “Oz the Great and Powerful,” due out on March 8.  Mariah describes “Almost Home” as “a feel-good record, evoking the feeling of reaching your home and being with people that you love.”  Carey’s last contribution to an animated movie was “When You Believe,” a duet with Whitney Houston for 1998’s “The Prince of Egypt.”

Josh Groban Tops Billboard 200

Josh GrobanJosh Groban
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Josh Groban
Josh Groban
Pop singer Josh Groban scores his first Number One debut on this week’s Billboard 200 chart with All That Echoes.  The set moved 144,000 copies its first week out.  Josh co-wrote seven of the album’s 12 tracks.  Guests include Italian singer Laura Pausini and Grammy-winning trumpet player Arturo Sandoval.

In addition to Josh Groban, there are four more Top 10 debuts on the Billboard 200.  Coming in at Number 2 is Tim McGraw’s first Big Machine Records release, Two Lanes of Freedom.  The multi-artist compilation Now That’s What I Call Music! 45 lands on the list at Number 3.  The Nashville, Tennessee-based Christian rock band RED enters at Number 7 with its fourth studio album, Release the Panic. And, Coheed and Cambria debuts at Number 9 with with its latest concept album, The Afterman: Descension.

Lionel Ritchie-Diana Ross Duo is Billboard's Top Love Song

Lionel RichieLionel Richie
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Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie
Billboard has released its list of the Top 50 Love Songs of All Time based on Hot 100 chart rankings from 1958 to the present.  Lionel Richie and Diana Ross hold the Number One spot with their 1981 duet “Endless Love.”  Rounding out the Top 10 in descending order are “I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men, “We Found Love” by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris, “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees, “Silly Love Songs” by Wings, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, “Let Me Love You” by Mario, “Because I Love You (The Postman Song)” by Stevie B, “Best of My Love” by The Emotions and “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles. 

Soul Train Cruise Sets Sail

On February 17, Patti LaBelle, Jeffrey Osborne, The O’Jays and other R&B stars set sail on the first-ever Soul Train Cruise.  The sold-out week-long voyage features concerts and activities, as well as a special event to honor late Soul Train host Don Cornelius.  The cruise departed from Ft. Lauderdale and travels to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay before returning to Florida on February 24.  A second Soul Train Cruise will launch from the West Coast on October 5.  It leaves San Diego and continues to Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Bahia Magdalena.  Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, Jeffrey Osborne and The Whispers are among the artists who have signed on for that event.

New Album Releases / February 19:

“Loud” (debut EP) by R5
“Roots & Branches” by Robin Trower
“Push the Sky Away” by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds


Star Birthdays

Legendary Motown singer Smokey Robinson turned 73 on February 19.  In 1955, Robinson formed the Detroit-based vocal group The Miracles.  The group made its first appearance on the rhythm-and-blues chart in 1960 with the Number One song, “Shop Around.”  Robinson left The Miracles in 1972 to pursue a solo career.  In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and two years later, received the Grammy Living Legend Award.  Smokey was presented with a Kennedy Center Honor in December 2006.  That same year, he recorded “Timeless Love,” which includes his renditions of 13 jazz, big band and pop standards.  Smokey’s latest album, “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun,” was released in 2009.  Guests on the collection include Joss Stone, India Arie and Carlos Santana. 

Barbadian singer Rihanna performs during the fifth stop of her 777 worldwide tour at the E-Werk club in Berlin, Nov. 19, 2012.Barbadian singer Rihanna performs during the fifth stop of her 777 worldwide tour at the E-Werk club in Berlin, Nov. 19, 2012.
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Barbadian singer Rihanna performs during the fifth stop of her 777 worldwide tour at the E-Werk club in Berlin, Nov. 19, 2012.
Barbadian singer Rihanna performs during the fifth stop of her 777 worldwide tour at the E-Werk club in Berlin, Nov. 19, 2012.
R&B singer Rihanna will celebrate her 25th birthday on February 20.  Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Barbados, she was signed to Def Jam Records after auditioning for the label’s president Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.  Rihanna describes her music as “mostly Caribbean beats mixed with R&B.”  Her debut album, “Music of the Sun,” was released in 2005.  Its first single, “Pon De Replay,” reached Number One on the Billboard dance chart.  Rihanna’s second album, “A Girl Like Me,” spawned the hits “S.O.S.,” “Unfaithful” and “We Ride.”  Her 2007 album, “Good Girl Gone Bad,” produced many hits, including “Umbrella,” “Shut Up and Drive,” “Hate That I Love You,” “Don’t Stop The Music,” “Take A Bow,” “Disturbia” and “Rehab.”  In 2009, Rihanna recorded her fourth album, “Rated R.”  Its first two singles, “Russian Roulette” and “Hard,” reached the Top 10.  Rihanna earned the highest-first week sales of her career with her fifth album, “Loud.”  The set sold 207-thousand copies its first week of release in November 2010.  In 2011, Rihanna won the Best Dance Recording Grammy Award for “Only Girl (In the World).”  That same year, she received the Best International Female Solo Artist trophy at the BRIT Awards.  Rihanna spent 10 weeks at Number One on the Hot 100 chart with “We Found Love,” the lead single from her 2011 multi-million-selling album, “Talk That Talk.”  The track, featuring Scottish singer Calvin Harris, topped the charts in 25 countries.  On March 8, Rihanna will kick off a North American tour in support of her latest album, “Unapologetic.”  European shows begin on May 26.

Singer Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys turns 38 on February 20.  Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Brian was 18 when he flew to Orlando, Florida to audition for the pop vocal group.  The Backstreet Boys’ 1997 debut album sold more than 14 million copies in the U.S. and included such hits as “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),” “As Long As You Love Me” and “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).”  Their second CD, “Millennium” was released in 1999 and went on to sell more than 13 million copies in the U.S.  In 2005, Littrell signed a recording deal with the gospel music label Reunion Records, which released his solo debut album, “Welcome Home (You).”  Its title track was a Number 2 hit on the Christian chart.  The Backstreet Boys’ latest album, “This Is Us,” produced only one minor hit, “Straight Through My Heart.”  The group is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an upcoming new album and world tour, which begins in May.  Also this year, the Backstreet Boys will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  A documentary on their rise to fame will be out in early 2014. 

Charlotte Church seen backstage at BBC's Children in Need at Television Center on Nov. 16, 2012, in London.Charlotte Church seen backstage at BBC's Children in Need at Television Center on Nov. 16, 2012, in London.
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Charlotte Church seen backstage at BBC's Children in Need at Television Center on Nov. 16, 2012, in London.
Charlotte Church seen backstage at BBC's Children in Need at Television Center on Nov. 16, 2012, in London.
Welsh singer Charlotte Church celebrates her 27th birthday on February 21.  Born in Cardiff, Wales, Charlotte was only 12 years old when she came to international attention with her 1998 debut album, “Voice of An Angel.”  Her next three albums incorporated a wide variety of music styles, from Broadway musical tunes, opera and chamber music, to Gaelic airs and contemporary songs.  In 2003, Charlotte made her film debut in the comedy “I’ll Be There,” which told the story of a washed-up 1980s pop star who finds out he has a teenage daughter (Church’s role).  The movie was poorly received in England and pulled out of theaters after only a two-week run.  The film never made it into U.S. theaters, but was released on DVD in 2004.  In 2005, Charlotte made her pop music debut with the album “Tissues and Issues.”  She wrote seven of its 12 tracks.  All four of the album’s singles were Top 10 hits on the U.K. chart.  In 2007, she and Welsh rugby player Gavin Henson, welcomed their first child, Ruby Megan Henson.  In 2009, Charlotte gave birth to their son, Dexter Lloyd Henson.  The couple split in May 2010.  From 2006 to 2008, Charlotte hosted her own entertainment television show.  In 2010, her first album in five years, titled “Back to Scratch,” was released in the U.K.  Charlotte’s first album to be released in the U.S. in more than a decade is due March 12.  “ONE & TWO” takes her in a new musical direction that’s described as “gothic rock.” 

On February 21, Country singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter turns 55.  Born in New Jersey, she later moved to the Washington, D.C. area where she performed in folk clubs.  In 1989, Carpenter made her chart debut with “How Do,” from her first album “State Of The Heart.”  Her hits since then include “Down at the Twist and Shout,” “I Feel Lucky” and “Passionate Kisses.”  Carpenter was named the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year in 1992 and 1993.  Following the release of her 1996 album “A Place in the World,” she took a three-year break from recording.  Carpenter returned in 1999 with “Party Doll and Other Favorites.”  It contains live versions of many of her hits, as well as tracks she recorded for benefit albums, soundtracks and tributes.  Carpenter also included two new songs on the CD.  Her 2001 album, “Time, Sex, Love,” produced only one single, “The Simple Life.”  Mary Chapin married contractor Timmy Smith in July of 2002.  In 2006, she signed a new recording deal with Zoe/Rounder Records.  The next year, Mary Chapin suffered a pulmonary embolism and was forced to cut short a concert tour in support of her album, “The Calling.”  Her 2010 collection, “The Age of Miracles,” reached Number One on Billboard’s Folk Albums chart.  Earlier this month, Mary Chapin performed six concerts in Scotland and England.  This week (February 21), she kicks off a U.S. co-headlining tour with Shawn Colvin that runs through May 12.  Mary Chapin is supporting her latest album, “Ashes and Roses.” 

British pop singer James Blunt will celebrate his 39th birthday on February 22.  Blunt was born into a military family and spent six years with the British Army.  After leaving the Army in 2002, he was discovered by songwriter/producer Linda Perry at the South By Southwest Festival in Texas.  She signed Blunt to her label, Custard Records, which released his debut album, “Back To Bedlam.”  In 2005, he topped Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and many other charts around the world with “You’re Beautiful.”  The album also produced the Top 10 song, “Goodbye My Lover.”  Blunt’s latest album, “Some Kind of Trouble,” failed to produce any hits on the U.S. charts. 

On February 23, singer/guitarist Johnny Winter will turn 69.  In the 1960s, he established himself as a prominent session musician and later toured with bluesman Muddy Waters.  Winter appeared on the pop charts twice in the early 1970s with his versions of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”  He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988.  In 2004, Virgin Records released “I’m A Bluesman,” which brought him a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album.  Winter’s latest album, “Roots,” was released in 2011.  He’s scheduled to launch a 19-city European tour in April. 

Awards Presentations / Winners:

Eric Church leads the nominees for the 2013 Academy of Country (ACM) Awards.  His seven nominations include Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for “Chief” and Single Record, Song and Video of the Year for “Springsteen.”  Newcomer Hunter Hayes follows with seven mentions, including New Male Artist and Single Record of the Year for “Wanted.”  Among this year’s other top contenders are Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, with five nominations apiece.  Both appear in the Entertainer of the Year category alongside Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton.  The 48th annual ACM Awards will be presented on April 7 in Las Vegas.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

On February 21, Christian rock group Third Day kicks off a 45-city U.S. tour in Fairfax, Virginia to support its latest album, Miracle.  Drummer David Carr said, “These songs are engaging musically and lyrically; we worked hard to stretch ourselves for the people who come to our shows and buy our music.  We poured so much into this record because we wanted to bring our fans our very best.”  Special guests on the trek include last year’s “American Idol” Top 10 finalist Colton Dixon and singer-songwriter Josh Wilson.  Third Day will visit Voice of America on February 21 to perform on Larry London’s live music show “Border Crossings.”  

Country star Jason Aldean begins his “Night Train” tour on February 21 in Bossier City, Louisiana.  He’ll stop in 40 U.S. cities before wrapping up the outing in Bristow, Virginia on September 14.  Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett and Kelly Clarkson will join the tour on select dates.  Jason’s Night Train album has sold more than one million copies in the U.S. since its release in October 2012.  Last week, Jason had the Number One single on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart with the album’s latest hit, "The Only Way I Know."

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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.”