News / Arts & Entertainment

Psy Scores 3 Billion YouTube Views; Thicke Dominates Billboard Hot 100

South Korean rapper PSY poses during a news conference for his concert "Happening" in Seoul, South Korea, April 13, 2013.
South Korean rapper PSY poses during a news conference for his concert "Happening" in Seoul, South Korea, April 13, 2013.
Mary Morningstar
South Korean pop star Psy has reached three billion views on his YouTube channel.  Rihanna and Justin Bieber are the only other artists to achieve that feat.  Psy’s 2012 debut single “Gangnam Style” has been viewed 1.7 billion times.  This year, he released his second international hit, “Gentleman.”



Thicke Dominates Billboard's Hot 100

Pop singer Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams was a top seller on iTunes for the week ending June 17.Pop singer Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams was a top seller on iTunes for the week ending June 17.
x
Pop singer Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams was a top seller on iTunes for the week ending June 17.
Pop singer Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams was a top seller on iTunes for the week ending June 17.
Robin Thicke spends his fifth week at Number One on the Hot 100 chart with “Blurred Lines.”  To-date, the song has sold 2.4 million copies.  This week, “Blurred Lines” tops several other Billboard charts, including the Hot 100 Airplay, On-Demand Songs, Mainstream Top 40, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and R&B Songs lists.  The track is the lead single from Thicke’s upcoming sixth album, also titled Blurred Lines.

Randy Travis in Critical Condition

Randy Travis performs on day 2 of the 2013 CMA Music festival at the LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., June 7, 2013.Randy Travis performs on day 2 of the 2013 CMA Music festival at the LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., June 7, 2013.
x
Randy Travis performs on day 2 of the 2013 CMA Music festival at the LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., June 7, 2013.
Randy Travis performs on day 2 of the 2013 CMA Music festival at the LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., June 7, 2013.
Country star Randy Travis is in critical condition at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano in Plano, Texas.  On July 7, Travis was admitted to Baylor Medical Center McKinney for treatment of a viral heart infection and congestive heart failure.  After a pump was implanted to assist blood flow, he was transferred to the facility in Plano.  On July 10, Travis suffered a stroke and underwent emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.  Since 1985, Travis has topped the Country chart 16 times.  His biggest hits include “On The Other Hand,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “Three Wooden Crosses” and “Forever and Ever, Amen.”  Travis has won seven Grammy Awards, eight Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association and five Country Music Association Awards, among other industry honors.

J. Cole Tops Billboard 200 Chart

J. Cole performs onstage at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theater, June 30, 2013, in Los Angeles.J. Cole performs onstage at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theater, June 30, 2013, in Los Angeles.
x
J. Cole performs onstage at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theater, June 30, 2013, in Los Angeles.
J. Cole performs onstage at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theater, June 30, 2013, in Los Angeles.
Rapper J. Cole climbs into the Number One position on this week’s Billboard 200 chart with his second studio album, Born Sinner. Billboard reports that for the first time in the history of the Billboard 200 chart, rap albums are placed in this week’s top three positions.  At Number 2 is Wale’s The Gifted and at Number 3 is Kanye West’s YeezusBillboard also notes that since 1991, when the magazine began ranking charts based on Nielsen SoundScan sales tracking, only 76 of the Billboard 200 chart’s 583 Number One albums have climbed into the top spot.  The remaining 507 have all debuted at Number One.


Wonder, Keys Among Headliners at Global Citizen Festival

Stevie Wonder and the Rickey Minor Band perform “Master Blaster”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Sir Duke” as a tribute to Dick Clark at at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.Stevie Wonder and the Rickey Minor Band perform “Master Blaster”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Sir Duke” as a tribute to Dick Clark at at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.
x
Stevie Wonder and the Rickey Minor Band perform “Master Blaster”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Sir Duke” as a tribute to Dick Clark at at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Stevie Wonder and the Rickey Minor Band perform “Master Blaster”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Sir Duke” as a tribute to Dick Clark at at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, John Mayer and Kings of Leon are set to headline the 2nd annual “Global Citizen Festival.”  The event, which is part of a campaign to end extreme poverty, will take place on September 28 in New York’s Central Park.  Organizer Hugh Evans, CEO of the non-profit Global Poverty Project, said in a press release that this year’s major themes are education, women’s equality, global health and global partnerships.


New Album Releases / July 16:

“X” by Chris Brown
“Amelita” by Court Yard Hounds
“The Big Dream” by David Lynch
“Close To The Floor” by Patrick Sweany
“Electric” by Pet Shop Boys
“My Name Is My Name” by Pusha T
“Lickety Split” by Robert Randolph and the Family Band
“The Blessed Unrest” by Sara Bareilles
“One” by Sarah Miles

Musical Events / Festivals / Benefits:

Country Thunder 2013 takes place July 18-22 in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.  The event sold out six months ago.  This year’s lineup of Country stars includes Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Little Big Town, Jake Owen, and others.  For the first time, Country Thunder will feature The Roys’ Pickin Porch, a bluegrass tent showcasing traditional and contemporary bluegrass artists.  

Star Birthdays

From left, Apl.de.Ap, Fergie, Taboo, and will.i.am, of the band the Black Eyed Peas arrive at the iHeartRadio music festival, Sept. 23, 2011, in Las Vegas.From left, Apl.de.Ap, Fergie, Taboo, and will.i.am, of the band the Black Eyed Peas arrive at the iHeartRadio music festival, Sept. 23, 2011, in Las Vegas.
x
From left, Apl.de.Ap, Fergie, Taboo, and will.i.am, of the band the Black Eyed Peas arrive at the iHeartRadio music festival, Sept. 23, 2011, in Las Vegas.
From left, Apl.de.Ap, Fergie, Taboo, and will.i.am, of the band the Black Eyed Peas arrive at the iHeartRadio music festival, Sept. 23, 2011, in Las Vegas.
Rapper Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas turned 37 on July 14.  Taboo joined the Black Eyed Peas in 1995.  The group, which also includes Fergie, will.i.am and apl.de.ap, earned international fame with its third album, “Elephunk.”  The Black Eyed Peas 2009 album, “The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies),” produced the Number One single “Boom Boom Pow,” which spent 12 weeks at the top of the Hot 100 chart.  Other hits from the album included “I Gotta Feeling,” “Meet Me Halfway,” “Imma Be” and “Rock That Body.”  In 2010, the Black Eyed Peas performed many of their hits at the FIFA World Cup opening ceremonies in South Africa.  The following year, the group performed a brief world tour to support their latest album, “The Beginning.” 

July 14 marked the birth date of the late folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie (b. 1912).  Among his famous compositions are “This Land Is Your Land,” “This Train Is Bound For Glory” and “So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You.”  The influential performer died of Huntington’s Chorea in 1967 at age 55.  Guthrie’s life story was chronicled in an autobiography and movie, both titled “Bound For Glory.”

Musican Linda Ronstadt smiles during a news conference in San Jose, Calif., May 5, 2009.Musican Linda Ronstadt smiles during a news conference in San Jose, Calif., May 5, 2009.
x
Musican Linda Ronstadt smiles during a news conference in San Jose, Calif., May 5, 2009.
Musican Linda Ronstadt smiles during a news conference in San Jose, Calif., May 5, 2009.
Singer Linda Ronstadt celebrates her 66th birthday on July 15.  In the early 1960s, she began performing with her folk rock band The Stone Poneys.  Ronstadt recorded her first solo album in 1968.  By the mid-1970s, she had established herself as one of music’s most popular female vocalists.  Her biggest hits include “You’re No Good,” “When Will I Be Loved” and “Blue Bayou.”  During the past few decades, Ronstadt has also recorded projects with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Country albums with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, a collection of mariachi songs, and several duets with pop vocalists.  In 1995, Ronstadt returned to the pop and Country sound of her early solo career for the album “Feels Like Home.”  Her 1996 release, “Dedicated To The One I Love,” featured pop and rock classics recorded as children’s lullabies.  In 1999, Asylum Records issued “Trio II,” the critically acclaimed follow-up to Ronstadt, Harris and Parton’s 1987 collaboration “Trio,” and “Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions,” a collection of adult rock duets with Emmylou Harris.  Next came Ronstadt’s 2004 collection of jazz standards, “Hummin’ to Myself.”  In 2006, Vanguard Records released “Adieu False Heart,” her Grammy-nominated album of duets with Ann Savoy.  Simon & Schuster will publish Ronstadt’s autobiography, “Simple Dreams,” on September 17. 

Singer Martha Reeves will turn 71 on July 18.  She was the leader of the popular 1960s vocal group, Martha & The Vandellas, which recorded such hits as “Heat Wave,” “Dancing In the Street” and “Jimmy Mack.”  The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.  Since the early 1970s, Reeves has also recorded several solo albums.  In 2004, she recorded “Home To You,” her first album since 1978.  Reeves served on Detroit, Michigan’s City Council from 2005 to 2009.  The following year, she lost re-election and returned to performing full time.  In September, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas will be inducted into Detroit’s brand new Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame.

Julianne Hough in a scene from "Footloose"Julianne Hough in a scene from "Footloose"
x
Julianne Hough in a scene from "Footloose"
Julianne Hough in a scene from "Footloose"
Country singer, actress and professional dancer Julianne Hough will celebrate her 24th birthday on July 20.  Julianne is a two-time winner of the ABC television reality show “Dancing with the Stars.”  In 2007, she was signed to Mercury Nashville Records, which released her self-titled debut album the following year.  It entered the Country chart at Number One and produced the hits “That Song In My Head” and “My Hallelujah Song.”  Julianne appeared in the 2011 film remake of “Footloose” and 2012’s “Rock of Ages” with co-stars Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin.  This year, Julianne starred with Josh Duhamel in the romantic film “Safe Haven.” 

On July 20, singer Kim Carnes will celebrate her 67th birthday.  Carnes began performing in the late 1960s with The New Christy Minstrels.  She later launched a solo career, and, in the early 1980s, recorded two Top 5 singles - the Kenny Rogers duet “Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer” and “Bette Davis Eyes.”  The latter spent nine weeks at Number One.  After the release of her 1990 album, “Crazy In The Night,” Carnes left the music business to spend more time with her family.  She returned in 2004 with the independent album “Chasin’ Wild Trains.”

Musician Carlos Santana performs during his concert in Bangalore, India, Oct. 26, 2012.Musician Carlos Santana performs during his concert in Bangalore, India, Oct. 26, 2012.
x
Musician Carlos Santana performs during his concert in Bangalore, India, Oct. 26, 2012.
Musician Carlos Santana performs during his concert in Bangalore, India, Oct. 26, 2012.
Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana turns 65 on July 20.  Born in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico, he formed Santana in 1966.  Among the group’s biggest hits were “Evil Ways” and “Black Magic Woman.”  In 1999, Santana made a huge comeback with “Supernatural,” an album that featured guest vocalists Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton, Lauryn Hill, and others.  The collection earned Santana eight Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.  Its hit single, “Smooth,” sung by Rob Thomas of matchbox 20, spent twelve weeks at Number One.  In 2003, Santana released “Shaman,” which included duets with Michelle Branch, Placido Domingo, Dido, Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, Macy Gray, and others.  Santana performed a tour in support of the CD and donated proceeds from U.S. concerts to Artists for a New South Africa.  Funds were earmarked for grants and material aid to South African non-profit organizations working to combat HIV/AIDS.  Carlos was honored as the 2004 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year.  The award recognized his professional, cultural and social accomplishments.  In 2009, Carlos was presented with a Billboard Latin Music Lifetime Achievement Award.  Carlos divorced his wife, Deborah Santana in 2007 after 34 years of marriage.  In June 2010, he proposed onstage to his girlfriend and drummer, Cindy Blackman.  They married in December 2010.  Santana’s 2010 album, “Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time,” features vocal guests Rob Thomas, Scott Weiland, Chris Daughtry, Gavin Rossdale, Nas, Joe Cocker and Chris Cornell, among others.  Last year, Santana released the instrumental album “Shape Shifter,” which returned to band to its Latin rock roots.  Santana is currently performing a European concert tour.  In September, the group will begin a 16-date engagement at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

Recording artists Just Timberlake, left, and Jay-Z performing at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Feb. 10, 2013.Recording artists Just Timberlake, left, and Jay-Z performing at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Feb. 10, 2013.
x
Recording artists Just Timberlake, left, and Jay-Z performing at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Feb. 10, 2013.
Recording artists Just Timberlake, left, and Jay-Z performing at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Feb. 10, 2013.
On July 16, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake will launch a 14-date co-headlining North American stadium tour.  The “Legends of Summer” tour begins in Toronto and wraps up in Miami Gardens, Florida on August 16.  Jay-Z’s brand new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, is expected to sell 475,000 to 500,000 copies when first week sales numbers are tallied.  Justin Timberlake’s new album, The 20/20 Experience, has sold more than two million copies since its release this past March.

Country star Keith Urban begins his 46-date “Light the Fuse” tour on July 18 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He’ll be supporting his upcoming album Fuse, which is due out on September 10.  The set’s lead single, “Little Bit of Everything,” climbs to Number 13 in its eighth week on the Country Airplay chart.  Urban is scheduled to wrap up the tour on December 8 in Louisville, Kentucky.

On July 19, Blake Shelton’s “Ten Times Crazier” tour gets underway in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Thirty shows are planned in the United States through October 5.  Easton Corbin and Jana Kramer will open the concerts.  Blake’s new album, Based On A True Story, was the top-selling Country album in the U.S. the first half of 2013.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."