January 24, 2013
By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY
Al Green says if things had worked out, it would have been him serenading President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle at the inaugural ball.
Jennifer Hudson sang Green’s classic “Let’s Stay Together,” leaving many to wonder why the soul legend wasn’t singing his own hit for the first couple.
In a statement to The Associated Press, his representative said Green had been asked to sing, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from attending Monday’s festivities. Green said he'd be honored to sing for the president in the future.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Obama famously sang a snippet of the song at an event last year that Green attended.
Police responded to Chris Brown's home after they received a call about a domestic violence situation that turned out to be false.
The Los Angeles Times reports police were contacted shortly before 5 p.m. Monday about a domestic violence incident. When police arrived, members of Brown’s staff were at the home, but the singer wasn’t.
Police searched the home and didn’t find any problems.
It’s the latest so-called “swatting” prank targeting celebrities. The practice is intended to get multiple officers, including specialized SWAT teams sent to a home.
Last week, Beverly Hills police responded to a fake armed robbery call at Tom Cruise's house. Other hoax calls have been made involving the homes of Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and Miley Cyrus.
January 17, 2013
By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr. Associated Press
Rapper A$AP Rocky meshes his laid-back lyrical persona with a melodic sound, delivering an impressive piece of work with just a few flaws on his debut album, “Long.Live.A$AP.”
Much of the 12-track set is an easy listen with solid production from Jim Jonsin, Hit-Boy, T-Minus and Clams Casino. The 24-year-old, who hails from Harlem, N.Y., raps with abstract rhymes and metaphors that are easy to grasp on songs like “Goldie” and “Phoenix.” He shows an abundant amount of bravado on “LVL,” declaring his emergence as hip-hop’s next big star. And he holds his own on the catchy hit, “(Expletive) Problems,” which features Drake, Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz. The only thing missing from “Long.Live.A$AP” is a theme or story line to help us learn more about A$AP Rocky and what he stands for as an artist.
By MESFIN FEKADU Associated Press
When record executive Mark Pitts heard “Sure Thing,” a song Miguel wrote for possible inclusion on an album by Usher, Pitts felt there was something special about the young songwriter. Then he heard “Quickie,” another song from Miguel, and Pitts knew he had to meet the man behind these infectious R&B jams.
“He came and performed and just had no fear. I loved him,” said Pitts, president of urban music at RCA Records. “He was like Elvis. He was all over the place at the time, but it was just different. With a little tweaking, this could be special.”
Instead of giving the songs to Usher, Pitts gave Miguel a recording contract. The 25-year-old kept the songs for his 2010 debut album, “All I Want Is You,” and the tracks became R&B hits. “Sure Thing” was 2011’s top R&B song.
Now the singer who almost fell behind the scenes is nominated for the coveted song of the year Grammy with “Adorn,” his third No. 1 hit on the R&B charts. The song is Miguel’s crossover single to pop territory and is from his sophomore album, “Kaleidoscope Dream.”
“Interestingly I’ve only more recently realized how big of a deal it is,” he said of the top category nomination, which pits him against No. 1 pop smashes from Carly Rae Jepsen and Kelly Clarkson. “I think it’s nothing short of a blessing. I’m like, ‘Wow. Of the year? Of the year? Really?’”
And that’s just one of his five nominations.
“Kaleidoscope Dream” is up for best urban contemporary album, a new category where Miguel will compete with Frank Ocean’s “channel ORANGE” and “Fortune” by Chris Brown. “Adorn” is also up for best R&B song and best R&B performance, while “Lotus Flower Bomb,” his collaboration with rapper Wale, is nominated for best rap song.
Like his debut, L.A.-based Miguel tackles various sounds on his latest album. He describes his music as “dangerous” and “quietly killing.” He combines R&B vocals with smooth beats at times and electro-flavored ones at others. “Adorn” is a mellow R&B outtake, as is his latest single, “Do You ...” But he also meshes funk, electric and rock sounds on his album, and he’s drawn comparisons to Prince, thanks to his futuristic vibe; shiny, fitted fashion ensembles; trendy hairstyle; and electrifying stage presence.
But Miguel’s debut didn’t splash like his latest album: He didn’t earn any Grammy nominations, though he had produced multiple R&B hits and toured with Mary J. Blige and Usher. Miguel says he was more confident when he recorded his recent album.
“I trusted myself so much more this time. I just felt a lot sturdier and kind of went with my gut on a lot of things,” he said of “Kaleidoscope Dream,” which made several critics’ best records of 2012 lists. “I had a good idea, but I don't know if I knew how to convey the idea the best way and the most honest way, and it took that first album for me to learn the ropes.”
Miguel’s growth also comes from songwriting: He co-wrote three songs on Usher’s “Raymond v. Raymond,” co-wrote the Blige and Musiq Soulchild duet “Ifuleave” and Jaheim’s “Finding My Way Back.” He’s also expanding his audience: He recently wrapped up a tour with R&B crooner Trey Songz, and is the opening act for Alicia Keys’ “Set the World on Fire Tour,” which kicks off March 7 in Seattle. Keys also co-wrote a song on Miguel’s latest album.
Miguel, who is black and Mexican, said he’s been influenced by a number of acts, including James Brown, Freddie Mercury, Van Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. His sound is part of the progressive movement in R&B that includes acts like The Weeknd and Ocean, who earned six nominations at this year’s Grammys.
“I think they’re all helping each other at this point,” said Pitts, who’s worked with Notorious B.I.G., Diddy, TLC and Nas. “What Frank Ocean is doing — musically and what he stands for, him coming out, all of that — is bringing attention to the sound. ... So is Miguel ... and now the Grammys.”
Miguel said the progressive R&B movement is made up of soul-influenced “freethinkers” who are “hungry to be ourselves.”
“(We) acknowledge the fact that we’re influenced by soul music or were raised on soul music, but ... we’re hungry to transcend the expectations or the idea that soul music is one thing, (that) R&B is one thing,” he said. “R&B is an actual genre and I miss that the only expectation is to be soulful — the sound of it and the delivery is completely up to the artist.”
The 55th annual Grammy Awards will air live on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 10.
Take the lead, especially in romantic matters. Throw modesty out the window. Be in shameless pursuit. You know that your need is great this week. Seek to satisfy it. Your lover might be surprised, but you can make the surprise a pleasant one. Soul Affirmation: I hunt for love in all the right places.
Heads or tails! Go or stay! What to do? This week you’ll find yourself pulled in two exactly opposite directions. There is no way to satisfy both pulls. Let your friends decide. Take whatever suggestion comes first. Soul Affirmation: I let my friendships guide my way.
Don’t waste time thinking about the past. Sure they were wrong, but what does it matter now. Enjoy the present. Find something good to do for the rest of the week. Avoid conflict. Nothing is so important that it needs to be resolved this week. Soul Affirmation: This week I forgive myself for everything that has happened.
Stop thinking about work. Sure there are pressing matters, but they’ll wait. Tap into the fun side of your personality. Get deep into that side and stay there. Don’t keep pulling back to think about things that need to be fixed. Soul Affirmation: I give my mind a big vacation this week.
Let the pleasure principal win the battle with your sense of duty. Give yourself up to the sunshine, the fresh air, the outdoors. Stop talking and get moving. Your own motion will clear your mind of things that have been hanging on. Soul Affirmation: I celebrate freedom of mind this week.
There are so many good things to do that the challenge will be in deciding what to do and what to not do. Great place to be. Count your blessings -all of them and flip a coin. What a time to be alive. Call someone. Let them decide what you should enjoy first. Soul Affirmation: I know that my life is full of good things. I enjoy!
Give yourself a chance to know yourself better. Let others reflect the beauty that is you and that will give you added knowledge of yourself this week. Ask for opinions and listen closely, making something good out of whatever is said. Soul Affirmation: I spend the week celebrating me.
You’ll meet someone that you could come to adore. Make sure you’ve laid the groundwork because they might not be ready for all the adoration that you are ready to give. Make sure that you don’t adore a bird in the bush while neglecting a bird in hand. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy the act of adoring.
Being an artist doesn’t always mean painting a picture. This week apply your artistry to anything that you do. Look at life as an empty canvas upon which you have the skill to paint almost any wonderful thing that you want. Soul Affirmation: My life itself is my greatest creation.
This week is better than last week for career goals. Think deeply about what you really want for a career. Clarity is easy to come by. Charm is an extremely effective tool for you this week. The smile is needed more than at any recent time. Soul Affirmation: I keep my smile shining, especially at home.
Believe that it is true when a friend or family member praises you this week. There is something good happening with you that you cannot see. Expect good news about a publishing, educational or legal venture. Romance is in the air, revel in it. Soul Affirmation: All the good things said about me this week are absolutely true.
This week let your nurturing spirit shines through. Your tremendous adaptability will make it possible for you to show kindness even where it is not deserved. Know that you kindness is appreciated. All week long you’ll find yourself in helpful conversations with friends or family members. Heed what is said. Soul Affirmation: Everyone deserves kindness this week.
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