Music

Music

Mary J. Blige on Being Inspired by Michelle Obama: ‘The Strength This Woman Has Is So Amazing’

For more than 20 years, Mary J. Blige has left her mark on the music industry, earning the title of Queen of Hip-Hop Soul for her anthemic classics and resilience in the music industry. On Thursday, she will be recognized for her contributions at Billboard‘s annual Women in Music ceremony. Blige has inspired a generation of singers who came after her, but when she looks for strength and inspiration, the one person that comes to mind is the former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. “The strength this woman has is so amazing because it takes a lot of strength to do what she did,” Blige said in a behind-the-scenes clip for the Billboard Women in Music shoot. “It takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of confidence to be first lady, to be an African-Americ...

Watch Kelly Clarkson Talk About the Importance of Reimagining Education

Kelly Clarkson wasn’t just chosen as Billboard‘s Powerhouse for this year’s Women in Music because of her powerhouse vocals (though it didn’t hurt). She’s also aiming to make powerful changes in the world of education. In an interview leading up to Thursday’s Billboard Women in Music event, streaming live via Twitter starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, Clarkson talked about how growing up with her mom as a teacher got her interested in the XQ Institute and all they’re trying to do to reimagine education via their Super Schools project. “They weren’t asking for money from people,” she told Billboard. “They were asking for conversation.” XQ aims to expand schools’ traditional focus of math, science, English and social...

Spotify Skip-Rates Aren’t as Important a Playlist Metric as Many Believe, Says Exec

“Yes, skip-rate is a metric that we editors take into consideration on how to move on songs, but it’s just one metric out of many.” Turns out all the hype around Spotify “skip-rates” — when a listener skips a track less than 30 seconds into listening — might not be such an important metric in the service’s playlist placements as previously thought.  “I would once and for all like to kill the myth that it’s just about something called skip rate,” Spotify’s Nordic head of shows and editorial Daniel Breitholtz told an audience at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday (Nov. 29), Music Ally reports. “That is simply not the truth. Yes, skip-rate is a metric that we editors take into consideratio...

Who Should Win 2018 Grammy for Best Dance Recording? Vote!

When all the songs are saying the same thing, true artists stand out from the crowd, and the 2018 class of Grammy-nominated artists for best dance recording each bring a unique voice and attitude to the stage. It makes the pickings tough, so we ask you: Who should win? There’s LCD Soundsystem and its ode to uncomfortable honesty “Tonite,” a rockin’ disco tune that builds big and explodes like a generation on fire. It may not promise that you’ll never get older, but it proves that you don’t have to be forever-youthful to crack the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart. Gorillaz and DRAM also brought the realness for their collaborative single “Andromeda.” From the apocalyptic dance album Humanz, “Andromeda” hitched the road to glory on ...

Valentino Khan & Sean Paul’s Collab Music Video Drips With ‘Gold’: Watch

What gives a person “star power”? Is it a big smile? A flashy sense of style? A heavy co-sign from an icon in the game? Whatever it is, “star power” can be a cruel mistress, but if you’re a good person and you make the right moves, you’ll always find the place where you fit in best. That’s kind of the gist of the music video for Valentino Khan‘s Sean Paul collab “Gold.” We watch as a nice dude from what seems to be Jamaica gets caught up in a literal gold rush. He’s pulled off the street by the “Gold” video’s real-life director Lil Internet to appear next to the song’s real stars in a make-believe hit. It all goes great — until it doesn’t. Don’t worry about Mr. Golden Boy, though. He...

Rick Springfield Explores His Blues Side on New Album ‘The Snake King’: Exclusive

Maybe he’s still pining for “Jessie’s Girl,” but Rick Springfield has got the blues — at least on record. The Grammy-winning rocker is releasing The Snake King, his first blues-oriented album, Jan. 26 via Frontiers Music SRL.  “All my first bands that I played in as a kid in Australia were blues bands, trying desperately to copy as best we could the amazing music we were hearing coming out of the Chicago blues scene and the older stuff from the deep South,,” said Springfield in a statement. “My guitar playing was always influenced by the same guys who influenced all the English players I grew up with, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, etc. Everyone was playing their version of what they heard from the Southern Blues and the Chicago scene.” Springfie...

N.E.R.D. Enlist Future for New Song ‘1000’

Having scored a great Rihanna verse and their first-ever Billboard Hot 100 entry with “Lemon,” N.E.R.D. return Wednesday (Nov. 29) with a second new single, the Future-featuring “1000.” Like “Lemon,” it’s jittery and sample-packed, with so many moving parts that Pharrell’s gleeful exclamations (“Oh, this shit is workin’!”) might as well apply to the beat itself. N.E.R.D.’s upcoming album No_One Ever Really Dies is out December 15. It’s set to feature additional guests, including Andre 3000, M.I.A., Gucci Mane, Kendrick Lamar, and Ed Sheeran, though it’s not entirely clear how involved Pharrell’s longtime musical collaborator Chad Hugo was in the project. Listen to “1000” below: This article was originally published by Spin.

Midland Says ‘Drinkin’ Problem’ Grammy Nominations ‘Came Out of Left Field’

At this time last year, Midland (Mark Wystrach, Jess Carson and Cameron Duddy) had put their alcohol anthem “Drinkin’ Problem” out into the world with their self-titled EP, which was released on Oct. 28, 2016. Little did they know that 13 months later, the song — officially released as a single in February — would break the country trio into the genre in a major way: Almost exactly three months after hitting No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart, Midland received two Grammy nominations for “Drinkin’ Problem.” Adding to the prestige of their first-ever Grammy nods — one for best country song and one for best country duo/group performance — the news of the nominations was sandwiched between a performance on Late Night With Seth Meyers ...

Watch Selena Gomez Talk Making a Positive Impact by Sharing Her Struggles With Lupus

Billboard’s Woman of the Year Selena Gomez wants everyone to know that this year was a year for great progress. As part of Billboard‘s Women in Music coverage, Gomez talked about the strides that she’s seen women in the music industry make this year and how proud and honored she is to be a part of that progress. One thing in particular Gomez is especially proud of is women using their newfound power to talk about the struggles they face and showing that they’re just as powerful as their male counterparts. “The women have really defined their voices,” Gomez says, “and I feel most comfortable because I see all the women I look up to feeling comfortable enough to talk about the struggles or things that they’ve gone through.” Earlier this y...

Watch Atlantic Exec Julie Greenwald Talk Being Inspired by Hayley Kiyoko & Milck

Ahead of this year’s annual Billboard Women in Music dinner and awards gala, Atlantic Records chairman and COO Julie Greenwald sat down with Billboard to discuss Hayley Kiyoko and Milck, two artists signed to her label who have inspired her with both their song and art. “Both these women are making a difference locally, as well as globally, with their music and their efforts,” shares Greenwald, who is this year’s Executive of the Year honoree. “I’m so proud of both of them and they inspire me so much with song and art, and how you can make change.” Discussing Kiyoko, Greenwald reflects upon watching a young female artist “tell her story about what it means to come out and be a proud lesbian, and she worked all year long touring and telling her story.” Greenwald also expresses admiration fo...

Ellie Goulding Won’t Appear On Martin Garrix & David Guetta Collab ‘So Far Away’

Things are not all sunshine and rainbows between Martin Garrix and Ellie Goulding.  The two collaborated on a track with David Guetta called “So Far Away,” and fans were stoked on it following a debut during Garrix’s set at Tomorrowland 2017. Unfortunately, it turns out the singer’s label and management team were displeased with the live preview, and if Goulding’s take is to be believed, they’ve conspired to have her vocal cut from the track, replaced in a final version teased on Garrix’s Facebook page by male vocalist Jamie Scott and the demo’s original female singer, Romy Dya. Garrix’s take is that Goulding pulled the plug on the song herself. He says she “didn’t want to release it,” but she says that’s a hurtf...

Excision Releases Full Set From Lost Lands Festival 2017, Announces Tickets For 2018

“With a new festival comes new beginnings.” That’s what Excision said when he posted his set from the first-ever edition of his dinosaur-themed Lost Lands Festival. It rocked the pants off Legend Valley, Ohio, back in September with 400,000 watts and sets from bass behemoths Zeds Dead, 12th Planet and more. Excision shared his hour-and-a-half headline set as a free download as a way to say thanks for a kick-ass launch. It’s a real head-splitter of stompin’ dubstep, bangin’ beats, unreleased material and exclusive edits. Relive the madness or experience the unbridled brutality for the first time with the full mix below. Also, heads up that Lost Lands will return in 2018, and tickets are on sale Friday, Dec. 1. Mark those calendars, and put your big kid sh...