Category: Music


There’s been a bit of shizz slinging of late regarding Madonna‘s new album, her world tour and whether we should be calling either a success.

After earning positive reviews and debuting strongly at #1, MDNA, experienced a sharp sales decline in its second week and a majority of her US tour dates have yet to sell out. Those two facts taken together sent a few music writers down the rabbit hole, with some going so far as to say Live Nation, which signed Madonna to a $120 million 360 deal with in 2007, was concerned over both her album and concert ticket sales given the size and length (10 years) of their commitment to the Queen of Pop.

>> Madonna’s Manager Confirms That ‘Turn Up The Radio’ Will Be Next MDNA Single

Yesterday, Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary hit Twitter to address the rumors and now Arthur Fogel, Chairman of Live Nation Global Touring, talked to Billboard, saying that not only is business brisk for Madonna’s tour but it is actually “on track to end up in the top 10 tours of all time.”

First, what many of the reports fail to mention is that Madonna’s last tour, 2008-09’s “Sticky & Sweet” jaunt, was actually her first venture under her Live Nation deal, and it’s enormous success ($408 million in grosses, making it the third highest grossing tour ever and the most successful by a solo artist) most certainly offset a great deal of M’s sign-on cost. Merchandising is also a major factor in Live Nation’s revenue stream and it controls all of that for Madonna’s tours, creating another significant source of revenue for the concert promotion giant.

Perhaps most importantly with regard to MDNA‘s sales, Madonna’s 360 deal is, at its core, touring and merchandise-driven, so talk that the company will take a loss on the album if it doesn’t sell 15 million copies (as has been reported) is a bit of a reach. (Quick, name the last album by any artist to sell 15 million copies…)

Talking to Billboard, Fogel said, “To say this tour is not performing is so off base I don’t even know what to say. When this tour is said and done, combined with ‘Sticky and Sweet,’ you’re talking $750 million in gross ticket sales. That sounds pretty impressive to me.”

 

“You can do the math,” Fogel continued. “46,000 in Istanbul, 44,000 in Milan, 39,000 in Florence. We sold out two arenas in Barcelona, two in Berlin, two in Amsterdam, we sold 42,000 in Edinburgh, 40,000 in Helsinki, 51,000 in Paris. If that’s trouble, give me more.”

>> Madonna Plans To Address Anti-Gay Russian Law During St. Petersburg Concert

With over a month and a half to go before the tour kicks off in Tel Aviv, Israel, and four months before it comes stateside, Fogel tells Billboard that he isn’t exactly looking for sell-outs at this point. “One of the things some people don’t get is, I don’t necessarily want to be sold out at this point; I keep trying to find tickets to sell,” he said. “Every day our people are trying to fine-tune the site lines and production kills. That’s my job. It’s great when you can say ‘sold out,’ but right now I want to keep finding tickets to sell. That’s the game.”

>> Let’s Talk About This Rumored Madonna Tour Setlist

Sold out or not, ticket sales have been strong enough that Madonna was forced to add a second show at New York’s Yankee Stadium in early-September and a pass through the city’s Madison Square Garden in November, in addition to added shows in Washington DC, Seattle, Berlin and Amsterdam.

And to those claiming first week album sales figures for MDNA were inflated by many receiving the album as part of a (optional!) bundle deal with their concert ticket, we have a question: Don’t you think that the people who were willing to shell out $300 (or more) for a concert ticket probably would have been the first people in line to pick up the album anyway?

Credit: Getty Images

It’s jarring when pop singers decide to spit a few rhymes.You never immediately think, “Ohh, that’s a good idea! Do that again.” Usually you want to ban them from microphones forever. However, on rare occasions, it’s surprisingly good. This is not a list of the top feMCs in the game. Far from it. We’re giving you the lady poppers who have dared to rap and weren’t so bad. It makes us respect them more and, heck, it even makes them sexier. Some have even gone on to use the whole rap thing in their careers. Check out the list of these bold ladies below.

1. Katy Perry


Credit: Getty Images

We already know Katy Perry is fearless–she married Russell Brand and has dyed her hair every color on the rainbow, but we didn’t know she had it in her to rap. Last month she covered Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s “N***as in Paris” during a live performance at BBC Radio 1. “This is about to get real embarrassing,” she said before launching into it. While she censored all the expletives and made it a little too clean, the rendition is really not “embarrassing.” She even brought out the rapper in her complete with a Yankees fitted on. Not bad at all.

2. Selena Gomez


Credit: Getty Images

It’s hard to keep a squeaky clean image growing up a Disney star, but Selena Gomezmanaged to do just that. No nude photos leaked, no scandals–nothing of the sort and she knows it. “Selena G, I’m known for my modesty,” is a line from this MTV EMA promo she did last year. She did it all with a bandana and flannel on–bleeped out expletives included. Selena G, if we’re allowed to call her that now, probably took some pointers from Nicki Minaj after she covered “Super Bass.”

3. Taylor Swift


Credit: Getty Images

Taylor Swift aka T-Swizzle–yes, that’s what she called herself–was surprisingly good at her attempt at rap. She did a song called “Thug Story” with T-Pain and premiered it as the opening of the 2009 CMT Music Awards. With lyrics like “I’m so gangster you can find me baking cookies at night/You out clubbing but I just made caramel delight”–you can’t go wrong. She had everything in the video from the cars to the bling–no video babes though.

4. Miley Cyrus


Credit: Getty Images

In 2009, Miley Cyrus decided she wanted to leave Twitter and stop “living for people.” What better way to announce that than a rap video? Cyrus made the song and video to explain to her fans why she left the social networking site. Let’s just say she should stick to singing more.

5. Amy Heidemann of Karmin


Via YouTube

Of course the other half of Karmin can pull off a rap song! Heidemann didn’t seriously attempt rap until the duo’s cover of “Look At Me Now” and look where it got them. Her rap skills have gone from covers to originals since she started out. She can probably teach the rest of these ladies a thing or two since she’s one of the very few people who can rapBusta Rhymes‘ verse without a stutter.

During an interview with Oufah a few days before leaving for the long awaited South American tour, the MOBO award winner revealed that his inspiration through music has been encouraged by reggae legend Bob Marley.

‘I owe all my success to date to Bob Marley, he has paved the way for many aspiring reggae musicians like myself,’ he says.

Alborosie who now resides in Jamaica, is originally from Italy and believes that the work of Bob Marley reaches and impacts the lives of many people around the world.

‘Bob Marley is THE KING of reggae, without his music I would probably be back in Italy or somewhere else in the world, but not in Jamaica,’ he added.

With the upcoming premiere the Marley documentary, Alborosie encourages Jamaicans to go out and take part in the historic film presentation. His final words to Oufah were, ‘Rasta and Non Rasta, Bob would love us to Unite – ONE LOVE!’ The Official movie for the King of reggae Bob Marley premieres in Kingston Jamaica on April 19, 2012 at Emancipation Park at 7pm.

Click here to view the Marley Movie Trailer

Alborosie’s 2 TIMES REVOLUTION South American Tour Now on!

Dates and locations as follows:

12.04.12 LIMA (Peru) / Centro de Convenciones Embarcadero 41
14.04.12 SANTIAGO DE CHILE (Chile) / Chimkowe — Festival Siempre Vivo Reggae
15.04.12 BUENOS AIRES (Argentina) / Niceto
16.04.12 BUENOS AIRES (Argentina) / Niceto
18.04.12 MAR DE PLATA ( Argentina) / Abbey Road
20.04.12 CORDOBA (Argentina) / La Vieja Usina
21.04 12 SAN LUIS (Argentina) / Palacio de los Deportes
22.04.12 ROSARIO (Argentina) / Pugliese
27.04.12 BELEM (Brasil) / Parque dos Igarapes
28.04.12 FORTALEZA (Brasil) / Barraca Biruta
29.04.12 SAO LUIS (Brasil) / Trapiche
05.05.12 MARACAY (Venezuela) / Parque Carlos Raul Villanueva — Festival Full Reverberancia

Click here for more on Alborosie

“She’s still the same person to me,” Malgorzata Saniewska said about Stefani Germanotta, better known today as Lady Gaga.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Malgorzata Saniewska worked at the same restaurant where Stefani Germanotta worked
  • “I offered her the photo shoot, and she said yes right away,” Saniewska said
  • Saniewska kept those early photos to herself “out of respect,” she said
  • Saniewska hopes that those viewing the photos will get to see another side of Gaga

(CNN) — We’ve come to know her as Lady Gaga, but before the world tours, “The Fame” or even the dress made of meat, photographer Malgorzata Saniewska knew her simply as her restaurant co-worker, Stefani Germanotta.

In the summer of 2005, Saniewska, who goes by Maggie, happened to be tending bar at the same West Village restaurant where the 19-year-old soon-to-be star worked as a waitress.

Just 24 at the time, Saniewska had moved from her native Poland to the United States two years prior with dreams of becoming a photographer.

But to support herself, “I started working as a bartender,” she recalled. “It was definitely a money thing. I did want to go to school, but I didn’t do research on photography, my focus was to make better money.”

Keeping an eye on her bank account is what drove Saniewska to study accounting, leaving photography to become an amateur pursuit for a while.

She went from taking landscape photos of New York City to setting up her own shoots, with Gaga being among some of her first ones.

“We were colleagues, we didn’t hang out really heavily, but she’s the nicest girl ever. … She’s down-to-earth,” Saniewska said. “At that time, she gave me a CD of her first single, and I listened to it and I was really impressed. And she’s a beautiful girl. Based on her looks and her personality I thought (a photo shoot) would be great fun.”

CNN Photos: See Malgorzata Saniewska’s exclusive and unseen photos of Lady Gaga

Back then, Gaga “played piano and sang. This 19-year-old girl, she was really talented. She didn’t talk about it a lot, (but) she did say that she studied music. … I cannot even explain to you what she sounds like with just a piano, then or now,” Saniewska said. “I offered her the photo shoot, and she said yes right away.”

Gaga had the perfect location in mind: Her parents’ place on the Upper East Side. (CNN has reached out to Lady Gaga’s rep for comment.)

The two young women hopped on a train and headed over there, and set to work creating what Saniewska says became Lady Gaga’s first photo shoot, although Saniewska didn’t know that at the time.

“The house was empty, it was just the two of us,” Saniewska said. “I knew she was a singer, so our focus was her and her very first piano. We just hung out in her parents’ living room, and the piano was right by the window.”

“She’s a good model, obviously,” Saniewska added with a laugh.

Armed with just her first point-and-shoot camera, Saniewska let the intimate shoot unfold organically.

“We had no plan.”

“We basically walked into her house, she did hair and makeup, picked out the clothes and we started,” she recalled. The lighting was natural: “No strobe lights, nothing special, no tripods,” she said. “It was hand-held.”

Saniewska, who’s never been formally trained, said she shot around 200 photos that day. After culling through the resulting images, choosing the photos with the best natural lighting, she presented Gaga with a CD of the pictures. The burgeoning singer was happy with them, and used some of the art for her own promotional materials.

Of course, there’s no way Saniewska could have known that the young woman she photographed on a summer day in 2005 would become the international superstar she is today. As a matter of fact, Saniewska says that at first, when she saw her as Lady Gaga, she didn’t recognize her, having been accustomed to her as a long-haired brunette waitress.

Even as Gaga’s fame continued to grow, Saniewska kept those early photos to herself “out of respect,” she said, particularly because she wasn’t in touch with her.

And then, she just so happened to bump into her old colleague in 2010.

“I actually ran into her in the East Village, and she came up to me. She was already Lady Gaga, and we spoke a little, and she leaned on me, and she said in my ear, ‘Did you know that this was my first photo shoot?’ I had no idea,” Saniewska said. “She was really excited. From that moment on I figured I could do something about it. And she’s OK with it.”

Saniewska hopes that those viewing the photos will get to see another side of Gaga, a peek at who the star was before the world knew her name.

But even with all the fame, to Saniewska, she’s “still the same girl. The fact that we ran into each other and she came up to me – she didn’t say ‘Hi’ and run off. She stood there for 15 minutes, just chatting. She remembered my name, she remembered who I was, and she had so much to say. She’s still the same person to me.”

Jim Marshall talking about his invention to the BBC in 1989

Guitar amp innovator Jim Marshall, dubbed “the Father of Loud” for creating kit used by some of the biggest names in rock, has died aged 88.

Mr Marshall, who originally owned a music shop in London, founded Marshall Amplification 50 years ago.

Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain are among the musicians who used Marshall amps.

A statement posted on the company’s website called him a “legendary man” who led a “truly remarkable life”.

Slash and Jim MarshallMarshall amps are used by famous musicians such as Slash (left) from Guns N’ Roses

Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash tweeted: “The news of Jim Marshall passing is deeply saddening. R & R will never be the same w/out him. But, his amps will live on FOREVER!”

Motley Crue bass player Nikki Sixx also paid tribute on Twitter, saying Marshall was “responsible for some of the greatest audio moments in music’s history – and 50% responsible of all our hearing loss.”

Speaking to Radio Four’s Front Row programme on Thursday, musician Paul Weller said he used a Marshall amp that was “at least 40 years old and still sounds fantastic”.

“For me it’s the exactly right amp for the job,” said the former Jam and Style Council frontman. “I don’t know if anyone’s particularly improved on it, to be honest.”

Jim Marshall began building amplifiers in the early 1960s, using the Fender Bassman amp as a model, creating what later became known as “the Marshall sound”.

After talking to Pete Townsend and Ritchie Blackmore, who were customers at the shop, he realised there was a gap in the market to make a cheaper alternative to the other models available at the time.

It took him six attempts to create an amp he was happy with.

As the company grew, Mr Marshall expanded his product range, unveiling the Master Volume Marshall amps and the classic JCM800 split channel amps.

“Jim rose to become one of the forefathers responsible for creating the tools that allowed rock guitar, as we know and love it today, to be born,” the statement said.

“In addition to the creation of the amps, chosen by countless guitar heroes and game changing bands, Jim was also an incredibly humble and generous man who, over the past several decades, has quietly donated many millions of pounds to worthy causes.”

Marshall amplifiers were such a fixture of the rock scene that they featured prominently in the spoof documentary This is Spinal Tap.

In a famous scene from the film, guitarist Nigel Tufnel proudly showed off his Marshall stack which went up to 11. He explained it was “one louder” than usual amplifiers.

In 2003, Marshall he was given the OBE for his services to music and charity. He was a regular supporter of Macmillan and the Willen Hospice.

He also donated money to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, where he was treated for tuberculosis as a child.

The Marshall Amps company, which is now based in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a tribute concert at Wembley Arena.

Jim Marshall with Motorhead's LemmyLemmy, from the rock band Motorhead, also owns Marshall equipment

Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Whitesnake and The Cult are among the bands who have been lined up to play at the September event.

Mr Marshall will be remembered alongside guitarmakers Leo Fender and Les Paul for shaping the sound of the modern electric guitar.

He is survived by his children Terry and Victoria and step-children Paul and Dawn.

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Perhaps people are reading more into Katy’s statement than they should be, but I mean…there aren’t many ways to interpret her dig at Beyonce and Shakira’s duet, “Beautiful Liar.” The comment was made while KP was visiting BBC Radio 1 on Monday, and was asked about the collab she and her bestie Rihanna are planning to put together. See what she said below and share your thoughts on it!

Marisa Mendez

 

“We’ve collaborated on a lot of things, but just not songs yet. It’s one of those things that’s got so much build up that we have to deliver. I want it to be like that Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin song “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves,” not “Beautiful Liar.” But I definitely want to do something that is so iconic. Rihanna’s kind of busy too. We’re both busy but we planted the seed two years ago. How disappointed would you be if that song came out and it’s no good? Sometimes you have to wait for greatness.”

Reggae 2011 Mobo  award winner Alborosie has teamed up with with British superstar (The late Amy Winehouse) for the Remix SWEET GUITAR. The song was leaked online early March 2012.  Listen below

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