Hanson

“Sounding like a revamped Jackson 5 for the ’90s, Hanson came storming out of Tulsa, OK, in 1997 blessed with photogenic looks and a surprisingly infectious sense of melody. Hanson had a sunny pop sense that stood in direct contrast to the gloomy grunge that dominated the ’90s, yet they also arrived with hip credentials — a handful of the cuts on their debut were produced by the Dust Brothers (Beastie Boys, Beck, Sukia), and the rest were produced by Steve Lironi, who helmed Black Grape’s debut. Along with the hip production, the record was comprised of songs co-written by the band with professional songwriters like Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil and Desmond Child. It had the sound of a hip recording and the craft of professional pop record, making Middle of Nowhere the best of both worlds.

Hanson were certainly reminiscent of an earlier era, namely the early ’70s, when teens could rule the top of the charts. Like the Jackson 5, the Cowsills and the mythological Partridge Family, all of the members of Hanson were brothers. Isaac, aged 16 at the time of their debut, played guitar; 13-year-old Taylor sang lead and played keyboards; drummer Zac was 11 years old. As children in Tulsa, they sang around the dinner table, often ’50s and ’60s rock and R&B; standards and gospel songs. Eventually, the group began playing around Tulsa, performing at local festivals, at school, around town. The brothers first attempted to break into the music industry around 1992, when they approached music attorney Christopher Sabec and sang a cappella for him. Impressed with their talents, he became their manager and began shopping them to major labels. Between 1992 and 1995, five labels passed on Hanson. The group decided to release a pair of indie records while waiting. The album Boomerang, which was filled with slick pop, appeared in 1995. Following the release of Boomerang, Hanson began playing their own instruments, which strengthened their writing considerably, as shown on the single “MMMBop,” which signalled that they were moving towards a fresher, hip-hop and soul-influenced direction. The group signed with Mercury Records on the strength of “MMMBop,” and they were hooked up with producer Steve Lironi, who helped the band with arrangements. Over the next year, the group worked on their album with a variety of collaborators, including co-writers like Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Desmond Child and Mark Hudson; nine of the 13 tracks on the final album featured contributions from professional writers. They also recorded a handful of tracks with the Dust Brothers, who were riding high on the success of Beck’s Odelay.

Prior to the spring 1997 release of their debut album, Middle of Nowhere, Mercury put the publicity machine in full gear, hiring Tamara Davis (Sonic Youth, Luscious Jackson) to direct the video for “MMMBop” and courting the press and radio. The efforts worked, as “MMMBop” debuted at number 13 on the U.S. charts upon its April release, and the album earned positive reviews, both becoming among the biggest hits of the year. Hanson became major teen idols, and as the holidays approached they issued a Christmas LP, Snowed In; in 1998, they reissued their earlier independent recordings as Three Car Garage, and also released a concert album, Live From Albertane.

Following that flurry of activity, Hanson remained largely silent while they worked on the proper follow-up to Middle of Nowhere; in the meantime, thanks in part to Hanson’s breakout success, teen-pop acts like Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Cristina Aguilera, and ‘N Sync came to dominate the pop landscape. Hanson finally emerged in the spring of 2000 with This Time Around, a more mature, measured record that represented a bid for credibility outside their primarily teenage audience; featuring guest spots from Jonny Lang and Blues Traveler’s John Popper, the album reflected the new influence of rockers like Matchbox 20. The record didn’t make much of an impression on the charts, setting the stage for a departure from their label during the recording of their third album. Following their separation from Island, Hanson set up their own label, 3CG Records, which debuted with the group’s third record, Underneath, in April of 2004. The album featured songwriting collaborations with Matthew Sweet and Gregg Alexander. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

source taken from http://www.hanson.net/

Hilary Duff

Life is sweet – and getting even sweeter – for the pop world’s favorite girl-next-door. Sure, Hilary Duff starred in a monstrously huge TV show but that’s, like, so yesterday ’cause Hilary’s exercising her right to change her mind and act her age. No more trying to fit a circle into a square. With her first real pop-rock album, Metamorphosis, and the #1 single “So Yesterday,” Hilary is finally free to be who she wants to be.
“Change is a very important and natural thing,” says Hilary. “We called the album Metamorphosis because it’s about changes that everybody experiences. It’s not just about me, but it is very personal. The change might seem a little sudden because most people are used to seeing me as a character through Lizzie McGuire and movie roles that I played. So this music is a good way to get everyone to know the real me. Everyone evolves and changes.”

A triple-threat talent, Hilary has become a music, film and television phenomenon thanks to an unbroken string of hits that began with her starring role in the Disney Channel Original Series Lizzie McGuire, the record-breaking #1 show in its timeslot. Hilary made her singing debut on that hit sit-com, lending her fresh vocals and sunny style to “I Can’t Wait” from the RIAA-certified platinum Lizzie McGuire Television Soundtrack. In her motion picture debut, Hilary co-starred with Frankie Muniz in this summer’s action-adventure hit Agent Cody Banks. Next came singing and starring roles in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, in which Hilary played – prophetically enough – an American tourist mistaken for a huge singing star.

Proving that life imitates art, Hilary’s singing career is exploding on Top 40 radio, MTV and Top 200 retail charts. Metamorphosis – her amazingly appealing new album of 13 songs – shipped well in excess of gold with 800,000 copies on August 26, 2003 and is #2 on the Billboard 200. Its debut single, “So Yesterday,” became an instant #1 retail hit at Walmart.com, and stormed the pop singles charts on July 29, hitting the #1 spot after quickly making top-request waves at national Top 40 radio and on MTV’s signature program “Total Request Live,” where Hilary’s “Why Not” music video (from the RIAA-certified platinum The Lizzie McGuire Movie Soundtrack) had already been a Top 10 staple for months.

MTV also hosted a prestigious premiere for the “So Yesterday” music video on its July 21 presentations of Making The Video and TRL All-Star Backyard BBQ and featured Hilary in MTV Diary. Duff recently was a presenter at both the MTV Video Music Awards and the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, where she accepted the trophy for “Favorite TV Show” on behalf of Lizzie McGuire. And although there’s not one molecule of space left for another top award her shelf, “So Yesterday” has become the #1 most-streamed video on AOL.

“I’ve always sung, ever since I could talk,” says Hilary. “At home, at school, in the choir, everywhere. But about two years ago I decided to be a real singer, and started working with really cool singers, musicians and songwriters. Best of all, I started working in the studio, experimenting and putting material together. I’ve really fallen in love with the studio. I just know that a lot of my fans relate to the album.”

What kind of music can fans expect from Hilary on Metamorphosis? A chameleon-like variety of changing moods, from the romantic ballad “Where Did I Go Right?” to the ultimate break up song, “So Yesterday.” From the tough-talkin’ “Party Up” to the hard rockin’ “Little Voice.”

“The music on the album is a little different from the pop songs everyone’s heard from me before, because Metamorphosis has all the kinds of music I like to listen to,” Hilary explains. “There are a lot of different sounds, from rock to eletronic – with a whole range of tempos from some deep, slow songs, to some high-energy rock songs to give me a boost. Everybody goes through different moods and different feelings and sometimes when you put on your favorite song it makes you feel a little bit better.”

The 13 pop-rock songs on Metamorphosis were produced, arranged, written and mixed by the very best in the business. The album’s behind-the-scenes-talent includes Charlie Midnight (Joe Cocker, James Brown, Joni Mitchell) who contributed to nine tracks; The Matrix (Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera), the producing masterminds behind “So Yesterday,” “Where Did I Go Right?” and “The Math”; Chico Bennett (Madonna, Usher, Destiny’s Child); Matthew Gerrard (Nick Carter); John Shanks (Michelle Branch); Kara DioGuardi (Celine Dion, Enrique Iglesias); singer-songwriter-producer Meredith Brooks; plus some of the best pop-rock musicians anywhere.

“Can I tell you how awesome everyone’s been to work with? They are the very best writers and producers and musicians ever, and they’ve been so open to my opinions,” Hilary says. “It was important to me that all the songs we recorded really meant something special to me personally. I got to talk with some of the writers and say, ‘You know, I feel like this . . .’ and they really got it, which is so cool. I loved the whole process. It’s so exciting. I love that the whole album really relates to me and my life.”

Two songs were special contributions from Hilary’s number one idol: her talented big sister, Haylie Duff. “Since she knows me better than anyone else in the world, Haylie wrote ‘Sweet Sixteen,’ a really fun song that totally relates to my life right now. She also came up with ‘Inner Strength’ and it’s really beautiful. Very empowering and uplifting.”

Speaking of idols, here’s what another one has to say: “Hilary is just completely a light to the world,” no less an authority than Britney Spears told Popstar! magazine. “So beautiful and so incredibly sweet. Her music is amazing . . . she should just be herself and never change.”

It’s difficult to comprehend all that Hilary Duff has accomplished in the past few years. Prior to Metamorphosis, Hilary had already sold 2.2 million albums, spent six weeks in the Billboard Top 10 and earned two platinum album awards. She has starred in one #1 television series, two hit movies, and has already made two more major films (20th Century Fox’s Cheaper By The Dozen with Steve Martin, and Warner Bros.’ A Cinderella Story) to be released later this year. Plus, not one but two television specials will honor the big day she turns “Sweet Sixteen.”

Not bad for someone who really just wants her driver’s license.

source taken from www.sonymusic.com

Ginuwine

With three Double-Platinum albums to his credit, smoldering singer Ginuwine has smoothly and defiantly sealed his reputation for consistently sexy, romantic, and danceable soul across the urban-pop landscape. Now, by the artist’s own estimation, it is time to “graduate” to the next level, thus, the title of his intentionally edgier new Epic Records release, The Senior.
“The Senior is about growth,” the Washington, D.C. native explains. “In school, you’re not the same person as a senior that you were as a freshman. This is my fourth album, so it’s like my senior year. And everything relates back to learning and growing. It’s me as a man vs. me being young and just getting into the business. This album is more the real me.”

This is not to say that the man who set the radio and video worlds on fire with his debut hit “Pony” as well as the man who melted the hearts of women across racial and generational lines with the beautiful ballad “Differences” weren’t authentically Ginuwine as well. However, over time comes evolution. Now that “G” has been in the spotlight for seven years, he’s comfortable enough to shed more of his glittering exterior to show the man inside.

This process began in earnest when he followed up his red-hot sophomore album, 100% Ginuwine (1999 – featuring “What’s So Different,” “So Anxious” and “None of Ur Friend’s Business”) with the more confessional The Life (2001 – featuring “Differences,” “2 Way” and “Two Reasons I Cry”). The latter was a project deeply affected by the passing of both his parents within a year’s time. With that existential trial behind him, Ginuwine moves forward with a project that finds the artist looking deeper inward to define himself, improve upon the things he’s already done best, and to boldly embark upon new challenges.

Assisting Ginuwine on the songs and interludes of The Senior are producers Bryan Michael Cox (Usher, Janet Jackson and B2K), Troy Oliver (composer of “Differences”), Scott Storch (Dr. Dre, Next and The Roots), and Troy Taylor (the tunesmith behind Tyrese’s hit “Sweet Lady”).

The Senior’s first single, the in-your-face club anthem “Hell Yeah” featuring guest rapper Baby (a.k.a. The Birdman), was personally given to Ginuwine by R. Kelly. “I appreciate that he was even down to work with me,” Ginuwine states, “because, usually, male solo artists don’t want to work with other male artists. He hooked me up with something fast to come out with first. ‘Hell Yeah’ is a club joint for everybody in the club, male and female.” Interestingly, R Kelly wasn’t in the studio for “G”’s vocal session. “I didn’t meet him until after I recorded it,” he explains. “R. put the song on Pro Tools, sent it to the studio and I sang it…my way.” The result so impressed both men as well as Epic, the duo might soon work on a “slow joint” together.

Other highlights of The Senior include the super steamy “Sex” (featuring saxophonist Jimmy Sommers…and an unidentified female) and the funky flirtatious “Those Jeans,” both guaranteed to bring the heat like “G” brought it on his 1996 debut, The Bachelor (1996 – featuring “Pony,” “I’ll Do Anything/I’m Sorry” and a cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”).

But what the ladies really want to know is how Ginuwine plans to top the emotional wallop of his now-classic hit “Differences,” among the most played songs at Black radio for 2001/2002.

The answers (yes, plural) are “I Love You More Everyday” and “Better To Have Loved Than Not At All.” Of the latter, Ginuwine confesses, “I was in the studio listening to this music Troy Taylor brought me. I could feel it trying to tell me something… I screamed out, ‘I need an old cliché,’ and everybody in the studio started calling their moms and grandmas! They came up with, ‘Better to have loved than not at all.’ Within five minutes I had the hook. I thought, ‘This is coming to me so easy, it’s got to be right!’ I finished the whole song that night.”

There is also a surprisingly romantic collaboration with rapper Method Man titled “Big Plans.” That’s a song about a guy wanting to get married and letting a girl know if she sticks in there, I’ve got big plans for her,” Ginuwine shares: “Marriage, children and being together forever.”

As usual, Ginuwine co-composed about eighty percent of his new album. The song he feels he artistically “stretched out” on the most is the harrowing story piece, “Lockdown.” “I put my thinking cap on for that one,” he states with pride. “I ventured out to create a song that went beyond just saying ‘I love you’ or ‘I want to sex you.’ ‘Lockdown’ is about me going to a club, getting into trouble and getting locked up for murder…even though it was in self-defense. I do an interlude where I want Johnnie Cochran to be my lawyer. I’ve heard several stories like this and I know a lot of people will be able to relate…anybody who went out one night and later thought, ‘Dag, I wish I’d just stayed in the house.’ It’s a great song.”
Generally speaking, there is an edgier circumference surrounding The Senior, discernible from jump on the opening track “Niggas Get Ready,” featuring West Coast rap godfather Snoop Dogg. “He’s the first voice you hear on the album,” Ginuwine exclaims excitedly. “I’ve wanted to work with him for awhile. This song basically says I’ve been through a lot, so don’t mess with me! All my real fans know that I’m not a thug…but I’m not soft, either. Everyone else will probably think, ‘I knew he had some of this in him, too.’”

The release of The Senior follows Ginuwine’s hit soundtrack single “Stingy” from the film Barbershop (note: “G” also has the all-new song “Excuses” in Deliver Us From Eva). He also kept himself in the public eye via smash hit collabos with rappers Fat Joe (“Crush Tonight”) and P.Diddy (“I Need A Girl”). Both gentlemen show their allegiance to Ginuwine by appearing on The Senior along with Tweet, Trina, Missy, Trick Daddy, Nas, possibly Mariah, plus TV stars “A.J.” (from BET’s 106 & Park) and “Tigga” (from BET’s Rap City: Tha Basement).

Industry observers will note the absence of Ginuwine’s longtime producer, Timbaland, on The Senior. “Timbaland was scheduled to get down, but was running late and I wasn’t in a position where I could wait. But the plan is for my next album to be titled Back to the Basics and, hopefully, Tim and I will do the whole thing together.”

As a kid, Ginuwine knew that he’d be an entertainer once he saw Michael Jackson’s riveting “Billie Jean” performance on Motown 25. Like Mike, Ginuwine is just as known for his stage presence and dancing as he is his singing. He vows to take both to another level on tour and in the videos for The Senior. “I’m going back to the lab to come up with something different. I look at videos everyday and everybody’s trying to be Michael. I realize I’m the one who kind of brought that style of dance back. Now it’s time for me to be a leader again.”

Beyond the music, Ginuwine has been involved in several other ventures.

At the movies, he was featured in the 2002 comedy Juwanna Man playing “Romeo,” the cheatin’ singer/playboy/boyfriend of actress Vivica Fox’s character. Later this year Ginuwine will be seen playing himself in the film Honey, which is about a female choreographer trying to make it “in the industry” (note: it also co-stars Rodney Jerkins, Jessica Alba and Lil’ Romeo.) “For my next movie, I’d like to do an action picture or play a super hero,” Ginuwine confesses.

Ginuwine also has personal fragrances on the market: 100% Ginuwine for women and G-Spot for men. The biggest of Ginuwine’s career moves, however, is that he’s starting his own record label, Bag Entertainment (with “Bag” representing “M.O.N.E.Y.”).

Ginuwine’s immediate focuses are pleasing his fans while continuing to surprising them, as well as remaining a consistent, Platinum-plus seller and performer. “I want people to know that I work hard and put forth 110% effort,” his says with dead seriousness. “You can’t tell me how to ‘do me,’ so I do a lot by myself. It’s a burden, but in the end, it’s all worth it. I’m not greedy. I just want to be consistent. I don’t want to sell 6 million one album then not be able to sell 500,000. I like to be the underdog.”

“Sometimes,” he cautiously continues, “I’ve felt like people wrote me off in the beginning…saw me as a gimmick, a pretty boy, or a one-hit wonder. Proving myself is a never-ending situation.”

Summing up the various vibes of The Senior, Ginuwine insists, “It’s all me. I’ve still got the love joints and the sexy joints, but I’m also showing an edgier person that people will get to know. I’m not trying to come hard or soft. I’m just trying to be who I am at this point in time.”

source taken from http://www.ginuwine.com/

George Michael

As the history of popular music develops, one fact shines through: talent wins. You can’t cheat and survive for any length of time. You can’t hype and fool people more than once. You can’t hide behind image makers, or alluring videos, or the cut of this season’s clothes. Or you can – but then you die. To survive you must evolve, improve, have faith, still thrill. Longevity depends on making the best music.
George Michael has never thought of popular music as a career: it’s far more personal – more precious – than that. But he has always taken the long-term view, that ultimately an artist’s achievement will not be judged in terms of number one singles, or magazine covers, or prestigious awards, but by a large body of work, a collection of albums over time, a lifetime’s development in an artform that no longer depends on shock or rebellion or the quick burn-out to make a mark.

In 19 years, and at 38 years of age, George Michael can already look back on more than 67 million record sales worldwide. He’s notched up six US No.1 singles from his debut album, eleven British No.1 singles and six No.1 albums to date. He has also played at some of the biggest and most important concerts in history (Live Aid, the Nelson Mandela Freedom Concert, the Freddie Mercury Tribute), all in front of capacity audiences at Wembley Stadium and in front of many millions watching throughout the world. But that was the beginning, an early phase or two.

George Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on 25 June 1963 in North London, and went on to meet his future Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley at a nearby comprehensive school. They formed their first band, The Executive, in 1981, but soon realised their chosen path lay as a duo: Wham! was born.

Within a year they had released their classic debut single, ‘Wham Rap’, but it was their second single, ‘Young Guns (Go For It!)’ which became the first in a string of Top 10 hits.

In the summer of 1984 George unveiled a glimpse of what was to come by releasing the classic ‘Careless Whisper’. His first solo single while still with Wham! became one of the signatures of the Eighties and one of the most-played radio songs of the decade. It was written when he was still only 17.

His growing maturity was further established with the release of ‘A Different Corner’, his second solo single, and another mature ballad of lasting worth. A few months later George and Andrew decided that Wham! should disband while still at the very peak of their success. This announcement was followed by a unique final concert at Wembley, an emotional farewell in front of 72,000.

Their place was assured as one of the most exuberant pop bands of the Eighties. Equally certain was that George was set for a remarkable solo career.

In 1987 George became the first white male vocalist ever to duet with soul great Aretha Franklin. The resulting recording, ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’, shot straight to the top of the charts worldwide, starting off a year which saw George jetting between London and Denmark, recording tracks for his outstanding debut album ‘Faith’.

The album, released in November 1987, showed George Michael to be one of the finest songwriters of the decade and guaranteed him a whole new audience. The album was a No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic, with worldwide sales approaching 15 million.

‘Faith’ received a Grammy for the Best Album of 1988, and won George two Ivor Novello Awards for ‘Songwriter Of The Year’ and ‘International Hit Of The Year’ (‘Faith’). George also won American Music Awards for ‘Favourite Male Vocalist’ (pop/rock), ‘Favourite Male Artist’ (soul/R&B) and ‘Favourite Album’ (soul/R&B).

In America, the outstanding success of ‘Faith’ was marked by six No.1 singles: I Want Your Sex’, ‘Faith’, ‘Father Figure’, ‘One More Try’, ‘Monkey’ and ‘Kissing A Fool’.

The live ‘Faith’ tour followed in February 1988, taking the hits package to a momentous opening date at Tokyo’s Budokan Stadium, and then on to ecstatic audiences in Australia, Europe hand North America. In June, George interrupted the tour to sing three songs at Wembley Stadium’s Nelson Mandela Freedom Concert.

By September 1990 George had gathered together a new body of work – ‘Listen Without Prejudice: Vol.1’ – and another new direction was visible from the first single, ‘Praying For Time’. Much of the album had a raw, stripped-down feel, and drew heavily from classic Sixties tracks, black rhythm and jazz moods. Mostly they were personal, increasingly philosophical songs; once again they went against the prevailing chart trends.

His videos created new waves too: it was almost unheard of for an artist of his stature not to appear centre-stage, but for ‘Freedom 90’ he found other stars – Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista. This was the first time these supermodels had been seen together away from the catwalks, and it was an attraction no one found able to resist thereafter.

The album was another British No.1, and also spawned the hit singles ‘Waiting For That Day’, ‘Heal The Pain’ and ‘Cowboys and Angels’. Still in his Twenties, Michael was already being classed alongside those artists he admired most, and with whom he had the honour of dueting: Aretha Franklin, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. He brought out an autobiography to coincide with the new album (‘Bare’, co-written with Tony Parsons), and was granted a UK television special, an ultimate cultural sign of arrival.

In November 1991 George released ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’, a duet with Elton John from one of George’s Wembley concerts. The song was another No.1 worldwide, and all proceeds went to the AIDS hospice London Lighthouse and the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity.

A few months later George was in the charts once more with ‘Too Funky’, a single from the ‘Red Hot and Dance’ AIDS charity album, which included a collection of remixed hits by artists such as Madonna and Seal as well as three brand new George Michael songs – the only new songs on the album.

‘Too Funky’ went on to become Europe’s most played record of 1992, helped partly by the video directed by George and styled by designer Thierry Mugler.

Early in 1993 George spent three weeks at the top of the charts with the ‘Five Live EP’, featuring duets with Queen and Lisa Stansfield on tracks from the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and from his own Cover To Cover tour in 1991. All proceeds went to the Freddie Mercury Phoenix Trust.

In October of the same year, in a bold statement, making headlines worldwide, George appeared in court against his record company Sony Music Entertainment, as he attempted to break free from the company he claimed no longer accepted his musical direction. Nine months later, the judge found in favour of the record company. An appeal was issued, and was due to be heard in 1996.

On 1st December 1993, World AIDS Day, George played a benefit concert in front of the late Diana, Princess Of Wales. This ‘Concert Of Hope’ also featured K D lang and Mick Hucknall and was televised worldwide, doing much to raise funds and awareness of the disease.

Towards the end of 1994 Michael performed a new song on the first MTV European Music Awards, in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. ‘Jesus To A Child’ was the first new George Michael song the huge television audience had heard for almost three years, and the acclaim was universal.

Undeterred by the fact that he still wasn’t able to release any new material, ‘Careless Whisper’ was voted Londoner’s ‘Favourite record of all time’ in January 1995 in a competition run jointly by the capital’s leading evening newspaper and radio station. He was then voted Best Male Singer by the same radio station, and by the readers of a national newspaper.

By July 1995, after many months of negotiations, it was agreed that Michael would leave Sony and sign two new deals, one with Virgin Records for the World excluding the United States and the other with Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s newly formed SKG Music in North America.

In April 1996, George won the Capital Radio award for ‘Best Male Singer’ once more and was also honoured with an ‘Outstanding Contribution To Music’ award.

George’s first album for Virgin Records, ‘Older’, was released on 13th May 1996 and thusfar the global sales have been outstanding. The album has already earned multi-platinum and/or gold status in 34 countries, including 5 x platinum in the UK.

Written, arranged and produced by George Michael, ‘Older’ was recorded in London and features 11 brand new tracks including the huge international hits, ‘Jesus To A Child’, ‘Fastlove’ and ‘Spinning The Wheel’, the double A-side ‘Older’ / ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ and ‘Star People ’97’.

The video for ‘Fastlove’ was also the top choice of MTV Europe viewers in September 1996, as it picked up the ‘MTV Europe International Viewers Choice Award’ at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York.

At the beginning of October 1996, George performed his first live shows for five years with a gig for Radio 1 FM followed by an Unplugged Session for MTV. Although these concerts were attended by the smallest audiences George has ever played to, he claims they were nevertheless two of the most enjoyable, due to the intimacy of the occasion. The Radio 1FM audience consisted of just 200 people and the MTV Unplugged session slightly larger at 500. Both audiences included competition winners, some of whom had flown to London from all over the world, as well as various specially invited guests.

At both these events, George performed a stunning set which included the tracks ‘Father Figure’, ‘One More Try’, ‘Waiting For That Day’, ‘Freedom 90’, ‘Fastlove’ and ‘Older’, closing with the uptempo ‘Star People’ which had the audience up on their feet begging for more.

In 1996, George was voted ‘Best British Male’, at the MTV Europe Awards and the BRITs; and at The Ivor Novello Awards, he was awarded the prestigious title of ‘Songwriter of The Year’ for the third time.

On 8th September, George released a 4 track E.P. entitled ‘You Have Been Loved’ which debuted at number 2 making him the first artist in chart history to have 6 top 3 singles from one album.

On 24th November 1997, his former record label Epic released ‘If You Were There’ – the long-awaited collection of Wham’s Greatest Hits and on 1st December Virgin Records released a limited edition version of George’s “Older” album which contained a bonus disc of 6 remixed tracks entitled ‘Upper’. The ‘Upper’ CD is exclusive in that it includes interactive elements, allowing fans access to George’s web site, videos and fan club through the internet.

In 1998 ‘Ladies and Gentlemen – The Best of George Michael’ was released on Epic Records as agreed in the Sony settlement in 1995. The album soared to the top of the charts in the week of its release, 9th November, and remained at Number 1 for eight weeks, selling over 2 million copies, during the notoriously competitive Christmas period.

The album features songs from every era of Michael’s career from ‘Careless Whisper’ to the three brilliant brand new tracks. ‘Outside’ was released on 19th October 1998 with an accompanying video that had George Michael’s controversial stamp very clearly on it.

The end of 1998 brought George Michael more accolades. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ shot straight to number one (and is now eight times platinum) in the UK. The album also reached number one on the combined European Album Chart. Michael also topped the polls of the 95.8 Capital FM Hall of Fame for a record eighth time. On 5th December 1998 a 1 hour Parkinson special was screened on BBC 1 to universal critical and public acclaim.

On 8th March 1999, George Michael released ‘As’ a duet with R&B Diva Mary J Blige, written and originally released by Stevie Wonder on his ‘Songs in the Key Of Life’ album.

Early October saw George Michael back on stage. He gave a rare live performance at Wembley Stadium for the NetAid benefit concert. For many this was the highlight of the evening as a full gospel choir and 20 dancers joined Michael for songs including ‘Father Figure’ and a moving rendition of ‘Brother, Can You Spare a Dime’. The set opened with the recreation of the ‘Fastlove’ video as Michael appeared seated in the famous black leather chair with in-built speakers and closed with the 70,000 strong Wembley Stadium audience singing backing vocals for ‘Freedom 90’.

As the 20th Century comes to a close George Michael releases his fourth solo album which features songs written by some of the greatest composers of the last 100 years. This retrospective collection released on Virgin Records includes tracks such as: ‘Roxanne’ written by Sting, ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ written by Ewan MacColl and the Frank Sinatra classic ‘Where Or When’ written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Each of the 11 tracks have been co-produced by the legendary Phil Ramone and George Michael.

source taken from http://www.georgemichael.net/

Five For Fighting

Bio Writer: “Do you feel pressured to follow up ‘Superman’ with your new record?”
John Ondrasik/Five For Fighting: “Actually, it’s the opposite. ‘Superman’ gave me a free shot, and I’m taking it.”

That, in a nutshell, is The Battle For Everything, the follow-up to Five For Fighting’s second album, the smash America Town. It’s also a finger in the eye of all who can’t see the forest for that one huge tree — “Superman” — that fills the foreground. Even more, it’s proof that Ondrasik is a singer/songwriter with real staying power.

The evidence is all over Everything. There’s “100 Years,” the first single, a meditation on the poetry of time passing. But then there’s “The Taste,” whose delicate opening gets pulverized by slashing electric guitar and a raw, screaming vocal. A crocodile sings on “Disneyland,” loss and hope hover in the haunted melody of “If God Made You,” Heaven itself crashes and burns on “Infidel,” and, on tunes like “The Devil in the Wishing Well” and “Nobody,” turbulent lyrics and ambitious compositional structures unleashed panic back at the record label — for a minute, at least.

In fact, Ondrasik is a more contradictory figure than most who’ve made it as far as he has in this business. He’s a crotchety romantic who lives on a volatile blend of irreverence and idealism. He’s a headliner who knows how to tear it up onstage (“The concert was more than just good music, it was a total crowd experience,” raved one reviewer after a recent college show) and a UCLA math grad who still works — when he’s in town — at his dad’s office. His head is in the nimbus of stage lights, but his feet are planted on ground that feels familiar to us all. Which explains Everything — except for one thing: How did Ondrasik bring the disparate pieces of his world together long enough to cut this album? Answer: He … disappeared.

“I’m a regular guy,” Ondrasik explains. “But sometimes taking out the trash and paying the bills isn’t that conducive to writing.”

And so, when the opportunity arose to take his family and disappear for ten full months up to the Northern California coast, write songs, seek inspiration in sunsets and sips of local Cabernet, and put together a new Five For Fighting album, he did exactly what you or I would hope to do…. He rented a place near the bluffs of Mendocino, a short jog from the studio of producer Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow, Shelby Lynn). There, or with guitars in hand on the front porch, and in sessions that followed in New York and L.A. with Gregg Wattenberg (America Town) producing, he conceived and recorded a set of powerful new songs, tumbling with images born from daydreams and nightmares, watered by long streams of melody and lacerated by sharp, unforgettable hooks — pictures even more vivid than those from America Town.

Yet the world has changed since that last album, as has Ondrasik, as have we all. “I didn’t have kids when I was writing America Town,” he says.” Also, traveling the world and meeting people in the military after September 11 put a different focus into my brain. And after spending twenty years trying to be heard and finally getting that chance, my challenges come from a different place.”

As a result, The Battle For Everything is a bristling mix of contemporary emotions and classic techniques. It affirms the importance of context as well as song, so that piano-driven rock, acoustic guitar pieces, ambitious structures and concise musical packages, join into one listening experience. “When I was a kid I could put on Dark Side of the Moon, turn up the sound in my headphones, lie down in the dark, and go away,” Ondrasik remembers. “I wanted that experience again, and so Bill and I were ambitious to the point of absurdity. If we wanted drama, we’d get a thirty-piece orchestra. If we wanted a rock edge, we went after it with reckless abandonment. It was like doing my own private Quadrophenia.”

One question remains: Why this title? “Because it is,” he replies. “Considering that nothing in the making of this record came easy — including concern over the title itself — in the end it was appropriate.” Or, if you prefer it in song, skip ahead to the last track, crank it up, and listen. You’ll find your answer, and the essence of Five For Fighting, there ….

From “Nobody”: “Though endings are never ever happy, it’s the happy moments along the way … that in the end … make it okay.”

source taken from http://www.fiveforfighting.com/

Fatboy Slim

With Fatboy Slim albums the clue is always in the title, and Norman Cook’s third outing is no exception. While ‘You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby’ was one long whoop of triumph, ‘Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars’ is the sound of taking stock.
Norman was staying at the Chateau Marmont, LA’s celebrity hotel, when the title came to him. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston had come along to see him DJ the night before, Bill Murray said hello in the lobby and the pop star life was his for the taking. But as for Norman himself?

•I was wandering around sweating and shaking, not having been to bed for about two days, he remembers with a wry grin. “And I was thinking, ‘You can take the boy out of the gutter but you can’t take the gutter out of the boy'”.

When you remember that the whole Fatboy Slim alias started out as a fun side project to help launch Skint and have a laugh making party records to DJ with, no wonder Norman has found the last couple of years surreal. ‘You’ve Come A Long Way Baby’ wasn’t just a great record, it was a pop phenomenon that made him the world’s biggest dance artist and redefined the concept of the superstar DJ. He was the biggest British artist in the US last year.

During those two rollercoaster years, everyone from Madonna to Robbie Williams was bidding for his remixing talents, his kitchen shelf groaned with trophies and virtually every weekend found him jetting off to major DJ gigs and award ceremonies. In the midst of all this, he fell in love with, and married, Zoe Ball. A personal high, but one that made the couple reluctant tabloid material.

“I’m not moaning about it but I definitely had pop star fatigue,” he reflects. “The pressure of being in the limelight all the time was beginning to take its toll. For about three months my job was to go to awards ceremonies. When that was all I did, and I wasn’t making any music I was getting hacked off with what my life had become. I’m not very good at being a celebrity.”

In 1999 he played two defining events, the boxing-themed face-off with Armand Van Helden and a show with The Chemical Brothers at Red Rocks, Colorado, which effectively closed a chapter in his career. Time to move on.

As the new year dawned Norman ventured back into his home studio in Brighton to make the most emotional, innovative album of his career. Norman explains the progression by pointing out that ‘Rockafeller Skank’ was the first track he recorded for his last album, and ‘Right Here Right Now’ was the last.

“I thought, ‘Actually maybe I can do something with a bit more power and soul rather than just thrills and spills. When I started this album I just sat there for about a month thinking what I didn’t want it to sound like. It took ages to work out what I did want it to sound like.”

Helpful advice came from longstanding friends The Chemical Brothers, who suggested he work with guest vocalists. Reluctant at first, Norman drew up a wish list of possible collaborators and the first name on it was charismatic soul diva Macy Gray.

They recorded two songs together in LA at the beginning of the year: the hormonal funk of ‘Love Life’ and the glorious breakbeat gospel of ‘Demons’, which Norman describes as the album’s pivotal track. Macy, meanwhile, calls it the best thing she’s ever done and she’s right, too.

“She was lovely”, Norman reports. “She’s very eccentric but really beautiful. And she smells great. That was the first thing I noticed when I met her!”

After that the album had found its heart and everything else fell into place. First single ‘Sunset (Bird Of Prey)’ is adapted from an ambient track that Norman wrote several years ago. It takes one of the less pretentious moments from Jim Morrison’s ‘American Prayer’ poetry album and blazes into the stratosphere, borne aloft on whirling beats and soaring chords.

Another key track is ‘Song For Shelter’, a heady hymn to house music with preacher man vocals from Urban Soul’s Roland Clarke. Norman debuted it to a rapturous response at Glastonbury 2000 and describes it as going back to his roots in club culture.

‘Sometimes over the last two years I’ve found myself doing things I don’t really enjoy and forget why I’m doing this,” he explains. ‘And I’m normally in a nightclub when I remember why. Every foray I’ve had into the pop world has been based on support and respect from the dance community. I didn’t want to end up just pop.”

Thus, the thunderous ‘Star 69’ has the kind of crunching dancefloor momentum you’ll recognise from Norman’s remixes of Underworld and Mike & Charlie last year (along with Groove Armada’s ‘I See You Baby’ his only recent remixing jobs), while ‘Ya Mama’ and ‘Mad Flava’ are deliberately ‘old skool Fatboy’ floor-fillers. “I was allowed to have a couple,” he jokes. “Because most people have dropped the big beat thing it’s long enough ago that people are nostalgic.”

There are four more tracks, including collaborations with P-Funk legend Bootsy Collins on ‘Weapon Of Choice’ and the sublime bluesy opener, ‘Talking ‘bout My Baby’. None of them sound quite like you’d expect, but all of them sound as good as you’d hope.

If ‘You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby’ jumped and shouted with manic glee, its successor sounds no less happy but a lot more content. When Norman first asked friends for feedback they used words like ‘loved up’, ‘soulful” and ‘uplifting’. It’s a work of widescreen emotion, psychedelic soul and the best dance music you’ve heard all year.

So Norman Cook’s back, but he doesn’t want to get any bigger, just better. He’s ignored any pressure to repeat himself and instead made the album he wanted to make, with fresh ideas and pinpoint production values that outclass anything he’s done before. He’s halfway between the gutter and the stars and that’s just the way he likes it.

Fatboy Slim’s Biography – German Version

Potzblitz! Was ist nicht alles über diesen Mann geschrieben und gesprochen worden: Er hole “aus seinem Plattenspieler mehr Rock’n’Roll heraus als Noel Gallagher aus seiner Gitarre” (Rolling Stone), mit “Rockafeller Skank” habe er für die “unbestrittene Single des Jahres ’98” gesorgt (Spex) und die Musikwoche sprach von einem “Manifest der dicken Beats”…Fatboy Slims zweites Album “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” bewegte die Nation wie kaum eine andere Tanzplatte 1998, kein Club, in dem nicht zu “Rockafeller Skank”, “Gangster Tripping” oder “Praise You” mächtig gefeiert und geschwitzt wurde; insgesamt 200.000 Einheiten wurden alleine hierzulande verkauft und auch der Rest der Welt, egal ob England, Skandinavien, Australien, Japan oder die USA (wo er der erfolgreichste britische Künstler des Jahres 99 war) konnte sich der vom Fatboy ausgelösten Big Beat Welle nicht entziehen. Aber…wem erzählen wir das eigentlich? Die Geschichte des “Großmeisters aller DJs” (Max) dürfte mittlerweile einem jeden bekannt sein…

Norman Cook alias Fatboy Slim empfand die eigene Geschichte des kometenhaften Aufstiegs zum weltweit gefragtesten DJ rückblickend ein wenig surreal und nicht immer habe ihm all das, was er in den vergangenen zwei Jahren auf dieser rasanten Achterbahnfahrt durch die Musiklandschaft erlebt habe, wirklich Spaß gemacht. Dies sagt er nicht ohne ganz schnell anzufügen, daß er sich wirklich nicht beschweren wolle/dürfe, doch irgendwann sei er des Popstar-Daseins einfach müde gewesen: “The pressure of being in the limelight all the time was beginning to take its toll. For about three month my job was to go to awards ceremonies. When that was all I did, and I wasn’t making any music I was getting hacked off with what my life had become.” Der unglaubliche Hype um seine Person nahm zum Teil schon groteske Züge an, jeder wollte mit dem personifizierte Big Beat Phänomen zusammenarbeiten, die Anfragen für seine exzellenten Remixfähigkeiten kamen von jedem, der Rang und Namen hat (von Madonna bis Robbie Williams war wirklic h jeder dabei)…und Cook? Der machte das einzig richtige, was man in einer solchen Situation tun kann: Kühlen Kopf bewahren (zumindestens was die Arbeit angeht), um sich bei all dem Trubel um seine Person in eine Frau verlieben, die er letztes Jahr auch heiratete. Richtig so!

Die Fangemeinde war erbost. “Da verliebt sich der Mann Knall auf Fall, heiratet in aller Seelenruhe und läßt uns mit unserer freudigen Erwartung auf ein neues Fatboy Slim Album einfach im Regen stehen.” Ungeduldiges Murren bei Jung und Alt, überall, wohin man auch hörte. (natürlich war gar niemand erbost – hoffentlich! – aber irgendwie will der Übergang zum Wesentlichen gestrickt sein!). Ende letzten Jahres hatte Mr. Cook ein Einsehen und begab sich in seiner Heimatstadt Brighton ins Studio, um den lang ersehnten Nachfolger von “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” aufzunehmen; gewiß keine einfache Aufgabe, denn die Erwartungen und Spannungen dürften bei nur wenigen Alben der letzten Monate größer gewesen sein als bei dem von Fatboy Slim. Und das in erster Linie nicht nur wegen der großen Klasse, die das letzte Album hatte, sondern weil sich wohl jeder von uns fragt, wie Norman Cook auf den längst vergangenen und verebbten Big Beat Hype reagieren würde.

Er hat es sich nicht leicht gemacht, zunächst habe er über einen Monat nur dagesessen und darüber nachgedacht wie das neue Album nicht klingen soll, aber “it took ages to work out what I did want it to sound like”. Mit “Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars” liegt uns jetzt das Ergebnis dieses langen Denkprozesses vor, ein Ergebnis, das zunächst einmal sprachlos macht, denn dieses Album ist zweifellos in der Kategorie “Innovative Dancemusik” der späte Höhepunkt des Jahres 2000, wobei wir mit dem Label “Innovative Dancemusik” die erstaunliche Vielfältigkeit dieses Albums nicht wirklich erfaßt bekommen. “Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars” ist mehr als “nur” Tanzmusik, es vereint Screamadelica-Psychedelic-Soul, House, Pop, Gospel und “Old-Skool-Fatboy-Floor-Fillers” zu einem kohärenten, überragenden Ganzen. Bester Groove und entspannter Flow reichen sich hier die Hände und tollen gemeinsam durch die insgesamt 11 Songs, um uns wahlweise sehr relaxt (fast schon selig), wild zappelnd oder aber einfach nur wie ein kleines Kind sprachlos-staunend zurückzulassen. Grandios die beiden Stücke mit Soul-Diva Marcy Gray, bei denen einem ganz wunderlich zumute wird (Cook selbst beschreibt “Demon” als den zentralen Song/das Herzstück des kompeltten Albums). Gleiches gilt für die erste Single “Sunset (Bird Of Prey)”, ein Song, der nicht zuletzt wegen des Jim Morrison Samples für eine schaurig-schöne Gänsehaut-Atmosphäre sorgt (die Single gibt es übrings ab dem 04.10.00 inklusive eines Remixes von Underworlds Darren Emerson).

Auf der anderen Seite kommen Stücke wie beispielsweise “Star 69” oder “Mad Flava” stürmisch-krachend daher, wobei letzteres eines von zwei Stücken, das am ehesten an die alten Zeiten erinnert (“I was allowed to have a couple. Because most people have dropped the big beat thing it’s long enough ago that people are nostalgic” – so der nicht ganz ernst gemeinte Kommentar von Norman Cook). Nicht auf jedes Stück kann hier ausführlich eingegangen werden; an dieser Stelle soll kurz die kongenialen Zusammenarbeit mit Roland Clarke von Urban Soul (mit dem sehr schönen, housige “Song For A Shelter”, welches an Cooks alte “club-culture-roots” erinnert) und mit P-Funk-Legende Bootsy Collins (mit “Weapen Of Choice”) besondere Erwähnug finden.

“Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars” ist Dance Musik in strahlender Perfektion, ein berauschendes Fest sowohl für die Sinne als auch für den Körper, ein Album, das viele in der Form vielleicht nicht erwartet hätten; ein Album, das die hohen Erwartungen nicht nur erfüllt, sondern eher übertroffen haben dürfte. Respekt, Herr Cook!

Was fehlt, ist Norman Cooks Erklärung für den seltsamen Albumtitel. Die Idee kam ihm nach einem Auftritt im Palladium in Los Angeles, als er gemeinsam mit Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston und Bill Murray in der Hotellobby saß: “I was wandering around sweating and shaking, not having been in bed for about two days. And I was thinking, ?You can take the boy out of the gutter but you can’t take the gutter out of the boy'” Ein Statement so großartig wie diese Platte!

source taken from http://www.gutterandstars.com/

Evanescence

my Lee – Vocals
Ben Moody – Lead Guitar
John LeCompt – Guitar
Rocky Gray – Drums

evanescence (ev’e-nes’ens ): a dissipation or disappearance like vapor

Although the band’s name may suggest a sudden vanishing, the music of Evanescence is poised for longevity. Fallen, the Wind-up Records debut of this talented quartet from Little Rock, Arkansas, is an emotional, ethereal work of undeniable potency guided by the heavenly vocals of Amy Lee. “We’re definitely a rock band,” says the 20-year-old Lee. “But the twist is that the band’s music is epic, dramatic, dark rock.”

Co-founders Lee and guitarist/songwriter Ben Moody met while in their early teens. “We were at a youth camp,” Moody recalls. “During some sort of recreational period held in a gymnasium, I heard Amy playing Meat Loaf’s ‘I’d Do Anything for Love’ at the piano. So I went over to meet her, and she started singing for me. I was pretty much blown away, so I suckered her into joining a band with me.” Since that day, the musical relationship has remained dependably loyal. “We have the same exact vision regarding what we love about music,” Moody says. “When it comes to songwriting, we finish each other’s thoughts.”

Evanescence first took shape in Little Rock at the end of the ’90s. Predictably, the band didn’t quite fit the mold of most others lingering around the Midwestern state. “It’s typically death metal or really soft, older-people music there,” says Lee. “I don’t even know of any local bands that have female singers.”

Influenced by a wide-ranging collection of artists such as Bjork, Danny Elfman and Tori Amos, the band started releasing EPs of its material. Even without the benefit of live performances, Evanescence began to establish a reputation.

“A lot of it developed by being elusive,” Moody remembers. “The second song we ever wrote was this seven-minute, ridiculous Goth anthem called ‘Understanding.’ And for some reason, the local rock station decided to play it a lot. We gained this popularity around town, even though no one knew who we were or where to find us. It was because we could never afford to play a show — it was just Amy and I — and we couldn’t pay any musicians.”

Fallen was tracked in Los Angeles with producer Dave Fortman (BOYSETSFIRE, Superjoint Ritual). The album successfully finds that intangible balance between lush beauty and primal heaviness. Typical of the record is the first single, “Bring Me To Life,” a piano ballad-turned-riff-driven barnburner. Highlighted by a guest vocal from Paul McCoy of 12 Stones, the song is featured prominently in the Daredevil film and soundtrack.

“‘Bring Me To Life’ is about discovering something or someone that awakens a feeling inside them that they’ve never had before,” says Moody. He continued, “You discover there is a world that is bigger than just your safe bubble.” Also significant is the vibrant anthem “Tourniquet” and the eerie “Haunted,” with its pummeling beats and jarring melodies (augmented by chamber choir arrangements courtesy of Lee). Of the latter, Moody asserts, “It’s the song that is the most ‘us’. That best sums up what we strive to sound like.”

Lyrically, Evanescence explores dark, introspective themes of love, desperation, and despair. But the group insists its fundamental message is a positive one. “The point of this whole record and band is to let people know that they’re not alone in dealing with bad feelings or pain or anything that they go through,” says Lee, who pens most of the words. “That’s life and that’s human. They’re not alone, and we’re going through it, too.”

Live, Evanescence functions as a quartet with John LeCompt (guitar) and Rocky Gray (drums) rounding out the line-up. “As a four-piece, we are able to carry out the intricate harmonies and orchestrations of the memorable material on Fallen,” Moody emphasizes. “We’re very sincere about what we do. There’s so much pre-packaged teen angst these days in music. That’s not us. We’re not trying to sell an angle, we’re just here writing from our heart.”

source taken from http://www.evanescence.com/

Darren Hayes

In a world of weary uncertainty, singer/songwriter Darren Hayes’ Spin is a musical tonic that goes down easy. The 12 track solo debut for the lead singer of Savage Garden offers an antidote to the darker side of humanity, bursting with rhythmic spirit and lyrical heart.
“There’s always some crisis we face as a species, whether the horrors of war and terrorism or the fact that people are still dying from AIDS,” explains the Australian-born Hayes. “On this record, I wanted to acknowledge the power of entertainment. I love the fact that I can engage the masses in some sort of public joy. I wanted to lighten up and bring people with me, to just drop that needle on the record and stop the fighting for the three-and-a-half minutes of a pop song. Maybe there’s a message in that.”

Recorded in San Francisco, Hayes co-produced Spin with Grammy Award winning Walter Afanasieff (Ricky Martin, Mariah Carey, Savage Garden). Hayes spent a year co-writing more than 35 songs for the project. As well as writing with Walter A and Rick Nowels (Madonna, Dido), he also wrote with newcomer Greg Bieck and experimental electronic artist, Robert Conley of Specificus.

Spin is Hayes’ third project, following the global success of two smash albums with Savage Garden partner Daniel Jones. The duo’s 1997 self-titled debut and 1999’s Affirmation have sold in excess of 20 million copies worldwide, spawning such hits as: the celebratory love ballad and Billboard No. 1 hit “Truly Madly Deeply”; the whimsical single that launched the band, “I Want You,” which went gold in the U.S.; and the modern classic “I Knew I Loved You,” which remains on the charts more than two years after its release.

Hayes’ turn toward the solo frontier follows Savage Garden’s split in 2000, which he calls “a natural progression. I am more of a performer, while Daniel prefers to be in the studio behind the scenes. It was a wonderful period in both of our lives, but now it’s necessary to get on to the next phase. Daniel is incredibly talented and I wish him the best.”

Spin weaves its spell with an acute palette of relationship themes–like romantic abandon, sexual desire, and betrayal–as well as Hayes’ colorful stances on staying true to personal choices and taking stock in life’s bounty.

Musically, Hayes was determined to pay homage to the melodic influences of his youth. “This record is true to the music I grew up listening to–whether it be Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, or Marvin Gaye. When I was first wanting to sing and getting turned on by music, that’s what I would jump up and down to.” Hayes unapologetically used no live instruments–other than some strings and an occasional guitar–on the album. “It’s a challenge to inject soul into machines,” he says. “I think that lately, pop and electronic music have gotten a bad name, because they rarely accomplish that.”

Spin’s first single, “Insatiable”–written and produced by Hayes and Afanasieff–harkens the sweet, full-bodied sound that Hayes is best known for, and then turns up the heat with its breathy, falsetto take on the bold passion that goes hand in hand with blossoming love. “This one just flowed through me. It is absolutely one of my favorite songs I have ever written.”

Hayes, who now resides in San Francisco, will travel the world in support of Spin, which is slated for simultaneous international release in first-quarter 2002. “I feel unleashed,” Hayes articulates. “After 10 years in this business, it’s like school’s out–I’m more confident and a more energetic performer, and this is about me understanding my potential. I’m an old-fashioned entertainer and I want to do this until I simply can’t walk anymore.”

source taken from http://www.sonymusic.co.uk/

Las Ketchup

“The Ketchup Song (Hey Hah)” by Las Ketchup is the surprise hit of 2002. Not since the rise of the fabled “Macarena” in 1996 has a dance, a song, and a sound captivated the dancefloors and imagination of the world like “The Ketchup Song (Hey Hah).”
“The Ketchup Song (Hey Hah)” is an international sensation, reaching at #1 in Belgium (platinum), Finland, France, Germany (gold), Holland (platinum), Italy (platinum), Portugal, Spain (platinum), Sweden (gold), and Switzerland (platinum). The song has achieved #1 status in Central America and South America.

“The Ketchup Song (Hey Hah)” knocked Eminem from the #1 slot on the European Music and Media single sales chart, which represents all of Europe combined.

The members of the Spanish pop sensation Las Ketchup are Lola, Lucía and Pilar Muñoz, the three multi-talented daughters of Tomate, a renowned traditional flamenco guitarist from Córdoba, Spain.

Born and raised in a Spanish region noted for its Andalusian traditions, including flamenco and bullfighting, Lola, Lucía and Pilar have created an infectious highly original sound combining elements of Spanish rumba, Latin pop, Jamaican reggae, and old-school hip-hop.

The song’s chorus takes its lyrics from the 1979 old school rap classic “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. Written and arranged by the Córdoban producer/composer Manuel Ruíz “Queco,” “The Ketchup Song (Hey Hah)” tells the story of Diego, a young fashion-conscious gypsy with Rastafarian leanings who loves dancing and hip-hop and sings his own Andalusian rap: “Aserejé ja de jé de jebe tu de jebere seibiunouva/Majavi an de bugui an de buididipi/Aserejé ja de jé de jebe tu de jebere seibiunouva/Majavi an de bugui an de buididipi/Aserejé…”

Having ignited an international dance craze over the summer, Las Ketchup and “The Ketchup Song (Hey Hah)” are beginning to take over the American airwaves. First picked up by WKTU in New York, the song quickly became the station’s #1 Most Requested and #5 Most Played and is sweeping American radio coast-to-coast.

Drawing the kind of listener response not heard since the “Macarena,” the track was recently featured on Z100 New York on the station’s Friday “5 O’Clock Whistle” and has been added on stations coast-to-coast including WBLI (Long Island), KIIS (Los Angeles), KHTS (San Diego), KRBV (Dallas), Y100 (Miami), KXXM (San Antonio), WAPE (Jacksonville), KBFM (McAllen), KZFM (Corpus Christi), WFHN (Providence), KFMB (San Diego), and WPLJ (New York City). The song can also be heard on KTFM and KCJZ (San Antonio), WKDI (West Palm Beach), KZZP (Phoenix), WXSS (Milwaukee), WPRO (Providence) and many more.

source taken from http://columbiarecords.com/lasketchup/

Korn

This hardcore rock band was formed in the early 90s in Bakersfield, California, USA. They toured widely, playing over 200 shows, before hooking up with producer Ross Robinson and recording their self-titled debut album for EastWest Records in 1994. Subsequently based in Huntington Beach in California, the quintet, comprising Jonathan Davis (b. 18 January 1971, Bakersfield, California, USA; vocals), Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu (b. 2 November 1969, USA; bass), James “Munky” Shaffer (b. 6 June 1970, Rosedale, California, USA; guitar), Brian Welch (b. 19 June 1970, Torrance, California, USA; guitar/vocals) and David Silveria (b. 21 September 1972, Bakersfield, California, USA; drums), released their first single, “Blind”, which was widely shown on late-night MTV shows. The album gave them their commercial breakthrough and saw them cited in Billboard magazine as “the first debut hardcore rock act to top the Heatseekers chart and one of the first to crack the upper half of the Billboard 200 in the last two years.” Much of this success arose from the reputation garnered by their live work, which was bolstered by tours alongside House Of Pain, Biohazard, 311, Sick Of It All, Danzig, Marilyn Manson and Megadeth. A second single, “Shoots And Ladders”, featured Davis playing the bagpipes. Life Is Peachy was another ferocious set, although further breakthrough success was limited by the explicit lyrics liberally laced throughout.
In late 1997, Korn established their own label, Elementree. They also made the news by serving a cease-and-desist order to the assistant principal of a Michigan high school, who had suspended a student for wearing a T-shirt featuring the band’s name. The eagerly anticipated Follow The Leader was recorded with help from Guns N’Roses collaborator, Steve Thompson. The album was a commercial and critical success, debuting at US number 1 in September 1998. Highlights included “It’s On” and first single “Got The Life’. Their Family Values touring show also established itself as one of the most successful live ventures of the 90s. The band’s prominence on the hugely popular US alternative scene, alongside acts such as Limp Bizkit, Fear Factory and Slipknot, was confirmed by the chart-topping success of 1999″s Issues. Despite an injury to Silveria, the band forged on with a highly successful tour which saw them employing Mike Bordin (Faith No More) to cover for the indisposed drummer.

At the end of 2000, the members of Korn elected to take some time out to recharge their batteries, although Fieldy took the opportunity to record a solo album under the Fieldy’s Dreams alias, and Davis was hired to assemble the soundtrack to the movie Queen Of The Damned. They reconvened to record their fifth studio set, Untouchables, released in 2002. The following year’s Take A Look In The Mirror, although lacking melody, certainly made up for it in volume.

source taken from http://www.mtv.com/