Kevin Parker of Tame Impala
Photo: Yuliya Christensen/Getty Images
How A California Fire Affected Tame Impala's Much-Awaited Next Album
Recently released interviews by 'The New York Times' and 'Rolling Stone' have shined more light on some of the challenges Kevin Parker has faced in finishing the album, including a setback caused by a destructive California fire
It feels like everyone is anxiously awaiting GRAMMY-nominated Tame Impala's forthcoming new album, the follow-up to 2015's Currents, and, honestly, Kevin Parker, the one-man-band behind the outfit, seems to be ready for more new stuff himself.
Parker, who performs live with a band, told Matt Wilkinson on Beats 1 July of last year that he'd like to get the album out by mid 2019. "I'd be really disappointed if we didn't have something out by then." Parker said. "I love playing the songs live, I love playing Currents songs, I love playing Lonerism songs and everything but I think I'm ready to play some other songs live."
But as of June, we haven't heard of a solid release date yet. Truth is, some of the setbacks have been out of Parker's hands. Recently released interviews by the New York Times and Rolling Stone have shed more light on some of the challenges Parker has faced in finishing the album, including a setback caused by a destructive Southern California fire.
Parker was half way through the new album, Rolling Stone reports, and set to continue working in a house he had rented via AirBnb in Malibu, Calif. when the morning of Nov. 9 he woke up to a concerned message from his manager and clouds of smoke and flames outside.
What Parker was witnessing was the most damging fire in Ventura County history; the fire damaged 100,000 acres, 1,600 structures that killed three people, according to Pacific Standard.
The New York Times reports that Parker grabbed his laptop and hard drive which held pieces of his unfinished album and his vintage 60s' Hofner bass guitar.
“I’ve written every Tame Impala song on it,” he told the Times. “I was, like, house burning down! What do I grab? My laptop and the Hofner. This was just split-second thinking. I looked at everything else and thought, ‘I don’t need that.’”
Parker described the destructive power of the flames he was seeing to Rolling Stone:
“I could see the whole hillside on fire. At first I kind of just thought it was epic, so I stood there filming for 10 minutes — then I saw the flames start to lap up people’s houses, and the sky started to blacken.” The rental house, and all of Parker’s abandoned gear, were incinerated. “It might have been a different story, if I didn’t wake up when I did,” he said.
The fire would destroy the home Parker was renting and all the gear he could not get out with. The fire added a wrench to a process that has already been a bit challenging for Parker to complete. The New York Times touches on the years it took for Parker to gain momentum to start the album and the pressure he feels now to finish it.
“Part of the thing about me starting an album is that I have to feel kind of worthless again to want to make music," he said. "I started making music when I was a kid as a way of feeling better about myself, you know? The ironic thing is, if I’m feeling on top of the world or feeling confident or like everything’s good, I don’t have the urge to make music.”
He added: “If I could make an album every year I would, I’d love to. I hate to sound precious, or to say I can’t hurry it, but it’s true.”
The fact that Parker is a one-man-band can make the process take a little longer.
“I know it turns his head inside out sometimes, not having a bandmate or a band, not working in any way where you can turn to other people,” A&R manager at Universal Music Australia Glen Goetze told the Times. “He’s got to go through all those phases to come out the other end with something as incredible as he does.”
Basically, making music for Parker “a stoically solitary process,” Goetze said.
Both outlets touched on Parker's "loner" side. He grew up as an introvert, who now, as an artist, still thinks about his music as reaching other loners.
“I reckon a lot of artists get inspired by the idea of singing something to a crowd, many thousands of people,” Parker told the Times. “But me, I prefer just to think about the kid wearing headphones riding the bus home from school, or having a bedroom headphone listening session. That’s where I come from.”
“Being a personality onstage, that’s something I’ve been growing into,” he told Rolling Stone. “Saying f*** it and being that person who can rile up the audience. That’s someone I never saw myself as.”
While the album doesn't have a release date yet, he told the Times, during his time in Guadalajara, Mexico, for his performance at Corona Capital, a little more about what fans can expect:
"It’s taken shape in my head,” he said. “When I start making songs for an album, I don’t know what each one’s role is. But by the time I’m finished, each one has a color, each one has an identity, each one has a purpose.”
He gave Rolling Stone more details, too. “The way I’ve dabbled in influences in the past? I’ve been unafraid to go there all the way this time. To challenge what Tame Impala is in terms of how wide it can go,”“ he said. "I’ve been embracing my love of weird Seventies stadium rock,” he notes, “like, epic Meat Loaf stuff.”
While he gave no exact release date either, the magazine said the album will likely be out this summer. We'll have to continue to wait and see.
Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More
The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'
In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.
"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.
Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.
"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."
Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American.
"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.
Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures Exhibit Will Showcase The Surf-Rock Icons' Impact On Pop Culture
The exhibit, opening Dec. 7, will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run" and more
Influential instrumental rock band The Ventures are getting their own exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles that will showcase the band's impact on pop culture since the release of their massive hit "Walk, Don't Run" 60 years ago.
The Rock Hall of Fame inductees and Billboard chart-toppers have become especially iconic in the surf-rock world, known for its reverb-loaded guitar sound, for songs like "Wipeout," "Hawaii Five-O" and "Walk, Don't Run." The Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures exhibit opening Dec. 7 will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run," a Fender Limited Edition Ventures Signature guitars, rare photos and other items from their career spanning six decades and 250 albums.
“It’s such an honor to have an exhibit dedicated to The Ventures at the GRAMMY Museum and be recognized for our impact on music history,” said Don Wilson, a founding member of the band, in a statement. "I like to think that, because we ‘Venturized’ the music we recorded and played, we made it instantly recognizable as being The Ventures. We continue to do that, even today."
Don Wilson, Gerry McGee, Bob Spalding, and Leon Taylor are current band members. On Jan. 9, Taylor's widow and former Fiona Taylor, Ventures associated musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and others will be in conversation with GRAMMY Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman about the band's journey into becoming the most successful instrumental rock band in history at the Clive Davis Theater.
"The Ventures have inspired generations of musicians during their storied six-decade career, motivating many artists to follow in their footsteps and start their own projects," said Michael Sticka, GRAMMY Museum President. "As a music museum, we aim to shine a light on music education, and we applaud the Ventures for earning their honorary title of 'the band that launched a thousand bands.' Many thanks to the Ventures and their families for letting us feature items from this important era in music history."
The exhibit will run Dec. 7–Aug. 3, 2020 at the GRAMMY Museum.
Photo by Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images
Alicia Keys Unveils Dates For New Storytelling Series
The artist will take her upcoming 'More Myself: A Journey' biography on a four-city book tour
After performing her powerhouse piano medley at the 62nd Annual GRAMMYs, R&B superstar, GRAMMY-winning artist and former GRAMMY’s host Alicia Keys has revealed that she will set out on a four-stop book tour next month. The storytelling tour will support her forthcoming book More Myself: A Journey, which is slated for a March 31 release via Flatiron Books and is reported to feature stories and music from the book, told and performed by Alicia and her piano, according to a statement.
Part autobiography, part narrative documentary, Keys' title is dubbed in its description as an "intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression." You can pre-order the title here.
The book tour will kick off with a March 31 Brooklyn stop at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From there, Keys will visit Atlanta’s Symphony Hall on April 5 and Chicago’s Thalia Hall with Chicago Ideas the following day, April 6. The short-run will culminate on April 7 in Los Angeles at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.
Pre-sales for the tour are underway and public on-sale will begin on Friday, March 6 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets for the intimate dates and full release dates and times are available here.
Keys won her first five career awards at the 44th Annual GRAMMYs in 2002. On the night, she received awards in the Best New Artists, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance categories respectively. She has received a total of 29 nominations and 15 GRAMMYs in her career.
This year, Keys will also embark on a world tour in support of Alicia, the artist’s upcoming seventh studio album and the follow up of 2016’s Here, due out March 20 via RCA Records.