Photo by Alex Smith
PJ Morton To Record Live Album With JoJo, BJ The Chicago Kid & More At Essence Fest 2019
Taking place in New Orleans on Friday, July 5 at the Superdome Playlist Superlounge, the mysterious live recording will also feature collabs with Pell, The Hamiltones and more
The New Orleans native, who is also the keyboardist for pop-rock greats Maroon 5, plans to host the live recording tonight (Friday, July 5) from 9:15pm–10:15pm the Superdome's Playlist Superlounge.
"Big announcement!!" he tweeted in February. "I'm doing a LIVE ALBUM RECORDING AT @essencefest !! I’m bringing @wolfjames @iamjojo @thehamiltonesnc @themamamiax @pellyeah and a bunch more!! Can everybody just come to New Orleans that weekend so y’all can sing super loud with me??"
The live project will follow Morton's Gumbo Unplugged (Live), which was nominated last year for the Best R&B Album GRAMMY.
The Week In Music: Who Is The Fairest Of Them All?
GRAMMY ladies go head-to-head in the battle of the pretty
What are the attributes that make the perfect woman? Is it a camera-ready glow? Fashion sense? Intelligence? Sense of humor? Talent? An uncanny argumentative ability? Chances are the ladies making AskMen.com's Top 99 Women of 2012 list have all of the above, and much more. With actress/television personality Sofia Vergara topping a list containing the usual abundance of actresses, models and paparazzi favorites, current Best New Artist GRAMMY nominee Nicki Minaj led all female musicians at No. 5. Other GRAMMY nominees putting the "s" in scintillating in the top 20 include Rihanna (No. 9), Zooey Deschanel (No. 12), Katy Perry (No. 16), and Lady Gaga (No. 18). Other notables making the grade include Selena Gomez (No. 14), Beyoncé (No. 39) and even hot newcomer Lana Del Rey (No. 95). Of course, lists of this nature are always subjective. But if you're a female looking to get in on the competition, we invite you to sample some tips from our GRAMMY Glam Squad.
While Music's Biggest Night is just a week away, Indianapolis will take center stage on Feb. 5 when the New England Patriots and New York Giants battle it out in Super Bowl XLVI. While the staff at ESPN is busy crunching statistics for their exhaustive game coverage, musicians are chiming in with their official predictions. Not surprisingly, JoJo, who grew up in Foxboro, Mass., will be pulling for Tom Brady and the Patriots. "I just feel like we [will] win by default, because we have heart," said the songstress. Putting on his analyst cap, Nelly thinks the Giants defense will be too hot for the Patriots. "I think the Giants play a little bit better defense, and I just think defense wins championships in the end," he said. Theory Of A Deadman's Tyler Connolly is leaning toward the Giants, but don't quote him on it. "I guess I'll go with the Giants," said Connolly, a San Francisco 49ers fan. When it comes to the halftime entertainment, Connolly did not mince words, however. "In reality you need to think about who's actually watching the Super Bowl — it's big dudes eating nachos and drinking beer," said Connolly. "And they want to watch the commercials with the Doritos girls. … Madonna? They're not going to watch Madonna." While there are few things better than Doritos girls, we here at TWIM we'd definitely rather watch Madonna, while enjoying a side of nachos.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, following Elton John and Madonna's Golden Globes feud last month, the Rocket Man is reportedly turning over a new leaf in offering the Material Girl some advice for her upcoming halftime performance on Feb. 5. "Make sure you lip-sync good," John advised Madonna on "Good Morning America." "I've never seen a decent one. Never ever." While Super Bowl halftime shows have arguably become more about the spectacle instead of the performance, it's hard to tell if John's advice is sincere. In 2004 the tiny dancer's response to Madonna winning the Best Live Act honor at England's Q Awards was: "Madonna, best fing live act? F off. Since when has lip-syncing been live?" While much of the Super Bowl action will happen on the field this Sunday, there's no doubt there will be lots more to see between Madonna's halftime spectacular featuring LMFAO and Nicki Minaj, and John's Pepsi commercial, set to air during the big game.
While Dave Grohl has long been known for his quirky sense of humor, evidenced by videos for Foo Fighters songs such as "Big Me" (Mentos, anyone?), "Everlong," "Learn To Fly," and, most recently, the GRAMMY-nominated "Walk," the Foos frontman is taking funny to a whole new, hopefully hysterical, level. According to a report, Grohl is teaming with comedian Dana Gould to executive produce a 30-minute sitcom for FX Networks. The show will reportedly center on a rock band that is in the midst of their big break, and a breakup. The band seeks help from a therapist, who ends up being broken herself. Did we say sitcom? This sounds like the makings of a perfectly good drama to us. But whatever the show turns out to be, we're sure it'll be a hit, given Grohl's vast voiceover experience in films such as The Muppets and television series including "Daria."
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich lost the Florida primary Tuesday to Mitt Romney by a wide margin, but that may not be the worst news he got this week. Gingrich also joined the long list of politicians who have been sued for misappropriating a pop song for a campaign without the artist's permission. On Monday, Rude Music Inc., controlled by the song's co-writer Frank Sullivan, filed suit against Gingrich for his use of Survivor's GRAMMY-winning "Eye Of The Tiger" from Rocky III. Gingrich was clearly gunning for some Rocky Balboa magic now that he appears to be the underdog again, and the anthem's other co-writer, Jim Peterik, who hasn't joined the suit, says that's okay with him. "If it motivates people to get out to the polls and create some excitement, that's what it's for," he told the Washington Post. And while Chicago-native Peterik is loyal to his native son, President Barack Obama, he concedes, "I like [Gingrich's] taste in music." Still, as Rocky himself might ask, "Yo, don't I got some rights?"
Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain" is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" is tops on the iTunes singles chart.
Any news we've missed? Comment below.
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Mary J. Blige
Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images
The Magic Of ESSENCE 25th Anniversary Celebration: "It's Like A Family Reunion Even Though You Don't Know Everybody Here"
"Being able to celebrate black culture at this magnitude means everything because we've never had anything like this," MC Lyte said
New Orleans' Central Business District looked starkly different Monday morning as city locals hurried to work in ties and business attire. Gone were the crowds of people walking around in the heat of the southern city in their most fabulous summer outfits as R&B, hip-hop, soul and more took over the Big Easy's Superdome once again for ESSENCE Fest 25th anniversary.
This year locals and those from far and wide came together to watch performances from iconic artists like Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige and hitmakers like Pharrell Williams and Timbaland to emerging artists like Normani and H.E.R at the biggest festival celebration of black culture in the country that took place July 5–7. But the festival was more than just music, it was a space where conversations around food, politics, business and more.
While the fest has happened in New Orleans since its inception, this year was different for great reason. The fest, born out of ESSENCE magazine aimed mostly to its black female readership, celebrated 25 years of brining different parts of black culture under one roof and the musical artists performing reflected on the milestone. MC Lyte, who curated one of the ESSENCE events that took over the venues all over the city, with women in hip-hop broke down why the fest means so much.
"Being able to celebrate black culture at this magnitude means everything because we've never had anything like this. Growing up, we certainly didn;t at least in my era and even now to date. The ESSENCE Music Festival is truly one of a kind," she said.
For some performers like New Orleans native PJ Morton, the 25th anniversary was a very special moment as it brought him back full-circle.
"I've been going to this festival since I was 14 years old and really changed my life as far as wanting to be a musician and seeing how it was presented, " he said. "When ESSENCE asked me to be a part [of the festival] again, I said 'I just don't want to play it again, I've played it before, let's do something special. Especially to kind of commemorate all these things, winning the GRAMMY award this year and me being able to come home. Part of winning that GRAMMY and writing those songs and making that album was me leaving L.A. and moving back home to new Orleans three years ago, so for me it was just a perfect full-circle moment to do a recording."
The singer made history during the night of his performance by recording a live album at the fest for the first time ever.
But he wasn't the only local with special ties to the fest. Rising star Normani, also a big easy native and first time performer at the fest, shared why the fest is so special to her.
"I'm grateful that I can finally be a part of it. For as long as I can remember growing up ESSENCE was ESSENCE and it's just really coolfor me to be a prt of it. My grandmother, she came, my nanny came, my uncles they came out too and it's beautiful for me to be able to really represent my city in such a way, she said."
The opportunity to talk and have conversations with other women in particular is what excites singer Mumu Fresh the most about the festival. "[Women] who are affirming you and just sharing their stories."
"It's like a family reunion even though you don't know everybody here.They've shared your experience and everyone's just loving and gorgeous, all day long I've been walking by strangers who have been like 'YES hair, YES shoes YES face' and I'm like 'Awww heeyy, you too.' It's really fun, it's really beautiful."
Music Saved My Life: Mental Health Awareness Month 2018
Recognize and celebrate the healing power of music for our mental health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Every year since 1949, the entire month has been reserved to raise awareness about the importance of managing mental health, shed light on the universal struggle of depression, anxiety and other aspects of mental well-being, and encourage people to reach out for help.
The Recording Academy recognizes the healing power of music and how the indescribable feelings of the right song at the right time can be both a sonic salve and an emotive line of communication that tells a listener, "No, you truly are not alone."
Throughout May, we will share important quotes and stories from artists who have made the choice to speak publicly about how their mental health has directly affected their lives, and how the healing power of music has helped them on their path toward a more peaceful, present and mindful life.
Check back daily for inspirational messages from your favorite artists, and each week for more expansive stories about how musicians have addressed their mental health. You'll learn how some of your favorite artists have benefitted from the healing power of music in their own lives, which we hope will serve as inspiration in yours.
Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images
PJ Morton Announces New Album 'PAUL'
The album is "the most honest expression of myself and my art that I've ever made," GRAMMY winner PJ Morton said in a statement
GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter PJ Morton is not done releasing solo music just yet. He has announced that his next album PAUL is set to be released Aug. 9.
The album, which follows 2017's Gumbo Unplugged, will be "the most honest expression of myself and my art that I've ever made," he said in a statement. "Everybody calls me PJ, but I came into this world as Paul. That struck me as the perfect title for this album because Paul is the purest form of who I am."
The singer teased new music when he spoke to the Recording Academy at ESSENCE Fest earlier this month. "I'm working on other new music, working on some TV shows," he said at the time. "We're keeping busy."
"I was struggling to figure out who I wanted to be and where I could fit in as a solo artist, and it honestly left me feeling pretty defeated," he said. "Coming back to New Orleans inspired a lot of new growth and perspective, though, and it helped me realize that the best thing I could be was myself."
His latest single from the 10-track album, "Ready," is a retro-inspired love song. Watch below: