Rising Brit singer Dua Lipa covers Spotify hit
We always like a good cover. So we were glad to see the British singer Dua Lipa cover “One Dance” by Drake at the Jingle Bell Ball 2016, organized by Capital FM in London. The line-up included Martin Garrix, Shawn Mendes, Ellie Goulding, Calvin Harris, James Arthur, Jonas Blues, The Vamps, the Little Mix, Years & Years and DNCE. Read more →
Beyoncé “Formation” video in hot water
The video for Beyoncé‘s “Formation” video has dropped, and is the subject of a little misunderstanding. Within a day or two of the clip hitting the networks, two American film-makers, Chris Black and Abteen Bagheri, were on social networks claiming it used large extracts of their documentary on the New Orleans hip-hop scene called “That B.E.A.T.”
They had a point; it does. The thing is, Beyoncé’s team had contacted the producers and paid for the extracts. So it would have been more elegant on their part to check this before getting so indignant.
“I love Beyoncé”
In an e-mail to The Fadar website, Black wrote this about the issue: “I love Beyoncé. I still think she’s dope and I have no ill will or feelings towards her or anybody but at the end of the day we have to respect other filmmakers who are working just as hard… Why use the footage from the doc we did? She has a larger budget than we did and they gave no credit to the filmmakers. If I hadn’t said anything about this would you have known where it came from?”
The singer has asked that the video for Beyoncé “Formation” remain unlisted. I’ve seen it on YouTube, but will direct you to her website if you want to watch it. It’s not impossible to respect an artist’s wishes!
Meanwhile, enjoy 9 minutes of “That B.E.A.T.”.
What makes us think “Hello” is a love song?
Adele has made a sensational return to the charts with the single “Hello”. It has all the hallmarks of her best music: a restrained backing track, an orchestral feel at the right moment, her voice that goes from cool and controlled in the verse to soaringly high in the chorus – and her trademark mini-yodel (a quick slip to a falsetto – more about that in How to sing like Adele).
Yep, I like it a lot.
But a thought struck me quite quickly: is this actually a love song in the tradition meaning of the word? The video would let us believe that, as it features a guy. But if you check the words, there is no specific indication that it is a romantic song as such. Look at lines such as,
Hello? It’s me.
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.
To go over, everything.
They say that time’s supposed to heal you but I ain’t done much healing
If you think about it, this could be a song addressed to a parent, a brother or sister or even – as one reviewer claims – about her younger self.
Romantic love song or something else?
The second question that immediately spring to mind is, “what difference does it make?” Would it make the song better or deeper if it was a romantic love song? Or would it not be richer if we look for other meanings?
At the end of the day, of course, songs are not always entirely autobiographical. If a singer had to have lived all the love stories that they sing about at an average show, where would they find the time to rehearse, write and sing? What’s more, many songs are written by people other than the singers themselves. The singers are, to a large degree, acting out someone else’s story. To do that, they often have to assimilate it and make it their song.
Ultimately, songs reach us when they resonate with us, with our own stories. So forget the video to Adele’s “Hello” and ask yourself: what is the first face that springs to mind when you hear the song on its own stripped of videos and images?
See? Deep down, it’s your song after all.
UPDATE: Adele will premiere “Hello” at France’s annual NRJ Music Awards in Cannes on November 7, 2015.
“Hello” was written by Adele and Greg Kurstin, who is also credited
with most of the instruments on the recording.
This one goes (almost) without comment. Two guys decided to cover some of Beyonce‘s songs. No, actually they decided to cover all of the songs from her self-titled album as they couldn’t decide which one to sing. Plus, they did it all in five minutes. The result is pretty amazing! Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying are members of the a cappella group Pentatonix.
How does this sounds as an exercise? Think you could something similar? We’d love to hear it if you do! Just post the link as a comment below.
More cover songs by Pentatonix
If you think this is good, I also strongly recommend that you drop over to the Pentatonix site for some sensational singing. Beautiful.
They are currently touring in the States (March 2014). Details on their website.
Although she is rightly hailed as one of the best singers in contemporary pop, you don’t have to imitate Beyonce completely to sing her songs. The group Haim gave a good example when they appeared on BBC’s “Live Lounge”. Their version of “XO” is radically different with an indie rock feel.
Haim consists of sisters Este Arielle, Danielle Sari and Alana Mychal Haim along with drummer Dash Hutton, son of Danny Hutton and previously a member of the bands Wires on Fire and Slang Chicken.
Most frequently compared to Fleetwood Mac, Haim’s sound has been described as “nu-folk-meets-nineties-R&B” and “music that sounds like it was written on a lakeside retreat attended by Stevie Nicks, John Waite and En Vogue” (I’m still trying to visualise that). The band played at the 2013 Glastonbury festival, earned a top ranking in BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll.
Think that you can do better than the Californian sisters? Drop a link below if you come across other great cover versions of Beyonce.
The new self-titled Beyoncé album continues to make waves. In a behind-the-scenes video released recently, Justin Timberlake was so blown away by her vocal performance on the song “Rockets” that he blurted out, “Wow. There’s something wrong with you. That is… There’s something wrong with you”. He meant it as a compliment, of course. Timberlake and Miguel co-wrote the song with her.
"The video gives a good indication of what was running through Beyonce’s mind during the writing. She speaks notably about the fact she had felt a little hindered by what other people think of her. But, “the people that have grown up with me have grown up”. So she felt it was time give a more complete picture of herself.
“I feel like I’ve finally earned the right to be me and to express any and every side of myself,” she says. “I feel like I’m opening up a lot in these videos and showing a lot of sides that only a few people have ever seen.”
Talking to Associated Press, Gaga said she was honored to have replicas of herself. When her friends saw the dolls, “they were so excited to take pictures of me with the dolls and then all of a sudden the dolls took over. And the dolls were the most important thing in the room. And this is a beautiful thing,” she said.
At the news conference, the 27-year-old singer made her grand entrance wearing a red plaid jumpsuit and wrapped in coils of the same fabric.
Gaga is participating in a charity auction to benefit the 2011 earthquake and tsunami victims. She’s hoping that one of the two Gaga-styled Hello Kitty dolls will raise a lot of money for the cause.
The dolls are not yet for sale, and it’s not quite clear who exactly would buy life-size Lady Gaga dolls, but the singer said she looked forward to returning to Japan with the “Artpop” tour although the concert schedule hasn’t been released.
It’s a month of surprises. Following Beyoncé’s surprise album called “Beyonce”, Justin Bieber “Journals” has just been released practically unannounced.
Justin Bieber Journals
It’s a nice idea. Over the past few months, he had been releasing tracks with an instrumental vibe. The influences are R&B and urban with the lyrics seemingly inspired by his relationship with Selena Gomez.
Justin Bieber “Journals” consists of these tracks, with five “unheard” ones, packed into a single set. For just $13.99, Beliebers get all 15 songs, in addition to visual material such as the “All That Matters” video, the “Believe” (film) trailer, and footage from Justin’s recent trip to Guatemala. The collection features five duets. He teamed up with rappers Lil’ Wayne, Big Sean, Future, Chance the Rapper as well as with R&B veteran R. Kelly “Journals” will be available on iTunes only until January 2.
Check it here: Journals – Justin Bieber
So why would Justin Bieber retire right now?
Justin Bieber has said that he will retire after the next album; I say he won’t.
Seriously, can’t a guy wind up the music press any more? 😉
He made the comments during a radio interview in Los Angeles. But like many people, I don’t believe it’s true. His new releases show that a new Justin Bieber is emerging, one that has a good few years of mega-stardom ahead of him. He also has more music to reveal as he grows as an artist from a teeny-bop star to an adult performer.
It’s a transition that is not always easy to make and one that has many traps (hi, Miley). But I suspect Justin Bieber will be with us for years to come.
What would you do if he did retire?
So no. Justin Bieber is not retiring; he is just having some fun at the expense of the press and Twittersphere (and perhaps you). But seriously, what would you do if he did retire?
Beyoncé has a new album called, um, “Beyoncé”. Out of the blue, interesting, varied and backed up by a bunch of videos. I think it’s pretty good and you can find it on iTunes, but I recommend that you enjoy the full experience on her swish website.
Inevitably, there are also negative reviews. One of the recurring themes is that it’s hard to be pretty sometimes. The songs are also very much in the first person, which leads to accusations of narcissism (What? A narcissist pop singer? Surely not).
Beyonce’s new album is about you
But Raw Story’s Amanda Marcotte makes a great point in her article on Beyonce‘s surprise new release.
“These are songs that the singer believes, with good reason, will be played on repeat and memorized and sung along with. They will be sung along with at clubs and in cars. They will be sung in karaoke bars. The singer is just as much us as it is Beyoncé. And Beyoncé clearly knows that. When she released “Single Ladies”, for instance, she wasn’t singing about a personal experience with having to dump a man to get him to know what he was missing out on—she was already with Jay-Z and they were getting married. The song is clearly for the women in the audience to sing along to, and, regardless of the problems in the framing of it, the idea is to boost yourself up and say that you deserve to have standards.”
From a singer’s point of view, the album features Beyoncé using a slightly lower voice, which is good news for those that want to sing like Beyonce.