Lord Finesse Remixes And Reimagines Classic Motown Songs For Inspired New Album, ‘Motown State of Mind’

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Legendary rapper, hip-hop producer, and founding member of the influential collective Diggin’ In The Crates Crew (D.I.T.C.), Lord Finesse is back with his most ambitious project to date: ‘Motown State of Mind’, a set of handpicked Motown classics remixed and reimagined.

Legendary hip-hop producern and rapper reinterprets songs by Debarge, Eddie Kendricks, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson Sister’s Love and Switch.

The inspired new remix album will be available to stream on June 26 via Motown/UMe and the remix of Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Want You’ is available to stream now (available here). In true DJ style, the remixes will also be released as a 45 RPM box set on July 24 containing seven 7-inch records on black vinyl featuring the remixed version on Side A and the classic original on Side B. In support of the release, there will be digital activations throughout June including livestreams and IG live takeovers from Motown’s various handles.

Curated and arranged for the new generation, going back to the original masters/sources, the remixes include chart toppers such as Michael Jackson’s ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’ and DeBarge’s ‘I Like It’ alongside deep cuts from Motown’s catalog like Sisters Love’s ‘Now Is The Time’.

‘Now Is The Time’ is a unique track as it was originally recorded in 1970 and in 1973 the group recorded a version of the song which was produced by Willie Hutch and appeared in the movie The Mack, but was never officially released. As an ode to the 1973 version, Lord Finesse and J Zone (producer, drummer, multi-instrumentalist, rapper, and writer) recreate the song as if it was released that year. The instrumental version of the track will be included as the B-side in the 45 box set.

The reimagined versions also feature collaborations from the likes of Dinky Bingham (the CEO of production/publishing company Dinky B. Music and a producer of gold and platinum hits for artists such as Changing Faces, New Edition, Kylie Minogue and Jaheim) as well as producer Tall Black Guy (who’s worked with artists such as Gilles Peterson, Lefto, Anthony Valadez, Jazzy Jeff, Questlove, amongst others).

I’m my own worst critic. If I like it, I don’t think no one can really tell me anything.

Lord Finesse

Lord Finesse classifies the remixes to be his ‘best project to date’. “I’m my own worst critic. If I like it, I don’t think no one can really tell me anything”, he explains. With that in mind, Finesse closes out the album with a mastermind remix of the critically acclaimed Jackson 5 medley ‘I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save’. The standalone singles of those three original aforementioned tracks, alongside the release of their fourth single ‘I’ll Be There’, made the group the first to debut with four consecutive number one hits on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Lord Finesse (born Robert Hall, Jr., in February 19, 1970) is a hip-hop artist and producer, hailing from The Bronx, N.Y. and best known as the leader of the D.I.T.C. rap crew. In 1989, Finesse and his former partner DJ Mike Smooth signed to Wild Pitch Records, and the next year, the duo released their debut album Funky Technician (which featured production from future star beat-makers DJ Premier, Diamond D and Showbiz). Shortly thereafter, Finesse along with Showbiz & AG and Diamond D formed the popular New York underground crew ‘Diggin In The Crates’ (aka D.I.T.C.), future members would include Fat Joe, O.C., Buckwild and the late Big L.

Finesse’s second solo album Return of the Funky Man was released in 1991 and featured guest appearances from Percee P and AG as well as some songs produced by Finesse himself. The title track, ‘Return of the Funky Man’, peaked at #13 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. Return of the Funky Man started his career as a much respected hip-hop producer, most notably for The Notorious B.I.G., Dr. Dre, his fellow D.I.T.C. members, as well as for his third album, The Awakening.

Finesse has also been notably recognized for having provided the vocal sample on the hook to ‘The Rockafeller Skank’, the 1998 hit single by British musician Fatboy Slim as well as having produced ‘The Message’ on 2001 by Dr. Dre. He was also featured on Handsome Boy Modeling School’s 2004 track ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll (Could Never Hip-Hop Like This) pt. 2′, collaborating with famous DJ’s as QBert, Grand Wizard Theodore and Jazzy Jay. Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park make appearances, as well as Rahzel formerly of The Roots.

 

 

 

Diahann Carroll, groundbreaking television and broadway star, dead at 84

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Legendary Diahann Carroll, the captivating singer and actress who came from the Bronx to win a Tony Award, receive an Oscar nomination and make television history with her turns on Julia and Dynasty, has died Friday. She was 84. Carroll died at her home in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer.

I like to think that I opened doors for other women, although that wasn’t my original intention.

Diahann Carroll

Carroll was born Carol Diann Johnson in the Bronx, New York, in 1935. When Carroll was an infant, the family moved to Harlem, where she grew up. She took piano lessons regularly as a child and first began singing around age 6, as a member of the Tiny Tots choir in Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. At 10 years old, the musically-gifted Carroll received a scholarship from the Metropolitan Opera to study at New York’s High School of Music and Art, and was a classmate of Billy Dee Williams. In many interviews about her childhood, Diahann Carroll recalls her parents’ support, enrolling her in dance, singing, and modeling classes.

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As a teenager she became interested in fashion and at age 14, she sent a picture of herself to the fashion editor at Ebony. She later was one of four teenage girls to win a modeling assignment for Johnson Publishing, Ebony’s parent company. She also began entering television contests, including ‘Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts’, under the name Diahann Carroll. A spot she won – which also allowed her to perform on the daily radio show.

After graduating from high school, she attended New York University, majoring in sociology, but she left before graduating to pursue a show-business career, promising her family that if the career did not materialize after two years, she would return to college. Diahann Carroll’s big break came at 18, when she appeared as a contestant on the DuMont Television Network program, Chance of a Lifetime, hosted by Dennis James. On the show, which aired January 8, 1954, she took the $1,000 top prize for a rendition of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein song, ‘Why Was I Born?’ She went on to win the following four weeks. Engagements at Manhattan’s Café Society and Latin Quarter nightclubs soon followed.

Diahann Carroll’s film debut was a supporting role in Carmen Jones (1954) as a friend to the sultry lead character played by Dorothy Dandridge. That same year, her big break came when Truman Capote chose her for a leading part in the Broadway musical ‘House of Flowers’, based on his short story and for which he wrote the book and lyrics. Carroll, who played a young sex worker in a Caribbean island bordello, had the best numbers, ‘A Sleepin’ Bee’ and ‘I Never Has Seen Snow’. In 1959 she played the role of Clara in a film adaptation of George Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’, starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge, but her character’s singing parts were dubbed by opera singer Loulie Jean Norman.

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But in her early days at NBC, the Harlem native encountered a stark reminder of her groundbreaking status. In a 2014 episode of PBS’s ‘Pioneers of Television’, Carroll recalled that NBC’s makeup department did not have makeup for an actress of her complexion. “The studio had only dealt with the little American girls or European girls”, Carroll said. “How could you have a makeup department and you don’t have makeup for every skin in the United States of America?”

She made a guest appearance in the series Peter Gunn, in the 1960 episode ‘Sing a Song of Murder’, and starred with Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and good friend Joanne Woodward in the 1961 film Paris Blues.

Not shy when it came to confronting racial barriers, Carroll won her Tony portraying Barbara Woodruff, a high-fashion American model in Paris, who has a love affair with a white American author in the 1959 Samuel A. Taylor and Richard Rodgers Braodway musical ‘No Strings’ about civil rights, marking the first time a African American woman had ever won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. Critic Walter Kerr described her as “a girl with a sweet smile, brilliant dark eyes and a profile regal enough to belong on a coin”.

 

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Again for Preminger, in ‘Hurry Sundown’ (1967), set in rural 1940s Georgia, she played an elegant local schoolteacher who had gone north and been corrupted. Despite a terrible script, Carroll came off slightly better than her co-stars, Michael Caine and Jane Fonda, in this condescending melodrama on race relations.

Carroll was then nominated for a lead actress Oscar for the titular role in 1974’s ‘Claudine’, starring alongside James Earl Jones. The role of Claudine had been written specifically for actress Diana Sands, (who had made guest appearances on Julia as Carroll’s cousin Sara) but shortly before filming was to begin, Sands found out that she was terminally ill with cancer. Sands attempted to carry on with the role, but as filming began, she became too ill to continue, and recommended her friend Carroll take over the role. Sadly, Sands would not live to see Claudine. She died in September 1973; Claudine, starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones, was released in April 1974.

On top of her critical feature film and stage success, Carroll achieved critical acclaim on the small screen and groundbreaking notoriety for playing the titular role in the NBC sitcom ‘Julia’. The series, which aired from 1968 to 1971, saw Carroll play Julia Baker, a nurse whose Army pilot husband had been shot down in Vietnam. This role saw the first time a African-American woman had ever starred in a non-servant role on television. That role won – as the first African American – her the Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Actress In A Television Series’ in 1968, and the first African American woman to receive an Emmy nomination in 1969.

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Diahann Carroll and Frank Sinatra

But the show was controversial amid the racial unrest that followed the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. An Ebony article that year noted that ‘for all its merits as a television ‘first’ ‘, the sitcom had drawn criticism ‘for not projecting a male head-of-the-family image’ and “for showing Julia and [her] son leading a happily integrated life among middle class whites”. In a 2008 interview with NPR’s News & Notes, Carroll said she was ‘very proud’ of that role, “I look back with great pride”, Carroll told host Farai Chideya. And in 2011, she was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

The Diahann Carroll Show is a series of four musical variety television specials, that aired on CBS in 1976. The show was a summer replacement for The Carol Burnett Show.  The series’ four episodes were taped over a period of five days.

Guests on the premiere episode included Johnny Mathis (with whom Carroll sang You Are So Beautiful) and with Telly Savalas and Sammy Davis Jr. (with whom she sang a medley of songs from Porgy and Bess). Other guests during the brief season included composer Marvin Hamlisch, Betty White, and Phyllis Diller. Carroll’s costumes were designed by famous fashion designer Bob Mackie.

Diahann Carroll & Johnny Mathis duet the song ‘You Are So Beautiful’ on her show, July 1976

Some of her earlier work also included appearances on shows hosted by Jack Paar, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Judy Garland, and Ed Sullivan, and on The Hollywood Palace variety show. In 1984, Carroll joined the primetime soap opera ‘Dynasty’ as the mixed-race jet-set diva Dominique Deveraux, half-sister of Blake Carrington. Her high-profile role on ‘Dynasty’ also reunited her with schoolmate Billy Dee Williams, who briefly played her onscreen husband Brady Lloyd.

Her character, Dominique Deveraux, was shrouded in mystery when she joined ‘Dynasty’ in its fourth season. Carroll had sought out the role after falling in love with the soap. “I thought, ‘If this isn’t the biggest hoot I’ve ever seen, and the world is loving it,’ ” she said in a 1998 interview with the Television Academy Foundation. “Everyone was elegant, everyone was rich, everyone was traveling all over the world, and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do. That’s what I need to do”.

Carroll reached out to Aaron Spelling and suggested to one of the producer’s colleagues that ‘Dynasty’ – which had dealt, however controversially, with homosexuality and other hot-button issues – had tackled just about everything except racial integration. To do that, they first had to integrate the cast.

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But nothing happened until Barbra Streisand invited Carroll to sing a song from ‘Yentl’ at the 1983 Golden Globe Awards. Knowing Aaron Spelling would be there, she dressed the part. After the ceremony, Carroll went to the private Los Angeles nightclub where Spelling and his colleagues were celebrating. Spelling later told People that after seeing Carroll, he and ‘Dynasty’ co-creator Esther Shapiro looked at each other and said, “My God, she is ‘Dynasty”.

Dominique Deveraux turned out to be the surprise half-sister of oil baron Blake Carrington. The role led to epic showdown with Blake’s vindictive ex-wife, Alexis (Joan Collins).

As the character owned a music company and was a successful singer, the soap also gave Carroll the chance to display her vocal talents, already apparent from her several albums and club appearances. Carroll, always a very classy lady, ‘Dynasty’ made her a true fashion icon, especially for the African American. She remained on the show until 1987, simultaneously making several appearances on its short-lived spin-off, The Colbys. She received her third Emmy nomination in 1989 for her recurring role as Marion Gilbert in ‘A Different World’.

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In 1991, Carroll played the role of Eleanor Potter, the wife of Jimmy Potter, portrayed by Chuck Patterson, in ‘The Five Heartbeats’, a musical drama film in which Jimmy manages a vocal group. In this role, Carroll was a doting, concerned, and protective wife alongside actor and musician Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, and others. In a 1995 reunion with Billy Dee Williams in ‘Lonesome Dove: The Series’, she played Mrs. Greyson, the wife of Williams’ character. In 1996, Carroll starred as the self-loving and deluded silent movie star Norma Desmond in the Canadian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of the classic film ‘Sunset Boulevard’. In 2001, Carroll made her animation début in ‘The Legend of Tarzan’, in which she voiced Queen La, an evil sorceress and ruler of the ancient city of Opar.

On stage, Carroll broke barriers by playing roles traditionally considered for white actresses, such as ‘Same Time, Next Year’, ‘Agnes of God’, and ‘Sunset Boulevard’. In 2002, Carroll said of these roles, “I like to think that I opened doors for other women, although that wasn’t my original intention”.

Carroll continued to somewhat consistently work in film, television, stage – and even made a return to the nightclub world in 2006, at Feinstein’s at the Regency. In 2006, she appeared in the television medical drama ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ as Jane Burke, the demanding mother of Dr. Preston Burke. In December 2008, Carroll was cast in USA Network’s series ‘White Collar’ as June, the savvy widow who rents out her guest room to Neal Caffrey. In 2010, Carroll was featured in UniGlobe Entertainment’s breast cancer docudrama titled, ‘1 a Minute’, and she appeared as Nana in two Lifetime movies: ‘At Risk’ and ‘The Front’, movie adaptations of two Patricia Cornwell novels. In addition to being honored at Oprah’s 2006 Legends Ball, Carroll appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1987 and 2006, and led an Oprah’s Master Class in 2013. During her appearance on Master Class, she spoke about her initial 1997 breast cancer diagnosis, and reaching the decision to eventually share it with the world.

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Diahann Carroll was present on stage for the 2013 Emmy Awards, to briefly speak about being the first African American nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. She was quoted as saying: “Talented Kerry Washington better win!” Kerry Washington erroneously stated that Carroll was the first African American performer ever to be nominated for an Emmy. Actually, at least three performers were nominated before Carroll, who was first nominated in 1963. These performers include: Ethel Waters for a guest appearance on Route 66, in 1962; Harry Belafonte, nominated in 1956 and 1961 and winning in 1960; and Sammy Davis Jr., who was nominated in 1956 with Belafonte.

Carroll was married four times, first to record producer Monte Kay in 1956. Her father boycotted the wedding ceremony which was presided over by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. The marriage ended in 1962. The union produced a daughter, Suzanne Kay Bamford (born September 9, 1960), who became a freelance media journalist. In 1959, Carroll began a nine-year affair with married actor Sidney Poitier. She claimed that Poitier persuaded her to divorce her husband and he would leave his wife to be with her.

When Carroll got her divorce, Poitier did not keep up his end of the bargain, yet the relationship continued until 1968. Carroll dated and was engaged to British television host and producer David Frost from 1970 until 1973. In 1973, Carroll surprised the press by marrying Las Vegas boutique owner Fred Glusman. Several weeks later, she filed for divorce, charging Glusman with physical abuse. In 1975, Carroll married Robert DeLeon, a managing editor of Jet. She was widowed two years later when DeLeon was killed in a car crash. Carroll’s fourth marriage was to singer Vic Damone in 1987. The union, which Carroll admitted was turbulent, had a legal separation in 1991, reconciliation, and divorce in 1996.

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A year later, Carroll was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She said the diagnosis ‘stunned’ her because there was no family history of breast cancer and she had always had a healthy lifestyle. She underwent nine weeks of radiation therapy, and had been clear since. Carroll frequently spoke out about the importance of early cancer detection, and prevention, free screening for those who couldn’t afford mammograms, and the need for more money to be invested in research.

Diahann Carroll was a transformative force for freedom. She identified with Dr King in the civil rights movement with a simple kiss. She brought down ancient barriers & built bridges. She left the world better than she found it.

Rev Jesse Jackson Sr.

She walked this earth for 84 years and broke ground with every footstep. An icon. One of the all-time greats. She blazed trails through dense forests and elegantly left diamonds along the path for the rest of us to follow. Thank you, Ms. Carroll.

Diahann Carroll died of cancer on October 4, 2019, in Los Angeles. Carroll is survived by her daughter Suzanne, and grandchildren August and Sydney. Our thoughts are with Carroll’s family and friends.

 

 

 

 

Rammstein are showing their true colours as LGBTQ allies.

 

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Two members of the German rock band Rammstein kissed onstage in Russia’s capital city Moscow in defiance against Russia’s anti-LGBTQ stance. During a performance of ‘Aüslander’, guitarists Paul Landers and Richard Kruspe moved towards each other before kissing each other, to protest the country’s anti-LGBTQ attitudes and laws.

Liebe ist für alle da!

While homosexuality isn’t illegal in Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s ‘gay propaganda’ law has created a hostile environment for LGBTQ people. On 21 July, a prominent LGBT+ activist was found dead in St Petersburg, having been strangled and stabbed, after her name was listed on a vile ‘gay-hunting’ website.
Elsewhere, in self-governed Russian state Chechnya, gay people have been rounded up and held in modern-day concentration camps, with many of them tortured for information and some even beaten to death.

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Россия, мы любим тебя! Photos: @jenskochphoto

A post shared by Rammstein (@rammsteinofficial) on

Rammstein shared a photo of the kiss, which took place during their song Aüslander, on their Instagram page alongside the caption: “Russia, we love you!”

It’s not the first time the band have shown support for LGBTQ rights on this tour – during a performance in Poland, where they crowdsurfed in a rubber dinghy waving a Pride flag, following the news that LGBT+ people had faced violence during a Pride march in the country.

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The bold statement came after reports that members of Poland’s LGBTQ community hadfaced violence during a Pride march in the country, and most likely an answer to what happened in Białystok, as well as reports of ‘LGBT-free’ zones being promoted by bigots.

Here they come! Waving pride flags and openly supporting LGBTQ people.

Rammstein’s show of support for LGBTQ people has gone down very well with fans of the band. One referring to it as a ‘power-move’ while another said it was ‘heartwarming’ to see.

Rammstein released their latest, untitled album (referred to as Rammstein) in May, and are currently touring in support of the new music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sing to Me Instead’ powerful pop debut from Broadway star Ben Platt

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Tony winner and newly-minted Broadway hero Ben Platt debuts his first album, ‘Sing to Me Instead’, after a long stint on Broadway as the titular Evan Hansen for ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ as well as performing in ‘The Book of Mormon’. The multi-talented actor-musician shifts his vocal talents to release a studio album that is deeply personal, telling a story of love and loss in relationships. This raw exhibition is a deeply personal look into Platt’s toxic relations and mental state.

Following an onslaught of impressive singles with equally original musical videos to depict the vulnerability of Platt’s psyche, Ben Platt’s full album was released on March 29.

Platt co-wrote all the songs, worked to make this album authentic and transparent as possible, so naturally, he uses male pronouns when explaining his past boyfriends. The album tells a cohesive love story. The resulting 40 songs – which were whittled down to the 12 – are diarylike evocations of three major relationships that have shaped him. The earnest ballads and melancholy lycrism are inspired by his musical heroes Carole King, Adele and Elton John.

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Released as a teaser to the full album, ‘Bad Habit’ and ‘Ease My Mind’ showcase his signature vibrato and guttural vocals. This collection of piano-driven ballads tell one version of love that Platt has gone through.

 

Bad Habit

The first song ‘Bad Habit’ serves as a prologue, where Platt sings retrospectively of a long-gone relationship. Regardless of understanding if that person is the best for them, it is impossible to ignore the hole of what the relationship used to be. Beginning with one of the more unhealthy relationships, he utilizes a somber tune accompanied by his piano and his strong, clear baritone to express the melancholy of wanting an ex-lover who is no good. The crescendo to falsetto in the final choruses gives a punch to the emotional message he is displaying while also moving beyond the traditional boundaries of pop music.

The music video for Ben Platt’s song ‘Bad Habits’ begins with an empty room and a few vintage photographs. Platt shuffles into the room and hunches over the piano, his shoulders slowly creeping up. He leans into the keys. “You always said that I’d come back to you again”, he starts, with an air of almost uncomfortable familiarity. In a few moments, the persona of the larger-than-life Broadway star melts into something decidedly different. He is no longer tens (if you’re lucky) of rows of theater seats away.

The crescendo to falsetto in the final choruses gives a punch to the emotional message he is displaying while also moving beyond the traditional boundaries of pop music. On his debut album ‘Sing To Me Instead’, Platt is right next to you, sitting at his living room piano with a visceral kind of honesty.

 

Ease My Mind

The following song, ‘Ease My Mind’, explores the beginning of this tumultuous relationships to linger on the reasonings for why this began in the first place. Platt reflects in an interview: “I started to think back, when did I really feel comforted, that my anxiety was allayed? And it was in this beautiful relationship”.

Platt is able to flaunt the wide range of his pipes by delivering soft melodies, incredible runs and a confident command throughout the entire performance. The chorus is the true centerpiece to song: “Darling, only you can ease my mind/help me leave these lonely thoughts behind/when they pull me under, and I can feel my sanity start/Darling, only you can ease my mind”.

‘Ease My Mind’ employs a minor-key piano and soulful background chorus that creates a longing and sorrowful feel. The artistic music video that goes along with this track finds Platt in a dreamy, black-and-white clip enjoying the relationship with a boyfriend – played by actor Charlie Carver – by cuddling in bed or making dinner before they part ways with no full explanation.

Sonically, the song is lush and bluesy but this is not a simple love ballad. The lyrics recount Platt’s experiences with anxiety and depression and the journey of finding comfort in a partner;s embrace.

 

Temporary Love

There are moments in the album where Platt echoes other pop/soul artists, especially Sam Smith on the gospel-soul of ‘Temporary Love’. Searing high notes with a full choir this is a declaration to embrace love and have unwavering commitment rather than being afraid of it.

 

Grow As We Go

Fourth track, ‘Grow As We Go’, serves as the final third song in the story of the first relationship. A tear-jerking harmony of soulful lyrics and acoustic guitars to describe a relationship at a crossroads. Ben Platt tweeted: “I wrote ‘Grow As We Go’ about how desperately I wanted a very special relationship to work despite knowing how much personal growth we both still needed”.

 

Honest Man – Hurt Me Once

‘Honest Man’ and ‘Hurt Me Once’ focus on more of the lows in Ben Platt’s life, the former referring to dating a closeted man and the latter about an impending breakup that both partners see coming but don’t wish to admit.

“I wanted to write about this first relationship that I was in, when there was an embarrassment of kindness in the sense that I could feel him knowing this wasn’t right, but he didn’t have the courage to just tell me that”, Platt said in an article. “So he started to remove himself in little ways that almost felt more painful, because it was like, ‘Why would you drag this out and make me guess where we’re at?’”

 

New

Following a number of slower ballads, the quicker pace and more bopping rhythm of ‘New’ arrives next. He continues to be inspiring with his technical vocal abilities and musical rangle shining throughout every song. There is more experimentation with sound in this track by using major staccato chords on the piano and reaching a tenor range instead of resting in his typical baritone range.

 

Better – Share Your Address

‘Better’ slows down a bit but still maintains an adequate temp with an energetic rhythm. On the up-tempo, soulful ‘Share Your Address’ explores a playful infatuation and the early stages of it becoming serious. “And if I’m coming on too strong/It’s ‘cause I’ve waited far too long/For someone just like you”.

 

In Case You Don’t Live Forever

The last three songs are more reflective and melancholy musings on life, family, and growing from love. ‘In Case You Don’t Live Forever’ ponders romantic regrets and making sure to love people when they are still around, not just romantic partners. Platts plays an ode to two important men in his life, his father and his late uncle.

 

Older

The penultimate track ‘Older’ continues this train of excellence and lyrical talent that details the general regrets people have as they age; the time-old lesson of being focused with the future and not fully enjoying the present.

 

Run Away

While ‘Run Away’ – a tribute to his parent’s love story – concludes this albums journey with hope and the message that being alone isn’t bad, but also, true love will come around and settling down does not have to be scary.

The 25-year-old’s soulful voice proves his skill with storytelling and has made a mark with a marvelous album, smoothing the transition from Broadway to the pop canon. His ability to be vulnerable and lay out his emotions and past in such a candor way is inspiring and humbling.

There was some confusion and questioning on whether or not this was a coming out album for Platt. However, he has been out as gay since he was 12 and discusses the importances of queer representation but not wanting it to replace the music itself.

Seeing what that representation means, especially to queer youth, is the most beautiful, unexpected gift in all of this. Hopefully we’re moving in the direction where we’re in the same boat and nobody’s given pressure to make announcements or proclamations about who they are, and we can just observe people’s stories for what they are.

Ben Platt

‘Sing to Me Instead’ is a personal look into Platt’s life in terms of love, relationships and personal growth as people. The songs work to connect with all people to bond on the different human experiences and learning from the different loves and loss that everyone will go through.

If you love Sam Smith, Brain Justin Crum, Calum Scott and other great voices: you would love this album! And Ben Platt is your new sweetheart!

 

 

 

J.Lo Wears Tiffany & Co. for Her New Video

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Have you seen J.Lo’s new single, El Anillo? Dressed in skin-tight bodycon, embellished with diamonds, she has exclusively worn Tiffany & Co’s jewellery for the whole music video. The main attention straight goes to the 15-carat emerald cut diamond ring. It is set in an engagement ring, with her gold embossed initial on the signature blue Tiffany’s box.

In the video, J.Lo also wears gold jewellery from Elsa Peretti Bone Cuffs and T-Collection ring which were stacked on both of her hands! Talking about ultra-glam…

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The video has sparked a rumour that the singer has engaged with her boyfriend, Alex Rodriguez. When asked about a future marriage proposal to the actress and singer, “I will tell you this. She came out with a great, great song ‘Anillo’. I think it went up to one or two [in the charts]”, says Rodriguez, the retired Major League Baseball star, said during an interview with FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino.

J.Lo has been actively promoting her new singles. Last Sunday night at the Billboard Music Awards 2018 in Las Vegas, J.Lo also wore her diamond rings and perform yet another Spanish-language single, Dinero.

 

 

 

 

Brian Justin Crum – Show Me Love (Acoustic Cover)

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Brian Justin Crum is a former America’s Got Talent contestant and broadway star known for his astounding cover of ‘Creep’ by Radiohead and ‘Somebody to Love’ by Queen as well as various Billboard artists, such as Sam Smith, Sia, and Adele. Brian is now making his way into the pop scene, celebrating the exploration sexuality and sensuality and showing more sides of himself through his music.

Former America’s Got Talent contestant Brian Justin Crum performing a beautiful acoustic cover of ‘Show Me Love’ by Robyn, and it is quite amazing!

To learn more about singing sensation Brian Justin Crum and his music, check out his official Facebook page.

 

 

 

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan and Curd Jürgens

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During the Third Reich, Munich was slated to get another opera house. With Clemens Krauss, who served in the joint capacity of general manager and general music director, Munich was able to develop even further despite oppression and war. Clemens Krauss supplied highlights both in his career and in the history of the National Theatre with the world premières of three works by his friend Richard Strauss, three fantastic anachronisms which nevertheless became artistic reality: Friedenstag in 1938, Verklungene Feste in 1941, and Capriccio in 1942. During an Allied bombardment in the night of October 3 / 4, the National Theatre was turned into an eerie ruin. Further damage and destruction as well as the proclamation of ‘total war’ silenced the State Opera for a while.

Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan III and actor Curd Jürgens at the Munich Opera in 1963.

Her Highness Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan at the Gala Premiere of the reconstructed München Opera House, Germany, with good friends Curd Jürgens and his wife Simone Bicheron, November 23, 1963.  (pictures by C.P.H. van Heulen) (pictures from private collection).

The arduous tasks of restoring the theatre to life were assumed by General Manager Georg Hartmann and his General Music Director Georg Solti. After they had successfully introduced works by Paul Hindemith and Heinrich Sutermeister, and Werner Egk had established himself in 1948 with his Faust ballet Abraxas, Hartmann and Solti put on the first post-war Munich Opera Festival in 1950, creating on a firm foundation to pass on to their successors.

1160634Her Highness Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Rudolf Hartmann served as general manager for fifteen years from 1952 to 1967, working side-by-side with general music directors Rudolf Kempe, Ferenc Fricsay and Joseph Keilberth. Two significant events occurred during the Hartmann era: the return to the restored Cuvilliés Theatre with Le nozze di Figaro in 1958 and the reopening of the National Theatre on November 21, 1963. With the aid of the ‘Friends of the National Theatre’ it rose in old classicistic glory like a phoenix from the ashes in accordance the plans of Gerhard Graubner and Karl Fischer.

1161055 (3)Her Highness Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan and and Curd Jürgens

Begum Om Habibeh Aga KhanHer Highness Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan and Curd Jürgens

1160846Her Highness Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan and Simone Bicheron wife of Curd Jürgens

Divas Week: Celebrating The Birth of Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin & Mariah Carey

America loves it’s holidays. There is literally something to celebrate every single day of the year. From National Pancake Day to National Punctuation Day, we do it all here in the US of A. This week, March 23 -30, we are in the trenches of the holiest time of the year (sorry Jesus), for Divas Week! Somehow, Chaka Khan (23rd), Aretha Franklin (25th), Diana Ross (26th), and Mariah Carey (27th) were all born within these five days!

To honor this week properly, let’s get into the best and deepest cuts of our divas’ catalogue.

Chaka KhanChaka Khan

Before making it on her own, Chaka Khan was the lead vocalist of one of the hardest bands of the 70s, Rufus. Decades later, there are few people that can stand next to Chaka.

Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin

Live at the Fillmore has to be one of the best live albums of all time. If we’re being honest, Aretha Franklin taught the world what real singing sounds like. She offered up those receipts by dropping an album of covers that make you never want to listen to the originals ever again. Sorry Adele!

Picture: Aretha Franklin performing at McGlohon Theater in Charlotte, NC on February 13, 2012. Franklin performed a tribute to her goddaughter, Whitney Houston, who had passed away two days before. Photo by Daniel Coston

Diana Ross CoutureDiana Ross

Diana is the boss! What else needs to be said?

 

Mariah-Carey

Mariah Carey

Her… She is Mariah. The elusive chanteuse and next star of a sure to be sold-out Vegas run.