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Jem Remixed

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(EXCLUSIVE) Welsh singer Jem is one of the year's freshest new voices. The single "They" from her debut album "Finally Woken" is finally getting a worthy remix treatment. An eclectic group of DJs, remixers and producers has totally recreated the song.

The remix CD includes two tracks by Cut Chemist (born Lucas Macfadden) who can best be described as an alternative DJ who combines hip-hop and old school rap with infectious turntable tricks. Dancer and DJ Kid Freeze gives the song a hip-hop and breakdance inspired makeover while London DJ Photek adds a cosmopolitan acid house flair to the song.

The remixes will be available mid-September.

Tracklisting Jem "They" [Remixes]:

1. Mixed by Cut Chemist
2. Mixed by Cut Chemist (instrumental version)
3. Mixed by MDK & Ayesha
4. Mixed by Kid Freeze
5. Mixed by Photek

August 30, 2004 in Music News | Permalink | Comments (1)

MTV Video Music Awards (Part 1)

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Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Pharell Williams

Click here for my photos from the VMA Red Carpet

Jennifer Lopez hyped it nicely when she called Miami "the steamiest and sexiest city on the planet" in her opening intro. It was only a matter of time before the MTV circus would settle on the city's bay shores. The MTV Video Music Awards extravaganza turned the dull American Airlines Arena into full splendor tonight. For three hours straight this dome was the epicenter of all that's hot in music today.

It was quite an evening indeed. Kanye lost, Alicia shined and Outkast created a minor upset by (surprisingly) winning the coveted award for Best Video of the Year.

The Atlanta duo and rapper Jay-Z were the big winners winning both won four awards. The Atlanta duo nabbed honors for "Hey Ya," clinching Best Video of the Year, Best Hip Hop Video, Best Special Effect and Best Art Direction. Jay-Z won four awards for "99 Problems" scoring Best Rap Video, Best Editing, Best Direction and Best Cinematography.

Despite the elaborate production and the exotic location, the show lacked some of the wild spectacle and controversy that usually marks the VMAs. Celebrities were well-behaved and even bad boys Marilyn Manson and Jet drummer Chris Cester were tame compared to previous occasions.

Cester just showed off some of his raw antics in the press room when I asked him who picked his fashion for the night. "I did of course," he growled. "And it looks much better what you’re wearing and it is cheaper too."

The show itself was terribly formulaic. Instead of having a host, MTV opted to boost the production of the show with multiple stages, pyro, acrobatics and lots of camera angles. Not having one single host resulted in a serious lack of continuity.

Fashion was a major topic of conversation. Hillary Duff wore black Helmut Lang dress pants but had them cut off half-way. "This is Miami and it is hot," she explained. Also noteworthy was the sexy Cavalli dress from actress Evan Mendez.

The event's awards and musical performances once again underlined the incredible popularity of hip-hop/rap. The genre continues to rule the charts, radio and music television in a very big way.

Some eyewitness moments from this year's Video Music Awards:

Most Heated Moment: For a lack of any true sizzle during the VMA telecast, I have to say that the most heated moment of the night was waiting to pick up my press credentials for 30 minutes in the scorching Miami sun. Sweaty.

Most Interesting Presenter Duo: Marilyn Manson and Mandy Moore. They should have French-kissed. That would have been a worthy moment in pop history.

Most Painful Moment: I chatted for a while with singer Baby Spice at the red carpet. The Spice Girl was doing some interview work for a British network. I accidentally called her Mel instead of Emma. She politely corrected me, but we never spoke again. Ouch!

Most Embarrassing Performance: Jessica Simpson looked bad in that sling thing, but Hoostabank gets the lowest marks for their terrible off-tune performance.

Most Surprising No-Show: Britney and fiancé Kevin were conspicuously absent from the event. Spears was nominated for two awards, but did not win any (again). Not really that surprising.

Most Aggressive Publicity Handler: An overzealous PR handler for the Black Eyes Peas literally grabbed band members by the arm and pushed them in front of reporters. None of the Peas seemed to mind.

Most "Livelong" Band: Three of Yellowcard's band members wore the famous Lance Amstrong yellow "Livestrong" armband. Also spotted with the band were Olympic beach volleyball winner Kerri Walsh and actor Matthew Lillard.

Most Striking Red Carpet Beauties: Naomi Campbell, hands-down, and some MTV hottie (unidentified)

Most Irritating Sound: Okay, the Ying Yang Twins are funny but the screeching glutteral "yeah" every other sentence started to work on my nerves. Drop it.

Most Impressive Performance: Alicia Keys performance with Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder was brilliant. The three rocked the house that propelled Keys to a new level of superstardom.

Most Stylish Rapper: Kanye West has put the message back into hip-hop. His prophetic style of storytelling was reflected in his refreshing live performance with Chaka Kahn. Dressed in a stylish pink/purple suit, he demonstrated you don't have to pimp to be able to rap.

Most Teary Moment: Yellowcard's handsome lead singer Ryan Key shed tears of joy during his acceptance speech for the "MTV2" Award.

Most Noteworthy Comment from Carson Daily: "Gwen Stefani is going to be a huge movie star. Mark my words." Actually, that was the only noteworthy comment he made.

Click here for my VMA Red Carpet photos

August 30, 2004 in Special Reports | Permalink | Comments (5)

MTV's Miami Madness (Part 2)

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South Beach is packed with celebrities, their handlers, fans and people like me this weekend. The city is hot and humid. Not pleasant for those proudly wearing their hip couture and anxiously waiting in line to join the parties. The surreal madness is leading up to the big awards ceremony tonight. I scoped out Lincoln Road, the Delano, Flute and Rokbar last night. The photo is a scene of Ben Jelen performing at the "FCUK You, I'm Voting" party at French Connection on Lincoln Road.

There might be a complication with posting in real-time to arjanwrites.com during the show. My MTV press pack specifically spells out that online media are not allowed to publish any information until after the show. Let me see what I can pull off. To be continued.

August 29, 2004 in Special Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

MTV's Miami Madness (Part 1)

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Miami is going mad! MTV has totally taken over Miami Beach for the past week. I'm off to South Beach tomorrow morning to indulge in the music network's frantic PR circus and the Video Music Awards on Sunday evening (8:00 p.m. EDT). Celebs and their posses have invaded the beach and are hosting parties at many of Miami's clubs and hotels.

Puffy's big to do is at Ice Palace tonight. For $700K he is flying in some of his 1000 guests with choppers. Other parties are organized by Paris Hilton (Mansion), Missy Elliott (Sagamore Hotel), No Doubt (Mynt ), Queen Latifah/Farrah Fawcett (Delano), NERD (Shore Club), Jessica Simpson/Ashlee Simpson (Prive), Outkast (Mansion). Continue to read the complete VMA Event Call Sheet.

Also worth noting is the offical MTV2 Bash at Crobar on Saturday that benefits LifeBEAT, a national nonprofit organization for HIV/AIDS prevention. Tickets are available at the Crobar box office or wanttickets.com

I will be posting stories and photos from the event in real-time on Sunday evening (unless technical difficulties arise). Watch the show and keep refreshing arjanwrites.com to get the latest scoop.

VMA Event Call Sheet (unedited):

Friday Night - Aug 27th

5:00 pm- 9:00pm: Adidas/Missy Elliott - Old School BBQ - Sagamore Hotel

10:00 pm- Launch of Rocbox by Roc Digital at Sky Bar at the Shore Club

11:00 PM- P. Diddy presents Welcome To Miami Mansion
- Special VIP Lounge area hosted by Sean John

Other Options:
- Samantha Ronson at Marlin Hotel
- Pop 2 Life Party at Townhouse
- Interscope/No Doubt Party at Mynt

Saturday Night - August 28th

8:00 PM: Fabulous 50 Dinner, Residence of Sean Combs

10:00 pm: Spin/ jet/ nick rock party at Rokbar at 10 pm

11:00 pm: Paris Hilton hosts party for Nominee David LaChapelle -Mansion

11:00 pm: Citizen Change/Choose or Lose Pre-VMA Party

Other Options:
- Le Tigre Cocktail Party hosted by Jaime Pressly - Sagamore Hotel -7pm - 10pm
- Queen Latifah/Farrah Fawcett Beach Party at Delano
- Counter Flow Label Party at Marlin Hotel
- R Kelly at Opium/Prive
- NERD/Blender Party at Shore Club

Sunday Night - August 29th

1:00 pm: Citizen Change Luncheon- Venue (TBD)- Intimate opportunity to hear Sean Combs's unveil his plans to revolutionize voter motivation and mobilization through Citizen Change

7:00 pm: MTV Video Music Awards- American Airlines Arena

Post VMA's:

- Guy Oseary's Party
- D12- Rock the Vote Party August 29th, 2004- 10 PM at the Pool Bar at The Delano
- Jadakiss Platinum Album Party at Crobar
- Outkast After Party - Mansion
- Jessica Simpson/Ashlee Simpson After Party at Prive

Other Options:
- Carmen Electra/Shaq Party at National Hotel
- Counter Flow Label Party at Marlin Hotel
- Usher/Motorola Dinner at Shore Club
- Osbournes Party at Mynt

August 27, 2004 in Special Reports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Björk and Kelis Duet on Oceania Remix (MP3)

I wrote earlier about the unlikely cameo of hip-hop singer Kelis on Björk's "Medulla." The American singer is actually appearing on the remix version of Björk's new single "Oceania." I think Kelis' husky vocals fit Björk's atypical song arrangement very well. Warm and lush. Recommended.

Download Bjork & Kelis "Oceania" (Remix) [MP3]

August 26, 2004 in Music News | Permalink | Comments (22)