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Kay Launches "Making Of Album" Video Series, Watch Episode One Now

The incredible Kay gives us a behind the scenes look at the making of her debut album in a new web series she launched on YouTube today. Check out the very first episode that shows Kay in the studio with production team Organized Noize that includes one of Outkast's best pals Sleepy Brown. That should give you a good idea of where Kay's head is at musically.

Kay may seem quirky and a little loopy at times (in a good way!), but let me tell you that she's hyper-focused, has an impressive work ethic and possesses a solid sense of who she is as an artist. You will see both sides of that in this fun little video. Watch it, like it, share it. (And yes, that is none other than DJ Skeet Skeet and Kay in the thumbnail of the video. Make sure to look for her pals Ryan Tedder and Steve Aoki as well.)

October 31, 2011 | Permalink

[FRESH NEW] Listen to ZZ Ward "Better Off Dead"

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ZZ Ward's "Better Off Dead" is just the perfect tune for your gloomy and ghostly Halloween eve. The song is an incredibly nifty remake of Tyler, The Creator's shock tune "Yonkers" that is dominated by that that eerie, slightly creepy sampled loop that sounds a bit like a torture wheel that spins on and on, and ultimately will drive, quite literally, insane. 

Stripping out Tyler's rhymes, ZZ Ward injects the original with some heart and soul that perfectly balance out the blood-curdling sonic stylings of "Yonkers." A special video for "Better Off Dead" will premiere next week that was filmed at, go figure, an abandoned mental institution in Downtown Los Angeles recently.

"Better Off Dead" is a perfect track for newcomer ZZ Ward to make a lasting impression. Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Oregon, ZZ grew up listening to her Dad write and sing the blues. "I fell in love with the sincerity of Etta, the soul of Muddy and the power of Big Mama," she writes on Facebook. As a teenager she got infatuated with hip hop music and now she combines both blues and modern-day hip hop to create her own brew of music. Curious what ZZ serves up next, but "Better Of Dead" is an excellent start. (Download MP3)

October 31, 2011 | Permalink

[REMIX] Pixie Lott "What Do You Take Me For" (Benji Boko Remix)

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Pixie Lott is coming on strong with her new single "What Do You Take Me For" that is taken from her new LP, "Young Foolish Happy." It's an exuberant little number that features rhymes by rapper Pusha T. The song unveils Lott's "soulful" new pop direction that she concocted while working on her new album in Los Angeles for most of 2011.

"Young Foolish Happy" includes collaborations with a slew of impressive producers and writers, including the legendary Stevie Wonder and soul man John Legend. It appears her new single "What Do You Take Me For" is indicative of her progressive new pop sound. The song was written by Lott together with Anne Preven, Chris Merecer and Terence Thornton, and it was produced by London dubstep champ Rusko who adds a bit of spit and shine to Lott's sultry pop sheen.

Rising UK DJ/producer Benji Boko gave Lott's original a fresh new twist of his own. Without straying too far from the original "What Do You Take Me For," he incorporates a bumping and hypnotic new groove that is a perfect fit for Lott's confident girl power anthem.

Boko admits that he wasn't sure what to do when he was first asked to remix the track. "My manager called me a few weeks back asking if I'd do a remix for Pixie Lott," he writes. "Must admit, I was a little wary as it didn't fit in with my style at all, but as soon as he said Pusha T from Clipse was featured, I was on the next bus to the studio. This is the result of that long night. I'm pretty chuffed with it."

This proves once again that the best things in music happen when you least expect them.

October 31, 2011 | Permalink

[FIRST LISTEN] Eric Saade "Hotter Than Fire" Featuring Dev

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Eric Saade should absolutely be no stranger to the Europop lovers among you. The Swedish singer has been ruling the pop charts in Sweden with his debut album, titled "Saade Vol 1," which includes the hit singles "Popular" and "Hearts In The Air." In fact, Saade is the best-selling singer in Sweden this year who moved over 50,000 albums units to date.

Today, the pop heartthrob unleashed his much-anticipated new single "Hotter Than Fire" that is taken from his forthcoming new LP, aptly-titled "Saade Vol 2." This new pop ditty includes none other than global chart sensation Dev who adds some welcome spunk, sizzle and sex appeal to Saade's polished pop sound.

Internationally, Dev has been an in-demand feature vocalist on other people's songs. The Bay Area songstress sang the hooks on recent tracks by Solveig, Guetta, JLS and now Saade. These high-profile features are a perfect way for Dev to build out has sassy brand of pop while also promoting her own "In The Dark" that is holding steady on the top of the Billboard dance chart and is gaining momentum overseas.

Set to a grinding synth riff that sounds somewhat familiar, "Hotter Than Fire" is a straight up, no frills pop production that is "about dressing up for the night" and "heading straight to the bar" to "dance, dance." It's an instantly catchy number that will undoubtedly fly up the charts in Europe and solidify Saade's promise as one of the brightest new Europop stars.

October 31, 2011 | Permalink

[EXCLUSIVE] Adele's Vocal Cord Surgery Not Without Risk, Doctor Says

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On Friday, Billboard Magazine confirmed that Adele canceled all of her 2011 tour dates due to her vocal illness. This news follows the cancellations of her 10-city U.S. tour earlier this month to give her voice rest after the 23 year-old singer was diagnosed with a hemorrhage of her vocal cord.

David Witsell, Medical Director at the famed Duke Voice Care Center in Raleigh, NC and one of the country's leading experts in the field of voice-related illnesses and rehabilitation, explains that vocal surgery is considered when there has been an injury to a vocal cord that has healed inappropriately after a period of voice rest.

A "hemorrhagic polyp" or "vocal cord granuloma" are commonly two reasons for recommending surgery of a vocal chord hemorrhage. "A hemorrhagic polyp (. . .) must be removed carefully to restore the normal contour of the vocal cord and preserve the vibratory layers lying over the vocal ligament," Witsell tells me in an exclusive interview.

Witsell has not diagnosed Adele but together with his dedicated staff of doctors and voices coaches he has treated many patients with similar vocal problems. "Scarring of the vocal ligament after surgery is every (. . .) singer's nightmare," he explains. "If the vibrating surface of the vocal cord becomes tethered to the ligament underneath it, the purity and overall quality of the singer's vocal tone can be lost."

The doctor adds, "The artistic contouring of the tone, how the singer shapes it with their throat, tongue and mouth is not lost, though. However, to singers like Adele, their voice is their identity, their everything. Loss of their vocal tone or an injury to their vocal cord is the most serious of career and life events."

Witsell concludes that proper rehabilitation is vital to restoring Adele's voice. Recovery from surgery is gradual as vibration returns to the vocal cord and may take up to six months or more of intensive medical and singing rehabilitation. "Fans should be concerned with Adele," Witsell adds. "They should all be sending her positive karma (. . .) especially during the time that she is recuperating. This is the time when she will need the support and our patience, not pressure to be back on tour immediately."

We're wishing Adele a speedy yet proper recovery to make sure her voice heals and stays strong. A big thank you to Dr Witsell for speaking with me over the weekend. Learn more about their Duke Voice Care Center on their web site.

October 31, 2011 | Permalink