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First-Listen: Example Teases New Single 'Kids Again' (MOTi Remix)


There's very little to say at this point about Example's new single "Kids Again" except that 1) it was produced by none other Fraser T Smith (one of the producers behind Adele's 21 behemoth), 2) the single will be released on March 16, 2014, and finally 3) this song may give the British singer/rapper/all-around cool guy a shot at chart success stateside. All we have to enjoy right now is this MOTi remix of "Kids Again" that is really just one gigantic tease. 

December 23, 2013 | Permalink

A Few Words about Pop in 2013 That Was Ruled by Big Album Releases, Glorious Comebacks and Exciting Newcomers


While I'm feverishly working on compiling my lists of most favorite albums and tracks of 2013, it's now a good time to take a step back and look at the past year and review some of its key moments. If there's one thing that marked 2013, it was the barrage of major new album releases that captured the charts from beginning to end, including much-anticipated new records by Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, One Direction and Beyonce (Rihanna decided to sit this year's round out.).

The year started out on an immediate high-note with a cryptic message from Justin Timberlake telling fans he was "ready." It was part of a YouTube video that showed the pop superstar walking back into the studio to cut vocals. The video set Twitter and other social media on fire, and quickly there after, Timberlake revealed that he was about to release his new R&B tinged single "Suit & Tie" followed by the announcement that he'd put out the first half of a double LP in March. 

In an interview with The GRAMMY Foundation, Timberlake explained why it took him a few years to release new music. "I will not be the type of artist that puts out 10 to 15 albums, that's just not who I am," he said. "I write music all the time, but until you really feel that desperate need to shout from the rooftops and express yourself in that way I just kind of keep it to myself. I enjoy making music so much that if it doesn’t come out that's okay. It's really about making something that feels authentic."

Taking a page from Justin Timberlake's playbook of surprise, Beyonce had the world speechless (and in awe) when she unexpectedly released a brand-new LP plus a complete series of accompanying music videos right at the year's eleventh hour. Some critics even argued that the superstar's effort could easily be considered the best pop music release of the year with its innovative production stylings and the singer's flawless vocal delivery that doesn't cease to amaze (and that is unanimously respected by her peers including Madonna)

Miley Cyrus was long considered a dark horse by many industry insiders and the rising pop sensation most definitely lived up to expectations with her fantastic new album Bangerz.The record was introduced by the mildly controversial single "We Can't Stop" (produced by her pal Mike Will Made It) and the gut-wrenching Dr Luke concoction "Wrecking Ball" that delivered one of the year's most iconic pop images with Miley swaying naked on top of a wrecking ball.

But nothing compared to Cyrus' cheeky performance during this year's MTV Video Music Awards in Brooklyn that was deliberately planned to get her the attention she was seeking to promote the album. I did not take offence to the performance at all. In fact, I thought it was all in good fun and it gave the VMAs the pop culture relevance it thrives on.

Katy Perry returned a lot faster to the pop scene than people expected with her third album, Prism. In the spirit of "never change a winning team," Perry once again teamed up with long-time collaborators Dr Luke and Bonnie McKee to compile a robust album of high-grade pop. Prism can be considered Perry's spiritual album with songs about finding her inner voice following her divorce from Russel Brand and her new romance with John Mayer.

Millions of fans around the world had been sitting tightly for months after Lady Gaga's announced early that her new album would be titled Artpop to be released sometime in 2014. The pop star introduced her music and art project with the single "Applause" that was rushed to radio early after it leaked online. Gaga went on to share a few more tracks leading up to the album premiere including the brilliant "Do What U Want" featuring R Kelly that reminded us exactly why we fell in love with Gaga in the first place.

Britney Spears also returned to the scene this year with new album Britney Jean that was executive produced by will.i.am. The album serves as a soundtrack to the pop icon's Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood that will kick off next week. Spears collaborated with a group of some very talented people including Sia, Diplo and Katy Perry to create a record that showed off some very personal lyrics.

The guys from OneDirection continued to rule with her sold-out global arena tour, a number one movie and the release of Midnight Memories that once again broke records for the British four. 

Other big pop events worth taking note of include Natalia Kills' no-holds-barred pop opus Trouble, the emerging girl group pop of Neon Jungle, the rise of songbird Ariana Grande and Icona Pop's much-anticipated new album This Is... Icona Pop that counts as one of my personal favorites of the year.

December 19, 2013 | Permalink

Hot New Talent Alert: Listen to Beldina 'Save Me' [Prod. by Ali Payami]

Beldina Save Me

Emerging pop singer Beldina likes to describe herself as a "woman of many colors." Born and raised in Sweden with strong Kenyan roots, the rapidly rising pop singer doesn't like to confirm to people's expectations. Her music is a warming blend of soul and electronic pop, and her brand-new single "Save Me" is a perfect example of that. The song is a stirring number that is ruled by Beldina's larger-than-life and instantly arresting vocals that are truly one of a kind. The song was produced by equally-talented up and comer Ali Payami. Frequent readers of this blog may remember that I first alerted you about Beldina back in March when I premiered her debut single, "What Can I Say." You can download "Save Me" right here.

December 17, 2013 | Permalink

Cherrytree Carollers Perform Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding 'I Need Your Love'


Cherrytree Records kicks off the holiday season in style with their totally awesome holiday carollers who turn some of the year's greatest pop hits into timeless Christmas carols. It's an annual holiday tradition that is filmed at the Cherrytree House in Santa Monica, CA. So go ahead: Grab a cup of eggnog, light up your Christmas tree, cosy up with your besties and enjoy a very special version of Calvin Harris "I Need Your Love" with the amazing Ellie Goulding. It's been a fantastic year for Goulding who successfully released Halcyon Days and is flying up the charts with her latest greatest "Burn." The GRAMMY-nominated Calvin Harris is equally unstoppable and is currently impacting radio with "Thinking About You." Head over to CherrytreeRecords.com in the next few days for more from the Cherrytree Carollers.

December 16, 2013 | Permalink

Pop Crooner Romeo Testa Premieres Video for New Single 'With You'

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Romeo Testa sets the mood perfectly for the darker days of fall with his new single "With You" that he premiered on YouTube this morning. The track is taken from the crooner's debut EP, entitled The End, that was released through ATO Records on October 22. "With You" serves up more of his heartfelt songwriting and poignant delivery that defines his tender brand of pop.

"With You" was written from Testa's experience getting lost on the bus on the way to Hyde Park in London. The video was directed by Jon Jon Augustavo (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Allen Stone). "It was incredible working with Jon Jon Augustavo," Testa says in a press release. "He gave me a lot of creative control to showcase the song in its simplest form.

He adds, "This is also one of my favorite songs I've ever written and hope that fans can recognize the beauty in the song."

The release of the EP is the culmination of a lot of perseverance and hard work by the young crooner. "I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life," Testa candidly shares in a press release. "My EP represents me as a person and a musician, my taste in music and everything I want to stand for."

Born in Costa Rica and raised in Los Angeles, where he received a well-rounded musical education from his parents, Testa has been pursuing music since he began playing violin at 7 years old. By 11, he was writing songs in his bedroom with an electric guitar and cutting them on a TASCAM tape recorder, both given to him as birthday gifts from his father. Testa went on to study viola at the prestigious Interlochen Music School in northern Michigan. 

Testa's The End was executive produced by multiple GRAMMY winning producer Dan Wilson who knows a thing or two about crafting timeless tunes. He previously worked with artists like Pink, Dierks Bentley, Dixie Chicks, Keith Urban and Adele on critically-acclaimed projects. In fact, Wilson won one of his GRAMMYs for producing and co-writing Adele's evergreen ballad "Someone Like You."

December 13, 2013 | Permalink