Ready to Pop: Emile Sande "Heaven"


Not many people know that Emeli Sandé was behind some of the biggest U.K. tracks of 2010. She co-wrote and appeared on hits for Tinie Tempah ("Let Go"), Professor Green ("Kids That Love To Dance") and Chipmunk's top ten smash "Diamond Rings."

After her success as a songwriter and feature vocalist, it is time for the 24 year-old multi-talented Aberdonian singer to spread her wings and go at it with her own artist material. Sandé will be releasing "Heaven" as her official debut single in the U.K. on August 15.

Inspired by iconic singer/songwriters like Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Roberta Flack and Lauryn Hill, Sande puts out a soulful, retro-styled sound on "Heaven" that is infused with atmospheric strings and an energetic trip hop beat that is dominated by her powerful, soaring vocals that will trigger goosebumps the moment she hits the chorus. 

"Heaven" is a fantastic start to a very promising solo career. Driving force behind Sande's songwriting is her desire to write songs that will stand the test of time and not cater to the flavor of the moment. "I can still relate to a Joni [Mitchell] song, even though it’s 25 years old," Sandé says in a press release. "That’s the main and important thing to me. I’m not too bothered about my music fitting in to a particular category. There’s no point in limiting who you can reach. But I want to be respected."

Listen to the Emile Sandé "Heaven" after the break.

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Happy Thanksgiving! A Few Words About You


Good day to all of you! Hope you're enjoying a great Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family wherever you are. 

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Good health and great friends and family, but I wanted to particularly thank YOU for coming out to so often to see what I have to say, blog and post. It really means the world to me. I started this blog more than six years ago because I wanted to share great new music with friends. Nothing has changed. It is still about sharing my passion for music with others.

This has been an incredible year for me. With your support, this blog has been presented many wonderful new opportunities. From being the first-credentialed blogger at the GRAMMY Awards to presenting an award named after me at the MTV Logo awards, to the debut of the Superfraiche concert series to being honored on the OUT 100 List. Truly incredible stuff that I'm very grateful for. 

Thank you for taking time to visit so often and supporting what I do. Hope you have a very great holiday.

A Few Words About Tonight's American Music Awards


Something is happening in pop land. A change is taking place. After the Britney-style ditties, squeaky clean pop divas and the teenage pop stars that dominated the past decade, it appears a new category of pop icons is emerging who are trying to push the limits of the genre into a whole new direction.

This new group clearly surfaced at tonight's American Music Awards when Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert delivered performances that stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Sure, Kelly Clarskon was vocally strong, Whitney Houston was touching, Green Day was solid, Carrie Underwood was flawless, Rihanna was out there, Jay had swagger, Shakira was bold, Timbaland delivered the beats, Nelly was Pucci, Taylor Swift stayed up late to give "thank you" speeches, but nothing was as mind-blowing (there I said it) as the performances of Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert.

Even though Lady Gaga did not win any AMA awards, her performance tonight was Oscar worthy. She performed "Bad Romance" and "Speechless," starting off appearing as something that is best described as an eerie human/animal hybrid raised in the spotlight of a disco ball. The singer took the act to a whole new level of shock and awe when smashed the window of a glass box to get to her piano to perform "Speechless." If that wasn't enough, the piano then caught fire while violin players wearing gas masks surrounded her. Just surreal.

And then there was Adam Lambert. He's a bit like a male Lady Gaga with his fine sense for theatrics. Tonight, the San Diego showman broke with his wholesome American Idol past for once and for all. In a frantic S&M inspired set, he strutted up and down the stage like a dominatrix focusing more on giving people a show to remember than on vocal perfection.

The moment that will have ABC programmers worried came in the last few seconds of the show when Lambert kissed his male keyboard player full on the mouth. This was definitely no wardrobe malfunction, and it may be censored from the show's West Coast airing. If it is not, this will be a huge step in the right direction for network TV. That in itself would be a major accomplishment and a television history milestone brought on by Lambert.

And here's something I have noticed. Now that Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert are taking risk and injecting their show with a heavy dose of concept and performance art (whether it works or not), I can't help to notice that other artists are attempting to follow their lead (Rihanna, Shakira). More reason for me to believe that Gaga and Lambert are blazing a new trail in pop land. What did you think of tonight's AMAs?

A Few Words About the MTV Video Awards 2009


Tonight's MTV Video Music Awards was one of the best I've seen in years.

It had everything a good MTV show requires. Some of the world's greatest stars. Awesome live music. Magnificent performances. Innovation. Teenage icons. And, of course, plenty of drama. Overall, it was just a great celebration of popular music.

Highlight of the show for me was Madonna's very personal tribute to Michael Jackson that served as an introduction to Janet Jackson's musical in memoriam to her brother. Madonna described her memories about Michael Jackson so elegantly and honestly. "We allowed this magnificent creature to slip through the cracks," she said so perfectly. "He was a king. But he was also a human being. Long live the King!" Read Madonna entire speech here.

Janet Jackson's brief tribute to her brother was introduced by an elaborate dance sequence that mimicked some of his most famous dance moves from "Thriller," "Bad" and "Smooth Criminal." Janet blasted onto the stage virtually dancing and dueting "Scream" with her brother. She looked determined and focused to pay tribute to her brother in style. So well done.

Another highlight for me was Beyonce's show-stopping performance. She's has so much class and sass, combining exquisite vocals with impressive dance routines. She truly is the total package, isn't she?

Lady Gaga had her second big MTV moment (this was her debut) with her bloody, lace-tastic performance of "Paparazzi" that had people in the Twitterverse both scared and mesmerized. 

Pink! showed what a daredevil she really is, hanging upside down in a gutsy trapeze act high above the Radio City Music Hall stage. Innovation sensation. What a fun house.

Coming full circle, Beyonce showed what a true class act she is when she offered Taylor Swift  the stage after her own VMA win for Video of the Year. The singer gave Swift her moment in the spotlight to re-do her acceptance after she was upstaged by a douchy Kanye West earlier that night who horrified Beyonce in the audience.

A great, memorable moment in the spirit of music and friendship. And what a respectable thing to do at a night that's all about celebrating music and magic in tribute to Michael Jackson.

A Few Words About FNMTV


Can I just take a quick minute to say that I really enjoy MTV's new "music show" FNMTV (Friday Night MTV). Yes, that's right. The video is back as the topic of conversation on MTV mixed in with exciting live performances (Rihanna and Maroon 5 this week and Duffy last week). The channel that introduced music videos to the mainstream around the globe turned into it a trashy reality show haven over the last decade in the network's attempt to boost ratings. It is nice to see MTV rework some of it's old glory. Too bad it is only an hour a week, but hey, it is better to sip from a glass half full than from a glass half empty.