The GRAMMY Foundation® will host Lean On Me: A Celebration Of Music And Philanthropy, the 17th Annual GRAMMY Foundation Legacy Concert, featuring live musical performances and archival footage from its preservation archives. Performers include GRAMMY® winners Melissa Etheridge, Cyndi Lauper, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson; current GRAMMY nominee Aloe Blacc; GRAMMY winner and current nominee Erica Campbell; singer/songwriter Rozzi Crane; electronic violinist and artist Lindsey Stirling; GRAMMY nominee Robin Thicke; and R&B vocalist Deborah Coxand alt-pop band WALK THE MOON. . Olivia Harrison will join the event for special remarks. The evening's musical director will be songwriter/producer and GRAMMY Foundation Board member Darrell Brown. Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy®and the GRAMMY Foundation, will be in attendance, along with other prominent music industry leaders and members of The Recording Academy.
"It has always been my goal as an artist to really reach people through my music and it truly gives me purpose when people contact me about this song saying they've felt this way or they are suicide survivors." - Malynda Hale
Malynda Hale is a singer, songwriter and actress, originally from Santa Barbara, CA and like most artists, her time is spent between Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. When Malynda heard Leelah Alcorn's story, something inside spoke to her and she wrote "Falling," as a tribute to Leelah Alcorn and the LGBT community.
"Music has always been the biggest part of my life and it wasn't until recently that I started doing more acting, modeling and entertainment hosting," Malynda tells Connextions Magazine. She has recorded 3 albums, all currently available on iTunes, done numerous print ads and acted in films, TV and commercials.
Her goal in life has always been to help people and make a difference through her art. She tells us, "I'm so blessed to be able to do what I love, but I'm also blessed that I'm in a position to touch others' lives. I definitely want to continue down my path as an artist but a few other goals I have are to open up a performing arts school for kids and own my own record label. I believe in creating opportunities for others and paying it forward, it's something that I feel very strongly about! I hope to achieve those two goals very soon."
Leelah Alcorn had barely turned 17 years of age, when she felt the only way out was to end her life. Leelah's death has increased awareness of teen suicide and transgender issues. Leelah used her Tumblr account to express her sorrow for the pains and tribulations the trans-community faces, and she wanted her death to mean something.
Leelah writes: "My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say "that's fucked up" and fix it. Fix society. Please."
Malynda's best friend, Keni, is a transgirl and Malynda cannot even begin to imagine how it must feel to have those feelings of hopelessness and lack of support. She explains that on New Year's Eve she was with her husband and she just started playing the piano and the line "All he wanted was an open mind" came to her and she started thinking about how this song would go, and suddenly Leelah's story came to her mind and "all of the stories of these poor souls, who felt lost, they had nowhere to turn and I wanted to write a song about it. Songwriting inspiration can come from anywhere and since this is a subject that is so dear to my heart - having so many people close to me who are part of the LGBT community - I knew in writing this song I could make a big difference. I didn't really realize how big of an issue LGBT suicide and death was until I starting doing the research with my friend who helped make the video. It breaks my heart that so many youth lacked the support and love they needed in order to continue living. Fear is such a scary thing and some of them were afraid of being themselves or were simply shielded from doing so and I personally would never want my friends or my future children to feel that way. All lives matter and everyone needs to be loved and accepted."
"I've always been passionate about LGBT rights. I think also being a minority I can understand the struggles of discrimination and having to fight for acceptance and certain rights. I truly believe that everyone is equal and it's unfortunate that in 2015 there are certain things the LGBT community is still fighting for. It's also such a shame many members of the LGBT community find it hard to be themselves from the start and have to shield their true self from the world. As with Leelah, she wasn't allowed to be her true self and that led to her taking her own life. I think as an ally who has the platform to get a strong message out I can't just sit idly by when so many people especially youth are taking their lives because of these feelings. It breaks my heart and I just want to continue to show my support any way I can."
Malynda is currently working on a new album to be released this year. She'll be releasing a single titled "Real Love," especially written for same-sex and interracial relationships. Malynda explains, "I wrote it from my own personal experience being in an interracial relationship, and as I was writing it I realized a lot of my friends who are in same-sex relationships were probably experiencing similar feelings. Also, since the fight for marriage equality is still a prevalent issue I figured there was no better time than now to release this song."
Malynda started a campaign called The meTOO! campaign that supports same sex and interracial relationships of all kinds. You can learn more about the campaign at www.metoocampaign.com. Malynda can also be contacted via her website, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and on her YouTube channel.
Words of advise from Malynda Hale: "love one another, live your dreams and stay passionate. Helping others is one of the most rewarding things you can do in the world so never pass up a moment to help someone else!"
AC/DC, Eric Church, Ariana Grande, Madonna, and Ed Sheeran Set to Take the Stage on The 57th Grammy Awards®
Watch What Happens On Music's Biggest Night®,
Live On CBS, Feb. 8, 2015
SANTA MONICA, Calif. --The first performances for the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards® telecast have been announced and include a range of new and legendary artists, from country rocker Eric Church, pop star Ariana Grande, and singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran to GRAMMY®-winning hard rock veterans AC/DC and seven-time GRAMMY-winning pop icon Madonna. The eclectic lineup sets the stage for what's sure to be an incredible night for music. Taking place at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Music's Biggest Night®will be broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).
Church is up for four awards this year; Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for "Give Me Back My Hometown;" Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Raise 'Em Up" (with Keith Urban); and Best Country Album for The Outsiders.
Grande, who will be performing on the GRAMMY stage for the first time, holds two nominations: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Bang Bang" (with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj); and Best Pop Vocal Album for My Everything.
Sheeran has three nominations: Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for X; and Best Song Written For Visual Media for "I See Fire."
Michael Billy, Felix Peikli, Jarl Haugedal
Felix Peikli performed at NYC-JC Guest Suites for the JB Talent Management and Humanity Pride Productions one-year anniversary party, hosted by Jarl Haugedal and Michael Billy, co-owners of the management companies.
Along with his humble personality, Felix resonates a sweet soothing sound with his clarinet that makes you want to close your eyes and dream of beautiful moments. I look forward to seeing Felix amidst the ambiance of a jazz club, for which there is no substitute.
I captured a 30 second clip of Felix's performance, which can be seen below.
About Felix Peikli:
Born in Oslo, Norway April 2nd 1990, Felix Peikli was introduced to music through the local marching band at the age of eight. Felix became a student at Foss Music Highschool in 2006 and in the same year he won/received a grant in ”the Grand Chance” on national television. Felix moved to Boston in 2008 and he has had the opportunity to meet and play with, and play for, many great and talented individuals. Felix has won several awards and has received worldwide recognition in the press, including The New York Times. To read his full bio, click here.
Connect with Felix and see his upcoming tour schedule:
ELEPHANT: Seek The Truth
Interview by: Edward Truth @EdwardTruth
As featured in Connextions Magazine, Issue 8 - Released Fall 2012
Coleman and Jackson Vrana, better known as the west coast rap duo Elephant, are rising stars in the queercore movement— raw, androgynous, spindly punks with loads of sex appeal and shameless lyrics who draw diverse inspiration and don't give a frack about what the world thinks of them. Elephant's latest single, "The Let-Go", features Tampa's dirty rap crunk Yo! Majesty, and sounds more mainstream "feel good" than you might expect from punk-twins-rap meets black-lesbian- Christian hip-hop. Get over it. Elephant's "Notorious H.I.V." is enough to make Larry Kramer cringe, and "Queer Nation" rumbles in a truck of a thousand expletives with writhing bodies to match. Now 26, the Vrana twins (fraternal not identical, as it's rumored) came out at age 14 in Oklahoma, a state whose mentality "screams south", as Coleman might put it. The duo loves to push buttons—a rebellious attitude learned from generations of ridicule and rejection; their great grandmother was a full blood Native American who lived to the age of 93. Elephant's first full length LP is slated for end of summer, then they go on tour. The dark complexity of the brothers Vrana is something Connextions is looking forward to getting into over time. For now, an introduction.
Connextions Magazine: "The Let-Go" is fast-paced and feel good, like an anthem. But your music is typically dirtier, angrier.
Coleman Vrana: More and more people tell me I need to be less angry. I don't understand it at all. The people writing us are just as angry if not angrier than I am. They tell me I need to focus on being more positive, that there's no real positive message. Like it's some sort of vitriol. How can you be a rapper without anger? It's impossible. The whole point of rap, well, not the whole point, but fighting back—that's the point.
CM: What are a few of your musical inspirations?
Jackson Vrana: I would say that Coleman and I really shared most of our influences as teenagers. Bands like The Cure and Placebo got us interested in pursuing a career in music. Nowadays I get inspired when I hear all kinds of things, like Fiona Apple's new album, the soundtrack to a horror movie, or an old Missy Elliott song. I think musicians eventually start to gather ideas from everywhere.
CV: The Cure was engrained in our heads since we were little kids. Certain melodies resonate, it's hard to explain. Placebo, too. You can hear a similar vocal style, the nasaly thing we do. But it's mostly in the melodies we write. It's hard to say. The first Cure album I listened to was Wild Mood Swings but Disintegration stuck with me the most. We would travel to see Placebo perform. Jackson lived in London when we were 18. I learned to play guitar listening to Placebo tracks—even their old rough and raw stuff I like. And their sexual energy resonates with us, why we're less shy about writing about our sexuality. I listen to both The Cure and Placebo to this day.
Connextions Magazine had the pleasure of speaking with Rachael Sage during her 2012 tour, which celebrated the release of her 10th album.
With her energetic heart of gold, Rachael has become a wonderful role model, not only in the gay community, but in every community that has the longing to make a difference and spread positive vibes and harmonious music.
See the photos and read the exclusive in Connextions Magazine, Issue 7.
"Being really true to yourself and honest in your life is not a responsibility, but an opportunity." - Rachael Sage
EMINEM to Executive Produce SKYLAR GREY’S highly anticipated debut album "Don't Look Down" - Single, featuring EMINEM releases Dec 11
Photo credit: David Roemer
Debut Album DON’T LOOK DOWN Due Spring 2013 from KIDinaKORNER/Interscope
13-time GRAMMY winning producer, songwriter and rapper Eminem has signed on as executive producer of the hightly anticipated debut album from five-time GRAMMY-nominated singer songwriter Skylar Grey, it was announced today. The first single, “C’mon Let Me Ride” featuring Eminem, which is produced by Alex Da Kid and mixed by both Eminem and Alex, will be released to all digital retailers on December 11. Grey’s debut album, now titled Don’t Look Down, is due out Spring 2013 from KIDinaKORNER/Interscope.
“When I was working on Recovery I was introduced to Skylar by Alex Da Kid and I was blown away with her talent as both a songwriter and vocalist,” said Eminem. “This album is really going to give her a chance to connect with the fans who probably know her music, but might not know her yet. I think they will be as impressed as I am.”
"Putting out a debut album is a bit scary – I want it to be just right so I took some extra time to finish it. Eminem's increased involvement has been such a blessing; I'm getting guidance from an artist I really admire and trust,” said Grey. “Having written many new songs, the album has become a completely different animal, hence the title change. This new single with Em, in
particular, is very exciting. We have worked on so many serious songs together – it’s a nice change of pace to do something fun and sarcastic."
“Skylar is one of the first artists that I worked with in a meaningful way. I was immediately impressed with her vision, fearlessness, artistic talent and overall musicianship. I was determined to make her the first artist signed to KIDinaKORNER. KIDinaKORNER was founded on the principals of signing innovative artists that have the ability to blur our perceptions of genres. To me, Skylar
Grey represents the embodiment of this principal," said Alex.
The music video for “C’mon Let Me Ride” featuring Eminem was shot in Detroit last week and will also be released with the single on December 11. Currently, Grey can be heard on two tracks on Slaughterhouse’s Welcome to Our House on Shady Records/Interscope – the title track “Our House,” which also features Eminem, and “Rescue Me” – and on the song “Building a
Monster” on the soundtrack for the new Tim Burton animated film Frankenweenie.
Grey is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who is responsible for co-writing some of the most memorable songs to light up the Billboard Hot 100 and iTunes sales charts, totaling more than 25 million singles globally. Grey co-wrote the biggest selling single of 2010: Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie,” which earned her two GRAMMY Award nominations for Best Song and Best Rap Song of the Year. She also co-wrote and appeared on Dr. Dre’s “I Need A Doctor,” which she performed alongside Dre and Eminem on the 2011 GRAMMY Awards telecast and for which she was nominated for two GRAMMY Awards. This past January, Grey released The Buried Sessions of Skylar Grey, which featured special acoustic performances by Grey of three songs she wrote and produced: the original demo of “Love the Way Part III” (the original “Love the way You Lie” made popular by Eminem and Rihanna), “Coming Home Part II” (originally performed by Diddy-Dirty Money) and “Words” (originally “Words I Never Said,” performed by Lupe Fiasco).
More from Skylar Grey:
Three years after their 2009 comeback album, the 1990's pop sensation music duo from Sweden is back in action! Roxette, the international act composed of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle, brings us a new album with a new sound, but maintains that underlying familiar resemblance to the unique and unforgettable style that so many of us remember.
I have fond memories that bring back a smile, as I remember singing “She’s Got The Look, Na na na na na”as loud as possible with all my girlfriends, in the car or at the bar. The new album, titled Travelling, includes 15 tracks and is inspired by the band’s ongoing world tour.
Roxette’s world tour is in full swing with almost one million concert tickets sold since the tour kicked off a year ago. On top of that, another million Roxette records have been added to the already dizzying 70 million they’ve sold over the years.
In July and August, catch Roxette on tour in the UK, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Romania, Poland, and Finland. By September, Roxette hits North America with tour dates in Canada and the USA, including California, Boston, and New York.
Get the latest scoop on Roxette by visiting:
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:
Roxette is back with new album ‘Travelling’ and a taster: “It’s Possible!”
U.S. tour dates announced for fall
Hollywood, California – April 10, 2012 - Three years after their 2009 comeback, Swedish pop phenomenon Roxette are hotter than they’ve been since their early ‘90s heyday. Roxette’s world tour is in full swing with almost one million concert tickets sold since the tour kicked off a year ago at the Tatneft Arena in Russian Kazan. On top of that, another million Roxette records have
been added to the already dizzying 70 million they’ve sold over the years.
So far the band has played more than 85 shows in more than 30 countries (and the trip continues—they don’t plan to rest until they’ve played 150 shows). But besides zigzagging between airports, arenas, hotels and meeting with fans from all over the world, the band also has found time to record their new album, Travelling, to be released digitally in the U.S. on June 5 by Capitol/EMI.
The idea has been to tap into all the positive energy that has boosted the band during this dazzling trip, and channel it into new Roxette music. In short, an album that, just like 1992’s Tourism, captures the feeling of a band on a roll—constantly on the move, snatching inspiration as they go; recording in hotel rooms, studios, at soundchecks and in concert.
The result is a fascinating musical postcard with 15 superb songs, most of which are new, some that are revisited classics and others being pearls that for various reasons haven’t seen the light of day before. A tight and inspired band has gathered around a batch of Gessle tunes, where the relentless hit-maker again and again proves that his sense of melody and ability to surprise is still
“It’s Possible” is the first taster from Travelling - 2 minutes and 34 seconds of sunny pop music that shows one of Roxette’s many sides in 2012. There’s more to come.
Listen to ”It’s Possible”:
1. Me & You & Terry & Julie
2. Lover Lover Lover (Album Version)
3. Turn Of The Tide
4. Touched By The Hand Of God
5. Easy Way Out
6. It’s Possible (Version One)
7. Perfect Excuse
8. Excuse Me, Sir, Do You Want Me To Check On Your Wife
9. Angel Passing
10. Stars (Soundcheck, Dubai, May 20, 2011)
11. The Weight Of The World
12. She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio) (Live in Rio de Janeiro, April 16, 2011)
13. See Me (New Version)
14. It’s Possible (Version Two)
15. It Must Have Been Love (Night Of The Proms, Rotterdam 2011)
Exclusive Interview with Justin Utley.
CM: Justin Utley, pop icon?
JU: In today's world of "pop" icons, it seems to me that any—not all—are media-made, and the artist is a complete production of a record label and investors, so what you're seeing and hearing isn't truly an artist, but a scripted, produced, media celebrity. When I think of pop icons I think of the influences of John Lennon, Michael Jackson, or David Bowie. They defined their music, their image, and for the most part, had complete control of their art. In that case, it would be fantastic to be considered a pop icon. So sign me up.
CM: How has the big city been for your career?
JU: When I first got to New York in 2006 I was told I shouldn't be "out" until I made it. I took that advice for a bit before I realized that it was putting me right back to where I was in my Utah days. That wasn't going to work for me or my music, since I’m writing from within. If I can't be honest with my audience or myself, then why am I doing this?
CM: You’ve got sex appeal. Ever wish you didn’t?
JU: I'm grateful to have what I got. I would hope that it adds to whatever my appeal is as an artist. In reality, sex appeal does help
tremendously in the entertainment business, though not necessarily a deal-breaker in some cases. I've never resented it, but as a teenager I did struggle with not feeling comfortable, at all, with how I looked. Girls would talk to me a lot, which left some guys pretty upset, to the point I got called some pretty ugly things behind closed doors. So, I suppose at that point in my life, I resented any "appeal" I had going on, since I was pretty self-conscious. It took a lot of time to become confident that I wasn't all that bad looking, relatively speaking. Coming out was probably a big help in finally becoming comfortable with myself on all levels. I'd have to say I really owe thanks to my parents for not putting me into child labor, and for giving me fluoride pills as a kid. Helps with the teeth. Mormons take big pride in their smiles. I think it's an Osmond thing. My mom's side of the family is from Sicily, so that helps
with the complexion a bit too.
CM: You must not care a whole lot for Speaker Newt Gringrich.
JU: I think Gingrich is a fantastic example of what a majority of politicians today have evolved into.
CM: How was it growing up conservative in Utah?
JU: I grew up in a suburb of Salt Lake City. Compared to the rest of the state, the city itself is fairly liberal. The further away from the city you get, the more socially conservative it becomes. Most of my neighbors were Mormon, which is pretty common there. So I'd see most of them at school, at church, the grocery store. In Utah, the church is also a big social driver and a culture as well, which can pose a problem for those not of the flock. My first religious conflict was when I'd bought a can of iced tea in junior high school
and brought it home. The next morning my dad woke me up and gave me a stern reminder that God didn't want me having iced tea. Or coffee, or alcohol, or tobacco, or heroin. It was all part of the health code, which I hadn't realized included corn syrup-enhanced Lipton. The health code also included a directive to eat "very little meat", which it seemed most everyone turned a blind eye to.
So I had a feeling from that point that something wasn't quite on point. I wasn't very good at settling for a warm and fuzzy glossed over answer, or the infamous "we don't know for sure but we'll find out in the next life, so just be obedient and don't worry about it" answer. There were a myriad of other questions I never really got a direct answer to. I was told to not look outside church-approved sources, since they were all false, and that evil forces were trying to discredit the truth. "Just follow in faith and everything will be
CM: You made it through gay therapy.
JU: Growing up I wasn't too clear on what homosexuality was. But having it compared to bestiality was enough for most of us kids in ignorance to get the drift. One thing made absolutely clear to me, was that homosexuality was lumped into a category with sexual perversions, and second only to murder on the sin-barometer. Prior to my Mormon mission, I was interviewed by a Stake
President—the bishop's boss— to get his stamp of approval and was told, and actually shown in a current official church guidebook, that masturbation was a homosexual act. I was also informed that it can lead to homosexuality since it doesn't involve the opposite sex and, again, was directed to something a Mormon prophet had said. Of course, nothing more horrifying to any kid than being told by your spiritual leader that masturbating puts you in cahoots with the perverts and can make you gay. It invokes an immediate internal negotiation with God that you would never masturbate again so long as you don't have to admit it to the Stake President or bishop. Since admitting to it meant certain spiritual death. Or at least embarrassment. When I realized I was gay I was on my mission. I saw porn for the first time, at a bishop's house on his Internet history that hadn't been cleared. When I got home from my mission, I was encouraged by a bishop to enroll in one-on-one counseling with a therapist, in a facility run by the church and bound by church social-science, in addition to a group therapy. I was told I had a "condition" and that it could be treated. I learned that my "same gender attraction" was caused by something traumatic that happened to me as a child that I just didn't remember, along with any parental neglect or smothering that may have occurred. I believed it, partly because at the time I wanted it to be true, and partly because being told by God's chosen leaders made it true. I started therapy immediately. At first I was elated to finally not feel so alone, that there were other people like me. And it made sense to me at the time. Learned or conditioned "behavior" was what this "attraction problem" was about. Two years and many therapy sessions of self-convincing later, I realized that all of the convincing, praying, temple and church attendance wasn't fixing my "attraction problem". I did meet some wonderful people in the program along the way, but I wasn't any happier than before I started. It was actually the opposite. A church for an exalted afterlife promised only to married and devout Mormons seemed further and further from reality. I saw a lot of guys on medication, talks of suicide, and guys who'd been attending for years without any "progress". Meanwhile I met a guy from Denver online, so I decided to stop
therapy and try a different route. About six months into seeing each other, I got an email from his brother that he had died in his sleep. He overdosed. I was devastated. And I wasn't really out to anyone outside the confines of this therapy ordeal, so I went back to my bishop and was told that God allowed him to die because he didn't approve of one of His Latter-Day Saints being in a
homosexual relationship. At that moment I decided I'd had enough of the faith/fear talk. It wasn't going to work anymore. I had enough of it. I eventually left the church and sent the leadership an official resignation. A "self-excommunication" letter, as I call it. I now drink coffee and tea and I am completely and wholeheartedly happy doing so. Although I was always told happiness would never result from wickedness.
CM: You won for Best Actor in a Musical at the 2009 Planet Connections New York Theater Festival. What’s your take on the Broadway show Book of Mormon?
JU: It's fantastic. I recommend it to Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Interestingly enough, the references to some of the really peculiar beliefs mentioned, such as blacks being cursed, or the planet Kolob in "I Believe", are actual Mormon doctrines that aren't really discussed at all, outside church. I performed with Andrew Rannells, one of the leads in the show, at the recent "It Gets Better Holiday Concert" and talked about the reaction of church members versus the general public. There are some church members who
refuse to see it because they claim it presents false beliefs. But they eventually find they really don't know what the show is about. Keeping a closed book or closed mind makes for better comedy and shock value so, in my mind, why not be open to seeing it? Then again, it's this sort of thinking that got me into trouble with iced tea.
CM: How do you describe your music style for someone who hasn't heard you before?
JU: A little bit of Daughtry, Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow mixed up with some Goo Goo Dolls, Rob Thomas, Dixie Chicks, and Jim Brickman. In short, alt country rock.
CM: Of the songs you've written, do you have a favorite? Your favorite from the new album?
JU: One of my all times faves is Shades of Gray tied with Goodbye Goodbye. As for my favorite from the new album, I would have to say State Of Loneliness and It Is What It Is are tied. At least for this month.
CM: What's next?
JU: Spending the next few months promoting the new album, filming begins on the Great Escape music video in February, and rehearsing for a full-band show in NYC this March. Then onto planning all the summer Pride gigs. Full plate again this year. I like it that way.
Find Justin on twitter @JustinUtley
As featured in Connextions Magazine, Issue 6.
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