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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ariana Grande: 'Nothing's going to stop me'

When Ariana Grande heard the final version of Bang Bang, her diva showdown with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, she remembers falling to the floor and blurting, "Holy Lord, thank you for this moment!"
Grande, 21, has enjoyed a lot of big moments leading up to today's release of second album My Everything, fueled by four songs that already have sold 4 million downloads and racked up 200 million streams.

With Break Free at No. 4, Problem at No. 7 and Bang at No. 10 this week, the singer/actress joins Adele as the only female lead artists to lock up three slots simultaneously in the top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart.

"She's set up for a great debut," says Keith Caulfield, Billboard associate director of charts/sales, who predicts a No. 1 bow based on industry forecasts.

Compared to many of her peers, "she seems way brighter and more pop-culture savvy," Caulfield says. "Her voice echoes Mariah Carey, but she has a wide taste in music and can channel a lot of sounds and styles."

The singer, acclaimed for her supple pipes, says her biggest weapon is drive.

"When I'm working on my music, I submerse myself," she says. "Nothing's going to stop me. It fulfills me. I want to express my feelings, keep it real and progress as a person."

Music wasn't the Florida native's first calling. She acted in 13 on Broadway in 2008, then in two Nickelodeon sitcoms (Victorious and Sam & Cat) before releasing 2013 debut Yours Truly, a chart-topper propelled by hit The Way.

"I'm such a theater geek and would love to go back to live theater, but I want to do pop music forever," Grande says, citing the "weird combination" of India Arie, Madonna and Imogen Heap as her heaviest influences.

Grande hijacked the summer with Problem, a song she initially wanted to yank from the album. The sassy bubblegum tune featuring Iggy Azalea has sold 2.9 million downloads. On first listen, Grande didn't hear a hit.

"I had the opposite reaction," she says. "'I don't like this song. It annoys me.' But when it was done, I realized it was so special."

For Grande, Problem's hot streak ended when her grandfather died in July. She scrapped three weeks of career commitments to be close to her tight Italian-American clan.

"I'd have moments of celebratory happiness but nothing is more real than that pain," she says. "It was a reality check. Nothing is more important than family."

She also finds solace in Kabbalah and attends classes every Friday. Raised Catholic, she left the church at 13 "hand in hand" with her gay older half-brother, actor/producer Frankie Grande.

"I went with him because he had his heart broken by our faith," she says. "I fell in love with Kabbalah. It's a positive, beautiful way of life."

Grande hasn't expressed her political and social views in songs yet, "but I may do that down the line," she says. "Music is a perfect vehicle to tell any story. I'll tell all my stories."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ariana Grande: Top Facts for Fans

Ariana Grande’s popularity has recently reached new heights. She is now counted among one of the biggest names in the pop circuits. It seems that she had just arrived on the scene when suddenly, her name was everywhere. The transition from being a newcomer to a major star has been swift for Grande. Here are the top essential facts any fan needs to know about Ariana Grande.
So who is this girl, anyway? Grande is a powerhouse singer who has quickly gained a great deal of fame due to her astonishing vocal gifts. In fact, her vocal range is similar to that of Mariah Carey’s, and fans often compare the two divas. Grande falls just short of Carey in the singing department, though: unlike the five octaves and two notes of Carey’s, Grande’s vocal range is at four octaves.

While most everyone would agree that she is an excellent singer, Grande’s dancing is not so “Grande.” Many fans lovingly tease Grande about her lack of dancing ability, and it has been said that she cannot dance to save her life. During her first performance, Vox reports, she just stood there and let her voice do the magic since she is most likely aware of her limitations. As reported by Vox, her dancing caliber only consists of her flipping her hair at this point, but she has recently been trying to improve upon her dance steps.

Her success in the music industry can be attributed to some seriously savvy marketing. Her first album was launched by Republic Records, and it has been reported that Ariana has collaborated with them for three albums in total. She most recently completed a collaboration with Iggy Azalea. Target and Beats headphones will reap the benefits of her talents as well as she has recently signed on as a spokeswoman for the two companies. This is one girl who is going to have a jam-packed schedule as she continues building her music career.

Some online commentators feel that the the buzz regarding her new album could be because of the association with Max Martin. Martin is considered to be a “pop God.” He spearheaded the success of Britney Spears and brought Taylor Swift to international fame. It is evident from the success of Grande’s first single that this association is paying off for Grande, big time.

Many fans say she has the potential to become a mega pop diva like those who have gone before her. Her first album, Yours Truly pushed her to the same stature, which Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Ashlee Simpson once enjoyed. Her impressive vocal range and command as well as natural talent for singing could make her the next superstar. However, one must not forget that the international pop arena is currently facing a dearth of female singing talents. Grande has arrived at a time when there are fewer female singer present to compete with her than there were previously, so fans expect her meteoric rise in the music industry to continue unhindered.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Katy Perry Wins Best Female Video at 2014 MTV VMAs


Congratulations Katy Perry! The gorgeous singer took home the coveted moon man award for ‘Best Female Video’ for her mega-hit song, ‘Dark Horse!’

Katy Perry, 29, has done it again! The always adorable singer took home the award to “Best Female Video,” at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 24, for her song with Juicy J, ‘Dark Horse!’

Katy Perry Wins ‘Best Female Video’ Award VMA.

Katy couldn’t have been more adorable when accepting her award. Thanking her loyal Katy Kats, the stunning singer was shocked and completely humbled to be receiving such a great award! This was seriously one tough category! The nominees included, Iggy Azalea featuring Carlie XCX for their summer hit, “Fancy,” Beyonce, “Partition,” Ariana Grande, “Problem, and Lorde, “Royals.”

Wearing her dark locks in loose waves, the singer wore a long two-toned denim inspired long dress that showed off and accentuated her beautiful hour-glass figure. Wearing red lipstick and a smokey eye, Katy pulled her look together while making sure not to pull too much focus from her statement making dress!

It definitely looked like she was channeling Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake‘s now infamous 2001 epic matching denim red carpet look!

Clearly the singer knew what she was doing! As HollywoodLife.com previously reported, earlier in the day Katy told her fans her plans in a series of tweets. Her first tweet read, “WE’RE GOIN FOR DA BEST WORST DRESSED TODAY  #THISISHOWWEDOVMAS.” Later in the day, Katy tweeted, “I must admit my outfit is a result of my love for nostalgia and my tumblr addiction.”

So funny! Congrats Katy, and thank you for the great throwback!

MTV VMAs 2014 drama kicks off with Nicki Minaj Singer Snakebite

There's drama and the MTV Video Music Awards haven't even begun yet.

Days before the big show, Iggy Azalea slipped offstage while performing "Fancy" at a MTV benefit concert, later posting the video on Instagram and making fun of herself. More seriously, a 6-foot-long boa constrictor bit a background dancer during a rehearsal for Nicki Minaj's performance of "Anaconda," MTV News reported. MTV said Minaj was onstage, and the female dancer was treated onsite and transported to a hospital.
At another rehearsal, a show worker fell from one of the winding, sloping platforms on the stage at the Forum in Inglewood, California, which reopened in January after a $100 million makeover. And rap mogul Suge Knight was injured in a shooting early Sunday at a West Hollywood nightclub for an unofficial pre-VMA party hosted by Chris Brown.

The back-to-back drama is making the popular awards show, airing Sunday night, a trending topic on social media even before an award is handed out, though trophies often take a back seat at the VMAs, which are all about the moments. And the show will likely provide even more memorable moments once it kicks off, much like last year's VMAs, which we will call the Video Miley Awards.
Miley Cyrus is returning Sunday, this time as a nominee for video of the year with "Wrecking Ball." She isn't set to perform, but the outrageous singer, who has kept quiet recently, could surprise with another twerking moment that could own the night and steal the spotlight from the slew of A-list pop divas.

Beyonce will perform and receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award. She's the leading nominee, competing for eight awards, including video of the year for "Drunk In Love."

Taylor Swift, who is fully venturing out into the world of pop music, will sing her new song "Shake It Off" for the first time. And Ariana Grande, who is releasing her sophomore album, "My Everything," minutes after the VMAs wrap, will perform twice, including opening the show with Minaj and Jessie J for "Bang Bang."

"I'm so excited. ... MTV has been so supportive to me and I can't thank them enough," said the 21-year-old Grande, who is nominated for three moonmen for best pop video, female video and collaboration for "Problem" with Azalea.

Azalea, like Eminem, has seven nominations. The Australian rapper is nominated twice for both best female and pop video thanks to the success of "Problem" and "Fancy." The latter will compete for video of the year.
Charli XCX, who co-stars on "Fancy," said she first met Azalea on the set of the "Clueless"-inspired music video after they recorded the No. 1 hit separately. The 22-year-old English singer, who was also featured on last year's summer smash "I Love It" with Icona Pop, is nominated for the artist to watch award for her breakthrough solo hit, "Boom Clap."

"I mean it's cool, that's for sure," said Charli XCX, who said she's got four outfits lined up for Sunday. "I'm excited to be there because I haven't done an awards show like on my own, if you know what I mean."

She'll battle girl group Fifth Harmony and rising acts who have topped the charts this year, including boy band 5 Seconds of Summer, rapper Schoolboy Q and pop singer Sam Smith, who will also perform Sunday night.

"My dreams are coming true this weekend. I'm performing at the VMAs," Smith said at the MTV benefit concert also featuring Azalea.

Smith's "Stay With Me" is also up for best male video, pitting him against Eminem, John Legend, Ed Sheeran and Pharrell, whose "Happy" is also nominated for video of the year.

Sia's "Chandelier," which has helped the singer-songwriter achieve a musical breakthrough this year, will battle Pharrell, Azalea, Beyonce and Cyrus for the night's top trophy.

Friday, August 22, 2014

7 Travel Beauty Secrets Only Flight Attendants Know

When it comes to flying, pilots and flight attendants are the professionals. So instead of getting one more sacred beauty item stolen at the airport (damn you, TSA!), we turned to the experts for packing tips. Our aviation panel includes two flight attendants and a female pilot, who dished on all their insider beauty tips. Together these three ladies spend over 200 hours in the air a month! That's more airport time than we've had all year. Keep reading to get all their in-flight skin care secrets just in time for Labor Day.

Water is an in-flight essential. And the small cups they bring around during the food service are not enough. Plane air is very dry. Every passenger on the plane breathes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. In order to bring in more oxygen, fresh air is pumped into the cabin. However, the air at such high altitudes has very little moisture, making the cabin air humid and dry. That is what makes your skin feel dehydrated. "I try to drink at least a liter for every six hours of flying," flight attendant Felicia Rohan* explained. "I usually drink two liters if I'm flying to Europe." Another pilot, Anne Schroeder, uses the Camelback BPA-Free Water Bottle With Filter ($20) to make sure she always has H20 on hand.

Downsize your beauty items. There are plenty of reasons to minimize your favorite skin care items before a vacation (and we're not just talking about the TSA's 3-ounce rule). If you can't go a day without your luxe cleanser, have special formulas for acne or sensitive skin, or just hate tiny hotel freebies, fill up miniature bottles. Some brands come in travel-size options, but flight attendants rely on the empty jars at places like The Container Store. You can also head to your local drugstore and pick up the travel-safe containers that won't leak, like GoGear Travel Travel Tubes ($15 for three). They're flight-attendant approved!

Carry on the Evian spray. "I'm a big fan of face misting during flight, especially on long international trips," flight attendant Jessica Martin said. "I like rose water, which I put in my small sprayer because I don't want a big anything in my bag." Spritzing your face with water is yet another way to keep skin hydrated in the arid cabin environment. Pack Evian Spray ($7) in your bag, and seal in the moisture by applying a hydrating serum midflight.

You can never have enough moisturizer. To combat the dry air in the plane, you'll need to pack a face lotion, a lip balm, and an eye cream. Here are some favorites from our panel: Weleda Iris Hydrating Night Cream ($22), The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream ($18), and Burt's Bees Lip Balm ($4).

SPF is the most important thing to pack. While flying at high altitudes, you are closer to the sun's harmful rays especially if you're in the window seat. In fact, pilots count a higher risk of skin cancer as an occupational hazard (now airlines use sun shields in the cockpit to protect the pilots from sun exposure). You should consider sunscreen a requirement for flying. Jessica recommends Andalou Naturals Ultra Sheer Daily Defense Facial Lotion With SPF 18 ($15). Don't forget to reapply if your flight is longer than two hours.

Losing your luggage isn't the only thing you have to think about. "I worry about the higher levels of radiation that I'm exposed to at high altitudes," Anne said. "The higher the altitude and the higher the latitude, the more radiation." OK, don't freak out. Pilots are exposed to more radiation than even nuclear-plant workers, but they spend hours on end in the cockpit. As an occasional traveler, you can temper the radiation in the plane by stocking up on antioxidant-rich snacks. Sip green tea during the flight, and opt for a kale salad and fruit over the in-flight pretzels. You can also find skin care products rich in vitamins A, C, and E. But the best option? Fly at night.

If you have to travel, do it in Europe. Some of our panel's favorite destinations include Amsterdam, Istanbul, and Rome. Europe tops the list because of the great organic food, culturally rich sights, and walking-friendly cities. "My favorite city I've visited is Dubrovnik, Croatia, because it's exactly what I imagined and hoped Europe would be like when I was a little kid and was one of the first places I visited as a solo traveler," said Anne.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

9 Questions you are too embarrassed to ask about Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande is one of the biggest names in pop music this summer. For those who haven't been paying attention, it might seem like she came out of nowhere and rocketed into the national spotlight. And, indeed, with two albums in two years, Grande's ascent to pop-stardom has been swift.
Here's a recap of Grande's career thus far, and thoughts on what her future prospects look like.

1) Who is Ariana Grande?

Ariana Grande (pronounced gran-dey) is a 21-year-old actress turned singer-songwriter. She is known for her hit songs "The Way" and "Problem." She's five-feet tall, she (almost) has the lungs of Mariah Carey, and she opened for Justin Bieber after her debut album launched.

2) Is that her real name?

Pretty much. Ariana Grande's birth name is Ariana Grande-Butera. Grande is her mother's maiden name. She does not have a middle name, as she made very clear in this tweet. She is "Italian American , half Sicilian and half Abruzzese."

3) How did she get famous?

Ariana Grande began her career when she premiered in 2008 in the Broadway musical 13. In 2010, she also began a role on the Nickelodeon show Victorious, where she played Cat Valentine. Eventually, Victorious was cancelled, but Grande's character was spun off in 2012 to the show Sam & Cat, where she had a more central role than she had on Victorious.

Grande has a couple of advantages over other child stars. First, she started later than many of them. When she began her career at 13, Grande was already old enough to decide what she wanted to do and how she wanted to accomplish it.

More importantly though, there was already a very clear distinction between whom she played on Nickelodeon and who she was in real life because — unlike Britney Spears, for example — she had always been a character on television instead of a dramatized version of herself.

She released her first album Yours Truly while filming Sam & Cat, after being scouted by Scooter Braun, the god of pop-managers, who also found and promoted Justin Bieber. "I don't think she needs to worry about anything other than being who she is," Braun told Complex Magazine.

She has since abandoned acting to pursue her music career. Nickelodeon announced in July that, despite great ratings, Sam & Cat had been cancelled after just one season.

4) Whom is she compared to?

Because of her vocal range, Grande is often compared to power vocalist Mariah Carey. Her vocal range, at four octaves, isn't quite the five octaves and two notes that Carey has, but it's not too shabby. Grande called Mariah Carey the greatest vocalist who ever lived because of "her range, her ability, and her control.

5) Can she dance?

Nope. Nope. Not at all.

Ariana Grande is a horrible dancer. When she performed songs on her first album, she followed the path of powerhouse vocalists like Mariah Carey and Celine Dion: she stood still and let her voice do the heavy lifting.

But in the promotion for her new album, Grande has tried to make the transition to pop princess, which means she's trying to dance. For Grande, most dancing is really just hair flipping.

6) Is that the biggest struggle in her life?

No. Demons are.

Grande has been very clear that she does not believe humans are the only intelligent beings on this planet. She told Complex Magazine about a time that she photographed "three distinct faces" of demons, but later deleted the photo because it was "666 megabytes." Grande told Complex that she is very afraid of demons and something she calls black matter.

7) Why is she so popular this summer?

This summer, in a drought of new music, Ariana Grande released two songs: a pop anthem and a star-studded collaboration. Her single "Problem" featuring Iggy Azalea was a contender for song of the summer. Then she released "Break Free," a pop R&B jam that shows off Grande's massive soprano range.

8) Why is her new album such a big deal?

Grande's success has been the product of a massive marketing campaign. Grande's sophomore album is being released by Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group, and is promising to be a triple threat. In addition to a full album, Grande has released a music video with Iggy Azalea, will perform at the VMAs, and will debut a host of commercials for Target and Beats headphones.

In addition, My Everything was produced by pop god Max Martin. Martin is the producer that made Britney Spears a huge success and helped Taylor Swift turn the corner from country-rock to international pop star. As evidenced from the first single off My Everything, "Problem," Grande, too, is trying to make the transition from young talent with a golden voice to superstar. And she's doing so under Martin's direction, which gives her a distinct advantage.

9) Is Ariana Granda the next pop-queen?

The easiest answer here is maybe. Grande has potential. Her first studio album, Yours Truly, debuted atop on the Billboard chart, putting her in the same ranks as Britney Spears and Beyoncé, but also Ashlee Simpson. The first album for each of those artists debuted at no. 1. For Britney and Beyoncé, that meant infinite fame. For Ashlee Simpson, not so much. Unlike Simpson, Grande certainly has a natural talent in her impressive vocal range. That, by itself, could propel her to further fame.

But this summer has allowed Grande to exist in a competition vacuum. No other major female pop star has released a big hit this summer, so she has mostly had the charts to herself (excluding Iggy, who is, for all intents and purposes, a rapper). Once Grande has to compete for teenage fans with a new Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, or Rihanna release this fall, we'll see just what her pop legacy will look like.

Grande's new album, My Everything, will be released August 25.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Cheek to Cheek Jazz Music Album

Lady Gaga is a pop star, but the singer says recording jazz music was easier than pop.
Gaga has spent two years recording an album of jazz standards with Tony Bennett called "Cheek to Cheek," to be released on September 23.


"You know, it's funny, but jazz comes a little more comfortable for me than pop music, than R&B music," Gaga said in an interview Monday. "I've sung jazz since I was 13 years old, which is kind of like my little secret that Tony found out. So this is almost easier for me than anything else."

Gaga made the comments with Bennett by her side ahead of the duo's taped performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The 28-year-old and 87-year-old Bennett first collaborated on his Grammy-winning, platinum-selling 2011 album, "Duets II." Bennett said fans will be impressed with Gaga's vocal performance on the upcoming album.

"They're going to say we had no idea she sings that well," he said.

"And they're gonna say they had no idea that Tony dressed so crazy," Gaga added, as Bennett smiled.

"When you come out in your meat dress Tony, nobody is going to know what's going on."

"Cheek to Cheek" is Gaga's first release since last year's "Artpop." Bennett released a collaborative album with Latin singers in 2012 called "Viva Duets."

The duo performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival earlier this month and surprised high school students at Bennett's Frank Sinatra School of Arts in Queens last month.

Gaga, who is currently on her "Artrave: The Artpop Ball" tour, says she is "actually happier than I've ever been."

"There's 60 years between us, and when we sing, there's no distance," she added about working with Bennett.