- Emeli Sande Wins Two Ivor Novello Awards
Scottish singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé can add two more awards to her already impressive resume -- her hit single "Next To Me" won the Ivor Novello Awards for 'best song musically and lyrically' and 'most performed work'. The Ivors were held in London yesterday (May 16) and are highly prized in the industry as they are voted on and awarded by fellow songwriters and composers. Emeli already picked up two BRIT Awards in February for British Female Solo Artist and British Album of the Year for her multi-platinum album Our Version of Events. The album was the UK's biggest-selling record of 2012 and broke the 50 year-old record set by The Beatles for the longest consecutive top 10 run for a debut album, at 63 weeks on the charts. Emeli made a guest appearance on the finale of American Idol last night performing with 4th place runner-up Amber Holcomb. Sandé will kick off a U.S. tour in Orlando, FL on July 2.
- Jonathan Butler Leads 'Soul of Summer' Tour
South African singer-guitarist-songwriter Jonathan Butler has announced his 'Soul of Summer 2013 Tour' featuring award-winning percussionist-singer Sheila E. and saxophonist Elan Trotman, who hails from Barbados. Jonathan shares, “I’m excited to get on the road with Soul of Summer 2013. This year, we have the Latin flavor of Sheila E., the Caribbean flavor of Elan Trotman, and with my South African roots, it creates a great world music experience. Music can be a unifying force and unity is the spirit of Soul of Summer.” The tour will kick off Memorial Day weekend at the San Diego Jazz Festival with a performance on May 25. The trio will be backed by a 3-piece band comprised of bassist and musical director Dan Lutz, drummer Jay Williams, and keyboardist Dennis Hamm, while Jonathan's daughter Jodie Butler will handle background vocals. A full list of Butler's tour dates is available here.
- Adele, Alicia Keys Nominated for Billboard Music Awards
The Billboard Music Awards will take place this Sunday, May 19th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, broadcasting live on ABC beginning at 8pm ET. Comedic actor Tracy Morgan of "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" fame will host the event. Adele has five nominations including Top Female Artist and Top Billboard 200 Artist; Rihanna picks up nine nominations including Top Artist; Alicia Keys has three nods including Top R&B Artist and Lionel Richie makes the finalist list for Top Country Album for his top-selling duets set Tuskegee. Madonna will be honored with the Top Touring Artist Award while Prince will receive the Billboard Icon Award. There will be live performances from Prince, Christina Aguilera, Bruno Mars, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Ne-Yo and Justin Bieber among others.
- 'Natalie Cole en Espanol' due June 25
Natalie Cole is set to release her 25th album entitled Natalie Cole en Espanol on June 25, 2013 via Verve Records. The multi-Grammy winning singer has created her first Spanish-language album inspired by the music recorded by her late father Nat 'King' Cole and her growing appreciation of the timeless works of the romantic Latin music composers. The set is produced by Rudy Perez ("Latin Music Producer of the Decade" - Billboard) and features Natalie with duet partners Juan Luis Guerra on "Bachata Rosa" and Andrea Bocelli on the beloved "Besame Mucho." In addition, Cole utilizes the same technique used on "Unforgettable," her multi-platinum, Grammy winning duet with her father, to perform a heartfelt duet of "Acercate Mas" (Come Closer to Me). Nat Cole was the first American superstar to record an entire album of Spanish standards. Cole Espanol was recorded between Cuba and Los Angeles and released in 1958. Click here for Natalie's summer tour schedule.
- Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder
Birthday wishes to legendary singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder who celebrates today (May 13). Born Stevland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan, Stevie was a child prodigy who signed his first recording deal with Motown's Tamla Records when he was just eleven years-old. The 22-time Grammy winner had his first number one hit when he was 13 years-old with his 1963 recording "Fingertips (Pt. 2)." In 1972 Stevie released the album Talking Book which contained his hits "Superstition" and "You Are The Sunshine of My Life." Seminal albums like Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974), Songs in the Key of Life (1976) and Original Musiquarium (1982) followed. Wonder is also recognized as an active political rights advocate, having lobbied to create a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was named a United Nations Ambassador of Peace in 2009. Stevie received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. His music is highlighted in the current Broadway show Motown: The Musical being staged at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in New York City.
- John Mayer, Jill Scott for Philadelphia's 4th of July Concert
Grammy winning singer-songwriter John Mayer and "Philly's own" Grammy winning singer-songwriter-actress Jill Scott will headline the Philly 4th of July Jam on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, PA on July 4, 2013. Billed as the "largest free concert in America" the event will also feature performances from Demi Lovato, Ne-Yo, Grace Potter and J. Cole, plus a fireworks extravaganza over the Philadelphia Museum of Art to cap off the evening's festivities. Hometown favorites The Roots will serve as the house band for the event which will be broadcast live on VH1 and Palladia from 8-11pm ET.
- Burt Bacharach Celebrates Birthday, New Album
Legendary composer-songwriter Burt Bacharach is celebrating his 85th birthday on Sunday, May 12 and has released his first-ever memoir entitled Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music. In addition his new 2-CD collection, The Art of The Songwriter: Anyone Who Had a Heart - The Best of Burt Bacharach, will be released on May 28 featuring 40 of his most popular songs performed by artists like Herb Alpert, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Sergio Mendes, Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald. PBS has also announced they will present a new special beginning June 1 showcasing some of Bacharach's vintage television performances. Burt Bacharach's Best (My Music) is a first-time ever archival PBS special featuring all the original artists performing Bacharach's hits with rare footage and clips from the 1960s-1980s. Bacharach will begin a tour of Europe on June 14 in Sweden.
- Swing Out Sister Announce U.S. Tour
The Grammy-nominated duo Swing Out Sister have announced several U.S. tour dates in support of their latest album Private View on Shanachie Records. The duo, Corinne Drewery and Andy Connell who are partners in music and in life, are celebrating their 25th anniversary in the music business. The pair are known and loved for their hits like "Breakout" and "Am I The Same Girl," among many others, tunes that are offered up on Private View with all new arrangements. Swing Out Sister will visit North America for a short summer tour beginning on July 3 in Detroit, MI. Additional dates include stops in Ontario, Canada on July 6, Alexandria, VA on July 7 and New York City, NY on July 9.
- George Duke 'DreamWeaver' due July 16
Grammy winning keyboardist-producer-composer George Duke will release his latest album DreamWeaver on July 16 via Heads Up International. George recorded the project following the death of his wife Corine and says it's his “most honest album in several years.” Duke is joined on the set by bassists Christian McBride and Stanley Clarke; guitarists Paul Paul Jackson, Jr. and the late Jef Lee Johnson; and singers Lalah Hathaway, Rachelle Ferrell and Jeffrey Osborne. DreamWeaver also features the song "Ball and Chain" with R&B icon Teena Marie on vocals, in one of her final recordings before she passed away in 2010. George will be performing along with Jeffrey Osborne at the Playboy Jazz Festival on June 15. His full performance calendar is available here.
- John Legend Hosts TED Talks Education on PBS
PBS and TED, a non-profit organization dedicated to Ideas Worth Spreading, are teaming up to present the TED Talks Education special airing tomorrow night, May 7 on PBS beginning at 10pm EDT (check your local listings). Multi-Grammy winning singer-songwriter John Legend will be the host and a guest speaker for the program which will feature a diverse group of teachers and education advocates delivering short, high-impact talks on the theme of teaching and learning. Additional speakers include Bill Gates, Geoffrey Canada, Rita F. Pierson and Sir Ken Robinson. Legend is an active supporter of various humanitarian organizations and in 2007 launched his own Show Me Campaign, which works to break the cycle of poverty through education. TED started out in 1984 as a conference to bring together people from three worlds: technology, entertainment and design. The organization has evolved to cover a much broader scope and now offers its best talks and performances to the world for free via TED.com.