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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Music

Adele starts work on new album. Adele has started work on a new album -- her first since 2015. The "Hello" singer, 30, had a meeting about the project earlier this month and will spend much of this summer writing the record. She is working to -- wards a release date of Christmas 2019. Adele's meeting took place at Sony's London HQ. A music insider said: "She's back in the UK and intends to write here. A number of studio musicians have been approached to work with her and she's already penned some of the songs." Adele, mom to 5-year-old Angelo, completed a world tour in 2016 and told fans to expect a long break before her return. (PageSix)

5 Seconds of Summer Thank Fans For Third No. 1 Album: 'We Feel Like the Luckiest People Alive'. 5 Seconds of Summer earned their third straight No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart over the weekend with Youngblood, and the guys immediately made sure to thank those who got them to the top once again. In a series of Instagram pictures of live performances, the band and a collage image of No. 1, 5SOS wrote, "Youngblood is a certified billboard #1album in America. You came together as people to get us our 3rd number one record for all the right reasons. Today you made history for 4 young men, and you are every reason why we feel like the luckiest people alive." The group's achievement makes them the first Australian act to land three albums at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as their debut self-titled LP in 2014 and sophomore set Sounds Good Feels Good in 2016 also debuted atop the chart. What's more, they extend their record as the only band to top the Billboard 200 with their first three studio albums. Each of the band members (Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood, Michael Clifford and Ashton Irwin) also took to their own Instagram accounts to express their gratitude. Just before the No. 1 news broke, Irwin posted a picture of himself drumming and gushed, "We are on an incredible high right now. And I am acknowledging it with all my being." Once it became official, Hemmings declared, "I'm overwhelmed with emotion," also asserting that "This one feels different." Hood added, "Trying to find the words... Irretrievably grateful for your constant support," and Clifford continued the speechless sentiments: "I don't have the words to thank the people that support us except that we fucking love you." Youngblood is available now via One Mode/Capitol Records. 5 Seconds of Summer will be hitting the road later this summer for their Meet You There Tour, which kicks off in Osaka, Japan, on Aug. 2. (Billboard)

Leslie Grace Teaches Super Junior How to Dance Bachata. Leslie Grace already passed the Super Junior's dance test for the music video "Lo Siento" filmed in South Korea. And now, it's Super Junior's turn to overcome the test of fire: learn how to dance bachata. And they did it! The Dominican singer and the K-pop group caught up with the dance class during an interview in New York City and Leslie Grace shared the moment with fans, posting a clip-on Instagram. "Bridging cultures one dance step at a time! First @superjunior with me and "Group Dance" in their land South Korea, and now me with them and "Bachata" in my home NYC," she captioned the video. (Billboard)

Sheryl Crow Releases New Song 'Wouldn't Want to Be Like You' Through Stem Instead of a Record Label. "For artists out there who don't belong, or seemingly don't fit into this cookie cutter world of very young pop, it's a great way to get your music out there." Over Sheryl Crow's 10 albums, she's spanned country, rock, and pop while adapting with the times and growing musically. One of the few common threads running through all her work was its release through the traditional major label structure -- Crow's first eight albums came out on A&M, while the previous two were through Warner Bros. But that's officially changing with "Wouldn't Want To Be Like You," her new single coming courtesy of digital distribution service Stem. Founded in 2015, the startup is a platform which streamlines and tracks payments for artists and their collaborators (called "shareholders") offering a clear, thorough financial picture including performance data on its shared dashboard, as well as monthly payments. Crow's manager introduced her to the service while she was between labels, and the nine-time Grammy winner says she felt it was perfect for this moment in her storied career. "I'm a little bit of an anomaly, in that I'm a much older artist than what gets played at radio, obviously. And I'm a much older artist than what typically winds up on playlists, and I'm also a much older artist than what most labels are interested in putting money into, because they don't make the money back," Crow says. "But that doesn't mean I'm not making good records, it doesn't mean that I'm not staying vital and creative. So for artists out there who don't belong, or seemingly don't fit into this cookie cutter world of very young pop, it's a great way to get your music out there." Stem, founded by Milana Rabkin Lewis, Tim Luckow and Jovin Cronin-Wilesmith, is one of a number of outfits shaking up the traditional music-industry ecosystem. Lewis had been working in the digital department of United Talent Agency, seeing both rising and established artists go independent and have to pull the difficult balancing act of ensuring that their team and collaborators were paid on a consistent, recurring basis. Some of Stem's most famous users include Childish Gambino, who re-released his 2011 project EP on the service and Frank Ocean, who used it for his 2016 record Blonde, in addition to rising artists like Knox Fortune and Charlotte Lawrence. In 2017, the company received $8 million in a round of series-A funding. Lewis sees Stem as a valuable tool for artists, but not necessarily a replacement for record labels. "We're not a label killer, that's not at all the position we want to play," Lewis explains. "We just want to be technology and a platform that can make their lives easier and enable them to focus their resources in investing in the artist, investing in the marketing, and investing in the human element of what it takes to launch an act." Crow made her debut with 1993's Tuesday Night Music Club, and released her last album, Be Myself, in April 2017. She's currently shopping a highly collaborative LP that she says is filled with appearances from her musical heroes and artists who influenced her career. She also says that while she has no plans to stop releasing music, this may be her final full-length LP. "At this point in my career, I love the idea of having the immediacy of writing songs and just putting them out," she says. Crow says her collaboration with St. Vincent, who is appearing under her given name, Annie Clark, is "about the climate of truth not being important anymore." The pair have known each other for a few years, and previously collaborated live at Neil and Pegi Young's Bridge School Benefit show, performing Crow's track "Riverwide." "I called her and said, 'I am dying to have you bring your St. Vincent-ness to this.' And I said, 'You will not hurt my feelings if you don't like the song,'" Crowe recalls. "And I sent it to her, and her response was, 'Fuck yeah.' That was a direct quote, as only Annie Clark can respond, which I loved. She did all kinds of stuff on it, and we pretty much used all of it." As far as her upcoming album, Crow hasn't decided how she plans to release it, but her experience with Stem so far has left an impression on the three-decade industry veteran. "[This album's] been in the works for about two years, and so we'll shop it and then we'll sort of evaluate where we're at," she explains. "So I can't say specifically whether we'll do it through Stem or whether we'll do a one-off with the record and then come back to Stem, but I love knowing that it's there." (Billboard)

Chris Stapleton Will Join Willie Nelson's 33rd Annual Farm Aid Concert in Hartford. The annual benefit takes place Sept. 22 amid a new family farm crisis. Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price and Nathaniel Rateliff also join Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews. With farmers in New England and other regions facing a deepening financial crisis, Willie Nelson's Farm Aid organization announced Monday (June 25) that the annual benefit for family farmers will play Connecticut for the first time on Sept. 22 at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford -- and Chris Stapleton will join Farm Aid's all-star lineup for the first time. Stapleton -- who won Grammy Awards in February for best country album (From a Room: Volume 1), best country solo performance ("Either Way") and best country song ("Broken Halos") -- will share the Hartford bill with returning Farm Aid performers Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. Particle Kid will also perform and other acts will be announced. This year's performers will join Farm Aid's guiding foursome of Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, who will perform an acoustic set with Tim Reynolds. Matthews has been on tour this summer with the Dave Matthews Band behind the group's latest album, Come Tomorrow, which debuted at No. 1 this month on the Billboard 200. Tickets for Farm Aid 2018 will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. ET through Live Nation and by phone at (800) 745-3000. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be sold beginning at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday at farmaid.org/festival. Now in its 33rd year, Farm Aid is the longest-running concert for a cause in pop music history. Mellencamp was once challenged by someone who asked: "Are you guys still doing that?" He retorted: "Are you still eating?" Farm Aid, through its annual concerts, has raised more than $53 million for grants to help family farmers and to advocate on their behalf. Across more than three decades, led by Nelson, Farm Aid has sought to fight corporate control of America's farmland, shape national farming policy, and promote the Good Food Movement. But as Farm Aid 2018 approaches, the economic circumstances for family farmers are similar to the conditions that led Nelson to stage the first benefit in 1985. Net farm income has dropped 53 percent since 2013 and median farm income is likely to run $1,316 in the red in 2018, according to studies cited by Farm Aid. "Family farmers are the backbone of our country," said Nelson in a statement. "But today, they are endangered. Whether we live in cities like Hartford or the rural areas of New England, each of us has the power to create positive, lasting change in our farm and food system and strengthen farm families to help them stay on the land for generations to come." Farm Aid co-founder Neil Young adds: "Good food and good farms. That's why we're here. We really do care." Connecticut is home to 6,000 farms and agriculture contributes up to $4 billion to the state's economy, while farming and food production generate 21,000 jobs in the state annually. Hartford County, where this year's concert will take place, represents a rare bright spot in the country, gaining more than 100 farms since 2007. But dairy farmers in Connecticut, like their counterparts elsewhere, are suffering the economic impact of four years of dropping milk prices. (Margo Price, whose 2016 debut album Midwest Farmer's Daughter was inspired by the loss of her family's farm, expertly weighed in on milk pricing during a Farm Aid workshop at the 2017 concert.) After a dairy farmer in New York State took his life in January, The New York Times reported, "Agri-Mark, a large cooperative that bought milk from the farmer, sent its 550 members in the state a list of suicide and mental health hotlines -- along with the news that milk prices would drop even lower this year." In the face of ongoing struggle for family farmers, Farm Aid each year serves as an annual gathering of activists focused on food issues, environmentalism and social-justice battles. Many farmers and activists travel to the event to network, share strategies, listen to the music and eat family farm food on a menu that Farm Aid has trademarked "Homegrown Concessions." With composting practiced backstage and promoted to the audience, the concert aims for zero waste. To expand its fundraising reach, Farm Aid has again partnered with If Only to offer one-of-a-kind fan experiences at Farm Aid 2018. Among the items offered this year are: a behind-the-scenes backstage tour, plus deluxe amenities and tickets within the first eight rows; photo pit packages for Nelson, Young, Mellencamp, Matthews, Simpson and Rateliff & the Nightsweats, along with VIP amenities and tickets; premium seats in the first two rows for the pre-show press event attended by Farm Aid's four board members; a custom Epiphone guitar signed by Nelson; and retro Farm Aid T-shirts, signed by Nelson and Matthews. People can purchase and bid on these special offerings starting June 25 at ifonly.com/FarmAid. Farm Aid's support of family farmers extends to its policy of accepting sponsorship only from companies that share its mission. It is supported by partnerships with Bonterra Organic Vineyards, Patagonia Workwear, New Belgium Brewery, Horizon Organic and Pete and Gerry's Organic. Farm Aid will be posting updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and festivalgoers are encouraged to use the hashtags #FarmAid2018 and #Road2FarmAid to post festival discussions on social media. (Billboard)

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