Music News

Stevie Wonder honors Aretha Franklin, John McCain at show. Stevie Wonder honored Aretha Franklin and John McCain at his sold-out Borgata show on Saturday in Atlantic City, NJ. "This is an emotional time for me as I'm mourning the loss of Aretha, but I'm celebrating with you the greatness of her music," he told the crowd. Wonder learned of McCain's death during the concert, and said of him before singing Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are," "I wanted to see him before he left this planet .?.?. I didn't get the chance. He grew to know compassion was not about any political party. It was about loving people for just the way they are. God bless his soul." Wonder's expected to honor Franklin at her funeral this week. (PageSix)

Ariana Grande Starts Over 'Raindrops' Performance For Fan Who Forgot to Hit Record. On Sunday (Aug. 26) Ariana Grande yet again proved how sweet she is on her fans during one of her Sweetener showcase performances. The singer started to perform her album's opening track "Raindrops" when a fan called out "Wait, I wasn't recording," at which point Ari actually stopped the show and waited until her Arianator was ready and then started the song over. A tweet from the fan was posted later that evening captioned, "OMG I SAID WAIT I WASNT READY START AGAIN AND ARIANA FUCKING HEARD ME AND STARTED AGAIN!!!" In the accompanying clip, Ariana is seen pausing for a moment before saying to the crowd, " Wait, did you just say 'Start again I wasn't recording?'" The "No Tears Left To Cry" singer then asked the Los Angeles audience, "Ok, are you ready?" before closing out the show with "Raindrops." (Billboard)

Twenty One Pilots Get Funky on 'My Blood'. Twenty One Pilots seemed determine to show us the full breadth of their musical playbook in the run-up to the release of their Trench album (Oct. 5). The latest peek into the dark rebel story behind their follow-up to 2015 break-out Blurryface dropped on Monday night (Aug. 27) and it's called "My Blood." The moody track has thick funk underpinning, driven by a fat bass line, robotic drums and singer Tyler Joseph's disco-fied falsetto. The lyrics may or may not continue the storyline that first emerged on the three Trench tracks that have emerged so far -- "Jumpsuit," "Nico and the Niners" and "Levitate" -- which have been laying out the story of Nico and the Nine, a group that appears to be the new version to the tormenting character Blurryface and the upstart rebel group the Banditos. In a keening falsetto that would make the Bee Gees proud, Joseph repeats "Stay with me, no, you don't need to run/ Stay with me, my blood, you don't need to run" of the song's throbbing beat. The video for the track shows Joseph in a dark recording studio playing the song's hypnotic bass line while bobbing his head; the singer updated his Instagram for the first time in over a year with an image from the session. It's unclear if the song is a continuation of the story in the trilogy of official Trench videos we've seen so far, but the lyrics do seem to have a maverick spirit in the third verse, where Joseph enigmatically raps, "If there comes a day/ People posted up at the end of your driveway/ They're callin' for your head and they're callin' for your name/ I'll bomb down on 'em, I'm comin' through/ Do they know I was grown with you?" Fans got a brief preview of the song at the Aug. 20 MTV VMAs when it appeared in a commercial. (Billboard)

Aretha Franklin to be Honored 'Like a Queen' at Detroit's Wright Museum. Thousands are expected to pour into Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Tuesday and Wednesday to pay their final respects to Aretha Franklin. The setting for the public viewings could not be more fitting, according to Paula Marie Seniors, an associate professor of Africana studies at Virginia Tech. "I think it's incredibly significant -- she is being honored almost like a queen at one of the most important black museums in the United States," said Seniors, who visited the museum several years ago when she was in Detroit doing research. The Queen of Soul, Seniors said, was "a singer of the universe." Yet she added that Franklin, who died Aug. 16 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76, also was "so unapologetically black -- she was so proud of being a black woman." To be sure, Franklin didn't consider herself a catalyst for the women's movement or on the front lines of the fight for civil rights. But she represented and pushed for both in ways big and small -- none, perhaps, more prominently or simultaneously as her mold-breaking take on the Otis Redding song, "Respect." She later said that with her interpretation -- which even Redding acknowledged became the standard -- sought to convey a message about the need to respect women, people of color, children and all people. The museum, which had been the largest black museum in the U.S. until the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, D.C., in 2016, also hosted similar viewings for civil rights icon Rosa Parks after her 2005 death. In further symbolic symmetry, Franklin sang at Parks' funeral, which was held at the same Detroit church as Franklin's, and the singer will be entombed in the same cemetery as Parks. The women came to their activism from different places and used different techniques, but "in the long run, they were both fighting for the same cause, which is freedom," Seniors said. Seniors said if she could attend the viewings, she would bring her 8-year-old daughter, Shakeila, who has sung along with Franklin's videos. "I want my daughter to know anything and everything about African-American culture and history," said Seniors, whose father, Clarence Henry Seniors, was roommates at Morehouse College with Franklin's brother, Cecil. "I would want my daughter to know of the people like Aretha Franklin -- to be able to listen to that voice ... and hear that there is something special about it." (Billboard)

Keith Urban Throws Line-Dancing Disco Party in 'Never Comin Down' Video. Fall might be right around the corner, but Keith Urban still has some feel-good summer hits up his rolled-up sleeves. The singer debuted the euphoric video for his latest party anthem, "Never Coming Down" on Monday night (Aug. 27), perfectly capturing the feeling of getting lost in the music with a foot-stomping, square-dancing visual for the third single off his 2018 album Graffiti U. The Grammy Award-winning country icon opens the video disguised as a Lyft driver smiling at a nervous-looking young man who exits his car and walks into a bar. As the man makes his way into the party, he slowly gets immersed in the bar's atmosphere -- a sweaty-hot, vibrant and carefree summer night filled with dancing, smiling and a familiar-looking dude rocking out on a mirror-ball guitar. Urban energetically performs while the light glints off his disco ball instrument as the young man starts to interact with the crowd and loosens up as he gets lost in the moment. Finally hitting his groove and jumping into the line dancing with the blissed-out party people, Urban joyfully sings, "Dance baby, dance baby / Don't stop now!" As Urban hops behind the bar to pour some drinks, the song about that unique feeling music can provide perfectly matches the late-night vibe of the urban cowboy scene with the lyrics, "When the sun goes down, stars come out / Can you feel it? / When I take you by the hand, dancing/ And we pass it around, 'round, 'round/ We're so high, we could paint the sky/ Tear the top right off the ceiling / And I swear we're never ever coming down" (Billboard)

Katy Perry Denies Dr. Luke Raped Her in Newly Released Deposition From Kesha Lawsuit. Katy Perry denied having a sexual relationship -- consensual or not -- with Dr. Luke in her recently unsealed deposition from July 2017 in his lawsuit against Kesha. "No," Perry, 33, replied when asked if the music producer raped her, according to the court documents obtained by Us Weekly on Monday, August 27. "Absolutely not," she added when asked if he "sexually assaulted her." The "Swish Swish" singer also said in the deposition that Dr. Luke (real name Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald) never gave her a "roofie" (the date-rape drug Rohypnol). Perry also denied ever telling anyone, "even joking," that the producer raped her. The accusation that Perry was raped by Dr. Luke first surfaced in June after The Blast Opens a New Window. obtained documents in which the producer alleged Kesha texted Lady Gaga (real name: Stefani Germanotta) and "falsely asserted that Gottwald had also raped Kathryn Hudson p/k/a Katy Perry." "Following this text message conversation, and with [Kesha's] encouragement, Ms. Germanotta spread negative messages about Gottwald in the press and on social media," the docs added. "For example, in February 2016, Ms. Germanotta posted multiple articles discussing defendant defamatory statements on her Twitter page." When asked if the statement that Kesha made about her and Dr. Luke was false, Perry replied, "Yes, ma'am." Lady Gaga, for her part, alleged in her deposition from September 2017 that she heard rumors that Dr. Luke had raped Perry. "I saw information about Kesha that was related to her having difficulty getting away from a record producer that had allegedly raped her," Lady Gaga said in the deposition. She added that Interscope Chief John Janick told her he heard a rumor that Dr. Luke assaulted Perry. "Yes, and I don't know that he used the word 'rumor.' I don't recall exactly the way he said it. I just recall that it was brought up," she explained. "He was there to be supportive to [Kesha] and I had a conversation with him and her about what we can do to speak with Sony about potentially maybe bringing her over to Interscope, and that I would look after her." Lady Gaga added: "He said something like I heard he raped Katy, too." Kesha and Dr. Luke's legal battle first made headlines in 2014 after the pop star filed a lawsuit against the music producer alleging that he drugged her and was physically, sexually and mentally abusive. Kesha dropped the lawsuit in August 2016 after she was denied her request to be released from her Sony contract. Dr. Luke's legal team released a lengthy statement after the depositions were releasedon Monday, which read in part: "In 2014, Kesha filed a bogus Complaint against Dr. Luke -- which she has voluntarily dismissed -- falsely claiming that he drugged and raped her in 2005. Now, after four years of litigation, it is Dr. Luke's defamation claim that remains. Evidence is now publicly available to show that Kesha's Complaint was filed pursuant to a 'Press Plan' and PR media blitz, designed to create the maximum negative public pressure on Dr. Luke in order to get him to give in to her contract demands. Having done all of the damage publicizing her false claim of rape for years, Kesha now has asked Dr. Luke to not speak publicly about the evidence just being revealed... even though this is the first time Dr. Luke has the opportunity to do so with some of the actual facts. Ironic, indeed." (UsWeekly)


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