Music

CMT Names Its 2019 'Listen Up' Class of Promising Newcomers, Including Mitchell Tenpenny and Tenille Townes. CMT has picked its slate of 2019 Listen Up artists. The newcomers will be spotlighted across CMT's platforms for the coming year. CMT's 2019 Listen Up artists are Brandon Lay, Dillon Carmichael, Gone West, Hardy, Ingrid Andress, Kylie Morgan, Lainey Wilson, Mitchell Tenpenny, Nick Wayne, Rachel Wammack, Riley Green, Ruston Kelly and Tenille Townes. Though all are new artists, their range of accomplishments varies. Tenpenny's "Drunk Me" reached No. 2 on Billboard's Country Airplay Chart for the week ending Dec. 15. He is one of several artists, including Townes, Wammack and Lay, signed to major labels. Four of the acts -- Wayne, Carmichael, Gone West and Kylie Morgan -- are unsigned. The program promotes the artists through highlighting their new music and videos across all CMT platforms. Additionally, their singles are added to CMT's Spotify and Apple Music playlists, and the artists are booked for CMT events and tapings. "This year's CMT Listen Up list continues to lean on the amazing, diverse music coming out of Nashville - from independent to major label artists," says Leslie Fram, CMT's senior vp of music and talent. "At CMT we pride ourselves on connecting fans with country music's most promising rising talent, and we will support these artists throughout 2019 on all CMT platforms." A number of the artists participate in other CMT programs as well. Andress, Wilson, Wammack and Townes are all part of the 2019 class of CMT's Next Women of Country. Wammack is part of CMT on Tour with Brett Young and Tyler Rich. Since 2011, CMT's Listen Up franchise has helped launch the careers of now-established hitmakers, including Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Dustin Lynch, Jon Pardi, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris and RaeLynn. The 2017 class included breakout acts Carly Pearce, Luke Combs and Midland. Listen Up and Next Women of Country are among the programs CMT operates to support emerging country artists. As an expansion of its Artist Discovery program, in November, CMT launched a year-long mentorship program that entails hosting 12 unsigned developing artists in its CMT studio in Nashville to record demos with leading country producers. Once the demos are recorded, each artist will meet with mentors comprised of industry leaders. Though the program is not affiliated with any label, CMT expects that through the mentorship program, artists will be able to play their music to label A&R representatives. (Billboard)

Tori Kelly Talks Her Gospel Album & Feeling a 'Special Connection' Backstage at the Ryman: Exclusive Tori Kelly attends the 59th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Feb. 12, 2018 in Los Angeles. Tori Kelly recently performed at the Ryman Auditorium in the midst of her North American tour supporting her gospel album, Hiding Place. In a behind-the-scenes video from the venue, the songstress discussed her love of Nashville, Tennessee, her album and more. "Last time I sang at the Ryman was actually with Little Big Town," she recalled. "That was a big honor, and even then it was so special to me at just this church with so much history attached to it." "It sounded beautiful and it was amazing but I think coming back with a gospel album, it feels even more special because we're in a church singing these gospel songs and singing about God," she continued. "I think there's a special connection there this time around." As for what she wants fans to take away from her live performance, Kelly says that "people come to concerts sometimes as an escape, maybe from life and things that they are going through." "They just want to come to a show and have a good time," she continued. "I want to provide that for people." (Billboard) Cardi B. Proves She Can't Drive, But She's at the Top of Her Rapping Game in 'Carpool Karaoke': Cardi B attends the Fashion Nova x Cardi B launch event in Los Angeles on Nov. 14. Cardi B. is right at the top of her game, with chart titles and awards galore. But she really needs driving lessons. The "Bodak Yellow" rapper was James Corden's famous guest on Monday nights' Late Late Show, for a "carpool karaoke" session that will be long remembered for Cardi's driving skills, or lack thereof. The British host gave his guest a few tips behind the wheel in the CBS studios parking lot, but nothing went to plan as the Bronx hip-hop star ran over flags, traffic cones and, at one stage, drove into a camera. No harm was done and Cardi slotted back into the passenger's seat and did what she does best: blast Cardi B. hits. They kicked things off with Cardi leading on her former Billboard Hot 100 leader "Bodak Yellow," before sharing an amusing story about her recent performance at a bar mitzvah. "I never performed in front of so many kids, and then my DJ didn't have the clean version of my songs," she recounted. "I just felt so awkward saying the curse words. But those kids were having a good time, and I had a good time too." The pair then embarked on a bit of fun, hitting a dance class at a senior center with hilarious results. (Billboard)

Demi Lovato Celebrates Her Grammy Nomination With Christina Aguilera. Demi Lovato attends the 2018 Billboard Music Awards 2018 at the MGM Grand Resort International on May 20, 2018 in Las Vegas. Oh yeah, it so did happen. Demi Lovato's troubling year is behind her and she's looking ahead to the 2019 Grammy Awards, where she's up for a trophy with her pop partner-in-crime, Christina Aguilera. And she's thrilled about it. Demi posted an Instagram photo celebrating her Grammy nomination with Xtina, along with the comment," Oh yeah... so this happened." The pair's collaboration "Fall In Line" is up for best pop duo/group performance, a category that also features "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (by Backstreet Boys), "'S Wonderful" (by Tony Bennett & Diana Krall), "Shallow" (by Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper), "Girls Like You" (by Maroon 5 Featuring Cardi B), "Say Something" (by Justin Timberlake featuring Chris Stapleton) and "The Middle" (by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey). It's Lovato's second Grammy nomination after her fifth studio set Confident was shortlisted for best pop vocal album for the 2017 ceremony. It's a sweet bonus fom a year that saw Lovato hospitalized for an overdose, and complete a 90-day in-patient rehab program. There was more good news for Demi from an altogether different platform, Shazam, which announced her song "Solo" with Clean Bandit was the most Shazamed track of the year. (Billboard)

Cardi B Tries to Drive and Fails Miserably on Carpool Karaoke. Cardi B loves cars and taking pictures with cars, but it's probably best if she stays away from driving those cars. James Corden tried to teach the rapper to drive during his infamous Carpool Karaoke segment on Monday's episode of The Late Late Show, but nothing in the CBS studios parking lot was safe when she was behind the wheel. She ran over flags, a couple cones, and even backed right into a camera, prompting Corden to pretty quickly give up his driving lesson so he and Cardi could go right back to rapping all of her hit songs together. They started with "Bodak Yellow," obviously, before delving into some ASMR, yelling (kindly) at fellow cars and kids on playgrounds, and then discussing the age ranges of Cardi's shows. She revealed that she "not so long ago" played a barmitzvah where her DJ didn't have the clean versions of her songs, and the kids were loving it. While we were busy wondering what 13-year old got Cardi B to play their barmitzvah, Corden took things in a different direction. If Cardi's used to playing young crowds, what about an older crowd? That led to the pair hijacking a dance class at a senior center, where all the participants (except for one guy who had to call his repairman) seemed pretty thrilled to dance to "I Like It." One guy was brave enough to ask if she was available to be his significant other, and all she could say was, "Sure." The Late Late Show with James Corden airs weeknights at 12:37 a.m. on CBS. (Eonline)

Bobby Brown has declared himself the King of R&B and his first order of business -- trash the guy who thinks he's this generation's title holder. We got Bobby leaving Via Alloro restaurant in Bev Hills and had to ask about the debate triggered by Jacquees, who claimed the title ... this generation's King of R&B. Bobby got a big yuk out of it. Bobby makes no bones about it ... anyone who wants the title has to go through him. But, check it out ... he said he's almost turning 50 so it's time to relinquish the title. He had a couple other artists in mind -- one in particular -- the name Jacquees is not on the short list. #Shotsfired. (TMZ)

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