Music

J. Cole and Meek Mill to headline NBA All-Star Game. Rapper J. Cole will headline the halftime show at the NBA All-Star Game. The seven-time Grammy Award nominee will return to his home state to perform a medley of hits at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Feb. 17. He released his latest single, "Middle Child," on Jan. 23. The NBA also announced on Wednesday that Meek Mill will open the game and perform an introduction of the All-Star teams. Charlotte-born Anthony Hamilton will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and Grammy winner Carly Rae Jepsen will perform the Canadian national anthem. The 68th NBA All-Star Game will be broadcast on TNT. (PageSix)

Maroon 5 Cancels Pre-Super Bowl Press Conference in Unprecedented Move. The Super Bowl halftime show continues to stir controversy as the NFL announces that Maroon 5 will not participate in the traditional pre-game press conference. The National Football League made the surprise announcement just five days before the musicians would take to the stage. In a press release, the league said that rather than participate in a press conference, the artists will participate in a "social and digital media rollout" in advance of the televised show. "Maroon 5 has been working hard on a Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show that will meet and exceed the standards of this event," the statement begins. "As it is about music, the artists will let their show do the talking as they prepare to take the stage this Sunday." Maroon 5's agreement to perform for the halftime show has been a source of controversy ever since the band announced they will be performing in December. This is due in large part to the NFL's stance on players taking a knee during the National Anthem. In May, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell instituted a new policy that would impose a fine upon any league or team personnel who are not standing and do not "show respect" for the flag and anthem. And this reportedly was the reason that Rihanna did not accept the honor. Us Weekly reported that the "Work" singer "said no because of the kneeling controversy." Then, comedian Amy Schumer called on the band to step down as headliners amid rumors of their halftime appearance in October. She spread the word about a petition on Change.org demanding that the Adam Levine-front group back out of the performance in "solidarity" with quarterback and free agent Colin Kaepernick. This pressure even caused Levine to question the band's decision. In November, he told Variety, "I'm still formulating a lot of things," in regard to the performance. However, it appears the NFL won over Levine and the rest of the band by promising a $500,000 donation to the organization Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. "We thank the NFL for the opportunity and also to them, along with Interscope Records, for making this donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters, which will have a major impact for children across the country," Levine told E! News. (Eonline)

Ozzy Osbourne postpones European tour due to illness. Ozzy Osbourne is postponing the UK and European leg of his No More Tours 2 Tour due to illness. Previously, he had postponed the first four dates of the tour because of the flu, and now his doctor has diagnosed him with an upper-respiratory infection that could develop into pneumonia if Osbourne were to travel and perform onstage. The tour was set to kick off on the 30th. He'll announce rescheduled dates, ostensibly for the fall, at a later date. Late last year, Osbourne had to postpone a number of dates in the US after contracting a staph infection. He rescheduled those dates for this summer, when he'll be touring the US with Megadeth, and was able to recover in time to perform at a New Year's Eve one-off Ozzfest. His health took a turn for the worse after that. "I'm completely devastated for having to postpone the European leg of my tour," Osbourne said in a statement. "It just seems that since October, everything I touch has turned to shit. First, the staph infection in my thumb and now coming down with the flu and bronchitis. I want to apologize to all of my fans who have been so loyal over the years, my band, my crew and to [European tour-leg openers] Judas Priest for letting you all down. However, I promise the tour with Judas Priest will be completed. It's being rescheduled right now to start in September. Again, I apologize to everyone. God Bless. Love you all, Ozzy." Osbourne is encouraging anyone with tickets to the European dates to hold onto them, as they will be honored for the new dates. Refunds are also available from wherever they were purchased. The tour will resume in March with a handful of dates in Australia, New Zealand and Japan. In late May, he'll kick off another North American leg of the trek with dates that run through the end of July. In an in-depth interview with Rolling Stone last year, Osbourne said that despite the tour's title, he's not retiring. He still plans on doing short runs of dates and one-offs as he pleases. "I'm no good at anything else," he said. "I literally can't do anything else." (PageSix)

Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat & Rick Springfield Set for Feb. 10 Borderline Benefit Concert. Trace Adkins, Cassadee Pope & Charles Esten will headline ACM's Borderline Strong benefit the next night. Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, Rick Springfield, Rita Wilson and Pablo Cruise are among the artists slated to play the Music Strong: Borderline Victims Benefit Concert, Feb. 10 at California's Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. All the proceeds from the event, produced by Mikal Blue and John Bryan, will go to Ventura County Community Foundation Conejo Valley Victims Fund to assist victims' families and survivors of the Nov. 7 massacre at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., that left 12 people dead and many more injured. The next night, at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center's Fred Kavli Theater, the Academy of Country Music's Lifting Lives philanthropic branch will host ACM Borderline Strong, a benefit for Borderline victims, with proceeds similarly going to the Ventura County Community Foundation Conejo Valley Victims Fund. Appearing at the Feb. 11 show will be Cassadee Pope, Jimmie Allen, Trace Adkins, Tyler Rich, Runaway June and Charles Esten, among others. The events follow a Jan. 13 benefit at the Fred Kavli Theater featuring REO Speedwagon, Richard Marx, John Ondrasik, Eddie Money and others that raised $360,513 for the Ventura County Community Foundation to aid not only those affected by the Borderline shooting, but also by the Woolsey and Hill fires. (Billboard)

Olivia Newton-John, Kylie Minogue Celebrated In Australia Day Honors List Pop legends Olivia Newton-John and Kylie Minogue, vocal group Human Nature and Universal Music Australia Classics and Jazz General Manager Cyrus Meher-Homji have been recognized in the Australia Day Honours. Newton-John, the Grease actor, Grammy winner and five-times Billboard 100 chart champion said she was "excited and delighted and honored" after she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia(AC), the highest award in the awards system, for her service to community health. "I am so proud to be an Aussie and this couldn't have come at a better time," says the artist, who is currently battling cancer for a third time. The "Physical" singer, who received a received an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 1979, was recognized for her "eminent service to community health, particularly for people living with cancer, through support for medical research, and as a songwriter and performer." Fellow ARIA Hall of Fame inductee and cancer survivor Kylie Minogue was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the General Division for "distinguished service to the performing arts as a national and international recording artist and entertainer," while Human Nature, comprising Andrew Tierney, his brother Michael and long-time friends Toby Allen and Phil Burton, received the Medal of the Order of Australia for their services to music. It's a particularly special honor for the veteran act, which still calls Australia home despite relocating to Las Vegas a decade ago. Presently, the foursome is booked solid at The Venetian. playing doo-wop, Motown, soul and pop classics. "We are the proudest Aussies on the planet," the bandmates write in a social media post. "We mention our love of our country every night in our Vegas show because Australia really is the lucky country. There is nothing better than our people, our beautiful land itself but most of all the Aussie mateship, humor and at times naive will to just 'go and gettem'... which we have done so many times over the years. This mateship is our foundation." Other music industry figures recognized for their endeavors include Bakehouse Studios and SLAM co-founders Helen Marcou and Quincy McLean, announced as Member (AM) in the General Division for "significant service to music"; classical music composer Elena Kats-Chernin (Officer of the Order of Australia); music retail veteran Barry Bull (OAM); while Tiddas singer Lou Bennett (Member of the Order of Australia) and Sherbet's Garth Porter were named as Member (AM) in the General Division. Also, Universal Music Group's Classics & Jazz exec Cyrus Meher-Homji received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the performing arts, particularly through music. UMG chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge congratulated Meher-Homji for his award. "There are few people in Australia, or the world for that matter, who have done as much as Cyrus to advance jazz and classical music and bring these essential and important art forms to even greater audiences," comments Grainge in a statement. "On behalf of all your colleagues at Universal Music, our heartfelt congratulations." Dutch classical crossover star Andre Rieu added: "After having searched for twenty years for someone in the vast world of record companies who would understand what I was doing, I can say that finally, in Australia, I found a real treasure named Cyrus Meher-Homji. Not only did he understand and love our music, but his unflagging dedication meant that our recordings dominated the top of the charts (and stayed there) and that we quickly developed an enormous audience for our music. So, dear Cyrus, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for us, wish you the very best and congratulate you on your well-deserved honor of the Medal of the Order of Australia." Also on the day, buzzy indigenous hip-hop artist Baker Boy (real name Danzal Baker) was named 2019's Young Australian Of The Year. A total of 1,127 awards were approved by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, representative of Queen Elizabeth II, and handed out on Australia Day, Jan. 26. (Billboard)

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