Posted 12 months ago
By Corey Sorenson
LADY GAGA TO BE KEYNOTE AT SXSW
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lady Gaga won’t just be singing at the South By Southwest Music festival. She will also be on hand to be the keynote speaker at the event in Austin, Texas to discuss the state of the music industry and encourage those trying to break into it. Her Friday appearance will put her in company with past keynote speakers such as Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Lou Reed. Lady Gaga will perform the night before at an event that will benefit her Born This Way Foundation.
PHARRELL WILLIAMS TEAMS UP WITH UNITED NATIONS
NEW YORK (AP) — Pharrell Williams is joining up with the United Nations for a day of happiness. the singer is working with the world organization to mark the annual International Day of Happiness on Thursday. The event will be marked by a 24-hour event on YouTube. And Williams is urging people to take action and raise money for humanitarian efforts. Pharrell, of course, had a hit with the song “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2″ — which went number one and ended up being nominated for an Oscar for best original song. He is asking people to send in YouTube videos of themselves demonstrating their happiness to the tune of his song.
DAVID NAIL TRYING TO BRIGHTEN UP HIS MUSIC
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — David Nail is trying to infuse a little happiness into his music these days. He has had a rep for being heavily into emotional, slow ballads. But he says he is trying to break out of that box now — with songs like “Whatever She’s Got.” He says the first time he heard the tune, he decided to record it because he knew it would help him establish a different musical vibe. He says he got tired of being known as “somewhat of a gloomy guy.”
MISTRIAL DECLARED IN HIP-HOP PROMOTER’S MURDER CASE
NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors in New York says they are considering whether to seek a retrial in the murder case against hip-hop promoter James Rosemond. A judge declared a mistrial in the case on Friday after a federal jury said it was deadlocked on the murder charge. Prosecutors had charged Rosemond and Rodney Johnson in the 2009 shooting death of Lowell Fletcher, an associate of rapper G-Unit. Prosecutors believe the killing was payback for an assault on Rosemond’s son. Rosemond is already serving a life sentence for smuggling cocaine.
KE$HA IS OUT OF REHAB
NEW YORK (AP) — Ke$ha says she is “happy to be back!” after a stint in rehab. The singer has been in a facility since January to be treated for an eating disorder. In a Twitter post after she checked out, she wrote that she is “feeling healthy” and working on new music. Ke$ha is 26 and is a vegetarian. She says she entered rehab to learn to love herself again, exactly as she is.
METAL CONCERT CANCELED
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Officials in one Mexican state are being criticized for their decision to cancel a two-day heavy metal concert featuring bands like Kiss, Guns ‘N Roses and Twisted Sister. Fans and organizers say they suspect that political motives, corruption or discrimination are behind the decision to pull the plug on the show. The “Hell and Heaven Metal Fest” concert had been planned for a fairground east of Mexico City this weekend. But the state says the event didn’t have adequate safety plans. Despite the cancellation by the state, this weekend all three bands still showed the concert on their tour schedules.
JOHN DENVER’S “COUNTRY ROADS” ADOPTED AS A WEST VIRGINA STATE SONG
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — John Denver never lived in West Virginia. But his song that name-checks the state is now one of West Virginia’s official state songs. The state legislature has adopted the 1970s hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The song has been a part of West Virginia’s psyche for decades. Oddly enough, the effort to make Denver’s song a state song was launched by the widow of “Gilligan’s Island” actor Bob Denver — but the two Denvers aren’t related.
BRIAN MAY SAYS ADAM LAMBERT’S IDOL STINT IS IN THE PAST
NEW YORK (AP) — Queen guitarist Brian May says Adam Lambert has earned the right to tour with the group as lead singer, replacing Freddy Mercury. May says Lambert’s days as a contestant on “American Idol” are “a long way in the past” — and he’s now a well-established solo star. May says at the end of the day, he and the other members of the group continue to play for “people who want to hear us.” As for anyone else, May has a simple message: “Thanks. Goodbye. No problem.” Lambert agrees, saying that pleasing critics isn’t why musicians play. His message for the people who don’t like him or his music: “Screw the haters.”
HARRY BELAFONTE GETS HONORARY DOCTORATE OF MUSIC
BOSTON (AP) — The Berklee College of Music has presented an honorary doctor of music degree to singer, songwriter and activist Harry Belafonte. The honor came this past Thursday in Boston during a concert in his honor. Students performed hits he did ranging from “Banana Boat Song” to “We Are The World.” Though the doctorate is a big honor, Belafonte was lighthearted when he got it. He playfully stuck out his tongue when he was presented with the degree. Previous recipients of Berklee honorary doctorates include Steven Tyler, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin and Quincy Jones.
Photo by Jason H. Smith