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Tag: Q&A (81-90 of 103)

Common talks Grammy nominations, teaming with Kanye West and No I.D. for his next album, and more

For some artists, reading their name on the list of Grammy nominees last week was a brand-new experience. Not Common. The Chicago rapper-actor has been a Grammy mainstay this decade, taking home trophies for 2002 (Best R&B Song with Erykah Badu) and 2007 (Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group with Kanye West). This year, he got nods in the categories of Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (for guesting on Kid Cudi’s “Make Her Say”) and Best Rap Album (his own Universal Mind Control). We got Com on the phone to find out how he’s feeling about the Grammy race, plus a status update on his next album, The Believer, and a couple of film projects.

EW: If I’m counting right, you were nominated eleven times before this year. Are you still excited when you get another couple of nominations?
COMMON: Yes, I was still excited to hear about it. It caught me off-guard. I was actually eating dinner with some of my friends in Washington, D.C. I got a text saying “Congratulations,” and I was like, “Congratulations? What’s going on? Did somebody say I’m getting married? Do I have a child out there I don’t know is coming?” [Laughs] So I asked the person — this was someone from my management team — “Congratulations for what?” and she told me, “Congratulations on your Grammy nomination.” Later, she texted me back, “You got two.” So I was very excited.

Do you think you’re going to win those awards?
I mean, I hope to win. I believe I’ve got a good chance.

The other people in the Best Rap Album category are Mos Def, Q-Tip, Flo Rida, and Eminem. How do you feel about the company you have there?
It’s some really talented people nominated. For me to be able to say I’m in the company of Q-Tip and Mos Def and Eminem, just to be in competition with those guys, is really cool for me.

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MGMT singer talks Grammy nominations ('I freaked out!'), new album, and more

Guess who else wasn’t expecting Brooklyn psych-pop act MGMT to receive multiple Grammy nominations on Wednesday night? “I was going to watch the nomination-announcement concert thing just for fun,” MGMT singer Andrew VanWyngarden (pictured, left) tells the Music Mix. “It was a complete surprise. I freaked out!” We chatted with VanWyngarden this afternoon about the band’s Grammy prospects, the new album they plan to release in late spring 2010, and working (or not) with the likes of Kid Cudi, Jay-Z, Paul McCartney, Brian Eno, and avant-garde German film director Werner Herzog.

EW: In the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals category of the Grammys, your song “Kids” is up against artists like the Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, and Hall & Oates. Do you think you have a shot at winning?
ANDREW VANWYNGARDEN: My instinct would tell me that Black Eyed Peas will probably sweep everything. Even at the nomination ceremony, every camera shot was Black Eyed Peas; every go-to-commercial music was Black Eyed Peas. They, like, own the Grammys. But maybe some people will want to vote for the underdog or some music that’s a little left of center, as they say. I like how we have a video for “Kids” that’s got these crazy monsters terrorizing a toddler and an animated ending with everything coming out of a woman’s vagina in space. I don’t think the Black Eyed Peas have that going for them.

The other category you’re up for is Best New Artist. You’re probably a little more in touch with the up-and-coming music scene than a lot of Grammy voters—
You’d be surprised.

If you had to pick a Best New Artist, who would it be?
All the bands that I think are “new” aren’t new. It would be cool if a band like Beach House or Grizzly Bear got some recognition. But I don’t know.

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Wyclef Jean on his new album, the future of the Fugees, and being confused with will.i.am

WYCELF_lOne of the hazards of celebrity is being confused with another famous person. And that’s just what happened to Wyclef Jean when some kid asked for his autograph, mistaking him for will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. The erstwhile Fugee recalls the incident on the track “Warrior’s Anthem,” one of the cuts off his new album, From The Hut to the Projects to the Mansion, out today. The Music Mix hopes Wyclef cuffed the ignorant young whippersnapper behind his ear! “No,” he says, “I signed the autograph. But I said, ‘I am not will.i.am!'”

Wyclef explains that he made the CD, a collaboration with mixtape producer DJ Drama, to inform young listeners (and remind older ones), that the musician and producer is also a rapper. That means, in part, adopting the alter-ego of “Toussaint St. Jean,” a nod to the 18th-century Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture.  “It was very important to go back to the basic fundamentals,” he says.  “It’s important [for people to realize], ‘Oh, damn, despite everything—we see him shaking his hips with Shakira, he write all of these big songs—his fundamentals are hip hop music.’ I wanted to remind people.”

After the break, Wyclef reveals more about his new album, the one after that, and the “hood”-friendly nature of Cyndi Lauper.

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The Killers' Brandon Flowers on live albums, vampires, and Sinatra: A Music Mix Q&A

The Killers are technically in between albums, but they’re tiding hungry fans over with a New Moon tune and a live CD/DVD that hits stores today. The Music Mix reached frontman Brandon Flowers at home in Las Vegas to chat about all this and more a few days before the band launched an overseas tour. Read on for our Q&A.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Live From the Royal Albert Hall is your first live album. What made you want to do it now?
BRANDON FLOWERS:
It felt like a good time to do it, I guess. Sometimes I worry that we didn’t do it earlier. We’ll never capture what it was like when we first started playing. We might have been a little green, but we’ll never have that again. So I guess now is a better time than never.

Is there footage of those old shows off in a vault somewhere that you could try to release?
Over in the U.K., the BBC, they’re masters of filming live bands for festivals. So there’s quite a bit of that stuff from our early days, I think, but never a full show. Anyhow, we’re really happy with how this turned out. I think for our first live DVD, it’s pretty solid.

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Hasidic Jewish reggae star Matisyahu on soundtracking the Winter Olympics: 'I'm a hockey fanatic'

If you’ve watched network television in the last week, you’ve undoubtedly seen NBC’s ads for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, featuring star athletes Shaun White, Apollo Ohno and … the music of Matisyahu.

The artist formerly known Matthew Miller is perhaps as well known for hits like “King Without a Crown” and “One Day,” used above—as for combining the previously anomalous worlds of hip hop, reggae, and a strictly practiced Jewish faith. Currently in the midst of a months-long tour to promote his August release Light that wraps with eight sold-out nights in New York in December, Brooklyn-based Matis took time out from a stop in Omaha to speak to EW on the phone about the recent gold-medal twist in his career. Read it after the jump:

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Pete Wentz: A Music Mix Q&A on 'Band Hero,' lost-bet tattoos and why Fall Out Boy isn't breaking up

Tomorrow sees the release of Band Hero, the next evolutionary step from the same people who brought the world the ridiculously successful Guitar Hero series. As you might guess, band hero is Guitar Hero plus the rest of the band: vocals, drums and bass. No groupie avatar option yet.

Chicago pop-punk veterans Fall Out Boy are featured prominently on the game, with “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” and bassist Pete Wentz appears in an upcoming Brett Ratner-directed commercial for the game inspired by a certain ’80s film classic, alongside Blink 182’s Travis Barker, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, and (yes) Taylor Swift.

Wentz took some time to talk to EW about Band Hero, what kind of music he listens to around the house with wife Ashlee Simpson and their one-year-old son, and the bet-related revenge he hopes to get on Cobra Starship‘s frontman.

EW: So in the commercial for Band Hero, you reenact that famous scene from Risky Business with Tom Cruise dancing to that Bob Seger song. Are you a fan of the movie?

PW: Oh, definitely a fan of Risky Business. Those are like the movies I grew up with, you know, the car going through the garage in Ferris Bueller and all that.

EW: Did you do any trial runs of the Tom Cruise underwear/sock sliding scene growing up?

PW: I’ve done that, but I do it more onstage when it rains. I’ll try to do it onstage and it will not end up so good generally. It’s not the easiest thing to do, in the way that you have to land on a beat, and depending on how much they would Lysol the floor [for the commercial shoot], you would go faster or slower. And you’re in your underwear, and there was three of us, me, Travis [Barker of Blink-182] and Rivers [Cuomo of Weezer]. And we had Taylor [Swift] in there, too.

EW: What was Taylor Swift like?

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Owl City: 'Fireflies' singer on sounding like the Postal Service and having a No. 1 single

OWLCITY_lMeet Adam Young. The self-described “shy boy from the middle of nowhere in southern Minnesota,” who records under the name Owl City, just hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart with his sweet-natured laptop-pop single “Fireflies.” “It’s pretty surreal!” laughs Young, 23. The Music Mix called him up to find out how he got from Owatonna to the top of the charts — and ask how he feels about being constantly compared to the Postal Service.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Take us through your backstory. You’re from a tiny town in Minnesota?
OWL CITY: Yup. It’s about 15,000 or 16,000 people. It is about an hour south of Minneapolis, so it’s basically in Iowa. I actually still live there. I got my own place a few months ago. It’s a cozy, quiet place. Music really isn’t a big deal there. It was kind of removed from the world. I think it’s been good, because it’s given me an unbiased perspective in terms of writing.

How were you exposed to music when you were growing up? Did you listen to the radio or watch TV?
Probably radio a little bit more than TV. It was sort of just whatever was playing in the room — whatever my parents had on. I grew up an only child, so I never had siblings that played instruments or anything. I had a few friends in high school that dabbled in music. Initially I was inspired by a friend of mine to learn to play guitar so that both of us could jam together and cover old Blink-182 songs and stuff. That’s what got me interested very early on.

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'Once' more: The Swell Season's Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova on their breakup, their new record, and the future of their band

Once stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (a.k.a. the Swell Season) have stayed busy since their February 2008 Oscar win, playing their songs night after night to crowds across the U.S. and overseas. Somewhere along the way, their real-life romance ended and they made a new album together, not necessarily in that order. The Dublin-based folk-rockers met with me in downtown New York one afternoon last month to talk about Strict Joy (out Oct. 27 and streaming now at NPR.org), what it’s like to make music together after their breakup, and whether or not the Swell Season will keep going past this album. Read on after the jump for our Q&A.

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Michael Buble on 'Crazy Love,' '30 Rock,' and his shower song

Michael-Buble-interview_lOn Monday, the New York offices of Warner Bros. Records were decorated with the same yellow caution tape that graces the cover of Michael Bublé’s fourth studio album, Crazy Love (which just debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart). Perhaps because they knew he’d be stopping by to do some press — and to interrupt a meeting of the top brass.

“It’s quite amazing actually,” he says after crashing that conference room gathering next door. (We heard the applause through the wall.) “I walked into the office in L.A. seven years ago and I did the same thing, and they had no clue who I was. I’ve been told the first thing I said was, ‘Hello, I’m your bitch, Michael Bublé, and I’m going to work so hard for you.’ I’m sure I was like the 10,000th person who came in, and they were like [mumbling under his breath], ‘Alright, let’s see what you can do.’ It turned out pretty good.”

After the jump, the crooner who earned a Grammy for his last effort, 2007’s Call Me Irresponsible, shares the stories behind some of Crazy Love‘s memorable tracks, his 30 Rock vocal cameo, the song he considers his finest performance (which you still haven’t heard), and more. READ FULL STORY

Backstreet Boys: Swine flu can't keep them down

backstreet_boys_lThis morning, I met with 75 percent of the Backstreet Boys (Nick Carter, AJ McLean, and Howie Dorough) while their swine flu-stricken groupmate Brian Littrell rested in his hotel room.

They were supposed to have performed on CBS’ The Early Show, but instead they were gulping tea in their hotel lobby and praying they don’t get sick as well. I asked them about their scrapped PR plans, their new light-hearted outlook on their careers, and why they agreed to be Auto-tuned on one track on their new record, This Is Us. Then I bathed in Purell.

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