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Taylor Swift’s ’1989′ still at No. 1 – Music News

By Dorothy Frazier

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In  2014, it was all about “1989.”

Taylor Swift’s blockbuster pop album, named for the year she was born, held onto the No. 1 spot in the latest edition of the Billboard 200, the trade magazine reported Wednesday, marking the album’s seventh nonconsecutive week atop the chart.

“1989″ sold 430,000 album equivalent units — a new phrase that reflects Billboard’s recent incorporation of streaming data and single-track downloads into its chart policy — in the week that ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Music. Of those units, 326,000 represent full album sales, bringing the total for Swift’s set to 3.66 million.

SEE ALSO:  Artists You Definitely Need To Be Listening To In 2015 – George The Poet

And that was enough for “1989″ to squeak past the smash soundtrack of Disney’s “Frozen” as the biggest-selling album of 2014.

As Billboard’s Keith Caulfield wrote, “Frozen” “was the year-to-date top-selling album of 2014 in every single tracking week of the year, except for the final frame.” That had never previously happened in the 22 years since Nielsen began tracking album sales using SoundScan, Caulfield added.

Released in November 2013, “Frozen” sold 3.53 million copies this year; its overall total is 3.86 million.

No new albums entered the top 10 of this week’s Billboard 200 — no surprise, given the light schedule of late-December releases.

Nicki Minaj’s “The Pinkprint” stayed at No. 2, followed by Pentatonix’s “That’s Christmas to Me” at No. 3, One Direction’s “Four” at No. 4 and Sam Smith’s “In the Lonely Hour” at No. 5.

Taylor Swift celebrates the big 25

By Dorothy Frazier

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Taylor Swift rang in her 25th year singing her lungs out at the Z100 Jingle Ball concert in New York City on Friday night and into Saturday morning.

Dec. 12, 2014. Taylor Swift performs at Z100 Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden in New York. (The Associated Press)

The “It Girl of 2014,” according to presenter Ryan Seacrest, fittingly performed for the final minutes of her 24th year, and the first minutes of her next. The country-turned-pop princess showed why she already stands atop her new musical genre, managing to best a strong lineup of Top 40 titans that included Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Jessie J, Sam Smith, Five Seconds of Summer, and One Republic.

Swift, the much maligned (at least by New Yorkers) new ambassador to New York City, opened with her ode to her adopted home town, “Welcome To New York,” powered through “Trouble” and “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” from her album “Red,” and sang her latest number ones,  “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off.”

Swift wasn’t the only one who had the crowd – 90 percent teen-age girls and their parental chaperones – screeching like tires coming off the line at a drag race. In the pre-show video introduction of all the acts, Grande, Smith, 5 Seconds of Summer, Azalea, Jonas Brother gone solo Nick Jonas, and Swift got the biggest anticipatory squeals.

Smith, Azalea, and Swift were granted the longest sets (four or five songs),  while the other acts did two or three tunes each. “All About the Bass” singer Meghan Trainor sang her hit and that’s about it. “Boom Clap” star Charli XCX brought out an all-girl four piece band wearing cheerleader outfits that played like Joan Jett and the Heartbreakers. Pharrell asked kids up onstage to help him with his now ubiquitous single “Happy.” (Most of them just stood up there taking selfies, instead of actually singing and dancing.)

Ariana Grande had the well-oiled night’s biggest slip up when she almost went splat strutting across the stage in what looked like 6 inch heels. “I almost died up here,” the teenage pop star gasped before getting back to business.

RELATED: 2015 Grammy Nominees Include Beyonce, Taylor Swift & Miley Cyrus

And there was plenty of business being done, with TV commercials airing on the big screens dotting Madison Square Garden between the acts , along with plugs for health care sign-ups and smart phone apps. The breaks seemed to allow the screaming female fans in attendance time to recharge their vocal cords, as every act with the exception of just a few got all the adulation they could have dreamed of.

There were an assortment of A-listers on hand to introduce performers. Jamie Foxx, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ansel Elgort, and Emma Roberts were there, but attesting to the fan base present, Vine stars Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas were the non-singers who got the biggest cheers.

Z100’s Jingle Ball is part of the national iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, and is in its 19th year as one of New York City’s biggest annual music events. The concert also donated $1.00 of each ticket sold to the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, a non-profit organization thelping young people through entertainment and education focused initiatives.

News Source: AP

Country singers Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman come out as gay

By Dorothy Frazier

There are plenty of country songs about how to be a man. One way is to face the music, and two country crooners did that on Thursday.

Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman came out as being gay.

Ty Herndon (left) and Billy Gilman (right), both country music singers announced publicly they are gay. (Photos: Ty Herndon/Twitter, Billy Gilman/YouTube)

Herdon went first, in interviews with People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight. His revelation inspired Gilman to do go public as well.

Gilman posted a message to YouTube, thanking Herndon for breaking the ice. He preferred telling his fans directly, from the comfort of home, to sitting down with the press, he said.

But an encounter with a journalist also prodded him to spill the beans before someone else did. The reporter bumped into Gilman in a public place and snapped a photo of him — with his partner.

“It was in that moment that I knew that I’d rather it be from me than you reading it somewhere else,” Gilman told fans. He also feared being ripped over his sexuality in an article.

Country and LGBTQ

In the genre of country, Thursday’s tune was a tough one to sing, Gilman said. “Being a gay, male country artist is not the best thing.”

At age 26, he’s had a long career, having rocketed up the charts at age 11 with his then silky, pre-voice-change alto pipes, according to his biography on

But currently, he’s hitting snags.

Rumors about his sexual orientation have been going around, he said, and he thinks major music labels may have thumbed their noses at him over it.

“I knew something was wrong when no major label wanted to sit down and have a meeting and listen to the new stuff,” he said.

In his video, he turned directly to fans with his latest song, giving them a preview on his laptop of the music video to “Say you Will,” which is still in edit.

Facing fans on Monday

“Today, I get to tell the world that I’m an out, proud and happy gay man,” he told “People.” But he’s worried how fans will take the news.

He may find out in just three days, when he performs at the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman Auditorium.

It’s home to the Grand Ole Opry.

Herndon is playing a Christmas charity bash for children in need along with Charlie Daniels, Phil Vassar, Andy Griggs and Jamie O’Neal.

The Ryman has said the concert would be sold out.

Herndon, 52, is hopeful he won’t face outrage, because he thinks attitudes are changing in the country scene.

Singer Chely Wright came out in 2010 and the open-minded Kacey Musgraves has a song titled “Follow Your Arrow” that was just named the Country Music Association song of the year.

“I felt so proud of my city,” he said. “I hope that trend continues; I pray it does.”

Faith and fear

As a child, Herndon, a devout Christian, was stricken with fear over his sexual feelings.

“I was 10, sitting in church and horrified that I might be a homosexual. Whatever that word meant, I knew that I probably was one,” Herndon told “People.” “And I know there’s a lot of those kids still out there. Telling my story is an opportunity to help just one of them.”

He started coming out to family members in his 20s. But the “What Mattered Most” singer, who had a number of hits in the 1990s, kept the news close to the vest.

It wasn’t until he attended a Tony Robbins seminar in 2009 that he decided to become more public, he told the magazine.

“I realized I had an incredible story that could possibly help someone’s son or daughter or grandchild’s life not be as difficult as mine has been,” he said. “Maybe they wouldn’t have to go through as much pain and suffering. It’s time to tell my truth.”

Dropping hints?

Some of the conflict between Herndon’s sexuality and his faith bled through a song he published last year — “Lies I Told Myself.” A sign with the word “Equality” has the most prominent place in the music video.

“Yeah, praying’s just a waste of time, so why even start,” the last verse begins. “The good Lord ain’t got time for guys like me. Forgiven’s something you won’t ever be.”

A handwritten sign appears in that verse. It reads, “I’m a sinner.”

Herndon has since reconciled who he is with God, he said. He loves God, and God loves him back.

One of the lies he told himself, he said to “Entertainment Tonight,” was that he can’t be gay and be in country music at the same time.

Now, he thinks that’s not true.

News Source: FOX31

Little Bit of Country Singer, Taylor Swift goes a Lil Bit of Pop Sugar..? – VIDEO

By Dorothy Frazier

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The album – named after Swift’s birth year – will be in stores Oct. 27 and is available for “pre-buy” now at

The cover of Taylor Swift's new album, '1989.'(Photo: Submitted)

Country singer Taylor Swifthas gone bonkers for POP music and it seems fans loves this bit of news as much as she does. The diva has skills and plans on creating a new type of star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Yes, friends and its all coming your way as her fifth installment, 1989, which debuts October 27th. The latest music is her very “first, official pop album,” according to the singer…. who gushed the news to a small crowd of her fans, which just happened to be — at the TOP of New York’s Empire State Building. How epic is that?

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 56th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles.(Photo: Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images)

She said she discovered it was a time of “limitless potential and the idea that you can do what you want, be who you want, wear what you want and love who you want, and you get to decide where your life is going.”

The goal for leadoff single Shake It Off was to create a song that sounded like “nothing I had done.” Produced by Max Martin and Shellback (the team behind other enormous Swift hits I Knew You Were Trouble and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together), the unabashedly poppy anthem is inspired by a lesson that Swift learned in the two years since her last album, 2012′s Red. “People can say whatever they want about us, at any time,” she said. “The only thing we can control is our reaction to that.”

RELATED: Feel Good Music is Back — 9 Up and Coming Singers You Need to Know

Shake It Off is accompanied by an equally chirpy music video directed by Mark Romanek (Johnny Cash’s Hurt, Michael and Janet Jackson’s Scream videos). In it, the 24-year-old singer is flanked by ballerinas, gymnasts and twerking women.

Whether any of that will appeal to the country fans who made her a superstar remains to be seen.

“Does anyone still think of Taylor Swift as a country artist anymore?” says Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis. “She’s very career-savvy, and I’m sure she and her handlers are convinced she can withstand any potential blowback. And I would agree.”

Says Jason Lipshutz, associate editor at Billboard, “I don’t think it’s Taylor Swift deserting the genre as much as it’s Taylor Swift trying something new.

“Her last album was based in country music, but it had a lot of bubblegum pop in it,” he says. “She’s always been a great storyteller, but she’s been trying her hand at pop music more and more.

“It’s kind of a complete transition that if you’ve been paying attention, you could see coming.”

But Gregg Swedberg, program director of K102 in Minneapolis, doesn’t believe country radio “will pay Taylor much attention this time.”

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“I’m sure there will be some stations who will play it a couple of times, as she makes high-quality music no matter the genre,” he adds. “Taylor fans will love the new music, and it’s well known that her fans come from all formats.


What do you think about the switch? Sound off in the comments below.

News Source:USA Today & Rolling Stone

‘Cowboy Song’ singer Garth Brooks announce New Music and World tour!

By Cain Cawthon

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Country music star Garth Brooks is back! The singer, 52, announced the news today that he is planning on kicking off a three-year world tour with the first date to be announced Monday.

Garth Brooks -- Credit: Sony Music

Brooks retired back in 2001 to raise his two young daughters.

“I want to thank God and everyone who is giving me a chance to actually look at a second half of a career. I don’t know many artists who get this chance,” Brooks said.

A new double album is set to drop around Black Friday, with new music set for release sometime in the next two months, the country superstar said during a much-anticipated live stream news conference. “The new record is gong to be a double album because we have a lot to say.

For the first time, Brooks’ fans will be able to buy some of the singles through his site,

“His big change is making his music available to download,” says Lon Helton, publisher of Country Aircheck, an industry trade publication. “And he’s not giving it to iTunes.”

Brooks, the top-selling artist in the USA since 1991, has been one of the last major holdouts in the digital realm. Some people might think “I’m giving it away, but I’m not,” he says. But it will be offered “at a stupid price.”

“I guarantee you it’s something where you buy the whole catalog,” says Kris Rochester, co-host of the syndicated radio show Tony and Kris in the Morning. “He’ll sell millions.”

RELATED: The Other Side of Country Music with Cain | EOTM

Check out his press conference now

Brooks has signed with Sony Music Nashville, and his new album will bear the RCA imprint. That album “is what we would traditionally think of as a double album, just because there’s a lot to say,” he says. One of the album’s songs “might very well have taken the place of The Dance as my favorite song ever.”

DMB is excited to announce their June 1, 2013 Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, as the 2

When his wife, singer Trisha Yearwood, asked if he was sure he wanted to stay on the road, he says he told her, “I’ve never been more sure of anything, because the kids are healthy, and I’m touring with you.”


USA Today contributed to this report

Photo credit: Sony

Country singer Kevin Sharp dies at 43, Report

By Tawanda Cawthon

Country music star Kevin Sharp has died. He was 43. His mother, Elaine Sharp confirmed his untimely passing earlier today, stating the singer died from “complications due to cancer,”on Saturday.

Getty Image

Sharp was diagnosed with cancer as a teenager and was treated. According to multiple reports the disease did not reoccur, but he had problems later in life because of the radiation and chemotherapy.

“He had a good, strong heart,” she said. “He’s not hurting anymore.”

SEE ALSO: Celebrity Deaths in 2013: Stars We’ve Lost

Sharp gained fame with the release of “Nobody Knows,” a single on his 1996 debut album, “Measure of a Man.” He released two other albums, “Love Is” in 1998 and “Make A Wish” in 2005. Sharp also became a motivational speaker, a spokesman for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and wrote “Tragedy’s Gift,” a 2004 book about fighting cancer.

Sharp is survived by five brothers, two sisters and his mother.

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American Music Awards 2013 Highlights

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( Katy Perry kicked off the American Music Awards Sunday with some serious star power, taking the Nokia Theatre stage in Los Angeles to perform her latest single, “Unconditionally.” Donning a traditional Japanese dress, the pop singer was joined by dancers for the live performance of the latest single off her “Prism” album.

Katy Perry performs onstage during the 2013 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. Getty Images

Pitbull then got the fan-voted show under way, by making a joke about picturing the entire audience naked.

“It’s a miracle America that I’m here tonight,” he said before bringing a group of dancers onstage to show off popular dances through the years.

RELATED NEWS: Jared Leto Looks Like Katy Perry in Drag

After Pitbull’s monologue, it was time to give out some actual awrds. Taylor Swift graced the stage to announce the first honor of the night: favorite pop/rock male, which went to Justin Timberlake. “These are voted on by the fans – everyone who took to their Twitter…and got busy, this means so much to me, thank you.”

Rihanna swooped up her seventh American Music Award: Favorite soul/R&B female artist. It marked the third time she’s won the AMA in that category. Taylor Swift, donning a short gold dress, received the favorite country album award for her hit album, “Red.” “Thank you, you are everything to me,” she said to fans. “I really appreciate this.”

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis accepted the favorite rap/hip-hop album award via satellite from Miami. Upon receiving the honor, they got serious, talking about racial profiling and citing the Trayvon Martin case.

One Direction scored the favorite pop/rock album for “Take Me Home,” the group’s second album. It was the first time the U.K. boy band was nominated.

Performances were plentiful, with the members of One Direction showing off their vocal chops with a stripped-down performance of “Story of My Life.” Imagine Dragons heated things up with a rendition of the hit “Radioactive.” The night’s host Pitbull and Ke$ha teamed up for a performance of “Timber.” Timberlake hit the stage with an acoustic guitar in hand, introducing his performance by saying, “We’re JT and the Tennessee Kids. This is a song about alcohol.” He then launched into his country-tinged “Drink You Away” song. Florida Georgia Line and Nelly brought some real country with their hit, “Cruise.”

View Photos of Gay Men Near You Free!Many eyes will be on Miley Cyrus as she follows up her MTV Video Music Awards performance and MTV Europe Music Awards stunt. She’s expected to close the show and if history is any indication, fans can expect the unexpected. Lady Gaga, meanwhile, will do something off of her new “ARTPOP” album, and Timberlake will bring his smooth dance moves to the stage.

Going into the night, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis led the nominations with six, and Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake each have five. Robin Thicke, Rihanna and Florida Georgia Line have four nods each, while Bruno Mars and Imagine Dragons are up for three awards each.

Nominees for single of the year — a new award — include Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Florida Georgia Line and Nelly’s “Cruise.”

The coveted artist of the year nominees are Macklemore and Lewis, Swift, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Timberlake.

Several stars are in attendance, including Marc Anthony, Kristen Bell, Michael Bolton, Ciara, Chris Daughtry, Fall Out Boy, Nathan Fillion, Daisy Fuentes, Juan Pablo Galavis, Dave Grohl, Jennifer Hudson, Joan Jett, Heidi Klum, Lady Antebellum, Bill Maher, Kelly Osbourne, Hayden Panettiere, Jeremy Renner, Nicole Richie, Naya Rivera, Emma Roberts, Zoe Saldana, Sarah Silverman and Alicia Silverstone, as well as “Shark Tank” cast members. Some surprise appearances are also in the works.

News Source:

CBS News

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill dismiss divorce rumors

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Tim McGraw and Faith Hill won’t be singing any sad country love songs any time soon. The couple, who have been rumored to be heading for divorce, have confirmed they’re happier than ever.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill - Getty Image

“[Rumors] seem to be running like crazy right now for some reason. It’s perplexing,” Hill told People magazine when asked about the reports after the couple’s show in Las Vegas on Friday night (Nov. 15). “I don’t know why ‘happy’ can’t be a story.”

The 46-year-old singer insists the couple is “absolutely not” divorcing, a sentiment which was echoed by McGraw.

RELATED NEWS: Country Music Awards 2013: Country Music’s Biggest Stars Shine on the CMA Stage

“We’ve been married 17 years, and since the first week we were married those things were out,” McGraw told the magazine. “We don’t even think about it. The only time we ever think about it is [when we] worry about the kids. But they’ve been around it, too, so they laugh it off.”

Reps for the couple brushed off the Enquirer’s report as “totally false and ridiculous,” and in an interview with The Huffington Post in August, McGraw even offered up what he thinks is the secret to a long, happy marriage.

“The easy answer is just to shut up and not say anything, that’s easy,” he said. “But really it’s a lot of give and take and it’s a lot of no ultimatums.”


Country Music Awards 2013: Country Music’s Biggest Stars Shine on the CMA Stage

Luke Bryan, Caroline Boyer, Tim Mcgraw and Faith Hill on the CMA 2013 Red Carpet - Getty Image

Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert at the 2013 CMA awards in Nashville, TN Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Country Music Association Awards 2013: Country Music’s Biggest Stars Shine on the CMA Stage (via ABC News)

Music stars Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert make final preps for the CMA Awards.