Hey people of the internet!!! How is your Monday…I know everyone loves Monday!!! (you may now sarcastically laugh…ok that’s enough). On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to recap what happened at the first ever ‘I Heart Music Awards’…and A LOT happened so let’s get started! Now normally I talk about the host in a separate section, but this award show didn’t really have a single host and instead focused on using several different presenters. I think Pitbull served as the host (I’m not sure if that’s official or not) because he gave a very short monologue at the top of the show (after his performance). He mainly joked about the LA Clipper scandal (which is an NBA team for those of you who don’t know anything about sports…#NoShame). That was about it for the hosting duties…so let’s get the awards (yay!).
Hip-Hop/R&B Song of the Year:
‘Pour it Out’ by Rihanna:
This was definitely a tough category, but if we’re being completely honest, it’s hard for Rihanna to lose anything. Why you ask? Well first of all she’s Rihanna which means she’s awesome, and secondly this year she’s had hit after hit from her latest album ‘Unapologetic’ (which charted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart). So it’s easy to see why Rihanna deserved this award.
‘Timber’ by Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
‘Timber’ was performed at the top of the show (which I will speak about later…get excited!), and was certainly a crowd favorite. But, this is no surprise since it did chart at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart(as well as #1 on numerous other charts all over the world). Ke$ha also has a record of releasing numerous hit singles, so when you get two powerhouses together, you can’t expect anything else but collaboration gold.
‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus
Now if there is an artist who has had an intense year, it’s Miley. If you’ve ever listened to ‘Wrecking Ball’, then you know that the song is full of angst and sadness, and the perfect song to cry to while eating a tub of ice cream. I think that any song that can make you think this much definitely contains some AMAZING lyrics.
Best New Artist:
She’s 17, won two Grammys for her first single, which she co-wrote…yeah I would say that Lorde is the best new artist. She has also been able to make history in her home country of New Zealand by being the first solo act to get a debut single to chart #1 in the U.S. With all of this early success, I can only imagine what this young artist will achieve next.
Best Fan Army:
Rihanna (Rihanna’s Navy)
It’s no surprise that Rihanna won this award, because in order to have the success that she has had, you have to have a fiercely loyal fanbase. In her career thus far, Rihanna has been able to conquer music, movies, and has become a fashion icon for millions. ‘Rihanna’s Navy’ definitely came through on this one, and proved why they deserve this award.
With 3,803,044 VERY loyal instagram followers (and that’s just as of May 5, 2014), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Austin took home this award. This talented young musician has been taking award shows (particularly fan voted award shows) by storm this year, and has proven that he is ready for a mainstream pop career. Using a social media platform to promote his music to his followers, he is already thinking like a mainstream musical artist, particularly when it comes to improving his online presence and expanding his social media reach with services similar to Nitreo. You can learn more about the service by searching for reviews online, or you can see nitreo reviewed here. With the release of his debut album ‘The Secret’ expected to drop later this month, I definitely think that Austin needs to make sure he has plenty of room in his trophy case.
Young Influencer Award:
She’s stared in a hit all teen Broadway production, on two hit Nickelodeon TV shows, and has now made her mark on Pop/R&B music (even drawing comparisons to Mariah Carey…yeah that’s intense), so you would think that it would be no surprise that Ariana received this award. However, it’s not only her impossibly perfect talent that has influence her fans, but also the fact that Ariana has cultivated a very intense connection with them, and even admits to becoming friends with some her fans after meeting them on Twitter. With such a close connection to their idol, it’s no surprise that Ariana is a large influence on her fans.
Alternative Rock Song of the Year:
‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons
Ever since this song dropped on October 22nd, 2013 it has controlled the airwaves, and has continued to launch alternative rock band Imagine Dragons into the spotlight. This band continues to prove that they can release hit after hit (they even won a Grammy last year for their song ‘Radioactive’), so it’s easy to see how ‘Demons’ had a great chance of becoming the mega hit it has become.
Song of the Year:
‘Stay’ by Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
Do I really need to explain why this song won? If you own a radio then you know what a huge hit this has been for Rihanna and Mikky Ekko. This track has charted at #1 in numerous countries, and has been acclaimed by critics. Since this track followed up Rihanna’s very popular hit ‘Diamonds’, you know it had to be catchy, relatable, and still hold a bit of that edge that sets Rihanna apart from other radio artists. This song certainly delivers and also proves that Rihanna is more than capable of digging deep and delivering emotionally driven songs with truthfulness and passion.
Best Country Song:
Blake Shelton ‘Boys ‘Round Here’
Country superstar Blake Shelton has certainly had a huge hit with this track. It was a fun direction for Blake, but it also didn’t tray from the sound that has made his fans fall in love with him. The track reached #1 on the ‘U.S Billboard Country Airplay’, and was praised by critics for “taking a chance” with its’ sound.
EDM Song of the Year:
‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii
If you didn’t know who this Swedish DJ/Producer was before, then you definitely knew who he was after the song was released on June 17th, 2013. This song not only launched Avicii, but also singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc (who co-wrote the track with Avicii). This song has definitely helped Avicii launch himself into the forefront of the rising EDM culture in mainstream music.
Until recently you may or not have known who this producer/singer/songwriter is but this year we all relieved a crash course in Pharrell 101. For nearly a decade, Pharrell has produced hits for artists such as: Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Kanye West, Pitbull, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, etc. Pharrell has been well known for years in the music industry, as an innovator due to his experimentation with different sounds, and his collaborations with artists from very diverse genres. Lately, Pharrell has taken his creativity to a new level, and is now also well known for his vocal ability and onstage showmanship (as well as his famous brown hat from the Grammys…you know which one). With such an established history and bright future, it is obvious that Pharrell will continue to make a lasting impression on the music industry.
Artist of the Year:
I think we’ve gone through all the reasons why Rihanna is the artist of the year. I mean with hit track after hit track, and the deep love of her fans, I don’t think that any other artist could have received this award.
Pitbull & G.R.L.:
Pitbull and American/British/Canadian girl group G.R.L. (which was formed by the ‘Pussycat Dolls’ mastermind Robin Antin), performed their new track ‘Wild Wild Love’. The members of G.R.L. wore cool black leather short shorts and some wore fun dresses. Pitbull wore a coral jacket with a peach shirt and white pants. The back screen displayed a brown sky, with small white clouds. The staging also included lots of flashing lights that got the crowd excited. As ‘Wild Wild Love’ ended, Pitbull began performing his hit track ‘Timber’. For this performance, dancers came out and added an energy boost to the already high energy performance. This was definitely a fun way to start the show.
Country superstar kept the energy high by performing his 200 hit ‘My Kinda Night’. Luke kept his outfit casual by wearing skinny jeans, a black t-shirt, and matching black baseball cap. His staging included lots if cool spotlights shooting out throughout the stage. Luke also brought his showmanship to the table by showing off fun dance moves, and interacting with the fans. He’s performance definitely made this our “kinda night”. Good job Luke!
Now if you own a radio and do not live under a rock, you know who Bastille is, and you’re guilty of car singing their hit ‘Pompeii’ one too many times( it’s ok we’ve all done it…and the song is definitely awesome enough to warrant that crazy look random strangers on the road give you as you’re driving). Bastille gave an amazing performance that included lots of cool flashing lights, and the lead singer assisting on the drums at different points of the song. The performance made an impression by being very memorable, and so intriguing that you couldn’t look away. I think that this performance proved that Bastille will become as famous as they want to be (yes it was THAT amazing!).
Ed Sheeran began his performance with an up tempo version of his 2012 (2011 in the U.K.) hit ‘The A Team’. The performance was shown via satellite from the ‘Hotel Cafe’ in Los Angeles, CA. He followed up this song with his newest hit ‘Sing’, which not only showed off his amazing vocal abilities, but also his guitar skills. It was a very fun performance to watch, and further cemented why Ed’s talent has been able to capture his fans’ hearts.
Ariana began her performance with her breakout hit ‘The Way’ (which you have DEFINITELY had hairbrush karaoke sessions too). Ariana came out wearing a black jazz with knee-high white go-go dancing style boots. She was accompanied by several male dancers who wore white shorts and black dress coats, enter background singers wore black dresses that matched Ariana dress except they wore black boots. The back screen had ‘Ariana’ written in large bright lights. As always, Ariana gave spectacular performance of ‘The Way’. She then changed into a sparkly black dress, her background singers wore black pants and white mid drifts, and her background dancers wore black shirts (some wore white shorts) and no shirts. After changing, Ariana sang her new hit song ‘Problem’, which of course she sang flawlessly, which warranted cheers from the crowd.
The most anticipated performance of the night was definitely the premiere of Michael Jackson’s debut single ‘Love Never Felt so Good’ off of his second posthumous (which means that it was released after his death) album ‘Xscape’. The track features Justin Timberlake, and was previously recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1984. The performance was really intricate, with numerous dancers who were dressed like Michael, and danced along with video of clips of Michael (which were shown on the back screens). Usher came out as the song began and danced along with the other dancers. It was really cool to see all of these talented dancers pay homage to Michael Jackson, and celebrate his work. The performance ended with a large poster falling over the screen, with the cover of Michael’s album on it. This was definitely the crowd favorite performance of the night.
Hip-Hop/Rap artist was up next with his track ‘California Love’. He wore a baseball cap, blue jeans, and a cool jacket. Before his performance he did a testimony about seeing a Dr. Dre and Tupac shoot a music video in his hometown of Compton, CA. His song gave off a very 80s meets Run DMC meets Will Smith vibe, and the performer was a lot of fun to watch.
30 Seconds to Mars:
30 Seconds to Mars performed their new song ‘City of Angels’ (I’ll give you one chance to guess which city the song is about…well go on take a guess…you know you know it). The performance included testimonies from celebrities and regular people trying to have a career in LA on the good and bad things about the city (these testimonies were also in the band’s music video for the song). The performance had a very haunting vibe about it, and ended with a superman impersonator saying, “Do I think I’ll make it in the industry? Only if I keep believing”.
Next Shakira performed her new song ‘Empire’. The staging was very elaborate and perfectly matched the vibe of the song. The back screen had images of leaves falling behind a black background that alternated between black, pink, and yellow. Then once the chorus hit, colored smoke was released. Shakiest certainly got really into her performance, which made the crowd go crazy for her. Shakira also brought a very rock and road vibe to her performance at one point, when he grabbed her mic stand, turned it upside down, and sang into it while holding the mic above her head. It was a very fun and unforgettable performance to watch.
Next up was Blake Shelton who performed his new track ‘Doing What She Likes’. The staging was very simple, with a back screen that changed colors from blue to yellow, with the image of a palm tree on the screen. Blake accompanied his band on the guitar, and definitely gave a fun performance that the audience just loved.
Arcade Fire performed their track ‘Normal Person’ (which was shown via video). Their performance included cool purple lights that lit up the stage, and the audience wearing cool foam fingers. This high energy performance was a lot of fun to watch, and continued the high energy trend that ruled the evening.
The last performance of the night was given by Pharrell Williams who did a medley of several of his hit tracks. He began his performance with his track ‘Come Get it Bae’ off of his album ‘GIRL’. The staging was definitely the most elaborate of the night, and included multiple stages, and numerous dancers who wore very futuristic ‘Jetsons’ style outfits. The next song that was performed was the 2013 hit ‘Blurred Lines’. While singing this song, Pharrell went into the area that the celebrities were sitting, and sang to them. The next song that was performed was another big hit from 2013 entitled ‘Get Lucky’. While this track played, the dancers went into a circle of mirrors and danced to the song. The finally song that was fine was ‘Happy’ (which was included in the ‘Despicable Me’ soundtrack, as well as ‘GIRL’). The dancers reemerge in letterman jackets, which have them a very 50s vibe, and was a nice finishing touch to an amazing number.
This award show also contained numerous testimonies from artists such as Iggy Azalea, Coldplay, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pete Wentz of Fallout Boy, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Rita Ora, and many more. the artists spoke about their experiences in LA, their first times encountering the city, and the lessons that they’ve learned from their failures and triumphs in the music business.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’, we are going to discuss my predictions for the 2014 ACM awards! Now this is a really big night for country music, and honestly all of the nominees deserve the various awards. However, I made a list for some of the artists that I believed went above and beyond the norm this year. Are y’all ready!?! Then let’s go!!!
Entertainer of the Year: George Strait
Although all of the nominees deserve this award, I definitely think that “King” George will walk away with it this year. His ‘Love is Everything’ album made its debut at #2 on the Billboard 200 charts and #1 on the Country Albums chart. This album further solidified George Strait’s place in history by becoming his 18th top 10 album on the Billboard 200 chart (tying him with Paul McCartney for the fourth-most top 10 albums among male artists in history). I think that this accomplishment alone is a true testament to George Strait’s career, also since this is his last opportunity to win this award, one more ACM award would be the perfect ended to a legendary career.
Male Vocalist of the Year: Luke Bryan
With mega hits this year such as: ‘Crash My Party’ (which peaked at #2 on the U.S. charts), ‘That’s My Kind of Night’, ‘Drink a Beer’ (which both peaked at # 1 on the U.S. charts), ‘Play it Again’ (which peaked at #9 on the U.S. charts), and a feature on the hit Florida Georgia Line track ‘This is How We Roll’ (which has peaked at #1 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs), Luke Bryan has been an inescapable force this year. With his catchy party songs, and new country vocals, Luke has taken over the airwaves, and in doing so has definitely proved that he was the male voice that represented country music this year.
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
Throughout the past few years, Miranda has certainly shown us that she represents country music with the upmost respect and passion. This year was certainly no different, due in part to her amazing breakout hits: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ (which is nominated for numerous awards at the ACMs, and has peaked at #20 on The Billboard charts, making this her highest peaking single to date, as of April 3rd, 2014), ‘All Kinds of Kinds’(which was praised by critics as “daring” and having a “meaningful and impacting message”), and ‘Automatic’ (which made its debut at #26 on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay chart, making it Miranda’s highest debuting single to date, as of April 3, 2014). As if this weren’t enough, Miranda also had a hit duet with Keith Urban entitled ‘We Were Us’ (which peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay and U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts). With all of these hits under her belt, I can’t see how any artist has represented country music in a better light than Miranda Lambert.
Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
When you think of country music duos, there are only 3 words that you think of…do you have it?…that’s right Florida Georgia Line! They had us rocking all year long with their infectious tracks: ‘Cruise’ (which peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country charts, generated a remix featuring Hip-Hop/R&B vocalist Nelly that has yet to leave radio rotation, and lead them to global fame…not bad for a lead single!), ‘Get Your Shine On’, ‘Round Here’ (which both peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country charts), ‘Stay’, and ‘This is How We Roll’ Feat. Luke Bryan (which both peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country charts). With all of these hits and no signs that the momentum is stopping any time soon, is there really a better choice!?! Yeah I didn’t think so.
Vocal Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum
Ever since they first came on to the country music scene in 2007 with their debut single ‘Love Don’t Live Here’ (which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart), Lady Antebellum have been an unstoppable force in country music. This past year they released their 5th studio album ‘Golden’, and the title perfectly describes the country group. ‘Golden’ produced a number of successful singles for the group, which included: ‘Downtown’, and ‘Compass’ (which peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay charts), and ‘Goodbye Town’ (which received praise from critics for its demonstration of the group’s continued growth). I believe that Lady Antebellum proves time and time again that they are the top tier group in Country Music, and they’re later album only further solidifies this.
Album of the Year: ‘Crash My Party’ by Luke Bryan
I think anyone who has followed Country Music this year knows that Luke Bryan has had a phenomenal run. Four must be a lucky number for Luke because his fourth studio album ‘Crash My Party’ had produced 4 hit singles. Throughout this album, Luke has shown his playful, party side (‘That’s My Kind of Night’), his romantic side (‘Crash My Party’ and ‘Play It Again’), and his soft and somber side (with ‘Drink a Beer’). With such a diverse album (which peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums), I don’t see how another album could receive the distinction that comes with this award.
Single of the Year: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ by Miranda Lambert
Now this is a song that we’ve all heard all year long! This song has peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay and U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and as of November 2013, has sold 1,521,000 copies (yeah that’s A LOT!!!!). The song also received positive reviews from critics, who raved about the track’s tone and lyrics. What I really loved about this song is that it showed that after all these years; Miranda still has the same spunk and sass that made audiences first fall in love with her.
Song of the Year: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ by Miranda Lambert
Ok…seriously consider how many times you’ve heard this song this year…exactly!!! This combined with everything that I wrote in the previous paragraph perfectly demonstrates why ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ IS Country Music’s ‘Song of the Year’.
Video of the year: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ by Miranda Lambert
Honestly this is probably my favorite video of this year! I loved how she kept a tone of seriousness throughout the whole video, despite the fact that the lyrics were not serious at all. Miranda also had quite a few funny moments in this video where she played with her facial expressions. All in all, I really loved how this video showed just how comfortable Miranda is within her artistry, and also projected the confidence that the lyrics contain. If you haven’t seen this video, or just want to see it again, here you go: Miranda Lambert – Mama’s Broken Heart
Vocal event of the year: ‘We Were Us’ by Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert
Now you know that anything that Miranda Lambert is connected with is automatically going to be a HUGE success…and this song is no exception. What I really loved about this duet was Miranda and Keith’s ability to harmonize beautifully, and make this track a standout on the radio. These two artists certainly deserve all of the acclaim in the world because of this duet, and Keith’s phenomenal guitar skills on the track make this a “vocal event” that will not soon be forgotten.
National on Air Personality: Kix Brooks: ‘American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks’
This is definitely a no brainer. Anyone who turns on the radio at the end of the week has heard Kix Brooks’ show. The former second half of the country super duo ‘Brooks and Dunn’ has certainly made his mark on the other side of radio. His charismatic personality and charm has allowed audience’s to fall in love with him in a new way, and for these and numerous other reasons, proves that he definitely deserve this award.