Emily Keener to Play Hotel Cafe

Just who is Emily Keener, and why is she worth seeing live at Hotel Cafe, a staple for music lovers in Los Angeles and the home of today’s talented up-and-comers? The seventeen year old singer/songwriter from Ohio gained fame as a top 12 contestant on ‘The Voice,’ and her avid passion for music has produced nearly 100 original songs, three EPs and two LPs. Her new album, “Breakfast,” is a breath of fresh air at the end of a long day (I would know, since I played it at the end of my long day), and it’s worth a listen. According to Keener, “This record is the result of the most intense and transformative year of [her] life,” and though she had some stunning performances on ‘The Voice’ covering classics (i.e. Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years“), she’s at heart a songwriter, and she’s ready to spread her wings with original tunes. And now’s your chance to see her live. Head to Hotel Cafe on Wednesday, December 7, at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30).

Luke Wade Premieres “Three Days” — Listen Now

Singer-songwriter Luke Wade premiered his new single “Three Days,” and it’s got just the right amount of soulful undertone to grab my attention. “Three Days” is the first single off Wade’s upcoming album, Only Ghosts, which is set for release on January 13th! 

The Texas-based musician stepped into the spotlight on Season 7 of NBC’s “The Voice”, finishing in the Top 8 with Team Pharrell. Wade has performed alongside Train, Rusted Root, Blue October, Ingrid Michelson, and more. Of his third record, Wade says, “With this album, I was able to use what I’ve learned to be a little more patient, focus on the quality of the songs, the production, and I feel like my vision has really come together.”

Listen to the track below. 

LeAnn Rimes Debuts “The Story” — WATCH NOW

Despite the fact that she blocked me on twitter, I am in fact a fan of LeAnn Rimes, if only for the voice alone. The direction of her current career faces challenges, especially after the fallout of her affair with now-husband Eddie Cibrian, and some less than stellar social media behavior. But a good voice rises to the top, and she certainly has one. In her new video for “The Story” Rimes emotionally covers the Brandi Carlile tune while rolling around in a mirror maze. And while it proves she’s got singing chops, it would be nice if the video was a tad more creative. It’s as if LeAnn finally discovered she’s hot and wants to remind everyone else about it . . . constantly. We get it. You’re hot, you have a killer body now, and you can certainly out-sing the best of them. Now push outside the close-ups and emotional face shots. I didn’t like it on Gwen Stefani’s “Used To Love You,” and I certainly don’t like it here.

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton Duet on ‘The Voice’

gwen_blake_thevoiceMy issue with Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani’s harmonies are similar to their general relationship. It’s a square peg and a round hole, and no matter how much they use the media to convince us of their love, the pairing just seems odd. But perhaps that’s a good thing. After all, Blake and Miranda seemed like a perfectly matched country couple, and that didn’t work. Plus, Gwen has a good track record for monogamy, having only been in two very long relationships for her entire life. Watch their performance of “Go Ahead and Break My Heart” on ‘The Voice’.

Remember When I Featured Mackenzie Bourg? He’s Back!

BourgIn an effort to gloat, I will take a moment to highlight Top 14 ‘American Idol’ contestant Mackenzie Bourg, with whom I previously shined a spotlight on during his stint on ‘The Voice,’ despite the fact that he prematurely got axed from the rival NBC show.The 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Lafayette, Louisiana sang “Pumped Up Kicks” on ‘The Voice,’ and his tenacious efforts to showcase his talents landed him on FOX’s final season of Idol. Watch below. I have a feeling he’ll go far in the competition, and if he wins, you can expect that I will brag for eternity. 

Adam Levine Bashes Record Labels Behind ‘The Voice’

The VoiceAdam Levine visited Howard Stern and the Maroon 5 star slammed the record labels behind ‘The Voice,’ for their inability to produce an actual music star, unlike ‘American Idol,’ who has had massive success with Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and more. According to Levine, when the baton is passed post-Voice, the label flounders. He said that though he tries to help by using his own star power to promote his winners, the process is far too complicated to fix.  Per the Washington Post, “Depending on their genre, winners go on to a variety of Universal labels, from Republic Records (Tessanne Chin, Sawyer Fredericks) to Nashville’s Big Machine (Danielle Bradbery, Cassadee Pope).” He also added that ‘American Idol’ released new singles during the finale, followed by a very quick turnout of their debut album. ‘The Voice’ does not.

What’s interesting about Levine’s stance is that Simon Cowell’s true motivation behind ‘American Idol’ was always to produce a music star, not a television show. Cowell felt the labels weren’t doing their job of finding the next sensation, so he’d do it for them.  His planned worked, and he used ‘American Idol’ as a platform to push his find. ‘The Voice,’ is created by powerhouse reality producer Mark Burnett, whose musical expertise doesn’t hold a candle to Cowell. The man can make a show, but he can’t make a music star. Furthermore, the judging panel has zero A&R experience, and while it might be nice to see Gwen Stefani’s outfits atop a big red chair, she’s never found the next big thing. As for Adam Levine himself, my critique holds the same weight.

Hats off to Adam Levine for an honest Howard Stern interview. Hopefully the powers that be will attempt an intervention and take action. Otherwise, you’re just a bunch of big stars on big red chairs with big paychecks. It’s surely a pretty picture, but when the gloss begins to fade, so will the audience.

THE VOICE finale: WATCH the Best Performances

The Voice delivered some of its best performances to date, and they predictably came from its A-listers instead of its amateurs. Bruno Mars had a standout performance beside Mark Ronson with ‘Uptown Funk,’ and Meghan Trainor successfully transitioned from being “All About that Bass,” to “Lips are Movin’.” As for Hozier, it’s safe to say he took us far beyond the church with a chilling rendition of his massive hit single. Though it would be kind to mention the show’s finalists, I won’t. They simply are not good enough, and ‘The Voice’ has become a venue for powerful stars to peddle their projects, instead of a springboard for struggling artists. The only reason Craig Wayne Boyd stands a chance is because the country community is loyal, but that didn’t help Danielle Bradbery. That’s okay though. I very much enjoyed the finale. WATCH BELOW




Gwen Stefani Releases “Spark the Fire” Video: WATCH NOW

Everyone knows that the sole purpose of ‘The Voice’ is to give the judges a chance to peddle their projects in front of a large population of people. And one of those judges now includes Gwen Stefani, who performed her new track live on the show. Her latest song, “Spark the Fire,” is an up-tempo tune, which was predictably co-penned and produced by hit maker Pharrell Williams. The eye-catching, animated video is a must see. Watch below to see Stefani at the top of her solo game.

Gwen Stefani Talks Gavin Rossdale, The Voice, and more!

The Voice

Wonderwall sat down with Gwen Stefani for an exclusive interview about her new role on ‘The Voice,’ working with her husband, and stepping on the stage so soon after her son was born. Read some quotes below, and visit Wonderwall for more.

On collaborating with her husband, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, who serves as a mentor on the upcoming season of “The Voice”:

“I went back and forth about having Gavin on [the show] because we have only collaborated on babies before. … They turned out really cute. … He breeds well.”

On being torn about working with her husband on “The Voice”:

“I was really overwhelmed that Gavin was actually going to be on [the show] with me, and we got in a little fight about it the night before because I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can handle this. It’s just too much.’ Then I slept on it, and in the morning, I said, ‘Let’s do this. It’s going to spice things up. This is new. Let’s do something collaborative. Why not?’ And it was awesome.”

On why she was so nervous about working with her husband on “The Voice”:

“The first couple [of contestants] who came through, I was so nervous. I wasn’t nervous because of being on the show. I was nervous because I was sitting next to him. He’s smart. He’s so musical. You play different roles for different people in your life — and I’m his wife, so it was weird. But it was awesome and really, really fun to do that with him.”

On deciding to get back to work so quickly after welcoming her third son:

“I wasn’t motivated. I literally had just had my new little baby boy, and I was sitting at home and the phone rang. … It was so quick and spontaneous, and I think that’s been the best part about it.”

On her first public appearance after welcoming her third child:

“[Pharrell] asked me to do Coachella, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I literally just popped out this baby,’ but I wanted to do is it so bad. … I got a tour bus because I wanted to show off for my kids. So I got a tour bus and I got the boys on the bus and we drove to Palm Springs. The first time I left the house after having a baby was walking out on stage [at Coachella] to do ‘Hollaback Girl.’”

On her concerns about being the only female coach on “The Voice”:

“I was nervous because it’s one thing to be in the boys’ club with guys you have known since you were 16 years old. But to walk onto this platform with these guys who have been doing it already and not knowing them, I was freaked out a little bit.”

On not having girlfriends:

“I’m used to being the only girl. I paid for Harajuku girls to hang out with me at one point in my life because no girls would hang out with me. I was always surrounded by boys — and I don’t know how that happened because I’m such a girl. I love getting dressed up. I love hair and makeup. I played Barbies.”

On loving Barbies and why she can’t have them now:

“If I had all girls [instead of sons], I would still be playing Barbies. But I don’t get to because if I got Barbies at my house, [my sons] would just take all the clothes off and go like, ‘Oh, they’re naked!’ And then I would have to get rid of them because it’s inappropriate.”

American Idol Hits Ratings Low — An Inside Look at What Went Wrong

Many entertainment outlets have widely reported on the decline of American Idol, with The Voice now taking the talent-show crown. While viewer fatigue might explain the end of an era, there has to more. First, this year’s judging panel is the best in years, so it can’t be the cast. Can it be the contestants? American Idol eliminated an essential component of previous years, moving up the start date during “Rush Week.” It’s possible this served to freshen the format, but it also threw the contestants into the deep end of the pool too soon. As a result, the top picks are much less polished. In fact, there’s really no standout performer to take the top spot. This failing can also be attributed to the judges who picked these players to place in the coveted live shows. And though Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban are proven powerhouses in the industry with incredible inside knowledge of music, that doesn’t mean they are adept at A&R. Actually, The Voice is also guilty of this critique, given that after multiple seasons on the air, they have yet to find a star. Simon Cowell might have been liked for his caustic barbs, but he also has a proven A&R track record, which might explain why American Idol has produced a wide array of big-name talent through the years (see Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, and more). And since he’s also responsible for assembling One Direction, it’s clear the man’s still got it. As for whether the show can be saved, I don’t have a solution other than to suggest the format is still not fresh enough in a now-competitive environment. Plus, these singers simply aren’t good enough. Watch the videos below to see the only singers that stand a chance.

Alex Preston – Every Breath You Take – American… by IdolxMuzic

Sam Woolf – Time After Time – American Idol 13… by IdolxMuzic