Interview Feature: John Rowley

My old ass almost collapsed into a walking frame when 18-year old Sydney pop singer/songwriter John Rowley told me that Delta Goodrem was one of his childhood pop idols.

JOHN ROWLEY

I am not accustomed to interviewing someone so young that they list artists that have emerged in the last 10 years as their musical heroes.

But it gets better.

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Interview Feature: Jade Macrae reinvents herself as Dune

Well, technically, I was supposed to be speaking with Dune. That’s the name on the interview opp email and press release. But I don’t know Dune very well and I would feel much more comfortable talking about Dune with her creator than to Dune per se.

DUNE SHOESTRING

You see, Dune is the artist name Jade Macrae goes by these days and in order to understand why that is, it would be best to speak with Jade herself.

The ARIA-nominated Australian R&B singer we’ve all come to know from hits like ‘So Hot Right Now’, ‘You Make Me Weak’ and the trashy ‘In The Basement’ is nothing like the artist she was when she broke out eight years ago.

“The music I’m making now is definitely more alternative than what I’ve done before, so I thought it needed its own name, its own identity and personality,” Jade said about her current incarnation as Dune.

“I didn’t want people to confuse the issue with what they’ve heard from me in the past.”

Check out the video for Dune’s debut single ‘Shoestring’:



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Quick Feed: Guy Sebastian, Delta Goodrem, Melanie Amaro and Parade

Despite having woken up at 4am this morning to do breakfast radio (side bar: we interviewed Ricki-Leesquee with me later) then rushed off to my full-time job, I still found the good humour to kid myself into thinking I could actually bang out “a few quick blog posts” before going to a friend’s celebratory dinner. Exhaustion is an understatement right now.

Guy Sebastian declares war on love.

GUY SEBASTIAN BATTLE SCARS

Fuck, I just had this amazing light bulb moment. In celebration of my obvious “career” highlight interviewing Ricki-Lee this week – why don’t we try to slot in as many RLC pop references as we can into this post. In fact, if you record a reading of this whole blog out loud then play the tape backwards, it should somehow sound like ‘Raining Diamonds’.

The original Australian Idol Guy Sebastian has revealed the artwork for this newest single ‘Battle Scars’, which features star American rapper Lupe Fiasco. To be honest with you, any of the rugged and masculine chic images we’ve seen of Guy in the last two years could’ve all been done in the same photo shoot. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, unlike the below class act with her giant piece of joolry.

‘Battle Scars’ was sent to media today and from what I’ve heard, it is major ballad of Toni Braxton‘s ‘Yesterday’ proportions.

We can probably expect the new album Armageddon to drop some time before this season of Aussie X Factor is through.

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Christina Parie Interview

Not to be confused with the similarly named ‘Jar of Hearts’ purveyor, Christina Parie, the Aussie X Factor pop sensation is ready to set the record straight on a few things. The regular confusion with her Warner Music label mate Christina Perri being the first we cross off the list.

CHRISTINA PARIE INTERVIEW

“Ahhh!” she screams down the phone to me before bursting into laughter, in a reaction that was part relief and part amused when I told her that I had once put my hand up for an interview with Christina Perri thinking I had bagged one with her.

“The confusion works the other way now! ‘Cause usually they get me confused with her. Now you get her confused with me!” she said.

The Sydney teen would no doubt be untangling more mix ups of the sort now that she’s doing promo and interviews to herald her debut EP: 16 and Unstoppable.

Christina is the latest contestant from the 2011 Australian X Factor series to step into the spotlight with her own music, following close behind former competitors Reece Mastin and Johnny Ruffo, who both scored ARIA Top 20 hits with their singles.

When asked if there was a sense of rivalry still lurking after the show, Christina shut it down saying there never was one to begin with.

Read the full interview on auspOp.

Kimbra Interview: “Vows”

After a year-long courtship with this Kiwi indie pop siren, isn’t it time we exchanged Vows?

This time last year the buzz about Kimbra and her quality breakthrough single ‘Settle Down’ sent the blogosphere and Australian music scene into a frenzy. You could literally feel light bulbs going off in the underground and hipster community when they saw the video or heard the slamming Penguin Prison remix. I remember clutching my pearls and thinking, ‘who is this chick with the quirky musical sensibilities of Nina Simone, Björk and Bertie Blackman – and why is she not already huge?’

Well, fast forward to present time and the 21-year old artiste is co-reigning on top of the ARIA charts with Gotye on one of the biggest selling Australian singles of the year: ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’. The sudden mainstream crossover couldn’t have come at a more opportune time as Kimbra herself was ready to unveal her debut album.

Vows is a breathtaking mix of experimental indie pop powered by an undercurrent of jazz influences, hip hop beats and a lush orchestral soundscape. The highlights will depend on your mood and preference for poetic indulgence but it’s safe to say she’s got her bases covered from sun-soaked Brunswick pop perfections in ‘Cameo Lover’ through to some bewitching moments like ‘Plain Gold Ring’.

Here Kimbra chats with me about the album, getting naked with Gotye and tentative plans to crack America next year. She walks me through Vows‘ extensive creative processes from experimenting in the studio with her asthma inhaler through to the album art direction and original illustrations created for each track. We also discuss her significant signing with Warner Bros. Music and how coming correct as a “package” helped her seal the deal.

Kimbra‘s interview first aired on JOY 94.9‘s Diff’rent Strokes with Jade and Dave. Y’all can read the full chat after the jump.

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Brandy Talks Up Her Comeback and ‘Drop Dead Diva’ Role

I have no idea how long it’s been since I last saw a Brandy interview on telly. This comeback of hers is already gathering momentum in the right direction ever since she announced her exciting new record deal with RCA/Chameleon [Editor’s note: RCA being home to the likes of Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson].

This interview is actually rather explosive for a few reasons and we’re gonna walk through it together in a minute. But first things first, the R&B singer’s set to debut her first acting role in centuries this coming week on the new episode of Drop Dead Diva – where she plays Parker’s ex who turns to the firm for some legal help. Brandy’s character will appear on three episodes with the possibility of a return for season four, if the series gets picked up again.

Watch the interview here – featuring a preview of her Drop Dead Diva appearance:

 

Here she also talks about her new record deal and why this signing is “huge” for her:

“It’s huge because I’m working with people that believe in me. It’s hard to work with people who don’t believe or think you’re done. If I could touch two people [with my music] then I’ve done my job.”

It kinda hurts my soul to hear Brandy come out sounding a bit bruised. I mean, I’m sure those who have seen her VH1 reality series Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business would have a clearer idea of the situation but every now and then, I read comments and interviews and it just breaks my heart to see this woman, who I consider an R&B legend of our generation, sound so defeated.

I absolutely hope to god that this album she’s working on right now, this so-called return to her R&B roots, will connect with people in the way fellow R&B veterans like Monica and Mary J. Blige have. In terms of getting Bran more exposure, her team better come correct and start hooking her up to more appropriate appearances. They need to do whatever it takes to align her with projects that build her brand as a respectable R&B singer and actress, not pitch her as some celebrity desperate to get on any reality show to stage a comeback.

Speaking of reality, the Never Say Never singer has vowed to never do another episode.

“No more reality for me! I just don’t think I’m interesting enough for reality. I’m not throwing champagne glasses at my mama, I’m not fighting with my friends… my reality is a little boring for what reality is today.”

Footnotes:

Brandy‘s acting spree doesn’t just start and end with Drop Dead Diva. The I Still Know What You Did Last Summer screen siren also has a guest role coming up on CW’s 90210, where she plays a “kick ass” politician.

Alexandra Stan Interview

Whether you’ve been out handling your business in the clubs or up in the gym working on your fitness, you would’ve no doubt heard Alexandra Stan‘s ‘Mr Saxobeat’ blasting through the speakers.

The Romanian dance diva has become an overnight success with the breakthrough hit sending her to the top of the charts in Romania, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Slovakia and Switzerland. ‘Mr Saxobeat’ has also gone Top 10 in 16 countries, including the UK, and managed to top the US Billboard Dance/Club play charts.

The single first broke out in her home country last November at the crack of winter but the instant summer club jam soon spread like fire across European dance floors and is now turning it out around South America and the Australasia region. Here in Australia, ‘Mr Saxobeat’ is only starting to work its magic, rising to a new peak of #30 on our ARIA singles chart this week.

I caught up with Alexandra for her first ever Australian radio interview (via JOY 94.9) to see how she’s coping with all the success and suss out what else she’s got in store for us. Alexandra gives us a heads up on her forthcoming debut album Saxobeat, explains why she wants to do an album with both James Blunt and David Guetta, and reveals that she’s never been gay clubbing before! Gurl, please. You can’t ascend to Queen of Clubs status without this initiation by glitter. We all know that.

Check out my chat with the sweet Alexandra Stan after the jump.

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