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Katya Berger

Wandering the Intermediary

By | Music

French electronic music producer, The Avener, is due to release his upcoming debut album The Wanderings of the Avener in January 2015 on the back of his hit single Fade Out Lines, released late 2013. After having made it to the No.1 spot on the iTunes electronic music charts in countries across Europe, The Avener’s big upcoming project promises an eclectic mix of genres, compelling and sophisticated rhythms that conjure up a mosaic of atmospheres. His music transcends the boundaries of genre, period and style, the commercial and the underground, the nostalgic and the energetic. Far from seeking to be defined or placed in one single category, The Avener meanders along the pathways of the intermediary. Embracing each aspect of his musical path, always seeking to enrich his sound with a touch of elegance, always seeking to dodge the norm through harmonic experimentation.

Congratulations on the success of your hit single Fade Out Lines, released late 2013, which went to No.1 on the iTunes electronic music charts. What’s the story behind the song?
The track speaks about life in general, about the bad times and the feeling of desperation that follows, a feeling that takes a hold on you. It’s also about having to keep moving forward despite our struggles.

The Avener – Fade Out Lines

How did you come to know Phoebe Killdeer and the Short Straws?
To be honest, I didn’t know her personally before working on the track; I was just a big fan of her work.

Why did you choose to sample this song instead of another?
The melody particularly moved me and made certain things resonate with me that I hadn’t found elsewhere.

How did it all begin for you and how would you describe your journey so far?
It all began on the 11th October 2013, when my label 96 Musique decided to go ahead with the single. At first, we were really happy to have reached 1000 views (hahaha)… today we’ve reached over 5 million views. We still can’t believe it… I’m living a true waking dream.

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What does The Avener represent for you in terms of name, image and sound?
The Avener is a name I came across in a book on the United Kingdom. ‘The Avener’ is the person who looks after the horses of the Royal Guard. Yes, I love horses…

The Wanderings of the Avener is your big upcoming project. What can you tell us about it?
I’ve produced a lot over the past 5 months, finding inspiration in everything that I love: Deep House, Folk, Blues, Pop, Jazz, Soul… There’s something for everyone in this eclectic album, which is due to be released in January 2015.

What message do you seek to communicate through your music?
In the most humble of ways, I’m looking to transmit the emotions that make me tremble.

What are your 3 main sources of inspiration as a producer?
I really listen to everything! From Chopin to Daft Punk, I don’t restrict myself to one particular style.

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Did you set yourself a deadline for the production of your album? If so, did this influence your creative process?
Yes and no, I was quite free with regards to time, even if there was of course a ‘deadline’ to finish the album. But my creativity is constantly churning and so I was very productive in the studio.

Which is your favourite track on the album and why?
I don’t really have a preference; I love them all! Each track represents a different aspect of my personality.

What has been the most unique experience for you throughout the production of your album?
I was lucky enough to have been able to record real instruments in the studio, which makes a huge change from the Home Studio. It adds real emotion to the album.

What would be your dream collaboration and why?
Moby and Nicolas Jaar – they represent an artistic freedom that I would like to attain.

When will The Wanderings of the Avener be released? Do you have any plans to go on tour?
The 19th January! You can find all the info regarding tour dates on: www.theavener.com/tour

The Avener chose our Sunday Sessions this week. Click here for the playlist.

Follow The Avener on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram, or visit his website.


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Top 10 Movie Soundtracks of All Time

By | Featured, Films, Music

“To me, movies and music go hand in hand. When I’m writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I’m going to play for the opening sequence.” – Quentin Tarantino.

Indeed, music and film are very close art forms that naturally fit together to produce great emotional effect in the movie theatre room. Music adds to the overall atmosphere and tone of a sequence, gives it its special touch and renders a scene unforgettable; music can transport a film’s audience to whole other dimensions. That’s something that’s quite amazing. Here we honor these unique moments and have compiled some all-time classic tunes that have and will always be associated to a particular scene in a particular film.

Tap any video title to open it in Creation 5.

“Music is a big factor in helping the illusion of the film come to life. The same way music brings back different periods to our lives.” – Francis Ford Coppola.

1. The Graduate – Sound of Silence & Mrs Robinson (Simon & Garfunkel)



The “Sound of Silence” is, hands down, “one of folk pop’s most beautiful moments” – nobody in their right mind could contest that. Simon & Garfunkel made “The Graduate” the iconic film that it is today, but in 1967, it was director Mike Nichols that made Simon & Garfunkel the timeless duo that will always be remembered. Nichols brilliantly used several of their songs as the soundtrack to his chronicle of post-collegiate alienation. Mrs Robinson and Sound of Silence are two serious all-time hits placed in unprecedented manner in one serious Hollywood blockbuster – the hits come hand-in-hand. Curiously enough, Nichols originally used their most exceptional songs, including “Sound of Silence”, as placeholders to get the pacing right in certain parts of the film. I think we’re all indebted to Nichols for having finally come to his senses by realising that the songs were perfect where they were. “The Graduate” owns Simon & Garfunkel and Simon & Garfunkel own “The Graduate”.

2. Purple Rain – When Doves Cry & Purple Rain (Prince and the Revolutions)

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The film “Purple Rain” is “an epic celebration of everything Rock & Roll.” Picture Prince in a film, surrounded by sex, religion, motorcycles, guitars, Lake Minnetonka and, oh yes, he’s wearing eyeliner. Set when Prince is on his historic creative streak while his heart aches with girl troubles, he’s bound to write a couple of hits like “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” because, you know, that’s just another day in the life of the Prince of pop. The two silver screen anthems frame the film in all their glory and, today, are recognised as all-time greats. The film’s grand finale blasts “Purple Rain” through the speakers as Prince rides off into the purple sunset – It’s a historic moment accompanied by one of the moodiest and most beautiful songs ever made. “When Doves Cry”, on the other hand, was the album’s first No1 single and is what propelled the album to sell 20 million copies.

3. Saturday Night Fever – Night Fever & Staying Alive (The Bee Gees)



Although a huge chunk of the music to the soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever” came from Frank Stallone, it’s The Bee Gees that killed it! Oh, The Bee Gees – From “Staying Alive” to “Night Fever” to “More Than A Woman”, “Boogie Shoes” and to “How Deep Is Your Love”, the tunes on the “Saturday Night Fever” album can still turn a room upside down with disco fever. “Staying Alive” was a smash hit, mainly due to its “driving beat, funky guitar riff and falsetto” and, of course, its awesomness. When the Bee Gees were engaged to write some songs for the film’s soundtrack, they refused to call their song “Saturday Fever” to match the title of the movie because too many song titles contained the word “Saturday”. Producer Robert Stigwood eventually gave in and decided to rename the film “Saturday Night Fever” – I think the Bee Gee’s stubbornness did Stigwood a huge favour (it rings better!).

The double LP was the best-selling soundtrack in music history, selling over 15 million copies, before “The Bodyguard” stole the title. These songs defined an era, turned disco fever into an all-night occurrence, and left a legacy in the late 70’s disco ball culture. What’s more, the soundtrack to this film turned our beloved John Travolta into a hearthrobbing mega film star. Who can shake the image of the young and gorgeous Travolta suited-and-booted all in white whilst boogying the legendary dance move with one hand on one hip and the other pointing to the sky.

4. The Bodyguard – I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston)


Did you know that Dolly Parton originally wrote Whitney Houston’s outstanding song “I Will Always Love You”, released in 1992 on the soundtrack of “The Bodyguard”, in 1973? Houston’s smash hit cover reigned on Billboard Hot 100 for fourteen weeks and became her signature song – the vocal queen owned it!

5. Ghostbusters – Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr.)


“Who you gonna call?… “GHOSTBUTERS!” – It’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t know who they’re gonna call when strange things are happening in their neighbourhood. Although Ray Parker Jr.’s Academy-nominated them songs “Ghostbusters” isn’t the best song out there, it continues to haunt us and will always remain a classic, if not for its cultural relevance with film-nerds than for it’s ceaseless appearance at Halloween parties year after year. Its repetitive and really, really, really hard to forget.

6. Pulp Fiction – You Never Can Tell (Chuck Berry)


“No one reframes oldies so indelibly” like Quentin Tarantino. Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” has become a cult-like ritual. Nobody can think of “Pulp Fiction” without Chuck Berry luring in the background.

7. 8 Mile – Lose Yourself (Eminem)


Eminem’s signature track “8 Mile” is a great song that almost everyone under the age of 25 knows 70% of the lyrics to (or at least they pretend they do). It’s one of those songs we kids used to rap to in the school playground, pretending we were hip (which we were, ehemm). Inspired by true events in Eminem’s (Marshal Mathers) personal life and written on the “8 Mile” movie set about his fictional character B-Rabbit, the song ended up winning the Best Original Song Oscar and two Grammy Awards. Indeed, everyone loved the track – it’s powerful and hard-hitting lyrics, energised and aggressive instrumentation and Eminem’s anger fully encased the emotion of the movie. Perhaps the lyrics “mom’s spaghetti” also had something to do with the song’s great success. “8 Mile” is raw and carries a huge emotional load – it’s refreshing, I think that’s why we love it.

8. Batman Forever – Kiss From A Rose (Seal)


The “Batman Forever” soundtrack is filled with great songs. However, Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” is on a whole other level. The “haunting ballad” is soft, beautiful and touching – it’s by far Seal’s greatest.

9. Flashdance – What A Feeling (Irene Cara)


“What A Feeling” by Irene Cara became a classic after it featured in the timeless film “Flashdance”. The title track plays as Alex (Jennifer Beal) auditions for a dance conservatory board and dumbfounds them when the song switches from ballad into speedy pop. The song went on to win an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Even those who haven’t seen the film know the very moment in the film that is bound to Irene Cara’s hit, co-written by Giorgio Moroder.

10. Space Jam – I Believe I Can Fly (R. Kelly)


R Kelly’s hit song “I Believe I Can Fly” is a classic (that is not to be argued). No matter what your opinion is on R Kelly, the Looney Tunes soundtrack belongs to a whole generation of kids-now-turned-adults – that cannot be taken away from them. Warner Brothers + Michael Jordan + green screen + cartoons = genius. The film scored a home run at the box office and the soundtrack came in on par, including beats from Jay-Z, Coolio and Busta Rhymes. R Kelly, however, is our leading man.


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What’s On, What’s Hot – Autumn TV Premieres

By | Featured, Films

We’ve been counting down the days til’ our favourite TV programmes are back on the air. Let’s not kid ourselves… we’re addicted!

With last week’s new season premieres of Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy, New Girl and The Good Wife, there’s tonnes more TV to look forward to for the run of autumn. It’s a great week ahead, with so many exciting new season premieres to watch; there’s even enough for two shows a night! So put your jammies on and get cosy!

The Big Bang Theory and The Voice are your main callings tonight (Monday). NCIS airs on Tuesday, Wednesday offers you Law & Order: SVU, Modern Family and Nashville, Thursday premieres Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and, unless you have a social life on Friday nights, you can have your eye’s glued to the screen with the new season of Hawaii Five-O. Next week also premieres The Simpsons, Family Guy and Revenge, and October has Criminal Minds, The Vampire Diaries, Homeland, The Walking Dead and Two and a Half Men on the cards for us, amongst many, many, many more.

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We look at TV’s upcoming fall releases, including new shows and highly anticipated season premieres.

Most Anticipated (click any title to play the video in Creation 5):

1. Boardwalk Empire – Season 5

Season 5: Episode #4 Preview

Boardwalk Empire is coming to a not so happy conclusion in its last season, seeing as it’s tagline reads “all empires must fall”. The show’s attraction is partly (mostly!) due to its stellar A-list movie-worthy cast of Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Michael K. Williams, Kelly Macdonald, Gretchen Mol, Jeffrey Wright, Stephen Graham, Shea Whigham, and a whole bunch more.

Even the guys who run and write the show are bloody fantastic. They include Terence Winter – the oh-so-brilliant scriptwriter who wrote The Wolf of Wall Street– Denis Lehane (Gone Baby Gone) and Pulitzer Prize nominee Howard Korder. Let’s not forget that the show was co-created by the man himself, Martin Scorsese, who directed the show’s pilot and is still the Executive Producer.

Although the show’s been accused of being “slow, repetitive” and drags on to get to its main narrative hook, there’s a reason the show’s been nominated for four Golden Globe since it first aired (winning best series in 2011). It’s also been nominated for 40 Primetime Emmys (40?!) and three WGA awards. With only seven episodes left, you might as well hang in there to find out what happens to Nucky Thompson (Buscemi).

2. Sons of Anarchy – Season 7

Toil and Till – Season 7: Episode #2 Preview

One of cable’s biggest shows, Sons of Anarchy, has reached its final season. We expect a heavy load of bullets and blood in the seventh season of Kurt Sutter’s biker-gang drama, starring Mark Boone Junior, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, as well as recurring appearances from the likes of Jimmy Smits, Peter Weller and CCH Pounder.

It’s hard to compete with SOAs out-and-out quantity of action and crazy plot twists, with overwhelming machismo and its Shakespearian coming-book vibe when it comes to blood, rape, violence and gore. While the show doesn’t tickle everyone’s fancy (at least not mine), millions of loyal fans keep coming back for more.

3. The Good Wife – Season 6

Trust Issues –  Season 6: Episode #2 Preview

The Good Wife is smart, funny, sexy, exciting and consistent. Starring Julianna Marguelies, Chris Noth, Mathew Goode and welcoming a new regular, David Hyde Pierce, amongst others, the CBS show has been one of the best dramas on TV. Last season kicked ass and was by far the best run in its history, “gleefully tearing up the status quo, proving increasingly formally experimental (the direction throughout was beautiful), giving its cast members more to do than before and being wildly entertaining at every moment.” There isn’t much out there to compete with this.

The Good Wife is perhaps the most underrated TV show on television. It’s “unapologetically feminist”, has one of the best love triangles on television, has top quality guest stars and gets better with every season. I’d give it five stars, without a shadow of a doubt.

4. Gotham

Official Extended Trailer

Gotham premieres for the first time today on FOX. The show is set in Gotham City, in the early days of Detective James Gordon (played by Ben Mckenzie of Southland/The O.C) and a pile of familiar heroes and villains. Tonight’s pilot is what one might call “ridiculously opulent – an over-the-top opera of tragedy and revenge”. Directed by Danny Cannon (Judge Dredd), developed by Bruno Heller (creator of Rome) and with wonderful music by Greame Revell, the show also has an insanely good cast, including Jada Pinkett Smith and Donal Logue. The show features various elements of the Batman mythology as well as a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz).

5. Gracepoint

Official Trailer

Anna Gunn from Breaking Bad meets David Tennant from Doctor Who in a murder drama to uncover the murder mystery of a child in a small seaside town. Written/created by Chris Chibnall and directed by James Strong, Gracepoint is based on the British series Broadchurch. The American re-adaptation of the show includes Michael Pena, Nick Nolte, and Jacki Weaver as exceptional characters from the original show and takes on strong creative principles that are to differentiate it from the original series (at least let’s hope they do!).

6. Homeland – Season 4

Season 4: Trailer

With last season’s myriad of twists and turns, it’s hard to describe what we’re in for this season. Let’s just say: “we’re in for a hefty load of more crazy stuff”. The political thriller, directed by Howard Gordon (24) and starring Claire Daines (CIA officer Carrie), Damian Lewis (ex-U.S. Marine-Sargeant-turned-terrorist, Sft. Brody) and Mandy Patinkin (Saul Berenson), sure does have us tuning in for more, with it’s action-thriller-packed storyline – you’d be rather silly not to… it’s brilliant!

7. The Affair

Season 1: Tease – The Story Begins

The Affair is a new series about a married man and woman who begin an affair that ends in tragedy and is told from both perspectives (interesting, right?). Produced by some of the people behind In Treatment and the incredible House of Cards, The Affair takes a novelistic approach to its storytelling, with a flashback/mystery structure side-by-side and with an Eleanor-Rigby-style dual perspective narcissism. What’s more, its cast involves Dominic West and Ruth Wilson as the starring duo, and Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson as their respective spouses. Although Showtime doesn’t have a 5-star track record (apart from Masters of Sex, Dexter and Homeland), The Affair looks really promising.

8. The Walking Dead – Season 5

Never Let Your Guard Down – Season 5 Trailer

The smashing adaptation of Robert Kirkaman’s zombie-themed comic book returns for yet another season. The Walking Dead is the biggest show on TV, has captivated a wider audience season after season, and is rumoured to have an even more action-packed and eventful storyline for our entertainment this season. For you zombie enthusiasts out there, this one’s for you!

9. Peaky Blinders – Season 2

Season 2: Trailer

Peaky Blinders is set in the aftermath of WW1 and focuses on the Shelby family, who returns to Birmingham to set up their criminal enterprise. While the show is essentially a UK take on Boardwalk Empire, it’s managed to find its own path on television, without hiding behind the US TV hit about the rise of the criminal empire in the aftermath of WW1.

The show continues to stay true to its lavish production values and solid writing (created and written by Steven Knight, screenwriter of Eastern Promises and director of Locke). It also features an A-list movie-level cast, with Cillian Murphy taking the lead role, Paul Anderson, Joe Cole, Helen McCrory, Annabelle Wallis and Sam Neill. Plus a few new actors in season 2, including Noah Taylor, Charlotte Riley and, most impressively, the oh-so-beautiful Tom Hardy!!

10. How To Get Away With Murder

Official Trailer

Viola Davis plays a law professor at a university in Philadelphia who teaches a class called How To Get Away With Murder. Both she and her class get involved in a murder mystery. Produced by Peter Norwalk with Shona Rhimes as the show’s executive producer, mostly known for her involvement in the brilliant series Scandal and the long-running TV hit Grey’s Anatomy, we’re in for an interesting ride of “thrills, chills and spills”. This one might just be on the cards for our “latest addiction” this autumn… 

Calling all TV-watching machines, the TV menu this fall offers an even wider selection of delicious delights, including Bedtime Stories, Twilight Zone, Sleepy Hollow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Mulaney, Kingdom, The Newsroom, The Casual Vacancy and so many more!

Prepare to hibernate in front of the telly with a warm cuppa tea!


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The UK’s Top 10 Streamed Songs of All Time

By | Featured, Music

This summer The Official Charts Company revealed which were the most-streamed tracks of all time in the UK. Pompeii by Bastille won the golden prize after having received a total of 26.6 million streams in two years, jogging past Daft Punk’s Get Lucky (on 24.5 million streams) and flying past Passenger’s Let Her Go in third place, with 21.7 million streams.

To watch a video in Creation 5, just tap the video title.

1 – Pompeii – Bastille (26.6 million)

The fact that Pompeii has had over 26 million streams is amazing,” said Bastille frontman Dan Smith. “We’re really, really happy. When we made Pompeii we never even saw ourselves as a band that would be even remotely mainstream or anything like that. We thought, hopefully, some people will like the song; maybe we’ll sell enough albums to be able to make a second album and not be jobless so soon after we quit our jobs in the first place.”

“Everything that’s happened with Pompeii has completely blown our minds and the fact that we’re still doing this as a job, the fact we get to travel round the world and go to different countries off the back of the album is insane and we just feel really lucky and glad that people stream too because streaming is important.”

2 – Get Lucky – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams (24.5 million)

Cranking up the volume, this magical electro tune always gets the party started and never fails to get you in the mood to get up and dance. Co-Written by French house music duo Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rogers, the song won Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 56th Grammy Awards. Since it’s release in 2013 up until June 2014, the song had reached 24.5 million streams in the UK. This “formidable” and “old school disco-jam”, as stated by Will Hermes (Rolling Stone), is a true gem in the electronic music world, and a delightful breath of fresh air.

3 – Let Her Go – Passenger (21.7 million)

Let Her Go, released in June 2012 by British singer-songwriter Passenger, is the second single from his third album, All The Little Lights. After a Dutch fan e-mailed Passenger asking him to introduce the song to some Dutch radio stations because he thought it would become a big hit in the Netherlands, the song began trending and found huge commercial success with the Dutch public. After its initial success, the song soon reached Nº1 in the Charts worldwide, including Nº2 in the UK Singles Chart and Nº5 on Billboard Hot 100. Passenger’s first international success racked up a total of 21.7 million streams, sold over 1 million digital copies in the UK and over 4 million in the US as of July 2014. The song was also nominated for British Single of the Year at the 2014 BRIT Awards.

“Suddenly, whether you like it or not, you’ve got this massive song and your whole life changes,” said the British singer-songwriter.

4 – Wake Me Up – Avicii (21.4 million)

A “fun experiment” is how Swedish DJ Avicii refers to this track. He and soulful American singer-songwriter, Aloe Blacc, wrote the lyrics in a couple of hours and released what was to become 2013’s summer anthem. Released in June 2013, Wake Me Up sold over 1 million copies by October of that year, in the UK alone and, by June 2014, had reached 21.4 million streams.

5 – Happy – Pharrell Williams (20.7 million)

Happy is the world famous (non-Grammy Award-winning) soundtrack to the sequel of the popular animated movie Despicable Me. [How did Let It Go from the Disney animated film Frozen outshine Pharrell’s top class track Happy? – Who knows!]. The song has sold over 1.3 million copies in the UK and, by June 2014, reached a total of 20.7 million streams.

Not only is Pharrell’s neo-soul, feel-good, cheerful and uplifting song incredibly catchy, he’s the first to have released a 24-hour music video, a concept that became a world event and created a viral-chain of home-made music videos around the globe.

6 – Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke/TI/Pharrell Williams (20.7 million)

Between May 2013 and June 2014, Blurred Lines had sold 1.54 million copies, reached 20.7 million streams and was nominated for two Grammys at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The single was written and completed by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the space of an hour.

Inspired by Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up, the similarities in “feel” and “sound” between the two songs led to a series of lawsuits and counter-suits between Sony/ATV and Marvin Gaye’s estate, regarding copyright infringement allegations. Finally, the two parties arrived at an undisclosed settlement.

The song’s controversial subject matter and music video nudity content was designed to attract attention and make the video go viral. Thrilled with the success of his song, Mr Thicke said: “I’m so honoured, the success of “Blurred Lines” is a dream come true”. The growing success of Blurred Lines is an amazing achievement for Thicke, who had never had a radio hit before the release.

7 – Rather Be – Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne (19.9 million)

Rather Be is one of 2014 summer soundtracks, release by the smashing electronic instrumental group Clean Bandit and featuring Jess Glynne. Released in January 2014 as the fourth single on their debut studio album New Eyes, the deep-house/synth-pop track, Rather Be, had reached 19.9 million streams in just six months. The song debuted at Nº1 on the UK Singles Chart and became the fastest-selling single of 2014, selling over 1 million copies since its release.

8 – Radioactive – Imagine Dragons (19.7 million)

Radioactive is the opening track on Imagine Dragon’s debut album Night Vision. It received great acclaim from critics who referred to it as the “highlight” of the album. After appearing on various commercials and trailers, the song gradually peaked at Nº3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart and became the American rock band’s first top 10 hit. The song also broke the record for slowest ascension to top 5 in chart history and holds the record for most weeks ruling Billboard Hot 100 – 87 weeks! Radioactive was nominated for Record of The Year at the 2014 Grammy Awards and took home the prize for Best Rock Performance. The song was the third best-selling single of 2013 and reached a total stream of 19.7 million by June 2014.

9 – Counting Stars – One Republic (19.7 million)

Counting Stars featured on One Republic’s third studio album Native (2013). It became one of the band’s most successful singles, reaching Nº1 in Canada and the UK, Nº2 in the US and within the top 10 in 20 countries. By June 2014, the track had reached 19.7 million streams in the UK alone.

10 – Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore/Ryan Lewis/Dalton (17.2 million)

American hip-hop duo, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, released Can’t Hold Us as the third single on their debut album The Heist (2012). The song got to Nº1 on Billboard Hot 100 and became their second Nº1 hit single in the US. Lewis Corner of Digital Spy praised the song’s “infectious, soul-soaked piano line and beats more vibrant than Rio de Janeiro’s finest carnival floats”, granting it four stars out of five. The single received 17.2 million streams in the UK by June 2014.

The Official Charts Company’s drew their data from the on-demand audio streaming services that include Spotify, Deezer, Napster, O2 Tracks, Sony’s Music Unlimited, Xbox Music and Rara, all of which are members of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), co-owners of the Official Charts Company along with record labels association the BPI.

We’ve compiled these videos into a playlist – click here to play them in Creation 5!


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Ariana Grande “My Everything” Album Review

By | Music

With 3 singles in the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, a slot opening the MTV Video Music Awards 2014, and millions of fans watching her every move, Ariana Grande has made her transition from a Nickelodeon tween star to a promising global superstar look so effortless.

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Stepping away from her PG debut album “Yours Truly”, Ariana’s sophomore album “My Everything” has taken a big leap towards the EDM dance world and has turned her into a full-rounded and versatile dance artist, pop star, soul artist, as she continues to show off her greatest weapon – her angelic voice with an outstanding vocal range.

What’s more, Ariana has given us a little glimpse of her wild side, singing lyrics such as: “Picture me and you making/ Making sweet love/ Baby, give it to me”.

While her singles “Problem” and “Break Free” are energetic bangerz, and Ariana’s more melodious solo songs “One Last Time” and “Why Try” are flawlessly delivered like a pop diva should, her various collaborations, one could say, are hit-or-miss. Ariana brilliantly shows off her ability to team up with her antitheses, The Weeknd, in “Love Me Harder”, yet her track “Be My Baby” (ft. Cashmere Cat) is lost among the others. She could have also held back on the twerkable beats and A$AP Ferg’s appearance in “Hands on Me”, but it works (kind of).

All in all, Ariana has proven herself in her second No1 album in less than a year, “My Everything”. She sure knows how to get a room moving and she sure can make our hearts soar. According to Rolling Stone “she already is a major force”. The future shines bright for the 21-year old pop diva.

Intro


The intro to Ariana Grande’s sophomore album “My Everything” is an eighty second welcome to her fans, a reminder to everyone that her voice is still a sensation. Her lyrics “I’ll give you all I have and nothing less, I promise” is either a conversation the young diva is having with a specific person or a message to her fans that her latest album will not be disappointing. Let’s see what we’re in for…

Problem (ft. Iggy Azalea)


If you don’t know this song by now then, I’m afraid to tell you, you’ve pretty much been living under a rock this summer. “Problem” ft. Iggy Azalea is the lead single on Ariana Grande’s album and it’s been topping the charts at No2, giving Grande her highest-charting single yet and bridging the gap between her debut album “Yours Truly” and her sophomore album “My Everything”. With downloads skyrocketing past the millions and over 185,000,000 views on YouTube, Grande has created a lot of hype with her triumphant “hip-pop mix of sassy brass, sharp clicks and celestial vocals”. While Grande stays true to her PG fan base, Azalea’s badass appearance on the mix sure adds a little bit of edge to Ariana’s virginal image and pop-angelic sound (let’s not forget her signature fluttering eyelashes).

One Last Time


Although “One Last Time” heavily sounds like Loreen’s 2012 Eurovision “Euphoria” anthem, Grande’s transition from R&B into light pop EDM demonstrates her coming-of-age and ambition on “My Everything”. Her lyrics “I know/ That you got everything/ But I got nothing here without you” convey the story of a young lady tormented with guilt, begging “one last time/ I need to be the one that takes you home/ One last time/ I promise that after that I’ll let you go” in the chorus. Setting aside her humiliation, she gathers up a sense of hope, above the bashing drums and three-note synth line.

Why Try


Co-written and co-produced by One Republic’s Ryan Tedder and Benny Banco, who have a ridiculous amount of hits to their names, expectations were high when it came to “Why Try”. With it’s thunderous mid-tempo melody, great vocal power, militant drum rolls and a lot of catchy “na-na-na” hooks, Ariana made the hit production her own, with a jaw-dropping finale, shedding light on the pop-diva’s natural vocal abilities.

Break Free (ft. Zedd)


Some may call “Break Free” an easy chart hit, others may call it a very good pop song. Produced by EDM whiz, DJ Zedd, Ariana’s second single is the complete opposite of “Problem”. According to Jason Lipshutz from Billboard, the single “possesses a laser focus, with Zedd’s outlandish electronica serving as an icy platform of Grande’s towering hooks and forced rhymes”. He refers to it as “an underrated, enthralling dance single”. Indeed, “Break Free” is pretty damn catchy and is by far one of the most memorable tracks on Grande’s album. Also, the music video is quite out there, with aliens and lasers and rockets being fired from boobs. Ariana explains: “I never thought I’d do an EDM song, but that was an eye-opening experience, and now all I want to do is dance”! Overall, the track is like a huge balloon filled with lots of confetti! It’s fun!

Best Mistake (ft. Big Sean)


“Best Mistake” takes the tempo down a notch in a moody ballad that grows on you the more you listen to it. Big Sean’s guest vocals voice an emotional confession between two lovers who are trying to make their minds up about the future of their relationship – a topic that has led to rumours that the pair is dating. Ariana sings with a deep and intimate vocal tone: “If the water dries up, and the moon stops shining/ Stars fall, and the world goes blind/ Boy, you know I’ll be saving my love for you, for you”. The song is yet another on Ariana’s album “My Everything” to reach No1 on Billboard. From EDM/electronica to pop ballads, the diva sure has us grasped tightly in the palm of her hand.

Be My Baby (ft. Chasmere Cat)


“Be My Baby” is a solid track on which Ariana’s vocals resemble Mariah Careys pipes. There isn’t much to add to that, except that it makes the next track on the album stand out…

Break Your Heart Right Back (ft. Childish Cambino)


Grande seems totally in her comfort zone as she sings about a scorned lover in “Break Your Heart Right Back”. Yet Grande picks an unusual subject matter to sing about over an upbeat brassy beat. The song is about a guy leaving a girl for another guy. Diana Ross’ iconic track “I’m Coming Out” is appropriately sampled and embedded into the song. Ariana explains “It’s one of my favourites on the album and it’s really funny because I believe it has happened to me. I’m not 100 percent positive but I’m 99.9 per cent positive … I would rather he cheats on me with a guy than with a girl any day! If I found out my boyfriend was gay, I would be like ‘OK!’ I’d be so relieved.”

Love Me Harder (ft. The Weeknd)


Two people from different musical worlds come together in a collaboration that works deliciously. The track perfectly slots itself under the label “mid-tempo R&B banger”. Its pulsating moody electro-R&B beats and lyrics that croon “can you feel the pressure beneath your hips/ I’ll make you feel like the first time”, the song sure is the spiciest on the album. We love this one!

A Little Bit of Your Heart


Co-written by Harry Styles, specifically for Ariana, “A Little Bit of Your Heart” is a heartfelt piano ballad, with lyrics that sing: “I’m a fool for you”, “Just a little bit of your heart is all I want” and “I’m not your only, but at least I’m one”. The soft harmonies that blend in to Ariana’s perfect high notes in the final chorus add to the emotional state of the track. It’s a sweet tune, but not the strongest on the album.

Hands on Me (ft. A$AP Ferg)


In “Hands on Me” we uncover Ariana’s slightly more naughty side. “Shirt off, high heels on/ Might be a little but I like that long, yeah/ Don’t let these eyes fool ya/ I can take it, hold nothing back, give it to me… Put your hands on me” she insists (alright then, Ariana!). The track kind of sounds like a mashup of Rihannah’s track “Cockiness” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”, with frantic hip-hop beats. A$AP Ferg’s rap addition is a playful contribution to Ariana’s “twerkable verses”. It sure is the perfect way to say goodbye to Ariana’s Nickelodeon phase. If Miley did it and got away with it (sort of), then Ari surely can and with perhaps a little more class.

My Everything


Ariana closes the album on more sober and emotional note. She sings “he wasn’t my everything ‘til we were nothing” as her vocals glide melodiously and effortlessly over her piano-based track.

The bonus edition features three more tracks, including the explosive “Bang Bang” with Jessie J & Iggy Azzalea – this decades’ version of “Lady Marmalade”- as well as “Only 1” – a “short, snappy and sumptuous” track – and finally, “You Don’t Know Me” – Ari’s very first anti-fame rant.

Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj – Bang Bang

Enjoy the album!


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Citizen Interview

By | Featured, Music

Michigan Indie/Rock band Citizen have become one of the most well known bands in the alternative music scene, following the launch of their latest album, Youth (2013).

Citizen, who play a blend of emo, melodic hardcore and grunge, signed to Run For Cover Records in 2012 – a move that led to the release of their EP Young States and to them jumping on tour with key bands such as Circa Survive, Title Fight and Daylight.

After speaking with Nick Hamm (guitarist) from Citizen, it’s clear that the guys have all the high hopes and excitement of a band grasping their bright future in the palms of their hands, as they prepare for their first headline tour this autumn.

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You’re one of the most well known bands in the alternative music scene. To whom or to what do you owe your success?
Honestly, I don’t know how much I’m able to recognize or even gauge where we are as a band. I just really don’t know. I see a lot of bands selling out shows quicker and playing to more people, but I do know that the past year has been really cool. I don’t really know what we owe it to. I think we were 18 year olds writing songs that we liked and other people ended up liking them too. I know that’s not the most introspective answer but we just kind of wrote what we wanted to write, and it ended up being a fun year.

How does it feel to play to huge audiences such as at the Vans Warped Tour, Riot Fest and Fashion Meets Music Festival?
I generally view most shows in the same manner. Once you’re up there, it’s business as usual and it more so feels like the 5 of us are in a room together. I really like playing small intimate rooms with no barrier but playing big shows and fests allow me to appreciate the smaller ones so much more.

What’s the greatest thing about playing at a festival?
Seeing bands you don’t usually get to play with. That’s by far the best part.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on tour?
We’re pretty tame but one time, our booking agent, Peanut, fell down an entire flight of spiral stairs. I was the only one who asked him if he was okay but he thought I was making fun of him and flipped out on me. That’s a memory we always bring up.

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Stagediving – a) How awesome is it? b) How dangerous is it?
I love it but obviously sometimes people just shouldn’t do it. I see a lot of people run to the edge of the stage, stop, and then try to jump with no momentum. That’s not a good idea.

What was it like to produce your latest album, Youth, at Studio 4 with Will Yip?
3 weeks of recording and writing with your best friends (Will Yip included). It was one of the best times of my life.

Which is your favourite song on the album and why?
“The Summer” is the song that we collaborated the most on. I think it’s the most definitive Citizen song because it sounds straight up like Mat’s writing style meeting my writing style. I’m not really sick of that song yet. I haven’t listened to the record in a really long time so it’s hard for me to say. My other fav is “Figure You Out”.

Citizen – The Summer

How do you divide the song-writing tasks between the band members?
On Youth, it was mostly either me writing a song and letting Mat screw with it a little bit, or Mat writing a song and then letting me screwing with that. I really like the way we do that. I think the new one will probably have more direction from everyone though.

What do you enjoy the most about being in a band?
Traveling and not having to work!

You just finished touring the UK. How does the response in Europe differ to in the US?
It was honestly pretty similar. I think the people coming to the shows might be a little more excited to see us since they haven’t before but besides that, pretty similar to the US.

Do you have a favourite city or crowd to play to?
I love Philadelphia and Chicago. Those are my top two. London was also incredible.

Your latest album, Youth, got leaked. How do you feel about the Internet age, illegal downloads, streaming and the general loss of control over the diffusion of your music?
At the time Youth leaked, I was glad it leaked because I just wanted people to hear it. However, we didn’t have some crazy airtight roll out plan that was sacrificed or anything. As far as the Internet age, it sort of sucks because I love physical packaging and record covers and all of that. I think packaging is really important.

You begin your very first US headline tour this fall. How psyched are you and what are you looking forward to the most?
Oh I can’t wait. This is Citizen’s first opportunity (tour-wise) to offer something that we’ve kind of built ourselves. We got to pick all of the bands and it was really exciting putting it together. I think it’s going to be a blast.

Citizen – Silo


From the 7″/Digital “Silo,” available only on the band’s Fall 2014 tour with You Blew It!, Hostage Calm, True Love and Praise. Tickets available at www.citizentheband.net

Like Citizen on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter!

Citizen chose our Sunday Sessions this week. Click here for the playlist!


29.8.citizen-4 Youth Tracklist
1. Roam The Room
2. Figure You Out
3. The Summer
4. Sleep
5. How Does It Feel?
6. The Night I Drove Alone
7. Speaking With A Ghost
8. Your Head Got Misplaced
9. Sick And Impatient
10. Drawn Out
Buy Youth at the Run For Cover store!

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The World’s Most Fascinating Opera Festival

By | Featured, Music

Operas are often perceived as dry and dull affairs and, indeed, many of them are. The Bregenz Festival in Austria, however, will surely change your mind. Held on the banks of Lake Constance, the festival is famous for not only the high standard of the opera productions, but also its amazing floating stage.

The first Bregenz Festival was held in 1946 – the week-long Bregenz Festwoche. The inaugural performance was staged upon two barges moored on Lake Constance – one carrying the stage structures for Mozart’s early work, the other the orchestra. In a town that didn’t even possess a theatre, the idea of mounting a festival seemed eccentric; but the initially makeshift solution of choosing the loveliest part of the town – the lake – as the stage proved to be a hugely successful one. Visitors from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France made the Festival an international event in its very first year. The Festival orchestra from the outset was the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, which has made a major contribution to the evolution and success of the Festival.

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The floating stage faces an auditorium of 7,000 making it one of the biggest lakeside venues in the world and thousands of music enthusiasts from all over the globe come every year to experience “The play on the lake”. There’s a fabulous atmosphere as the audience enjoys a pre show drink and then settles down to enjoy the production as the sun slowly sets over the lake.

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It is not only the spectacular stage scenery that impresses but also the wonderful music. This year’s Bergenz Festival had the motto “Vienna bitter-sweet”. Turning our attention to “wealth, poverty, charm, corruption, high spirits and neuroses, cultivatedness and deviancy, sensibility and sentimentality, friendliness and falsity”, this last season, under the artistic director, David Poutney, paid tribute to the “many-layered antitheses of Austria’s legendary capital, Vienna.”

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The fantastic fairy tale opera, “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was staged on the incredible floating stage. Directed by David Poutney, the opera played to almost 100% of its capacity, with just over 200,000 people witnessing the perfect performance for a magical setting. With an audience totaling approximately 406,000 over its two-year run, the opera achieved the best audience figures since the festival was founded in 1946, and is rumoured to have set a new record, surpassing the musical “West Side Story”, which drew an audience of 405,314 in 2003 and 2004.

Directed by Michael Sturminger and composed by Heinz Karl Gruber, the bitter satire about the mendacity and brutality of the petit-bourgeoisie, “Tales from the Vienna Woods”, was premiered for the first time. The opera sold out 97% of its tickets and was all in all seen by 4,074 people.

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“Gloria von Jaxtberg” (Gloria – A Pig Tale), also composed by Heinz Karl Gruber, and directed by Frederic Wake-Walker in co-production with the UK’s Mahogany Opera Group and Buxton Festival, ran on two nights and was performed to 833 people, selling 79% of seats. The satirical opera tells the story of a pig called Gloria who falls in love with her butcher.

The festival also staged family operas in the Great Hall of Festspeilhaus, which consisted of two short operas played back-to-back: “Le Rossignol” (The Nightingale) by Igor Stravinsky and “L’hirondelle Inattendue” (The Unexpected Swallow) by Simon Laks. Described as “two enchanting tales about the power of song”, the operas were eagerly received by a multi-generational audience, which included children of six years old and over.

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There was also a cross-culture program for children and young people between the ages of 6 and 26 and almost 6,000 participants attended the workshops, tours and concerts.

After 11 years of service, the Bregenz Festival said farewell to the festival’s beloved artistic director, David Poutney, who, only a few days ago, came to the end of his final season. Under the motto “Vienna bitter-sweet”, Poutney put together a multi-dimensional festival program that included four music theatre and three chamber music world premiers. His farewell concert, held last Sunday morning, heard the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra perform works by Leonard Bernstein, as well as “Der Schauspieldirektor” (The Impresario) and “Singspeil” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in an adaptation by Poutney himself.

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“David Pountney’s final season is the highly successful close of a sensational eleven-year era as artistic director, in which the festival has developed substantially and has created many artistic achievements and magic moments. My thanks go not only to David Pountney, however, but to all the artists and the personnel too,” said the president of the festival, Hans-Peter Metzler. “It is time to say goodbye. After such a marvellous season that’s as easy as it’s difficult. The festival has once again brought together the popular and the radical, the entertaining and the avant-garde, and has found its audience. That makes me happy,” David Pountney said.

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The Bregenz Festival will return in the summer of 2015 and will welcome its new artistic director, Elisabeth Sobotko. Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Turandot”, directed by Marco Arturo Marelli, will open next year’s festival on the lake stage. Jacques Offenbach’s opera “The Tales of Hoffmann”, in production by Stefan Herheim, will be performed at the Festspielhaus, and the orchestral concert will feature works by Luciano Berio, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Franz Schubert. Miroslav Srnka’s orchestral work “No Night No Land No Sky” will also be included in the program, along with performances of Wesendonck Lieder of Richard Wagner by the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra and Johannes Brahm’s Symphony No.4 in E minor.

The Magic Flute – Building of the Seebuehne (Lake Stage)

The Bregenz Festival 2015 will run from July 22 – August 23. Tickets for next year can now be booked online via the festival website:
www.bregenzerfestspiele.com

The 2014 MTV VMAs

By | Featured, Music

This year’s VMAs won’t go down as one of the best in MTV history, but it will certainly be remembered for its touching and surprising moments. There were also quite a few screw ups, from production mistakes to fashion mistakes. A few days before the show, Iggy Azalea slipped offstage while performing “Fancy” at the MTV benefit concert, a 6-foot boa constrictor apparently bit a background dancer during a rehearsal for Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” performance, and rap king Suge Knight was injured in a shooting at a West Hollywood nightclub for an unofficial pre-VMA party hosted by Chris Brown.

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We expected to see a lot last night at the 2014 VMA’s, held at The Forum in Inglewood, California – a place where year after year celebrities make the headline news worldwide for their “conservative” display of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

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Although we didn’t expect Miley twerking with teddy bears this year, nor did we expect Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech or Madonna French kissing Britney, we did expect to see smashing performances from Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift, Usher, Maroon 5, Five Seconds of Summer and, of course, the incredible Queen Bey – who, by the way, pretty much owned the award ceremony !

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We saw some HOT performances last night. We saw Miley gracefully step back from the limelight as she sent Jesse, a homeless youth, to accept her trophy “on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youths in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives” and to raise awareness and funds to end youth homelessness… Way to top last year’s performance, Miley! Yes, we caught a glimpse of Miley shed a few tears, we also caught Beyoncé bow down and wipe her tears away after Jay Z and Blue Ivy surprised their very own Queen with the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award (A.K.A. the Lifetime Achievement Award). Yes, there were many very special moments.

Yet not much happened in the name of controversy at the 2014 VMA’s.

We review the highlights:

Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J – “Break Free”, “Anaconda” and “Bang Bang”

Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J opened the VMA’s by performing a crazy medley of “Break Free”, “Anaconda” and “Bang Bang”. There was definitely some twerking, jiggling, floor writhing, booty rubbing, twisting and turning involved in the trio’s performance and, despite the rumours, the last time we saw a live snake on a VMA stage was in 2001, during Britney’s performance of “I’m A Slave 4 U”. That’s right, there were no Anacondas dancing on stage last night. We did, however, see wardrobe changes and wardrobe malfunctions (although not as memorable as Janet Jackson’s slipup at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, alongside JT), when Nicki Minaj’s zipper wouldn’t zip after a 40 second costume change. She kept it professional though as she held her dress together with her hands, restricting her from further booty shaking.

Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off”

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Taylor Swift performed her latest single “Shake It Off” for the first time on live television, surrounded by an ensemble of tuxedoed men. About half way through her performance, Swift almost jumped off a platform and into the arms of her strong handsome entourage. Instead of double-back-flipping off the stage (like we thought she would), she very sweetly got in touch with her dorky self and told the audience that safety comes first, even at the VMA’s, and walked down the platform.

Sam Smith – “Stay With Me”

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Sam Smith did it again by bringing down the house and stunning the audience with his soulful, striped-down, piano-accompanied performance of “Stay With Me”. His performance brought back memories of Adele’s timeless and heartfelt performance of “Someone Like You” at the 2011 VMA’s. If the two Brits hadn’t touched our hearts by the time either of them had performed at the VMA’s, they sure left the stage leaving us wanting more. Smith’s simple and stunning vocal performances needed no dancers, stunts or special effects. It was perfect.

Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora – “Black Widow”

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With a huge spider web as their backdrop, the sexy duo, dressed in matching diamond-studded, black sequined catsuits, brought their lyrics to life last night. They sure looked hot as they rocked the stage!

Beyoncé – a medley of her entire album!

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Beyoncé outdid our expectations last night by delivering an incredible, stunning and perfect medley of tracks from her self-titled album, that took the world by storm earlier this year. Queen Bey avoided any wardrobe interruptions and owned the stage in a fabulously sexy bejewelled bodysuit throughout her 15-minute performance. Indeed, Beyoncé was having a blast up on that stage, giggling while singing the lyrics to “Drunk in Love”, as Jay Z and Blue Ivy gazed at her tirelessly from the sideline. Like always, she managed to get the crowd to stand up on their feet, to sing along, and to clap along, while she continued to deliver an outstanding performance, with a huge smile across her face.

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To top it all off, Jay Z and Blue Ivy surprised “mama” on stage by presenting her with the Video Vanguard Award. Jay Z named her the “greatest living entertainer” and locking lips with the star, putting all divorce rumours to bed (thank you very much Mr. and Mrs. Carter!). What’s more, Blue added, “Good job, Mommy”, at which point the whole audience chanted out “Beyoncé, Beyoncé!” who, by the way, looked sensational as she held back her tears, bowed down to the crowd and said “I have nothing to say, but I’m filled with so much gratitude. I thank God for this moment. I love y’all so much. Blue Blue, I love you. My beloved, I love you. My fans, I love you. MTV, I love you. Goodnight”.

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2014 MTV VMAs Winners
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award: Beyonce
Video of the Year: Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
Artist to Watch: Fifth Harmony, “Miss Movin’ On”
Best Rock Video: Lorde, “Royals”
Best Hip-Hop Video: Drake ft. Majid Jordan, “Hold On (We’re Going Home)”
Best Pop Video: Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
Best Male Video: Ed Sheeran ft. Pharrell, “Sing”
Best Female Video: Katy Perry ft. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
Best Lyric Video: 5 Seconds of Summer, “Don’t Stop”
Best Collaboration: Beyonce ft. Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
MTV Clubland Award: Zedd ft. Hayley Williams, “Stay the Night”
Best Video With a Social Message: Beyonce, “Pretty Hurts”
Best Cinematography: Beyonce, “Pretty Hurts”
Best Editing: Eminem, “Rap God”
Best Choreography: Sia, “Chandelier”
Best Direction: DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
Best Art Direction: Arcade Fire, “Reflektor”
Best Visual Effects: OK Go, “The Writing’s On the Wall”


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Click here to view MTV’s exclusive videos of the show!


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Clean Bandit – The Awesome Foursome!

By | Featured, Music

The incredible music foursome, Clean Bandit, sky-rocketed straight out of Cambridge University and into the top music charts worldwide, selling over 3 million copies of their Nº 1 single “Rather Be” (Feat. Jess Glynne), and reaching over 100 million YouTube views, in less than six months.

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In May this year, the band released their debut studio album New Eyes, made up of positive, tasteful and elegant songs that simply ooze talent, and that pretty much have made up the soundtracks to our lives this summer.

Clean Bandit have achieved their highly deserved success by working really hard, writing and producing everything themselves, including their own music videos. And they’ve been having a hell of a lot of fun along the way!

We caught up with Neil (strings) to talk about the band and their new album.

Your debut studio album “New Eyes” was released in May. How do you feel about the response so far?
It’s been amazing. The best thing about having the album out is having people sing it back to you at gigs.

Did you ever envision you’d become this successful when you first embarked on this endeavour?
Definitely not. When we started out we didn’t even really intend to record anything, so even before Rather Be had come out we had kind of surpassed all the ambitions we started out with.

Clean Bandit – Rather Be feat. Jess Glynne

You all met at Jesus College, Cambridge University and share a whole load of degrees between you. What were they?
Grace studied Russian and Italian, Jack studied architecture and then spent a year at film school in Moscow, and I studied History and then did a masters in Economics.

Was music always on the cards for you?
In a way, I suppose it was. I’ve been playing the violin since I was 2 and just never really stopped.

You’ve collaborated with an eclectic bunch of talented musicians, including folk singers, soul singers and rappers to create a fresh and unique blend of electronic music, baroque pop, house, funky and feel-good beats. How did you discover these new vocal talents?
We found them all in very different ways. Eliza Shaddad, for example, was busking in the street in Shoreditch, and Jack heard her and managed to persuade her to come down to the studio with us. Love Ssega, on the other hand, was a friend of ours at university who we wrote some of our earliest tracks with.

What has been your craziest or worst experience as a band?
Our very first festival appearance was at the Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire, and we were all pretty excited. When we got there, it emerged that they had hired us solely to play the blind date theme tune as an in house band…

Clean Bandit – Come Over feat. Stylo G.

You produce all your music videos yourselves – who’s to thank for the brilliance behind the conceptual, visual and artistic aspects of your videos?
Jack is! Most of his ideas start off as jokes, and then everyone else takes them seriously. Before long they get realised and become the central ideas behind each video.

Your polygon logo creeps up in all your videos. Trying to find them is almost like playing a game of “Where’s Wally”. What do the symbols mean? Are you trying to brainwash your fans with hidden messages?
(Haha) Yeah but those messages are more subtle and insidious! Our logo was originally intended as a blueprint for four stringed instruments, but we never got round to having them made and the configuration of the shapes just stuck to us.

You’re all very closely connected. Clean Bandit is made up of two brothers (Luke and Jack Patterson), a couple (Jack Patterson and Grace Chatto), and two childhood friends (Grace Chatto and Neil Amin-Smith). Who is the peacekeeper?
Our tour manager, James. None of us for sure!

Which one of you came up with the name Clean Bandit and what does it mean?
When Grace used to live in Russia, one of her friends used to call her this Russian expression, which translates directly as Clean Bandit but actually meant something like total bastard. We thought it was a funny title and adopted it for our own.

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What has been your biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome it?
We had a gig at the top of a mountain in Austria and our bus couldn’t get up there. But James our tour manager managed to persuade them to turn on the ski lift after hours to transport us and all our instruments up.

Who are your biggest musical influences?
Radiohead, Hudson Mohawke and Shakira.

If you could collaborate with any one of your idols, dead or alive, who would it be?
Stevie Wonder

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming bands trying to break into the industry?
Do as much of the non-musical side of things for yourself, for as long as you can.

What’s next?
Touring the world and writing our second album.

Thank you Neil – hat’s off to you all – you took the world by storm without even intending to! We’re looking forward to seeing you perform on September 3rd at the iTunes Festival in London!

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Follow Clean Bandit on Facebook and Twitter.
Visit their Website.
Buy their music on iTunes.

Clean Bandit chose our Sunday Sessions this week. Click here for the playlist!


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Game of Thrones Playlist

By | Featured, Music

The music for HBO’s fantasy Game of Thrones TV series is composed by one of the greatest film composers, Ramin Djawadi. Yes, that’s right, the man behind the Iron Man theme, and who has also written scores for Pacific Rim, Prison Break and Person of Interest.

Click any of the video titles to view them in Creation 5!

The Game of Thrones’ Main Title has become very popular and is recognised by almost anyone who knows anything about TV. Due to its popularity, the main theme has been covered many times and in several genres, including Jazz, Indie, Classical, 80’s, and has even been sung by goats!

‘Originality’ is an understatement. See just how creative one can be and check out the many ways in which one can approach a song and reinterpret it with complete ‘originality’.

Enjoy a medieval and non-medieval afternoon of Game of Thrones delights!

Ramin Djawadi (Original Version)


“In a world where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime, the crown of Westeros comes with a price. Betrayal, lust, intrigue and supernatural forces shake the four corners of the Kingdom, from the scheming south and the savage eastern lands, to the frozen north and the ancient Wall that protects the realm from the darkness beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noble men vie for power in the bloody struggle for the Iron Throne”.

Swamp Donkeys (Jazz Version)


The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys perform the theme song to Game of Thrones at the legendary B.B. King’s Blues Club in Times Square, NYC. This one is a particularly good rendition of the song. Let’s get jazzy!

CHVRCHES (Indie Version)


“This just happened…” the Scottish synth-pop trio wrote, after recording the Game of Thrones theme song on a smartphone camera. They were bored in the studio and started playing it. “It wasn’t a cover. It was a joke!” says the band. Imagine how amazing it could sound if they really did record it for real!

Break of Reality (Cello Version)


Eargasm alert! This cello rock cover of the Game of Thrones theme is a beautiful and powerful interpretation, with wonderful sounds. I might even like this more than the original version!

Lindsey Stirling and Peter Hollens (One Voice, One Violin Version)


It’s incredible just how many sounds one can produce with one human voice, one violin and a little bit of foot stomping. This cover is glorious. It lifts you up above the ground and has you floating amongst the clouds, across the mountaintops.

Erock – Game of Thrones Meets Metal


This is definitely what I call power-speed-metal… It’s pretty insane!

Srod Almenara – The Rains of Castamere (Rock/Metal Version)


So much effort was put into composing the music and recording the video to this cover. These guys capture the essence of the Game of Thrones theme and add their very own style to it.

Camille and Kennerly Kitt (Harp Twins Electric Version)


Check out what you can do with just two harps and one audio tape. This cover of the Game of Thrones theme portrays the medieval and fantasy-like atmosphere of the fantasy series. It’s beautiful and idyllic. A very fitting video, filmed around a ruined castle, where the blonde twins look like they’ve come straight out of one of the scenes. Indeed, they “serenade the 7 kingdoms”. The Harp Twins (as you may know them) have previously performed for President Obama, at the President Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration.

Dubstep Version


If you think you’ve seen it all, think twice. There’s even a dubstep version to this theme. It’s errrm… interesting.

Game of Goats (Goat Version)


Oh wait… errmm… think again… There’s a goat version!!?? This one is even more interesting than the last one! This is bloody goat-tastic! Enjoy ☺

Peter Dinklage (Tribute Version)


Unfortunately, this song is catchier than you’d think. ‘Hilarious’ is the word.

Wine Glass, Pans and a Gallon of Water Version


This cover is actually incredible and requires a lot of talent and a hell of a lot of practice. This is awesome! It’s enchanting and pretty and mysterious. We want more!

Electro-Synth Disco Version


This re-arrangement of the Game of Thrones theme sure has us tapping our feet. I think you will like this one!


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