Alasdair McLellanConsider it another British Invasion. Thanks to the success of Adele, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, British artists achieved their highest-recorded share of artist album sales in North America last year.
According to the British Phonographic Industry, Brits accounted for more than one in six of the artist albums purchased in the U.S. in 2015. That’s a 17.6 percent share of the U.S. artist albums market, up from 12.2 percent in 2014. British artists also accounted for one in five albums bought in Canada.
“The drumbeat of British music success in North America just keeps getting louder,” says Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI & BRIT Awards. “British acts such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Mark Ronson have become part of the music mainstream in both the U.S. and Canada -- as popular as any home-grown talent, and their sustained success has opened the door to a new generation of U.K. artists coming through.”
As we already know, Adele’s 25 sold more than seven million copies in the U.S in its first six weeks of release, topping the year-end Nielsen/Billboard sales chart. Ed's X [Multiply] and Sam's In the Lonely Hour came in fourth and sixth on the chart with both albums making the U.S. top 10 for a second year in a row.
Photo credit: Paolo ReversiRihanna has definitely been putting in the "work." The singer can now celebrate the fact her new album, ANTI, has just been certified double platinum.
After acquiring more than one million downloads in just 14 hours and topping the Billboard 200 chart back in February, Rih-Rih has hit another major milestone by being the first album in 2016 to go double platinum.
The singer shared the good news by tweeting, "#ANTI is the 1st album from 2016 to go @RIAA double platinum!!! Blown away by your support every day. thank you."
The RIAA confirmed the news and also made mention of the success of Rihanna's lead single, "Work," with rapper Drake, saying, "More Gold & Platinum accolades for @Rihanna: #Work is @RIAA’s first 3X multi-Platinum song of year! @RocNation."
Nick Elgar/Corbis/VCG via Getty ImagesThe legacy of the late, great music icon Prince was heard on Thursday night’s Shondaland programming lineup on ABC.
On the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Prince & The New Power Generation was on the episode titled “Mama Tried.” On the politically charged Scandal, “Delirious” was played throughout scenes on the episode titled “Trump Card.”
On her official Twitter account, Shonda Rhimes -- who produces the entire prime-time block -- tweeted about the usage of the much treasured catalog for the shows.
“Last night, #Prince's estate allowed us to honor #Prince by using his music on #GreysAnatomy and #Scandal. Thank u, Prince. For everything.”
Justin Kahn/WireImageAmerican Idol season 2 finalist Rickey E. Smith Jr., known for his memorable "Hercules! Hercules!" chant, has died in a car crash in Oklahoma.
According to Variety, the 36-year-old was killed in a multi-car, wrong-way collision just outside of Oklahoma City early Friday morning. Smith was riding in a car that was hit head-on by a pickup truck, and died on the scene. The truck driver is now facing DUI charges.
Rickey came in eighth on season two of American Idol, which was won by Ruben Studdard. On Instagram, Ruben paid tribute to Smith, writing, "As I sit here in utter disbelief about the fact that you went to be with the Lord. I think back on all the fun times we had. How we set up for hours in our room in the Idol Mansion talking and listening to music. How much fun we all had on our very first tour."
He added, "You were the heart of our season and the true definition of a real friend. I will miss you my Friend RIP Ricky Smith. I'm sure you're in heaven singing you're [sic] heart out!!!"
Clay Aiken, who was the runner-up that season, tweeted, "Suffice it to say my heart is truly breaking today. Heaven's choir has a new beautiful voice. I love you and will miss you, Rickey."
Smith is the second American Idol finalist to die. In 2014, Michael Johns, who came in eighth on season seven, David Cook's season, passed away due to a cardiac illness.
Sasha SamsonovaFifth Harmony will be performing at the Billboard Music Awards for the first time ever this year. The girl group -- currently gracing the cover of Billboard magazine -- will be singing their hit “Work from Home,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign.
The ladies join previously announced performers Justin Bieber, DNCE, Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes, Pink, Britney Spears, Nick Jonas and Tove Lo.
The 2016 Billboard Music Awards air live May 22 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. Ludacris and Ciara are hosting.
Fifth Harmony today also released the video for their new song, “Write on Me.” In the simple black-and-white clip, the ladies sing, “Write on me/Color outside the lines/Love the way you tat me up/Baby take your time.”
ABC/Phil McCartenA moment of silence for Harry Styles’ long, luxurious locks is in order. The One Direction heartthrob appears to have chopped off his hair. An Instagram photo posted Friday shows Harry’s hand giving the thumbs up while clutching what appears to be his severed ponytail. He captions it, “Whoops.”
But it seems the new ‘do is for a good cause. He hashtagged the photo #Littleprincesstrust, which is the name of a U.K.-based charity that uses donated hair to create wigs for children with cancer.
Despite his noble reason, fans freaked out on social media. They also launched the hashtag #HarryTakeASelfie, in an effort to get the singer to show off his shorter look.
Credit: Taylor Hill/FilmMagicWondering how Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston became unlikely dance partners at the Met Gala on Monday? Apparently, it was Taylor’s idea.
Tom, who happened to be sitting at Taylor’s table during the event, explained everything to BBC Radio 1 Friday morning. "The Weeknd played a set after dinner as people were having [dessert] and coffee," the British actor said. "And Taylor turned and said, 'That's why these gigs are hard to play, because if you're a musician you want people to dance, but everyone is sitting around eating.'”
So she suggested they get up and bust some moves, and Tom obliged. "We just jumped up and started dancing -- and everybody else started dancing -- which was great,” he said.
Someone caught their dance sesh on video and posted it to social media, where it quickly blew up. Asked why he thought the clips became so popular, Tom surmised, “Taylor is a huge star. Maybe it's just the randomness of it."
Jason Merritt/Getty Images via ABCJennifer Lopez takes us through decades of female oppression in her latest video, for “Ain’t Your Mama.”
In the five-minute clip, she plays a ‘50s housewife, a Mad Men-inspired secretary from the 1960s, a disillusioned factory worker in the ‘70s and a big-haired ‘80s businesswoman. All the characters decide to stand up to the men in their lives who are holding them back.
The video ends with present-day J-Lo performing a triumphant group dance routine, as she proclaims, “I ain’t gonna be cooking all day/I ain’t your mama/I ain’t gonna do your laundry/I ain’t your mama.”
The empowering track was written by Meghan Trainor.
Courtesy of Republic RecordsAs the release date for Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman album gets closer, the singer is letting us hear even more of what’s in store. She released a fourth song off the album, called “Into You.”
Over a pulsating club beat, Ariana once again shows off her sexy side, singing, “A little bit dangerous, but baby that’s how I want it/A little less conversation and a little more touch my body/’Cause I’m so into you.”
Ariana's already released the album’s title track, “Be Alright,” and “Let Me Love You,” featuring rapper Lil Wayne.
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for COVERGIRLKaty Perry may not be considered a “sample size” in the fashion world, but she’s just fine with that. She still manages to flaunt her style in bold designer duds, like the Tamagotchi-adorned Prada dress she wore to the Met Gala on Monday. In a recent interview with Mashable, Katy discusses how she retains a positive body image.
“I know for me, I'm curvy, I'm not sample size, but I represent a lot of people out there,” she says. “I want to be relatable. That's really important to me, while not losing my mind in this weird f****** human experiment I'm going through."
While she doesn’t completely shirk the use of labels like “curvy” and “plus-size,” she doesn’t think they should be forced on anyone.
“I think owning the terms is on an individual basis,” she says. “It's about what you want to call yourself. We don't see ourselves in the same way.”
Katy thinks the conversation around body norms is finally changing, and she’s happy to be a part of it. "There have been decades of bad messaging and we are rewiring now," she says. "Long gone are the days where you are not socially aware. You can't unsee all that crazy s*** and not try to do something to change it."
Meanwhile, Katy's stylist Leslie Fremar tells People that while she supports the singer's unapologetic style, there is one thing she would've changed about her Met Gala look: the bleached brows. “If it were up to me would she have had eyebrows? Yes. But you know what? It wasn’t up to me,” Leslie says. “She really did just want to be bold, take risks and embrace the night."
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images; Kieran Frost/Redferns via Getty ImagesHere's an unlikely celebrity feud: Arsenio Hall vs. Sinead O'Connor.
The former late-night host is suing the "Nothing Compares 2 U" singer for libel over a Facebook post she wrote Monday. In the post, which appears to be no longer available, she suggested that the late music superstar Prince for decades obtained drugs from Hall.
ABC News recently confirmed that authorities are looking into the possibility that Prince died of a drug overdose.
O'Connor reportedly also wrote in reference to Hall, "Expect their call. They are aware you spiked me years ago at Eddie Murphy's house."
Hall's lawsuit describes O'Connor as "desperate" and an "attention-seeker," and claims she has "maliciously published outlandish defamatory lies" about him. He seeks at least five million dollars in damages.
After teasing it on social media for two days, Justin Timberlake released his new song "Can't Stop The Feeling!" at midnight this morning.
The upbeat pop tune finds JT in the studio busting a move while several celebrities, including Gwen Stefani, Anna Kendrick, James Corden and The Big Bang Theory's Kunal Nayyar, lip-sync the lyrics in various locations.
"Can't stop the feeling, so just dance, dance, dance," Justin implores in the chorus.
The song was co-written by Justin and super-producers Max Martin and Shellback. It'll be featured on the soundtrack of Justin's animated movie Trolls, which comes out September 23.
Justin is executive-producing the soundtrack, which will feature three additional original songs he's written specifically for the film. In addition, the soundtrack will include the rest of the film's voice cast singing hits from the last few decades, and Justin teams with Anna Kendrick for a duet of Cyndi Lauper's classic "True Colors."
In Trolls, Justin plays Branch, a survivalist troll, who goes on an adventure with Princess Poppy, a bright pink troll voiced by Kendrick.
You can purchase "Can't Stop The Feeling!" now via the usual digital outlets. Trolls hits theaters in November.
Jim Spellman/WireImageToday's pop stars might run the gamut from reggae to rock to pop, but they all have one thing in common: they all have mothers, and they'll be celebrating them -- or remembering them -- this Sunday, Mother's Day. Here's a look at the important lessons that some of your favorite artists' mothers taught them.
On Sunday night, Alessia Cara will appear in a VH1 special called Dear Mama, saluting moms everywhere. She'll perform her latest hit, "Wild Things," in honor of her own mom and best friend, Enza. Alessia tells ABC Radio that her mom "gives me all the advice in the world."
She adds, "I think one of the best things she’s always told me is to...pick something that I wanna do and be the best at it [and] never do things halfway and always be passionate." And another word of wisdom from mom: "Keep great people around you." Says the "Here" singer, "Everything she’s ever said has been great."
Charlie Puth says that his mom is full of good advice, but she always tells it like it is, even if it's something he doesn't want to hear. "My mom’s very direct and doesn’t sugarcoat anything," he tells ABC Radio. "I would be making a song at 11 years old, producing it on my little piano, and I’d show it to her and she would be like, 'This isn’t good. You have to fix this, this and this.' And I would be all mad, but then I would listen to it later and be like, 'Oh, she was right.'”
The "See You Again" singer adds, "I would [sometimes] get a little verbally bullied at school and she'd be like, 'Who cares what anybody thinks, Charlie? Just stay home and work on your music.' So that’s really been the best advice that my mom has ever given me."
Hozier's mother is an accomplished artist who painted the image on the cover of his acclaimed debut album. What was the best advice she ever gave him? "I think it would be tricky to think of just one," says the Grammy-nominated singer. "I suppose, 'Just keep going.' You know, as bad as things get...if you decide that there’s no limit to what s*** you can go through, you can keep going."
OMI, who topped the charts for weeks last year with his smash "Cheerleader," says his mom is a pretty good cheerleader herself when it came to encouraging him. "She always repeated something my dad usually says, is, 'Ambition beats condition,'” he tells ABC Radio. "It’s like, it doesn’t matter what’s your condition or your situation. If you have ambition, you can overcome it." OMI did just that, becoming the first reggae artist to top the Billboard chart in more than a decade.
VH1's Dear Mama special also features Alicia Keys and Queen Latifah honoring their moms, and Will Smith's kids Trey, Jaden and Willow paying tribute to Will's wife Jada Pinkett Smith. It airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
BillboardThe ladies of Fifth Harmony recently became the first girl group in eight years to score a top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. But for all of their success, the group gets candid in a new Billboardcover story about the low points of fame.
"They sell you this present of rainbows and butterflies, and as a 16-year-old that's what I bought,” says Lauren Jauregui. “It's why I did X Factor and why I ended up in a group. But then you're working so hard, so young.”
That hard work can take its toll. Camila Cabello admits she suffered from terrible anxiety and Ally Brooke Hernandez says she went through "awful mental health situations," while others members have dealt with loss while on the road.
"I love touring, but the schedule traumatized me," says Dinah Jane Hansen. "I was like, 'What kind of job are we doing?' I watched my great-grandmother be buried on FaceTime. We're all so family-oriented, and we've all lost people on the road."
Normani Kordei has mourned three people in the past four months, including a friend of hers who was murdered. Not only have the girls lost people close to them, they say it’s also easy to lose their identities. Lauren gets emotional when talking about recently rekindling an old friendship and being reminded "of all the parts of me that had left” -- like the fact that she loves to paint, write and be outside.
Things aren’t all depressing, though. With their upcoming sophomore album, 7/27, Dinah says they “finally have a damn voice.” "We feel like actual artists,” she adds. “We were little babies in the beginning. Now we're becoming big girls."
ABC/Ida Mae AstuteAs if we had any doubt that Taylor Swift is raking in some serious dough, Billboard has named her the Top Money-Maker of 2015.
The singer earned $73.5 million in total revenue last year, mostly thanks to her massively successful 1989 world tour. She took in $61.7 million from touring, $7.2 million in sales, $4.1 million in publishing and $560,000 in streaming revenue. Her publishing revenue received a significant boost from the royalties she received from Ryan Adams’ 1989 cover album.
Also making the top 10 on Billboard’s list are Billy Joel at number four, One Direction at number five, Adele at number nine and Maroon 5 at number 10. Adele is the top-selling act of 2015 with $16.3 million in sales. She’s also the only artist on the list who didn’t tour last year.
Rob Kim/Getty Images for Tribeca Film FestivalJustin Timberlake is teasing fans with a snippet of a new song, "Can't Stop the Feeling."
He tweeted a brief video clip of the upbeat dance tune with the caption "9 PM PT," which is when he'll release it. The video clip is crammed with guest stars, among them Anna Kendrick, James Corden and Gwen Stefani. Justin's Twitter feed is full of retweets from radio stations who promise they'll be playing the song tomorrow.
The song apparently comes from the soundtrack to the animated movie Trolls, in which Justin plays Branch, a grumpy-looking grey-blue troll, who goes on an adventure with Princess Poppy, a bright pink troll voiced by Anna Kendrick.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images via ABCNicki Minaj may have helped Demi Lovato's decision to avoid future Met Galas. It seems like Queens rapper shaded the pop star by neglecting to tag her in an Instagram post.
The "Anaconda" star shared an image from Monday's Met Gala red carpet featuring Demi and their escort for the night, Jeremy Scott, but interestingly only tagged the Moschino designer, apparently snubbing the "Stone Cold" singer.
The obvious shade did not go unnoticed by Lovato, who went on Snapchat to post an altered frowny face photo with the caption: "When you aren't mentioned in a post but didn't do s*** to the person..."
Soon after her post, Lovato proceeded to add a photo on Instagram in which it appears that Minaj is giving Lovato the side eye.
The singer captions the photo saying, "This picture pretty much summed up my first and probably last met #cool #sof*******awkward #notforme #sweatpants #forensicfiles #whatsgood." The #whatsgood hastag referencing the time Nicki Minaj infamously called out Miley Cyrus live at the MTV Video Music Awards.
She adds, "p.s. some of y'all need to learn how to take a joke.. I'm obviously laughing at the fact that 1. I look incredibly awkward and 2. That the shade being thrown in this picture actually gives me life."
Photo by Francois Nel/Getty ImagesA day after reports proclaimed Janet Jackson is pregnant with her first child, the singer has released the video for her appropriately titled new single, “Dammn Baby.”
In classic Janet fashion, the black-and-white clip is heavy on the dance moves. Janet and her backup dancers are the focal point as they perform a choreographed routine against a plain backdrop. Janet also gets the chance to bust some moves on her own during the bridge of the sultry tune.
“Dammn Baby” is featured on Janet’s 2015 album Unbreakable. Last month she postponed the rest of her Unbreakable world tour, saying that she was “planning her family” with husband Wissam Al Mana. She has yet to confirm the pregnancy.
Tom SchirmacherMeghan Trainor has another new tune to share with us. She released “Me Too” as an instant grat track when you pre-order her upcoming second album, Thank You.
The song -- yet another self-confident anthem -- will serve as Meghan’s follow-up single to “No.”
“I thank God every day/That I woke up feeling this way/And I can’t help loving myself/And I don’t need nobody else,” she sings over an infectious beat. She then brazenly proclaims, “If I was you, I would wanna be me too.”
Meghan also has released the songs "Better," "Mom," "I Love Me" and "Watch Me Do" from Thank You, which comes out May 13.