Alan Menken Named 2020 Winner of Max Steiner Film Music Lifetime Achievement Award

Alan Menken — the award-winning composer behind some of Disney’s most beloved songs — is this year’s recipient of the Max Steiner Film Music Lifetime Achievement Award.

The honor, bestowed by the City of Vienna and named for Austrian composer Max Steiner (who penned the scores of Gone With the Wind, Casablanca and more), will be presented to Menken during the Hollywood in Vienna gala concert, an annual celebration founded by Sandra Tomek. Menken will receive his award in a ceremony on Oct. 3 following the gala concert at the Vienna Concert Hall on Oct. 2.

“I am truly honored to be receiving the prestigious Max Steiner Award this year,” Menken said in a statement. “And I feel humbled to have my name and work associated with the brilliant and legendary Max Steiner himself. The way his creative life moved from theater to film to the concert stage, even as his personal life moved him from Austria to England, and from Broadway to Hollywood, is an inspiration for all of us who follow in his footsteps nearly 50 years after his passing. And to receive this award in Vienna, the classical music capitol of the world, promises to make this one of the highlights of my life and career.”

Several of Menken’s contributions to the Disney canon have been chart hits: Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1993, Vanessa Williams’ recording of 1995’s “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas peaked at No. 4 on that same chart, Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s Beauty and the Beast duet followed when it reached No. 9 in 1992, and Michael Bolton’s rendition of “Go the Distance” from 1997’s Hercules rose to No. 27. He holds a veritable collection of Oscars, Golden Globes, Grammys and Tony awards, including best original score Oscars for The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992),

Menken finds himself in exceptional company, as previous honorees include distinguished film composers such as Gabriel Yared, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat and more.

Juicy J Apologizes Following Columbia Records-Aimed Diss Track

Update: Juicy J is walking back his “F-k Columbia Records” diss track hours after sharing the song and several social media posts attacking the label.

He posted an apology on Saturday (Feb. 29) and promptly deleted evidence of the song from Soundcloud, Twitter and Instagram.

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Spoke to @columbiarecords We are all good!

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Early Saturday morning, the rapper shared the track and a video of him dancing to it on Instagram. He took to Twitter to repeatedly call out Columbia and say that “they treat me like backwash” in spite of the two decades he’s spent on the label’s roster. (A representative for Columbia declined to comment.)

“F-k Columbia Records” featured Prince in two instances: a photo of the late artist with “SLAVE” written on his cheek served as the single’s artwork, and audio from Prince’s speech at the 2000 Soul Train Awards was worked into the track. “As long as you’re signed to a contract, you’re going to take a minority share of the winnings,” Prince said in the sampled remarks. “A select few of us will do well. The majority will not.”

In addition to the track, Juicy J threatened to leak his whole album.

Mariah Carey & JoJo Sing ‘Everything Fades Away’ Backstage in Las Vegas: Watch

Mariah Carey and JoJo teamed up for a special backstage moment at Carey’s Las Vegas performance Friday night (Feb. 28).

Carey, who is currently in the midst of her The Butterfly Returns residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, shared a video on Instagram of herself with “special guest” JoJo and others singing the background vocals of her 1993 song “Everything Fades Away.” Watch below.

“Everything Fades Away Just the background vocals! With special guest, the beautiful @iamjojo Hope you’re enjoying our backstage moments, let me know what song you want to hear next!”

JoJo shared some videos of herself having the time of her life in the audience while watching Carey perform. Check out the clips in her Instagram Story.

Last week, JoJo announced her first headlining tour in three years, set to make more than 20 stops in North America. The trek is in support of her upcoming album, Good to Know, scheduled for release this spring on Clover Music/Warner Records.

Meet FAITH, the Next-Gen Band Symbolizing J-Pop’s Expanding Diversity

FAITH is a five-member up-and-coming J-pop band whose latest track, “Party All Night,” has been getting huge airplay.

The two female and three male members members — Akari Dritschler (vocals), Toko Arai (bass), Ray Kastnar (guitar), Rei Yajima (guitar), and Luca Melancon (drums) — are all 19 years old going on 20 this year, consisting of childhood friends and their friends from Ina City in Nagano, Japan. Three of the members have mixed heritages with half-Japanese and half-American roots, and the band’s songs depicting the real emotions of teenagers all in English are quickly gaining popularity, mainly among people around the same age.

After forming in 2015, the band made it to the finals in a teen-only band contest in 2017 and was named “‎New Artist of the Week” by Apple Music. In December 2018, FAITH opened for Against the Current’s world tour Tokyo concert, and the young band’s song has also been featured in the popular reality show Terrace House.

Their music infuses mainstream melodies into sounds reminiscent of ‘90s Western pop music, and is somehow new and invokes nostalgia at the same time. FAITH’s style is global pop that connects naturally with listeners around the world, like a scene from a family drama or music playing in a car stereo in a faraway country.

The radio chart-topper “Party All Night” is a track on the band’s debut album, Capture it, released Jan. 15. The song is being featured on 71 power playlists on radio and TV stations across Japan, and requests from listeners are pouring in as well. The band’s tour promoting the set is quickly selling out.

In an interview with Billboard Japan, Dritschler shared that recording their first full album “expanded the range of what we’re able to do” as a band. The variety of songs on the project are teased in the album trailer featuring the members playing cards and sharing a bucket of popcorn. Watch below:

Guitarist Yajima also looked back on a two-week stay in New Orleans that greatly influenced the making of “Party All Night.” The three male members traveled together as their “high school graduation trip” last year around the time that happened to coincide with the Jazz and Heritage Festival.

“Luca has relatives in New Orleans,” Yajima explains. “We set up a drum kit in the guest house and jammed in the morning, then went to hear live music outside, then returned to make songs again based on the sounds we were inspired by. We lived like that for two weeks, and (‘Party All Night’) was born organically from there.”

Kastnar added: “We saw Santana. That was so lit!”

Aside from “Party All Night,” the album is packed with the young band’s efforts to challenge themselves, including “Lonely,” a song written back when the members were still in high school and rearranged for their debut project; “Caught Up in Time,” a country-flavored number that develops dramatically toward the end with a string orchestra; “19,” a positive tune about a 19-year-old’s defiance toward society and being true to oneself, inspired by Dritschler’s stay in New York, and more.

When asked if the band’s goals have changed since finishing the record, Dritschler responded by noting, “Our long-term goal has become clearer now. We want to play big venues eventually, and be able sell out any place just with our band’s name.” Yajima shared, “We’d love to perform at huge festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella, and tour worldwide.”

“And in order to do that,” Kastnar added, “we have to achieve each short-term goal that we face.”

Dritschler concluded: “We plan on focusing on each concert that we do, and keep brushing up our performance so our audiences can thoroughly enjoy our shows.”

What is notable is that radio and TV stations all over Japan are promoting an English-language song by a youthful band consisting of both male and female members with mixed heritages as “J-pop,” at a time when Japanese society is quickly shifting toward embracing diversity before the start of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The song’s breakout popularity also symbolizes the new trend in the way people in Japan listen to music, with the prevalence of streaming services making it easier for listeners to create personalized playlists that disregard traditional musical classifications such as J-pop/Western music and various genres.

The young members of FAITH, who grew up in such an environment, are already keenly aware that regardless of where they are based, they are connected to listeners around the world through their music. The next-generation J-pop band is set to overcome borders, genders and age to step out on the global stage with their colorful and solid pop sound.

Japan’s Survive Said The Prophet Kicks Off ‘Inside Your Head’ Tour in Tokyo

Japanese band Survive Said The Prophet kicked off its 22-concert domestic tour promoting its latest album, Inside Your Head, on Friday (Feb. 21) at the Liquidroom in Tokyo.

As the Japanese entertainment industry grapples with the conundrum of whether or not to go ahead with scheduled concerts and tours as reported cases of the new coronavirus spreads, frontman Yosh shared his thoughts on green-lighting the tour while taking necessary precautions and thanked fans for coming.

“Welcome to the first day of our tour! In the midst of various news, everyone on our team did everything possible to make this day happen,” he assured the crowd. “Let me just say that those who love music haven’t done anything wrong. Really, thank you so much for coming to the opening day of the Inside Your Head tour!”

The five-man band performed a set centering around tracks from the new album, which dropped Jan. 15, mixed with older hits and fan favorites from their catalog.

The tour travels all over Japan, hitting cities in Hokkaido this week and wrapping in Okinawa at the end of May.

Japan’s SCANDAL Talk New Label & Album, Being ‘All-Girl Band’: Interview

The all-female Japanese rock band SCANDAL released their ninth studio album, Kiss from the darkness, earlier in February, the first set recorded under their own private label established under Victor Entertainment, a long-standing rock label in Japan.

The four-member band was formed in 2006 in Osaka and debuted two years later. They founded their new label, called “her,” in 2018 on their 10th anniversary, and share that recording the new album in their new environment last year was like “making music feeling really relaxed in our own atelier.

“The result is an album that the members say “embodies how we live as a band and as individuals,” and also “redefines what ‘all-girl bands’ are.” Japanese society is gradually shifting toward a more gender-free mindset in general, but the members of SCANDAL don’t mind being called an “all-girl band.”

“People come up to us and say, ‘You’re not an ‘all-girl band’ anymore, you’re a rock band,’ and we find that so weird. Who says you can’t play rock while also enjoying being women?”

SCANDAL kicks off a world tour promoting Kiss from the darkness in March, with 19 domestic concerts and 12 engagements abroad with more dates to be announced. The members — HARUNARINATOMOMI and MAMI — sat down with Billboard Japan and spoke about their new label, the concept of their new album, their thoughts on being called an “all-girl band,” and more.

Tell us how your private record label “her” came about.

HARUNA: We celebrated the 10th anniversary of our debut in 2018, and were wondering what else we could do that would be exciting. We figured it might be really fun to create our own label and make new music like we were debuting again.

RINA: We wondered whether or not we should actually do it, though. Our team at our former label supported us for a decade and helped build SCANDAL’s style with us. But we did feel as though we were able to complete one thing under that team, so we decided to move forward in a new environment so that we can take on various things in an experimental way.

It’s been over a year since you founded your label. Have you noticed any concrete changes up to this point?

TOMOMI: It felt like we were making music feeling really relaxed in our own atelier. I think the way we live our lives and our lifestyles are directly connected to our songs now. Of course we were always honest when tackling music in the past as well, but we used to think that our band’s mission was to do songs that highlighted our brighter side, and wanted to play songs like that. But when you go through various things over the course of a decade, obviously there are days when you don’t feel so upbeat. I feel that we’re now able to make songs out of that kind of humanity that we have.

Did you have a concept for your new album from the beginning of your own label?

MAMI: We started making the album without any particular concept. We came up with the title after all the songs came together.

What kind of album do you think Kiss from the darkness turned out to be, then?

MAMI: I think it embodies how we live as a band and as individuals. In terms of our respective daily lives, and mentally as well.

TOMOMI: It shows our human side. It might be the first time we were able to include all kinds of emotions — delight, anger, sorrow, pleasure.

Were there any songs on this album that were particularly challenging for you?

HARUNA: I think “SaishuheikiKimi” is a challenge in terms of the type of song included on an album. It’s a pretty wild song — the kind that changes the scene, so to speak, at a concert when we perform it — and we hoped people would sense that “something is different (with SCANDAL)” by releasing it as a single. It expresses our current modes and our feelings towards this album through sound.

SCANDAL has always been pretty clear about presenting itself as an “all-girl band.” Why?

RINA: We like being called an “all-girl band.” People come up to us and say, “You’re not an ‘all-girl band’ anymore, you’re a rock band,” and we find that so weird. Who says you can’t play rock while also enjoying being women? It’s one of our themes as a band. I wish more people would accept all-female bands in a more positive way.

Could you elaborate on what being an “all-girl band” means to you?

RINA: It just means we’re a band with women members. But we want to celebrate being women, and think that it’s better to remain extremely positive about being framed or labeled in that way.

HARUNA: I think this new album redefines what “all-girl bands” are. We used to mostly present our positive sides in our previous works, but three out of four of us will be in our 30s this year, and for SCANDAL to keep being an “all-girl band,” it’ll become more important to show what each member is feeling as human beings. I think we were able to express some of that in all of the songs on this album.

SCANDAL performs outside of Japan almost every year. Not very many Japanese rock bands perform so many concerts abroad like you do. Why do you think your music is accepted by international audiences?

HARUNA: I think that might have a lot to do with us being an “all-girl band.” It’s a part of J-pop culture. We noticed this after we began playing overseas a lot, but most countries don’t have very many all-female bands.

Could you share your ambitions for this year?

RINA: Improving what we currently do. And while we tour every year, we intend to show our audiences a different SCANDAL that they’ve never seen before this year.

SCANDAL World Tour International Dates

May 23: Seoul, South Korea – West Bridge Livehall
May 30: Singapore – The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa
June 6: Manila, Philippines – New Frontier Theater
June 13: Bangkok, Thailand – Lido Connect (Hall 2)
June 21: Hong Kong – MacPherson Stadium
Sept. 4: Paris, France – YOYO – Palais de Tokyo
Sept. 6: London, U.K. – O2 Academy Islington
Sept. 9: Berlin, Germany – Musik & Frieden
Sept. 17: Anaheim, California – HOUSE OF BLUES
Sept. 19: Dallas, Texas – Canton Hall
Sept. 21: Atlanta, Georgia – The Masquerade
Sept. 23: Toronto, Canada- Queen Elizabeth Theater

6 Reasons Why Hall & Oates’ Summer Tour is a Must-See

This May, Daryl Hall & John Oates will kick off a lengthy summer tour that will hit 32 cities around North America. Three months prior, the legendary duo played a sold-out show at New York’s Madison Square Garden Friday night (Feb. 28), previewing their summer set and proving that even nearly 50 years into their career, Hall & Oates still puts on a can’t-miss show.

Though Hall & Oates will be playing mostly amphitheaters throughout their tour, Madison Square Garden was a fitting location for their tour introduction (the pair’s first show was technically in Hershey, Penn., but even Hall, born in nearby Pottstown, referred to that as a “warm-up”). It was a night of iconic songs in a special venue — exactly what Hall & Oates fans around the country will get in a few short months.

Check out six highlights from Hall & Oates MSG show, and get tickets to see the magic yourself here.

The openers

KT Tunstall and Squeeze, who both serve as support for the summer trek, started off the night just right with familiar songs and positive vibes. Tunstall was a trooper as she experienced some technical difficulties, joking that the “Gods of adversity came to visit me at the most important gig of my life.” She powered through her short-but-sweet set that featured her 2004 hits “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See” and even a cover of Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.” In between, Tunstall recalled meeting Hall a few years ago and declared, “People say you shouldn’t meet your heroes… sometimes that’s total bullshit.”

Squeeze played for nearly an hour, paying tribute to their heyday with 14 songs mostly from the late ’70s/early ’80s like “Slap and Tickle” and “Is That Love.” Before their 1979 hit “Cool For Cats,” the British rock group facetiously asked for a standing ovation for their 40+ years of touring. Once they broke into their biggest hit, “Tempted,” Squeeze didn’t need to ask for the crowd to be on their feet.

The falsetto-filled ad-libs

Hall & Oates took the stage just before 9 p.m., opening with a lively rendition of their H2O hit “Maneater.” Hall put little twists on the melody and added falsetto bits throughout, ad-libs he continued throughout the 16-song set. These not only reminded the crowd of his talent (and that he was definitely singing live), but also offered unique updates for famous tunes like “Out of Touch” and “One on One.”

The sax guy

While the nearly 20,000 people in attendance were obviously there for Mr. Hall and Mr. Oates, the set really wouldn’t have been the same without their longtime saxophonist, Charles DeChant. His sax solos reminded fans how crucial the instrument is to Hall & Oates’ music, especially on “Say It Isn’t So,” which sparked the response of a rock god. And despite being in the background for the majority of the show, DeChant looked like a star in a black sequined blazer and silver sparkly shoes (and, of course, his signature long locks).

The covers

In between their own megahits, Hall & Oates sprinkled a few classics from Paul Young, The Righteous Brothers and The Dramatics. The duo first played a soulful rendition of Young’s “Every Time You Go Away,” and though fans may have forgotten it was originally a Hall & Oates song (it appeared on their 1980 album Voices), Hall reminded that he wrote it himself — and further emphasized that with impassioned notes on the bridge. Later, Oates took the reins on their cover of The Righteous Brothers’ 1964 classic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (another Voices track). And just before leaving the stage before the encore, the pair delivered a smooth version of The Dramatics’ “What You See Is What You Get” (featured on 2004’s Our Kind of Soul), the most R&B-heavy cover of the night.

 

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Glad to have you back, @hallandoatesofficial. #SoldOut (: Brandon Todd/MSG Photos)

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The camaraderie

With so many hit songs in their catalog, Hall & Oates have been playing a relatively similar set list for years, if not decades. Yet, their enthusiasm for the songs still feels palpable, whether it’s through their intros of the songs or the jam sessions they enjoy together during each number — and on tracks like their 1976 breakout “Sara Smile,” Hall and Oates couldn’t help but lock eyes and, well, smile at one another in celebration of the legacy they’ve built together. That same spirit was carried by their backing band, which in turn fed the crowd’s excitement, making the countless sing-along moments even more memorable.

The power-packed encore

“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” had everyone out of their seats before the encore, and Hall & Oates’ quick return to the stage kept that energy alive — but it was the songs that really did it. The four-song finale featured the duo’s most rocking hits, “Rich Girl,” “Private Eyes,” “Kiss on My List” and “You Make My Dreams,” which had the entire arena on their feet and absolutely electrified for 20 minutes straight.

Hall & Oates’ 85-minute set featured no pyrotechnics or gyrating from the lead singer, like some of this summer’s highly anticipated tours — from the Rolling Stones to Justin Bieber — may entail. But that’s what makes Hall & Oates’ show so special: There’s no gimmicks or egos. It’s simply about the music that’s made people smile, dance and sing for almost 50 years.