Barry Gibb Set for U.K. No. 1 With ‘Greenfields’

Barry Gibb’s dream project could yield his very first solo U.K. No. 1.

The living legend last week released Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers’ Songbook (Vol. 1), a collection of Bee Gees classics sung as duets with stars of country music, including Dolly Parton, Jason Isbell, Keith Urban, Little Big Town and Olivia Newton-John.

According to the Official Charts Company, it’s the U.K.’s best-selling title at the midweek stage. Greenfields (via EMI) leads the Official Chart Update, ahead of Passenger’s 13th studio release Songs For The Drunk and Broken Hearted (Cooking Vinyl), and Taylor Swift’s Evermore (EMI), and is set to pass Gibb’s highest-charting album as a solo artist, a No. 2 for 2016’s In The Now.

The Bee Gees, who were inducted into the Rock Hall back in 1997, have ruled the U.K. albums chart just once, with 1979’s Spirits Having Flown, though the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which features several contributions from the vocal group, led the national chart for a whopping 18 weeks.

As fans remember David Bowie on what would have been 74th birthday and the fifth anniversary of his passing, the iconic singer’s Legacy (Parlophone) collection vaults 31-10.

Also impacting the chart blast is Swedish post-punk group Viagra Boys, whose second studio album Welfare Jazz (Year0001) bows at No. 25, while Gold career retrospectives from British rockers Ian Hunter & Mott The Hoople (No. 18 via Crimson) and “Final Countdown” singers Europe (No. 34 also via Crimson) are eying Top 40 debuts.

Over on the Official Singles Chart Update, Olivia Rodrigo makes a big splash with her debut single “Drivers License” (Interscope). The High School Musical alum crashes the chart blast at No. 2, pushing Ed Sheeran’s “Afterglow” into third place.

The current leader, Little Mix’s “Sweet Melody” (RCA), remains on track for a second week at the summit.

The Official U.K. Singles and Albums Charts are published late Friday local time.

(G)I-DLE Releases New Mini-Album ‘I Burn’: Stream It Now

K-pop girl group (G)I-DLE released its highly anticipated mini-album I burn via Republic Records on Monday (Jan. 11).

The sextet’s six-song project threads together musical arrangements and Eastern instrumentation to collect the pieces of a broken heart, as I burn describes the aftermath of a painful breakup through the motif of a blazing fire and the sequential triumph like a blooming flower. The South Korean group’s leader Soyeon earns writing credits on three songs, while Minnie scores two and Yuqi has one.

(G)I-DLE reworked their 2018 single “HANN” for the EP’s opener, titled “HANN (Alone in the winter).” I burn’s proper lead single “HWAA” ignites one’s inner-fire to avoid the cold feelings brought on by a breakup over a moombahton-inspired beat, while its closing track “DAHLIA” flourishes as an upbeat love song. “I’ll choose to love you anyway, oh/ ‘Cause you’re my Dahlia,” Soojin and Miyeon sing in English in the chorus.

They also released the official music video for “HWAA.”

(G)I-DLE’s last EP I trust debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s World Albums chart last April.

Stream I burn below.

Give Zayn a Call Now to Preview His Brand-New Album

Zayn’s got his upcoming album Nobody Is Listening on speed dial — literally — and you can too.

The former One Direction star shared a new phone number for fans to hear snippets of each song featured on his upcoming third studio album Nobody Is Listening, which comes out Friday via RCA. After dialing (323) 991-ZAYN, callers can press any number from 1-9 to hear previews of the nine songs that have yet to be released ahead of the album.

The 11-song project also includes the two previously released singles “Better” and “Vibez,” which music fans voted in a Billboard poll as their favorite music release last week. Looks like there’s a lot of people listening to Zayn, despite what the album title says.

Dial the number below to hear Nobody Is Listening before it’s officially out on Friday.

JBL & Culture Creators Partner on HBCU Mentor Program

JBL/HARMAN, in partnership with the Black-owned agency Culture Creators, is launching JBL Campus SoundSessions. The new mentorship program will focus on expanding opportunities for minority college students aspiring to build careers in music production, marketing, business, technology or engineering. The chosen students will also be given a chance to win a $25,000 scholarship toward their education.

Starting Jan. 26 and running through Apr. 6, 2021, select HBCU (historically Black colleges and universities) students will be able to virtually attend six curated conversations featuring JBL executives, engineers and influential music industry speakers who will share their respective career journeys, challenges and other insights. Accepted students who participate in all of the 60- to 90-minute SoundSessions will receive an official certificate of completion to cite on their CVs. In turn, they will also become eligible to apply for $50,000 in JBL SoundScholarships through a business case study competition.

“As a brand dedicated to elevating life’s experiences, it is important that we invest in the evolution of equality and representation in the music industry by breaking down barriers and providing access to resources that will inspire and teach the next generation of industry changemakers,” said Ralph Santana, chief marketing officer at HARMAN, in a statement. “We are thrilled to launch the JBL Campus SoundSessions as a way to support HBCU students and provide them with resources that will help elevate their career paths. A major challenge for people of color is the limited availability of mentors within their communities. Together we hope to motivate these young students to visualize the options for their future and ensure anything they dream is attainable.”

“The opportunity for Culture Creators to partner with JBL in the development of the JBL Campus SoundSessions is a natural fit given our work as a boutique Black-owned agency committed to creating professional pathways and opportunities for minority students enrolled at HBCUs,” Culture Creators founder Joi Brown commented to Billboard. “We aim to provide a safe space for students to learn from top industry executives and go behind the velvet rope while providing the best professional development tools and helping universities bridge the gap between theory and practice. This will allow students to learn and gain the resources needed to be successful along their career paths.”

The JBL Campus SoundSessions’ curriculum will also tie into various cultural moments throughout its run, including National Mentorship Month, Black History Month and Women’s History Month. The program will also be promoted and available to all HBCU campuses, with students able to apply at JBLCampus.com/HBCUSoundSessions.

See Andra Day as Billie Holiday in Lee Daniels’ ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’ Trailer

On a list of Civil Rights movement leaders, few people would think to name Billie Holiday. But in his new movie, The United States vs Billie Holiday, starring Andra Day, Lee Daniels shines a light on that facet of the jazz singer’s story, in which Holiday’s 1939 song about lynching, “Strange Fruit,” made her a target of the FBI.

“When you think of Civil Rights leaders, you think of men,” Daniels says. “When you think of Billie Holiday, you think of this brilliant tortured jazz singer that happened to have been a drug addict. I didn’t know that she kicked off the Civil Rights movement. Before there was a Civil Rights movement, there was Billie Holiday and ‘Strange Fruit.’ The government saw that song as a threat and she was a target. That’s history and they keep it from us.”

Playwright and screenwriter Suzan-Lori Parks adapted The United States vs Billie Holiday from Johan Hari’s 2015 book about the war on drugs, Chasing the Scream, and the film, which will debut on Hulu in February, depicts the U.S. government’s pursuit of Holiday for her heroin use in the context of the FBI’s efforts to suppress her performance of “Strange Fruit,” which the government feared would galvanize the anger of Black Americans.

Day, in her first significant acting role, appears opposite Trevante Rhodes, who plays a mysterious figure who surfaces backstage one night and turns out to have more complicated motivations than those of a mere fan. Garrett Hedlund is Harry Anslinger, the leader of the FBI’s anti-drug efforts, who is targeting Holiday, and Natasha Lyonne (as Tallulah Bankhead) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph are women in Holiday’s vibrant circle of friends and lovers.

For Daniels, who collected best picture and best director Oscar nominations for his 2009 film Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, and who produced 2001’s Monster’s Ball,  the 1972 Diana Ross/Billy Dee Williams film about Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues, had been formative. “At 13 years old, I saw [Lady Sings the Blues] in Philadelphia and I saw two Black people in love, Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams,” says Daniels, now 61. “They were beautiful, stunning. That fashion was fabulous. It was everything that I grew up about as an inner-city kid in Philly, except it was in Harlem and it just reeked of my life. I had never seen anything like it ever. That was the reason why I ended up directing, which is weird because I ended up directing her story, but it wasn’t a story. It was a lie. It was make believe.” Where the 1972 film was a romanticized portrait of Holiday’s relationship with her fourth husband and road manager, Louis McKay, who retained control of her estate, Daniels says, “I really wanted to show Black love that we don’t see very often — it’s flawed and messy, yet, it’s beautiful.”

Before he started on his film, Daniels says he called Motown record label founder Berry Gordy, who produced Lady Sings the Blues, to ask permission—and got it. “I don’t think I would have done the movie if he said, don’t do it,” Daniels says.

Early on several people, including Daniels’ manager and agents urged him to consider Day for the role, but he was resistant. “I don’t like being pressured into anything,” he says. But he took a meeting with Day “and she was enchanting and she did embody the spirit of Billie,” Daniels says. “I sent her to an acting coach because she had not acted before. And the acting coach, on the fly, turned her iPhone on and showed me her prepping and getting into character. Just from that 30 seconds of video footage, I saw Billie Holiday without question. The game was up. There was no acting. There was just being.” Day later sang “Strange Fruit” in a formal audition for Daniels, and her casting was sealed.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood ReporterStream The United States vs Billie Holiday on Hulu.com.

Lana Del Rey Says ‘The Madness of Trump Needed to Happen’ for America to Uncover Its ‘Greatest Problem’

Lana Del Rey addressed the controversy surrounding her Chemtrails Over the Country Club album cover and the U.S. Capitol riot during a BBC Radio 1 interview Monday (Jan. 11).

Del Rey chatted with Annie Mac about the lack of diversity on the album cover, which is a vintage black-and-white shot featuring her longtime girlfriends. The Norman F—ing Rockwell star told Mac she suspected the issue would arise once she unveiled it. “So when they actually started saying things, I responded and I just said, ‘I got a lot of issues but inclusivity ain’t one of them.’ It just isn’t. You can’t just make it my problem,” the singer-songwriter said. “My friends, my family, my whatever… they’re not all one way and we’re not the ones storming the Capitol. We voted for Biden.”

She elaborated further on the Capitol riot, when Trump supporters stormed the building on Jan. 6 to contest the results of the presidential election, leaving five people dead. “I think, for the people who stormed the Capitol, it’s disassociated rage. They want to wild out somewhere,” she said after calling Trump “unwell” and claiming he didn’t know “he’s inciting a riot” while his supporters describe it as a “revolution.” “And it’s like, we don’t know how to find a way to be wild in our world.”

She touches on feeling “wild” in a standout lyric from the first verse of her title track, which got a whimsically wicked music video treatment: “I’m not unhinged or unhappy, I’m just wild.”

“If I go to the Brentwood Country Mart barefoot or whatever, I’m not insane; I’m connected to the earth. … I think people are having to re-evaluate what is strange and not strange,” she continued. “Like watching the people storm the Capitol, everyone gets to go look at that and figure out what Capitols they’ve been storming this year in their own freakin’ lives. ‘Cause everyone’s running amok. You know, half the people I know are just jerks. Like I could picture them being like, ‘Well, we need a change.’ And then other half of the people I know are like watching them with tears in their eyes, in disbelief. And it is sad, it is scary. But it could happen in any country.”

Del Rey says she thinks the last four years were necessary in order for there to be change in this country. “The madness of Trump, as bad as it was, it really needed to happen. We really needed a reflection of our world’s greatest problem, which is not climate change, but sociopathy and narcissism. Especially in America. It’s going to kill the world. It’s not capitalism, it’s narcissism. I was surprised we didn’t have a live-television psychopath crazy person as a president a long time ago because that’s what we see on TV and that’s what we see on Instagram.”

Shortly after posting her album artwork on Instagram on Sunday, Del Rey shot back at haters in a lengthy comment underneath the photo in question. “These are my friends this is my life. We are all a beautiful mix of everything- some more than others which is visible and celebrated in everything I do,” she wrote. “In 11 years working I have always been extremely inclusive without even trying to. My best friends are rappers my boyfriends have been rappers. My dearest friends have been from all over the place, so before you make comments again about a WOC/POC issue, I’m not the one storming the capital, I’m literally changing the world by putting my life and thoughts and love out there on the table 24 seven. Respect it.”

Del Rey noted in her BBC Radio 1 interview that half of the women featured in her Chemtrails cover are people of color, and she felt “uncomfortable” having them dragged into the controversy. “But I spoke to them as well and they were like, ‘We don’t care. You should not care. … Your friends are from all over the place, and you’ve never represented yourself in any other way.'”

Listen to LDR’s full BBC Radio 1 interview here.

OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder Sells Majority Stake in Catalog to KKR

KKR, a global investment firm which has invested in companies like Gibson and BMG, has acquired a majority stake in the nearly 500-song music catalog of OneRepublic frontman, songwriter and producer Ryan Tedder, including music publishing and recorded music rights, the parties announced Monday (Jan. 11).

Tedder’s management company Patriot Management and artist development company mtheory each acquire minority stakes in the catalog (mtheory through its MTC Music Royalties fund), and Tedder retains an undisclosed interest. Interscope Records continues to own OneRepublic’s master recordings.

“The music industry is undergoing an incredible period of transformation,” Tedder said. “Streaming and all forms of digital content are not only providing new avenues for how we consume music, but also for how artists can reach new audiences in a much more immersive way. KKR really stood out to us from every metric that mattered and it truly impressed upon me and my team their commitment to music as a true focus and passion moving forward.”

The catalog of nearly 500 songs written, recorded or produced by Tedder encompasses all OneRepublic songs — including hits “Apologize,” “Secrets” and “Counting Stars” — as well as Tedder’s work with artists like Beyoncé, U2Paul McCartneyAdeleStevie WonderEd SheeranLady Gaga, Cardi B and Jonas Brothers.

Going forward, KKR will collaborate with Tedder to “expand upon the success and reach” of his and OneRepublic’s music, according to a press release.

Formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., KKR has a long history of music industry investments. It teamed with Bertelsmann for the music rights joint venture BMG Rights Management in 2009, controlling 51% until Bertelsmann took full ownership in 2013, and has also invested in music or music-adjacent companies like Gibson Brands, Pioneer DJ gear manufacturer AlphaTheta, TikTok parent ByteDance, Epic Games and Nielsen.

KKR also reportedly made a bid for Vivendi in 2006, partnered with Warner Music Group on an unsuccessful offer to acquire EMI Music in 2010, and was mulling a $23 million bid to acquire Universal Music Group in 2019.

Now, the firm is investing in the Tedder and OneRepublic catalog in part through its $2.8 billion Dislocation Opportunities Fund, which was created to focus on investment opportunities caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Nearly a year since the pandemic put a hold on touring and the revenue that comes with it, Tedder isn’t the only artist looking to cash in on his catalog. The past year has seen a boom in music publishing catalog sales especially, thanks to growing interest from companies like Merck Mercuriadis’ Hipgnosis Songs Fund and Larry Mestel’s Primary Wave Music. Last week alone, Hipgnosis announced deals with Neil Young, Lindsey Buckingham and Jimmy Iovine, while Bob Dylan sold his entire publishing catalog to Universal Music Publishing last month.

“We were looking for a strategic partner to help us build on Ryan’s incredible success and find new ways to empower his artistic genius,” Patriot Management president Ron Laffitte said of the deal. “KKR stood out immediately because they understand that the artist should be at the center of everything that involves the creator’s creation.”

“We are excited to partner with Ryan on both his extraordinary body of creative work and on pursuing future opportunities together,” added KKR partner and Gibson Brands chairman Nat Zilkha. “At KKR, we are focused on a number of investment initiatives across the music and entertainment industries and we believe Ryan’s unique combination of artistic brilliance and business acumen will help us amplify these efforts.”

Tedder and OneRepublic were represented in the transaction by Jordan Keller and Sarah Smith of Keller, Turner, Andrews & Ghanem; and Latham & Watkins and FTI Consulting served as advisors to KKR. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.