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In Honor of Joan Sebastian’s Birthday, Listen to the Late Mexican Music Star’s Top 5 Hits

Joan Sebastian would have turned 69 Wednesday (April 8). The Mexican singer and writer of achingly beautiful songs — who landed 42 Hot Latin Songs hits – died July 12, 2015, at his ranch in Juliantla, Mexico, after a 13-year battle with bone cancer. He was 64 years old.

“I don’t make up songs –I live songs,” Sebastian once told Billboard.

With a story that reads like the movies and soap operas he once starred in, Sebastian had much living to draw from. He had eight children from five women, survived the death of two of them, and was diagnosed with bone cancer, a disease he battled with grit and by never leaving the stage.

In celebration of his birthday, fellow Mexican star Alejandro Fernandez, who counted Sebastian as a mentor, has released a cover version of “Esto y más.”

It inspired us to look back at Sebastian’s top 5 hits on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart.

“Oiga”

Joan Sebastian’s first entry on the top 10 dates back to 1986 with “Oiga,” a pop ballad performed with singer/songwriter Prisma (real name Silvia Tapia Alcázar) that peaked at No. 4 and spent 26 weeks on the chart. Just a few years later, Prisma, a star in Mexico in the ’70s and ’80s, would leave showbiz for good. Sebastian stayed.

“Secreto de Amor”

It took 14 years for Sebastian to hit the top 10 again, this time with what would become his biggest hit. “Secreto de Amor” (Love Secret), a song about an illicit lover (“I’m going to change your name, so we can keep our secret,” says the opening line) has become a Latin music standard, covered by singers around the world. The song peaked at No. 3 in 2000 and spent 33 weeks on the chart. This is not “Secreto’s” official video, but it shows Joan Sebastian performing in his most authentic manner: singing live, on a horse, during one of his fabled jaripeos (horse and music shows) in Mexico.

“Un Idiota”

The track, about a fool who lets the girl go, originally charted in 2001, and returned in a new version in 2015.

“Manantial de Llanto”

The ranchero/pop track, from the album Lo Dijo El Corazón, hit the top 10 in early 2002. It spent 26 weeks on the chart.

“Más Allá del Sol”

From the album of the same name, “Más Allá” showcased a Joan Sebastian in his prime, this time singing banda. “Más allá” spent 35 weeks on the chart, more than any of Sebastian’s other top 10s, and the album won regional Mexican album of the year at the 2007 Billboard Latin Music Awards, where Sebastian also received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bonus Track: “Eso y Más”

Not a lead a single, the pared down “Eso y más,” recorded with only a guitar accompaniment, nevertheless became a major hit that peaked at No. 6 on the chart and spent 26 weeks on the tally. This is Alejandró Fernández’s new cover version, released April 8.

A Regulation-Size NBA Court, Murakami Piano & More: Go Inside Drake’s Swanky Toronto Home

After flaunting his mega-sized Toronto home in his “Toosie Slide” video, Drake opted to give fans a more inside look for the latest cover of Architectural Digest. 

With the help of Canadian architectural and interior designer Ferris Rafauli, Drake built the house of his dreams in his hometown. Envisioned by the 6 God six years ago, the 50,000 square foot luxury pad was merely a dream dating back to his younger days. “I think the house shows that I have true faith in myself to take on this task when I was just 27 and see it through,” says the 33-year-old superstar. “I also think the house says that I will forever remain solid in the place I was born.”

Drake’s home includes a regulation-size NBA court, a 3,200 square-foot master bedroom suite, and a bespoke Bösendorfer concert grand piano designed by Ferris Rafauli and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. “Drake’s world completely revolves around music, so he wasn’t going to buy just any piano. This prized possession is an authentic marriage of artistry, craft, and quality,” Rafauli reveals. 

Despite all the plush amenities, Drake’s favorite spot is his bedroom since it’s “where I come to decompress from the world at the end of the night and where I open my eyes to seize the day,” He adds: “The bed lets you float, the shower lets you escape and gather your thoughts, and the closet makes you want to talk to yourself while you’re getting dressed.”  

Ultimately for Drake, he wanted to build a home that can stand the test of time. “Because I was building it in my hometown, I wanted the structure to stand firm for 100 years. I wanted it to have a monumental scale and feel,” he mentions of his passion project. “It will be one of the things I leave behind, so it had to be timeless and strong.”

 

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King Princess Brings Her ‘Musical Joy’ to Quarantined Tiny Desk Concert: Watch

King Princess had a big 2020 ahead of her. On the heels of her debut album Cheap Queen, Mikaela Straus (KP’s off-stage name) was set to open for The Strokes in Los Angeles, go on a European tour with Harry Styles and much more. But with the spread of coronavirus keeping everyone in quarantine, the singer is still giving the fans what they want, albeit under different parameters.

On Wednesday (April 8), Straus appeared as the latest guest on NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. Holed up in her “quarantine shed” in Hawaii, Straus sat on a plush white chair, cycling through the assortment of keyboards and guitars she managed to bring with her into self-isolation. “I brought as much gear in the carry-on of my plane ride as possible,” she says. “Now I have various little toys to play with to bring musical joy to all the people around.”

To kick off her set, Straus sat with a small keyboard in her lap singing along to her track “Isabel’s Moment,” where she sings about a lover who won’t return her advances with any kind of attention. “But you can’t choose your love like a phone number/ And I’m still trying to draw all the lines,” she sang.

Straus she said she found the song to be very applicable to daily life during these trying times. “It makes me think of all the mischief that people are getting up to in this quarantine time; they’re texting their exes, they’re texting their ex-best friends, they are all around on the social media lurking,” she said with a laugh. “That song is truly an homage to that type of quarantine thirstiness that we’re feeling right now.”

The “line of cohesion” about our current situation continued throughout the rest of Straus’s set, where she performed “Prophet” and “Homegirl” off of Cheap Queen, accompanying herself on the guitar. For “Prophet,” the singer equated the track to the struggle to find success in the industry, but admitted that “Homegirl” may be her favorite song off of the album. “She deserves more justice than she’s been given so far,” she said. “I feel like I have a little country inside me, and it’s just waiting to come out.”

While switching between songs, Straus reflected on the struggle of going from being constantly booked to complete isolation, saying she felt like she was starting back from square one, but in a good way. “I’m back to just making music in my room, and I feel like it’s been really interesting,” she says. “We’re all trying to find that creative spark we had as children … it’s so lost on us now, because we just schedule time to do our jobs.”

Check out King Princess’s full NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert below:


*NSYNC Is Having Weekly Virtual Happy Hours and We’d Like an Invite, Please

There’s a lot of virtual hangouts happening while everyone is in quarantine, but Andy Cohen may have just uncovered the best one yet.

Cohen had Lance Bass on his at-home version of Watch What Happens Live Tuesday night (April 7), and the *NSYNC-er revealed that his famed group chat with his bandmates has been taken to the next level while social distancing. “We have happy hours every week together on Zoom,” he said, referring to the wildly popular video communication app.

Naturally, Cohen immediately asked if Justin Timberlake is part of those virtual happy hours, to which Bass happily replied, “Yeah, of course!”

Bass recently had Timberlake on his podcast, The Daily Popcast, as part of a week-long celebration of *NSYNC’s history-making album No Strings Attached turning 20, for which he interviewed each member separately. Though Bass told Cohen he wasn’t surprised Timberlake wanted to be part of the *NSYNC podcast, Bass did admit the conversation was revelatory, even for someone who was in the group with the “SexyBack” singer.

“I heard a lot of things for the first time coming out of Justin’s mouth about *NSYNC,” Bass said. “He doesn’t really talk about *NSYNC too much, but it was great to hear his perspective.”

But the biggest revelation of Bass’ chat with Justin? “That he would actually be interested in talking about a reunion.”

Bass said all of the interviews bonded the group even more, especially during the quarantine, which eventually led to *NSYNC’s virtual happy hours. Now if we could just find a way into one of those…

Cohen also involved Bass in some discussions of Vanderpump Rules drama, as the Bravo show’s stars Lisa Vanderpump and Lala Kent (as well as her fiancé Randall Emmett) were guests on Tuesday’s show too. Watch all of Bass’ Watch What Happens Live clips below.

MGM Buys Ridley Scott’s ‘Gucci’ Film With Lady Gaga Set to Star

While other major Hollywood studios are grinding to a halt, MGM is making showy moves.

Film chairman Michael De Luca, who was installed in January, is taking this time to attempt to reshape the company not just as a library of IP — think the James Bond and Creed franchises — but one that has a future with original material. In March and early April alone, he has hired executives and closed several splashy deals as some rivals appear to be in pause mode.

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that MGM is acquiring Ridley Scott’s Gucci — a true crime drama about the murder of fashion trailblazer Maurizio Gucci — and is in negotiations for Lady Gaga to star. The studio beat out Netflix and at least one other streamer for the project about the machinations behind the fabled fashion house. MGM won out partly because it offered the opportunity for a theatrical release, a key appeal for Scott, according to sources.

Gaga would star as Patrizia Reggiani, Gucci’s ex-wife who was convicted of orchestrating his hit after he had an affair. The script by Roberto Bentivegna is based on The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, written by Sara Gay Forden and published by William Morrow in 2001. The book used the murder to delve into the complex yet dishy family history, filled with infighting, corporate intrigue and gobs of money. Maurizio Gucci was the grandson of Guccio Gucci and ran the company in a declining period in the 1980s after wresting it out of an uncle’s hands.

“This project has long been a labor of love for both Ridley and me,” says Giannina Scott, who will produce with husband Ridley via the couple’s Scott Free banner. “The story is so epic, the stakes so high and the characters so richly drawn that we were determined to get it to the big screen. To say we are thrilled to be teaming with Mike De Luca and his brilliant film group at MGM is an understatement. We can’t wait to see this come to life next year.”

Scott was in the middle of shooting The Last Duel, a drama set in the Middle Ages with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Adam Driver, but that movie is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. The plan is for Scott to restart work on that when Hollywood and the world returns to work, and then dive into Gucci after.

MGM is so ready to wear Gucci that it has set a Nov. 24, 2021, release date. “Nothing typifies bold, audacious originality more than a film by Ridley Scott,” says De Luca in a statement. “All of us at MGM are incredibly excited to be in business with Ridley, Giannina, Kevin and the whole team at Scott Free.”

MGM’s Gucci buy follows De Luca’s March 27 deal for Ryan Gosling to star in an untitled space drama based on a new novel by The Martian author Andy Weir. The studio edged out rivals with a whopping $3 million deal for the book, now in manuscript form. Earlier in March, the studio acquired the road-trip comedy Dog, to be co-directed by Channing Tatum (who also will star) and Reid Carolin.

Meanwhile, MGM has enlisted veteran executive Pam Abdy as motion picture group president, reporting to De Luca, as well as executive vp Elishia Holmes and senior vp Johnny Pariseau, both from his previous shop, as a solo producer. The Gucci project, in particular, aligns with De Luca’s strategy to court A-list directors while other studios are taking a beat on everything but future tentpole planning.

MGM, like other studios, has been reckoning with the theater chains’ shutdown and was forced to move its $250 million James Bond outing No Time to Die from April to November.

Pushing back the tentpole likely resulted in a $30 million to $50 million loss for the studio. But sources say that MGM is not planning layoffs or furloughs despite the revenue hit it is expected to take from the Bond sequel’s delay. (The studio declined to comment.) One insider observes of MGM’s moves amid Hollywood’s shutdown, “This time is an opportunity as much as it’s a liability.”

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.


The Weeknd Continues Atop Hot 100 Songwriters Chart, 30Roc Leads Hot 100 Producers

The Weeknd logs his second consecutive week at No. 1 on the Hot 100 Songwriters chart (dated April 11), thanks to five entries on the latest Billboard Hot 100, all of which he co-wrote (and co-produced).

All five tracks are from his new LP, After Hours, which logs its second week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 138,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Leading the way, “Blinding Lights” likewise tops the Hot 100 for a second frame.

Here’s a look at all five of The Weeknd’s songwriting credits on the latest Hot 100:

Rank, Title (co-songwriters in addition to The Weeknd)
No. 1, “Blinding Lights” (Max Martin, Oscar Holter, Belly, DaHeala)
No. 12, “Heartless” (Metro Boomin, Illangelo, Dre Moon)
No. 42, “In Your Eyes” (Martin, Holter, Belly)
No. 61, “After Hours” (DaHeala, Illangelo, Mario Winans, Belly)
No. 85, “Save Your Tears” (Martin, Holter, DaHeala, Belly)

The Weeknd concurrently ranks at No. 6 on the Hot 100 Producers chart, after spending the previous week at No. 1.

Last week, The Weeknd became the first artist to rule the Billboard 200, Hot 100, Artist 100, Hot 100 Songwriters and Hot 100 Producers charts simultaneously. “It feels like a huge blessing,” he told Billboard of the fivefold honor. “As artists, being recognized for what we do is the ultimate validation.”

Meanwhile, 30Roc (real name: Samuel Gloade) returns to No. 1 on the Hot 100 Producers chart for a ninth total week on top, driven by Roddy Ricch’s “The Box,” which he solely produced. The track spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and now places at No. 2. Since the Producers chart’s launch last June, only Louis Bell has spent more weeks at No. 1, with 17.

The weekly Hot 100 Songwriters and Hot 100 Producers charts are based on total points accrued by a songwriter and producer, respectively, for each attributed song that appears on the Hot 100; plus, genre-based songwriter and producer charts follow the same methodology based on corresponding “Hot”-named genre charts. As with Billboard’s yearly recaps, multiple writers or producers split points for each song equally (and the dividing of points will lead to occasional ties on rankings).

The full Hot 100 Songwriters and Hot 100 Producers charts, in addition to the full genre rankings, can be found on Billboard.com.