The Recording Academy announced the Grammy Award nominations this morning. Kendrick Lamar leads the field with 11 nods. The Weeknd and Taylor Swift both received seven Grammy nominations. Other top nominees include Drake, John Legend, and Kanye West.
The Academy is committed to celebrating a diverse blend of talented entertainers, musicians, and producers, and this commitment is evident in the nominees for the Album of the Year category. According to Grammy.com. Lamar has been nominated for his “jazz-infused rap,” Alabama Shakes for their “alternative and soulful rock,” Swift for her pop, Chris Stapleton for his “classic country sounds,” and The Weeknd for his “genre-bending R&B style.”
D’Angelo and The Vanguard are nominated for Record of the Year, along with Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd, and Swift.
The scene backstage last November at the American Music Awards, that annual gathering of pop perennials and idiosyncratic arrivistes, was carnivalesque: Niall and Liam of One Direction toddled about trying to snap a picture with a selfie stick, while Zayn, their bandmate at the time, smoked coolly out of frame; Ne-Yo was there in a leopard-print blazer two sizes too small; Lil Wayne was wandering around, alone, wearing absurd shoes. In the middle of it all, Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, remained calm, slow motion to everyone else’s warp speed.
Allergic to these sorts of scrums, he found his way to his trailer to hang with his friends, five or so fellow Canadians, all of them art-goth chic, wearing expensive sneakers and draped in luxurious, flowing black. Tesfaye, 25, was dressed down by comparison, in a black corduroy jacket and paint-splattered jeans (Versace, but still). He stands 5-foot-7, plus a few more inches with his hair, an elaborate tangle of dreadlocks that he has been growing out for years, more or less letting it go where it wants. It spills out at the sides of his head and shoots up over it, like a cresting wave. Casually, Tesfaye did some vocal warm-ups and sat indifferently as his underutilized makeup artist dabbed foundation under his eyes and balm on his lips.
He’d just had his first flash of true pop success: ‘‘Love Me Harder,’’ his duet with Ariana Grande, the childlike pop star with the grown-up voice, cracked the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. He was scheduled to make a surprise cameo here at the end of a Grande medley. Until that song and, in a sense, that moment, Tesfaye had been a no-hit wonder: a cult act with millions of devotees and almost no mainstream profile.
When Tesfaye came out from the shadows midway through Grande’s performance, the crowd screamed. For two minutes, the singers traded vocal riffs and unflinching eye contact, Grande playing the naïf and Tesfaye the aggressor. The performance was quick and sweaty, and seconds after it was over, Tesfaye was already speeding for the exit, stopping only for a quick embrace from Kendall and Kylie Jenner. When he reached the parking lot, a yappy talent wrangler for an entertainment-news show sensed an opportunity and asked for an interview. Tesfaye gave him an amused half-smile and kept walking. ‘‘Hey!’’ the guy shouted in desperation, fumbling for a name before landing on the wrong one: ‘‘A$AP Rocky!’’ Tesfaye turned his head and said, ‘‘C’mon, man,’’ arching an eyebrow, then picked up the pace.
Even though he had just performed for an audience of millions, Tesfaye was still, to many of them, a total stranger. When he began releasing music in 2010 — murky Dalí-esque R.&B., sung in an astrally sweet voice, vivid with details of life at the sexual and pharmacological extremes — Tesfaye chose to be a cipher. The only photos of him in circulation were deliberately obscured; he didn’t do interviews. His reticence was an asset — fans devoured the music without being distracted by a personality. Their loyalty was to the songs and, in a way, to the idea of the Weeknd. He was happy to stay out of the way.
Singer Rihanna and media mogul Oprah Winfrey have topped Forbes‘ list of Hollywood’s highest-paid women for 2012. Out of a short list of only ten high-powered ladies in entertainment, Oprah landed at the number-one position with her take of $165 million for the period ranging from May 2011- 2012. Britney Spears came in second by earning $58 million. Rihanna’s take for 2012 was $53 million, from heralbum sales, endorsement deals, and touring revenues. Yet, it was close in the upper echelons of this ranking, with Britney Spears being followed closely by Taylor Swift, who landed at number three with her $57 million dollar income. Ellen Degeneres tied with Rihanna, earning $53 million as well through her television deals. Continue reading “Rihanna and Oprah Top Forbes’ List Of Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Women”→