November 1, 2013 |
Composer Robert Lopez was surfing YouTube recently when he came across a video of a music box playing "Let It Go," a stirring, radio-friendly empowerment anthem that he and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, wrote for the upcoming Walt Disney Animation movie "Frozen. " This is the second Disney feature film for the couple, who also helped write the music for 2011's "Winnie the Pooh. " But it's the first time their work has ended up in a pink box with twirling princesses - and in the lofty realm of Disney tunes that people can't seem to stop humming.
October 23, 2013 |
Elliott Smith needed a cigarette. The singer-songwriter was onstage at Largo on Fairfax Avenue not long after smoking had been banned in California bars. "He'd played about 10 songs and said, 'I'm going to go take a smoke break, does anyone want to join me?'" remembered Largo's longtime owner Mark Flanagan of the 1998 show. "He put his guitar down and walked out to the street. Then 60 people got up and gathered outside. People who didn't even smoke were smoking outside just to be near him. " Smith died 10 years ago this week in his Echo Park home.
October 10, 2013 |
Elvis Presley called him up in the middle of the night to thank him for a song. John Lennon went to a banquet just so he could sit next to him. Dion said meeting with him was like "being inside a cubicle with a piano and a genius. " His name was Jerome Felder, but fame reached him under a pseudonym, Doc Pomus. If you care at all about the early days of rock 'n' roll, you either know who Doc Pomus was or count one of his songs as among your favorites: "This Magic Moment," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Lonely Avenue," "Little Sister," "Viva Las Vegas," "Can't Get Used to Losing You," "A Teenager in Love.
October 3, 2013 |
Ten years ago this November singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, then 34, died in an Echo Park bungalow from two knife stabs to the chest. According to William Todd Schultz's "Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith," a clear-eyed and devastating new biography of the gifted and troubled artist, his death, likely a suicide, was inevitable. The only questions were how and when. Smith is most widely known for the use of his somber, melodic music to soundtrack Gus Van Sant's "Good Will Hunting" and a white-suited performance during the 1998 Academy Awards of the song "Miss Misery.
September 27, 2013 |
This post has been updated. See note below for details. As a rule, composers of musicals are happy about any productions anywhere of their work. But Mike Stoller, the surviving half of the fabled songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller, is particularly excited about the Pasadena Playhouse's impending revival of "Smokey Joe's Café," the jukebox musical built around more than three dozen of the signature hits he and longtime partner Jerry Leiber cranked out in the 1950s and 1960s.
September 14, 2013 |
A recent study published in the journal PLOS One found that people who exercise in natural settings enhance their creativity. No surprise then to learn that Sarah McLachlan writes songs in her head while trail running. But 45-year-old singer also takes part in sports that require more attention to the task at hand. I understand you're a fan of surfing. Surfing is my passion because I love being active on the water. It's my big thing, even though I'm still not that good. A friend of mine in L.A., a famous surfer named Israel Paskowitz, convinced me to come out surfing about 15 years ago, and I fell in love with it. Living in Vancouver, there aren't many opportunities for me to surf, so I am just paddle boarding there, but I regularly head up to Tofino [on the west coast of Canada's Vancouver Island]
September 13, 2013 |
Country musician Brad Paisley and his wife, "Nashville" actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have sold a home in Pacific Palisades for $2.5 million. The restored house, with more 1920s character than country vibe, features a two-story living room with a fireplace, beamed ceilings and stained-glass windows. The 3,394-square-foot home has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. There is a detached garage with a bonus room, a lawn and citrus trees. Singer-songwriter Paisley, 40, spent this summer on his Beat This Summer tour playing paisley-patterned guitars.
September 7, 2013 |
Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, who carved out a solo career after a stint with Alabama's Drive-By Truckers band, is on tour for his new album, "Southeastern. " Accompanied by his musician wife, Amanda Shires, Isbell plays the Troubadour in West Hollywood on Sept. 15 and is part of a double bill with Tom Freund at Santa Barbara's Lobero Theatre on Sept. 14. "Southeastern" has been getting a lot of attention. Has this tour been different for you in any way? Yeah, it seems to be more successful.
September 2, 2013 |
Leave it to Neko Case to pull off a cover of the other great pop-music Nico, and make her version of "Afraid" feel self-aware, witty and totally heartbreaking all at once. The song is one of the centerpieces of the alt-country flamethrower's new album, "The Worse Things Get…," which is both her most personal and imaginative record in years. As always, Case's voice is a flawless, brassy instrument equally at home in the punk fuzz of "Man" as the lonely sound-art of "Where Did I Leave That Fire.
August 19, 2013 |
Becky G vividly remembers what she calls "my little mini midlife crisis. " It happened seven years ago, when she was 9. At the time, her family had been forced to move into her grandparents' Inglewood garage after losing its Riverside County home. Money was tight. Her dad was stressing out. And her mom was "really scared. " That's when Becky had an epiphany. "I did have this moment of realization of, 'Oh, my God, what am I going to do with my life?'" she says. "Just feeling like I had to get my act together, even though there was really nothing to put together yet. " Today, the biggest challenge facing the preternaturally ambitious Mexican American teen isn't getting her act together.