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November 19, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
A year ago this English singer-songwriter was largely unknown in the U.S. despite the fact that his self-titled debut had entered the British chart at No. 1. Today Jake Bugg is still largely unknown here, but the folks who do know him are people of influence. Thus "Shangri La," Bugg's second album, titled after the Malibu studio where he recorded with A-list producer Rick Rubin and an all-star band that included Elvis Costello's drummer and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers. The result isn't the clean-up job it might've been; Bugg, 19, still sings with a nasal edge that wouldn't last more than a round on "American Idol.
November 12, 2013 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
Jhené Aiko offered a quick warning before she played her single, “The Worst.” It's best enjoyed alone with a joint (her words). She curled into a plush leather chair, took a long sip from a cocktail and gently swayed as the wrenching production unfolded, her eyes shut as the particularly aching hook filled a North Hollywood recording studio. “I don't need you, I don't need you, but I want you,” she sings. “I don't mean to, I don't mean to, but I love you.” PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times “The Worst” is the lead single for the singer-songwriter's new EP, “Sail Out.” Released on Monday, the EP serves as an appetizer as she completes her debut album, "Souled Out," and is the first release from producer No I.D.'s Artium imprint under Def Jam. In hip-hop Aiko is the new “it girl,” offering sultry, emotive hooks countering rhymes by J. Cole, Wale, Big Sean and Drake.
November 3, 2013 | By Lauren Beale
The show's over. Madonna has sold her mansion in Beverly Hills for $19.5 million. The single MLS listing photo offered only an aerial view, and agents and their clients who toured the home were among the few who have had a look inside. Those expecting the gabled-roofed home to have a gothic air were disappointed. "Tastefully decorated" was the word in real estate circles. During nearly a decade of ownership, the pop icon went on a spending spree, rebuilding and expanding the estate, which was completed in 2010.
November 1, 2013 | By Rebecca Keegan
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 | By August Brown
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 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
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 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
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 | By Randy Lewis
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 | By James S. Fell, This Q&A has been corrected. See the note below for details.
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 | By Lauren Beale
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.
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