This is probably the best news since ever, The Neptunes are back in the studio to record a whole new Neptunes album kinda like a Clones Part 2 according to The Herald Sun. “This new Neptunes record we’re working on right now is vicious,” Pharrell says excitedly. “It’s definitely harder – it totally demands sweat.” So how different is making a Neptunes album compared to N*E*R*D’s recent effort? “Music is music,” he says. “But with N*E*R*D we put more of our personality into it, that’s just us being us, and with Neptunes we produce for a lot of people so we allow space for their personalities, for them to be themselves and our music sort of commandeers the direction a bit.” He won’t give a release date – “But just know, I’m in here right now,” he says, before loud beats begin bouncing down the line. “Yeahhhh,” shouts Williams, “sweat time!” Thanks to matty.
This is the newest Star Trak signee. Bronx-born Maxine Ashley is a soulful ‘n sassy 17-year-old misfit from a puerto rican descent with one helluva voice. She eschews convention, wears her hair half fluorescent pink, half brunette, loves The Smiths, Neneh Cherry and Beyoncé, and has trouble keeping her big mouth shut. Her YouTube channel has already amassed 350,000+ views of her bedroom covers of R&B hits, but Maxine has traded her bedroom for the studios of New York and London, where she’s busy honing her international sound–a carefree mix of urban pop, R&B, dance, and soul that would be equally at home on the streets of the Bronx, London, or Tokyo. “You guys gotta get ready for this artist that I have, Maxine Ashley,” Pharrell says, “She is the next level. It is like grinding melodic pop.”
She was briefly part of a Xenomania group with Katie McKenna (now a member of Lite N Dark). A UK pop production house. Xenomania is a British songwriting and production team founded by Brian Higgins and based in Kent, England. Formed after Higgins met Miranda Cooper, Xenomania has written and produced for renowned artists such as Cher, Kylie Minogue, Dannii Minogue, Pet Shop Boys, and Sugababes. Her first outing is a guest vocal appearance on Italian DJ Alex Gaudino’s summer-smash, “I’m in Love“. Her tough yet vulnerable vocal atop Gaudino’s shimmering electronics has already wowed radio and club DJs Europe-wide, thus cementing Maxine’s first step on the road to international takeover. “I’m In Love” went to #1 in the UK Upfront Club Charts and released in the UK on Ministry Of Sound on September 19th. Check out some Covers and Pictures after the jump.
Alex Gaudino & Maxine Ashley – I’m In Love
Alex Gaudino’s new single was originally just a dance track with a catchy piano line and the looped “I’m In love” chant, in the same vein as Eric Prydz’s “Call On Me“. But the song was given new life with a topline written by Tim Powell performed by Maxine Ashley.
Meet Pharrell’s guitarist, GF native Brent Paschke. It might seem strange for a self-described “indecisive” guy like Grand Forks native Brent Paschke to make career plans before he was old enough to apply for a driver’s license, but he said he “just knew” all along that music was his calling. “That was just never a question,” he said. “In the seventh grade, I quit all sports. There was never a backup plan.” His risk paid off, and Paschke has gone from an ambitious guitarist who was convinced he’d make a suitable replacement for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante in the early 1990s to a musician, producer and songwriter who seems to have his imprint on everything these days. Over the years, Paschke has earned acclaim and the respect of fellow musicians — not to mention an ongoing gig with one of the biggest names in music and the chance to open for major acts like the Black Eyed Peas.
Getting A Break
Paschke graduated from Red River High School in 1990 and then attended a music school in Minneapolis. He cut his teeth as the guitarist for Twin Cities pop rock group Spymob, a band formed in 1993 that seemed poised for stardom. But a common occurrence for new bands — unexpectedly getting dropped from a record deal — changed those plans. Paschke said the band’s lawyer also represented Pharrell Williams, half of the Grammy-winning production team The Neptunes. Pharrell had a meeting with the president of Epic Records, who had just dropped Spymob, and Paschke said the timing worked out perfectly even though the band was “really bummed.” “Pharrell went in there telling her he loved Epic Records and his favorite band, Spymob, is on her label,” he said. “She then had to break the news to him that she just dropped us. Pharrell was like, ‘O.K., that’s fine, then I’ll sign them.’ That’s where it all started.”
According to an interview that Pharrell gave to the Australian Newspaper “The Herald Sun” from 23rd December 2010, The Neptunes are back with Madonna in the studio for her new album and the great thing about it is that Madonna never works with a producer more than once so this means she’s a big Neptunes fan “We’ve also got some stuff going on with Madonna.” Says Pharrell. Madonna has confirmed that she is officially seeking collaborators for a new album. In a post to her Facebook page last week, the Queen of Pop says she’s ready to get back to her pop music roots.
“Its official! I need to move. I need to sweat. I need to make new music! Music I can dance to,” she writes. “I’m on the lookout for the maddest, sickest, most bad ass people to collaborate with. I’m just saying . . . ” And though Madonna hasn’t released any new music since 2008’s Hard Candy, she has been anything but lazy. In the past year the singer has helped her daughter launch an exclusive clothing line through Macy’s, directed a film, and opened the first of a global chain of fitness centers. During a recent interview with British radio, the 52-year-old also revealed that she has no plans to give up her other business ventures when she gets back in to the studio. “I have a movie I have to finish. I have a new record I have to make. I have more gyms to open,” she explains. Thanks to matty.
It’s rare the world goes more than a few months without hearing a piece of new music involving Pharrell Williams. Wether fronting N*E*R*D, collaborating with chart-topping artists (or producing them), working with The Neptunes or on solo material. Williams is a man constantly in motion. But he’s no glutton for punishment. “Nah. I’m a glutton for making people move,” he laughs. After a busy year that involved releasing N*E*R*D’s fourth album Nothing and Williams scoring the animated movie Despicable Me, he’s in a good place.
“The new stuff has been going well,” Williams says. “We’ve been playing with Gorillaz on the road so it has been fun. They are awesome – there were so many people on stage it was like Parliament psychedelic up there.” Speaking from a Miami studio, Williams reels off an equally jam-pcked calendar for 2011. “I’ve just been all over the place from project to project. Right now I’m working on lil’ Neptunes music,” he says. “And there’s another Despicable Me. We’ve also got some stuff going on with Madonna.”
He drops that last name casually, but won’t divulge further details, Williams says he learns a lot from the plethora of artists he works with. “I learn in every process,” he says. “every session I have I try to take something from and learn different things – how to make great music, how to make that music greater. “Working with Daft Punk – they’ve been our buddies for like 10 years, and watching those guys work is pretty amazing. They make great beats and it was cool to collaborate with them. I love Uffie – she’s got a great energy about her and Nelly is really sweet and super-talented.”
As we already know Despicable Me 2 is already in works Part 1 grossing $56.3 for its opening first weekend, which is massive coming from an up-and-coming animation studio (Illumination, based at Universal) and a completely original film, with no books or previous movies to spring off from Pharrell revealed that he is gonna score again the movie. And while Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud are the film’s directors, it’s probably Illumination head Chris Meladandri who deserves most of the credit, for putting the studio together by recruiting all the good animators he knew, and encouraging original ideas amid the expected adaptations and remakes (those are coming down the line). “And there’s another Despicable Me.” Says Pharrell.
Primarily– and this should come as no surprise– the gears are already in motion for Despicable Me 2, which Meledandri is developing with the film’s writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. They’re also planning two short films featuring The Minions, Gru’s little yellow assistants who were apparently a major part of the film’s appeal to kids. It’s not clear where we might see The Minions next– either before another Illumination film or on the DVD or somewhere else– but you can definitely count on an enhanced role for them in the sequels. Thanks to matty.
With Pusha T. continuing to make a name for himself as one of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music artists, SOHH recently talked to the Clipse member to see if he feels pressured to bring his “A” game. Confident in his bars, Pusha assured SOHH and fans alike that he is the same artist he was when he first entered the rap scene. “Nah man, I’m Pusha, man,” Pusha told SOHH when asked if he felt pressure to deliver amongst the likes of his G.O.O.D. Music family. “Kid Cudi has his lane, Big Sean has his lane, Kanye’s got his lane, Common has his lane, you know. We’re like multi-faceted diamonds. Everybody is a color. There’s so many colors that comes out of this G.O.O.D. Music diamond and I don’t feel pressure, I just do me. I made Hell Hath No Fury! [laughs] Are people serious? I’ve said the greatest sh*t throughout my career. [laughs] [People remember my Funkmaster Flex] freestyle, that’s just one. I’m gonna do 12 more of them sh*ts.”
Enter for a chance to win a collection of CD’s from N*E*R*D. HipHopDx has teamed up with N*E*R*D to give One (1) Grand Prize winner & Three (3) runner up winners the chance to win N*E*R*D CD’s! Grand Prize Winner Will Win: Copies of The Best Of N*E*R*D, Fly Or Die, and In Search Of. Three Runner Up Winners Will Win: A Copy of The Best Of N*E*R*D. On January 11, Virgin/EMI will release The Best Of N*E*R*D, a new CD and digital collection gathering 16 of the band’s top Virgin singles, album cuts, b-sides and remixes.
The Best Of N*E*R*D includes the hits “She Wants To Move,” “Rockstar,” “Lapdance,” “Run To The Sun,” and “Fly Or Die,” other standouts from their two Virgin albums, plus b-sides “What’s Wrong With Me” and “Lil’ Suzy” featuring Kelis, as well as remixes for “Maybe” (Sander Kleinenberg Remix – Radio Edit) and “She Wants To Move” (Justice Remix).
Show your holiday spirit…
1. RSVP To The Cali Cali Christmas Event On Facebook
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7. Post A Video Of Your Cover One Of Alyssa’s Songs & Post It On Her Facebook Wall
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Alyssa Bernal recently put together a list of her favorite Christmas songs and wanted to share them with our readers. The “Cali, Cali, Cali” artist certainly has a rock solid X-Mas playlist. Here’s her favorite songs.
Alyssa Bernal’s Top Ten Favorite Christmas Songs
01 – Whitney Houston – The Christmas Song
02 – Frank Sinatra – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
03 – Bing Crosby – Winter Wonderland
04 – Celine Dion – O Holy Night
05 – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad
06 – Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You
07 – Charles Brown – The Christmas Song
08 – Rascal Flatts – I’ll be Home for Christmas
09 – Amy Grant – Grown Up Christmas List
10 – Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Here is another peak at the work you can expect to hear and see in Prophetic’s next project MPMP2, the sequel to his debut Mo Profit Mo Progress. You can watch him as he travels, performs and gains recognition and support from one of today’s most influential musicians, Pharrell Williams. Look for MPMP2 early 2011 but you can download Prophetics free web-tape “Wow You Still Sleepin’” from umbrellasup.com, thanks to Xavier.
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