By Kara Warner
If you don't know Moroccan mega-producer/songwriter RedOne by name, you know him by song. He's the man behind Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," "Just Dance" "Bad Romance" and "Judas," as well as Jennifer Lopez's "On The Floor" and "Papi," just to name a few.
With the release of yet another expected chart-topper looming on the horizon - Cher and Gaga's duet, "The Greatest Thing," MTV News caught up with the man behind the music to learn a little bit more about his 2101 Records label and which new artists we should be looking out for.
By Lindsay Wallace
MTV News caught up with the Barbados-born artist Shontelle just after her return from Japan's Spring Groove. The talent-filled show was a landmark in her very quick rise to stardom, as she performed with John Legend, T-Pain, Akon and TLC. This wasn't her first star-studded collaboration, however, as she has previously performed with both Akon and her fellow Barbados-born pop-star friend, Rihanna.
Her relationship with Rihanna began in Barbados, where they went to different schools but were involved in friendly competition in the cadets. She admits that her friend was especially influential on her in many ways since Rihanna made it in the music industry first. Her fellow former cadet, who she refers to as "Rih," gave her advice on the ins and outs of the music industry. "I definitely got a lot of tips from her," Shontelle said. "I tend to pay attention to successful artists and she's certainly one of the most successful artists in the last few years."
By Akshay Bhansali
Yesterday, I — along with MTV News correspondent Tim Kash and interns Kathleen and Arielle — paid British pop-and-R&B sensation and newly signed Cash Money Records recording artist Jay Sean a visit at SIR Studios in New York. For Tim and me, the trip brought things full circle.
By Rahman Dukes
There's been a buzz around the next wave of New York rappers since the beginning of the new millennium, but as the year 2010 closely approaches, many of those budding stars have yet to release a full-length studio album — until now. Brooklyn's Icadon — better known in his earlier days as Icarus, a name earned as protégé to lyrical wizard Redman — drops his first official studio album, Robot-ic, along with partner and platinum producer Rockwilder, Friday (March 20) on Amalgam Digital.
Following in the footsteps of fellow Amalgam artists such as Saigon, Joe Budden, Max B and Termanology, Ic decided to take a different approach to releasing the record that has been years in the making. Fresh off the heels of the successful single, "Robot-Ic," the album is chock-full of hip-hop's finest lyrics added to a mixture of hardcore beats, thanks to the production of Rockwilder.
By Kim Stolz
I've spent the last two years waiting for my favorite band of this decade, Sweden's the Knife, to come out with a new album. The most recent release I came across was their live "Silent Shout Audiovisual Experience" — and for anyone who has been to one of their live shows, it's breathtaking and exciting to have those visuals on DVD. But I want more! Fresh material, new songs ... A year or so ago, I heard that singer Karin Dreijer was pregnant, and the brother-sister duo was on hiatus. Congrats to her, but disaster for me! Recently, we found out that Olof Dreijer was off in the Amazon recording birds, animals, and nature for a new Darwinian Opera. What? Perhaps a Swede's take on a Steve Reich-ian/Philip Glass-ian geological/environmental recording concept will be refreshing. Still, though, us Knife fans yearn for the strikingly haunting and beautiful voice of Karin (and don't you dare say she sounds like Björk!).
By Rya Backer
It's that time of year again — that time of year when music lovers the world over congregate in the hipster throes of the East Village, the Lower East Side and Williamsburg to celebrate all things indie rock and open bar. It's the time of year when, within a week, bands can break out or break up — and all the while, get handfuls of free stuff. Ladies and gents, it's the CMJ Music Marathon.
I'd conservatively estimate that 90 zillion unsigned bands from all genres have played this week. One of the bands we here at MTV News have really gotten a kick out of is Boston — OK, Cambridge — act Passion Pit. Despite having only been around for a year (one of their members joined about two months ago), they're poised to be 2008's CMJ success story.
Nothing gets discussion going quicker than proclaiming a band is the best. This week, we make the case for the Hold Steady reigning supreme over all of American rock — but what do you think?
Who is the best rock band in America?
In the voice-over booth, John Norris had his own ideas ...
By Dave Harrison
In the chaotic world of the music business, taking a four-year leave of absence is right up there at the top of the list of things you shouldn't do. But after our visit to the set of the video for "Right Here (Departed)," Brandy's first single from her upcoming album Human, it's clear that the R&B songstress is determined to make her comeback in the biggest way possible.
She has enlisted some hip-hop heavyweights, including director Little X (Usher's "Yeah"), for the video and is reuniting with producer Rodney Jerkins for the first time in six years. Brandy insists she and Rodney have moved far beyond any past conflicts, saying, "The chemistry brought Rodney and I back together. It's undeniable, it's magical. ... We are back, and I'm never leaving Rodney again."
Could Whitney Houston be the Rocky of the music world? It's been a long time since the singer was in her prime, and "Like I Never Left," her first new song in nearly five years, has leaked. She worked with Akon on it and proclaims she's coming back — but will her fans be there? What do you think?