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Musical stars, including Jay-Z, Rihanna, David Guetta and Elton John, films from the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Mike Leigh and art from Yoko Ono and others will all be part of the London 2012 Festival, a cultural celebration across Britain tied to the Summer Olympics that kicks off on Thursday.
The festival, which runs through Sept. 9, includes 12,000 events and performances across the country in celebration of the Summer and Paralympic Games. Organizers say there will be 10 million tickets for free and paid-for events in such fields as film, music, theater, fashion, dance and art. The festival’s web site describes it as “the biggest festival the U.K. has ever seen.”
After a Six-Month Build, ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ Is a Breakout Hit, With Nearly 4.5 Million Copies Sold
It’s the hit that almost wasn’t, a simple song that’s become a worldwide smash but nearly disappeared before it was even finished. Gotye’s ”Somebody That I Used to Know” started with a spare, nylon-stringed guitar riff lifted from “Seville,” an instrumental recording by the late Brazilian bossa nova guitarist Luiz Bonfá.
The two notes, looped, became a conversation in the head of Wouter “Wally” De Backer, the gregarious 31-year-old Belgian-born, Australia-based artist who performs under the name Gotye (pronounced “Gauthier”). “That Luiz Bonfá sample directly prompted the first line of lyrics,” Gotye recalls, a thick Australian accent burying any trace of his European roots. “The back-and-forth left me thinking about these different breakups and different relationships over the years, and the lyrics flowed from there.”
That eureka moment came in the fall of 2010, although it would take Gotye another six months to find the female vocalist who gives the track its knockout punch. In fact, he says he toyed with abandoning “Somebody” at the recording stage, when his (unnamed) original choice of female vocalist pulled out. But fast forward to the present, and “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Samples ‘N’ Seconds/Fairfax/Universal Republic) — a rhythmic, slow-building duet in which two former lovers, portrayed by Gotye and New Zealand singer Kimbra Johnson, trade accusations (“I think of all the times you screwed me over”) — is all but inescapable the world over.
On Wednesday night (April 11), ELLE magazine celebrated its third annual women in music event at the Avalon in Hollywood. Some of pop’s brightest starlets strutted down the red carpet to pay tribute to rising stars as well as accomplished songbirds. Leading songstresses and performers in attendance included Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Nicole Scherzinger and Amy Heidemann of Karmin.
“We are celebrating some of the youngest, most exciting voices in music today,” said ELLE editor-in-chief Robbie Myers at the start of the show. “Of course they have great style, but what we’re really interested in is their records and everything that they have to say about what’s going on right now.”
Goulding was the first performer to hit the stage, playing a four-song set including hits “Under the Sheets,” “Salt Skinned,” “Starry Eyed” and “Lights.” Next up was Danish singer-songwriter Oh Land, who rocked out to a five-song set loaded with 3D graphics and featuring songs “Sun of a Gun,” Wolfe and I,” “White Nights,” “We Turn it Up” and “Voodoo.” Jessie J lit up the stage in a body-hugging pink leopard catsuit, black booties and two-toned hair, as she closed out the evening with a four-song set including hits “Do it Like a Dude,” “Nobody’s Perfect,” Price Tag” and “Domino.”
Adele, Coldplay, Florence & The Machine and Jessie J were among the British artists to earn multiple 2012 BRIT Award nominations, which were announced on Thursday (Jan. 12). The 32nd annual BRIT Awards, which honor the best popular music coming out of the U.K., will be held on Feb. 21.
Adele picked up nominations for Best British Female Solo Artist, Mastercard British Album of the Year for sophomore smash “21,” and Best British Single for her Hot 100-topping “Someone Like You.” Coldplay’s fifth full-length, “Mylo Xyloto,” joins “21” in the Album of the Year category, while the rockers are also up for Best British Group.
Jessie J leads nominees for U.K.’s MOBO Awards! Fresh off a stint as the house performer at the MTV Video Music Awards, “Price Tag” singer Jessie J leads all nominees for Great Britain’s MOBO Awards with five nominations, including Best UK Act.
Jessie J’s debut single, “Do It Like a Dude,” is nominated for Best Video and Best Song, following its ascent to No. 2 on the UK charts late last year. Additionally, the London-born songstress is in the running for Best Newcomer and Best Album for debut disc “Who You Are.”
After running in London since its first ceremony in 1995, the MOBOs (short for “Music Of Black Origin”) will be held at the SECC arena in Glasgow, Scotland on Oct. 5. R&B singer Jason DeRulo will serve as host, with Jessie J, Katy B and Alexis Jordan set to perform. A tribute to the late Amy Winehouse will also be held.