Nico & Vinz Share Their Picks for Song of the Summer

Sara McColgan/Warner Bros. Here in the U.S., "Am I Wrong" by Nico & Vinz is definitely one of the songs of the summer, even though in Europe, where the duo is from, it was a hit last summer.   When asked to name their own picks for Song of the Summer, Nico & Vinz chose two additional songs that were also hits in Europe last year, but are now big here.

"I like the Clean Bandit song, 'Rather Be,'" Nico tells ABC News Radio, while Vinz votes for "Latch."  "[It] was, of course, a huge song last year," he says. "But it's really picking up here now. So I would say Sam Smith and, and Disclosure and 'Latch.'"

Nico & Vinz are from Norway, making "Am I Wrong" just the latest in a string of hits that have come out of Scandinavia, from Swedish super-producers like Max Martin and Shellback, to Norwegian production duo Stargate.  Stargate is best known for their work with Rihanna, Ne-Yo and Beyonce, while Martin and Shellback brought you smashes from Pink, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Usher, Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera, just to name a few.  So, why are Scandinavians so good at creating American pop music?

"Hey, I have no idea," laughs Vinz. "Sweden has always been sort of in the forefront of music scene...but now it's good to see that Norwegians...are really picking up."

"Am I Wrong" has managed to cut through a summer crowded with hits like "Fancy," "Rude" and "Problem," What makes the song stand out, Vinz believes, is their unique sound, which incorporates both his and Nico's Norwegian heritage and their African heritage.

"I think this whole mind state of just try to figure out who you are," he says. "'Cause we have this thing of ours, we say, 'To be unique, you gotta be yourself.' You know, that's the only way you can stand out in a crowd full of a bunch of artists. So we really just try to tap into who we are, and project that the best possible way." 

Nico & Vinz will be one of several acts -- including Usher, Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and MAGIC! -- who are headlining Fashion Rocks, a CBS music special airing live on September 9.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Report: Mariah & Nick’s Divorce Getting “Ugly,” Mariah “Devastated” After Nick’s Comments to “The Insider”

Mark Cant/FoxAny hope of an amicable divorce between Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon appears to have vanished, following Nick's comments to the TV show The Insider.  It seems Mariah is not pleased -- to put it mildly -- that Nick went off script and yapped to the show that the two are now living apart.

A source tells E! News that Mariah is "devastated" about Nick's comments because "they had agreed to work on a statement together."  Adds the source, "A joint statement was being prepared when he went and gave those quotes to The Insider."

"She can't believe he went and did that," adds the source. "Not what they had agreed on and not classy. He was not supposed to say a word. She thinks it was extremely childish, impulsive and opportunistic. For her, it was the last straw. She's done with him now."

"It's no longer amicable," says the source. "Things are getting ugly."  While the insider hasn't heard that Mariah has actually forced Nick to sign a gag order, which has been reported, he or she "would not be remotely surprised. She is seriously p***ed."

As for why Mariah and Nick's once happy marriage is ending, the source explains, "It has a lot to do with Nick's career choices. He does not have to work, but he's been throwing himself into gigs and projects."

Mariah and Nick wed in 2008 and have three-year-old twins.  As recently as May, Nick was denying that anything was wrong between him and the pop diva.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

New Maroon 5 Song “Animals” Featured in New KIA Commercial, Download It for Free

Credit: Vincent PeriniMaroon 5's new single "Animals" isn't officially released yet, but you can download it for free, for a limited time only, thanks to KIA.

The song, "Animals," is featured in the new commercial for the KIA Soul EV, along with the company's famous dancing hamsters. If you visit Kia.com/KiaSoul, you can download the track for free, but only until early next week.

In the commercial, scientist hamsters in a lab are designing the Soul EV, KIA's first electric car, but the scientists' pet mouse accidentally gets in the way of the high-tech equipment.  After everything goes ZAP, we see the mouse has been transformed into a sexy female rodent with a drop-dead body.  The scientists immediately jump in the car, head to the pet store, buy a bunch more mice, and then transform them all into sexy females.  Then..dance party!

Meanwhile, the official lyric video for the upbeat track is now available for viewing. "Baby I'm preying on you tonight/hunt you down, eat you alive/Just like animals," sings Adam Levine, over various shots of bunnies and icky slithering snakes.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Four of Five One Direction Members Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

PRNewsFoto/Syco Entertainment/Columbia RecordsOn Friday, Harry Styles became the latest member of One Direction to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but he then nominated a pretty odd group of people.

In his video, Harry is standing on the ground while the camera shoots him from above, from what looks like a walkway.  An unseen person then dumps a bucket of water on Harry's head, but not before he nominates super-powerful music executive Irving Azoff, Kanye West and Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon.  In the video's caption, he also nominates Ben Winston, who directed 1D's videos for "Best Song Ever," "Story of My Life" and "You & I."

Harry was actually the second member of 1D to take the challenge on Friday.  Louis Tomlinson beat him to it, having two people douse him with water and then jumping into a lake.  He nominated, among other people, Prince Harry of England, as well as Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and Arsène Wenger, a French soccer player. He was responding to a challenge by his band mate Niall Horan, who dumped water on himself while standing in what looked like a huge shower stall.

On Thursday, 1D's Liam Payne took the challenge, getting water poured on his head by a group of girls.  We're still waiting for Zayne Malik.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

 

 

Katy Perry & Pal Kacey Musgraves Throw Roller Skating Party in Minnesota

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMTDuring downtime on her Prismatic tour, Katy Perry has been enjoying the local attractions in the cities she visits, such as water parks and amusement parks.  On Thursday night, she and her opening act, Kacey Musgraves, went retro, strapping on roller skates and hitting the rink in Burnsville, Minnesota to celebrate Kacey's 26th birthday.

Katy and Kacey documented their time at the rink on Twitter and Instagram.  Kacey posted a photo of herself wearing a party hat; she's with Katy, who's wearing huge light-up eyeglasses.  "Gettin' our 8th grade on..," she captioned the photo. 

Kacey also posted a photo captioned "birthday shopping list" detailing what she and Katy needed for the roller party: knee pads, tube socks, glow sticks, fake lashes, and Champagne.

Katy posted a video of herself in an empty rink, wearing her light-up glasses and big heart-shaped earrings.  Disco lights flash while "I Will Always Love You" plays in the background, and Katy stares love-struck into the camera.  The perspective then changes to reveal Katy is dancing with a balloon that looks like a green alien.

Katy, along with Kacey, are set to perform at the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN Friday night.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

MAGIC! Gets “Rude” in NYC’s Central Park for “Good Morning America’s” Summer Concert Series

ABC/Lou RoccoIt was a MAGIC!-al morning in New York City's Central Park on Friday, as the Canadian reggae-pop band took the stage on ABC's Good Morning America Summer Concert Series. 

During the show, the group performed their hit "Rude," which has been #1 for six weeks, and their new single, "Let Your Hair Down," plus the album track "No Way No" and a reggae-fied cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."  Afterward, lead singer Nasri told ABC's Robin Roberts about his journey from behind-the-scenes producer and hit songwriter, to frontman of his own chart-topping band.

"I had reached a certain level as a songwriter that is a very good career, and I didn't need to switch careers," Nasri explained. "But there was something just really in my heart that wasn't settled. And when I met the guys, I knew that this was the next step in my life."

"I mean, it's great to know that our music is being heard because we've all been paying our dues for a long time as musicians," he added, speaking about the success of "Rude."

As for why the group is called MAGIC!, guitarist Mark Pelli revealed it was their producer who came up with it, based on the title of one of their songs.  "As Mark explained, "One of our songs is called 'Don't Kill the Magic,' and y'know, with 'Magic' at the end, he was like, "Hey! It'd be pretty cool to call the band Magic!"

MAGIC!'s next TV appearance will come September 9, when they perform on the CBS special Fashion Rocks.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio



Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” Video Director Denies Rapper’s Accusations It’s “Offensive”

Big Machine RecordsTaylor Swift's "Shake It Off" video is a fun romp that features the singer attempting -- and failing -- various styles of dance while looking adorkable and awkward.  Yet the imagery in the video -- which includes scenes of black female hip-hop dancers twerking -- has been derided as "offensive" by one prominent rapper.  Now, the video's director, Mark Romanek, is saying that nothing could be further from the truth.

The rapper, Earl Sweatshirt, tweeted the day the video premiered, "haven't watched the taylor swift video and I don't need to watch it to tell you that it's inherently offensive and ultimately harmful...perpetuating black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture. For instance, those of you who are afraid of black people but love that in 2014 it's ok for you to be trill or twerk or say n***a."

Romanek, an acclaimed director who helmed such iconic videos as "Scream" by Michael and Janet Jackson, "Criminal" by Fiona Apple, and "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails, tells New York magazine that he's a fan of Earl Sweatshirt's.  However, he says the rapper "stated clearly that he hadn't seen the video and didn't even intend to watch it. So, respectfully, that sort of invalidates his observations from the get-go. And it's this one uninformed tweet that got reported on and rehashed, which started this whole 'controversy.'"

Romanek explains that the concept of the video came from Taylor.  "She said she wanted to shoot all these styles of dance and then be the individualist dork in the midst of these established genres," he says, adding. "We simply choose styles of dance that we thought would be popular and amusing and cast the best dancers that were presented to us without much regard to race or ethnicity. If you look at it carefully, it's a massively inclusive piece."

"It's very, very innocently and positively intentioned. And -- let's remember -- it's a satirical piece," Romanek continued.  "It's playing with a whole range of music-video tropes and clichés and stereotypes."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert

Peter Kramer/NBCMiley Cyrus has been banned from performing in the Dominican Republic on morality grounds.

The Buenos Aires Herald reports that the September 13 concert, scheduled for the country's capital of Santo Domingo, has been canceled by the local government, because Miley's performances "go against [the Dominican Republic's] morals and customs," and she uses "language and images which encourage sex and violence." 

The government also accused her of wearing "unsuitable costumes," inciting "lesbian sex," and using "inappropriate objects in public."

Tickets for the show had been on sale since July.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Zedd Hopes Frantic Dancing — and Hayley’s Hair — Lead to MTV VMA Win This Sunday

InterscopeSunday night's MTV Video Music Awards will be a big one for DJ and producer Zedd: not only will he and Ariana Grande perform their hit collaboration "Break Free" on the telecast, but he's up for two Moonmen himself, for the video for his hit with Hayley Williams, "Stay the Night."  The clip has earned nominations in two categories: MTV Clubland Award and Best Editing.

"It was special for me because I've never done anything like it," Zedd says of the "Stay the Night" video, which features quick cuts of himself and Hayley, interspersed with cuts of a couple doing a modern dance routine to reflect the troubled nature of their relationship.  As the song speeds up, so do the edits and the dancing, until Hayley, Zedd and the couple are practically a blur.

"I've never had any dancing performances in my videos and I was always kind of opposed to it," Zedd tells ABC News Radio. "Until the director sent me a little clip, it was like five seconds, of his idea of cutting back and forth between scenes and rooms. I mean he did an absolutely incredible job."

"I hope we win something for him because it'll definitely be his award," Zedd adds.

Of course, Hayley gave her own standout performance in the video, dancing frantically while tossing her head back and forth to show off her bright orange hair.  "It was new and fresh and short," says Zedd of Hayley's distinctive 'do. "And yeah, she always looks great. And definitely in the video she looks gorgeous!" 

The MTV Video Music Awards air Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Pete Wentz Welcomes a Son

Fall Out Boy; Pete Wentz, 2nd from left/Crush ManagementPete Wentz welcomed a new bundle of joy on Wednesday, according to People. The Fall Out Boy bassist’s model-girlfriend, Meagan Camper, gave birth to a baby boy in Los Angeles. The couple named their new addition Saint Lazslo.

“Mom and baby are happy and healthy,” Wentz’s rep said. “They are thrilled at the addition to the family and Bronx is over the moon to be a big brother.”

Wentz’s 5-and-a-half-year-old son Bronx is from his previous marriage to Ashlee Simpson. Wentz, 35, and Camper, 25, announced they were expecting back in February.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio