Music News

Photo: Tim Walker; Styled by: Sara MoonvesDua Lipa is releasing a remix album, Club Future Nostalgia, later this month.  While she realizes that she's putting out an album full of dance songs at a time when all the clubs are closed, she still feels it's a project worth doing.

Dua graces one of two covers of W magazine's Music Issue, and inside, she explains that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, dance music still has its place.

"What I’ve realized during this time is that you can bring the fun no matter where you are," she tells W. "If I can make music to aid that in any way, then I feel like I’m doing my job.”

She says she took a similar approach to releasing the original Future Nostalgia album, which has produced the smashes "Don't Start Now" and "Break My Heart."

“My biggest hope for putting this album out at a time like this was that during moments of uncertainty, it would give people the best kitchen dance parties ever,” she says.

But while she's got the world dancing in their kitchens, Dua admits that enjoying music in a crowd is something she really misses.

"I miss touring, that human connection, having the excitement of going out to a restaurant or a bar or something and hearing a song and just freaking out that it’s out,” she says. 

However, she points out, "It’s important to remember that we’re all collectively going through the same thing, and right now there’s no fear of missing out in any way. We’ll just have to pick things up where we left off when the time is right.”

The Music Issue of W magazine is available on August 25.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABCWhile many celebrities were positive about Joe Biden's choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, Katy Perry went one step beyond simply approving of the decision.

Katy, a California native, posted several photos of herself with Harris who, before being elected California's junior senator, served as the attorney general of the Golden State.  One photo shows Katy posting with Harris, Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande.

"I’ve had the privilege of getting to know @kamalaharris over the years and @joebiden choosing her as his running mate is already a testament to his decision making: Kamala is exactly the kind of leader WITH experience we desperately need right now," Katy wrote.

"She’s the type of person willing to put in the WORK to make our country better," she added. "Less than 3 months until Election Day. LET’S DO THIS YA’LL."

On Twitter, fans seemed to respond positively to Katy's message, but on Instagram, the comments section was flooded by Trump supporters.

During the 2016 election, Katy was a huge supporter of Hillary Clinton.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


RCA RecordsNot long ago, Pentatonix told ABC Audio that they were readying an album of new, original songs, their first since 2015.  Now we've got the first taste of that project.

The a cappella quintet has just put out "Happy Now," the first release from the album. The song is about taking the next step after a relationship ends, as the group sings, "Is it illegal to move on without you?/Am I allowed to when I'm without you?/Is it illegal to dance like I'm about to?/Am I allowed to when I'm without you?/I wanna be happy now."

In a statement, Kirstin Maldonado says, "We’ve all been evolving -- individually and as a group -- and I think we’ve really leveled up in terms of seeking out our own happiness.  So, to me, this song is a little bit about us turning the page and being ready for a new chapter.”

"Happy Now" is the follow-up to the group's At Home EP, which featured renditions of hits by Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, The Cranberries and Billie Eilish.

So far, there's no release date for the original album, but it's expected later this year.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


AppleTV Want to hear how some of the songs from the Little Voice soundtrack first started? Sara Bareilles has released a collection of her demos from the Apple TV series.

Little Voice (Apple TV Original Series Soundtrack) Demos is available exclusively on Apple Music today. It features Sara’s stripped-down recordings for three tracks she composed: “Hemingway (Dear Hope),” “More Love” and “Simple and True.”

Last month, Sara unveiled an EP of the first five songs from the series’ soundtrack, recorded by the cast.

Sara is executive-producing Little Voice with J.J. Abrams, as well as providing the episodes with new original songs. The series follows aspiring singer-songwriter Bess King, played by Brittany O’Grady, as she tries to make it in New York City.

New episodes of Little Voice air on Apple TV every Friday.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sarah PardiniToday's New Music Friday features fresh tracks from Charlie Puth, Powfu, Surfaces and Sam Fischer.

Following the success of his single "Girlfriend," which has racked up 33 million streams, Charlie has teamed up with "Hot Girl Bummer" artist blackbear for a new song called "Hard on Yourself." It's a supportive message to a woman, telling her that she should just be herself. Charlie sings, "Try not to fall apart/You're perfect just the way you are/It will be all right/Why are you so hard on yourself?"

"Death Bed" singer Powfu has released a song called "Eyes Blue Like the Atlantic Part 2," a collaboration with Alec Benjamin, Italian producer Sista Prod and Rxseboy. Like "Death Bed," it has a somewhat complicated backstory.

Basically, what happened is this: A Vine artist named Ollie MN created the song's hook several years ago. Sista Prod then turned it into a full-length song, "Eyes Blue Like the Atlantic," which became big on TikTok.  Then Powfu, Alec Benjamin and Rxseboy got involved and recorded a whole new version, which is "Part 2."

Pop duo Surfaces has released a new version of their hit "Sunday Best," featuring a live piano and drums. The original version was certified platinum in June and reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Finally, "This City" singer Sam Fischer has released two tracks from his upcoming project, Homework, due out August 28.  Sam says one song, "Everybody's Got Somebody," is about "acknowledging your own toxic behavior and confronting the relationship or reality that messed you up." 

He says the other song, "I Got to Live," is about wanting to "make sure I lived in every single moment because you never know when it's all going to get taken away."

By Andrea Dresdale

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC/Eric McCandless Billie Eilish will be performing during the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which will air over a four-day period next week.

Other acts scheduled to appear include Common, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Stephen Stills, Leon Bridges and many more. They'll deliver a wide range of performances, from classic songs to original material.

This year’s convention will also feature a rendition of the national anthem from a very special ensemble: A 57-member youth choir representing all walks of life and the nation's 57 states and territories. The choir members will perform the patriotic standard from remote locations spanning the country.

"These artists are committed to engaging with, registering and mobilizing voters to get us over the finish line in November," says the DNC's program director, Stephanie Cutter

The performances will air across four nights from August 17 to August 20 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. In addition to the musical guests, the broadcast will feature appearances from national leaders, advocates and celebrities. More details will be announced in the coming days.

You can watch the official livestream on the DNC website, where you’ll also find a full schedule and more resources.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jason LaVeris/FilmMagicIt's been over four years since The Voice star Christina Grimmie tragically died after being shot after a concert.  After her final album All Is Vanity was posthumously released in June 2017, fans will finally be able to hear her voice once again in a brand new song.

Grimmie's family announced Thursday that they will be releasing a new single by the late singer, called "Cry Wolf."

"On this #GrimmieThursday we are happy to announce the highly anticipated release of 'CRY WOLF' on September 15, 2020," the family tweeted. "Because this song is so very special to you #TeamGrimmie, we felt it was time to make this never released song available in honor of you, the fans."

Grimmie's family teased that "More details will be coming soon" regarding the upcoming track, but encouraged fans in the meantime that "We hope all of you are doing well and keeping safe during these times."

Grimmie, who placed third on her season of The Voice, died on June 10, 2016 after a man named Kevin James Loibl pulled a gun and shot her four times as she was signing autographs after a performance in Florida.  Eye witnesses says he fired as she opened her arms to give him a hug.  

Loibl died at the scene after sustaining a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Grimmie was rushed to the hospital and later succumbed to her injuries. She was 22.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


 Dennis LeupoldThe video for "Loyal Brave True," the new song Christina Aguilera recorded for the live-action version of Disney's Mulan, has arrived.

In the clip, Christina, wearing a deconstructed gown and a hairstyle that's similar to Mulan's, belts out the impassioned song against an animated background of red and black silhouettes showing scenes from the film.

In addition to "Loyal Brave True," Christina also recorded a new version of "Reflection" for Mulan, called "Reflection (2020)."  She, of course, recorded that song for the original animated version of Mulan, which came out in 1998 -- it was Christina's first single to be released in the U.S.

Both new songs are featured in the movie, as well as on the soundtrack, which is due out September 4. The live-action version of Mulan will stream exclusively on Disney on September 4.

On Instagram, Christina said of the movie, "It’s been a long-awaited project that had to be postponed in the beginning of the year when all the theaters got shut down...but now we can reveal this beautiful movie and unveil the songs and music videos that I recorded in both English and Spanish, including a reimagined “Reflection” to coincide with this movie’s score."

She describes the soundtrack as "a very nostalgic and special moment -- seeing as this movie started it all for me, leading to a record deal and the rest of my career to follow. Disney has always been the beginning of many magical things for me and I’m proud to now share this one!"


By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy of Miley CyrusFollowing a TMZ report that Miley Cyrus and her boyfriend Cody Simpson had split, Miley herself confirmed the news during an Instagram Live appearance, ahead of the release of her new song, "Midnight Sky."

In the IG Live, captured by a fan and posted by a British tabloid, Miley says that she's through with "the media" trying to "control" her "narrative."  She then adds, "So today, it came out that me and my boyfriend have broken up. It was confirmed by a 'reliable source' even though no one is reliable in a relationship except the individuals who are participating in it."

She goes on to say, "But right now, two halves can't make a whole and we're individually just working on ourselves to become the people that we wanna be, like everybody else at this age."

"We are just deciding who we wanna be with our lives, what we wanna do with our lives, and so, don't make it some drama story if next week we're out hanging out, getting pizza," Miley adds. "We've been friends for 10 years and we're going to continue to be friends, so just don't make it something that it is not."

Indeed, Cody is still supporting Miley: On his Instagram Story, he posted a clip and picture of her new song and wrote, "Congratulations to the most special of all."

Miley and Cody -- an Australian singer, songwriter, actor and poet -- first became romantically involved around October of 2019.

In other Miley relationship news, in an episode of Barstool Sports' Call Her Daddy podcast, she reveals that she lost her traditional virginity at age 16 to her future husband, Liam Hemsworth, but the first time she ever "hooked up" with anyone was with a girl -- "two of them," she says.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesAnother day, another record for Taylor Swift.  Forbes reports her latest album folklore has surpassed 1 million album-equivalent units in the U.S., making it the fastest album of 2020 to reach the seven-figure mark.

folklore scored the year's biggest debut upon its release on July 24, selling the equivalent of 1.3 million units worldwide.  Additionally, it set a new Spotify global record for first-day album streams by a female artist, with just under 81 million. The project, Taylor's eighth, was also the most-streamed pop album on Apple Music over its first 24 hours, with just under 35.5 million streams.

Swift’s eighth studio album has now ruled the Billboard 200 for two consecutive weeks, her best showing since Reputation, which spent three straight weeks there in 2017.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BETShe's already had great success with high-fashion clothing, lingerie, makeup and skincare products, so what's the next business that Rihanna is going to turn her attention to?  Well, she might be getting ready to take over your kitchen.

The British tabloid The Sun claims that Rihanna is working on a cookbook, and has also trademarked the term "Sorry, I'm Booked," which she plans to use for kitchen products like cooking utensils.

"Rihanna’s always been a fan of good food and during lockdown she worked up plans for bringing out her own book," a source tells the tabloid. "It will include some of her favorite Caribbean recipes.  The dream would be to bring out her own range of kitchenware too."

"Rihanna has proven that, as well as being a best-selling artist, she is a savvy businesswoman and those around her think this next step could be a huge hit," adds the source.

The Sun notes that Rihanna shared some of her favorite recipes in a 2014 Esquire article, including spicy mac 'n cheese, codfish cakes, limeade, rum punch, shepherd's pie, chickpea salad and salt fish.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Aaron Randolph Today, Jordin Sparks fans are finally getting some new music from the former American Idol champ: Her new EP Sounds Like Me, her first solo project in more than five years, is out now.  Jordin tells ABC Audio the title reflects the fact that she's now releasing music independently, so it doesn't have to fit into any one category.

"Now that I completely have 100% control of what comes out...I was like, 'You know what? Let's just go for whatever sounds good," she explains. "That's basically what I wanted to do. And all of the songs on the EP kind of reflect that."

"Each one of these songs, I feel like, has a piece of me and you can really tell that it's me."

"If it charts, it's a bonus. If it sells a million copies, it's a bonus," says Jordin, who's also an actress, TV host and  influencer. "I don't do it for those things. I do the music for the people and to be able to tell those stories and to share my heart with people."

Of course, Jordin's having to promote the EP from her house, but she says these last few months in quarantine have really allowed her to enjoy what it's like being "home" --for the first time in some 14 years. A big part of that, she says, is being with her husband Dana and their two-year-old son, D.J.

"D.J. has been blossoming during this time. So it's been a lot of fun to be here every day and watch it," she tells ABC Audio.

"And I have confirmation that I definitely am with the right person!" she laughs. "Like, he is the person I'm supposed to be with....I knew it 100% before quarantine and I really know it now!"

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Marc JacobsAfter hyping a new chapter in her music career, Miley Cyrus's "Midnight Sky" is finally here!

Cyrus, 27, dropped the new single along with its music video on Friday and they are the epitome of everything Miley -- sexy, confident and independent. 

The record is set to a smooth melody with an upbeat tempo perfect for dancing. Meanwhile, the lyrics ooze a message of freedom and empowerment as the songstress croons, "I was born to run, I don't belong to anyone, oh no/ I don't need to be loved by you."

The lyrics aren't the only thing fierce about "Midnight Sky," though. The accompanying colorful, retro music video that was directed by Miley and stars only herself. 

The "Slide Away" singer stuns in an array of outfits. From a sultry black Chanel bodysuit complete with embellished gloves to a full-length purple sequin gown to lying practically naked in a sea of gum balls, Miley proves, yet again, that she can't be tamed. 

"Midnight Sky" is off of Miley's upcoming seventh studio album, She Is Miley Cyrus

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Weiss EubanksKelly Clarkson hasn't directly addressed the reports of her split from husband Brandon Blackstock, but when someone on Twitter said Kelly's busy work schedule is the reason the marriage failed, the singer quickly clapped back.

"Now Kelly is taking Simon's place...no wonder her marriage didn't work...surprise she has time for her kids," sniped the hater, referring to Kelly filling in for Simon Cowell on America's Got Talent while he recuperates from a very serious injury sustained in a biking accident.

The troll continued, "Not the good old country girl we fell in love with...it's all about Kelly being on TV...and no one else...no tears for her...but for her kids."

Kelly's response to this?

"Wow. Shaming a woman who has a great work ethic, is a great mom, and who steps up and fills in when a friends asks for a favor because that’s actually what 'good old country girls' do," replied the Grammy-winning star.

"This can’t be who you are deep down. I have more faith in your heart. Aim higher please."

Fans then rallied around Kelly, calling the troll a bot, and telling Kelly that she doesn't have to explain herself to anyone.  And one fan pointed out, "If you were a man, they wouldn't be saying that. And that's the unfortunate truth."

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
 


Katy Perry gives herself a pie in the face in new "Smile" video

Capitol RecordsKaty Perry's just released the official video for "Smile," the title track of her new album, and its a partly animated romp that ends with the singer getting a pie in the face.

In the clip, Katy's walking around in her house with a pie when she notices there's a video game called "Smile" starting on her TV screen.  As she chooses her avatar in the game -- a "Sad Clown" -- she magically acquires a clown costume and makeup, which she wears as she plays through the various levels.

As Katy makes her way through the challenges of the game -- including navigating sinister jack-in-the box toys labeled "Shame," "Numbness" and "Loneliness," and getting shot out of a cannon -- she becomes happier and happier. 

When Katy finally wins the game, a tiny blonde girl in a sparkly dress -- possibly representing Katy's about-to-be-born daughter -- descends from the sky and Katy's avatar hugs her tight. 

Sitting at home in real life at her video screen, Katy looks at the pie she was carrying in the first scene, smashes it into her own face and smiles with contentment.

Smile the album arrives August 28.

Here to serve u this morning (with first lewks and 🥧) Take care of ur FOMO and hurry and watch the official video of #SMILE while it’s on the @facebookapp so u can let me know what u think! 🤡 https://t.co/yrwuPN28pi pic.twitter.com/oO40Fm02Tb

— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) August 13, 2020

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy MTVThe MTV Video Music Awards has landed this year's most nominated artist for its upcoming show.

Lady Gaga -- who, along with Ariana Grande, has a leading nine VMA nods -- will perform on the telecast, airing August 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.  It'll be Gaga's first performance on the show since 2013.

So far, we don't know what Gaga will perform, but considering the fact that most of her nominations are for her Ariana duet "Rain on Me," is it too much to hope that Ari will join her -- at a safe distance, of course -- for a rendition of the tune?

As previously reported, the MTV Video Music Awards will feature performance staged at various places around New York City.  Other performers include BTS, Doja Cat, The Weeknd, J Balvin, CNCO and MalumaKeke Palmer is the host.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Hugo ComteThe long-awaited remix of Dua Lipa's "Levitating," featuring Madonna and Missy Elliott, has arrived. The track, remixed by DJ The Blessed Madonna, is from Dua's upcoming remix EP Club Future Nostalgia. You can listen to it streaming now.

According to Billboard, Dua said in a statement, "I decided to take the party up a notch with the incomparable The Blessed Madonna, who secretly helped me to craft the mixtape that would become Club Future Nostalgia and the absolute queens Missy Elliott and Madonna."

For her part, The Blessed Madonna, born Marea Stamper, added that working on the record was her "dream come true."

"Being a part of this was not only an honor but the very best medicine for dancing feet that are stuck at home," she said, according to Billboard. "I hope it lifts up the spirits of everyone that hears it, as much as it has lifted mine. Truly, I am levitating."

The entire Club Future Nostalgia remix EP, which also features a remix of the song "Physical" with Gwen Stefani, will be out August 28.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dave J Hogan/Getty ImagesOn paper, the movie musical CATS seemed like a pretty good idea, so it's no wonder that Jason Derulo chose to make his movie debut in the project.  Of course, we all know how that turned out, but at first, Jason says, he was convinced the movie was going to be the biggest thing ever.

Speaking to the British paper The Telegraph, Jason says, "For the longest time, I was trying to figure out what’s the perfect first role? CATS checked all the boxes. You can’t get a more star-studded cast, you don’t get a more respected director than an Oscar-winner, and Rum Tum Tugger is a...standout character in a classic musical."

"Even when I saw the trailer, I thought it looked unbelievable," Jason admits. "I know some people saw it and they were terrified, but I got chills down my spine! I thought it was gonna change the world.”

But, he laughs, "It didn’t pan out. With all things that left field, it could either be considered genius or bats**** crazy. That’s the risk you take. It taught me a lesson. You can’t wait for the perfect moment, cause that might not be your moment. So you’ve just got to go for gold."

But CATS didn't hurt Jason's career: He's got a huge smash with "Savage Love" and as the King of TikTok, he's raking it.  He hints to the Telegraph that he gets more than $75,000 per branded post -- a lot more.  And, he boats, "I can shoot, like, three different brand deals in a day."

However, Jason insists, "I turn down deals every day. I wouldn’t do a post that doesn’t fall in line with what I believe in, or doesn’t fit my brand, or if I think it's not family friendly."

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


On paper, the movie musical CATS seemed like a pretty good idea, so it's no wonder that Jason Derulo chose to make his movie debut in the project.  Of course, we all know how that turned out, but at first, Jason says, he was convinced the movie was going to be the biggest thing ever.

Speaking to the British paper The Telegraph, Jason says, "For the longest time, I was trying to figure out what’s the perfect first role? CATS checked all the boxes. You can’t get a more star-studded cast, you don’t get a more respected director than an Oscar-winner, and Rum Tum Tugger is a...standout character in a classic musical."

"Even when I saw the trailer, I thought it looked unbelievable," Jason admits. "I know some people saw it and they were terrified, but I got chills down my spine! I thought it was gonna change the world.”

But, he laughs, "It didn’t pan out. With all things that left field, it could either be considered genius or bats**** crazy. That’s the risk you take. It taught me a lesson. You can’t wait for the perfect moment, cause that might not be your moment. So you’ve just got to go for gold."

But CATS didn't hurt Jason's career: He's got a huge smash with "Savage Love" and as the King of TikTok, he's raking it.  He hints to the Telegraph that he gets more than $75,000 per branded post -- a lot more.  And, he boats, "I can shoot, like, three different brand deals in a day."

However, Jason insists, "I turn down deals every day. I wouldn’t do a post that doesn’t fall in line with what I believe in, or doesn’t fit my brand, or if I think it's not family friendly."

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
 


Write a letter to your future self with Billie Eilish

ABC/Rick RowellAfter sharing her new song "my future," Billie Eilish is inviting you to explore your future.

In partnership with Spotify, the "bad guy" singer has launched a new micro-site that allows you to write a letter to your future self. After you finish, you can pick a date up to two years from now that the letter will be sent back to you.

You can get started now via MyFuture.WithSpotify.com.

Eilish premiered "my future" at the end of July. It's her second new track of 2020, following her James Bond theme song, "No Time to Die."

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC News/Frame GrabSia, Portugal. The Man, Gnash and more are getting kid-friendly for a new charity album.

Billboard reports they’ll contribute songs to the upcoming 23-track album At Home with Kids, to benefit Save the Children.

Sia sings a song called “Riding on my Bike," Portugal. The Man contributes a track called “Tomorrow,” and Gnash has a song called “Night Night” on the track list.

"With this song and project, I know all of us involved wanted to make something for the kids and the parents at home right now,” Gnash says in a statement to Billboard. “‘Night Night’ reminds me of the songs my dad would sing me to sleep with when I was a child.”

He adds, “It’s amazing because now I get to bring a new lullaby into the world and help some kids while we’re at it… and adults too! I know I’ve already fallen asleep to it a few times."

Other artists participating include Christina Perri, with “It’s a Small World,” and Tove Lo, with a song called “Buzz Buzz Hop Hop.”

At Home with Kids will be released on August 28.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


The Weeknd donates $300,000 to victims of the Beirut explosion

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Victoria's SecretAs Beirut continues to reel from an explosion that devastated the city last week, The Weeknd is stepping up to help with ongoing relief efforts.

The "Bright Lights" singer has donated $300,000 to Global Aid for Lebanon campaign, a charity set up to assist victims of the blast that killed over 200 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

The Weeknd's manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby announced the charitable deed on Wednesday, writing on Instagram, "I am so honored and humbled to work with artist’s who have such deep care for the world and right now for our brothers & sisters of Lebanon who are in pain and need our collective help."

"I want to thank my brother @theweeknd for his generous and class act of donating $300,000 to the Global Aid for Lebanon campaign," continued Slaiby before shouting out others who have joined the cause. "Also, I want to give a special thank you to Michael Rapino @michaelrapino and my Live Nation family for $50,000 donation. Give what you can and let’s repost so the world can come together to help Lebanon from this this devastating tragedy."

This isn't the first cause the "Starboy" singer has financially supported this year, previously he directed $500,000 to Black Lives Matter and forwarded a $1 million toward the MusiCares COVID-19 relief fund.

As previously reported, a seismic blast wracked Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, on August 4.  The cause of the explosion was found to be 2,275 tonnes of confiscated ammonium nitrate that was improperly stored at a port for six years.  

The explosion ignited massive protests across the country, which ultimately led to the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab and other high profile Lebanese officials due to ongoing claims of widespread corruption.  

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Katy Perry's secret therapist during her depression was...Sia!

John Shearer/Getty Images for Kitty Purry, Inc.Katy Perry has spoken openly about her struggle with depression, which started around the time her album Witness was released.  But in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, it's revealed that during that time, she sought help from another chart-topping pop star: Sia.

Katy and Sia first met in 2014, and the two bonded over their shared mental health issues.  One day, Katy appeared at Sia's door "in a bad way," according to the "Chandelier" singer.

“She had a real breakdown,” Sia tells the Los Angeles Times. "She’s on stage with 10 candied lollipops and clowns and dancers, selling the dream, the joy, the happiness -- and that’s really hard sometimes when you’re not feeling it yourself."

“I knew she was driven and ambitious, that was clear from the beginning. But I didn’t realize that she was so reliant on that validation for her psychological well-being," Sia continues, referring to how the less-than-stellar performance of Witness sent Katy into a downward spiral.

"She did say ‘I feel lost.’ I think it was a big kick to her ego, but it was the best thing that could have ever happened to her, really, because now she can make music for the fun of it," Sia points out. "Getting number ones does nothing for your inside.”

Sia also helped Katy repair her relationship with her now fiance, Orlando Bloom.  The two, who'd started dating in 2016, broke up because, Katy says, she "wasn’t ready for the growth.”  It was Sia who served as the sounding board for both stars about their relationship.

"I’d be on the phone with Orlando and have call waiting with Katy trying to call me,” reveals Sia. 

The two reunited in 2018, and are expecting their first child any day now.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jimmy Kimmel defends Dua Lipa against sexist troll

Jamie McCarthy/Getty ImagesDua Lipa stepped in as a guest host for Jimmy Kimmel on Monday's edition of his ABC late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! and, well, let's just say not everyone thought she nailed her first attempt at a monologue.

While Kimmel thought the 24-year-old pop star did a great job, posting a laughing face, and the 100 underlined emojis on the show's Instagram page, one follower had a different and rather sexist opinion of her performance.

"Women still aren't funny," a guy who goes by the handle "kingforearms" replied.

Jimmy clapped back with an instantaneous "maybe if one talks to you someday you’ll change your mind."

Sean Hayes, George Lopez, and Joel McHale among others, have also subbed in for Kimmel while he's on a summer break from the show.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Katy Perry stands by her decision to support Ellen DeGeneres

Daniel Pockett/Getty ImagesKaty Perry meant what she said when she voiced her support for Ellen DeGeneres.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, published on Wednesday, the singer doubled down on her decision to tweet about her "positive" experience with The Ellen DeGeneres Show amid allegations that its work environment was toxic. 

Perry told the publication, "I started that tweet off not undermining anyone else’s experience. I wanted to only speak from my own experience. I have over 100 million people that follow me on Twitter, so not everyone is going to agree with me. And I’m not here to make everyone agree with me."

Ellen came under fire in July after staffers opened up to BuzzFeed about the alleged injustices happening behind the scenes of the Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show. The article triggered backlash and prompted others to come forward to share their less-than-pleasant experiences. At the same time, others, like Perry, came to the comedian's defense. 

On August 4, the 35-year-old singer-songwriter tweeted, "I know I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience besides my own but I want to acknowledge that I have only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen & on the @theellenshow."

“I think we all have witnessed the light & continual fight for equality that she has brought to the world through her platform for decades. Sending you love & a hug, friend @TheEllenShow," she concluded. 

Following the claims, DeGeneres issued an email to her staff, which read, in part, "As we've grown exponentially, I've not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I'd want them done.”

"Clearly some didn't," the message continued. "That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again."

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

John Phillips/Getty ImagesDua Lipa’s epic new remix of “Levitating,” featuring two of her pop idols -- Madonna and Missy Elliott -- comes out tomorrow.

To get fans even more excited for the release, Dua released a sneak peak of the new video for the track. The tease shows Dua lying on a bed of flowers under red lighting, along with quick cuts of other cryptic shots in the video.

The song, remixed by DJ/producer The Blessed Madonna -- not to be confused with the Queen of Pop -- drops August 13 at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET. It’ll be featured on Dua’s star-studded Club Future Nostalgia: The Remix Album, which comes out August 21.

The album will also feature guest appearances by Gwen Stefani and Mark Ronson, along with "many many more surprises," according to Dua.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC News/Frame GrabNew baby, new house? Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom are reportedly house-hunting for their soon-to-be expanding family.

According to TMZ, the two have been touring some massive homes in Montecito, California.

The couple currently lives in a 3,000-square-foot space in Santa Barbara and are apparently looking to upgrade big-time. TMZ reports the homes they are visiting are all at least 10,000 square feet on multiple acres of land.

One property is a $10 million six-bedroom estate with a whopping 14 bathrooms, a tennis court, a bocce ball court and more. Another is an $11 million home with five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a climbing wall, a theater and a wine cellar. The third property is the most expensive: At $14 million, it’s got six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a guest house.

Katy and Orlando are expecting their first child together any day now. Katy is also prepping for the release of her album Smile on August 28.  On Thursday at 8 a.m. PT/11 a.m. ET, she'll be giving a first look at her new video for “Smile” on her Facebook page.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Pentatonix planning new Christmas album for release this year

Courtesy PentatonixLast month, Pentatonix told ABC Audio that their next release would be an album of all-original songs, their first since 2015.  But fans who love the a cappella group's holiday music will now be happy to know that they plan to release more of that this year as well.

Speaking to Billboard, group member Kirstin Maldonado says, "We definitely will do a Christmas album this year. I feel like, especially this year, that love and that joy, and that sense of bringing everyone together is really needed. And so, I feel like our Christmas album can be really special this year."

She adds, "We've done so many, I think we weren't really expecting to do maybe a giant [album]. But I think I'm looking forward to what we can do to kind of continue to bring people together how we have in the past."

Pentatonix has hit the top 10 five times with holiday releases, including last year's The Best of Pentatonix Christmas.  In addition to past recordings, it featured four new tracks, including one -- "Do You Hear What I Hear" -- that incorporated a vocal recording by the late Whitney Houston.

The current Pentatonix album is an EP called At Home, featuring covers of hits by The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, The Cranberries, Billie Eilish and more.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Demi Lovato teases new song from upcoming #D7 album

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagicDemi Lovato gave fans a surprise sneak peek at the new music she’s been working on.

In a short Instagram Story clip, Demi sits in a car while grooving to one of her brand-new songs off her upcoming seventh studio album.

We hear her singing lyrics that seem taken straight from her own experiences with relationships and sobriety: "I know I made it hard for you/And I owe my part, I'll tell the truth/You said that it'd be over/If I didn't get sober/ Sober."

Demi used a GIF of a teapot in the Story, indicating she was giving fans some tea. She captioned the video "#D7."

Demi's new album, the follow-up to 2017's Tell Me You Love Me, has yet to be officially announced. It will be her first collection of new music since her near-fatal overdose in 2018.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Demi Lovato showed a preview of a new song #D7
pic.twitter.com/y6E5FbOK1c

— Demi Lovato Charts (@chartdlovato) August 11, 2020


Image Group LA/Disney Channel via Getty ImagesApparently, it's extremely expensive being in a conservatorship.

According to Entertainment TonightBritney Spears spent $1.2 million in legal fees pertaining to hers in 2019 alone.  According to documents obtained by the publication, the approximate amount the "Toxic" singer paid was $1,202,504.30.

The fees were accrued by her team of advisers on top of her attorneys working on the conservatorship, which has been extended through the end of the summer.

The documents also reveal that her father, Jamie Spears, who stepped down as conservator last September due to health problems, was paid $128,000 in 2019. 

The patriarch has since appointed his daughter's longtime care manager Jodi Montgomery to assume his duties.  She is now responsible for managing Britney's finances and personal choices.

The documents also reveal that the 38-year-old singer budgeted $438,360.84 in living expenses and that her traveling, which included vacations to areas like Florida and Caicos, totaled $91,242.01.

Overall, Britney's assets total 57,396,852.36 -- which is approximately a $1.6 million less than what she earned in 2018.

Fans and celebrities like Cher have lobbied to "free" the pop star from her conservatorship, saying that she is being held against her will by her family and is being controlled for their financial gain.

Earlier last month, family patriarch Jamie Spears broke his silence to Page Six and condemned the #FreeBritney movement by saying "All these conspiracy theorists don’t know anything. The world don’t have a clue."

"It’s up to the court of California to decide what’s best for my daughter. It’s no one else’s business," he added. "I love my daughter. I love all my kids. But this is our business. It’s private."

Spears' conservatorship has been extended to August 22 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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