Results for Whitney Houston

interviews

L.A. Reid

lareidcoachella TLC, Mariah Carey, Pink, Justin Bieber, Outkast, Usher, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Kanye West…you name the pop star, and chances are he or she has worked with this week's guest, Antonio“L.A.”Reid. While he began as a drummer in the R&B group The Deele, it's really behind-the-scenes that L.A. has made the most awesome noise—first, as a songwriter/producer with Babyface in the 1980s and 1990s, then as a record exec at LaFace, Arista, Island Def Jam and now Epic Records.

L.A. shares his insights into what makes a great pop song, great (melody, hooks, emotion and the ability to sound good, even with a pillow over it) and some of his biggest professional triumphs (signing“the Beast”Rihanna, coaching Kanye West) and failures (Lady Gaga…the one that got away). He's also not afraid to get candid about music industry sacred cows, whether it's Michael Jackson or major labels themselves.

Go to episode 542
reviews
I Look to YouI Look To You available on iTunes

Whitney Houston I Look To You

She was the queen of pop in the '80s and '90s, but for the past few years she's mostly been a punchline. Now Whitney Houston is back with a new record called I Look To You. Clive Davis has spared no expense on this comeback effort-pulling in big names like Swizz Beats, Alicia Keys and Diane Warren. Greg wishes those big names brought something bigger to the table. With the exception of "Million Dollar Bill," the one track where Greg hears Whitney getting“frisky,”she's mostly straight-jacketed and robotic. Greg gives the album a Trash It. Jim actually likes that the production keeps things focused on her voice. And he finds that voice still powerful and full of emotion. He gives I Look to You a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 196
My DecemberMy December available on iTunes

Kelly Clarkson My December

On June 14, Live Nation, or the concert promoters formerly known as Clear Channel canceled American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson's first nationwide arena tour due to“lackluster ticket sales.”This event, combined with the firing of her manager and the anticipation of the release of her third album My December has made for a dramatic couple of weeks for the singer. Clive Davis, the music mogul responsible for signing a ton of hit acts ranging from Whitney Houston to Barry Manilow to the Notorious B.I.G., has been overseeing the careers of Clarkson and all the Idol products thus far. But, much to the chagrin of Davis and her label RCA, Clarkson took My December as an opportunity to do her own songwriting and drift away from the guaranteed success of hit-makers like "Since You've Been Gone" scribe Max Martin. Jim and Greg commentate ringside for the blow by blow between America's first pop princess and the pop recording legend. Listening to the album, Greg cannot understand the controversy surrounding the album's pop potential, finding it reminiscent of a post-Dave Coulier Alanis Morrisette. Jim, on the other hand, thanks Clive Davis for trying to spare us the torment of this record. He thinks Clarkson is“at the level of a sub-par Midwestern bar band.”Greg gives it a Burn It, and Jim gives it a triple Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 82
news

Music News

There were no huge surprises at last week's Grammy Awards; the expected big winner was Adele, and she swept all six of her categories. She also impressed people with her live performance, which comes after a year of cancelled shows and vocal surgery. Jim and Greg didn't rate her album 21 incredibly high, but it's hard to argue with the song“Rolling in the Deep.”One shocker was the awarding of Best New Artist to indie act Bon Iver, over hitmaker Nicki Minaj. And, it's interesting to note that Diana Krall, not Quincy Jones, is now the living artist with the most Grammys.

This year's Grammy broadcast was the highest rated since 1984. Over 39 million people tuned in, in large part to see how the ceremony would honor Whitney Houston, who passed away only a day before. Jennifer Hudson provided a moving tribute performance of "I Will Always Love You," connecting with Houston's gospel roots. And in the week since her death, over 100,000 copies of her greatest hits album sold. Greg asserts that Houston was the greatest pop vocalist of the past 25 years, and every singer in her wake has been influenced by her style. Sometimes that led to oversinging, but that's what separated Houston from the rest of the diva pack. It's in the sparsely produced, more controlled performances of songs like "The National Anthem" and "I Love the Lord," where you really hear Houston shine.

Go to episode 325

Music News

Legendary hit-maker and label head Clive Davis announced that he'll be stepping down from his post at Sony BMG. He'll remain on as“chief creative officer,”but this is definitely a demotion for the man who broke the careers of Whitney Houston, Aerosmith, Alicia Keys, and most recently, Leona Lewis. With Lewis on the path towards diva-dom, why's Davis being pushed out now? Jim and Greg surmise that the music mogul just became too expensive for Sony? Davis is perhaps the perfect representation of the old way of doing business in the music industry. But with album sales down, music videos gone and music radio on the way out, it may be time for the old guard to change.

Fans of print music journalism will be disheartened by the next news item. According to recent reports, ad revenues for major music magazines like Rolling Stone, Vibe and Blender are significantly down this quarter. Only Spin is experiencing growth, but that's after a dismal couple of years. This comes after the news of smaller titles like Harp and No Depression closing up shop. Jim and Greg speak with No Depression co-editor and co-founder Peter Blackstock about the magazine's decision to cease publication. Blackstock sees this trend as evidence that there's been a devaluation of the written word in our culture. But, he's hopeful that the long-time alt-country title will be able to thrive on the web and in longer magazine/book form.

Go to episode 126

Music News

Whitney Houston is just the latest in a series of deceased musicians who have been made into holograms in order to tour around the world. Other famous holograms include Tupac, Buddy Holly, Liberace and Roy Orbison but this isn't anything new for the entertainment industry. For years, images of Elvis Presley and even Frank Sinatra were shown in concerts singing along with a live band and performers. And while the joke is that death is a great career move, Jim finds it interesting that it is no longer an impediment to touring. Who would you like to see as a hologram or do you think the whole thing is just too weird?

Back in 1972, Aretha Franklin recorded one of the great gospel albums of all time, Amazing Grace. In 2012, Jim and Greg even did a Classic Album Dissection on the live record because it was so good and so iconic. Famous director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, Out of Africa) filmed the concert back in the '70s and now more than 40 years later, two major film festivals were finally supposed to show the movie. However, Aretha took legal action to block the film festivals from presenting it. Apparently she loves the film but Greg suspects this whole thing has something to do with money. This one may drag on, but Greg and Jim really hope that they sort things out because this is a true piece of musical history.

Go to episode 512

Music News

What does it say about the music industry when 2011's highest-earning musician didn't release any new music? Dr. Dre tops Forbes' annual list of music industry earners with an income of $110 million, beating out industry heavyweights like Bieber and Macca. But fans are still waiting for Detox - Dre's highly anticipated follow up to 2001 and The Chronic. So how'd Dre do it? By selling a ton of headphones.

Throughout the year Jim and Greg have paid homage to the musical greats we've lost. There were some big names in 2012 - Whitney Houston, Etta James, Levon Helm, Donna Summer, and Davy Jones just to name a few. With the year coming to a close, Jim and Greg take a moment to recognize more artists they didn't get to earlier this year: DC's own Godfather of Go-go Chuck Brown, and Eastern music ambassador Ravi Shankar. They play Brown's "Bustin' Loose" and Shankar's "Dhun (Fast Teental)" from the sitar master's 1967 Monterey Pop Festival performance in appreciation.

Go to episode 370