Producer William Orbit has defended Britney Spears after critics savaged the pop star following the leak of a tuneless recording of her track Alien.
The Toxic superstar teamed up with Orbit, most famous for his work on Madonna's Ray of Light and Music albums, on the song for her 2013 album Britney Jean. The track came back to haunt Spears this week (beg07Jul14) when a raw clip of the song appeared online, prompting fans to take to social media to mock the singer's out-of-tune vocals.
Orbit has now spoken out in her defence, insisting the singer was warming up to help studio engineers prepare their equipment. In a post on Facebook.com, he writes, "Dearest Music Lovers, I have heard that Britney vocal link that everybody's been discussing. It has been impossible not to as there have been many comments directing my attention to it... I'd like to affirm that ANY singer when first at the mic at the start of a long session can make a multitude of vocalisations in order to get warmed up."
"Warming up is essential if you're a pro, as it is with a runner doing stretches, and it takes a while to do properly. I've heard all manner of sounds emitted during warm-ups. The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners."
"A generous singer will put something down the mic to help the engineer get their systems warmed up and at the right level, maybe whilst having a cup of herb tea and checking through lyrics before the session really kicks off. It's not expected to be a 'take'."
The producer went on to slam the culprit behind the leak, adding, "Whomever put this on the Internet must have done so in a spirit of unkindness, but it can in no way detract from the fact that Britney is and always will be beyond stellar! She is magnificent! And that's that."
Pop superstar Madonna is giving back to the residents of her native Detroit, Michigan by funding three charitable projects for disadvantaged children and homeless women in the bankrupt city. The Material Girl hitmaker will help to build the Downtown Youth Boxing Gym, which will hold free after-school boxing and educational mentoring programmes for children, and will cover the costs of art, music and other equipment, including iPods and iPads, for students at the Detroit Achievement Academy.
The singer is also donating money to bosses at non-profit organisation The Empowerment Plan, which employs displaced women to make clothes and accessories for the homeless.
The exact amount Madonna plans to spend on the causes has not been revealed, but she admitted she had been motivated to act following a recent trip home.
In a statement released on Monday (30Jun14), she wrote, "I was deeply inspired by the efforts of so many people who I met who have dedicated themselves to helping the kids and adults in Detroit elevate themselves from the cycle of poverty...
"It was obvious to me that I had to get involved and be part of the solution to help Detroit recover. A piece of my heart will always be in Detroit, and I'm humbled to be able to give back to my community."
Detroit city officials declared bankruptcy in July, 2013 with debts of at least $18 billion, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.
News of Madonna's generosity emerge days after it was revealed her daughter Lourdes would be enrolling in her alma mater, the University of Michigan, this autumn (14).
Eminem's daughter has graduated with honours from her Michigan high school. Hailie Jade Scott Mathers was rewarded for her hard work and good grades at Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township on 8 June (14).
The teen was handed an Academic Excellence Award, a Department of Psychology Award and she also graduated Summa Cum Laude for maintaining a high grade point average.
Hailie, who was the high school's homecoming queen last year (13), will be attending Michigan State University in the autumn (14).
She is not the only famous offspring to start college in Michigan later this year (14) - another Madonna's daughter Lourdes will be attending her mother's alma mater, the University of Michigan, after graduating from the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York on Wednesday (25Jun14).
Madonna's daughter Lourdes has enrolled at her mother's alma mater, the University of Michigan.
The 17 year old is registered as a student in the undergraduate music, dance, and theatre program, and will eventually receive a bachelor's degree in fine arts in musical theatre. She will follow in the footsteps of her mother, who attended the university on a dance scholarship in the 1970s.
Madonna never completed her degree because she left to pursue her performing dreams in New York. Lourdes will begin her course in the autumn (14).
Actress Jennifer Lawrence embarrassed herself at Madonna's Oscars afterparty earlier this year (14) after throwing up in front of Miley Cyrus. The Hunger Games star and her best friend Laura headed to the annual bash thrown by Madonna and her manager Guy Oseary at the music guru's California mansion to continue partying after the Academy Awards, but her night didn't end up quite how she had imagined.
In a pre-taped interview with talk show host Seth Meyers, which aired in America on Wednesday night (21May14), she said, "I've never gone out after Golden Globes or Oscars or anything. I'm just so sick of people by that point. I'm like, 'Ugh, God!' But this time I was like, 'I'm going out'. And I puked all over."
Discussing the incident at Oseary's house, she explains, "If you get invited you're, like, super important. And I puked on his porch. I was in such bad condition and I look behind me while I'm puking and Miley Cyrus is there, (looking) like, 'Get it together.'"
British pop star Rita Ora has signed on as the new face of luxury Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli. The R.I.P. hitmaker, who has previously fronted ad campaigns for DKNY and Madonna's Material Girl line, has been teasing fans about an upcoming "surprise" with her recent Instagram.com snaps, including one photo of herself with the top designer's wife and business partner, Eva Cavalli, in New York.
Soul singer Maxwell, who took the pictures on Saturday (26Apr14), confirmed the news by uploading his own image of Ora and Eva Cavalli, alongside the message, "congratulations @eva_cavalli and (photographer) @francescocarrozzini for the amazing @ritaora cavalli f/w (fall/winter) campaign #cavallifriends".
The group later celebrated the new collaboration with dinner at Omar's restaurant in Manhattan's West Village, where they were joined by rap mogul Russell Simmons.
The Cavalli deal comes shortly after Ora wore a sheer black dress from the label for a recent performance at the Coachella music festival in California. It is the singer's latest venture into the fashion world - she is also due to launch her first range with sports brand Adidas Originals, and recently unveiled her capsule collection for British cosmetics firm Rimmel.
After decades of pushing the creative envelope in the United States, pop superstar Madonna is using her power and prestige to fight for freedom of artistic expression around the world.
Her latest project, Art For Freedom, is an online venue for artists to upload works that bring awareness to human rights violations. It began in September 2013, after the release of Madonna’s short film #Secretprojectrevolution (below), and since then, Madonna and VICE have partnered to manage the website.
How it works
In order to participate, artists must post their work on social media and tag their posts with #artforfreedom, or they can upload projects directly through artforfreedom.com. Each day, Madonna, VICE, and a guest curator look through the art works that are uploaded and feature one on the website that is deemed socially, culturally, and politically relevant. Moreover, Madonna donates $10,000 each month to a nonprofit organization of a featured artist’s choice.
While the art works are chosen by Madonna, VICE, or a celebrity guest curator (this month’s guest is Miley Cyrus, and past curators have been Katy Perry and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), the works themselves are created by lesser-known artists from around the world who want to make a difference.
On April 17, 2014, for example, Californian Richard J. Oliver’s The Ice Lake Swan was selected. Inspired by his son’s battle with William Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, Oliver’s piece hopes to “capture and express the fragile balance of life and the wonder and love that we can experience when we open ourselves with compassion towards each other.”
Nona’s One is radically different but similarly relevant. Chosen on March 1, 2014, the YouTube upload is a music video that promotes peace and unity in Tokyo. Nona claims that the earthquake in 2011 brought the nation together, but recently they’ve been “quarrelling and arguing again over past mistakes.”
Why it matters
Despite Madonna’s popularity and her celebrity curators, Art For Freedom isn’t well-known to the general public. #Secretprojectrevolution has only garnered 1.1 million views on YouTube since September 2013, and #artforfreedom is rarely a trending topic on social media. This, I think, says more about our culture’s desire for escapist entertainment than the significance of Madonna’s project.
In fact, Art For Freedom is incredibly important and it highlights social media’s potential as a political platform. The technology brings unknown artists together on a global scale while simultaneously calling attention to human rights violations in countries Americans don’t often hear about on the news. After the unjust imprisonment of artists like Pussy Riot and Jafar Panahi, I can’t help but think that if enough people spread the word about Art For Freedom, positive changes could be made in the world.
Unlike politicians, business leaders, and even journalists, artists have captured the human experience in its purest, primal form. Spread the word about Art For Freedom if you believe that artists all over the world deserve the freedom to express these truths freely and without the threat of persecution.
Madonna's teenage daughter Lourdes has ended her romance with Homeland actor Timothee Chalamet, according to a U.S. report. Lourdes, 17, was first linked to Chalamet last year (13) after meeting him at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York, where they are both pupils.
However, New York Post gossip column Page Six reports the young couple is no longer together.
Chalamet played Vice President William Walden's son Finn in hit U.S. drama Homeland.
Bosses at iconic funk and disco label VMG Salsoul are suing dance music star Moby over allegations he used improper samples on his 1992 songs Next is the E and Thousand. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Monday (24Mar14), the plaintiff claims both songs include unlicensed samples of girl group First Choice's Let No Man Put Asunder, and they're demanding statutory damages of up to $150,000 (£93,750) for each allegedly wilful infringement plus profits and attorneys' fees, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The legal action comes just months after VMG Salsoul bosses lost a similar suit over Madonna's Vogue.
They lost their case against Madonna after a judge ruled "no reasonable audience would find the sampled portions qualitatively or quantitatively significant in relation to the infringing work, nor would they recognize the appropriation".
Music icon Billy Joel took a swipe at Madonna's vocal talents during his performance in New York City on Monday night (27Jan14). The Piano Man hitmaker kicked off a year-long residency at New York's Madison Square Garden, and shared the secret behind his smooth vocals by producing a throat soothing spray during the opening night performance.
The singer then used the spray to poke fun at the Material Girl, who has been accused of lip-syncing during her shows in the past, by joking to the audience, "I saw Madonna use this once... it didn't help her much."
Music special featuring the VH1 premiere of Madonna's video "Music" and a live, phone interview with Madonna. The program also includes video interviews with actress Debi Mazar and Madonna's longtime background vocalist and touring partner Nikki Harris.