Justin Timberlake Bows Down to Bill Withers at Songwriters Hall Event

A rollicking panel with Max Martin and Shellback had more than its share of unscripted moments.

Justin Timberlake literally got on bended knee before legendary singer-songwriter Bill Withers and credited his stone-cold classic “Lovely Day” with inspiring his unbeatable hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” “It’s very serendipitous that this man is sitting with us here today,” said an effusive Timberlake.

It was one of many unscripted moments at a revealing and rollicking panel discussion and screening of the movie Trolls for which Timberlake was the executive producer of music. Presented by the Songwriters Hall of Fame West Coast Committee for an audience of SHOF and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences members at the 20th Century Fox Studios in West Los Angeles where it was revealed that Timberlake would perform “Can’t Stop the Feeling” at next week’s Oscar ceremony.

The dynamic panel also included a rare appearance by superstar producer Max Martin, a nominee for this year’s Songwriters Hall of Fame, and his fellow producer Shellback (Karl Johan Schuster) who together with Timberlake created the music for Trolls.

Following introductory remarks by Songwriters Hall of Fame West Coast committee chair Mary Jo Mennella and Universal Music Publishing Group president and SHOF board member Evan Lamberg who recounted “Can’t Stop the Feeling”‘s runaways success and welcomed Timberlake to the stage by saying “other than Michael Jackson, I think he’s going to go down as the greatest entertainer of our generation.”

This, however, was followed not by JT’s expected entrance but by the surprise appearance of Withers who unexpectedly took the stage. The soul crooner’s sudden walk-out elicited delight and awe from the hundreds who had braved a massive Los Angeles rain storm and gave Withers a standing ovation. This also meant that Timberlake marched out while Lamberg recounted Withers’ storied career — a moment that previewed the loosey-goosey nature of the discussion.

To wit, Withers, the panel’s Songwriters Hall of Fame moderator, didn’t launch immediately into a discussion of his panel’s impressive music bona fides or Trolls but rather spoke about shoes. Timberlake and Withers, it turns out, were previously on a panel together in which the 78-year-old enviously recalled the pop singer’s stylish shoes stealing the show. “That bothered me,” he said, so for this panel he was more prepared. “I went deep into my closet and this time I broke out my 1956 Stetson Detroit pimp shoes,” Withers said proudly. Timberlake, who similarly recalled the meeting, said he decided to wear his modest Adidas Stan Smiths “out of respect.”

The word Timberlake repeated most often when describing his good fortune with the film and the smash single was “serendipity.” He dropped it when describing the call from Dreamworks and meeting with the former powerful studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg who asked him to do all the film’s music. And he used it again when at the same time he was rekindling his relationship with the great producer Max Martin for his next record and whom he hadn’t worked with since his *NSYNC days when he was 15-years-old (i.e. “a hundred-thousand years ago,” as they kept repeating).

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Timberlake, who voiced the role of Branch in the animated film, said his reaction to first seeing the fantastical animated outtake was, “Whoa, look at their hair! Am I high right now?” But he especially admired Trolls’ message for young girls. Two of the film’s protagonists are heroic and brave females: Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) and Bridget (Zooey Deschanel), who doesn’t conform to traditional notions of beauty.

Another serendipitous scenario involved the former head of of Troll‘s movie studio. “I have a very good relationship with Jeffrey Katzenberg who has been the head of Dreamworks for years and years and years and years,” said Timberlake. “It felt like this was something that he wanted to be his swan song at the company [Katzenberg stepped down as head of Dreamworks Animation last August after it was acquired by Comcast]. And the movie and what they were doing with it and how cutting edge it was and how funny and irrelevant they were making it felt like a really great opportunity.”

For producers Martin and Shellback, who were in the preliminary stages of planning to work with Timberlake on his next record the timing also proved propitious. “It was an opportunity to do something not so serious,” Martin said, “it was fun.” 

As laid back and loose as creating the soundtrack may have been, the Oscar-nominated trio said they “felt a lot of pressure” to create a hit song for the movie’s crescendo. This because Trolls is filled with classic jams such as Earth, Wind & Fire‘s “September,” Lionel Richie‘s “Hello,” Simon & Garfunkel‘s “Sounds of Silence” and the film’s emotional catharsis that is Cyndi Lauper‘s “True Colors” that is hard to compete with.

Withers compared the pressure and competition the trio felt to create “Can’t Stop the Feeling” with what he felt opening for Donny Hathaway. “Donny was a bad dude,” Withers noted. “He was not reticent about saying ‘You better bring it tonight because I’m coming for you.” To which Withers would respond in kind. “People make each other better,” he concluded.

Withers asked if the trio faced any major changes by A&R people, an acronym for “artist and repertoire” whom the soul great disparaged as “antagonistic and redundant,” to much applause. Though the trio said there weren’t any major changes there were some lyrical adjustments. Timberlake recalled Katzenberg along with the film’s director and producers coming by the studio to read a scene in which Katzenberg himself read the part of one of Trolls‘ Bergen characters. Timberlake imitated him reading it in a monster-like voice saying “Hmmmm, do you really think this will make me happy?”

Timberlake, as the film’s executive producer of music, fondly recalled working with the cast that included Gwen Stefani, James Cordon and Ariana Grande. “There was a moment I had with Anna Kendrick who is a phenomenal singer and fantastic actress,” Timberlake said. “She was singing the song at a certain pace and I was in the control room and she was in the booth and I’m saying ‘a little more like this.’ And she goes, ‘You know I feel like I’m just singing it like you and that makes you think it’s really good.’ And I said, ‘well yeah.’ But that’s the example of the relationship I had with all the actors and they all can sing their guts out. I had a very easy job when recording and producing all of them.”

As for what’s next, Timberlake mentioned he had just finished working with Woody Allen, while Martin and Shellback weren’t sure what they could mention but said they would be working with Timberlake on his next album. JT, interrupted and said, “These guys are humble, they’re working with Pink and Taylor Swift and all your favorite artists. Whoever you like that you know and whoever you like that you don’t know, in the next three years — that’s them.”

Music Stars React to Drummer Clyde Stubblefield’s Death

Music stars are reacting to the death of Clyde Stubblefield, the influencial drummer for James Brown, who died Saturday (Feb. 18) at age 73.

While a member of Brown’s backing band, Stubblefield performed on such classic funk songs as “Cold Sweat,” “Ain’t It Funky Now,” “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” and “I Got the Feelin’.”

His solo from Brown’s 1970 single for “Funky Drummer” has also been sampled by numerous hip-hop acts, including Public Enemy, N.W.A, Dr. Dre, LL Cool J, Run-D.M.C., and the Beastie Boys.

Read the social media tributes from Questlove, Bootsy Collins, and Garbage  below.

3 Reasons to See Us the Duo Live

They really are just as adorable and talented in person as they are online.

Us the Duo is headlining an international tour for the first time. After performing at the Highline Ballroom in New York on Thursday (Feb. 16), their U.S. tour continues through Feb. 25. A European leg will run March 7-30.

Comprised of husband and wife Michael and Carissa Alvarado, Us the Duo made their fame posting six-second covers on Vine. The pair garnered a whopping five million followers as of the Jan. 17, 2017 shut-down date of the app. With 4.4 million and 1.7 million followers and subscribers on Faceboook and YouTube, respectively, it’s safe to say that their fans are more engaged than ever. 

The group signed to Republic Records and is widely recognized as one of the first acts to be signed to a major label following success on Vine.

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Though known for their fun cover arrangements of current pop songs, Us the Duo has released completely original music on three full-length studio albums and an EP since 2012. Their latest LP, Just Love (released Aug. 2016), inspired the name of their tour, and made some waves in the Billboard charts as well: in its debut week (chart dated Aug. 13, 2016), the album appeared on the Heatseekers Albums charts at No. 4, and landed spots on six of the eight regional Heatseekers Albums chart (determined by album sales in specific geographical locations in the United States), including the No. 1 spot in their home region of the Pacific Coast (the couple is based in Los Angeles).

So in case you’ve seen their videos floating around Facebook and you haven’t been able to decide whether or not you should see them live, here are Billboard’s top three reasons why you should:

They are multitalented
Us the Duo played its entire hour-long set completely self-accompanied. If you’ve seen any of their videos, you know they love arranging their songs creatively, figuring out ways to add beatboxing or percussion to add a little extra oomph. For their Just Love Tour, the group decided to go sans-band, and the pair sang and played everything on their own. Michael played a majority of the instruments (mostly keys and guitar, though he did pick up the electric bass a couple times) — and even played two instruments at the same time at one point — and Carissa jumped in as well, handling the bass for a song and picking up various percussion instruments for their final song, “No Matter Where You Are.” (Fun fact: this song was actually written as their wedding vows, which they performed on their wedding day and released on their sophomore LP of the same title.)

They are all kinds of relationship goals
Not only did they sing their wedding vows live on stage in front of a completely packed Highline Ballroom, but Michael and Carissa are not shy about how much they love each other in all aspects of their life: on social media, on stage, and in person. The pair regularly updates their social media accounts with pictures of their travels and them being generally goofy together, which definitely came out onstage. They joked and teased, and after singing an a capella rendition of Meghan Trainor and John Legend’s hit song “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” they ended face-to-face in a dramatic embrace that looked like something off a movie poster. Billboard had the pleasure of going backstage after the show to touch base with them, and when wrapping up the interview, we asked, “Is there anything else you want me to add?” To which Michael responded, “I just want to say how hot [Carissa] looks tonight. Like, I’m really enjoying this outfit.”

They want you to feel at home — literally
Since this is their first headlining tour, the pair really wanted to make their audiences feel as comfortable as possible. How did they do that? They brought their actual living room sofa that they’ve recorded their viral videos on, poured out two glasses of wine, and played like they were jamming in their living room. Michael said, “I think the major takeaway from our show is that we’re literally bringing our living room to our fans, we want to break the wall between the fans and [us]. We’re all in the room to listen to music, to enjoy it together, to have a fun time.” They even set up a Q&A: they left a fishbowl labeled “Ask us anything!” on the merch table and answered some of the questions in the middle of their show. “All of those things [led] to the greater point of the show, which is just being with our fans, aka #usthefamily.”

You can also keep up with Us the Duo on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Norma McCorvey, ‘Jane Roe’ in ‘Roe v Wade’ Case, Dies at 69

The plaintiff in the famed 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion later became an anti-abortion activist.

Norma McCorvey, whose legal challenge under the pseudonym “Jane Roe” led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized abortion but who later became an outspoken opponent of the procedure, died Saturday (Feb. 18). She was 69.

McCorvey died at an assisted living center in Katy, Texas, said journalist Joshua Prager, who is working on a book about McCorvey and was with her and her family when she died. He said she died of heart failure.

McCorvey was 22, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time when in 1969 she sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman’s life. The subsequent lawsuit, known as Roe v. Wade, led to Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that established abortion rights, though by that time, McCorvey had given birth and given her daughter up for adoption.

Decades later, McCorvey underwent a conversion, becoming an evangelical Christian and joining the anti-abortion movement. A short time later, she underwent another religious conversion and became a Roman Catholic.

“I’m 100 percent pro-life. I don’t believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it’s still a child. You’re not to act as your own God,” she told The Associated Press in 1998.

After the court’s ruling, McCorvey had lived quietly for several years before revealing herself as Jane Roe in the 1980s. She also confessed to lying when she said the pregnancy was the result of rape.

Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, she remained an ardent supporter of abortion rights and worked for a time at a Dallas women’s clinic where abortions were performed.

Her 1994 autobiography, I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice, included abortion-rights sentiments along with details about dysfunctional parents, reform school, petty crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, an abusive husband, an attempted suicide and lesbianism.

But a year later, she was baptized before network TV cameras by a most improbable mentor: The Rev. Philip “Flip” Benham, the leader of Operation Rescue, now known as Operation Save America. McCorvey joined the cause and staff of Benham, who had befriended her when the anti-abortion group moved next door to the abortion clinic where she was working.

McCorvey also said that her religious conversion led her to give up her lover, Connie Gonzales. She said the relationship turned platonic in the early 1990s and that once she became a Christian she believed homosexuality was wrong.

She recounted her evangelical conversion and stand against abortion in the January 1998 book Won by Love, which ends with McCorvey happily involved with Operation Rescue.

But by August of that year, she had changed faiths to Catholicism. And though she was still against abortion, she had left Operation Rescue, saying she had reservations about the group’s confrontational style.

McCorvey formed her own group, Roe No More Ministry, in 1997 and traveled around the country speaking out against abortion. In 2005, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge by McCorvey to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

In May 2009, she was arrested on trespassing charges after joining more than 300 anti-abortion demonstrators when President Barack Obama spoke at the University of Notre Dame. In July 2009, she was among demonstrators arrested for disrupting Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination hearing.

McCorvey was born in Louisiana, spending part of her childhood in the small village of Lettsworth. Her family then moved to Houston and later Dallas, where in I Am Roe she recounts stealing money at the age of 10 from the gas station where she worked afternoons and weekends and running away to Oklahoma City before being returned home by police. She was eventually sent to a state reform school for girls in the northern Texas town of Gainesville, living there from the age of 11 to 15.

She married at the age of 16, but separated shortly after while she was pregnant. She says her mother tricked her into signing away custody of her firstborn and then threw her out of the house.

“My mom screamed, ‘What did a lesbian know about raising a child?’ I lost my child, and my home,” she told the AP in 1998.

She gave a second child up for adoption, but when she got pregnant a third time she decided to have an abortion. She said she couldn’t afford to travel to one of the handful of states where it would have been legal.

In her book I Am Roe, she said her adoption attorney put her in touch with Texas lawyers Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, who were seeking a woman to represent in a legal case to challenge the state’s anti-abortion statute. She gave birth to the “Roe” baby in June 1970.

Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer,’ Dies at 73

Clyde Stubblefield, a drummer for James Brown who created one of the most widely sampled drum breaks ever, died Saturday (Feb. 18). He was 73.

His wife, Jody Hannon, told The Associated Press that Stubblefield died of kidney failure at a Madison, Wisconsin, hospital around noon. He had been suffering from kidney disease for 10 years, and had been hospitalized for a few days, she said.

Stubblefield performed on several of Brown’s classics in the 1960s and early 70s, including “Cold Sweat,” ”Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud,” ”I’ve Got the Feelin’,” and the album Sex Machine.

But he was best known for a short solo on Brown’s 1970 single, “Funky Drummer.” Rolling Stone magazine said it was sampled on over 1,000 songs and served as the backbeat for countless hip-hop tracks, including Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” Dr. Dre’s “Let Me Ride,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” and Run-D.M.C.’s “Run’s House.” It even turned up on Ed Sheeran’s “Shirtsleeves” and George Michael’s “Freedom ’90,” the magazine said.

Hennon said Stubblefield saw “very little” in royalties and never expected them.

But Stubblefield was held in high esteem by his fellow musicians. When Prince got wind in 2000 that Stubblefield was deep in debt from a fight against bladder cancer, he personally paid $90,000 to cover his bills, she said. “Clyde was considered his favorite drummer,” she added.

Stubblefield was “a very nice southern gentleman” from Chattanooga, Tennessee, but had lived in Madison, his wife’s hometown, since the early 1970s, she said. He had long been a fixture on the local music scene.

“He played here one time with James Brown and just fell in love with it,” Hannon said.

Services are pending.

Pro-Trump Singer Joy Villa Talks ‘Overwhelming Support,’ Hitting Top 10 Thanks to Grammys Dress

She says her three-year-old ‘I Make the Static’ EP now hitting the Billboard 200 is proof “people like to support those who support their beliefs.”

The relatively unknown singer Joy Villa is getting something out of being associated with President Donald Trump that inauguration performer Jackie Evancho didn’t — a top 10 album in the Billboard 200.

The woman who was the talk of the Grammy Awards red carpet for wearing a gown emblazoned with the words “Trump” and “Make America Great Again” sold 15,000 copies of a three-year-old EP, I Make the Static, over two days immediately following her startling appearance in the fashion parade. Even in the absence of Trump tweeting out any appreciation for the shout-out, right-leaning outlets like Fox & Friends and Breitbart helped steer conservatives to the project, marking the only time in memory — and maybe in history — in which a theretofore anonymous artist has had a top 10 debut solely as the result of making a political statement.

“This is beyond my wildest dreams right now,” Villa tells Billboard. “The spooky thing is that two weeks before the Grammys, I wrote down my goals and one of them was: ‘To be on the top of the Billboard charts with a song I wrote and performed.’ … It’s completely unheard of. I’m an indie, self-published performer who’s mostly toured overseas and is completely self-funded, with a three-year-old album charting. I’ve always wanted to achieve this success; I just didn’t expect it so sudden and so soon.”

And if a lot of her new fans are spending $5 on her EP as a blind buy, because of shared political values, that’s okay by her. “People like to support those who support their beliefs,” Villa says, “and I believe the overwhelming support, love and record sales I’ve experienced are proof of that.”

The 25-year-old singer maintains there are plenty of other Trump supporters in the entertainment community who have been afraid to speak up because of the backlash they’d face, including some “in my personal circle, which is pretty large and contains a lot of counter-culture characters. My friend singer Kaya Jones of the Pussycat Dolls told me she could finally come out of the closet and wear her Trump 2016 campaign shirt,” Villa says. “Other performers like Ricky Rebel, who came out as gay after being in the boy band No Authority, told me he has always supported Trump but has been afraid to say so. There are many other stories like this — people from all walks of life, all colors, all creeds, and even other countries who support Trump but felt they couldn’t speak up for fear of losing business. My biggest concern was backlash from the public or other artists who I admire in the industry. But I’ve never hidden myself for fear of professional punishment and I wasn’t about to start now.”

Controversial Breitbart blogger Milo Yiannopoulos wrote that Villa’s “surge to fame after shocking the Grammys with a pro-Trump dress has proven me right again” in his belief that “being right-wing is the new counterculture, the new punk, an act of rebellion in an era of political correctness, safe spaces, multiculturalism and globalism… She could have played it safe, following the example of Meryl Streep, J.K Rowling and other anti-Trump celebrities, and remain unnoticed. What she did instead was remain true to her values, and as a result commanded the attention of the world last Sunday. Like the punk rockers, she dared to do what no one else would, and reaped the benefits… (I)t’s only a matter of time before the left start calling her a Nazi.”

While that prediction may have been premature, Villa has faced skepticism that her coming out for Trump was less about standing up against leftist political tyranny than trolling. The T-word was employed by the Daily Beast, among others, in their headline: “Joy Villa, Pro-Trump Grammys Troll, Is a Hardcore Scientologist Who Backed Bernie.”

Her previous provocations have been apolitical and mostly related to fashion choices. In 2016, she wore a barely-there outfit to the Grammys’ red carpet that got her on E! News’ worst-dressed list, which noted even then that Villa is “known for her wild outfits.” And up through the election, the occasional political posts in Villa’s social media feed suggested she was leaning the other way, if anything. A year ago she re-tweeted an advertisement for a “Feel the Bern!” T-shirt and added, “I need one!” On election day, she tweeted, “If you don’t like the two crazy candidates running, write in or vote for the OTHER 3 on the ballot!”

But in response to the articles pointing that out, Villa tells Billboard that she did cast her ballot for Trump, even if she wasn’t proclaiming it at the time. “I was overseas on tour and all I saw were these over-the-top, bad-news headlines,” she says. “So I was skeptical at first (about Trump), like many Americans were and still continue to be. What really changed for me was when I spent some time researching before going to the polls. And I made the decision I thought was best, personally, as an American. I voted for Trump and I’m glad I did.”

Prior to the Grammys, Villa’s outspokenness was mainly in a couple of areas where her values may not entirely overlap with those of the Trump nation: veganism, animal cruelty issues and Scientology. In November she posted footage of a ceremony for achieving “clear” status. On Christmas day she wed Danish photographer Thorsten von Overgaard, who, like her, has been profiled on the church’s websites.

The vegan of 12 years is starting a health-oriented website that will include fitness videos and recipes. “I also compete in bikini bodybuilding and have won awards,” she says. “I love showing a strong, feminine figure built on plants.” As a Scientologist of six years, she says, “Having a solid church community and spiritual practice is very important to me. I was raised with a strong belief in God and it helps me stay focused on what’s important. I’m blessed to live in a country where freedom of religion is a beautiful reality.” (Being a Trump supporter might put her within the political mainstream of her religion, if a recent Los Angeles Times story suggesting that residents around Scientology’s Hollywood headquarters voted disproportionately for Trump is accurate.)

Villa’s famous dress’ designer is Andre Soriano, who, as a gay immigrant, might also not seem the stereotypical Trump supporter. “This year Andre called me, sobbing and shocked,” Villa says, “seeing the hate and statements of flat-out violence at the women’s march against the president and the White House. We both voted for and quietly and secretly supported Trump. And we both felt that enough was enough… I knew it would be rough” dealing with the aftermath, she says. “But we weighed the pros and cons and I made the statement to show love, respect, promote tolerance, and hopefully in some small way turn the narrative from hate to ‘Let’s give the guy a chance. He is our president after all.’”

Although she hasn’t heard from the Trump team, she says, “I know from the outpouring of love and support from others that I’ve helped in some small way to support him and spread some respect.”

Trump famously claimed that Jackie Evancho’s sales “skyrocketed” after she took some heat for agreeing to perform at his inauguration, but the most copies her Someday at Christmas album ever sold in a single week after the news stir was 11,000, with a peak position on the Billboard 200 of No. 60. While Evancho expressed political neutrality, even without a nod from the President the lesser-known Villa had much bigger results from her Trump tie-in by going all-in as a fan of the President. 

Next up for Villa: a rush-release of a Static Remixes album, along with a live cover of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” “I want to bring the best to these people who have supported me in such an outrageous, kind and phenomenal way,” she says. “Tours, performances, and possibly recording contracts are all in the works… There have been been so many industry people reaching out, it’s honestly overwhelming.”

Prince’s Streaming Numbers: ‘Purple Rain’ & Other Hits Lead, But There Are Some Surprises

As Prince’s catalog reaches the end of its first week back on major streaming services, the numbers show no signs of slowing down.

Prince’s music from the first 17 years of his career — including most of his major hits — returned to most major streaming services on Feb. 12, after being available only on Tidal since July of 2015 after the artist struck a deal with the company that is currently in dispute. The now-widely available music stretches from his 1978 debut, For You, through 1994’s Come (along with several compilations); most of his releases after that period remain exclusive to Tidal. 

Preliminary reports suggest Prince’s entire streaming catalog, including Tidal-only works, earned 12.67 million on-demand audio streams in the U.S. from Feb. 12–15, according to Nielsen Music.

Following the Feb. 12 expansion, Prince’s five most-streamed songs through Feb. 15 (measured by U.S. on-demand audio streams) are as follow:

1. “Purple Rain” (764,000)
2. “Let’s Go Crazy” (732,000)
3. “When Doves Cry” (695,000)
4. “Kiss” (602,000)
5. “Little Red Corvette” (514,000)
6. “1999” (431,000)
7. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (386,000)
8. “Raspberry Beret” (360,000)
9. “Delirious” (264,000)
10. “Sign O’ The Times” (257,000)

While the above list isn’t too surprising — eight of the 10 songs reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and the two exceptions, “Lover” and “1999” reached Nos. 11 and 12, respectively — several Prince album cuts also proved popular in their first week of widespread streaming availability.

Prince’s highest-streaming non-Hot 100 hit in the days following his catalog’s expansion was the raunchy “Darling Nikki,” which pulled 222,000 streams. The song was notably a catalyst for Tipper Gore’s founding of the Parents Music Resource Center, whose work eventually led to the adoption of “Parental Advisory” stickers’ on songs and albums deemed to contain explicit content.

“Nikki” leads Prince’s five highest-streamed songs that did not reach the Hot 100, which also includes two songs — “Erotic City” and “She’s Always in My Hair” — that were originally released as B-sides in 1984 and ’85, respectively. The full top five alternative cuts, as measured by U.S. on-demand audio streams, are as follow:

1. “Darling Nikki” (222,000; the 14th most streamed overall Prince song for the period)
2. “The Beautiful Ones” (193,000; 16th overall)
3. “Erotic City” (172,000; 19th overall)
4. “Adore” (163,000; 21st overall)
5. “She’s Always in My Hair” (158,000; 23rd overall)

Notably, the first four tunes on the list have each gathered more streams at this point than some established Prince hit singles, including the 1991 Hot 100 No. 1 hit single “Cream” (162,000 streams, ranking as Prince’s 22nd highest-streamed track in the period) and the appropriately-titled No. 7-peaking “7” (141,000 streams).

The services surveyed for this report are Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Google Play, Groove, Music Pass (from Xbox), Medianet, Napster, Soundcloud, Slacker, Spotify and Tidal. 

‘A Cure For Wellness’ Mysterious Score Explained in Behind-the-Scenes Video: Exclusive Premiere

Dark mystery runs through the new psychological thriller A Cure for Wellness and it was composer Benjamin Wallfisch’s responsibility to “find a musical language that could communicate that subtext,” he explains in a new behind-the-scenes video premiering exclusively with Billboard.  

The Gore Verbinski-directed film follows a young executive who is sent to retrieve his boss from a “wellness center” tucked away in the Swiss Alps before he is also diagnosed with the same illness as the rest of the guests. In the video, Wallfisch artfully describes creating themes for the film’s main characters and how they tie into the film’s eerie narrative.  

The video shows features shots of a live orchestra recording the score at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, intercut with increasingly unsettling clips, including one of a woman bathing in a tub filled with writhing snakes and another of naked bodies floating in tanks.

In the video, Wallfisch poses the question, “How do we find true meaning in a world of consumerism and material gain, where we have to strive to find truth in a maze of media manipulation?”

A Cure for Wellness will be released in theaters on Friday (Feb.17) via Twentieth Century Fox. Watch the behind-the-scenes video here:

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Quincy Revamps Dad Al B. Sure’s Chart-Topping Hit ‘Nite and Day’ for New Album: ‘We Created Something Special’

Nearly 29 years after Al B. Sure!’s classic hit “Nite and Day” hit No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the track has returned with a fresh spin — this time covered by Sure’s biological son, singer and Star actor Quincy.

“I didn’t want to devalue the beauty that is, was, and always will be in (the original),” Quincy tells Billboard. “I’m not trying to present this as the new ‘Nite and Day.'” The revamped tune — titled “I Can Tell You (Night & Day 2.0)” — is found on Quincy’s new album, This Is For You, which was released on Feb. 14. Sure’s original take spent three weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in April and May of 1988.

Quincy — who is the adopted son of Sean “Puffy” Combs and godson of Quincy Jones — stars as Derek on the Fox TV series Star alongside Queen Latifah.

“Me and my dad, our communication level started to increase,” says Quincy, referring to his previous estrangement with Sure, and their eventual reconciliation. “I kind of surprised him with [the remake]. I didn’t talk to him about it like ‘This is what I wanna do.’ I just wanted to put my all into it and almost surprised him with it — like ‘Hey, let’s hang out. Let’s go in the studio, I want you to hear some stuff.’”

“It almost came as a surprise,” says Quincy, “so I got to experience a fun, crazy, emotional moment just because he didn’t even know what he was walking into. Thankfully it was of his liking. Because he is the creator of this record and obviously you don’t want to mess with something that you can’t put your all into and I definitely think we created something special. It makes sense for who I am and that being my father, there was no pressure at all. It was almost something that was supposed to happen.”

With regards to the album, Quincy says, “I knew I was bringing this on Valentine’s Day so I wanted to introduce a little bit of what I go through as a man, whether it’s dealing with love or different moments in life. Life is made up of a billion moments and each one, you can talk about for hours. I’m speaking for myself, the moments I’ve lived.”

Quincy says he is currently wrapping up filming Star and hopes to shoot a movie during his time off as well as produce his first label album with Epic Records that will be released this summer. (This Is For You album was released independently.)

View the complete track list for This is for You below:

1. “I Can Tell You (Night & Day 2.0)”
2. “Sunshine”
3. “Waterfall”
4. “Late Night Flex”
5. “Suicide”
6. “Me Time”

Ed Sheeran Celebrates Birthday By Dropping New Song ‘How Would You Feel (Paean)’: Listen

Ed Sheeran is building the buzz for Divide, his upcoming third album, with the release of a third track from it.

After the record-smashing whirlwind that was the advance release of Divide tracks “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” the Englishman changes pace on “How Would You Feel (Paean),” a Kleenex-clincher of a slow ballad assisted with acoustic guitar, piano and drums played with brushes.  

The singer and songwriter dropped the promo track as his birthday gift to fans (he turned 26 on Friday). Sheeran sings in the chorus, “How would you feel/If I told you I loved you/It’s just something that I want to do/I’m taking my time, spending my life/Falling deeper in love with you/So tell me that you love me too.” 

“How Would You Feel” is not the next single,” Sheeran tweeted Thursday, “but is one of my favzzzzz.” For what it’s worth, “How Would You Feel (Paean)” is track 11 of 16 on Divide, which is due out March 3.

Sheeran has been in record-busting form since he double-dropped “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill” in January. Both tracks crashed the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, making Sheeran the first artist to ever accomplish that feat. In his homeland, those comeback songs set a new mark for the longest-ever run in the top two of the U.K. chart at five weeks (besting Justin Bieber’s four week stint at Nos. 1 and 2 with “Sorry” and “Love Yourself” in 2015).

Sheeran also became the first artist to debut in the top two spots on the Official U.K. Singles Chart in the same week, and he’s the first living British solo act to hold the top two chart positions in the same week (John Lennon posthumously did so in 1981). He’ll perform at next Wednesday’s Brit Awards in London.

Stream “How Would You Feel” below:

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