INSIDE How ’s Wildly Popular

• Triller Owner ‘Kellyoke’ Covers Get Made Names Mahi de Silva CEO as Mike Lu BY GIL KAUFMAN Transitions to President When the team behind the syndicated Kelly Clark- Malone, Bee Gees and Bon Jovi). • son Show were drawing up their wish list for the Jason Halbert, the show’s daytime Emmy-nominat- Says He Won’t format of the daily talker hosted the beloved pop star, ed musical director and Clarkson’s MD for 18 years Perform Live This there was one unshakable element they had to lead — beginning in her post- days in 2003 Summer But with: music. — says the segment grew out of a bit the singer did for ‘My Story Is Far From Over’ “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if we open the years on tour in which she took a nightly fan cover show up with a different cover,’ just like she already request. “When the show started, we knew creatively • Televisa, Univision does? Because we were trying to incorporate differ- that we wanted to incorporate it,” he says of the very to Merge, Forming Spanish-Language ent pieces of Kelly into the show,” Alex Duda, the first thing fans see every day to kick off and set the Media Powerhouse NBCUniversal-distributed series’ executive producer, tone for that day’s journey. • Spotify to Include tells Billboard about the process of mapping out the “My career would not be what it is without Jason Livestream Event show that launched in 2019. Halbert,” Clarkson tells Billboard in a statement about Listings on Because the overall concept of the show was her partner in Kellyoke magic. “We are really good Artist Pages “connection” — and, Duda notes, music is a common partners. I feel like every artist needs to have their • Live Nation Names connector between us — of course a musical segment, person that complements them and helps their career Sherri Sosa President which has racked up more than 35 million YouTube come to fruition and grow. Jason is definitely that for of Venue Nation’s views to date, needed to be a signature part of the pro- me.” U.S. Group gram. And so the wildly popular “Kellyoke” segment Billboard asked Duda and Halbert to share the • Live Nation Vet that kicks off every episode was born. origin story of “Kellyoke,” and the surprisingly tight Russell Doussan To date, Clarkson has aired more than 300 Kel- window they have to pull it off every day. Editor’s( Launches Doussan Music Group lyokes, which range from country and pop tunes note: Questions and answers have been edited for clarity solidly in her powerful vocal wheelhouse (Patty and brevity). • BILLBOARD 200 Griffin, , Chris Stapleton, and Can you explain how Kelly became such a cover CLICK HERE ) to more surprising picks (Lizzo, Post (continued)

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machine to begin with? idea behind the segment? They’re all audience-generated, so if they’re Halbert: On our first two-week run of Duda: Oh yeah, exactly. I couldn’t think not available, we push the song to another state fairs [in 2003] we did a medley of eight of a better way to do it. It wakes you up and time. cover songs, some from the show and some grabs your attention. Not by shaking you, Is Kelly always a fan of the songs, and she was inspired by — No Doubt, Aero- but by bringing you in and making you part does she always know them before the smith, Garth Brooks, — at of it. performance? which point I knew my hands were full after How are the songs for the show Halbert: Some she’s never heard be- we got emails and social media requests picked? fore. We’re probably pulling in 40% more from fans about songs they wanted her to Halbert: With music licensing on tour, requests than we can use, so there are songs cover. As a musical director, I’m always an we could send her a list of 200 requests on the list that she’s not connecting to the- advocate for fans ... so on behalf of them, I from fans and learn the song that night be- matically or not in the style she’d want to do. approached Kelly and said, “Wouldn’t it be cause there’s no licensing needed to perform She does get final approval of songs. We do great if we did a new song every day?” That them live. But on the show, the licensing not surprise her. made it fresh for her, so over a 10-year pe- turnaround is longer, so producers gather Can you describe the process of pre- riod, we did around 100 to 120 cover songs a list from audience members or upcoming paring the Kellyoke covers? a year. audience members and start the process of Halbert: We get in a room with Jessi Why was it important for you to have getting a batch of songs cleared. Collins, her vocal director [and backup this segment be the kickoff to every For season one we got about 60% of art- singer] for the past seven or eight years and episode? ists cleared, but by season two it was closer we know the songs we’re doing that week. Duda: “Music is our common currency” to 90%. I get a list of songs requested by We’ve gathered the songs from YouTube or was our basic pitch for the show, and it audience members, I plug them in based alternate versions, and it comes down to 18 hasn’t changed since the pilot first aired on episodes and themes — usually a mix of years of really knowing how she’s covered two years ago ... when she came up from , ‘70s and ‘80s songs, current pop stuff in the past and imaging how she might the back of the audience with the crowd to rock and one country song a week. Once sing it. There’s a lot of guesswork about how on their feet and started off with a message the song is cleared, we contact the audience she might connect to it lyrically or if it’s and vibe of love from the top of that show. member and make sure they’re there for the nostalgic, emotionally. It connects the audience and viewers and show — which now that they’re on Zoom If it’s something like Aretha Franklin, we sets the vibe and makes you feel better. And [because of COVID-19 distancing protocols] won’t make it our own because she’s a leg- we needed that more than ever over the is much easier. end, and Kelly would try to make her proud last year and a half ... for us it’s rough to be Sometimes, if they’re from out of town and stick to it the way it is. But I grew up in a show about connections when you can’t and the song is not cleared until two days the ‘80s and I live and breathe that music, physically connect. before the taping, we’re scrambling to put she was born a decade later, so when Kelly It definitely helps set her apart from everything into place, which makes it way wanted to do ’s “Borderline” and other daytime talkers. Was that another more complicated than doing it on tour. make it bluesy, we did two versions — one




ON THE CHARTS JIM ASKER [email protected] IN BRIEF SamHunt’s Southside Rules Top Country straightAlbu up ‘80s ms;and one the Brett way she wanted Young you don’t ‘Catcwant to leaveh out’-es one thing. FifthThat Airplay makes me feel good that people are — and I was able to twist her arm on that At what point is Kelly involved? liking it. one [to do theLea original].der; Travis DenningHalbert: Jessi sings theMakes song mimick- HistoryAretha (‘Think”), Dolly Parton (“9 to Sometimes she’ll push back and be like, ing Kelly’s style because she knows her 5”), Whitney Houston (“I Wanna Dance “Let’s make it cool.” It’s about imagin- vocal range; we record it and then the band With Somebody”), and Patsy Cline such Saming what Hunt she’s’s second connecting studio full-length, with. If it’s and an first in overrehearses five years, it Southsideand we put salesour touch (up 21%) on in it. the trackingseem week. like On Countryslam dunks. Airplay, But it hops others 18-15 like (11.9 mil- (MCAemotional Nashville/Universal lyric that I’ve Music heard Group her Nashville),men- debutsThe at No.first 1 on time Billboard she ’shears lion anything audience is impressions,while Lizzo’sup 16%). “Juice,” the Killers’ “Mr. Bright- Top Country Albums chart dated April 18. In its first week (ending April 9), it tion in the past, or if it’s something she can she’s in the makeup chair and we send her side” and Post Malone’s “Better Now” are earned 46,000 equivalent album units, including 16,000 in album sales, ac- TRY TO ‘CATCH’ UP WITH YOUNG Brett Youngachieves his fifth consecutive cordingthematically to Nielsen connect Music/MRC with, we Data. will break it two versions — the instrumentaland total Country one with Airplay No.more 1 as “Catch” unexpected. (Big Machine Do you Label purposely Group) ascends mix downSouthside and make marks it Hunt’s more acousticsecond No. and 1 on inti the- background vocals, and the one with Jessi it2-1, up increasingto keep the 13% audience to 36.6 million on their impressions. toes? chartmate andto focus fourth on top the 10. vocal. It follows freshman LP singing. We even imagine how she might riff HalbertYoung’s: Lizzo first of issix one chart of entries,my favorites “Sleep lastWith - MontevalloAre there, which any arrived ground at rulesthe summit for which in No - and ad-lib. season.out You,” I’m reached still a fan No. of 2 inKelly’s December voice 2016. and He vember 2014 and reigned for nine weeks. To date, followed with the multiweek No. 1s “In Case You songs do or don’t get picked? Then she’ll often throw half of it away artistry ... she’s probably the best of her gen- Montevallo has earned 3.9 million units, with 1.4 Didn’t Know” (two weeks, June 2017), “Like I Loved millionHalbert in album: I haven’t sales. run into any requests and make it her own based on her instincts. erationYou” (three, and there’s January no 2018), style “Mercy” outside (two, of her August thatMontevallo don’t work has spent for daytime 267 weeks — on we’re the list, given tying a The place where it’s hardest to read her wheelhouse.2018) and “Here But Tonight” it’s always (two, exciting April 2019). to hear Lukelot of Bryan leeway’s Crash — but My three Party yearsas the sixth-longest-ago I didn’t mind is when we’ve chopped up a song she something“Catch” outside completes of his her longest album journey genre. to No. 1, runningthink we’d titles be in doing the chart’s Foo 56-yearFighters history. (“Times loves and she’s like, “Oh gosh, you cut out havingWhat taken are some 46 weeks of your to reach favorite the apex. Kel It- out- On the all-genre Billboard 200, Southside ar- paces the 30-week climb of “Here Tonight.” Like These”) on daytime TV. There has my favorite section!” We’re usually finding lyoke moments? rives at No. 5, awarding Hunt his second top 10 On Hot Country Songs, “Catch” pushes 7-5 for HUNT YOUNG afterto be the some No. melodic3-peaking element Montevallo to .this, so DJ- this out 15 minutes before we’re on stage re- aDuda new high.: Jason is much more than just the orientedHunt first music released with the just EP X2C a vocal, which hook debuted over hearsing it, and we only run the song twice music director. He came in one time and I andan instrumental peaked at No. won’t 5 on Top work Country with her Albums voice. in Augustall the 2014. way Following through beforeCOMBS she performs‘DOES’ IT AGAIN it at Lukesaid Combs we’re ’doing “Does an to Me” hour (River on the House/Columbia Mr. Rogers MontevalloI arrange, Between it with theJessi, Pines: [but] Acoustic editing Mixtape the started10 [a.m.] at its No.on camera.7 high in On Nashville),show day, featuring we record Eric Churchmovie, ascends[A Beautiful 11-8 on Day Country in the Airplay, Neighborhood up 10% to] Novembersong down 2015. to a minute and a half is the that and then the second24.7 song million of the in day.audience. Theand song she is wanted Combs’ toeighth sing straight “Won’t career-opening You Be My Montevallo produced five singles, four of which hit the pinnacle of Country top 10, following a record run of seven consecutive out-of-the-gate, properly Airplay:hardest “Leave part of the the Night job. On,”Kelly “Take has so Your much Time,” “HouseWhat Party” is andthe “Make clearance promoted budget No. like 1 singles. for Neighbor” with a Rosemary Clooney vibe, Youon her Miss plate Me.” between “Break Up hosting in a Small the Town” show, peakedThe at No.Kellyoke? 2. Church adds his 15th Countryand he Airplay came top up 10. with the idea of having a VoiceHunt and co-penned working all on 12 her songs album on Southside that I can’t, including Duda “Body: We Like have a Back budgets to do a song every Mr. Rogers dancer come out from behind a Road,”be calling which her was five released times ina 2017.day for The input. smash Tak hit- ruledday, Country and we Airplay know for what THATmoney TOOK is there, QUITE but ‘A FEW’screen MONTHS and Travis have himDenning backlit shatters with the Jason record at for threeing an weeks iconic and songs the airplay-, and chopping streaming- it down and sales-based ... when Hot we Country were Songsputting clearancesthe most weeks through it has at taken the to penetrate baby grand. the CountryIt was so Airplay cool and top 10different as “After chart for a then-record 34 frames. It now ranks second only to Bebe Rexha and a Few” (Mercury Nashville) climbs 12-10 in its 57th week, up 4% to 21.4 mil - FloridaI always Georgia feel like Line I’m’s “Meant butchering to Be” someone’s (50 weeks atop thethe latter beginning, list in 2017-18). I was a bitlion worried, in radio likereach. “This because he lives in story, and music is a story art.“Downtown’s Dead,” which is also on the new set, reachedis a lot of Nos. songs!” 14 and We 15 have Thea great song clearance surpasses two trackson top that of atook story. 50 weeks each to enter the top 10: on CanHot Country you think Songs of and a particularly Country Airplay, hard respectively, department in June 2018. and “Kin really- strongEaston relationships Corbin’s “A Girl Like You,”We had which [astrophysicist] reached No. 10 Neil in January deGrasse 2018 be- folks”choice? led Country Airplay on Feb. 29, becoming Hunt’s[with seventh labels No. and 1. It rights hit agencies],fore peaking so at even No. 6 that February,Tyson on and the Aaron show Watson and Tori’s “Outta Kelly, Style,” so we which No. 3 on Hot Country Songs. achieved its No. 10 high in December 2017. Halbert: Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” was stuff that was hard to clear in the beginning did a slow jam of the periodic table of ele- Latest single “Hard to Forget” jumps 17-9 on Hot Country Songs. It’s his “After” is Denning’s second Country Airplay entry. “David Ashley Parker the hardest. There’s so much happening and has gotten much easier as we’ve gone on. ments and they just sang it. I also loved the eighth top 10, having corralled 8.2 million U.S. streams (up 96%) and 5,000 in From Powder Springs” traveled to No. 32 in September 2018. ETHAN MICHAEL YOUNG: VIA MARTIN/NHLI GETTY HUNT: IMAGES. IMAGES MILLER/GETTY

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“all-skate” she did to “Hopelessly Devoted team that’s re-defining the future of content, to You” from Grease, and one where the Triller Owner creators and commerce,” de Silva said. audience all got up and started dancing in “Triller has empowered global influenc- a choreographed number to Bruno Mars Names Mahi de ers with unique capabilities to reach and [“Finesse”]. Kelly is is exactly who you engage millions of users around the world, thinks she is, which is a secret weapon for a Silva CEO as Mike while delivering innovating ways for partner daytime show. brands to join this vibrant and flourishing Halbert: One of her favorite songs from Lu Transitions to ecosystem. The best is yet to come.” childhood is by The Toadies [“Possum King- In a statement, Lu added that the leader- dom”] so we made that as close to possible President ship transition will make TrillerNet’s opera- as the original. Also, the song we did at the tions more efficient. White House [in February 2021], “Get To- BY TATIANA CIRISANO “With this step we have officially replaced gether” by the Youngbloods for the Bidens, the inefficient brand funnel and turned it was a bucket list highlight of my life and I’m rillerNet, the parent company into a perfect cylinder,” Lu said. “There is really proud of how it came together. We of short-form video app Triller, nowhere else a brand can actually connect couldn’t bring the full band, so it was just is shaking up its leadership and its message, its talent, its content and its dis- myself and I didn’t know how we’d pull it appointing non-executive board tribution all in one place and simultaneously off with just piano without it sounding like Tchairman Mahi de Silva to CEO, the com- be given the ad-tech and mar-tech tools an SNL skit. Kelly is usually more focused pany announced today (April 14). and analytics to perfectly hone its B-to-C on the lyric than the music and I’m the op- De Silva is the co-founder and CEO experience.” posite. But we thought, “What an incred- of Amplify.ai, a customer engagement plat- Following the acquisition, Amplify.ai will ible time to perform a song like this,” so we form which TrillerNet — formerly Triller operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of slowed it down and made it more intimate. I Network — is acquiring. He replaces Mike TrillerNet. The company offers conver- couldn’t arrange it until lunchtime on a day Lu, who has served as CEO since Febru- sational ads and marketing, AI-driven we were taping two shows, so I flew with ary 2017. Lu will transition to the role of comment moderation and more for clients Kelly to D.C. and she didn’t sleep on the TrillerNet president, and expand his focus like Google, Kohler and Facebook, through plane because she was learning the song. on global investor relations. which it claims it has powered 11 billion This season, one of my favorites was Meanwhile, TrillerNet co-owner Bobby digital engagements with over 600 million “Closer” by Tegan and Sara because it has Sarnevesht will remain executive chairman global consumers. Amplify.ai is currently that ‘80s vibe and it was produced by Greg of the company. integrated within the Triller app, and earlier Kurstin, who produced Kelly’s last two “We could not ask for a better CEO than this week, Triller partnered with Amplify. albums; they both loved the version and Mahi de Silva,” Sarnevesht said. “He is one ai for the NFT marketplace www.Trill- Kelly’s voice in a tweet. Another favorite of the brightest minds in business, and his erNFTs.com. this season is Phil Collin’s “I Wish It Would vision and leadership will be invaluable In addition to owning the Triller app, Rain Down.” She’d never heard the song, assets to Triller during its explosive growth. TrillerNet recently acquired Verzuz and and I presented it to her a few times on Having built and successfully exiting mul- launched Triller Fight Club, a live-events tour for her to do a bluesy thing with it that tiple unicorns in tech, social media, ad-tech venture in partnership with would kill. So I slid it to the top of the list and eCommerce, there couldn’t be a better centered around boxing and music. It also when an audience member suggested it. person for the role.” operates TrillerTV, a long-form content De Silva has led Amplify.ai since its streaming platform with more than 65 origi- founding in 2017, and has served on Trill- nal shows. erNet’s board since 2016. He was previ- ously CEO of marketing and advertising company Opera Mediaworks (which is now AdColony), after its parent company Opera Software ASA acquired the mobile advertis- ing platform de Silva co-founded, AdMarvel, Inc., in 2010. He also co-founded social plat- form Frengo and held leadership positions at VeriSign and Apple. “The Triller team has built something extraordinary, and I’m excited to take on the role of CEO and join an amazingly talented

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from radio airplay, removed from official Morgan Wallen playlists and he was dropped by his agen- Televisa, Univision cy, and Wallen’s label, Big Loud, suspended Says He Won’t his “recording contract indefinitely.” to Merge, In February, the Academy of Country Perform Live This Music also announced that they would be Forming Spanish- halting Wallen’s potential involvement and Summer But ‘My eligibility for the ACM Awards, which air Language Media this Sunday. Despite Wallen’s ineligibility, Story Is Far From digital billboards in support of Wallen as en- Powerhouse tertainer of the year at the ceremony began Over’ popping up around Nashville this week. BY RICK PORTER In Tuesday’s message, Wallen apologized BY TAYLOR MIMS for his various misdeeds over the past year wo of the biggest Spanish-lan- and continued to acknowledge he has room guage media companies in the n Tuesday evening (April 13), to grow. world are planning to merge. embattled country star Morgan “I’ve made some mistakes. I’m figur- Mexico’s Televisa and Univi- Wallen announced he would be ing those out and I apologized because Tsion are set to combine media, production stepping away from performing I was truly sorry and have been making and content into a new company to be called Olive for the remainder of the year. my amends,” he wrote. “I wanted to let Televisa-Univision, the two announced Wallen took to to say he has you guys know that I have taken a couple Tuesday. Univision will pay about $4.8 bil- spent the past few months out of the spot- months away and feel like I’ve really worked lion for Televisa’s content assets. light to reflect and will use the rest of the on myself. I’m proud of the work I’ve put Univision CEO Wade Davis will hold year to continue to work on himself. in and in many ways thankful to have had the same title at the combined company, “I’ve found this time away to be very the time to do it.” with Televisa co-CEO Alfonso de Angoitia valuable to me in many ways, but I feel like Despite his rocky year, Wallen continued serving as executive chairman of the board. I need a little more of it, and therefore will to thrive on the Billboard charts. Wal- Televisa will have the largest stake in the not be performing tour dates this summer,” len’s Dangerous: The spent new venture, holding 45 percent equity. Wallen’s handwritten note said. “It means I 10 weeks on top of the Billboard 200 The merger will be partly financed by $1 won’t be playing festivals or the chart, making it the first album to spend billion of new Series C preferred equity in- tour dates.” its first 10 weeks at No. 1 since 1987 and vestment led by SoftBank’s Latin American Wallen went on to encourage his fans to has the most total weeks at No. 1 since Fund, along with current Univision inves- still support the tour dates and festivals he Drake’s Views spent 13 nonconsecutive tor ForgeLight LLC, Google and The Raine was scheduled to play, adding that “country weeks in the lead in 2016. Dangerous is one Group; and $2.1 billion of debt commitments music is back and that’s a beautiful damn of just four country albums to spend at least arranged by J.P. Morgan. thing.” 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The merger would create the largest Wallen was scheduled to join Bryan on In Tuesday’s tweet, Wallen publicly Spanish-language media company in the the Proud to Be Right Here Tour kicking off acknowledges his album’s success for the world with bases in the two biggest Spanish- this summer and was set to headline coun- first time, stating, “I would have been proud speaking markets: Mexico and the United try festivals including the Kicker Country of this album had it not done any of those States. Televisa is a production powerhouse, Stampede in Kansas and Wisconsin-based things, but it did.” He also promised that he producing some 86,000 hours of content in music festival Country Jam USA. would return to music in the near future. 2020, and both companies hold big sports The country singer has spent the last “My story is far from over & getting back out rights packages. year embroiled in scandal, from being ar- to see y’all is all I can think about. So just “This strategic combination gener- rested at Kid Rock’s bar in March 2020 to know you’ll be seeing me sooner than later.” ates significant value for shareholders of being booted from his slot on Saturday Night Check out the full message below. both companies and will allow us to more Live in October for breaking COVID safety efficiently reach all Spanish-language audi- protocols prior to his appearance. Then in ences with more of our programming,” said February, Wallen was caught on tape using a Emilio Azcárraga, executive chairman of racial slur after a night of drinking, which the Televisa board of directors. “Together, launched a wider discussion about racism in Televisa-Univision can more aggressively . Following the video of Wal- pursue innovation and growth through len saying the N-word, his music was pulled digital platforms as the industry continues 2021

On April 24th, Billboard will publish its annual CONTACTS International Power Players list. This issue Joe Maimone will profile the leaders in the global music 201.301.5933 | [email protected] industry including the label executives, concert promoters, managers, talent Lee Ann Photoglo agents and lawyers, and recognize their 615.376.7931 | [email protected] achievements. Advertise and congratulate Cynthia Mellow this year’s International Power Players to 615.352,0265 | [email protected] reach an influential audience of decision-makers worldwide. Marcia Olival 786.586.4901 | [email protected]

Gene Smith 973.452.3528 | [email protected]

Ryan O’Donnell +447843437176 | [email protected]

ISSUE DATE 4/24 | AD CLOSE 4/14 | MATERIALS DUE 4/15 Page 11 of 25


to evolve. Our new investors at the SoftBank ing on a virtual event listed by one of the for live events.” Latin America Fund, Google and The Raine four new partners on Spotify will take users Over the past 18 years, Sosa worked for Group are just as excited about the opportu- directly to the livestream, rather than having Caesars Entertainment Corporation and has nities presented by this combination.” to navigate to the partner’s website first – in made a career at the intersection of enter- Added Univision’s Davis, “This trans- effect removing a step in the process. tainment, hospitality and venue operations. formative combination brings together To get an event listed, artist teams must Throughout her career, she has overseen the leading network serving U.S. Spanish- work with Spotify’s ticketing partners; the growth of brands such as the Flamingo, language audiences with the leading media virtual events cannot be listed with Spotify Paris, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, platform in Mexico powered by the most directly. Harrah’s New Orleans and more. Addition- powerful Spanish-language content engine Spotify has been listing live events since ally, she has a long-standing track record in the world. Televisa-Univision will emerge 2015, when it signed a partnership with of being a strong champion of diversity, as the leading global Spanish-language Songkick to provide location-based concert helping to launch a women’s leadership multimedia company, uniquely positioned to recommendations. Over the years, it has initiative that saw an acceleration of women capture the significant market opportunity added partners including Ticketmaster, promoted into management roles. for Spanish speakers worldwide.” Songkick, Resident Advisor, Eventbrite, Sosa received her Bachelor of Commerce This article originally appeared in THR. AXS, See Tickets and eplus (Japan only) for in Finance and Marketing from the Univer- com. in-person event listings. sity of Manitoba and her Master of Busi- Further information on listing a virtual ness Administration from the A.B. Freeman event on Spotify can be found here. School of Business at Tulane University. Spotify to Include In her new position, Sosa will work closely with president of Live Nation Livestream Event Live Nation Concerts Bob Roux and Venue Nation CEO Tom See to oversee operations, growth Listings on Artist Names Sherri and development of the venue management business, as well as key artist and partner Pages Sosa President of relationships. “We are excited to have Sherri join our BY CHRIS EGGERTSEN Venue Nation’s team and lead our world-class portfolio of venues across the U.S.,” said Roux in a re- potify has expanded its list of U.S. Group lease. “Venues are the heart of the industry, partners in the livestream ticket- where artists and fans come together for ing space, the company announced BY TAYLOR MIMS unforgettable live music, and we cannot today. wait to see Sherri help take Venue Nation to SSeven months after the streamer an- ndustry veteran Sherri Sosa has been the next level. Her experience in bringing nounced it had partnered with Ticket- named president of Venue Nation for brand experiences to life and her passion master and Songkick to integrate virtual the promotion company’s U.S. divi- for the guest experience are sure to energize event listings into the platform, it has added sion. In her new role, Sosa will oversee our venues as we welcome live music back new partnerships with StageIt, Mandolin, Iall operations, business development and into our lives.” NoCap and nugs.net. Livestreams hosted on marketing for the leading venue manage- Venue Nation manages more than 200 those platforms will be added to listings on ment company’s portfolio of more than 100 venues across the world providing spaces for Spotify’s Concerts hub as well as to the “On venues in the U.S., including amphitheaters, thousands of fans and artists every year. Tour” section of artists’ profile pages; art- ballrooms, theaters, and clubs across the ists also have the option of setting an event country. as their “Artist Pick,” meaning it will appear “It is an incredible honor to be leading atop their profiles. Venue Nation’s robust portfolio of venues Listings from the new partners will across the U.S. during this pivotal time for also be included in the company’s existing the industry,” said Sosa in a release. “Venues personalized virtual event recommendation are at the heart of the live music experience, emails and newly-launched push notifica- and I am excited to help continue to grow tions, which are based on users’ locations, the business with the best in class venues as well as the music they like and the artists management team at Live Nation and to be they follow. able to bridge my years of experience in en- Unlike Ticketmaster and Songkick, click- tertainment and hospitality with my passion 2 0 2 1 PRIMARY WAVE 15TH ANNIVERSARY

On April 24, Billboard will salute Primary Wave Music on its 15th CONTACTS anniversary. Joe Maimone 201.301.5933 | [email protected] Founded in 2006, Primary Wave Music is home to some of the most iconic and artists across the history of recorded Lee Ann Photoglo music including Bob Marley, Stevie Nicks, Frankie Valli & the Four 615.376.7931 | [email protected] Seasons, Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, Burt Bacharach, Cynthia Mellow Olivia Newton-John, and many more. 615.352,0265 | [email protected]

With offices in , Los Angeles, Austin, Nashville and Marcia Olival London, Primary Wave Music has embraced an entrepreneurial 786.586.4901 | [email protected] spirit, offering and executing proactive one-of-a-kind ideas, Gene Smith unique services and marketing campaigns for our artists. Primary 973.452.3528 | [email protected] Wave has earned a stellar reputation for being forward thinking and re-introducing classic artists and their music into the modern Debra Fink marketplace as well as nurturing young talent to become legends 213.448.5157 | [email protected] themselves. This success is based upon their team of seasoned Ryan O’Donnell and creative executives collaboratively working together closely +447843437176 | [email protected] with our artists as partners. As a company, Primary Wave strives for excellence in the pursuit of iconic artists and catalogs that not only reflect great artistry, but moments of culture.

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Your Venue to Fans,” and “Diversify Your Live Nation Vet Event & Arena Venues with Actionable Change.” New this year will be the announcement Russell Doussan Marketing of the inaugural Impact Award winner. The Impact Award is an effort from the newly Launches Doussan Conference Going formed Diversity, Equity & Inclusion com- mittee who will honor a professional in the Music Group Virtual In 2021 live entertainment industry who made a positive impact as a contributing member in BY DAVE BROOKS BY TAYLOR MIMS 2020. Submissions are being accepted here, now through April 30. ormer Live Nation president for he Event and Arena Marketing Attendees can register here and find a full New Orleans Russell Doussan has Conference will return in 2021 as agenda at eventarenamarketing.com. launched a new company, Doussan a virtual event, it was announced Music Group. on Wednesday. EAMC will take F“Introducing each artist to their fans Tplace from June 8-10 and kick off daily at Billboard and through the live music experience is a pas- Noon EST. sion of mine. As the artist hits the stage, The format will be similar to past confer- NYU Partnership feeling the energy in the room and hearing ences — with general sessions, breakout the venue come alive, is what drives me. group sessions, a sponsor showcase, an eve- Program Music is the soundtrack of our lives,” he ning mixer, and networking opportunities tells Billboard. for attendees. EAMC Virtual registration is ‘Music Industry The company plans to have their first complimentary, courtesy of EventHub, and live shows in late Summer and Fall of 2021 opens today. The first 200 registrants are Essentials’ Adds where markets with a full scale return guaranteed a custom gift box delivered in slated for 2022. Doussan says DMG is fully advance of the conference. 360-Degree Tour funded with significant equity and liquidity “More than ever, we recognize the for national tour deals and local territories importance of networking, educating, and of Famed Beastie including the states of , , sharing trends and ideas as a critical aspect Florida, , Mississippi, , of not only the Event & Arena Marketing Boys Studio and the city of Memphis. Conference, but the success of the live en- Doussan has worked in the concert busi- tertainment industry,” said EAMC presi- BY JOSH GLICKSMAN ness since 2000. His former company lDMG dent Dave Redelberger. “We’re excited to Presents was acquired by Live Nation in invite past attendees back to join us this year he Billboard and NYU Clive Davis 2014 and he was appointed to the position of and welcome first-time attendees in this Institute of Recorded Music president of Live Nation New Orleans. new format, making attendance more acces- partnership educational program, Doussan’s main office is in Mandeville, sible than it’s ever been before.” Music Industry Essentials, has Louisiana. Attendees can expect to hear from an Tadded an extensive, 360-degree look inside expansive list of guests including Noelle the Beastie Boys’ Oscilloscope Laboratories Scaggs of Fitz and the Tantrum. Scaggs is Studio to the curriculum. also the founder of Diversify The Stage. The deep dive into the famed studio now The conference will feature discus- located in Brooklyn is in the fifth module sions with marketing pros from TikTok, of the six-course, 20-hour plus certificate Apple Music, Live Nation Canada and more. program that first launched in June 2019. Plus, professionals from venues across The larger module, titled ‘Producing the North America including Staples Center, Record,’ takes a closer view at the key ele- Bridgestone Arena, Climate Pledge Arena, ments that go into the creation of a final Golden1 Center, Scotiabank Arena and more. musical product from the lens of a producer, Agenda highlights include “The Rise including songwriting, marketing, the song of TikTok & Its Impact on the Live Touring split and more. Industry,” “The Move to Mobile Everything The additional content provides more – All You Need in the Palm of Your Hand,” than 30 minutes of new material for Music “Safe & Sound - PR Strategies for Reopening Industry Essentials students. Matt Marinel- 2021 NOEL SCHAJRIS 20TH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE

Latin Grammy winner, singer, and pianist Noel CONTACTS Schajris, has sold more than 25 million records and 1 million tickets since his first solo album 20 years ago, some Joe Maimone of his songs and albums had been appeared at the 201.301.5933 | [email protected] Billboard’s top ten charts. He has earned international Lee Ann Photoglo success with the legendary duet Sin Bandera where he 615.376.7931 | [email protected] and Leonel Garcia created some of the biggest hits in Spanish music history. Cynthia Mellow 615.352,0265 | [email protected] His music videos have more than 700 million views and his social media includes 9.5 million followers from more than Marcia Olival 15 countries. As a recording artist, he has sung duets with 786.586.4901 | [email protected] John Legend, Brian Mcknight, Luis Fonsi, and Reik, just to Gene Smith name a few. 973.452.3528 | [email protected]

In 2020 he released the unique web www.NoelSchajris.fan Ryan O’Donnell which includes an online store, a fan subscription service +447843437176 | [email protected] and online shows . Mr. Schajris is considered to be one of the most important and celebrated artists in Latin music.

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li, owner of audio services company Coral this month generated excitement among Sound — and the technician who outfitted Draws government officials who saw his visit as the Beastie Boys’ studio in its original lower a boon for efforts to attract tourists. The Manhattan location — offers an in-depth Political Fire singer traveled in a military helicopter to explanation of the evolution of Oscilloscope meet Museveni at his rural home in western Laboratories Studio, including the vintage Over Ambitious Uganda. A second meeting took place at gear located within in it, anchored by the Museveni’s ranch in central Uganda. Neve 8078 console. Business Plans Museveni has said of Akon’s search for Yellowbrick director of instructional business opportunities that he is “happy to design David Grandison Jr. guides the con- With Ugandan engage in such a discussion that will uplift versation in each of the clips with Mari- our people and Africa at large.” But some nelli, and viewers have 360-degree access Regime say Akon’s visit hurt pro-democracy efforts throughout the duration of every video, in Uganda, and others in the country say allowing them to pan around all corners of BY ASSOCIATED PRESS the square mile of land Uganda is donating the studio at any point to view the surround- to the singer should instead be awarded to ings. (Music Industry Essentials was created apper/singer Akon is drawing local investors desperate for such an op- in association with Yellowbrick, which helps criticism from rights activists portunity. facilitate learning experiences alongside top over his meetings with Uganda’s Asked whether he was worried about universities and brands.) Students are asked president as he pursues the being accused of collaborating with an to construct their ideal studio set-up later in Rdevelopment of a futuristic city in the East African leader who has spent decades in the ‘Producing the Record’ module. African country. Akon is helping to rehabili- power, Akon told the local NBS channel that The Beastie Boys and the Clive Davis tate longtime President Yoweri Museveni’s “honestly, that just don’t bother me. Clearly Institute of Recorded Music first reached reputation after an election earlier this year democracy just works differently in differ- an agreement to allow students to use the marred by violence, an internet shutdown ent places, and not every place in the world facility in 2015. As Nick Sansano, associate and allegations of vote rigging, the U.S. is made for democracy.” chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Record- based groups Human Rights Founda- The singer — who was appointed by ed Music, explains in the introductory video tion and Vanguard Africa said in a joint Museveni as the country’s special envoy on of the deep dive, the studio was set to close letter to Akon shared late Monday (April tourism and culture — added that a group of a few years ago, but it was ultimately saved 12). unnamed investors backing him considered thanks in part to a generation donation from “Museveni has exploited your meeting “whatever the people needed. Then it’s our the family of the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch, with him for official propaganda, as his job to support the government to make it who died in 2012. It was then deconstructed regime seeks to capitalize on your global happen.” Akon’s Uganda plans include a and moved to its Jay Street location in prestige to whitewash its image and distract music festival to promote local talent and Brooklyn. from its most recent wave of repression,” the a futuristic, cryptocurrency-based city. Music Industry Essentials gives a thor- letter says, urging the “Smack That” star to Akon has made headlines in recent years ough depiction of all aspects of careers in “explicitly make clear” that he is not endors- as a pan-African businessman interested in the industry and gives participants the foun- ing Museveni. opportunities on the continent of 1.3 billion dation to forge upon their own successful Museveni’s main opponent in January’s people. His most ambitious goal is to build a journey in today’s music world. Throughout election was the singer known as Bobi Wine, $6 billion utopian city in Senegal that he has the modules, students hear from various who has disputed the president’s victory as described as a “real-life Wakanda,” com- experts in the industry, including Kerry fraudulent and seeks the international com- paring it to the technologically advanced Gordy, Stevie Mackey, Ryan Leslie and munity’s intervention over what he regards fictional African place in the blockbuster Kareem “Biggs” Burke — as well as staffers as a brutal dictatorship. Museveni, a U.S. ally film Black Panther. at Billboard and professors and NYU. The on regional security, has asserted that he Akon City is envisaged to have its own experts share key insights and offer stories won fairly. There is also growing concern in hospital, police station and cryptocur- from personal experiences. Uganda over an unknown number of opposi- rency along with a seaside resort, a tech Students interested in participating in tion supporters allegedly detained without hub, recording studios and a zone dubbed the Music Industry Essentials program can trial by the security forces. “Senewood” that developers hope will help learn more information here. Additionally, A group of United Nations experts, who develop Senegal’s film industry. Senegalese you can sign up for the mailing list to receive don’t speak for the U.N. itself, on Tuesday authorities have allocated Akon land outside exclusive updates and a sneak peek video. urged Ugandan authorities to “immediately the capital, Dakar, but construction is yet to stop the brutal crackdown on its political start. opponents.” Akon’s arrival in Uganda earlier Akon, whose real name is Aliaune Thiam, Page 16 of 25


started a group in 2014 that backs solar dent and still win on a mainstream level. to the board of the foundation and Gabriel energy projects in rural areas of African With the help of Benjy, Jae, and the Rostrum Abaroa Jr., president and CEO of the Latin countries. The inspiration for Akon Lighting team, we will take over the summer and Recording Academy. Africa came after he found his grandmother everything after.” About the announcement, Abaroa said: was still using candles to light her home in At the start of his career, Rich The Kid “Six years ago, the Latin Grammy Cultural Senegal. In December, a company associ- was previously signed to Foundation was launched with the dream of ated with him reached a deal with a state and Republic Records before choosing the fostering future generations of Latin music miner to develop a copper and cobalt mine independent route in 2020. His last project creators and professionals. Today, after in resource-rich Congo. came earlier this year when he released his changing the lives of many young artists, EP Lucky 7. On the project, he nabbed fea- the foundation is welcoming a new leader tures from DaBaby, Quavo, Mulatto, Lil with vast experience in the non-profit and Rich The Kid Signs Mosey and more. fundraising sector to elevate our team and its mission.” With Rostrum Music industry veteran Manolo Díaz will Tanya Ramos- continue to serve the foundation as part of Records its board of directors. Under Díaz’s lead- Puig Named ership — and with the support of artists BY CARL LAMARRE such as Enrique Iglesias, Juan Luis Guerra, President of Latin Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Miguel Bosé, ich The Kid is beginning his among others — the organization has independent journey with a new Grammy Cultural allocated more than $5.7 million in schol- deal with Rostrum Records, the arships, assisting over 255 gifted music label tells Billboard. The multi- Foundation students around the world, while donating Rmillion-dollar deal will serve as a partner- musical instruments to schools in need, ship with BMG. BY GRISELDA FLORES according to the Latin Grammy Cultural Going forward, the platinum-selling Foundation. rapper will release new music under the he Latin Grammy Cultural label that once housed and Mac Foundation has appointed Tanya Miller. Ramos-Puig as president of the Gabby Barrett, “Rich The Kid is a key voice of this philanthropic arm of the Latin generation, and we’re very excited that he TRecording Academy, effective immediately. Maren Morris & chose Rostrum as his new home,” Ros- The Coro New York Leadership Center trum founder and president Benjy Grin- alumna has a track record of growing orga- More Potential berg tells Billboard. “We look forward to nizations in key leadership roles at Pencils amplifying his artistic vision and supporting of Promise, Education Pioneers and The Record-Setters at his entrepreneurial ambitions. This is the Children’s Aid Society. She has a Bachelor beginning of a new chapter for us at Ros- of Arts in Sociology from NYU and a Master 2021 ACM Awards trum as we continue to break barriers in the of Science in Urban Policy and Management independent label landscape.” from The New School. Ramos-Puig has also BY PAUL GREIN Grinberg adds, “We are thrilled to partner served as an adjunct professor at LaGuardia with BMG to release Rich’s upcoming music Community College. abby Barrett, Maren Mor- and further solidify his position as a leader “I am honored to take on the leadership of ris and more country stars could in hip-hop.” the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation, an wind up in the record books if The prestigious label, which rose to organization with tremendous credibili- they win in their categories at prominence in the early 2000s, now looks to ty and an unparalleled commitment to shap- Gthe 2021 ACM Awards, which are scheduled build an equally successful relationship with ing the future of the next generation of to air Sunday. and Mickey Rich, who previously scored two Billboard talented young musicians, from around Guyton are set to co-host the show, which top 20 records on the Hot 100 with “Plug the globe, who share a special passion for will air from three iconic Nashville venues: Walk” and “New Freezer.” Latin music,” Ramos-Puig said in a state- Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium “I’m excited to work with Rostrum in this ment. “Together we will be able to uphold and The Bluebird Café. next chapter of life and music,” Rich the Kid the promise of preserving and promoting Take a look at some of the history that says. “This is a partnership that will be vital Latin music for years to come!” could be made this year: to showing artists that they can be indepen- In her new role, Ramos-Puig will report Gabby Barrett, who has already been Page 17 of 25


announced as the winner of new female two years after taking most promising male “Be a Light” (along with Reba McEntire, artist of the year, is competing for single of vocalist. Dixie Chicks won the 2000 award Hillary Scott and Chris Tomlin). If either the year with “I Hope.” If she wins, she’ll for entertainer of the year, two years after wins, Urban will become the second four- become the fourth artist to win a new artist taking top new vocal duet or group. Gilley time winner in the category, following Tim award from the ACM and single of the year and Dixie Chicks both won entertainer of McGraw. Urban previously won for collabs in the same year. The first three were Clint the year on their second try, which would with Brad Paisley, and Black (for “Better Man, 1989), LeAnn Rimes also be true of Combs if he wins. . (for “Blue,” 1996) and Carrie Underwood is vying to become the first and Gwen Stefani’s “No- (for “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” 2005). Black artist to win for album of the year. body But You” is nominated for music event Maren Morris’ “The Bones,” which won Brown is nominated for his seven-song of the year. If it wins, they’ll become the CMA Awards for single and song of the EP, Mixtape Vol. 1, which features collabora- third real-life couple to win in this category. year in November, is nominated in the same tions with three other Black artists, Swae Tim McGraw and Faith Hill won back-to- two categories at the ACM Awards. If “The Lee, Khalid and John Legend. Charley Pride back awards for “It’s Your Love” (1997) and Bones” wins here for single of the year, was nominated for album of the year four “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me this would be the second year in a row that times, including three years running from (1998). Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black a track has won in that category at both 1969-71, but never won. won for “When I Said I Do” (1999). shows. Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” are vying to become Shane McAnally is vying to become the achieved the feat last year. “The Bones” the second ongoing duo (not a collab) to win first three-time winner for songwriter of the would be the first single by a female solo album of the year. Brooks & Dunn took the year. The prolific hitmaker previously won artist to win single of the year at both shows 1992 award for Brand New Man. Brothers in 2013 and 2018. A positive indicator: McA- since ’s “I Hope You Osborne are nominated for Skeletons. nally is the only songwriter with two song of Dance” (recorded with Sons of the Desert) Miranda Lambert’s “Bluebird” is nomi- the year nominations this year. He co-wrote 20 years ago. nated for single, song and music video of the Ashley McBryde’s “One Night Standards” Greg Kurstin, who produced Morris’ year. (Lambert co-wrote the song with Luke and Old Dominion’s “Some People Do.” Hill- recording of “The Bones,” won the 2016 Dick and Natalie Hemby.) If “Bluebird” wins ary Lindsey, who won in this category last Grammy for record of the year for produc- all three awards, it would become the first year, is vying to become the first songwriter ing Adele’s “Hello.” If “The Bones” wins the work to sweep all three awards since Lam- to win two years running since Dallas Da- ACM for single of the year, Kurstin would bert’s “The House That Built Me” 10 years vidson (2011-12). become the first producer to win both of ago. Only one other work in ACM history — these awards for different singles. Tim McGraw & Faith Hill’s “It’s Your Love” “The Bones,” which Morris co-wrote with (1997) – has swept all three awards. 2021 Juno Awards Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz, would Lambert could be headed for her third become the first song to win song of the win for video of the year for “Bluebird.” She Postponed for year at both shows since “I Drive My Truck” previously won in the category with “White seven years ago. Jessi Alexander, Connie Liar” (2009) and “The House That Built Second Time: Harrington and Jimmy Yeary co-wrote that Me” (2010). That would make Lambert just song, which was popularized by . the second female artist to win three times. Here’s the New “I Hope You’re Happy Now” by Carly Faith Hill was the first, with three consecu- Pearce and Lee Brice is vying to become tive wins from 1997-99, one of them shared Date the fourth male/female duet to win single with her husband, Tim McGraw. of the year. The first three were “Islands in The Highwomen are vying to become the BY PAUL GREIN the Stream” by Kenny Rogers with Dolly first all-female group to win for group of the Parton” (1983), “It’s Your Love” by Tim year since Dixie Chicks (now The Chicks) he 2021 Juno Awards have been McGraw with Faith Hill” (1997), and “Don’t won three straight awards in the category postponed for the second time. You Wanna Stay” by with from 1998-2000. The Highwomen consists The ceremony was originally Kelly Clarkson (2011). of Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren scheduled to take place in March, Two years after he won for new male Morris and Amanda Shires. Morris is also Tbut in December was pushed back to May artist of the year, Luke Combs is nomi- nominated for female artist of the year, a 16. On Wednesday (April 14), the show was nated for entertainer of the year. If he wins, category she won last year. pushed back again to June 6. Combs will tie Mickey Gilley and Dixie Keith Urban has two nominations for The move was made “out of an abundance Chicks for the fastest climb from a new music event of the year. He is nominated of caution in response to the evolving CO- artist ACM win to the top prize. Gilley won for “One Too Many,” a collab with P!nk, VID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement the 1976 award for entertainer of the year, and as a featured artist on ’s released by the Canadian Academy of Re- Page 18 of 25


cording Arts and Sciences and its partners, electronic music Simon Clarkson and Paul including CBC and Insight Productions. Parmalee Signs Gongaware in the Americas and by Paul This is the second year in a row that CO- McQueen at Primary Talent in all other VID-19 has wreaked havoc with the Junos’ With WME for territories. Imanbek will continue to be scheduling. The 2020 show was set to be managed by Kirill Lupinos at the Russian held at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Sas- Bookings Independent label Effective Records. katchewan, on March 15, 2020 — just as the Since blowing up with his viral remix global impact of COVID-19 was becoming BY MELINDA NEWMAN of ’s “Roses,” which enjoyed a fully evident. The awards and associated 23-week run at No. 1 on Dance/Electronic events were canceled, making it the first armalee, which is coming off a Songs, Imanbek has collaborated with Juno Awards since 1988 to be canceled. The No. 1 Hot Country Airplay hit dance world heavyweights including Marsh- award winners were eventually announced “Just The Way” with Blanco mello (on the collab “Too Much”) on June 29, 2020, in an online event. Brown, has signed with WME for and (on Bang, their collab- The Junos’ latest three-week delay echoes Pbookings. orative EP with .) a six-week delay in this year’s Grammy Parmalee, which includes brothers Matt “We are thrilled to be representing Iman- Awards. The 63rd annual Grammy Awards and Scott Thomas, their cousin Barry Knox bek,” Clarkson says in a statement. “He is were originally slated for Jan. 31, but on Jan. and friend Josh McSwain, recorded a pop an exciting new artist and we can’t wait to 5, the Recording Academy announced that version of the song with Brown and Bryce bring him to stages around the world.” the show was being pushed back to March Vine, which went to Top 40 radio on Mon- Less than two years ago, the 20-year-old 14. The delay was attributed to “the dete- day (April 12). artist was working for the Kazakh rail- riorating COVID situation in Los Angeles,” Signed to Stoney Creek Records/BBR, way. His circumstances changed when he where the show was based. the group has also scored previous hits with uploaded his then-bootleg remix of “Roses” Toronto will be the home base for the “Carolina,” “Close Your Eyes” and “Already to the Russian version of Facebook, where 2021 Juno Awards. However, due to the Callin’ You Mine.” it went viral, became a worldwide phenom- pandemic, the awards will not be hosted in As touring begins to open up as the enon, got licensed and changed the trajec- a single large venue. Instead, categories will pandemic eases, Parmalee has several dates tory of both Imanbek and SAINt JHN’s lives be presented and televised from a variety of on the books, including a number of state and careers. music venues throughout Canada. fair-type dates, including Big Sky Country “I was enrolled at railroad school, and This will be the 50th Juno Award cer- State Fair in Bozeman, MT on July 23; Sioux during school I took a job on a railway emony. Canada Post, the Canadian post of- Empire Fair in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Aug. 9 service. I was a working student,” Iman- fice, is celebrating the Juno Awards’ golden and Northwest Fair in Lynden, bek told Billboard in 2020. By the time anniversary with a new commemorative Wash., Aug. 21. “Roses” was out, I was a proper railway stamp. Parmalee is managed by David Fanning. worker. “Roses” became popular [in fall The Weeknd is the leading nominee, with 2019], and by December, I stopped working six nods, including artist, album, single and to make music full time. I’m earning enough songwriter of the year. , JP Imanbek Signs money and can afford everything I need. Saxe and are runners-up That’s a huge change. I’m very happy.” with five Juno nominations each. With ICM Partners The show will broadcast throughout Canada on CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio & Primary Talent Rico Nasty & Seu One, CBC Music and will air globally on CB- CMusic.ca/junos. International Jorge to Headline More information on performers, pre- senters and Juno Week virtual events will be BY KATIE BAIN Afropunk announced in the coming weeks. resh off his Grammy win for best Spotlight Series remixed recording, Imanbek has signed with ICM Partners and BY TAYLOR MIMS Primary Talent International for Fworldwide representation. fropunk has announced details The 20-year-old Kazakh producer born for its virtual festival called Black Imanbek Zeikenov will be represented Spring set for April 23. The event at ICM Partners by the agency’s head of A will feature performances from Page 19 of 25


Rico Nasty, Seu Jorge, Seafoam Walls and munity. With our combined reach, we can DaBaby, & , two, Aug. more. expand the impact and celebration for this 15, 2020 Black Spring is set to combine Aforpunk’s special edition of the Tiny Desk.” “Rockstar,” featuring Roddy Ricch, three, legacy of inclusion, activism and highlight- Black Spring is produced by industry vet- July 25, 2020 ing the best new talent in the world with a erans Farris, Anthony Maddox, and Dominic “,” Pop Smoke featuring Da- focus on Afro-Latine and Afro-Caribbean Pearson in conjunction with Cyrus Den- Baby & Lil Baby, four, Jan. 23, 2021 artists and culture for 2021. Additional nis, Allen T. Lamb, Sango Amoda, Shauna “Cry Baby,” featuring performers include DAWERXDAMPER, Gray and Anita Asante. DaBaby, one, April 17, 2021 Black Pantera, ChocQuibTown, Projexx and “Cry Baby” also atones for a near-miss for JUP DO BAIRRO. The whole festival will be the rappers too. Their previous collabora- hosted by Santana Caress Benitez. Megan Thee tion, “Cash Shit,” stopped at No. 2 in 2019. For the first time, Afropunk will team Beyond Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop up with NRP Music to present the kick-off Stallion’s ‘Cry Airplay, “Cry Baby” reaches a new peak of video performance Tiny Desk Meets Afro- No. 3 on both the R&B/Hip-Hop Air- punk, which will be available on npr.org/ Baby’ Tops play and Rap Airplay charts. On the former, music and YouTube. which ranks songs by audience impressions “Black Spring is a moment to celebrate Mainstream R&B/ from both mainstream and adult stations our African lineage and not allow the at the format, the single jumps from No. 7 exploits of colonialism to further separate Hip-Hop Airplay thanks to a 9% bump to 17.9 million in audi- us whether we speak Spanish, English, Por- ence in the week. On the latter, “Cry Baby” tuguese, French, or Dutch. We are Black,” Chart climbs 6-3 through an 8% improvement in said Black Spring producer Tina Farris in a audience. release. “Celebrating with Tiny Desk is the BY TREVOR ANDERSON perfect partner for this expansion in high- lighting Afro-Latine and Afro-Caribbean egan Thee Stallion’s winning Natti Natasha & voices. NPR has always been a purveyor streak on radio keeps rolling of world music, and we are excited about as the rapper’s latest single Prince Royce’s expanding the Afropunk tenants with their “Cry Baby,” featuring DaBaby, audience.” Mtops Billboard’s Mainstream R&B/Hip- ‘Antes Que Salga The Tiny Desk Meets Afropunk pro- Hop Airplay chart to become the format’s gram will include performances by Choc- most-played song of the week. The track El Sol’ Hits No. 1 QuibTown, Calma Carmona, Luedji Luna, ascends 4-1 to lead the list dated April 17. and Nenny, and will be hosted by Afropunk “Cry Baby” bounds with a 12% boost in on Latin Airplay vet Jorge “Gitoo” Wright. plays in the week ending April 11, according Inspired by the idea of claiming one’s to MRC Data. The double-digit percent- Chart freedom, as well as the change in season, the age growth also secures the song greatest vibrancy of the Afro-Latin musical commu- gain honor, awarded each week to the song BY PAMELA BUSTIOS nity, Black Spring will be a virtual festival with the largest percentage jump among the like no other this year. The festival will be chart’s 40 titles. atti Natasha and Prince Royce’s an evolving, cultural space from which to The new leader gives Megan Thee Stal- “Antes Que Salga El Sol” rises to inspire and create discourse, and will focus lion a third No. 1 on the Mainstream R&B/ No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Air- on the tenets of Afropunk’s ongoing core Hip-Hop tally. The Houston rapper first led play chart as the song advances mission: to propel, support, affirm, and learn with “Savage,” featuring Beyonce, for four Nwith a 7-1 climb on the list dated April 17. from these communities at large. weeks last year and followed with the one- The track also bests their previous best “NPR Music is thrilled to bring a collabo- week champ “Body” in February. collaborative showing “Ayer Me Llamó Mi ration with Afropunk and Tiny Desk to our Featured artist DaBaby, meanwhile, scores Ex,” with , featuring Lenny Santos, audience, specifically in joining their ‘Black his sixth chart-topper on the radio ranking which secured a No. 28 high (March 6-dated Spring’ festival to celebrate and amplify as “Cry Baby” joins the below crew: list). Afro-Latinx and Afro-Caribbean artists,” Song Title, Artist (if other than DaBaby), “Antes” was released Jan. 14 via Pina Re- said Abby O’Neill, NPR Music’s producer Weeks at No. 1, Date Reached No. 1 cords/ Sony Music Latin. The song caps the of the collaboration, in a release. “Afropunk “Suge,” six, June 22, 2019 chart in its 12th week as it escalates with a has excelled at artist curation and lifting up “BOP,” four, Jan. 25, 2020 40% increase in audience impressions, to 11 new voices throughout their global com- “What’s Poppin,” Jack Harlow featuring million, earned in the week ending April 11, Page 20 of 25


according to MRC Data. The song scored its he dropped his latest EP, a chaotic mix of biggest gains in the tracking week on New Billboard Dance hip-hop inspired club bangers called Mon- York’s WSKQ (up 780,000 in audience), eysutra with features from Diplo, Riff Raf, WPAT (up 338,000) and WXNY (248,000), Emerging Artists $uicideboy$, Bones and Eldzhey. as well as Los Angeles’ WXOL (449,000). “Moneysutra is all about collabs, energy Natti Natasha unlocks her seventh No. 1 April 2021: The between personas,” Cash says in a press with a song produced by DJ Luian, Mambo release. “This idea was of me going back Kingz and Rafael Salcedo “Neneto.” Royce, Four Acts Heating to my roots — when my pants were all sag- meanwhile, ups his career count to 13 lead- gin’ — and the culture that I so much love, ers which places him on a tie with Marc Up Our Speakers that in the end is running through all the Anthony for the third-most No. 1s by a tropi- elements and things that I do. Thank you cal act. They follow Romeo Santos (17) and This Month life for letting me do those crazy ass songs.” Carlos Vives (15). — KAT BEIN The new chart champ also unveils good BY BILLBOARD STAFF Anz news for Natti Natasha’s , Pina The lead synth line in Anz’s track “Un- Records, as its docking on the top spot earns t’s a strange time to be an up-and- ravel in the Designated Zone,” from her the label its first No. 1 in almost two years coming artist. The clubs and festivals new OTMI001 EP, sounds like how its cover which also arrived through a Natti track: you’d typically cut your teeth at are art (also by her) looks: a neon noodle of “Me Gusta” (8-1; chart dated May 18, 2019). closed and cancelled. The fans you’d light, beaming like a beacon in the dark and As for Sony Music Latin, it has achieved Ibe aggregating at such events are banned ready to strike a dopey smile on the face of six leaders so far this year, three of which from gathering. Some artists might be pull- even the most stoic dancefloor observer. took at least a five-rank leap to the top: ing massive livestream numbers, but that’s The producer, DJ and sometimes-illustrator Ozuna and Camilo’s “Despeinada” (6-1; hard to do when big audiences don’t yet — who also works a day job as an event co- Feb. 6-dated tally), Marc Anthony’s “Amor know your name. ordinator and culture specialist — seemingly Eterno” (9-1; chart dated March 20) and And still, a year-plus of quarantine has does it all yet still aims for more, having just now “Antes” (7-1). provided artists (and most everyone) launched via the EP her new record label, A Painless Rise: Elsewhere on Latin Air- with the most precious commodity: time. Otras Mitades (OTMI, for short). play, Alejandro Fernández and Christian New and new-ish acts have had weeks Up until 2020, Anz’s production output Nodal’s “Duele” arrives in the tally’s top and months to tighten their productions, over the last few years has been scarce, but 10 with a 14-9 hike. The track climbs with network online, smash those livestreams, it’s made each release feel all the more mas- 6.3 million in audience impressions, up 8%. dream up stage productions and get fully sive. There are EPs like Invitation 2 Dance, Fernández clocks his 20th top 10 and Nodal ready to blow the doors of the damn place — which she dedicated to “the frontline sol- his 11th. when the damn place finally opens back up. diers who turn up to every rave, every time,” The song, composed by Nodal, is their Beaming into our ears from the UK, and Loos in Twos (NRG), her Hessle Audio second collaboration but first to reach Estonia, Mexico and beyond, these are four debut which made multiple best-of-2020 the Latin Airplay chart. They previously of the artists heating up are speakers this lists. Then there are her annual mixtapes shared vocals on “Más No Puedo” a track on month — and four of the acts we’re most like Spring/Summer Dubs 2020, in which Fernández Hecho En México album, which excited to eventually see IRL. Anz glides through 35 original tracks across debuted at No. 1 on Top Latin Albums in Tommy Cash 84 sweaty minutes. She keeps that same Feb. 2020. With that win, Fernández became Someone grab a crown; the scene has a energy in her DJ sets, where she can flip a the first act to achieve No. 1s on Top Latin new king weirdo. Estonian DJ and producer vibe from jump-up elation to heads-down Albums in the 1990s, ‘00s, ‘10s and ‘20s. Tommy Cash debuted in 2014 with a surreal dark and back again with her deep and experimental album called Euroz Dollaz diverse repertoire — spanning grime, jungle, Yeniz, on which he rapped cartoonishly over hardcore, U.K. garage and beyond. plopping, trap-infused beats. It was gritty Despite breaking through locally, Anz and bizarre, but also super catchy, mixing has yet to really tour outside of the UK — Enya samples with car-crash bass monsters. though the pandemic is partly responsible, His universe has only grown stranger and and a Panorama Bar gig is certainly nothing more authoritative. He kicked off 2021 with to sniff at. Until then, you can listen to her major fashion collabs with Adidas Originals multiple excellent Boiler Room sessions, (for “the longest shoes in the world”) and monthly NTS Radio shows and most recent- Maison Margiela for loafers that, naturally, ly on BBC Radio 1 as part of its Residency looked like actual loaves of bread. Last week, program. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ Page 21 of 25


Broz Rodriguez work, their identity as queer artists is front only on traditional album sales. The chart’s Mexican DJ Broz Rodriguez stepped into and center — in both their lyrics about history dates back to May 25, 1991, the first spring with his new single “Closer,” team- same-gender relationships, and in their week Billboard began tabulating charts with ing with Belgian producer Dennis Cartier zeal for playing with electronic pop music electronically monitored piece count infor- for a refreshing track that blends tropical conventions. They have, perhaps, cornered mation from SoundScan, now MRC Data. house with Spanish guitar. Rodriguez has the market on crafting alternative gay-em- Pure album sales were the measurement displayed his Mexican pride in past releases, powerment anthems disguised as lush and solely utilized by the Billboard 200 al- which include a club remix of the traditional layered love songs. bums chart through the list dated Dec. 6, “El Jarabe Tapatio” and “El Fieston,” an In some ways, Twinkids’ comfort with 2014, after which that chart switched to a electro-house anthem delivered in Spanish. injecting the warmth of emotion into some- methodology that blends album sales with (He produced the latter track with his wife times antiseptic electronica is very much track equivalent album units and streaming and fellow DJ, Momis Alanis.) aligned with the west coast equivalent album units. For all chart news, Rodriguez uses his platform to amplify roots of Om Records. Their album’s lead follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on the music of other DJs in Latin America, single, “I Know,” is equally alluring in its both Twitter and Instagram. too. Last year he helped orchestrate the 100 downtempo ambience to previous upbeat Of Dancing’s debut sales of 38,000, physi- Latin Producers project. Now, he’s using bops, “Jigoku Tengoku” and “Eighteen,” but cal album sales comprise 25,000 of that his weekly Dash Radio showThe Happy there’s a certain maturity in their sound now. figure (all in CD sales) while digital album Hour to plug electronic music created by Though Twinkids continue to forge their sales comprise 13,000. Sales of Dancing got Latinos. Rodriguez recently crossed the 100 own unique musical path, like all kids, they’re help from the availability of a Target-exclu- show mark, with the support of DJs like growing up too. — ZEL MCCARTHY sive CD edition of the set with two bonus Steve Aoki, R3HAB, Laidback Luke, and tracks, a signed CD sold via Lovato’s official Sam Feldt, who lent him exclusive mixes website, multiple CD cover variants and a for the program. “Closer” is another taste Demi Lovato’s deluxe edition with bonus tracks available of Rodriguez fusing his Latin roots with through digital retailers. his love for EDM. “We just need to keep on ‘Dancing With Carrie Underwood’s My Savior falls bringing cool music,” he tells Billboard, “so 1-2 in its second week on Top Album Sales, that people can vibe with it and accept it.” the Devil…’ selling 31,000 copies (down 55%). After two — LUCAS VILLA weeks on sale, My Savior is the fifth-biggest Twinkids Debuts at No. selling album of 2021, with 99,000 copies If you think you know everything about sold through April 8. The year’s top-seller Twinkids from a glance, you might want to 1 on Billboard’s is Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double look a little deeper. The Los Angeles-based Album, with 215,000 copies sold. duo of Jin Fukui and Matthew Young blend Top Album Sales Sturgill Simpson’s Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 2: shimmery synths and earnest melodies for a The Cowboy Arms Sessions re-enters Top full and bewitching sound, positioning them Chart Album Sales at No. 3 with 18,000 copies sold to be among the very best in class. After a (up 14,758%), following the album’s release string of EPs, singles, and remixes for artists BY KEITH CAULFIELD on CD and vinyl on April 2. Cuttin’ Grass, as diverse as Beacon and Dawn Richard, Vol. 2 is Simpson’s second album of blue- they release their debut album, Nobody emi Lovato’s Dancing With grass covers of his own material, following Likes Me, later this month on Om Records. the Devil… The Art of Starting 2020’s Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 1: The Butcher Though they’ve been signed to Om since Over debuts at No. 1 on Bill- Shoppe Sessions. The new album was ini- 2017, it’s an unlikely home for the duo. The board’s Top Album Sales chart tially released on digital retail and streaming imprint is best known for its mixed-compi- D(dated April 17). The set was released on services last year and previously spent one lations from Andy Caldwell, Colette and DJ April 2 via Island/Republic and sold 38,000 week on the tally, debuting and peaking at Heather, Mark Farina’s legendary Mush- copies in the U.S. in the week ending April 8, No. 48 on the Dec. 26, 2020-dated chart room Jazz series, and launching the career according to MRC Data. from download sales only (6,000 sold in its of a DJ named Kaskade. While Twinkids Dancing is Lovato’s second No. 1 on Top first week). don’t have much in common sonically with Album Sales, and seventh consecutive top Of Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 2’s nearly 18,000 the rest of the roster, Fukui and Young seem five-charting effort – the entirety of her sold in the latest tracking frame, a little over to thrive in unlikely situations — be that charting albums. She previously topped the 14,000 comprise vinyl LPs, 3,000 comprise studying songwriting with Broken Social tally in 2009 with Here We Go Again. CDs and less than 1,000 comprise digital al- Scene’s Brendan Canning, or touring with Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart ranks bums. Its sturdy vinyl sales figure lands the indie duo Matt and Kim. Throughout their the top-selling albums of the week based album at No. 1 on the Vinyl Albums chart. Page 22 of 25


The set also enters at No. 1 on Tastemaker rock band’s first single in more than three Albums, which ranks the top-selling albums years and the first single from their fifth Enrique Iglesias’ of the week at independent and small chain album Save Me, San Francisco. The song’s record stores. Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 2 sold diamond status means it has moved 10 ‘Bailando’ nearly 10,000 copies through those retailers million units. According to the RIAA, one across all formats. equivalent song unit is equal to a single digi- Surpasses 3 Billion Shakey Graves’ Roll the Bones X debuts tal song sale, or 150 on-demand audio and/ at No. 4 on Top Album Sales with 7,000 or video streams. Views on YouTube copies sold, securing the singer his first top “Got this today in the cybermail. Thank 10 effort. The set is a reissue of the singer’s you everyone for this insanely cool honor,” BY JESSICA ROIZ 2011 album Roll the Bones (which did not Train tweeted on Friday. “Soon we play it in chart), bolstered with 15 previously unre- person. Love and miss you all.” nrique Iglesias has officially leased recordings. Train frontman Pat Monahan took a cracked more than three billion A trio of former No. 1s are next up on the “weird trip” down memory lane to reflect video views with his 2014 hit list, as Harry Styles’ Fine Line rises 14-5 on the song’s current success in a separate “Bailando” featuring Descemer with 7,000 sold (up 35% after a boost in statement via Anti Music. “Hey, Soul Sister EBueno and Gente De Zona. vinyl LP sales), Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails being the 49th song certified as a diamond According to YouTube, the feat marks “a Over the Country Club climbs 7-6 with 6,500 record is such a surreal honor,” he wrote. first for Iglesias and one of fewer than 20 (down 29%) and Billie Eilish’s When We “Thank you to all of you who own a copy. music videos to share the achievement.” All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? pushes 9-7 We all love and appreciate you. What a With its flamenco-infused urban-rumba with just over 6,000 (up less than 1%). weird trip it’s been. Here’s to being around melodies, “Bailando” captivated the world. Godspeed You! Black Emperor scores each other soon so we can all dance and sing By 2016, it held the record as the longest- its first top 10 on Top Album Sales, as the this one loud and together. Love, Pat.” running No. 1 ever in the history of Bill- act’s latest studio effort, G_d’s Pee at State’s The song peaked at No. 3 on the Bill- board’s Hot Latin Songs chart, spending 41 End! bows at No. 8 with 6,000 copies sold. board Hot 100 11 years ago on April 9, weeks at the top. The album was strongly supported by vinyl 2010. “Hey, Soul Sister” was a No. 1 hit The music video, filmed in the streets of LP sales, with 3,500 copies sold via the on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary, Adult the Dominican Republic, shows all artists format. Top 40 Airplay, Rock Digital Song joined by a group of dancers and locals hav- Rounding out the latest top 10 on Top Sales and Digital Song Sales charts. It ing fun in a block party. Album Sales is Bob Marley and The Wail- spent a record 22 weeks atop the AC radio “I do my best and put so much enthusi- ers’ Legend: The Best Of… (19-9 with nearly airplay tally, which has since been tied asm into songs, songwriting, and videos,” 6,000 sold; up 26% thanks to a surge in vinyl with Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and Iglesias previously told Billboard. “But, sales) and Justin Bieber’s Justice (5-10 with Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.” A live version ultimately, it comes down to the fans and 5,500 sold; down 43%). of “Hey, Soul Sister” also earned the group how they react. If it wasn’t for them, really, their second Grammy Award in 2011 for best the song wouldn’t be the hit that it’s been.” pop performance by a duo or group with Watch the music video below: Hey! Train’s ‘Hey, vocals; the members won their first Grammy nine years earlier for best rock song for Soul Sister’ Is Now “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me).” Certified Diamond by the RIAA


rain’s 2009 single “Hey, Soul Sis- ter” has been certified diamond by the Recording Industry Associa- tion of America as of April 7. T“Hey, Soul Sister” was released August 11, 2009, but the song exclusively debuted onBillboard the day before. It was the Page 23 of 25


Tainy, meanwhile, adds his 75th week at & No. 1 on Latin Producers on the strength of BTS Receive six production credits on Hot Latin Songs, Reach including the top two titles. Apology From Here’s a rundown: Record-Extending Rank, Artist Billing, Title (producers in Chilean TV addition to Tainy) Milestones Atop No. 1, Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez, “” Network Over (Mora) Latin Songwriter & No. 2, Kali Uchis, “Telepatía” (Manuel Lara, Racist Skit: ‘We Albert Hype) Producer Charts No. 10, & , Ask For Your “Baila Conmigo” (Albert Hype, Jeta Rosa) BY XANDER ZELLNER No. 22, Manuel Turizo, Myke Towers & Forgiveness’ Rauw Alejandro, “La Nota” ad Bunny and Tainy each extend No. 27, Manuel Turizo X Wisin & Yandel, BY GIL KAUFMAN their reigns, and hit notable “Mala Costumbre” (Lennin Palacios, Ily milestones, on Billboard’s Latin Wonder, Keityn, Jeta Rosa) hilean TV network Mega issued songwriter and producer charts No. 36, Jhay Cortez, “Christian Dior” an apology to BTS on Tuesday B(dated April 17). Tainy is the first to reach the 75-week (April 13) following intense back- Bad Bunny spends a record-extending milestone atop any Billboard producer chart. lash over a COVID-19 sketch on 60th week at No. 1 on Latin Songwriters, The weekly Latin Songwriters and Latin Cthe show Mi Barrio that featured actors par- while Tainy tallies a record-padding 75th Producers charts are based on total points odying the South Korean group. According week atop Latin Producers. accrued by a songwriter and producer, to the Korea Times, the racist, xenophobic The former earns the honor thanks to five respectively, for each attributed song that skit that aired on Sunday (April 11) had five songwriting credits on the Hot Latin Songs appears on the Hot Latin Songs chart. As comedians dressed as BTS members, who chart. with Billboard’s yearly recaps, multiple writ- introduced themselves as “Kim Jong Uno,” Here’s a recap of Bad Bunny’s haul on the ers or producers split points for each song “Kim Jong Dos,” etc., speaking in mocking latest Hot Latin Songs survey: equally (and the dividing of points will lead Korean accents, getting vaccinated and mak- Rank, Artist Billing, Title (songwriters in to occasional ties on rankings). ing inappropriate jokes about Asians and the addition to Bad Bunny) Check out this week’s full Latin Songwrit- novel coronavirus. No. 1, Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez, “Dakiti” ers and Latin Producers charts, in addition In reaction to the controversy — which (Mora, Tainy, Jhay Cortez, Nydia Laner, to the other full genre rankings, on Bill- unleashed a flood of angry tweets from the Egbert Haze Rosa) board.com. ARMY demanding an apology coupled with No. 3, Bad Bunny & Rosalia, “La Noche de the hashtag #ElRacismoNoEsComedia (rac- Anoche” (Chris Jeday, Gaby Music, Rosalia, ism is not comedy) — the network issued a Jose E. Ortiz Rivera) mea culpa on Tuesday (April 13). “On the No. 21, Bad Bunny, “Te Mudaste” (Mora, controversy unleashed this weekend as a re- MAG, Mr. Naisgai, Caleb Calloway) sult of a sketch broadcast on the program Mi No. 31, Bad Bunny, “Booker T” (MAG, Barrio, Megamedia wishes to declare the Booker T. Jones) following: humor helps people deal with the No. 46, Bad Bunny, “Haciendo Que Me difficult moments of the pandemic that we Amas” (MAG) are going through,” read a translation of the Dating to the launch of Billboard’s song- statement. writer charts in June 2019, Bad Bunny joins Noting the that network has “clearly Kirk Franklin as the only talents to spend at established” rules about the type of humor least 60 weeks at No. 1 on any such ranking. that is appropriate on its airwaves, the Franklin has posted 75 weeks atop Gospel statement added, “We want to express our Songwriters. absolute empathy with those who may have Bad Bunny has ruled Latin Songwriters been affected by the sketch on El Late De for all but three weeks in 2021; Ozuna led Raquel, and we apologize accordingly. It was on Feb. 6, followed by Edgar Barrera (March never our intention to offend, insult, or hurt 20) and Tainy (March 27). any community.” Page 24 of 25


The tweet promised to keep “improving, in with the theme of the evening as contes- singles and albums on the Billboard charts. learning and listening” while also absorbing tants from season 18 in 2020 come back to How does Daigle look back on positive and negative comments to improve compete for a slot in the season 19 top 10. her Idol journey? “I don’t have any disdain their programming. In a year when attacks Former judge and mentor Harry Connick, or any negativity toward the show,” she on members of the AAPI community in Jr. and former contestant Lauren Daigle, explains. “At the time I was so young and the have increased dramati- both natives of Louisiana, will command naïve and I don’t think I knew who I was cally due to scapegoating and the repeated the Idol stage with new performances. yet. So I could have been pulled in so many use of racist phrases such as “China/Chi- Connick, Jr. will offer a medley of two different directions artistically. I feel like it nese Virus” and “Kung flu,” the ill-consid- songs from his new album, Alone with My gave me an opportunity to step back. And ered Mega skit was seen by the ARMY as the Faith, recorded on his own during lock- ‘no’ can be good. It creates resilience and it latest unprovoked insult. down. The medley includes the title track increases your understanding of why it is It came just two months after a German and “Old Time Religion.” Daigle will sing that you do what you do. When you feel the radio host mocked BTS’s cover of Coldplay’s her 2019 Hot Christian Songs No. 3 hit sting of a ‘no,’ it only prompts you as to why “Fix You” and compared them to the coro- “Look Up Child.” you actually want the ‘yes.’ And so for me, navirus. At press time it did not appear that “It’s really nice to be back,” Connick, I feel like it was good to learn and to grow. BTS had responded to the Mega apology, Jr. tells Billboard. “I had such a good time I’m actually really excited that it worked out though the South Korean septet shared their when I was a judge, and before that, a men- this way and that we have this harmonious experiences with racism last month while tor. So any chance I get to see those folks relationship and we get to do fun things like condemning the wave of anti-Asian violence again, I welcome. I have a lot of friends this week together.” and hate in the U.S. there.” Looking back on his three seasons Mindful not to make themselves the as an Idol judge, Connick, Jr. says, “By na- focus, the band’s statement highlighted ture, I’m not a judgmental person, but that Demi Lovato’s moments when they “faced discrimination was the job and I took it seriously. I thought as Asians,” including enduring “expletives it was important to try to give some insight Eating Disorder without reason and were mocked for the to these young performers and maybe some way we look” and being “asked why Asians things that would help them develop a little Comedy Pilot spoke in English.” The statement stressed bit. It was very different than being a mentor that the band’s “own experiences are incon- because it’s really not hands on and it’s usu- Gets NBC Order sequential” compared to recent events but ally just a few short moments that you have that the racism was “enough to make us feel with them, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a great BY JAMES HIBBERD powerless and chip away our self-esteem.” chance for these kids to maybe learn a little See a clip of the Mega sketch and the bit about show business and the rigors and emi Lovato’s comedy series apology tweet below (Trigger warning: the demands of a schedule in this business.” about a group of people with skit features offensive depictions of Asian Daigle is also working on new music, but eating disorders is getting a pilot men.) as it is not ready to be released yet, she de- order at NBC. cided to sing her hit “Look Up Child,” which DThe singer-actress is set to star and ex- she describes as a “fun, poppy song.” Daigle ecutive produce the project, titled Hungry, Harry Connick Jr. spoke to Billboard after rehearsing on which follows “friends who belong to a food the Idol stage. “I’m excited to be back with issues group and help each other as they & Lauren Daigle people that I so enjoy. We did rehearsals and look for love, success and the perfect thing the Idol team, like the band, is insane. We in the fridge that’s going to make it all better. Returning to had a ball. The band nailed it, and just how “Other executive producers on the single- tight the [production staff ] works together camera comedy include Sean Hayes, Todd ‘American Idol’ for is amazing but it’s also really refreshing how Milliner, Scooter Braun, Scott Manson and kind they are.” James Shin. Comeback Show Daigle knows the crew from audition- Lovato has been open about having an ing as a contestant. In 2010 she was cut eating disorder herself in the past. “I was BY FRED BRONSON just before the top 24 was selected. In compulsively overeating when I was 8 years 2012, she made it through Hollywood week old,” she told ABC News in 2011. “So, I he two guest performers on Mon- but was eliminated in the subsequent Las guess, for the past 10 years I’ve had a really day (April 19) night’s installment Vegas rounds. Although she didn’t become unhealthy relationship with food.” of American Idol are both making an Idol top 10 finalist, she achieved star sta- Lovato has also said that when she was T “comeback” appearances, fitting tus and a career that includes a string of hit working on Camp Rock as a teenage Disney Page 25 of 25


Channel star, she was bullied about her weight by her classmates, which in turn led to bulimia. “I was performing concerts on an empty stomach,” she said. “I was losing my voice from purging.” If the project is greenlit to series, it will mark Lovato’s first regular TV role since she starred in Disney Channel’s 2009 series Son- ny With a Chance. The news comes on the heels of NBC’s streaming service Peacock ordering another mental health-pegged title, a drama ti- tled Expiration Date, starring Will Forte as a man who wants to commit suicide. NBC also ordered another single-cam comedy pilot, Somewhere Out There, billed as “a romantic comedy about two set-in- their-ways adults who are challenged by very unexpected strangers to become the best versions of themselves in order to find love and possibly each other.” The project is based on the Spanish format Pequenas Coincidencias created by Javier Veiga. Executive producers in- clude Josh Siegal, Dylan Morgan, Matt Hub- bard, Emiliano Calemzuk and Veiga. This article originally appeared in THR. com.