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» pop

Ciara interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

I’ve been a loyal Ciara fan ever since I heard incredibly infectious beats of Goodies in 2005. And unlike many other mid-00s r’n'b chicks, Ciara didn’t fade into obscurity and kept releasing albums. So it was a big pleasure for me to finally get the chance to chat with her just in time for the release of her sixth album ‘Jackie’.

The Russian interview was posted on Cosmopolitan Russian website and the original chat is below.

A lot of things happened in your life since the release of your previous album. What’s been the highlight?

The highlight was of course having my son. It’s been probably the sweetest moment in my life.

How did motherhood change you?

Being a mom changed me in a necessary way. Having a child helped to ground me more. Now the word ‘responsibility’ has a whole new meaning to it. And I also feel like I have a better idea and bigger purpose for why I do what I do.

What do we need to know about ‘Jackie’?

My album ‘Jackie’ really is my best body of work to date, I really believe that. I’ve pushed myself more than I’ve ever pushed myself over the years. My main goal was to make it as positive as possible. I wanted to express my happy energy as I’m honestly in the happiest place I’ve ever been in life. That’s what this album is about.

You’re comfortable with both midtempo and bangers. What’s the favorite though?

It’s hard to pick one… I love the song ‘Give Me Love’. I also love the opening song ‘B.M.F.’. The song that I dedicated to my son called ‘I Got You’.

We’ve seen a lot of r’n’b singers come and go yet you’re luckily still here and on your sixth album. What about your working ethic makes you so consistent?

First of all I feel so blessed to be able to be working in this industry for 13 years. I guess it has to do with me having big goals and big dreams. I know that they’re all possible and that’s what keeps me going. I love what I do: I spend each day doing exactly what I want.

Tell me about your Cavalli collaboration?

Oh my God, this is awesome! Honestly I’m truly honored. It’s so funny because almost a year and a half ago I was dancing with Roberto Cavalli in Dubai when he came to my set. So I was very honored to be a part of the new campaign.

Does it mean that you may do more modeling for now on?

I definitely want to do more collaborations with fashion. It would be very fun to merge the music and the fashion worlds together.

What’s one thing people don’t know or don’t realize about Ciara?

It is a tough questions. Cause I do express myself a lot on the social media, so I feel like my fans get to know me more. I can be very goofy and silly. I love having fun and making the best of life. My performances sometimes are so high energy, so my fans think that I’m… Oh, well, I don’t know what my fans think of me honestly!

So what’s the goofiest thing you’ve done this year?

Right now I’m on the NBC show ‘I Can Do That’ and there are a lot of goofy things in there.

And in this show you’re with Nicole Scherzinger. Does it mean we may finally get a duet from you two?

Who knows! You never know what can happen in our world of entertainment.

You’re a fantastic dancer. Do you still take dance classes?

I’ve actually never taken dance classes. Just a one or two when I was younger and not for a long period. So I’ve never had dance training. But I would like to, just to try the new style I’ve never tried before. That would be fun.

What’s your workout secret?

For me it’s just about balance. I train for one hour a day and check what I’m eating. I still eat fun things and I don’t try to be very strict, ‘cause I think if you get to strict you won’t enjoy yourself. So it’s about having a balanced diet and a workout schedule.

Some fashion tips for the summer?

Drink tons of water to keep your skin clean, ‘cause when it gets hot your skin needs hydration. Fashion-wise I’m really into 90s fashion right now. My philosophy on fashion is just do what you feel. Don’t over-think what you’re wearing, just express yourself. I think fashion allows us to express ourselves in a very cool way and how we’re feeling that day. If you feel it – wear it. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

And here’s just one of the killer videos from Ciara’s resume.

Marina and the Diamonds interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Blog, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

Marina and the Diamonds was on the top of my interview bucket list for a while now. Actually, ever since I discovered her charmingly bizarre ‘Mowgli’s Road’ song and read her pretty sharp-tongued blog back in 2008. I almost talked to Marina in New York in 2011: “almost” as I didn’t recognized her (she just went blond at the time) and managed to party right next to this Primadonna for the whole night without acknowledging her. I finally got my chance when I was asked to interview her for Interview Russia earlier this spring in time for the release of her ‘Froot’ album.

Read the Russian version here and the original chat below.

 

You always take you album campaigns quite seriously. So what’s the concept behind ‘Froot’?

With ‘Froot’ I wanted the strategy to be distinctive. So I came up with a plan called ‘Froot of the month’, which meant that when you pre-order the album I’d send you a brand new song from the album every month until the album release. So each song has its own visual world, video, all that kind of thing.

So this is the 1st album you recorded on your own?

Yes.

Was it harder or more liberating?

Oh, definitely more liberating! I would say songwriting was easier in a way, because I had this artistic clarity versus writing with other people and trying to come up with the songs that would ‘work’ commercially. I didn’t want to do another electropop album. The production was very different two: just me co-producing everything with one person for three month. It’s actually not my favorite thing at what I do. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, as much as I could.

You do quite a lot of misspelling: froot, teen idle, shampaigne… What’s the idea behind it?

I love words! And I love messing with them. I think with ‘Froot’ spelling it in a way with how it sounded made it look more playful. That’s what I’m interested in as a musician – with my sound blending with natural human sounds and electronic sound. It’s also visually what I do: I really like blending themes of nature with modern life.

Your favorite fruit? Song and an actual fruit.

The fruit-fruit is probably mango and I like lychee as well. And my favorite song off the album changes a lot. I really ‘Savages’ and ‘Better Than That’.

Should we expect you to dress up as a fruit like Katy Perry does?

Ha, no!

You did perform in Moscow. What do you remember from that gig?

It was very positive. I’ve some time in Russia and Ukraine when I was younger, so I was very pleased to go back and to see that I have a fanbase there. I remember I played the same festival as Courtney Love did and I really loved her.

Do people really mistake you for Catherine Zeta-Jones (as you mentioned in your ‘Hollywood’ song)?

No, haha! No we do look quite similar, it’s that Celtic welsh blood.

I remember when you and I do were partying in a small bar in New York back in 2011. And I didn’t recognize you because you just went blonde.

Oh, no, really?! Haha! That’s so funny!

Do you plan any more dramatic changes to your appearance in the future?

I don’t think so, no. These days I look quite similar to how I looked during my first album. ‘Electra Heart’ look was built for that character. And now it’s kind of a relief to not have to dress up, if I’m honest.

What did you learn from being Electra Heart persona?

Most of things I’ve learned was about what I didn’t want to be as an artist and what I didn’t really like about being in this industry. There are parts of the industry which I love but I think if you’re pretending to be a popstar, then you have to go through the popstar system and they talk to you as if you’re quite dumb and as if you don’t write your own music. I didn’t really appreciate that. But I did like being an electropop artist. I’m happy where I am now with ‘Froot’.

Let’s get one thing clear: Primadonna was a sarcastic statement, right? Was there a lot of people who thought you were being dead serious?

I don’t know… I think most of the people knew it was this theatrical sarcastic song. But who knows?

What gets you excited in the current pop landscape?

I really like BANKS, Broods, Childish Gambino, Lykke Li, Clean Bandit.

The blog you ran back in 2008 was very sassy. Will you ever blog again?

Oh, no, you remember! Haha. I am interested in keeping a very genuine direct communication with fans. So I’m doing these FAQs now.

The thing we do here at the Interview magazine is making one celebrity interview other celebrity. So if you were to interview one famous person, who would you choose?

I would choose the photographer Cindy Sherman, musician Daniel Johnston and Marilyn Monroe.

Okay, I’ll see if when can hook you up with those. And if you were to start an ultimate girlband who would you invite?

Oh, wow. I would choose Bjork, my friend Lizzy from MS MR, Brody Dalle from The Distillers and Debbie Harry from Blondie.

I would definitely check out this record!

Well, thank you very much, I’ve got one fan!

A lot of your new songs are rather dramatic and pensive. Does it mean the days of ‘Primadonna’ and ‘Mowgli’s Road’ are over?

Each album is a chapter of your life, some have different colors and moods to the other ones. ‘Electra Heart’ was a very high energy album. I feel more flexible in terms of what I can do creatively now, so who know what’s gonna come up.

Is acting something you’d ever consider trying?

Yes, I would.

Do you still live in the state of dreaming?

It’s good to dream and to think about what you want.

Get ‘Froot’ on iTunes

Susanne Sundfør interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Interviews, Music | 1 Comment

Let’s face it: Scandinavians got their pop figured out. They know how to make it, well, pop in a lot of ways. But to make a certain project really stand out, an artist should go beyond the typical ‘ballad on the dancefloor’ routine. And Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør’s latest album ‘Ten Love Songs’ is a proper tornado. I may go as far as proclaiming this record my most favorite LP of the year so far. It has tons of nuances, emotions and surprises – this musical gift mixes Scandinavian folk music with the right amount of electronic glitz and keeps on giving listen after listen. Come for the glorious Bond-esque synthpop banger ‘Delirious’ and stay for the menacing ‘Accelerate’ (that features an epic organ part brings ‘Phantom of the Opera’ to mind), a bittersweet 10-minute-long requiem for a failed relationships ‘Memorial’ and a unapologetically catchy ‘Kamikaze’. And even though it’s Susanne’s 6th album, in a lot of ways it’s a fresh start for the singer that not only follows her previous dancefloor-ready collaborations with Kleerup and Royksopp but cements her place in the Scandinavian electropop female pantheon.

I interviewed Susanne for the Cosmopolitan Russia: read the Russian version or our original chat below. And do yourself a favor – go get that spectacular record.

What’s the story of Susanne Sundfør?

I started making music in my teens, got a record deal when I was 19 and have been releasing albums on a regular basis since then. My sixth album is out now.

˜’Ten Love Songs’ is incredibly ambitious and accomplished records. It sounds like it took a lot of inspiration and preparations to get all the layers, moods and emotions down. Was it a long and tough process? And what inspired you?

Thank you! It took about two years to finish it, but I didn’t work continuously the whole period. I travelled a lot and recorded it probably in ten different studios. I got inspired by the traveling, movies, music, life in general!

I personally hear ABBA echoing in your music. Was that intentional?

Not really, but maybe it’s a Scandinavian thing. We all grow up with ABBA here, and I’m a big fan of them as well, so probably subconsciously they’ve been an inspiration to some of the songs on the album. 

Scandinavian music has very distinctive sound and is always celebrated around the world. What makes you guys so talented and enigmatic?

The Scandinavian music scene is quite diverse though. The Swedes are the experts on pop songs and Norway has a big black metal and electronic music scene. Or at least that’s how I see it. Maybe we just get tired of all the darkness and need to do something creative instead!

We can hear a lot of the instruments on ‘Ten Love Songs’ from relaxed piano to 80s organ, from pulsating synths to some menacing drums. Was it hard recording all of this? And how did you decide that you want these particular sounds on your record?

It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it took a lot of programming and recording in different studios to get the different instruments like celesta, harpsichord, strings, drums and organ. It was the best part of making the album though. You have these midi-ideas that you have to listen to for ages while you’re composing and arranging, and then finally you bring it to life with the real thing and it’s such a high!

It’s safe to say that this album can become your international breakthrough (hey, we’re talking for Cosmopolitan Russia, so you get my point). But it’s actually your fifth album. For the listeners who’s not familiar with your previous records, can you guide us though the changes your sound experienced and maybe where you’d like it to go in the future?

Well, I’ve been in this business for such a long time now that nothing really surprises me anymore, so I’ll just go with whatever happens as long as I get to continue making the music I wanna make. My first album consists of songs I wrote when I was a teenager and are all in the singer songwriter style. Take One is a rerecording I did of the first album because I wanted a version that was completely unpolished.The next one, The Brothel, is more of a conceptual album with both quite acoustic and electronic soundscapes. A Night at Salle Pleyel is a comission piece with only synthesizers recorded live from the only concert I did with the piece. The Silicone Veil is maybe more electronic and bass-y. And then we have Ten Love Songs!

The album is very dramatic and cinematic. Should we expect some grand visuals from your live shows and music videos? Maybe even a musical based on the songs – about a couple of tormented lovers? Just an idea!

That’s a cool idea! I really like dramatic lights and visuals on shows, so as long as I can afford it I’ll make it as big and lush as I can!

‘Memorial’ is another obvious standout of the album. What’s the story of that song and how come you’ve decided to create this 10-minutes-long number?

It started as a ballad I made on the piano, and for a long time it was just piano and vocals. Then I wrote the string part and wanted it to be quite big. I then teamed up with Anthony Gonzalez from M83 and he added a lot of lush and beautiful synths and big drums.

If you were to create a soundtrack for a motion picture, what would you choose? It can be anything: from an actual movie to a made up documentary.

I don’t know about what kind of music but it would have to be a director who trusts in me. I’ve heard so many stories of musicians who make music for film who are basically dictated about what to write in the end, and I don’t like that kind of a work situation.

What kind of music are you drawn to these days?

I’m listening to Beck’s latest album on repeat. It’s just got so many layers of beauty and I keep discovering new details that just give me goose bumps all over. Fantastic album!

Russians are known for their love to all things excessive and dramatic (it probably has to do with our literature, theater and ballet history). Is there anything in our culture that fascinates you? And would you like to perform over here one day?

I read Master and Margarita not so long ago and loved it. I know there are a lot of cultural references there that are hard to understand for foreigners, but I still thought it was a brilliant piece of literature. I love Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. To be honest I haven’t read Dostoevsky or Tolstoy yet, but it’s on my booklist for sure!

Photo by Sofai Fredricks Sprung

Oh, Kelly

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Music | Leave a comment

Kelly Clarkson just revealed the cover of her upcoming sixth studio album (8th if you count the Greatest Hits one and the Xmas one) and looks like it was inspired by one of the most enigmatic figures in the contemporary pop world – miss Hilton. Take a look:

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On a serious note, I hope this new album is at least half as amazing as ‘All I Ever Wanted’ was. But at this point there’s no reason to doubt Kelly’s ability to bring another pot of pop gold to the table.

10 best moments from E! ‘Christina Milian Turned Up’

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Music | Leave a comment

I was never a fan of reality shows, but being a loyal Christina Milian fan since her 2002 debut made pretty much obligated to check out the premiere of her new E! reality show ‘Christina Milian Turned Up’, that follows Christina, her mom and two sisters as they, well, do anything to distract us from the fact that it’s been 9 years since Christina’s last album. And even though I’d prefer a EP of brand new music instead of that reality show, I can honestly say the first episode turned out to be a gloriously campy entertainment (plus Christina is obviously using the show as the platform to re-launch her singing career, which is nothing but good news). Here are my top 10 moments of the premiere:

1. Christina plays two of her new songs to her mother, who is also her manager. The songs are DJ Mustard-esque swearing-galore banger ‘Turn Up’ and a Ciara-esque midtempo ‘Rebel’ (that one gets a single treatment soon). You can listen to them here.

2. Christina giving a disapproving look to her sister Liz’s decision to stop wearing pants as she’s converting to the Orthodox Judaism (now that’s a twist!).

3. Christina almost-kinda-not-revealing that she’s dating Lil’ Wayne by blurring her iPhone case.

4. Christina going to my favorite NYC store – the Patricia Field’s store.

5. Christina going to a drag show in New York and eventually joining the queens to sing ‘Dip It Low’ because ‘she’s feeling free and turned up these days’.

6. Christina singing her own song ‘Dip It Low’ acapella during one of her ‘reality show interview’ moments. How iconic! Can we please get a ‘AM to PM’ acapella next time?

7. Christina’s mom telling her “Tina, you look like Big Bird right now with those” when Christina’s showing her the stuff she bought at the Field’s store.

8. Liz’s ‘koshering the kitchen’. I wonder if doing a reality show a kosher thing to do? Can somebody please ask a rabbi when you get a chance?

9. Christina revealing that her opinionated family did not attend her wedding with The-Dream.

10. Christina getting her nipple pierced on her mom’s Birthday because why not?

In case you need a more specific recap, you can get over to the E! website.

Pop Culture of 2014: 35 Best Moments

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Blog, Cinema, Music, Style, Без рубрики | Leave a comment

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Even though 2014 didn’t see the comebacks of Rihanna or Kesha or the revival of Lady Gaga’s career, it did have some kickass moments. 35 of them, to be exact. So let’s take a look back and remember the best songs, movies, series, music videos, crossovers, catfights, fashion collections, deers and gorillas of 2014. Beware: the following list is highly subjective, but I did try to explain my choices.

Read more

Interview with Owlle

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

French electro pop singer Owlle came to Moscow earlier this month for a private fashion show and I had a pleasure of chatting with her both before and after her show.

You can read the Russian version on Cosmopolitan Russia and the original version is below:

Why Owlle?

Owlle is a feminized version of the word ‘owl’ – I added French ‘elle’ (which means her). I know that word doesn’t exists, so it’s unique for me.

Why didn’t you want to use your real name? It’s beautiful – France…

Because it’s too close to my own personality. France and Owlle are the same person, but I feel different on stage – there’s different sensuality and attitude. So another name made more sense and makes me feel more confident.

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Just a theory…

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Cinema, Music | Leave a comment

It that what’s up, Sia?

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#conSIAracytheory
#conspiRENEEtheory

ps: Yes, I was too tired of all that Renee Zellweger nonsense.

Rita Ora in Moscow

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Music | Leave a comment

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It’s really funny that Rita Ora’s recent Moscow gig opened with the famous Mean Girls quote ‘You Can’t Sit With Us’ splashed all over the screens. Because for the last couple of years I was desperately trying to figure out how Rita managed to reserve a seat among pop’s biggest names without having a proper banger or some nuclear charisma. In my book, she’s just another sexy chick with a powerful voice and nice style but who most people would mistake for a better-behaved Rihanna lookalike. And the Moscow gig (which was nothing more than a big budget HP commercial) didn’t prove me wrong.

While she has the looks of the proper star, a powerful voice and she does know how to pose Beyonce-style, Rita lacks that spark that would turn her into a proper showstopper: she doesn’t look like she owns the stage or rules her bombastic entourage (the dancers were amazing by the way!) but more like she was put in the middle of that chaos by accident and has no idea what to do next. During the third song of the set (‘Roc the life’) she literally sat down on the ladder in the middle of the stage and let the backup singers carry the whole song. I’m sure there was a reasonable explanation behind her laziness (jetlag or a sore throat, maybe) but that certainly didn’t help me warm up to Rira more. And when you only sing about 1/3 of your biggest solo hit (the closing number – a great but anyone-could-sing-it ‘I Will Never Let You Down’) it goes to show how much the ‘music thing’ means to you.

Rita must really be a Hercules of networking or have some pop genie slave scoring her all her endorsement deals as there is literally no explanation to why that girl is where she is right now. Yes, she’s ‘hot right now’, but can anyone explain to me why? As that show was more bullshit than party. Now can you please release a proper banger, honey, that will showcase your awesome voice and finally help you find your musical identity? No, rejected Rihanna demos will not do this time around.

At least we seemed to be having way more fun than Rita herself:

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Nicole Scherzinger – Big Fat Lie [review]

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Music | Leave a comment

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Poor Nicole. Despite of all her efforts and promising promo deals, she never really evolved from ‘the ex-Pussycat Doll frontwoman’ into a full-fledged solo star. Her 2011’s debut LP (which wasn’t even released in the States) was very flamboyant and screamed ‘I’ve arrived’ on top of Nicole’s lungs but was a bit too Eurovisiony to really cement her status. And even though her best solo single so far was called ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’, I did hold my breath for a proper ‘Nicole The Solo Artist’ moment: she surely has the voice, the moves and the looks of a potential pop slayer. Well, not this time for sure: with ‘Big Fat Lie’ she’s going for more ‘mature’ sound which means that we’re getting tons of medtempo tunes which is the least thing we’d expect or want from a girl who made a name for herself as the voice behind ‘Don’t Cha’ and ‘Buttons’.

Perhaps the personal approach to the album would work better if it had a big power ballad or two, but it’s nowhere to be seen as well. ‘Run’ and ‘On The rocks’ are both strong and emotional songs but they lack the spark that made Nicole such a fantastic performer in the past. Overall it’s questionable if there really were a lot of people in Nicole’s fanbase who craved a moody (even if well-produced) record from her. There is a cute little ‘it’s tough being a popstar’ moment in the form of the album’s title track and stripping all the layers seems to be the ongoing theme on the record but let’s be honest: Nicole was way more fun when she stuck to the actual stripping.

The big fat truth here is that the album’s quite solid: the production is consistent and multi-layered and the 90s influences are spot. It’s just hard to believe it will find its audience as Nicole never developed a steady fanbase with all her scrapped releases, failed international strategies and horrible time management. And the idea that in some happier alternative universe we could’ve gotten 5 years’ worth of The Pussycat Dolls bangers instead of this depressed little collection certainly doesn’t help.

6/10