Victoria Abraham defines one up and coming artist each week so you can impress your friends with your musical brilliance. This week, she tackles Azealia Banks, a rapper from Harlem, New York.
If the name Azealia Banks doesn’t ring a bell, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. Good thing I am here to enlighten you. This 20-year-old up and comer recently appeared in the GQ Style Bible, and on NYLON magazine’s website. And she’s worth the hype.
Her new EP 1991 is due out on April 17. She recently moved to London, England to work on her debut album with Paul Epworth, the producer behind Adele and Florence and the Machine. Watch for her album Broke with Expensive Taste next September.
Origins: Harlem, New York
Full name: Azealia Amanda Banks. Yes, Azealia is her real name. However, she was formerly known as Miss Bank$ and her Twitter name is ”<3 Yung Rapunxel <3.” So I’m guessing she likes braids and princesses.
Known for: She’s known for her no-nonsense, dirty, unapologetic, in your face rhymes.
Used in a sentence: “Azealia Banks brings street cred back to the female rap game. Nicki Minaj, take notes.”
File next to: Missy Elliott and Nicki Minaj
Download now: Listen to the viral hit “212” NOW if you haven’t. For shame, where have you been?
Listen to it here:
The day after their second album, Kill the Lights, was released, New Cities stopped to chat with andPOP about the one thing people struggle with the most: balancing business with pleasure. Lead singer David Brown and synth player Nicolas Denis said they were well-behaved on the eve of their big release. They just had a nice dinner with close friends. Somehow we’re not buying it.
“We went to bed early. We’re hardcore like that,” Nicolas says, adding that, for the band, early means 3 a.m.
There’s no denying these six Montreal pop-rockers can morph into quite the party animals when on tour. To keep themselves from burning out, they try to squeeze in as much snooze time as possible.
“I’m sleeping a lot in the van, but I’m not the one that drives the most!” David reveals.
“People think it’s non-stop partying, but when you have to drive six or seven hours a day and have to do a show… for a singer, it gets to be a lot.” Nicolas says.
The band admits they get their admirable tech guy, Jeff, to do most of the driving. Jeff seems to be quite the MacGuyver. It was once reported he saved two of the band members from being attacked by wasps on stage.
“It sounds way more epic online!” Nicolas jokes.
When the band isn’t fighting off winged insects or screaming girls on stage, they’re surprisingly tame. Prior to recording their sophomore effort, which is out now, the band took eight months off to write songs. Talk about dedication. But the band shortly fell into a routine and what better way to break a routine than a spontaneous trip to the island.
“We started writing stuff at our apartment and at some point we went to Barbados,” David says. “We wrote the saddest track ever in Bardados. But we didn’t use it!”
The front man explains they planned on writing more on the Caribbean Island than expected, but as soon as the sun started setting by 6 p.m. the band felt a little less motivated.
Luckily for them, with the help of L.A. production group The Matrix, the band penned 12 catchy, danceable songs now playing at a bar near you.
Now, the band must focus their energy onto something more fun: playing shows. The guys never fail to charm a crowd with their insane stage presence.
“We move around a lot on stage. When you’re lining a tour, you’re definitely playing for more than an hour,” David says, alluding to the fact that he may have moves like Jagger. Alas, he tells andPOP it’s too early in the morning to show off his best moves – the interview was conducted at 9 a.m.
In the meantime, their music videos are enough proof of how lively they can bex. Just wait until their newest video, The Hype, starts playing everywhere. David says they shot the video a month ago and we can expect it to be in high rotation come October 10.
TMZ reports the incident happened at a club called La Mouche, where he was hosting an after party for his show.
Apparently some guy snuck into the backroom and unleashed the chemical into the air ducts. Everyone was evacuated from the club.
Weezy seems to be in good spirits nevertheless. His rep said he’s “okay and gearing for his next stop in Toronto.”
Pauly was obviously intimated and embarrassed, but undoubtedly he had a good time.
Montreal has become a home and muse for many of the country’s renowned musical acts. Jordan and Korey take an impromptu trip to uncover the magic behind one of Canada’s most prominent artistic tastemakers.
NEeMA is a musician that definitely brings something special to the industry. This Canadian artist is much more complex than your everyday pop sensation. Her album “Watching You Think” dropped in June of this year, and if you haven’t heard it yet, you should definitely give it a listen. The comforting melodies and sincere lyrics fill the entire record and without doubt this is a collection of music that should be applauded.
I caught up with NEeMA over the phone in her hometown of Montreal while she had a couple of days off from her cross-Canada summer tour. She was happy to be home and able to spend some time with her dog Elsa, whom a track off “Watching You Think” is even named after.
While talking with NEeMA, it became clear that she’s more than just someone making music; she’s on a journey of self discovery and has chosen to share her stories with the help of her musical talents. Between traveling the world, spending time with an isolated First Nation community in the deep north of Canada, and studying the complexities of relationships and love, it’s no question that NEeMA definitely has stories to tell.
Who says that really good movies can’t be Canadian? Not Jay Baruchel, who not only is Canadian, but has been cast in a number of Hollywood movies (Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder, Just Buried to name a few). With a great Canadian cast lead by Baruchel, The Trotsky is both dramatic and comedic. We were on the red carpet premiere to find out more.
Plants and animals blew listeners away with their debut album, Parc Avenue, and finally the band has delivered a follow up. La La Land seems to expand upon the rock ‘n’ roll framework of its predecessor. The boys have turned their amps up to eleven (just kidding, ten is the standard maximum), and have fully embraced the “barbecue rock” within. I spoke to the charming Montreal trio during Canadian Music Week here in Toronto.
He may be out of her league in a movie, but Jay Baruchel is definitely in the league of young, successful actors. He’s worked with Clint Eastwood in the multi Oscar-winning “Million Dollar Baby” and shared scenes with fellow Canadian Funnymen Seth Rogen and Michael Cera — and those are only three of his nearly 30 acting credits.
Earlier this year, Baruchel proved that a 5 can date a 10 in the comedy vehicle “She’s Out of My League.” Now, he has the No. 1 movie at the box office with “How to Train Your Dragon,” an animated 3-D movie he co-stars with a CGI fire-blower.
While he’s already accomplished a lot this year, let alone throughout his acting career, Baruchel hasn’t reached his ultimate goal — one that doesn’t involve comedy. The 27 year old hopes to direct horror films.
Although “Dragons” is far from a gory horror flick, Baruchel still had a blast making the animated movie. In fact, his character Hiccup is one of the closest characters to himself that he’s ever played. Even his mother was blown away by their similarities.
Having just hosted a Jazz and Comedy festival only a few weeks ago, Montreal was once again the pearl of Canada this past weekend with the undeniable success of the Osheaga Music and Arts festival- a two day event filled with performances beginning at 1:00pm all the way until 11:00pm.
As Saturday would feature notable acts such as Jason Mraz, The Roots, K’naan, The Stills, Girltalk and above all, the grandmaster Coldplay, andPOP decided to venture down to La Belle Province for day no. 1.
But something funny happened by the end of our trip. Not only did we go from being pale skinned to maple brown sunburned, but we also went from being a concert reviewer to a behind-the-scenes explorer.
With four different stages and acts scheduled at similar time slots, we had to pick and choose which musical path our day would lead towards.
This is our story.
2:30 pm- I begin my journey in Hell’s Kitchen. Beautiful sunny day in Montreal, but sweltering 30 degree Celsius heat. For some reason though, the crowd seems to want to stand through it for acoustic rock performer Donavon Frankenreiter at the Mountain Stage. The musician and also pro surfer gathers a trickling crowd with an immediate groovy set- reminiscent of longtime pal Jack Johnson.
Part of that next batch of sunshine tune-fellows like Johnson, Ben Harper, Matt Costa and G. Love, Frankenreiter ignites the festival’s spirit with his variety of catchy soothing numbers- most notably It Don’t Matter, which leads fans into a massive chant. A laid-back Frankenreiter even lets a lucky fan help him belt out the chorus, sending the crowd into rave cheers.
The Black Eyed Peas, Simple Plan, New Kids on the Block and Hedley are among the performers for the first-ever Virgin Festival in Montreal this summer.
The event, which will be staged at Parc Jean-Drapeau on June 19 and 20, will also feature the New Cities, “Canadian Idol” winner Eva Avila, Akon, Live, LIGHTS and Divine Brown. More acts are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
One organizer described the city as the perfect place to bring the event. “Montréal is a natural host for Virgin Festival,” said Jacques Aube, vice president and general manager of Gillett Entertainment Group, in a statement. “The city has an eclectic, thriving music scene, and tons of festival-loving fans.”
The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival will return to Montreal this summer with two huge headliners: Coldplay and Beastie Boys.
The fourth installment of the annual extravaganza will take place at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Aug. 1 and 2, with the Brits headlining on Saturday and the Brooklyn MCs closing the festival on Sunday.
Pamela Anderson isn’t making herself any friends in her native country.
The Canadian bombshell infuriated the owners of the Opera in Montreal this past weekend by breaking a contract with them.
Anderson was set to walk the red carpet, speak with journalists and host a contest. She was also to pocket $100,000, reports Perez Hilton.
Unfortunately, Anderson’s diva behaviour got the best of her. She snubbed the media, though the agreement was to speak with each journalist for five minutes. She didn’t end up hosting the contest, and never went inside the room that was filled with flowers at her request.
Anderson reportedly spent most of her time relaxing on a leather couch.
Rapper M.I.A. may be moving to Montreal when her American visa expires in June.
Because her father was once a soldier in the Sri Lankan terrorist organization Tamil Tigers, she doesn’t expect her visa to be renewed.
“Basically at the moment I can choose between Montreal and London,” she told Baby Baby Baby magzine. “My mum’s like, ‘I want you here!’ I haven’t seen her in, like, forever, so I have to choose between my mum and Montreal.”
She said that she’s been making the most of her final U.S. concerts, and that Kanye West has offered to marry her to keep her in the country.
She was previously barred entrance to the States in 2006.
Vancouver-based band Hedley performed yesterday at the University of British Columbia.
Their home turf concert is part of the MTV The Leak Live tour, a series of free concerts across Canada promoting Hedley’s upcoming album, “Famous Last Words,” which will be released October 30. For those unable to attend, their first single, “She’s So Sorry,” can be heard on Hedley’s official MySpace page.
“Famous Last Words” is Hedley’s sophomore offering, following their 2005 self-titled album which earned the band platinum status, five hit singles, two Juno nominations, and the Much Music Video Award for Best Pop Video.
Charismatic and nudity-prone frontman Jacob Hoggard is confident about the new album, which was produced by former Treble Charger frontman Greig Nori. As Hoggard told MTV, “The main difference between this album and the last, was the amount of blood, sweat and tears that we put into this recording.”
Check out the rest of Hedley’s free tour at these locations:
Tomorrow: The SAIT Hangar in Calgary, AB at 12 p.m.
Friday: The UWO Talbot Bowl in London, ON at 7:30 p.m.
October 2: The Dalhousie Quad in Halifax, NS at 7 p.m.
October 4: The Concordia Loyola Downtown Campus in Montreal, QC at 5 p.m.
October 11: The Masonic Temple in Toronto, ON at 5 p.m.