B-Sides Report for 12/31/2015

Blake Shelton Hitting The Big Screen In Angry Birds Movie

(Radio.com) Blake Shelton will be hitting the big screen for the upcoming Angry Birds movie. Not only does Shelton voice a character in the film, but he also contributes music.

As Earl, a pig with a country bent, Shelton found he had to go above and beyond to get the right accent. "They kept saying, 'More country!'" Shelton told Entertainment Weekly. "I felt like I was doing a voice-over for Dukes of Hazzard."

If landing the right voice for Earl was difficult, Shelton found that he faced even bigger challenges when it came to writing a song for the film. "I can write things about myself and my life," Shelton said. "But I don't have a whole lot of experience being shot out of a slingshot at pigs." Read more here.

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The Chainsmokers Release Free Musical Freedom Radio Mix

(Listen Up) The Chainsmokers are celebrating the end of the year with the free release of Musical Freedom Radio Vol. 23, their contribution to the ongoing mix series. We were sent the following details:

Musical Freedom Records is wrapping up a killer 2015 with one last volume of Musical Freedom Radio featuring none other than The Chainsmokers. Since re-inventing their mix series this time last year, the label headed by Tisto has invited a variety of artists to showcase their own "musical freedom" in an hour-long set. The initiative gives its guests the opportunity to step outside the box of what they might typically play live. Highlights from 2015 include Oliver Heldens' classic disco set, Bassjackers taking on house, and Don Diablo slowing it down in a chill 60-minute set. Available now for free download exclusively on Musical Freedom's Soundcloud page.

The Chainsmokers say, "When we were asked by Tijs to come up with a theme mix for Musical Freedom we actually struggled a bit with what we wanted to do. We both have huge collections of music but didn't want to do something boring or expected of us! So we decided let's try and make a mix that really embodies the sounds, textures, and melodies that really influence us. SO we strung together this mix, a compilation of songs that really draws you in. We wanted this mix to really flow, one song into another almost so you aren't sure when one track ends and another begins, obviously not in all cases, but its about creating that pattern of sounds and great vocals..." Check it out here.

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Adele Captured 2015 With 'Hello'

(Radio.com) Some critics wondered what made "Hello" different from other Adele tracks. The song treads similar sonic and lyrical territory to the mega-hits from her album 21. However, her words explore a subtler and more evolved area of lost love. With "Hello," Adele is searching for lessons, forgiveness and peace of mind.

This Adele is not furious and heartbroken; instead, she's introspective and seeking. Her power chords are no less thunderous or aching, but the ache is no longer raw and fresh. On "Hello," Adele has settled into a bit of wisdom and sophistication about the relationship that's haunted her for two albums.

For a singer who mournfully sang "Nevermind, I'll find someone like you," the growth is undeniable. This Adele probably doesn't want "Someone Like You" again, anyway. She's been there and done that.

The song's writing and production strengths were there all along, but how do you turn a single by the biggest recording artist in the world into a sleeper hit? Adele's team shrewdly released a 30 second snippet of the song for television, without identifying the singer, a release date, or virtually anything else.

This generated word-of-mouth for a song that never needed it. Since then, a smart and calculated media offensive has kept Adele at the forefront of the musical conversation. Her performances of "Hello" on SNL and public venues have struck gold, while interviews with the intensely private singer reminded us of her modest, hilarious charm.

With "Hello," Adele reminded the world that this is her industry and everyone else is just recording in it. Read more here.

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Pusha T Releasing 'King Push' Album This Spring

(Radio.com) Rapper and G.O.O.D. Music president Pusha T shared what the record label has planned for 2016, and it sounds like his next album King Push will be on the agenda.

Speaking with Shade 45, Pusha T said, "The first two projects, we're looking at mine and [Big] Sean's. I got another album entitled King Push that's coming out in April. Sean dropping [too]."

In addition to those two big projects, everyone wants to know when Kanye's next album SWISH will drop. Even Pusha T isn't sure. "The Kanye SWISH project, you know he come when he wanna come," he said. "I don't even bother him about his situation."

When asked about rap's current trends, Pusha T admitted that he keeps his mind and his ears open. Read more here.

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J. Cole Release Latest Road To Homecoming Episode

(Radio.com) The countdown continues to J. Cole's Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming concert film on HBO. On Wednesday (Dec. 30), Cole released the third part of the four part mini-documentary leading up to Jan. 9's big concert debut.

"This is What You Wanted" in part covers a Dallas show Cole performed. Announcing the show on the same day, Cole only charged fans $1 to get in, which naturally drew a large crowd.

The documentary caught up with Cole's fans on the street, where they share what his album Friday Night Lights means to them. One fan remembered that he was unemployed when he first heard the album. "That was the only thing that was speaking for me, for real, for real," he said.

The episode goes inside the Dallas show, where Cole performed songs off Friday Night Lights. Watch part 3 here.

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Blaze Ya Dead Homie Releases Video and Announces Tour

Blaze Ya Dead Homie has released a new music video and announced "The Casket Factory Tour" that will feature special guests Lex The Hex Master and Trilogy.

The new music video is for his track "They Call That Gangsta" (featuring The R.O.C. & Lex The Hex Master) from his upcoming album "The Casket Factory" which comes out on January 15th on Majik Ninja Entertainment. Watch it here.

The Casket Factory Tour will be kicking off on February 4th in Columbus, OH at Alrosa Villa and works it's way throughout the United States wrapping up March 13th in Valparaiso, IN at Big Shots. See the tour date here.

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Jack Ingram and Craig Campbell Added To Island Time Music Fest

(Webster) Jack Ingram and Craig Campbell have been added to the lineup of The Island Time Music and Fishing Fest on February 15-20, 2016 in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

They will join the lineup of Kellie Pickler, Jerrod Niemann, Blackjack Billy, Love and Theft, LOCASH, Kyle Jacobs, American Young, Nick Norman, Natalie Stovall, Lewis Brice, Joal Rush, Hailey Steele, Rob Hatch, and Ryan Rickman. We were sent the following details:

The island paradise of Isla Mujeres will welcome an informal delegation of Nashville musicians, singers, and songwriters all in an effort to raise funds for the Little Yellow School House, which provides services to the special needs children of Isla Mujeres at no charge.

"I'm honored to be a part of such a special event," says Ingram. "I am humbled that I can make a difference in these children's lives through music and look forward to playing with my Nashville friends in the bars of Isla Mujeres, Mexico."

The event's six day schedule features a series of intimate, live performances in local venues (including a luxurious private residence) along with a fishing tournament that coincides with the winter migration of sailfish to the local waters.

Proceeds from event tickets, the fishing tournament, an online memorabilia auction, and sales of commemorative merchandise will fund the operations of the Little Yellow School House, which Bundled tickets for the event range from $199 to $249 per person and additional pricing for select events is also available. All artists and staff volunteer during this annual event allowing for every penny raised to benefit the children at Little Yellow School House. Complete information on the Island Time Music and Fishing Festival, along with a link to purchase tickets, can be found here.

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Mac Miller Streams New Track 'Run On Sentences, Volume Two'

(Radio.com) Even though he had to cancel shows in Australia and New Zealand for health reasons, Mac Miller has still been busy in the studio. The rapper as Larry Fisherman released a new track, "Run on Sentences, Volume Two," that showcases his production skills. It's a follow-up to 2013's "Run on Sentences, Volume One."

The 27-minute track starts off on a more psychedelic note, piecing together instrumental loops and audio clips from what sound like old movies and other media.

"There are statements I made when I believed people would listen to them, at least as regards certain things which are important for us all," a man says in the track's opening seconds. "But now it makes no difference." Listen to the track here.

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Halsey Breaks Out Big In 2015

(Radio.com) A few weeks ago in a Radio.com staff meeting, someone mentioned that Halsey sold out Madison Square Garden. The fact that she had even booked a headlining date there (August 13, 2016) seemed surprising.

The last time she played New York City it was at the much smaller Terminal 5 club. It was completely sold out; it's obvious that lots of fans are connecting with her. Still, that seemed like a huge leap, to go from a club that holds a couple of hundred, to the world's most famous arena. But her album Badlands has a lot of potential singles; perhaps with a few more hits under her belt over the next few months, she'd be able to pack the joint.

But it turned out that her fan base is even stronger than we'd thought. As Halsey told Radio.com in an interview this year, "People believe what I'm saying, and they know it's not contrived, and they know I'm telling a story of experiences that have actually happened to me."

It's not even that she's going for some contrived marketing-team-concocted idea of "authenticity": as she puts it, "I think that the more candid and the more honest that I can be, the easier it is for me to walk into a situation and be comfortable, be myself. If I was lying to people all the time, I'd have to keep track of that. And that's one thing that I don't understand about a lot of artists: how they have to keep up with a brand that's been created with a manufactured idea, because that sounds exhausting! I can't imagine how you could do that. For me it's just easier to be myself." Read more here.

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Tori Kelly Made Her Mark In 2015 With Her Unbreakable Smile

(Radio.com) YouTube and American Idol have been introducing talented young singers to the world for what seems like ages. Many a modern day success story has started out with either of the platforms. Yet, where YouTube and American Idol might have helped increase Tori Kelly's exposure, it was her 2015 debut LP Unbreakable Smile that made the pop singer a household name.

Not only did Kelly launch her headlining tour for the album in September, but she garnered a GRAMMY nod as well. Nominated for Best New Artist, Kelly proved she has the chops necessary to not only make it but also stand out among her pop vocal contemporaries.

Speaking with Radio.com this summer, Kelly explained her most personal songs. "There's definitely me in every song," she said. "I mean I connect to every single song, but there are certain songs that I just wrote by myself, and then there's songs wherethere's some love songs on there, but I think the ones that hit me most personally are the rejection songs of my journey as an artist, and being told that you're not good enough at such a young age, and just things not working out in my music career. So those are the ones where that's the type of stuff that can only come from me. Anyone can write a love song, but it's like the ones that I'm actually telling my story, I think those hit really hard for me." Read more here.

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