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  • Janelle Monáe Bends More Than Gender In Two New Videos From 'Dirty Computer'

    Enlarge this image Janelle Monae's third album Dirty Computer arrives April 27. Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption Courtesy of the artist Janelle Monáe has always been adept at shrouding herself in mystery. It's not that she wasn't keen on expressing the depth of her humanity; she just went the length of creating an android alter-ego named Cyndi Mayweather to do so.Like her against-the-grain affinity for formal wear at a time when most of her pop counterparts were reveling in various states of undress, it added a layer of dimension and intrigue. Yet there was always the sense that more might lie beneath the surface — that maybe Monáe's Afro-Futurist metaphors and otherworldly explorations were an elaborate guise for a tangibleand present soul.One week after teasing us with a trailer for her forthcoming release, Monáe confirms as much with the premiere of "Make Me Feel" and "Django Jane" — the first two songs ...

  • Mt. Joy On World Cafe

    [embedded content]VuHaus"Silver Lining" "Sheep""Astrovan" What if your goal was to just write some good songs? What if you and your longtime friend did that and then went back to your day jobs at a law firm and in the music industry? Then what if everything changed? Your song gets 10 millions plays on Spotify, you are spotlighted by NPR Music, you perform live on Conan and you sign a major label deal — and all before your debut album's release!In a nutshell, that is the whirlwind story of Mt. Joy, who is releasing its self-titled debut album on March 2. It's a charming affair, filled with beautiful vocals and melodies that are one listen away from being ingrained in your head. Seriously, "Silver Lining" is playing on repeat in my brain! Founded in the Philadelphia area by Sam Quinn and Matt Cooper, the band's ambitions were to records songs. And that's what they did, before heading back to their day jobs, as a manager in the music industry and as a lawyer. Everything changed, though, when they uploaded the song "Astrovan" to Spotify.In this session, we talk to Sam and Matt about ...

  • Sexual Harassment In Nashville Spurs A New Bill To Extend Protections To Artists

    Enlarge this image The Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville. New legislation recently introduced would extend sexual harassment protections to contract workers — a designation that applies to many artists. Paul D. Van Hoy II/Getty Images/age fotostock RM hide captiontoggle caption Paul D. Van Hoy II/Getty Images/age fotostock RM Since last fall, when reporting on film mogul Harvey Weinstein's decades-long pattern of sexual assault instigated the movements now known as #MeToo and #TimesUp, many have wondered when the music industry's own dam would break. While few high-profile music industry leaders have met with the striking repercussions brought to celebrities such as Louis CK and Charlie Rose, the movement within music hasn't been stagnant. There have been stunning declarations of collective power, reporting that has alleged other instances of serial misconduct resulting in the severance of business relationships ...

  • August Greene: Tiny Desk Concert

    August Greene, the collaborative effort of Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins, was born at the White House in 2016 during a special Tiny Desk concert. It was during that unprecedented performance that the then-untitled ensemble premiered the powerful "Letter to the Free," an original song for Ava DuVernay's Netflix documentary 13th that eventually won an Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.For the trio's first visit to NPR headquarters, they brought some special guests: vocalists Brandy, Maimouna Youssef and Andra Day. The band performed four tracks from its upcoming self-titled album (out March 9 on Amazon Music), an impromptu freestyle, and Day's Oscar-nominated collaboration with Common, "Stand Up For Something," from the film Marshall. Common described the theme of the Tiny Desk as "Foregrounding Women," alluding to the attendance of Brandy, Day and Youssef, as well as the spiritual presence of Glasper's younger cousin, Loren, who passed just a few days prior.The past year has been a pivotal time for women, between #MeToo and social and financial equality, ...

  • Fergie Apologizes After Her National Anthem Rendition Goes Wrong

    The National Anthem is easy to get wrong, and pop star Fergie's rendition before Sunday's NBA All-Star game was all sorts of wrong. The Grammy winner said afterwards she was trying to do something new with her slower, jazzier version.ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Let's be honest. Singing the national anthem is hard. Most people would have a tough time performing it in their living room in front of their cat, much less in front of a worldwide audience. Still, just about everyone thought Fergie's rendition before Sunday night's NBA All-Star Game was really awful.(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)FERGIE: (Singing) Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early light...SHAPIRO: The multiple Grammy award winner said afterwards she was trying to do something new with her slower, jazzier version. You could tell early on by the athletes staring blankly or trying to hide laughs on TV that the experiment was not working.(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)FERGIE: (Singing) Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say...SHAPIRO: The whole performance just lasted about two minutes, which ...

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