Charlie Puth is 24 and incredibly famous for writing swoony hits. He’s also a Berklee grad who writes and produces all of his songs. He takes selfies with Al Roker too. A week in the life of this man isn’t like any week I’ve ever known (also markedly different from weeks had by Ricky Reed, Machine Gun Kelly, and the guy from Disturbed) — click his handsome mug to see why.
Esperanza Spalding, the Grammy-stacking perpetual “jazz darling,” has made a prog album. Well, it’s a very soulful, jazz-streaked, noisy rock record called Emily’s D+Evolution, which is a concept LP about that titular character, who is Esperanza’s alter ego. (When you talk to her, it starts to make sense.) For the story, I also got to interview the legendary Wayne Shorter, who name-dropped Haruki Murakami and Neil deGrasse Tyson during our chat. That part didn’t make it into the piece, but, well, now I’m name-dropping.
Anderson .Paak and I went cruising down the PCH on the first day that El Niño truly dumped on us. It was a little harrowing, but you wouldn’t know it from watching our video interview. Plus, if you read the story (which includes a chat with the mighty Talib Kweli), you’ll see that this dude’s made it through much much worse. His crazy soulful new album Malibu is out now.
I got back together with Selena Gomez to review a little bit of her banner year — specifically, the song that started it all, “Good for You.” This one has more to show in print, but I conducted the video interview with her (and her team) as well. Want more? Revisit our October cover story.
At last, proof that a Zayn Malik does indeed sh-t in the woods (and maybe the One Direction bed a little bit too). What do you do when you quit one of the biggest boy bands the world’s ever seen? You go home, back to Northern England, to steel yourself on mom’s cooking before buying a house in Bel Air and getting to work on your solo alt-R&B career. Also, you go camping with Frank Ocean’s favorite producer and record out among the trees.
Lady Gaga had me over to her beachside Malibu palace to play some new songs on her old piano and chitchat a lil’ about being crowned Billboard’s Woman of the Year. Click through to read about how she bet big on her own talents, poured her rage into American Horror Story: Hotel, and did whatever it took to save herself from becoming, in her words, a “fashionable robot.” With input from Tony Bennett, Ryan Murphy, Diane Warren, and Matt Bomer.
The LA Weekly runs an exceptionally solid music blog called West Coast Sound. I’ve contributed little bits in the past (Coachella coverage, and this Snoop Dogg thing), but in conjunction with WCS stepping up its coverage yet further, I’ll soon be contributing weekly. Expect breaking news, brief interviews and the occasional wry note on my usual musical obsessions (peep the Tag Cloud, yo).
Today’s posting is somewhat old news, but odd news nonetheless: