ABC Music News
Courtesy Vevo

While we wait to see Ariana Grande in concert in the flesh, we can now enjoy the first in what will be a series of performance videos that she's done for VEVO.

Ariana's VEVO Official Live Performance Series launched Monday with "pov," from her current album Positions. It features the singer -- wearing a black strapless halter top, black pants and long gloves -- performing the song in a garden made up of artificial turf and flowers, with a massive purple "O"-shaped light suspended above her.

According to VEVO, the clip is "rooted in the concept of duality."  The rest of Ari's "visually stunning" performances will premiere on VEVO in the coming days.

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Atlantic Records

The worldwide success of Ed Sheeran has given hope to gingers everywhere, but now Ed has admitted that he changed his famous hair color -- briefly -- and is asking his red-headed fans' forgiveness for the affront.

Posting a photo of himself in his makeup for the video of his new single "Bad Habits," Ed wrote, "My hair was blonde for 3 days for the shoot. I apologise to all my ginger people, it will never happen again."

"if you were blonde for more than a week, I’d never forgive you," wrote one fan in the comments. "Thank god blond Ed isn’t permanent," wrote another.  "NEVER DO THIS AGAIN HAHAAHHAH," added another.

The video for "Bad Habits" arrives at midnight on June 25. It casts Ed as a pink-suited, spiky-haired, glittery vampire who walks through the streets with a vampire gang.

Ed has also posted videos on his Instagram Story of fans listening to a snippet of "Bad Habits" on TikTok, and this one is a lot longer than the one he released last week.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos)

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Burak Cingi/Redferns

Here comes the sun, Lorde fans.

The star has announced that her much-anticipated album, Solar Power, will arrive August 20, and she'll be kicking off a world tour in 2022.  The North American leg begins April 3 in Nashville and wraps up in Santa Barbara, CA on May 7.  Tickets go on sale to the general public on June 25 at 10 a.m. local time. For full tour dates, visit Lorde.co.nz.

Solar Power will arrive in a brand-new discless format that's an alternative to a CD.  Called "Music Box," the format features extra visual content, handwritten notes, photos and a download card.  The card will include the album, two bonus tracks and access to what are described as "special surprises."

“I decided early on in the process of making this album that I also wanted to create an environmentally kind, forward-thinking alternative to the CD," says Lorde in a statement. "I wanted this Music Box product to be similar in size, shape and price to a CD, to live alongside it in a retail environment, but be something which stands apart and that’s committed to the evolving nature of a modern album.”

Of the album itself, Lorde says that it's "a celebration of the natural world," and "an attempt at immortalizing the deep, transcendent feelings I have when I’m outdoors."

"In times of heartache, grief, deep love, or confusion, I look to the natural world for answers," she adds. "I’ve learned to breathe out, and tune in. This is what came through.”

Here's the track listing for Solar Power:

"The Path"
"Solar Power"
"California"
"Stoned in the Nail Salon"
"Fallen Fruit"
"Secrets from a Girl (Who's Seen It All)"
"The Man with an Axe"
"Dominoes"
"Big Star"
"Leader of a New Regime"
"Mood Ring"
"Oceanic Feeling"

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Universal Music New Zealand

Lorde has said that "Loaded," a 1990 hit by the British band Primal Scream, inspired her new single "Solar Power."  But now the estate of a late, legendary pop star has thanked Lorde for referencing his 1990 hit song in "Solar Power" -- which she didn't consciously intend to do.

The official website of George Michael, who died in 2016, posted a statement from his estate regarding perceived similarities between "Solar Power" and George's 1990 top-10 hit, "Freedom '90." 

"We are aware that many people are making a connection between 'Freedom ’90' by George Michael and 'Solar Power' by Lorde, which George would have been flattered to hear," the statement reads. "So on behalf of one great artist to a fellow artist, we wish her every success with the single.”

After "Solar Power" was released, fans tweeted about the similarities, Billboard reports. One wrote, "so lorde's new song is a love letter to george michael and it is v. good."   Another fan wrote, "started off the day w solar power and now i realize it sounds like freedom! '90."

But to clarify, according to Lorde, "Freedom '90" was not an influence on the song. "Let the record state 'Loaded' is 100%, the original blueprint for this, but we arrived at it organically," she told Apple Music.

"Loaded" and "Freedom '90" sound slightly similar in their groove, piano riff and gospel feel, though "Loaded" came out several months earlier than "Freedom."

 

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Dave Meyers

More than 300 artists have banded together to sign an open letter urging the U.S. Senate to pass HR5, otherwise known as the Equality Act.

Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Pink, Bebe Rexha, Billie Eilish, Britney Spears, The Jonas Brothers, Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Niall Horan, Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes, Lorde, Selena Gomez, Justin Timberlake, The Chainsmokers, Camilla Cabello and Katy Perry are just a few of the many, many stars who've signed the letter.

The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  It would also expand protections for women, people of color and people of faith.

"As musicians and artists, we strongly believe that all people should be welcomed and celebrated as their true, authentic self," reads the letter in part. It adds, "Taking away basic human rights is inhumane. All youth, especially trans youth should be protected and given opportunities to thrive."

It goes on to say, "As artists, we commit to doing everything in our power to make sure our fans, crew and fellow artists feel safe and welcome everywhere we go...we believe that the passage of the Equality Act is an essential part in protecting...the most marginalized communities from discrimination."

On June 24 at 7 p.m. ET, a virtual happy hour event called A Night of Action will encourage fans to take actions that support the passage of the act.  Special guest artists will appear throughout.  You can RSVP at EqualityTime.org/Music.

The letter and livestream are being organized by the Equality Time Coalition and The Ally Coalition. The latter was started by super-producer Jack Antonoff and his sister, Rachel, in 2013.  Most of the artists Jack has worked with have signed the letter.

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Blake Shelton doesn't have any children, but his fiancée, Gwen Stefani, knows that a blood relationship isn't necessary for a man to be a good father.

On Sunday, Gwen posted a tribute to Blake, who turned 45 on Friday, writing, "happy father's day to the most generous patient loving funny guy i know - we love u so much."  She also uploaded a series of images of Blake with her three sons -- Apollo, Kingston and Zuma -- whom she shares with her ex-husband, rocker Gavin Rossdale.

In the pictures, Blake is seen goofing around or having fun with the boys, both onstage and off.

Gwen also paid tribute to her own father, with a photo of him as a young man playing guitar and then a recent pic showing him posing with Gwen and her mom.  "Happy father's dad dennis james stefani thank u for being a good man and a amazing dad - we love u," she wrote.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gwen Stefani (@gwenstefani)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gwen Stefani (@gwenstefani)

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BMG

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Natalie Imbruglia is back with a new album called Firebird. It's her first album of new, original material since 2009.

The Australian singer/songwriter, best known for her smash "Torn," will release the album September 24.  It was recorded almost entirely in lockdown and features songs co-written by some of the folks behind hits for Adele, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Jason Derulo and more.

“Making this album has been such a profound and satisfying experience. Having gone through a long period of what essentially was writer’s block, it was sometimes hard to envisage getting to this place," Natalie says in a statement.

"Before the pandemic, I started the process of writing this album in London and soon after, I headed to Nashville. With each session and new collaborator, I started to gain confidence, find my voice again, and craft the sound and style that felt authentic to me," she adds. "It’s been such a privilege to work with such an array of talent on Firebird. I just can’t wait for people to finally hear it.”  

The first single and video from the album, "Build It Better," is out now.  In the video, Natalie pulls up to the cafe at a gas station in the middle of the night and ends up singing and dancing with her fellow patrons. 

The song itself is about coming back stronger from heartbreak, but it could be applied to the entire world, post-pandemic.  Natalie says of the song, "Surrendering to the chaos and seeing what’s on the other side of it is a good life lesson. Letting something fall apart, and being okay with that, is something that I have had to do in my life, numerous times."

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Stefan Matzke - sampics/GC Images

Justin Timberlake and wife Jessica Biel had much to celebrate on Sunday, as it was the first Father's Day they'd shared as a family of four.  The two secretly welcomed their second son, Phineas, last year but didn't confirm the little one's arrival until January.

Taking to Instagram over the weekend, JT gushed about fatherhood and also saluted his dad, Randall and grandfathers, Charles and Bill.  The "Can't Stop The Feeling" singer also gave fans a rare glimpse of his new son in the accompanying slideshow tribute.

The photo -- the second one in the slide show -- shows Justin playing a game with his six-year-old son Silas while Phineas is sitting on the ground, transfixed by what's on the television.

"Being a dad is better than I ever could have imagined," Justin wrote in the caption. "Thankful to my dads and my grandfathers for leading the way, making the sacrifices for me to live out my dreams, and for teaching me that REAL LIFE happens in all the little moments."

Jessica also honored her husband on Father's Day and shared a series of special photos that showed off what kind of father Timberlake is.

"Baby, you are the moon, the stars and the sour cream pound cake of my life. You put a roof over our heads, and then fix it when the home made rocket goes terribly wrong," she gushed.

"You let us use the couch as an indoor trampoline even though we have one outside," she added. "You love the noise and the chaos of it all even though you’ve worked all night are are trying to sleep."

"We are grateful for you for all the big things and the things we don’t see. Thank you for making it so fun," the actress concluded.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jessica Biel (@jessicabiel)

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Stefan Kohli

While she may play student Nini Salazar in High School Musical: The Musical: The SeriesOlivia Rodrigo is officially a high school graduate.  The singer celebrated collecting her diploma over the weekend.

Taking to Instagram on Saturday to share Polaroid-style photos of herself wearing a cap and gown, the "Drivers License" singer cheered in the caption, "Bye high school!!!!!!!"

In the first photo, the singer is wearing her navy blue school regalia and is flashing two peace signs.  She is playfully sticking out her tongue and tapping her shoulders in the subsequent photo. 

Olivia, 18, also shared a message a fellow graduate wrote on their car, which reads in pink lettering "Just Graditated!" -- most likely a reference to the cartoon series Rick and Morty.

With high school officially in the rear view mirror, Rodrigo can now fully focus on her burgeoning music career, which has already produced a number one album, SOUR, and three hit singles.

In a prior interview with Billboard, the "good 4 u" singer opened up about the challenges of juggling school work and her rising star status.

"I have, like, a month left of senior year, and I’ve sort of been neglecting that," she confessed in the May interview. "Because I’ve been off making my album, I sort of forgot I was a high school student."

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Taylor Swift caused her dad, Scott Swift, to start trending on Twitter after shouting him out in an adorable Father's Day tribute.

"Happy Father’s Day to all the dads but mostly mine," the Grammy winner wrote before diving in a cute anecdote from a recent conversation of theirs.

According to Taylor, her dad "called me yesterday to remind me he still has guitar picks from the Red Tour, ‘if they’re needed’."

The revelation caused fans to demand that Scott release his stockpiled Red-era guitar picks, joking they are "From The Vault," a term Taylor coined when she re-released her Fearless album that included several never-before-heard tracks.

The activity led to Scott Swift and "Papa Swift" to trend on Twitter in the U.S. on Sunday.

On Friday, the "willow" singer surprised fans with news that she will be releasing Red (Taylor's Version) on November 19.  The offering will include 30 tracks, including a 10-minute song that has fans buzzing could be the original version of "All Too Well."

Red, Taylor's fourth studio album, was originally released in 2012 and contained hits "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You Were Trouble."  It was also nominated for two Grammy Awards.

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Anne Barson/FilmMagic

Miley Cyrus has teased the fact that she's contributing to a Metallica tribute album, but now the guy who played drums on the track, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, tells ABC Audio that the song she did is truly "epic" -- not to mention movie-worthy.

"It's the song 'Nothing Else Matters.' Miley Cyrus is singing -- Hannah Montana herself!" Chad tells ABC Audio. "Elton John, Sir Elton John is playing the piano!"

Noting the rest of the lineup includes Metallica's Robert Trujillo, famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Grammy-winning producer Andrew Watt, Chad adds, "When do you get Robert Trujillo on bass, Chad, Andrew, Elton, Miley Cyrus and Yo-Yo Ma? It's the Avengers! You could make a movie out of this thing!"

"It's pretty epic, to say the least," he adds. "And it's good stuff."

So far, there's no release date for the Metallica tribute album, but Miley's performed "Nothing Else Matters" several times in concert.  She may even play it on the string of live shows she has coming up, starting with a July 4 with a concert at Resorts World Las Vegas, followed by shows at Lollapalooza , Bottle Rock Napa, Summer Fest, Music Midtown and Austin City Limits.

In other Miley news, she wished her dad Billy Ray Cyrus a Happy Father's Day on Sunday by posting a sweet series of pictures of them together over the years.

"HAPPY DADDYS DAY LEGEND!" she wrote. "@billyraycyrus thanks for teaching me the true meaning of a mullet!"  She also revealed he'll be joining her on her upcoming Pride Month special I'll Stand By You on the Peacock streaming platform June 25.

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Amy Sussman/FilmMagic

Katy Perry wished her fiance Orlando Bloom a Happy Father's Day on Sunday by posting some footage that appears to have been filmed on the day that her "greatest gift" arrived: Their daughter Daisy Dove.

"Happy first Father’s Day to to the healer of my heart and the giver of my greatest gift [Daisy Dove]," she captioned the video. "I love you WHOLE world."

In the video, Orlando in a hospital gown, cap and mask, is sitting in a chair holding a boombox that's playing soothing music, which he hums along to. "Ready to bring her in, baby," he mumbles.

Katy then turns the camera around to herself: She's lying in a hospital bed and laughing, with a mask around her neck.

While Sunday was Orlando's first Father's Day as Daisy's father, he's been a dad for a while: He and his ex-wife Miranda Kerr share a 10-year-old son, Flynn.

Demi Lovato reacted to the footage by writing, "Omg what a dream partner - I ship so hard. Y’all’s biggest fan right here."

Orlando posted a photo of his own on Sunday, showing him shirtless and eating what he calls his "favorite breakfast," which appears to be a chocolate croissant.

"A shout out to all the dads and father figures today," he wrote, adding, "I’m blessed to have strong, loving mothers around me and am thankful for all they do! I will continue to work to make them and our children happy."

Katy, Orlando and Daisy were recently spotted enjoying a getaway to Venice, Italy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by KATY PERRY (@katyperry)

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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Park MGM Las Vegas

Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Bon Jovi and Beyonce were among the winners of this year's Pollstar Awards, which honor accomplishments in touring.  However, this year's awards were given out in recognition of an entire decade's worth of work.

Since 2020 didn't have much in the way of touring activity, Pollstar instead handed out awards celebrating the most successful artists of the past decade, as well as a bunch of awards for livestreaming.

Beyonce was the big winner: She was named Pollstar Touring Artist of the Decade.  The rest of the awards were broken down by musical genre: Bruno Mars was named Hip Hop/R&B Touring Artist of the Decade, Lady Gaga was Pop Touring Artist of the Decade, Bon Jovi was Rock Touring Artist of the Decade and Jennifer Lopez was Latin Touring Artist of the Decade.

Meanwhile, touring-industry professionals were honored for their leadership during the pandemic, and other awards included Best Livestreaming Platform, which went to Mandolin, and Best Livestreaming Venue, which went to Nashville's The Ryman Auditorium.  Coachella was named Music Festival of the Decade.

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Rich Fury/Getty Images for dcp

During her American Idol days, Gabby Barrett spoke a lot about how much her dad, Blase, a maintenance man for Goodwill, supported her career.  He's the one who booked her gigs singing at fairs, parks, birthday parties, weddings and more when she was just a little kid.  Now, ahead of Father's Day on Sunday, Gabby's sharing the best advice her father ever gave her.

"One of things he taught me was to use negative as positivity. Especially going through school that was really, really important… and it helped me through so much," says the "I Hope" singer, who's also talked about how she was bullied as a student.

"So, to use anything in life that comes at you in a negative way, to use it as a positive and to know that it’s happening for our good in the end," she adds. "So that would definitely be [the best advice]."

Sunday will mark the first Father's Day for Gabby's husband, fellow American Idol finalist Cade Foehner. The two welcomed their first child, daughter Baylah, in January.

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Disney/Fred Hayes

Olivia Rodrigo debuted a new original song on the latest episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, written specially for her character, Nini.

In the episode, Nini returns to East High after a stint at private school, but since she missed out on auditions for the class’ production of Beauty and the Beast, a new role of the Rose is created for her. She’s tasked with writing a song for her and the Beast, played by her love interest on the show, Ricky.

After a bout of writer’s block, Nini ends up writing and performing an empowering solo number, “The Rose Song,” about finding the value within yourself.

"I'm really proud of it,” Olivia tells People of the song. “I think it's really fun to write from the perspective of somebody that is not you."

“It's a fun, creative challenge for me," she adds. "I always try to integrate my personal experience, and also my unique songwriting voices for the songs that I do for the show."

Olivia previously wrote the song "All I Want" for Nini in season one of the show. The new episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is available on Disney+ now.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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