LADY & JONES CHAT TOUR PLANS, FAVOURITE SONGS & THEIR NEW EP 7

It’s often been said that it’s those closest to us who bring out the best in all of us and husband and wife duo Lady & Jones are most certainly proof of that. The pair, from Virginia and Ohio respectively, have spent the past few months working tirelessly on their new EP, and with an album planned in the near future, their creative and musical partnership is going from strength to strength, just as they are. Here, they chat to thisisthelatest about song-writing inspiration, dream shows and their thoughts on the power of, in their own words, the social media game which they’re “late” to.

TITL: Please introduce yourselves.

Lady & Jones: First of all thank you for taking the time to chat with us – we are happy to have this opportunity! We are Lady & Jones, as you know, from the buckeye state of OH-IO. I – Jones – grew up in Ohio and we both have family and close friends still living there today. Lady lovingly calls Ohio “the pits”, since she loathes the cold. HA! I – Lady – was born in Virginia and spent a fair amount of my childhood in Georgia as my dads’ whole side of the family is from there. I love the sunshine and much prefer California to anywhere that I have lived.

TITL: It’s often been said that even friends can struggle to make a band work, so, as a married couple, what’s your secret?

L&J: Ha! Well, not sure we have figured that secret out, but we are always working at it. Music is one of the main things we argue about actually! Typically it’s nothing a chat, pizza or a burger won’t fix! We are both so passionate about our music that we won’t let anything stand in the way, even ourselves. Without music we would not be fulfilled and reciprocally we want to always have a happy healthy marriage. So we have no choice but to make it work! So we do, and we eat a lot of pizza in the meantime!

TITL: Which bands and artists would you say you’re most inspired and influenced by?

L&J: Jones has quite the man-crush on Jason Mraz and is always referencing his music. We don’t feel our music is like Jason’s necessarily but it definitely inspired Jones to write. We are influenced by so many bands but the ones that come to mind instantly are, Florence and the Machine, Hozier, Sara Bareilles, John Legend and X Ambassadors, just to name a few.

TITL: Tell me a little about your track “Not Sorry”. What’s the story behind it?

L&J: “Not Sorry” was written at a time when some very close family members and friends were experiencing hostile relationships. It was toxic and affecting many around us. At times it was hard to find words to deal with situations. Honestly, it started as a joke because Lady likes to say, “Sorry, not sorry”. Through the pain and many conversations this song developed as a conduit for the circumstances.

TITL: Is there an EP or an album in the works?

L&J: Yes! We are thrilled with the outcome of our first EP which is scheduled to drop this month after our second single “Our Story of Beauty” is released. Working with Mert Ozcan and Beto Vargas from The Record House was definitely rewarding and exciting.

TITL: Who or what most influences your song-writing and with that in mind, in your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?

L&J: More than anything the situations we find ourselves in and the people around us have influenced the song-writing. I – Lady – have been touring with another company over the last year and have had the opportunity to travel, which has especially influenced my songwriting. I – Jones – find my writing is most influenced by small things. A single phrase or interactions on a crowded bus commute gets jotted down in a journal. At home it takes on a life of its own, turning into a new chorus, verse, or bridge. Inspiration truly comes from anywhere.

The greatest song ever written? Wow, that’s a question! We don’t want to offend the music gods by naming just one, so we will list a few of our favorites: “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles for his flawless improv, “Hotel California” by Eagles for its timeless lyrics, and “Some Nights” by Fun for its passion and powerful draw.

TITL: What are your upcoming performance plans and if you could share a stage with four other bands or artists, living or dead, who would you choose?

L&J: We are currently putting together our band and were lucky enough to work with some phenomenal musicians in the process of creating our EP. We are hoping to share the stage with some of them here in the LA area soon after the EP release. If we were to share a stage with four other artists it would have to be Florence and the Machine, Karmin, Michael Jackson & Ray Charles.

TITL: Which venue, anywhere in the world, would you most like to play and why?

L&J: You know, we haven’t talked much about the venues as much as we have the fact that we would love touring together and are adamant about this happening soon! I – Lady – had the opportunity to perform at the Ryman this past year and I will never forget the surreal feeling of being on a stage that so many greats have performed on. That definitely is on the top of my list to experience with Jones by my side!

TITL: What are your thoughts on social media and to what extent has it helped grow your fan-base?

L&J: Unfortunately we are late to the social media game and it is still very new to us. We are growing daily and trying to reach fans organically. This industry proves delayed gratification. It is pretty overwhelming to worry about a number on your page! We try not to focus on that and instead keep dreaming, creating, and honing in on our craft. The fans and followers will come in time.

TITL: Would you agree that it’s a necessary tool for bands and artists or is still possible for those in the entertainment sector to get by without it?

L&J: We wish it wasn’t the case, but yes it does seem to be a necessary tool these days. There will always be exceptions to this rule but anymore most agents, managers, record labels, and writers won’t even consider you without seeing a high number on social media. So we play the game a little I suppose, but not without trying our hardest to be true to ourselves and our fans.

TITL: Finally then, what else does 2017 have in store for you and where would you like to see yourselves ten years from now?

L&J: We are excited for 2017 as we plan to start working on our first full album! It will be long hours and there will most definitely be pizza involved, but we are excited none the less. In ten years we hope to be doing music full time! We will be creating music that is still relevant with several tours under our belt. Exploring new places and meeting new people to share in our adventures is a huge goal! By that point, family will be in the mix for sure and we will be balancing it all, busy as ever but happier for it.

Give “Our Story of Beauty” a listen below and for more information on Lady & Jones, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Their self-titled EP is available now and can be purchased here.

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LIVE: THE SCRIPT @ BLACKPOOL EMPRESS BALLROOM – AUGUST 30TH 2017 9

Up and coming Mancunian JP Cooper warms up the packed out floor and quickly filling seating area with a set lasting around half an hour, armed simply with a guitar. “I’ve played a few empty rooms here in Blackpool so it’s awesome to see so many of you have come out early” he says, prior to performing ”She’s On My Mind”, which is currently receiving huge airplay and support from radio stations across the country so needless to say, the song goes down a treat. He rounds off his time on stage with a short heartfelt speech about “Passport Home” claiming it to be: “…a celebration of anyone who’s done something good or who has been there for you. Thank you to all of you for coming out and to The Script for this amazing opportunity.” By the time he walks off stage to warm applause, he’s certainly earned himself a considerable number of new fans.

After more than two years away, Irish trio The Script are currently preparing to release their fifth album Freedom Child on Friday and have been touring the UK and Ireland in support of it for the past couple of weeks. Tonight, on the second to last night of this intimate run of dates, and four years to the day the band were due to perform in town as part of the Illuminations switch-on event, they walk on stage to a heroes’ welcome, kicking their set off with  “Rock The World”, one of the songs from the new album. It gets the show off to an up-tempo start with those on the floor, particularly at the barrier (which one girl I spoke to said she’d queued from 5am to get a spot at) and in the first few rows clapping, jumping and, having followed the previous few shows and quickly learned the lyrics, singing along.

“Superheroes” keeps the mood of the night upbeat, as does “Paint The Town Green” which sees front-man Danny O’Donoghue practically jig his way from one side of the stage to the other before the song slides straight into part of “Good Ol’ Days.”

Fan-favourite “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” is next up and as the crowd all but take over vocal duties to close out the song, Glen turns to his left slightly and proudly applauds while Danny bows down to them, grateful and somewhat overwhelmed by the strength and passion of the masses before him. Having been made aware of some venues not allowing gig-goers to photograph or film parts of shows, Mark, calling out a member of their tour crew, then proceeds to make the following statement: “Tell security to let people film and take photographs if they fucking want to. Venues might have a policy against it but we don’t give a fuck.”

With Freedom Child just two days away from release, the trio then introduce what Danny has called the only “ballad” on the album, “Arms Open”, which, under atmospheric lighting, sees a hand-clap slowly spread around the venue. Addressing the fact they were due in the town 4 years ago but had to cancel their appearance due to a family health emergency, they then call out: “Turn the fucking lights on!” and as every corner of the venue becomes illuminated, while the band stand watching and listening to the crowd roar to life once again, all they can remark is: “Amazing.”

Carrying on what has become a long-standing tour tradition, Danny then says they’re going to create a Mexican Wave and share it using Boomerang, explaining for the older members in the audience – “like me” he jokes – that Boomerang is a social media tool that takes a little clip and puts it on repeat. “It’s gonna look fucking awesome” he insists, and after a practice run, sure enough, the sight of thousands of arms rising and falling together is quite a sight to behold.

Getting back to the music, “Nothing” and “If You Ever Come Back” are next up before, after a brief interlude during which Danny announces: “This tour keeps getting better and better…you guys are amazing, thank you so much”, they introduce another new song; the rather reggae sounding “No Man Is An Island” at the end of which Glen looks out at everyone and declares: “You guys are an amazing crowd”, then all but (politely) demands: “Give yourselves a round of applause” which everyone duly does.

As three criss-cross white lights shine down on the band, “Never Seen Anything Quite Like You” begins with Danny standing centre-stage with his keyboard, while “For The First Time” ends with huge, seemingly never-ending cheers and rapturous applause as Danny stands almost perfectly still for a moment and looks speechless, gazing out at the sight and sound around him. “Science And Faith” and “If You Could See Me Now” follow soon after, before Danny then proceeds to delight those on the balcony towards the back of the venue when he appears on the walkway in front of them to perform “The Energy Never Dies”, with one fan getting an extra added surprise when he sings straight into her phone. Returning to the stage, he then instigates a venue wide sing-along of “Breakeven.”

From the second the band move to walk off stage, the venue echoes with the sound of thousands of people whistling, cheering and stamping their feet non-stop until the trio return for an encore which begins with “No Good In Goodbye.” Half way through, Danny says “Let’s hear you sing this” and holds out the mic to the crowd who duly oblige, albeit a little quietly at first, but they soon find their full voices again.

Latest single “Rain” has the mass of people on the floor, and Danny in particular, jumping around with the energy of someone half his age, before, as the show draws to a close, talking about the meaning behind the new album, he makes the following emphatic and passionate speech:

“We feel that freedom of expression has been under attack recently. We’re talking about the freedom to do what you wanna do, the freedom to say what it is you wanna say. The freedom to feel what is you really feel, the freedom to think what you wanna think, the freedom to pray to whoever you wanna pray to…but more importantly, the freedom to love who you wanna love…”

He goes on to ask: “Blackpool, are you in the mood for making a moment right now?!,” to which he receives a roar in response that makes him beam. “Let’s do this!” Seconds later he announces that they are live across the world right now and encourages everyone to repeat after him: “Freedom Child!”, before the band launch into final song of the night, “Hall Of Fame” which ends with Danny jumping off the edge of Glen’s drum platform. Then, gathering for their usual group bow at the front of the stage, the trio, alongside bassist Ben Sergeant and keyboardist Rodney Alejandro, take a moment to soak up the cheers and applause which thunder around the ballroom, sounds which continue to reverberate long after the group disappear from view.

KENDRICK LAMAR WINS BIG AT THE MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS 2017 11

Kendrick Lamar was the king of the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, winning six awards on a night full of emotional performances, political moments and a new, eye-popping Taylor Swift music video.

The 2017 MTV VMAs at the Forum in Inglewood, California, kicked off with lasers, fire and Kendrick Lamar. Break dancers performed amidst the light beams and fog as the rapper performed “DNA.” The song culminated with a ninja break-dancing while engulfed in flames. Then, the rapper transitioned to Humble” and Lamar’s backup performers, who were wearing martial arts uniforms, clamoured up and down a ladder that was set ablaze.

Ed Sheeran then took the stage to perform “Shape of You” against a prismatic set before Lil Uzi hopped onstage to add a few rap lines and helped Sheeran close out the song before the two launched into “XO TOUR Llif3.

The show cut to a skit featuring host Katy Perry hatching up a scheme to visit space, asking for advice from Buzz Aldrin, Peggy Whitson, Abbi Jacobson, Kathryn Hahn and Kevin Bacon who reminded Perry, “I wasn’t really on Apollo 13.” Perry then detailed her fictional trip to space before she floated down to the stage in her holographic space suit.

When she got to the stage, Perry explained to the audience that she has been missing in action because of her trip to space.

She said: “The world is doing so well right? Everything is fine? Great! Maybe not so much.”

Perry explained she wanted to change clothes. As she started to disrobe, she went through a rack of clothes. At one point, she took a “Handmaid’s Tale” uniform out and asked what it was. She said, “You guys have really been going through it, haven’t you? How the f**k are you coping right now?” before she was handed a fidget spinner as an explanation.

Paris Jackson presented best pop video award, but not before giving an impassioned statement against white supremacists.

“Let’s leave here tonight remembering we must show these Nazi, white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville and all over the country that as a nation with liberty as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred and their discrimination,” said Jackson. “We must resist.”

Fifth Harmony won best pop video for “Down and they got teary as they thanked their families and Gucci Mane, who was on the stage with them.

Hailee Steinfeld announced Julia Michaels’ performance of “Issues.”

The VMAs premiered  Taylor Swift’s video for her new single Look What You Made Me Do” while a new minutes laterYara Shahidi announced Shawn Mendes’ performance of “There’s Nothin’ Holding Me Back.”

Perry returned to the stage with a message for people affected by Hurricane Harvey and said, “We are praying for your safety … because we’re all in this together.”

Alessandra Ambrosio and Jack Antonoff, who sported a prominent Star of David necklace, announced a performance by Lorde.

Lorde opened by turning on a boom box onstage and dancing to her song “Homemade Dynamite.” Later, backup dancers joined her to lift her into the air so she could float over the stage. She ended the performance without singing a single word.

Pete Wentz and Teyana Taylor presented best dance, which went to “Stay” by Alessia Cara and Zedd.

DJ Khaled took the stage with his baby, Asahd Tuck Khaled, who Perry said would obviously win the social media baby contest. He then announced a performance by Fifth Harmony. The girl group started with “Angel” before transitioning into “Down.”

Ludacris and Olivia Munn presented best collaboration, which went to “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” by Zayn and Taylor Swift. Jack Antonoff and his “favorite new artist” Sam Dew accepted the award on the singers’ behalf.

Jared Leto took the stage to pay tribute to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Soundgarden front-man Chris Cornell.

Leto then urged audience members and viewers at home to stand up for a performance by Linkin Park.

A few minutes later, host Perry announced a performance by Miley Cyrus, who sang “Younger Now” after shouting, “Love you, Katy!”

Cardi B announced a spirited performance of “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato.

Later, P!nk appeared onstage in a convertible to sing a medley of her songs, including “Get the Party Started” and “Raise Your Glass” before hopping onto an ATV to sing “So What” as backup singers danced nearly nude with only black bars to cover themselves.

P!nk then sang “Don’t Let Me Get Me” and “Just Give Me A Reason” against a screen playing her old music videos before she performed her newest single “What About Us.”

After Pink’s performance, Ellen DeGeneres took the stage to present the Vanguard Award to P!nk.

Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown took the stage to present artist of the year and quipped, “Just last year, I was stuck in the upside down and now I’m here.” The award went to Brown’s “personal favorite” Ed Sheeran.

Vanessa Hudgens announced a performance by Alessia Cara.

Kesha announced a performance of “1-800-273-8255” by Alessia Cara and Logic, encouraging people to seek help and advice. The song title is also the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Bebe Rexha and The Chainsmokers presented best new artist, which went to Khalid, before Thirty Seconds to Mars sang “Walk on Water” with a performance that saw them appear as a heat map.

Reverend Robert Mead IV took the stage and said:

“I am a descendent of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was at the center of violence. We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy. As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin. Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on. We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women’s March in January and especially Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville.”

Mead then introduced Susan Bro, Heyer’s mother, who said of her daughter:

“I miss her, but I know she’s here tonight. I have been deeply moved to see people across the world, the whole world, find inspiration in her courage.” She announced the launch of the Heather Heyer Foundation, which will provide scholarships to “help people join Heather’s fight against hatred. I want people to know that Heather never marched alone. She was always joined by people of every race and every background in this country.”

She announced that MTV decided to honor all six nominees for its category, best fight against the system, adding:

“I congratulate all these artists on their VMA tonight and I look forward to the important work that they and all of you will do together to make the world a better, kinder place. Thank you.”

Hailey Baldwin announced the performance of the “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” reboot by Rod Stewart and DNCE, who put on a colorful and flashy performance from Las Vegas.

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot presented video of the year, which went to “Humble.” by Kendrick Lamar.

Noah Cyrus announced a performance by host Perry and Nicki Minaj who together closed out the ceremony.

Here’s the full list of winners from the 2017 VMA’s:

Video of the Year: Kendrick Lamar: “HUMBLE.”
Best New Artist: Khalid
Artist of the Year: Ed Sheeran
Best Hip Hop Video: Kendrick Lamar: “HUMBLE.”
Best Collaboration: Zayn and Taylor Swift: “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)”
Best Pop Video: Fifth Harmony: “Down” [ft. Gucci Mane]
Best Dance Video: Zedd and Alessia Cara: “Stay”
Best Rock Video: Twenty One Pilots: “Heavydirtysoul”
Song of the Summer: Lil Uzi Vert: “XO Tour Llif3”
Best Direction: Kendrick Lamar: “HUMBLE.”
Best Cinematography: Kendrick Lamar: “HUMBLE.”
Best Visual Effects: Kendrick Lamar: “HUMBLE.”
Best Choreography: Kanye West: “Fade”
Best Editing: Young Thug: “Wyclef Jean”
Best Fight Against the System (all nominees win):Logic: “Black SpiderMan”; The Hamilton Mixtape: “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)”; Big Sean: “Light”; Alessia Cara: “Scars to Your Beautiful”; Taboo: “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” [ft. Shailene Woodley]; John Legend: “Surefire”