ILANA ARMIDA TALKS “HIGH NO MORE”, SOCIAL MEDIA & TOUR PLANS 0 44

As an individual with rhythm in her blood – she’s been dancing since she was 3 – it’s perhaps not surprising to find that Ilana Armida is well on her way to establishing herself as a gifted singer-songwriter and performer. With her new single “High No More” out today, Ilana spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about her artistic influences, the one place she’d most like to play and how she’d love to party with Bruno Mars.

TITL: Firstly, what would you say sets you apart from the many other artists out there?

Ilana Armida: I think what makes me unique is that I handle pretty much every aspect of my entertainment career. In this industry a lot of artists are used as pawns. Labels tell them what music to put out and when, how to dress, how to move, etc. In my case – and how I plan on keeping it – I get to create music that genuinely represents who I am and what I am going through. I choose when I release that music through my own entertainment company, I co-produce and work with who I want to work with, I create my own cover art, run my own social media and truly get to be hands on with everything that I do both on the business and creative side of my brand.

TITL: You’re a woman of many talents, as someone who has been dancing since you were three and has been part of the professional dance and musical theater worlds, but what is it about singing and song-writing that ultimately drives you to create the music and sound that you do?

IA: I love performing! Song-writing gives me the opportunity to create music that I can turn into an experience for others. As I am writing I am very much also picturing what the live show and music video will look like. I love how I can put my thoughts and feelings into a song and make others feel things and make them want to dance!

TITL: Do you have any plans to go back to musical theater or are you happy to just be doing your own thing now?

IA: Eventually yes! I am a drama geek at heart and would absolutely love to do something on or off Broadway down the road!

TITL: Which band or artist might you say you sound most similar, or are you most compared to? Who would you most like to see or hear yourself be compared to?

IA: I honestly do not get compared to other artists that often. When it comes to the music I make I have gotten JoJo or even Ariana Grande before which is dope because they have two of the best voices in the world! JoJo is from Massachusetts like me and Ariana is Italian like me so maybe it’s that! I want to be Bruno Mars when I grow up. Haha! He’s my guy!

TITL: Who or what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to music and song-writing and with that in mind, which song would you say is the greatest ever written and why?

IA: I grew up listening to soul, motown and R&B, so it all started with Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding! They made music that made people feel things so deeply. But right now the most inspiring artist out there is Bruno Mars. He captures that feeling of soul and R&B that I love but creates songs that people of all generations can dance to! “24k Magic” is up there for best song ever written because of the positive effect it had worldwide.

TITL: Is there a story behind your new track “High No More” and what ultimately made you decide it was a fitting single?

IA: “High No More” was written very late at night in a studio full of my friends who were all drained from a long day. We didn’t realize how cool the song was until we listened back the next day. Allen Mattox had the line “You don’t get me high no more” and it allowed me to tap into a place I have unfortunately been in more than once and I am sure a lot of people have experienced when you are in a relationship and your significant other has stopped putting in effort. It is pretty straight forward but there is this sense of longing for the spark to reignite.

TITL: Are there plans for an EP or album in the works?

IA: Not currently. I plan on releasing a bunch of music this year in the form of singles to see what resonates and to show my fans what I am capable of. If an album happens in this process than GREAT!

TITL: What is your tour/performance schedule for the months ahead looking like? Which one venue would you most like to play and why?

IA: We will definitely have some shows around LA in the coming months. Hoping for a tour later in the year! I don’t have one venue in mind but I would love to do the festival circuit! Coachella maybe???

TITL: How do you feel about social media and the power and impact it can and does have on the lives and careers of artists today? Do you believe it’s possible for people to succeed in this industry without being socially connected to their fans?

IA: It is very difficult to stand out when there are thousands of “influencers” dominating the social media world but the beautiful thing about social media is that I can instantly connect to my fans all around the world.  We as artists NEED social media to keep people interested in what we are doing and I think outside of all of the Facetune and ingenuine content these platforms can be super beneficial to connecting with our true supporters.

TITL: Are there any other plans or projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?

IA: Just look out for a bunch of new music from me this year!

TITL: Finally then, as someone who is clearly ambitious and driven to achieve all she sets out to, what’s left for you to tick off your personal and professional bucket lists? What would you have to do in order to be able to say to yourself “I’ve done all I dreamed of and more?”

IA: I don’t ask for much, I simply want to work with – or maybe just party with – Bruno and I want to do a world tour…. that’s all.

Check out “High No More” below and for more information on Ilana Armida, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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HUGH JACKMAN TO PERFORM AT THE 2019 BRIT AWARDS 0 25

We are so excited to announce that multi award-winning actor and performer Hugh Jackman is set to open the show with a performance from the global musical sensation The Greatest Showman.

This show-stopping BRITs performance will be under the creative direction of Michael Gracey, the film’s director.

Hugh Jackman has carved a successful career both on stage in front of live crowds. From his award-winning turn on Broadway as the 1970s singer/songwriter Peter Allen, to Wolverine in the blockbuster X-Men franchise, he has proven to be one of the most versatile actors of our time. Jackman garnered his first Academy Award® nomination for Best Actor for his performance in Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables, and his standout performance as protagonist Jean Valjean also earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical, as well as SAG Award® nominations for both Best Ensemble and Best Male Actor in a leading role, and a BAFTA Award nomination. Most recently, he was nominated for his role as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman. His ‘The Man, The Music, The Show’ World Tour will kick off this May, which includes five nights at The O2 Arena, London.

The Greatest Showman has taken the world by storm since its theatrical release at the end of 2017, hitting the top spot in the UK by early 2018 and becoming the most purchased home entertainment release after Avengers Infinity War and Star Wars The Last Jedi.

The film’s soundtrack, composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, was the UK’s best selling album of last year, topping the charts in several countries including the US, Australia, UK and Japan and reaching No. 1 on iTunes in over 70 countries. The 5x Platinum certified soundtrack has to date sold over 5.4 million records worldwide, with 1.77 million sold in the UK, and is the second album in 30 years to spend 11 consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the UK, equalling the record set by Adele for her album ‘21’, and was the longest running soundtrack at No. 1 in 50 years. ‘This is Me’, taken from the soundtrack, won a Golden Globe for ‘Best Original Song’ and was nominated for an Academy Award; the soundtrack was also up for two GRAMMY awards, and last night was announced as winner of Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.

BRITs Chairman and Chairman & CEO of Sony Music UK and Ireland Jason lley said:
“We are delighted to welcome the Golden Globe and Tony Award winning superstar Hugh Jackman to the BRITs stage this month with a performance that is set to be nothing short of spectacular. The Greatest Showman soundtrack dominated the charts in 2018 breaking records all over the world as well as here in the UK. It’s only fitting that the UK’s biggest celebration of musical successes should be kicked off with a performance from the biggest selling album in the UK of the last year.”

The Greatest Showman is the latest performance to be revealed for The BRITs, following the announcements of P!nk, Calvin Harris with Dua Lipa, Sam Smith and Rag’n’Bone Man, Jess Glynne with H.E.R., The 1975, George Ezra, Little Mix with Ms Banks and Jorja Smith for the UK’s biggest night in music.

The BRIT Awards 2019 with Mastercard take place Wednesday 20th February at The O2 Arena, London, broadcast exclusively on ITV and hosted by Jack Whitehall. Clara Amfo and Alice Levine will be back to host this year’s Red Carpet show on ITV2 on the night of the awards for the third year running.

BLUE OYSTER CULT TALK THEIR UPCOMING UK TOUR & 50 YEAR CAREER 0 23

With a career that spans 50 years behind them already, Blue Oyster Cult have firmly established themselves as one of the music industry’s most illustrious bands, respected by music fans and critics on both sides of the Atlantic. As the band prepare to make a long overdue return to the UK, guitarist and song-writer Buck Dharma teased what fans can expect from their upcoming shows and reflected on the bands’ career and success so far.

Q: Are you looking forward to coming back to the UK? What do you most enjoy and how does playing here compare to back home in the States?

Buck Dharma: Yes I am. I have enjoyed the UK since first coming in 1975. I like the difference in culture and customs compared to the US, and revisiting friends and fans I’ve gotten to know over the years.

Q: What are some of your favourite memories of playing in the UK? Any previous shows that have always stuck with you?

BD: I’m looking forward to playing what used to be called Hammersmith Odeon in London again. We had great shows there in the heyday of Blue Oyster Cult and look forward to returning. Otherwise I like to get out into the countryside and visit the other cities and towns in the country.

Q: If at all, how have you adapted and developed your live production and your approach to playing your music live over the decades?

BD: We are currently touring with less special effects and props, focusing primarily on the music and the musical performance. It’s essentially what it’s all about, and I enjoy concentrating on that aspect of our musical catalogue.

Q: “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is such a great track that has really stood the test of time. How does it feel to have a song that is so universally recognised and loved, even in 2019? Has the song’s success continued to surpass your initial expectations for the track?

BD: It’s great that “Reaper” has held up so well over time. It’s endurance continues to surprise and gratify me, and yes, I had no idea when we recorded it that it would have had the impact it has.

Q: A lot has changed within the Rock community since you first started, but are there any current rock artists that have impressed you over the last few years? Any albums you’re particularly enjoying at the moment?

BD: I like The Rival Sons and the new youngsters Greta Van Fleet. I also discovered last year a 2015 album by Chris Cornell called “Higher Truth.”

Q: Your last studio album, Curse of the Hidden Mirrors was released 18 years ago – any current plans to make another record?

BD: As matter of fact, yes. BOC is recording another LP this year, 2019, the first in many years. Should be out by fall.

Q: You have worked and toured with the likes of Patti Smith, Randy Jackson and Alice Cooper over the course of your career – any highlights or people you still have on the wish list?

BD: All our collaborations and touring have been rewarding. I’m open to collaborating with anybody, perhaps some of the younger artists, although I don’t actively pursue such cooperation.

Q: You have been doing this for over 50 years now which is incredible. Having reached such a large milestone in your career, what inspires you to keep going and keeps you motivated?

BD: I enjoy playing and singing as much today as I ever did. I don’t have to work, but I do it because it’s rewarding personally. I could live if I couldn’t do it anymore, but I truly enjoy it, and will do it for another couple years at least.

Q: If you could turn back time, is there anything you would change or do differently?

BD: I have no regrets. It might be nice to have known more about the business side of the Music industry, but I’m not complaining about the way it’s gone. I’m lucky to have worked at a job I like all my life.

Q: Finally, knowing all that you know now, what advice would you give your former self when first starting out, and what advice would you give to anyone wanting to be in a band now?

BD: Only that I should prepare for a long career. I never anticipated I’d be still doing what I did in my 20’s fifty years later. I don’t know what to advise young people today. I’m not really involved in the current state of music business, it’s changing rapidly, of course, like everything else in life.

Tickets for Blue Oyster Cult’s UK tour, which kicks off on February 21st, are on sale now. For more information on the band, visit their website or give their page a like on Facebook.