INTRODUCING POP-ROCK & SOCIAL CAUSE SUPERSTARS GIRL POW-R 0 61

Already championed by the likes of Tiger Beat and Cashbox Magazine, Girl Pow-R are a girl-band with a difference. Aged from 10 to 17, this hugely talented sextet sing, dance, write their own music and more importantly, share a very important message – or several – with the world through their lyrics, many of which are aimed at women and young girls around the world encouraging and reminding them, among other things,that it’s absolutely okay to be themselves. With their debut album due out later this year, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with the girls to discuss musical influences, upcoming performances and their big career ambitions.

TITL: Please introduce yourselves if you would.

Kalista: Hi! I’m Kalista Wilson, I’m a 14 year old singer from Toronto, Ontario! I think as we’re growing more, we’re realizing that life isn’t just about having fun all day and having a good old time. We’ve realized that there are pressures and issues that everyone goes through, but nobody really talks about. I would say “keep doing you”. People are always going to bring you down, but it’s your job to ignore the haters and to love yourself no matter what.

Ava: We are Girl Pow-R! Girl Pow-R is an all-girl pop rock group from ages 10 to 17 who are out to inspire all youth around the world to pursue anything that they are passionate about, and to never give up. Each girl in Girl Pow-R has a social cause such as: mental health awareness, youth homelessness, better education, and children’s hospitals. Girl Pow-R strives to be a role model, not just for girls, but all young people, and we want everyone to know that as long as you believe in yourself and your dreams, anything is possible.

TITL: How did you all come together and what would you say you each bring to the band?

Krisalyn: We came together through rounds of auditions. I would say all of the girls have great personalities and tons of talent that we each bring to the band, because we are all so different and unique!

Bella: We are a group of girls from different backgrounds. I would say many like studio recording. There’s the excitement of new material, and assigning solos, and performing as a team. We work well as a team, so we manage to take on the task at hand with speed and accuracy. Some of the girls are stage-oriented, loving the instant feedback and the gratification that comes from live performing.

TITL: What made you feel that Girl Pow-R was a fitting group name?

Milana: Girl Pow-R is a fitting group name because girls are at times taken advantage of and are not taken seriously.  It’s important for girls to know that they have the power and strength to achieve anything they put their minds towards.

Carina: I feel that Girl Pow-R is a fitting name for our band because we are a strong group of girls who want to empower not only girls, but youth all over the world. We want to inspire others through the lyrics in our songs, and through the messages in our social causes.

TITL: Which bands and artists are you each most inspired and influenced by and how do those influences impact the music you make?

Kalista: Our music is inspired by Taylor Swift, Spice Girls, Little Mix and many other girl bands and solo artists.

A: A band that inspires us that we look up to are the Spice Girls because they are also all about spreading girl power and making girls feel powerful, strong and confident with themselves.

TITL: It could be argued that over the years, the music industry has often largely favoured male groups and artists, however in the last few years, the likes of Little Mix have shown that female groups can and do have the impact and staying power of their male counterparts. How important and significant has seeing the likes of LM succeed on the scale that they have since forming been to you as you look to your own futures and how far you want to go?

Krisalyn: We one day hope to be like Little Mix, but we are still young. We work super hard so that one day we can be like them! Seeing their success makes us believe that anything is possible!

B: Girl Pow-R’s sound is uplifting, confident, captivating. Our job as a group is to inspire our generation to better themselves, become role models in their respective communities, and promote positivity through our music and social causes. And it’s important for girls and women to lead the way in this area. Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change: Michael Jackson.

TITL: You were nominated in the Best New Group category at the Niagara Music Awards last year. How did it feel to be nominated and what do you feel your chances are in terms of winning this year?

C: It’s such a pleasure and an honor for us to have been nominated for Best New Group at the Niagara Music Awards. This was such a great opportunity and we were also super thankful that we got to perform two of our original songs during the awards ceremony. This was a great reminder to us that hard work will get you far! Hoping for another chance in 2019!

M: Being nominated for the Niagara Music Awards was such an honour and an amazing feeling as I also live in Niagara Falls, therefore representing my region was important to me.  I believe we were nominated because our song “Krisi” has a great message and many young people, girls and boys, can relate to the song. Also, the members of Girl Pow-R are so talented with singing, dancing and playing instruments, it made the judges and voters interested in our band and the potential we have to offer in the music industry.

TITL: Do you care much about accolades and nominations or are you more generally concerned about what your fans think on a wider, grander scale?

Kalista: I’d rather have a following that listens to all of our songs and watches all of our music videos, awards could then follow.

Krisalyn: Probably both because it’s amazing to be nominated for awards, but it’s also amazing having awesome fans to connect with and who love following our journey!

A: I think we care mostly about our fans, of course, because they are what brought us here, and they are who listen to our music and watch our videos. We want to continue to make music for them to enjoy, as well as to perform and entertain them.

TITL: All of your 2018 releases surpassed 191,000 plays and streams on the likes of YouTube and Spotify. To what extent have sites like that, and social media in general, impacted your career and do you believe you’d have the support and following you do without them?

Krisalyn: I feel like nowadays social media is a big help and it really gets our name out there! I myself pay most attention to my Instagram account, but as a band we are on many different social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Musical.ly, Twitter and YouTube. Anytime a fan messages me, I always respond back as soon as I can, and I appreciate all comments, as I know the other band members do as well. We all try to message and speak with our fans and meet them/take pictures, especially at live shows. We appreciate the support and it means a lot to us

B: In today’s age, social media and music streaming services are very important to help us spread our message. Girl Pow-R is unique in its presentation of popular music, along with a deep sense of responsibility to support social causes in society. The determination that our band members have to spread the word about empowering girls and women to better themselves, and being charitable, is exceptional. By doing so, the boys and men in society see what is important to us and how we can best work together to support each other and have common goals of peace, harmony, equality and humanity.

TITL: You were also named the Canadian Ambassadors for the 2018 Toronto Youth Day – what did and does that mean to you? How important is it that you can use your careers and the platform you have to benefit the wider community/world around you?

C: Youth Day 2018 was so much fun! We had an amazing time performing as Featured Artists and talking about each of our social causes as Canadian Ambassadors. It is very important to us that we can use our careers and songs as a platform with opportunities like Youth Day, to promote positive messages and give young audiences a good role model to look up to.  It is also super awesome that we can empower others while singing and dancing, which is what we do best!

M: Being named Canadian Ambassadors for the 2018 Toronto Youth Day was such a great honor. Singing and performing is something that I love doing, so being able to do all of that and being role models for the youth in our community, and the world, just makes it even better and more gratifying. Music is a universal language and knowing that we are affecting the youth all over the world makes me want to perform and share our music even more!

TITL: Are there any tour/performance plans coming up you can tell me about?

Kalista: We always have a lot on the go and shows to perform. Definitely check out our website for times and locations!

A: We have a huge, Toronto-area competition beginning on the 8th of February where we compete against bands from all over Ontario, in all genres, so stay tuned!

TITL: What do you have planned for the year ahead?

Krisalyn: Our first album is coming out this year! We’ve already released a bunch of songs, but 2019 should be filled with more performances, covers, and more originals!

B: We started our originals with two songs: “Krisi” and “Stronger Than Yesterday”. “Stronger Than Yesterday” has similarities to our first single “Krisi” in that it addresses challenges girls face in everyday life. Through our music we try to give direction and support to empower girls to better themselves. “Krisi” is about rising above bullying, whereas “Stronger Than Yesterday” is a personal journey to find the strength and confidence to overcome challenges, while recognizing it can be an arduous journey, but progress is made by being stronger than yesterday. We’re looking forward to launching our first album early this year with even more originals!

TITL: Finally then, despite being a fairly new band, it’s evident you’re very ambitious and determined to succeed, so with that in mind, where would you like to see yourselves 5 years from now and looking further ahead, whose career would you most like to emulate? At what point would you be able to look at each other and say: “We made it girls”?

M: In five years from now, I would love to see our band being known nationwide in Canada and, if dreams come true, I would love to have the career and impact that the Spice Girls had on young girls in the 90’s. They had the same message as we do today. Girls can achieve anything if we believe in the power to do it. I can’t wait for that feeling of gratification in knowing that we made it in the music business when, we get that blue checkmark on Instagram, when I need to wear sunglasses out in public, and selling out our concerts. Most of all it would be an even greater feeling to receive messages from our fans telling us how our songs changed their lives and gave them the ‘Girl Pow-R’ to succeed.

C: With hard work and dedication, I believe that we can emulate a career like the Spice Girls or Little Mix. Within the next 5 years, I see us touring internationally and spreading our messages through music to those all around the world. When we have touched the lives of young people, and positively impacted kids all over the world, then we can say that we’ve made it. We are not driven by fame or success, but by how we influence youth.

Check out Girl Pow-R’s new single “Never Let Go” below and for more information on the band, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

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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.