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Watch: Amy Winehouse Protégé Dionne Bromfield Ain't 'Foolin'

DionneBromfield

As fans and press continue to cope with Amy Winehouse's death, Arjan Writes turns the spotlight toward the singer's goddaughter and protégé, Dionne Bromfield:

I think there's no better way to commemorate Amy Winehouse by celebrating her legacy of music and the artists she helped develop.

Dionne Bromfield is one of those young and rare talents that Winehouse mentored over the last few years. In fact, Bromfield was the first signing to Winehouse' Lioness Records that she established to give the young singer a firm foundation for success.

Bromfield released her very first album, titled "Introducing Dionne Bromfield," in 2009 at age 13, which was followed by her sophomore record "Good For The Soul" last month. The CD is a fresh and youthful soul-pop effort that features collaborations with Toby Gadd (Rhianna, Beyonce), Paul O'Duffy (Dusty Springfield, John Barry) and her godmother Amy Winehouse.

Watch Bromfield sing her track "Foolin,'" AFTER THE JUMP...

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Highlights from the 2007 Coachella Music & Arts Festival

Thefeeling

Guestblogger_2[by Arjan Writes, guest blogger] Over the last few years, the Coachella Music & Arts Festival has grown into one of the biggest outdoor music festivals in the country. When Madonna appeared last year, she added a mainstream flavor to the event and brought a whole new audience with her. This gave organizers the confidence to grow the event and turn it from a 2 to 3 day event. Set in the scorching desert three hours east of Los Angeles, this year's event was action-packed with some of the hottest talents of the moment perform.

There were many great moment, but here are a few of the highlights (click images to enlarge):

Bjork returned to Coachella playing on Friday night wowing the crowd with new tracks ("Earth Intruders") and old favorites ("Hunter," "Army Of Me," "Pagan Poetry"). She appeared in a costume that looked like The Last Emperor meets Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. 

The Red Hot Chili Peppers played an energetic set on Saturday. They mixed it up a little and covered Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" with a few bars of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love."

Thefeeling_dangillsepiesell

Perfectly coiffed and styled, The Feeling turned it up a few notches for their show on Sunday afternoon. Openly-gay frontman Dan Gillespie-Sells (above and right) stayed true to form. He introduced the last song "Love It When You Call" with "I will leave you with this little tune, my darlings."

Mika

Mika (left) appeared a little earlier on the mainstage. Dressed in a simple white tee and "cartoon motion" military pants, he went over very well with the crowd of boarder dudes and rock chicks who had settled early in front of the stage in anticipation of Rage Against the Machine later that day.

Break out act The Klaxons (below, right) presented a fresh, exhilarating sound on Sunday that had me dizzy on my feet from beginning to end. Set included the delicious "Golden Skans." This is a band to watch.

Members of British band Placebo have never made a secret of their sexuality. Singer Brian Molko (below, left) is bisexual and bassist Stefan Olsdal is openly gay. The group played a tight, soaring rock set that included a remake of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill."

Placebo_brianmolko Klaxons

Tiesto made the Dutch proud when he headlined the mainstage and closed the Saturday program. This was the first time a DJ was chosen in favor of a rock act to get this honor. Tiesto played a pre-programmed set that was timed in conjunction with compelling visual effects. He included older fan favorites and tracks from his new album "Elements of Life."

PeachesPeaches (left) rocked her set on Friday night. This chicks knows how to bring it. The brash performer kept a steady pace accompanied by the handsome JD Samson on keys and drummer Sam Maloney. After opening the show with her light saber routine, she jumped on the drum set while chanting "Impeach my bush, impeach my bush."

Rufus Wainwright played songs from his new album "Release The Stars" on Saturday in a packed Mojave tent. Appearing in a robed "gay messiah" costume, he played the piano and acoustic guitar. He was backed by a full band including a horn section. He was quoted saying, "It's great to be here in the desert, where all the rejects had to go and the Jews and the homosexuals."

Dance lovers were in for a treat well with kicky sets by French DJ David Guetta, Felix da Housecat and Paul van Dyk. Faithless delivered a powerful performance on Friday night, sending the crowd into frenzy with live renditions of "Mass Destruction" and the pumping " Insomnia."

Coachella_crowd_2

Arjan is the author of the music blog Arjan Writes, where you can find new music, free downloads, album reviews, and artist interviews. More on each of these artists there.


Rising Pop Star Mika Talks About Life in Cartoon Motion

Guestblogger_2[by Arjan Writes, guest blogger] Mika is just everywhere these days. People are raving about this new pop sensation whose debut album Life In Cartoon Motion debuted at #1 in the U.K. a few weeks ago. His single “Grace Kelly” also shot to the top of the British pop charts and held the coveted position for more than four weeks.

MikaThe Lebanese crooner who lives in London is now ready to conquer North America. He has been playing showcases in the U.S. to promote the U.S. release of his album next week.

Turned off by mediocre television singing contests and inspired by great songwriters of the ‘70s, Mika’s infectious brand of flamboyant pop has struck a cord with a broad audience, including gays. One of his standout tracks is “Billy Brown”, which describes the journey of a married man who discovers that he’s attracted to men.

Much has been written about the way you got your record deal. How did it exactly come about?
It is quite a story. I was studying classical music in London until a year ago. I always knew I wanted to do pop music. So I was sort of living a double life. Studying classical music during the day and writing pop songs in the evening. I sent out a lot of demos but nobody really got into what I wanted to do. The commercial people rejected me and the indie crowd did not accept me either because I was too melody-based. So I continued doing the same thing. I got in touch with some people who were associated with a big label and they wanted me to become somebody I was not. I refused to do that. I ended up going to Miami on a regular basis to work there independently on my music. With borrowed studio time and musicians doing stuff for free, I ended up with a solid demo. In the meantime, the record company that initially dismissed me had completely changed their tone and wanted to sign me.

Is it true you wrote “Grace Kelly” as a response to those label heads that wanted to change you?

Yes. I wrote “Grace Kelly” as a screw-you song to those label people that wanted me to be somebody I was not. But ironically, one year later, it was the song that got me signed!

For people not familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
Hyper-real pop.  It has this hyper-reality to it, hence the cartoon title.

Pop has become such a dirty word. How do you do pop differently?
I’m trying to reclaim pop. Television singing contests, like X Factor or American Idol, have introduced a bad side of pop music. Especially in the U.K., pop music has lost its face and the artistry has been forgotten about.

Do you think bands like Scissor Sisters have laid a foundation for you?
I wonder about that. I am a fan of Scissor Sisters and part of what we do comes from the same place. But it is different because I’m a solo artist.

Blogs in particular have championed you in the U.S.. How do you feel about that?
There is no real agenda with online press so blogs tend to be brutally honest. So to get positive reactions from blogs really means a lot to me.

How did the song “Billy Brown” about a gay affair come about?

I was reading about a similar situation in a paper in London. It seemed to have a lot relevance to people and I thought it would make a good theme for a pop song. As soon as I started to play it, people were saying 'oh this happened to a friend of mine, or this happened to so and so.' I was surprised nobody had written about it before.

Rumors have been circulating about your own sexuality. Are you gay?
I don’t' really discuss that. I don’t feel I really need to. My music speaks for itself. I have total freedom with what I do musically and the way that I live my life. And I feel really comfortable with that.

Are you ready to conquer America?
Breaking into the U.S. market as one lump is a little scary, but nowadays it is not necessary as much because you can do a lot of online stuff.

Do you ever pinch yourself?  It is pretty amazing what’s happening to you.
Totally. It feels like I’m living one of my pop songs. It is like a hyper-reality. [Laughs]

What is your live show like?

We’ve been able to re-create the energy from the record. It is just a little bit louder and more aggressive.

Time for some fun questions. Do you prefer Kylie or Madonna?
Kylie at the moment. She’s gone through some amazing few months. She’s a magnet.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
[Laughs]  Where do I start? My music collection from complete trashy pop, the most ridiculous collection of novelty records from Japanese pop to French baby pop. 

What can we wake you up for in the middle of the night?
I tend to be a little grumpy if you wake me up when I’m sleeping. There’s not much that will get me up. [Laughs]

Arjan is the author of the music blog Arjan Writes, where you can find new music, free downloads, album reviews, and more artist interviews. Life in Cartoon Motion has its official U.S. release on March 25.

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Pop Phenom Mika Takes Manhattan in Candy-Coated Showcase [tr]


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