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WBAZ News

How Lindsey Stirling brings "Joy to the World" with unique versions of holiday classics

Concord Records

Lindsey Stirling's latest holiday album, Snow Waltz, features her takes on classics like "Feliz Navidad," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Deck the Halls" and her current hit, "Joy to the World." She says she's able to come up with fresh versions of these old favorites by focusing on her "secret weapon" — her violin.

"I always think to myself, 'Why would someone want to listen to my version?' There's so many versions that have been done of all these different songs, and especially if you're not having that vocal, like, why would someone want to listen to a violin version?'" she tells ABC Audio.

"So then I get to think of creative ways [to do them]: 'Well, the violin is great at this style, a voice can't do that,'" she adds, noting that "thinking of things that a violin can do" allows her to create things that "maybe no one else really can." She laughs, "It's really fun to think of it as my secret weapon!"

And Lindsey says that focusing on the powers of her violin allowed her to create some truly unique takes on those classics.

"It took the songs in such different directions, like 'Joy to the World,' I took it in a Celtic direction because I was able to do all these Celtic riffs and make the song super unique," she explains. "And all of them are done in ways that you've never heard them done before. So whether it's everybody's cup of tea or not, who knows? But at least enjoy them."

She laughs, "They made them really fun for me to arrange and write, and if anything, it's at least different. There's a reason to listen."

People definitely are listening to Lindsey's Christmas songs: She's currently in the middle of her annual holiday tour.

 

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Music notes: Whitney Houston, Andy Grammer, Alicia Keys, Harry Styles, Idina Menzel and more

RCA records released a sneak peek of a rare recording of Whitney Houston's live performance of "Don't Cry For Me." RCA also teased a Sam Feldt remix of the track. Both songs will be featured on the I Wanna Dance With Somebody movie soundtrack, out December 16.

Andy Grammer held a massive game night and Rachel Platten was in the mix. "1. Search minute to win it games on YouTube. 2. Laugh until you cry with your friends. 3. Get too serious and almost fight your friends. 4. Best night ever," he captioned the Instagram video. 

Alicia Keys teamed up with American Greetings to create new, customizable holiday greetings via Creatacard, where people can pick from four songs off Alicia's new Santa Baby album to send as messages.

Harry Styles and Chris Pine put those "spit-gate" rumors to rest once and for all. Page Six reports the two were seen hugging it out in Brazil. It was rumored Harry spat on Chris during the screening of Don't Worry Darling at the Venice Film Festival.

The sing-along music video of Idina Menzel's "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen has reached 3 billion YouTube views.  

Ethan Slater, who played SpongeBob in the SpongeBob SquarePants musical, will play Boq in the movie adaptation of Wicked, which stars Ariana Grande and Cynthia ErivoVariety reports that actor Jeff Goldblum is in talks to play the Wizard of Oz.

Which artists trended the most on Google this year? The company found Ricky Martin, Adam Levine and Kate Bush were among the artists who had high spikes in traffic. Top trending songs include Harry Styles' "As It Was," Taylor Swift's "Anti-Hero," Kate's "Running Up That Hill," and Encanto's "We Don't Talk About Bruno," "What Else Can I Do" and "Surface Pressure."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Forbes' lists Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé among the World's 100 Most Powerful Women

ABC

Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are juggernauts in the music industry, but Forbes says they are more powerful than that. All three have made the World's 100 Most Powerful Women list.

Rihanna leads the trio in 73rd place, with her Fenty Beauty cosmetics line boosting her net worth to a whopping $1.4 billion. The outlet notes that in 2020, Fenty generated $550 million in revenue. Similarly, her Savage x Fenty lingerie line surpassed $1 billion in valuation last year. Rihanna is also 21st on Forbes' list of America's Self-Made Women.

Coming in 79th place is Taylor, with the outlet saluting her recent accolade of being the first and only artist to occupy Billboard's entire top 10 on its Hot 100 songs chart after she released her Midnights album. The outlet also made note of Taylor's Eras Tour wreaking havoc on Ticketmaster, which "[prompted] members of Congress to question the company's hold on concert sales." She also finished in 48th place on Forbes' Self-Made Women roundup.

Bey comes in right after Taylor on this year's list, with Forbes hailing the nine Grammy nominations she earned this year, which brings her lifetime total to 88 nods. That makes her the most nominated female artist in Grammy history. She is also in 61st place on Forbes' America's Self-Made Women list.

Forbes estimates Taylor's net worth to be $550 million and Bey's net worth to be $450 million.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Mariah Carey reveals the ambitious gift she wants for Christmas

Cara Howe/NBC via Getty Images

Mariah Carey admits she spoils her 11-year-old twins when it comes to holiday shopping, but does the self-professed Queen of Christmas also want to be spoiled, too?

Speaking with E! Online, Mariah was asked if there's anything she wants underneath her Christmas tree. "The gift of peace and joy for all," she replied, adding, "That would truly warm my heart. It's the greatest gift, I think, any of us could ask for."

Mariah then hinted she already has her special gift, which was performing "All I Want For Christmas Is You" with her children by her side at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "They are the sweetest most beautiful gift I've ever received in my life," she declared.

Mariah also explained why she gives Moroccan and Monroe everything they want on their Christmas lists.

"I want them to have everything they want. I want them to have everything I couldn't and know they can be whoever they choose to," she said. Mariah also clarified, "They're always on Santa's 'nice' list, so the surprises are always a treat."

As for what her twins usually ask for, the singer remarked, "They usually have their lists, and are so excited to walk me through this new game and that new gadget."

Aside from gift-giving, what else is Mariah looking forward to this time of year?  She revealed, "I try to have a few days where we just spend time at home, relax, decorate and cook some of our favorite holiday dishes —which includes my anointed greens!"

Mariah said she also likes visiting the "winter wonderland" of Aspen for some skiing with her family, saying it gives them "a kind of festive experience that we can't get at home."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Michael Bublé reveals he "never had any idea" his 'Christmas' album would become a holiday staple

Courtesy of Reprise

Michael Bublé has become associated with the holidays thanks to his Christmas album, but he admits he never anticipated it would have such an impact on his career.

Speaking with Billboard, he explained, "I mean, I knew what I was doing when I made the record. I had high hopes. I was quite ambitious. Because I really genuinely love the songs." He also said he "never had any idea that it would be like this ever, ever."

The singer said he used to become frustrated when the album overshadowed the rest of his music offerings. In July, Michael shared a TikTok about how much he dislikes being told he can only come out around Christmastime.

"Years ago, I would complain about [the album's success], and I would say [exasperated], 'Well, you know, they keep talking about the Christmas album,'" he told the outlet. As for what softened his views, he says it was when his then-3-year-old son Noah was battling liver cancer. Noah is now 9 and in remission.

"I remember sitting in the hospital, and I just remember thinking how lucky I was. I just remember thinking so clearly, you know, how wonderful this is, that this is a part of your legacy," he said, adding, "[Christmas has] become less about what religion you are and it's become about just a time when us human beings might need a bit of a break. And there's a little more empathy and kindness."

"To be connected to something so beautiful, there are much worse things in life ... Can you imagine how lucky I feel to be invited into all of that?" he expressed.

Michael released Christmas in October 2011. It sold more than 12 million copies globally and is one of the best-selling holiday albums of all time.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Fans pan Taylor Swift's new wax figure at Madame Tussauds Dubai

ABC

Taylor Swift's fans are not very satisfied with the bang-up job Madame Tussauds Dubai did in making her wax clone. The big issue they're having is the wax figure doesn't bear enough resemblance to the "Anti-Hero" singer.

Billboard reports Madame Tussauds Dubai unveiled its latest attraction this week, making Taylor the first international celebrity to be honored at the museum since its October 2021 opening. The figure salutes Taylor's folklore era by styling her blond hair in a swept-up bun, and dressing her in a glittering red turtleneck and high-waisted khakis.

The statue's unveiling comes at a high point in Taylor's career — she recently became the only artist to have her songs fully occupy the Billboard Hot 100's top 10, in addition to winning People's Choice Awards Tuesday night for Female Artist of 2022, The Music Video of 2022 for "Anti-Hero" and The Album of 2022 for Midnights.

But, fans claim the wax figure doesn't look enough like the singer and are challenging Madame Tussauds to do better.  

In other Taylor news, an acoustic guitar she signed will be auctioned off to support veterans and first responders via the Raven Drum Foundation. The instrument honors Taylor's Midnights album. If you want to get your hands on it, you have until December 12 to enter your bid in the 12 Drummers Drumming auction.

As of print time December 7, the current bid stands at $5,500.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


The Weeknd releasing "Nothing is Lost (You Give Me Strength)" off 'Avatar: The Way of Water'

20th Century Studios

It's official: The Weeknd has a new song on the Avatar: The Way of Water soundtrack.

The Weeknd will release "Nothing is Lost (You Give Me Strength)" next week, according to the teaser released Wednesday. The lyrics featured in the 45-second trailer are, "I thought I could protect you for paying for my sins/ You give me strength/ I'm with you either way/ Nothing's lost/ No more pain/ Just give me strength."

As the haunting song flows, clips of the forthcoming Avatar sequel see Sam Worthington's Jake Sully, Zoe Saldana's Neytiri and their children fighting for survival.

The Weeknd began teasing his involvement with the movie on Sunday. He confirmed Wednesday the song will arrive December 15 — the day before Avatar: The Way of Water premieres in theaters.

Avatar is being distributed by 20th Century Studios, which is owned by ABC News' parent company, The Walt Disney Company.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dua Lipa honored with a wax figure from Madame Tussauds

Courtesy of Madame Tussauds

Dua Lipa is the latest celebrity to get the wax figure treatment from Madame Tussauds in New York City.

The figure was unveiled Wednesday, and Dua is super excited that it honors her latest era. "What I'm really excited about is to have a wax figure commemorate my album Future Nostalgia. I haven't got one for this time, and it's just so cool to be asked to come back and to do that," she raved. 

Dua's wax statue is "wearing her famous custom white sequined outfit by The Attico," per a press release, as well as the "Jimmy Choo MICA 100mm square-toe ankle-boot" to complete the Future Nostalgia look that she rocked during her livestream at Studio 2054 in November 2020. 

Dua was touched that Madame Tussauds honored this particular look. "It was really exciting to create something like that because of what was going on in the world and the need for human connection and also to bring something out for the fans and everyone at home — just to create a fun experience," she expressed.

Dua said she found it interesting to watch the process of how these statues are made and was impressed by "how precise every little thing is."

The statement explains Dua's likeness was captured during a "sitting," where "more than 150 measurements were taken to meticulously capture the singer’s facial features." The announcement noted that every hair on the figure's head was "individually inserted by hand, taking about five weeks to complete." It takes about six months in all to complete one of these wax clones.

Dua's new wax figure can be found at Madame Tussauds New York in Times Square.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Pink joins Dave Grohl and others for 'Hanukkah Sessions' charity event

ABC

You may not know that Pink is Jewish, but she musically embraced her heritage earlier this week at a charity event featuring Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and their mutual producer, Greg Kurstin.

During the pandemic, Grohl and Kurstin started the Hanukkah Sessions, an online video series of cover songs by Jewish artists — one for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. This year's edition was the first live version of the event, and it took place at L.A.'s tiny Largo club, a venue that only holds 250 people. As Variety reports, director Judd Apatow presented the show as a benefit for the Anti-Defamation League.

According to Variety, Pink took the stage and proudly told the audience, "My name's Alecia. I'm a Jew." She then sang her first hit, "Get This Party Started" — using a lyric sheet to get through the song and still missing a few words. Considering she didn't write that particular song, it's forgivable.

Pink and Grohl performed together earlier this year at the star-studded tribute concert in LA that honored late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. At that event, she sang Heart's "Barracuda," backed up by Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson and Foo Fighters. She also joined Foo Fighters for their song "Pretender," and sang Queen's "Somebody to Love" with Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor

The first night of Hanukkah is Sunday, December 18.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Taylor Swift, Harry Styles among winners at People's Choice Awards

E! Entertainment/NBC

Taylor Swift was a big winner at The People's Choice Awards on Tuesday, taking home all three trophies she was up for, including Female Artist of 2022, The Music Video of 2022 for “Anti-Hero,” and The Album of 2022 for Midnights.

Taylor was not present for the ceremony and her categories were not handed out during the telecast.

Midnight stopped the Billboard 200 for five of its first six weeks, and "Anti-Hero" has ruled the Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks -- making it the 10th song in Billboard history to do so.

Meanwhile, Harry Styles was named Male Artist of 2022, though he wasn't present to pick up his award, either. He was nominated for six awards overall, including The Drama Movie Star of 2022 for his performance in Don't Worry Darling.  While he didn't win in that category, the film itself was named The Drama Movie of 2022, and its director -- Harry's ex, Olivia Wilde -- accepted the trophy.

Other winners at Tuesday's People's Choice Awards include BTS, who nabbed The Group of 2022 and the Concert Tour of 2022 for BTS: Permission to Dance on Stage, and Lizzo, who took home The Song of 2022 for "It's About Damn Time," as well as The People's Champion Award.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Erik-Michael Estrada reveals O-Town's lack of a Christmas album inspired holiday special

Courtesy of A Boy Band Christmas

Erik-Michael Estrada is well aware O-Town is late to the Christmas album-making game and hopes to remedy that soon.

Erik, who has joined forces with members of 98 DegreesAll-4-One and Ryan Cabrera for A Boy Band Christmas Tour, was asked by ABC Audio why O-Town is lacking Christmas spirit.

"You're preaching to the choir," he laughed, but revealed that something good has come from him begging his bandmates to make a holiday album.

Erik said the A Very Boy Band Holiday that aired last year on ABC was semi-inspired by his band "not really getting motivated to do a Christmas album."

"I sort of kept asking and sort of kept proposing it, and it just never happened. And I was like, 'Well ... wait a second. Boybands and Christmas belong together. Why do we not have an album? Fine. I'm just going to do a television show with all of the other boy bands, and we're going to do a Christmas show,'" he declared.

Erik added he helped get the ball rolling on A Very Boy Band Holiday because he was "just trying to be a part of the holiday season because I do believe that the boy bands and Christmas belong together."

98's Drew Lachey confirmed that special "was the brainchild of Erik," which paved the way for the Boy Band Christmas tour.

A Very Boy Band Holiday, which starred members of NSYNCBoyz II MenNew EditionNew Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees, aired last December on ABC. 

Erik is now on tour celebrating the holidays with fellow boy band royalty members. Here's hoping Erik inspires bandmates Dan MillerJacob Underwood and Trevor Penick to join him in the studio to finally make an O-Town Christmas album.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Music notes: Katharine McPhee, Meghan Trainor, Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey and The Weeknd

Katharine McPhee admits she wrestles with "mom guilt" in a new Instagram Story. Her stepdaughter Jordan Foster took her and husband David Foster's child, Rennie, to see Santa while the two were on tour, but the nearly 2-year-old was not having it. "Having strong mom guilt," she confesses.

Meghan Trainor was the 10th-most-viewed artist on TikTok in the U.S. Meghan made waves on the social media app by sharing glimpses of her life and creating fun, new dances to her songs.

Ed Sheeran was the artist who sold the most concert tickets this year, Billboard reports. Ed reportedly serenaded over 3 million fans on his Mathematics tour, which earned him about $246 million in revenue. Ed played 63 shows between December 13 of last year and September 25 of this year.

Mariah Carey suffered a wardrobe malfunction onstage and nearly flashed the audience. The singer shared a hilarious video, where she revealed she came "very, very close to being a full-on scandal" when one of her dress straps became "untethered." Thankfully her team rushed onstage and "made it work."

The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" is officially his fourth song to be RIAA-certified Diamond, meaning it moved over 10 million units. He is now the third solo artist in history to have four Diamond singles and fourth act overall to enjoy this honor. 

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Lea Michele recalls the "beautiful letter" Barbra Streisand sent to congratulate her on 'Funny Girl'

Bruce Glikas/WireImage

Lea Michele said it's a dream come true to play Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl, a role her icon Barbra Streisand originated in 1964. 

Even better, Babs noticed the Glee star and congratulated her in a "beautiful letter."

Lea told the story on Late Night With Seth Meyers Monday night about when she "finally heard from Barbra."

She said a colleague handed her a gold envelope that reminded her of the shiny invitations from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Lea said she knew it was from Babs and joked, "I think [her letters] would arrive on doves, like a special carrier!"

"It was very sweet ... she wrote me this beautiful letter," the actress said, recalling the one line that brought her to her knees. "She was like, 'It's really wonderful when your dreams come true, isn't it?'"

Lea said she called Glee creator Ryan MurphySpring Awakening co-star Jonathan Groff and others who would understand the magnitude of that moment.

The Broadway star added she began to worry she had fallen for "the worst prank on me in the entire world," so she ensured the letter was legit. How did she do that? She crept into Funny Girl co-star Ramin Karimloo's dressing room to hunt for the letter the legendary singer wrote him when the show first opened.

"I snuck into his room, found his copy of his letter and just made sure the writing was the same. And it was, so that was all I needed," Lea remarked. She also revealed Ramin confronted her about being in his dressing room because she may have left behind a mess during her hunt.

Funny Girl is currently running at the August Wilson Theatre in New York City.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Idina Menzel shares her hopes for Elsa should 'Frozen 3' happen

Courtesy Disney+

Idina Menzel hopes to see Elsa find a significant other — if Disney decides to give the Frozen franchise a third movie.

Speaking with People, the Broadway legend spoke about her hopes for the character she voices. "I love that she was unconventional in that she didn't need a prince to save the day and that it was a story about sisters," she began before revealing what she wants Elsa to get in the potential third installment.

Said Menzel, "I would love her now — finally — in Frozen 3 to have a partner in life." The actress added she is conflicted about what kind of person Elsa would romantically pursue.

"It's hard for me to say," she offered. "Because then I do love the fact that she's just powerful on her own … I'm on the fence."

Disney introduced the world to Frozen, its adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Snow Queen, in 2013. The movie, which also starred Kristen Bell as Elsa's sister, Anna, became a global hit and amassed $1.28 billion at the box office.  

Disney greenlit a sequel and, in 2019, Frozen 2 hit theaters and made an even bigger impression in the global box office — earning a whopping $1.45 billion. 

It is unknown at this time if Menzel, Bell and the rest of the Frozen gang will return for a third film.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Camila Cabello says she would love to collaborate with Gwen Stefani

Chris Haston/NBC

The latest season of The Voice is coming to a close and first-time coach Camila Cabello is reflecting upon her time on the show.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the singer joked about what she plans to do once the season wraps. "I want to bake and binge TV shows," she teased, adding she also wants to "spend time with my dogs, but mostly baking."

Aside from that, Camila has a few career goals — and one of them is jumping in the studio with fellow coach Gwen Stefani. "I mean, we're so much closer than we've ever been by being on The Voice together, so that's a start," she said of the possibility. 

Camila also reflected on why the two get along so well: "I feel like she's just trailblazed for so many women ... She's just, like, a weirdo in like the best way, and those are my favorite kind of artists."

So, should they make a song together, what would it sound like? Camila says it would have "eff you vibes."

Speaking of Gwen, she also caught up with ET and nearly shed tears about her time on the show coming to a close. "It's mine and [husband Blake Shelton's] last season ... I can't even get the words out of my mouth 'cause it sucks," she said.

"I never in my lifetime would've pictured me doing something like this, and it's been one of the most fun things I've ever done," she added, noting one thing she loves most is "having an impact" on a new generation of singers.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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