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Concerts I Am Looking Forward to in 2017

As a life-long live music fan, I always look forward to which of my favorite music stars will be coming in concert soon. Have I seen them a few times before, or are they someone I will be seeing for the first time? Do they have a long catalog of hits, or are they just starting out? Here’s who I look forward to seeing on stage in 2017:

Ariana Grande
She’s had a few successful years with “My Everything” and “Dangerous Woman.” She has the vocal chops for sure, and her personality is starting to show more. Plus she kills it every time I see her perform on TV.

Lady GaGa
It’s time to get back to her day job. After a few detours (Cheek to Cheek with Tony Bennett and American Horror Story: Hotel), she is back with her new album “Joanne.” I have seen her first 2 tours, it will be fun to see her again. She is definitely one talented, multi-faceted woman. Plus she is headlining the Super Bowl half-time show this year.

Bruno Mars
After a break of a few years, Bruno is back with “24 K Magic.” So far the single is just OK to me, but he always kills it with his live performances. And he has a decent amount of hits too, so even if the new songs suck, we’ll get “Uptown Funk.”

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Mr. and Mrs. McGraw head back out for a big arena tour in 2017. Tim has continued to record and tour regularly. Faith hasn’t done much since her album “Fireflies” in 2005. Not sure the reason why, but I welcome her back. I saw them on an earlier version of the “Soul to Soul” tour and it was a great show.

Alicia Keys
She will be touring in support of her new album “Here.” I previously saw her on the “Diary of Alicia Keys” and “As I Am” tours. I started to watch “The Voice” again because of her and Miley. She has such a wonderful spirit and I love her energy. And she gives her all to the performance. The album is just OK, but I still love her.

Sting
The veteran artist is back with his first rock album (“57th & 9th”) in a long time. He’s been making the rounds with appearances on everything from “The Voice” to the “American Music Awards.” With more and more singers dying young these days, I say catch him while you can.

Justin Beiber
He is still riding high off his album “Purpose” and it’s string of hit singles. Plus he got some big love in the form of some Grammy nominations this year in major categories. Plus from what I have seen he really puts himself out there in his shows. Catch him on his stadium tour this summer.

New Kids on the Block
Their chart-topping days are long behind them, but they can still fill arenas. They have found a successful formula and are sticking to it. They put themselves as the headliners on a bill with a couple of other retro acts, and the tickets keep selling. This year’s The Total Package Tour includes Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men.

Ed Sheeran
No tour has been announced yet for him, but if there is one I am sure it is going to be huge. He just released two new singles from his upcoming album “Divide” and they both debuted into the Top Ten (one even went to #1). I have seen clips of his concerts online, and he is an amazing performer. I would definitely go to see him.

Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey
The two superstars are teaming up for Lionel’s “All the Hits” Tour. This show is playing on my birthday at the Hollywood Bowl, so I already have my ticket. Mariah needs to redeem herself after the New Year’s Eve fiasco. I haven’t seen Lionel since he opened for Tina Turner on her farewell tour. It should be fun.

So that’s my concert wish list for 2017. Did I mention your favorite? Who do you want to see live and in person at your local concert venue? Sound off in the comments below.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Is the Album Dead?

Remember the good old days, when you would buy an album or CD and listen to it all the way through? Now with MP3s, it is easy for you to just purchase the song or songs you want, and leave the album alone. While I like this idea, I wonder if we are losing something by doing so. Do we really know an artist from 1 or 2 hit songs? Or do you have to listen to an artist’s whole album before you really get a sense for them? And what about those artists who don’t have hit singles anymore? Many artists are feeling trapped, they are selling singles, but not albums.

Just before Flo Rida released his third album, almost two million fans purchased the first single “Club Can’t Handle Me,” helping the rapper snag yet another Top 10 hit.

But in its first week out, only 11,000 people bought the 8-song EP – “Only One Flo Part 1” – making its debut measly at No. 107 on the Billboard charts. And in nearly two years, the album has only sold 62,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Flo Rida’s experience in 2010 is being repeated again and again in today’s pop scene. He’s just one of many acts who suffer from an imbalance: They have a multitude of hits, but anemic album sales.

Years ago, a hit song was usually accompanied by a gold or platinum album, and multiple hits meant multiplatinum albums. But times have changed.

“If you used to have a big single, you would sell a million albums, and if you sell a million albums and you’re a band, you can probably not have to work for a couple years. We don’t have that luxury,” said Cobra Starship’s lead singer Gaby Saporta.

Cobra Starship had a top 10 hit with the double platinum dance jam “You Make Me Feel …,” but their latest album debuted at No. 50 and has sold a mere 33,000 units.

Ne-Yo, the Grammy-winning hitmaker who has written smashes for the likes of Beyonce and Rihanna, blames the phenomenon on a lack of personality and originality from the artists.

“I feel like a lot of people are saying that the industry is moving to just being singles driven, and that’s kind of a cop out to me. So it’s like, basically that means that we sign a bunch of disposal artists, you know, as long as we get one hit that’s good? That’s B.S.,” continued Ne-Yo. Ne-Yo added that today’s music executives should be “taking the time and spending the money that it takes to make sure that you’re building icons, not fly-by-night, add water-and-stir artists.”

Tom Corson, the COO and president of RCA Records — the label home of Pitbull and Mike Posner — says that just because an artist doesn’t sell a lot of albums doesn’t make the act a failure. He said record companies determine an album’s success by an artist’s TEA, which stands for track-equivalent-albums. “You have certain artists that sell 300,000 albums, but sell 10 million tracks. That’s the equivalent of 1.3 million albums,” he explained.

Recent albums by Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake may be hits, but not because the album’s are good. There are good songs on both Mars’ “Unorthodox jukebox”  (Locked Out of Heaven, When I Was Your Man, Treasure) and Timberlake’s ‘The 20/20 Experience” (Suit & Tie, Mirrors). Both of these artists could have done better in my opinion. Mars has shown with his live appearances that he is a force to be reckoned with. Same for Timberlake. But at the end of the day, is anyone going to care about the album tracks, when they just wanted the single anyway?Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience

The biggest album of the last 2 years has been Adele’s “21.” With an impressive 4 hit singles off it, it was one of those albums that harkened back to the glory days when Michael Jackson had 6 Top Ten singles off of “Bad.” Both are career artists — not just someone who has a hit single or 2. Is anyone going to care about Kesha or One Direction twenty years from now? I doubt it.

I miss having the record stores around. There was an excitement when you went to those places. Wandering around, looking at the album covers. That is something today’s youth is missing out on.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Pop Hunks

Popular music is filled with good looking men. These guys not only sing (or rap) well, they have undeniable star power. They make us want to watch their videos, buy their albums and see them in concert. Here is my list of some of the hottest guys in pop music (in no particular order):

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Justin Timberlake
Finally back on the music scene after a long hiatus, it almost seems like he never left. He can act, sing, dance, play instruments and be funny on Saturday Night Live. He is a modern day Renaissance man. Essential songs: Suit and Tie, Rock Your Body

Adam Levine
One of the coaches on The Voice, as well as the lead singer for pop-funk group Maroon 5. He is very gay friendly and has been known to take off his shirt & more for videos and photo shoots. Essential songs: Moves Like Jagger, This Love

Usher
Like JT, he’s had a decently long career since his teens. Now also on The Voice, he is a consummate entertainer and wows us with his dance moves and sexy songs. Essential songs: DJ Got Us Falling in Love, Scream

Drake
Originally from Canada, he first got a taste of stardom as an actor on Degrassi: The Next Generation. But it’s his rapping skills that have taken him to the top of the charts.
Essential songs: Find Your Love, Take Care

Enrique Iglesias
Son of famous father Julio Iglesias, Enrique is a star in his own right. Whether he is singing in English, Spanish, or Spanglish, he sounds and looks good in any language. Essential songs: Rhythm Divine, I Like It

Jack Johnson
Hawaiian-born surfer Jack Johnson is a singer-songwriter, filmmaker and musician known for his work in the soft rock and acoustic genres. Essential songs: Sitting, Wishing, Waiting; Gone,

Ricky Martin
Another force to be reckoned with, he has done everything from boy bands (Menudo) to soap operas (General Hospital) to Broadway (Evita). Ever since he shook his bon-bons on the Grammy Awards, he has been making waves. And now he is a proud out gay man to boot. Essential songs: Cup of Life, Livin’ La Vida Loca

Bruno Mars
Inspired by the past, but definitely very contemporary, Bruno has made a big splash on the pop charts in the last few years. Plus he writes a lot of his own stuff. Essential songs: Locked Out of Heaven, Grenade

John Mayer
Having dated a who’s who of female celebrities (Jennifer Anniston, Taylor Swift, Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry), Mr. soft-rock guitar guy comes across as a sensitive poet in his songs. Essential songs: Daughters, Waiting on the World to Change

The Wanted
Boy bands are back, and for me, this is the sexier of the 2 new groups on the scene (the other being One Direction). They have a new reality show on the E Network too. Essential songs: Glad You Came, I Found You

Pitbull
Chrome-dome ‘Mr. World Wide’ has found a successful formula for pop-rap dance hits. And don’t get me started on the bugle in his pants, he’s got some fans because of it. Essential songs: I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho), Give Me Everything

Daughtry
Lead singer of the hard rock band that bears his name, he is also an American Idol finalist. Plus he has gotten in great shape in the past year, if you follow him on Facebook. Essential songs: Home, Feels Like Tonight

Ne-Yo
A successful singer, composer, and dancer, plus he is getting into acting too. He can love you all night long. Essential songs:  So Sick, Let Me Love You

Miguel
Not very well known outside of R&B circles, but his appearance at the Grammy’s this year definitely raised his profile. Plus he is on Mariah Carey’s new single “#Beautiful.” Essential songs: Adorn, Sure Thing

98 Degrees
Reunited and it feels so good. They are part of The Package Tour this summer with Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block. Hunky brothers (Drew and Nick Lachey) lead up this group that also features Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre. Essential songs: The Hardest Part, Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)

New Kids on the Block
They just released their new CD “10” and are headlining a big summer tour. Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight and Joey McIntyre lead up this group of grown men on the block. Essential songs: You Got It (The Right Stuff), Please Don’t Go Girl

Jon Bon Jovi
Also big on the tour circuit this spring and summer, Jon brings his namesake band out for a tour in support of their latest CD “What About Now”. Plus he fits in some acting when he can (New Year’s Eve). Essential songs: Blaze of Glory, Wanted Dead or Alive

So that’s my list. Did I leave anyone out? Let me know your thoughts.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Concerts I Am Looking Forward To In 2013

Here’s my list of the shows I am looking forward to this year:

Lady GaGa
Lady GaGa has been on tour with the “Born This Way” Ball for awhile now (She was on my list last year). It is finally hitting the US in the first half of the year.Lady GaGa

Rihanna
Well, the tour in 2012 never developed. And she was in the flop movie “Battleship”. She is touring behind her new CD “Unapologetic”, and is sure to include hits from the “Talk That Talk” album too. The new tour called “Diamonds” tour is set to hit the states in March.

Taylor Swift
Her latest CD “Red” is flying off the shelves… and so are the tickets to her latest tour which includes stadium shows in select cities. With her move fully into pop music with this latest CD, I am sure it will be a very theatrical and entertaining evening.

Maroon 5
I tried to get tickets for the 2013 tour, but they sold out very fast. They have been hotter since Adam Levine has been on “The Voice”. Plus supporting acts Owl City and Neon Trees should add to a great evening of live music.

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