IVOX MEDIA

Month: March 2021

Britney Spears says she “cried for two weeks” over documentary

Singer Britney Spears said she cried for weeks over a television documentary that examined her meteoric rise to fame as a teenager, the ensuing media scrutiny and her widely publicised breakdown.

In an Instagram post, the 39-year-old singer said she didn’t watch the whole of “Framing Britney Spears”.

“But from what I did see of it I was embarrassed by the light they put me in … I cried for two weeks and well …. I still cry sometimes,” she wrote late on Monday in the post, accompanied by a video of her dancing to “Crazy” by Aerosmith.

The documentary, which also brought renewed attention to a long-running battle with her father over control of her financial affairs, was released last month.

Spears, who shot to fame in 1998 with the hit “Baby One More Time”, is seeking to replace her father, Jamie Spears, as her conservator.

He was appointed to the role in 2008 after she was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment.

Her fans have shown their support on social media under the hashtags #We’reSorryBritney and #FreeBritney.

“I have been exposed my whole life performing in front of people. It takes a lot of strength to TRUST the universe with your real vulnerability cause I’ve always been so judged… and embarrassed by the media… and I still am till this day,” Spears wrote.

“As the world keeps on turning and life goes on we still remain so fragile and sensitive as people …I’m not here to be perfect … perfect is boring … I’m here to pass on kindness.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #BritneySpears #WereSorryBritney @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

‘Game of Thrones’ play aims to bring Westeros to Broadway

“Game of Thrones” and the fictional world of Westeros will come to life in a stage play that producers said on Tuesday they hope to bring to Broadway, London’s West End and Australia starting in 2023.

The play will tell the story of the Great Tourney at Harrenhal, a contest that took place 16 years before the “Game of Thrones” series on HBO. It will feature characters, including Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister who were popular in the TV series.

The tourney was mentioned in the original series and in George R.R. Martin’s novels, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” which inspired the show.

“Few in Westeros knew the carnage to come when highborn and smallfolk alike gathered at Harrenhal to watch the finest knights of the realm compete in a great tourney,” Martin said in a statement.

“Now, at last, we can tell the whole story,” added Martin, who is working with playwright Duncan MacMillan on the stage production.

“Game of Thrones,” a medieval fantasy series, was a global phenomenon for HBO, a unit of AT&T Inc. The network is developing several “Game of Thrones” TV prequels as well, including “House of the Dragon,” which is set 300 years before the original series.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #GameOfThrones #Broadway @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Spectacular: 5,000 pack Barcelona rock concert after COVID tests

Music fans in Barcelona hugged, danced and sang along at a sold-out rock concert on Saturday night after taking rapid COVID-19 tests in a trial that could revive the live music industry in Spain and beyond.

Some 5,000 fans at the show for Spanish indie band Love of Lesbian had to wear masks but social distancing was not required in the Palau Sant Jordi arena.

“It was spectacular. We felt safe at all times. We were in the front row and it was something we’d missed a lot,” said publicist Salvador, 29, after the show. “We are very proud to have had the chance to take part in this. We hope it’ll be the first of many.”

In surreal scenes after a year of social distancing, fans danced up close to one another, but the sea of faces covered in masks showed that things were not quite back to normal.

Health controls at the entrance delayed the start of the concert, but could not dampen the celebratory spirit.

“Welcome to one of the most exciting concerts of our lives!” lead singer Santi Balmes told the crowd to a roar of cheers.

The government-approved concert served as a test for whether similar events will be able to start up again.

“It will be safer to be in the Palau Sant Jordi than walking down the street,” concert co-organiser Jordi Herreruela told Reuters earlier on Saturday.

Pre-concert testing at three Barcelona locations was carried out by 80 nurses wearing full personal protective equipment. Some people winced as nurses swabbed their noses.

By midday, three out of 2,400 people already screened had tested positive and one had come into contact with a positive case, said Dr. Josep Maria Libre, a doctor who oversaw the testing. They were unable to attend the concert and would get a refund.

Attendees received their antigen test results in 10 to 15 minutes via an app on their phones. The test and a mask were included in the ticket price.

“I believe today we have made one thing a reality which is to show the world that culture is safe,” said Ramon, a 49-year-old fan.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Barcelona #Covid @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Harry Connick Jr. releases pandemic-produced album, ‘Alone With My Faith’

Jazz musician Harry Connick Jr. is showcasing a spiritual side with his new album, “Alone With My Faith.”

Connick Jr. created the album in his home studio during the pandemic, playing all the instruments, recording all background vocals and doing the engineering. The singer said the process acted as therapy during uncertain times.

“This was a case where the music itself was actually helping me get through this time, and that’s really rare,” he said.

The New Orleans native described the 13-track project as a mix of Christian and faith-based songs intended for those who need help accessing their faith to get them through the last year.

Connick said the album, released earlier this month, is an honest look at how most people navigated life during quarantine.

“This is a really truthful look at what I, and I think a lot of other people who might listen to it, are going through and just, just went through,” he said.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Film #AloneWithMyFaith @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Box Office: Bob Odenkirk’s ‘Nobody’ Debuts to No. 1 as ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Roars Overseas

Bob Odenkirk, action star?

It’s a premise so unexpected, so curious, that it just might have enticed audiences to watch “Nobody,” a revenge thriller that sees an otherwise unassuming Odenkirk (“Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul”) kick ass and take names. “Nobody” debuted atop domestic box office charts, generating $6.7 million from 2,460 venues. It’s a solid but not stellar start as movie theaters in Los Angeles and around the country begin to reopen in earnest.

Directed by Ilya Naishuller, “Nobody” was well received by critics and audiences. It centers on a mild-mannered suburban dad who goes into vigilante mode after someone breaks into his house.

At the international box office, “Nobody” added another $5 million, boosting its worldwide haul to $11.7 million. With solid word-of-mouth and without notable competition, “Nobody” is primed to stick around on the big screen before Universal puts the film on premium video-on-demand in a matter of weeks. The budget was $16 million, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get out of the red.

Though “Nobody” easily topped box office charts in the U.S., the film was hardly the biggest winner of the weekend. Outside of North America, “Godzilla vs. Kong” kicked off internationally with a massive $121 million from 28 countries. The Warner Bros. movie — pitting the iconic monsters against each other in the matchup for the ages — had an especially impressive start in China, where it amassed $70.3 million over the three day stretch. Ticket sales for “Godzilla vs. Kong,” a co-production with Legendary Entertainment, mark the biggest opening weekend in China for a non-local film. That could bode well as the film gears up to open in the U.S. on Wednesday in theaters and on HBO Max.

Aside from “Godzilla vs. Kong” (March 31) and another Warners title, video game adaptation “Mortal Kombat” (April 16), domestic movie theater marquees will be light on new releases in early spring. That’s because Disney majorly overhauled its film calendar last week, delaying or amending plans for several titles, including “Black Widow,” Emma Stone’s “Cruella,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Pixar’s “Luca.” In perhaps the biggest blow to cinema operators, “Black Widow” was pushed from May 7 to July 9. The Marvel superhero adventure will premiere simultaneously in theaters and on Disney Plus for a premium $30 rental fee. “Cruella,” an origin story for the “101 Dalmatians” villain, will similarly launch theatrically and on the company’s streaming platform when it arrives on May 28.

Disney has tested several hybrid strategies amid the pandemic, most recently with the animated adventure “Raya and the Last Dragon.” The animated adventure, currently in theaters, slipped to second place on box office charts with $3.5 million in its fourth weekend of release. So far the film, which is also available to Disney Plus subscribers on Premier Access, has made $28 million in U.S. theaters and $82 million globally.

Otherwise, a swath of holdovers rounded out box office charts. “Tom and Jerry” came in third place with $2.5 million from 2,464 locations. After five weeks in theaters, the Warner Bros. live-action-animated hybrid has amassed $37 million.

At No. 4, Lionsgate’s sci-fi fantasy film “Chaos Walking” pulled in $1.18 million for a domestic tally of $11.3 million. Starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, the $100 million-budgeted film will result in a massive write-down for the studio. “The Courier,” a Cold War drama led by Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel Brosnahan, rounded out the top five with $1 million, bringing its overall ticket sales to $3.4 million.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Film #GodzillaVsKong @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Forget labels, we’re all one, says Grammy nominee Jon Batiste

American musician Jon Batiste says he set out to break the confines of genre in his new album, mixing styles and working with the likes of gospel singer Mavis Staples, guitarist Cory Wong and author Zadie Smith.

The award winning jazz musician from Louisiana last week released “We Are”, described by Vanity Fair as “a vivid turn from straight jazz to joyful, danceable pop and neo-soul”.

“The album is something that I have not heard done in popular music, which is defying the construct of genre, which I think has pigeonholed a lot of artists,” Batiste told Reuters in a Zoom interview from his New Jersey home.

“There’s no genre of person. And therefore, there are no genres of music.”

Known for his work as the musical director of U.S. chat show “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”, Batiste is in the running for a best original score Oscar for animation “Soul”, for which he already won a Golden Globe.

Sitting at his piano, the 34-year-old said he hopes his album will show humans are all connected regardless of their skin colour or gender.

    “When we try to fit music into these small cubby-holes we limit the humanity that can be expressed through the music, and it’s the same thing that happens when we try to limit people into these genres of … black, white, woman, all these things,” he said.

“So this music is almost a total allegory to show … we’re connected in ways that are much bigger than the things that we give so much credence to on the surface.” 

     “We Are” took shape over six days in September 2019, during which Batiste said he had “around the clock sessions” with musicians in his “Late Show” dressing room and got the “blueprint” done. He completed the record last summer.

In June, he gathered musicians in New York’s Union Square to protest racial injustice in the United States following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minnesota police officer knelt on his neck.

“I do think that what’s happening in our time is a crisis of identity, which then leads to … the problem of apathy,” Batiste said.

    “And being able to speak to that in this time … is more important than ever simply because we’ve been disconnected from it in a way that has led us to identify with things that are not actually who we are.” 

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Grammys #JonBatiste @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Supergiant’s ‘Hades’ triumphs at BAFTA Games Awards

Greek mythology-inspired “Hades” took out the top honours at the BAFTA Games Awards on Thursday, scooping five prizes including a win for best game of 2020, as pandemic lockdowns brought new fans to the sector.

Developed by San Francisco-based Supergiant Games, “Hades” lets players take on the role Hades’ son Zagreus as he tries to escape the Underworld.

In a ceremony streamed live, the title also picked up awards for game design, artistic achievement, narrative and performer supporting role for voice actor Logan Cunningham at the British Academy Games Awards.

EE game of the year, the sole award voted for by the public, went to “The Last of Us Part II”, which had led nominations with a record 13 nods.

With Britain under national lockdown to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many people turned to games for entertainment as well as virtual social interaction, organisers said.

“2020 … saw people seeking out forms of entertainment in ways that we haven’t seen before,” Jo Twist, Chief Executive of trade body Ukie, told Reuters. “Games offered a real opportunity for people to socially connect.”

The UK video games market rose some 30% last year to a record 7 billion pounds ($9.61 billion), according to Ukie, which represents the UK games and interactive entertainment sector.

Software revenue rose 18% to 4.55 billion pounds while game hardware jumped nearly 61% to 2.26 billion pounds as gamers bought new consoles, accessories and upgraded their PC game components, Ukie said.

“The Last of Us Part II”, set in a post-apocalyptic United States filled with fungus-infected zombies, also won awards for animation and performer in a leading role for voice actress Laura Bailey.

Platform game “Sackboy: A Big Adventure” won the British game award.

“2020 has been … a landmark year for gaming … We’ve launched a whole new generation of consoles. We’ve had video games come out that we’ve been waiting for years and years. We’ve had reboots of really beloved franchises,” ceremony host Elle Osili-Wood told Reuters.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #BAFTA #Supergiants @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Harry Connick Jr. releases pandemic-produced album, ‘Faith’

Jazz musician Harry Connick Jr. is showcasing a spiritual side with his new album, “Alone With my Faith.”

Connick Jr. created the album in his home studio during the pandemic, playing all the instruments, recording all background vocals and doing the engineering. The singer said the process acted as therapy during uncertain times.

“This was a case where the music itself was actually helping me get through this time, and that’s really rare,” he said.

The New Orleans native described the 13-track project as a mix of Christian and faith-based songs intended for those who need help accessing their faith to get them through the last year.

Connick said the album, released earlier this month, is an honest look at how most people navigated life during quarantine.

“This is a really truthful look at what I, and I think a lot of other people who might listen to it, are going through and just, just went through,” he said.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #NewFilm #Faith @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Music soothes pandemic blues as 2020 record sales hit high note

Turn on, tune in and stay at home. That’s what millions of music fans did in 2020, with a rise in subscription streaming leading global recorded music revenue growth of 7.4%.

The market reported total revenues of $21.6 billion, marking its sixth consecutive year of growth, industry trade body the IFPI said in its Global Music Report on Tuesday.

The year’s top five best-selling artists were K-pop stars BTS, songstress Taylor Swift, rapper Drake, singer The Weeknd and teen sensation Billie Eilish.

“As the world contends with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the enduring power of music to console, heal and lift our spirits,” IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore said.

Total streaming, including both paid subscription and advertising-supported, rose 19.9% to $13.4 billion, accounting for 62.1% of total global recorded music revenues, IFPI said.

Paid subscription streaming revenues rose by 18.5% and there were 443 million users of paid subscription accounts at the end of 2020, the IFPI said.

The streaming figures compared to a decline in physical format revenues, which fell by 4.7%.

And with concerts and festivals cancelled as countries went into lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus, revenues from performance rights dropped 10.1%.

“With so much of the world in lockdown and live music shut down, in nearly every corner of the globe most fans enjoyed music via streaming,” Moore said.

The IFPI said record companies had supported artists in making music despite the difficult circumstances.

Latin America remained the fastest-growing region, with recorded music revenues rising 15.9%, followed by Asia with growth of 9.5% and Africa and the Middle East with 8.4%.

The U.S. and Canada region grew by 7.4% in 2020, while Europe saw revenues rise by 3.5%.

In Britain, recorded music revenues rose to their highest since 2006, up 3.8% to 1.118 billion pounds ($1.54 billion), the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.

Streaming revenues, up 15.4% to 736.5 million pounds, led the growth while physical revenues fell 2.6% to 210.3 million pounds, with online sales cushioning the impact of lockdowns.

Online campaigns helped drive vinyl sales, which rose by nearly a third to 86.5 million pounds in Britain, their highest total since 1989, the BPI said.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Music #Records @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Nigeria’s Burna Boy says Grammy win marks ‘big moment’ for African music

Modern African music is altering perceptions of the continent as part of a global cultural shift that marks a “big moment”, Nigerian music artist Burna Boy told Reuters after hailing his first Grammy award.

Burna Boy was awarded a Grammy for the Best Global Music Album this month for ‘Twice As Tall’ which was released last year.

He is part of a generation of Nigerian music artists, which include Wizkid and Davido, that has enjoyed global success in recent years as proponents of the Afrobeats sound. The African genre is now almost as likely to be heard in London or Los Angeles as it is in Lagos.

“It’s a big moment and a big time for African music and Africans in general,” said Burna Boy, during an interview at his home in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos.

The artist, whose real name is Damini Ogulu, said his award was part of a “domino effect” that gives Africans more control over the way they are perceived through technology, as streaming services take the continent’s arts to a global audience.

“I didn’t even want to be African when I was little,” he said. “I wanted to be anything but who I was, because who we are wasn’t really the cool thing to be,” said the artist, who grew up in southern Nigeria and moved to London as a child before returning to the west African country.

He said his win showed that African music was attracting worldwide respect.

Those sentiments were shared by many at Edge Music Academy, in the Jakande district of Lagos, where students compose music in a studio decked out with microphones, laptops and a keyboard.

“The future is bright,” said student Obi Prince. “The way Afrobeats is represented in the world right now can only be a start for Nigerian artists. We just have to do our thing and bring out ourselves more globally,” he said.

The academy’s chief executive officer, Michael Tijani, said Burna Boy’s win was a “huge deal” for Nigerian music.

“People coming into the industry now have a more concrete belief that you can actually get as far as anybody else in the world can go,” he said.

Reclining in a chair in his home studio, Burna Boy reflected on his success.

“You can’t mention the top five musicians in the world without throwing me or an African in there,” he said, smiling. “Now we’re eye to eye with the people we used to look up to.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #BurnaBoy #Grammy @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com