This week Red Karaoke released a karaoke version of Christina Aguilera's single, I'm not myself tonight, the latest in a string of daring one uppers the ladies of pop have seemed to be recording in a fight for the heavyweight title of Pop Queen.
And in this epic battle, Christina Aguilera has quite a bit of fighting to do. Not only has it been four years and a baby since Aguilera's last studio album, but the game has changed since the bubblegum pop days of Genie in a bottle and Britney Spears. Pop songs and music videos have grown up quite a bit in the last couple of years, in particular due to the influence of the ground breaking Lady Gaga and her reintroduction of sex and the "Event video" into mainstream.
Just take a look at Lady Gaga's latest video and single, Alejandro, which is actually relatively demure in comparison to her epics Telephone and Paparazzi. Gaga obviously has taken the reigns as line crossing video queen, openly baring her sexuality and even one upping the original material girl, Madonna, by wearing a machine gun brazierre.
With old frontiers being reopened and reinvented by the likes of Gaga, it's no wonder artists like former Disney princess and Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus are trying to match the sex appeal and general wackiness that seems to have overtaken the pop world.
Ready to join the same league as Gaga and divas like Beyonce, Cyrus's newest album and it's lead single practically scream, "I'm a grown up to" with the so subtedly title Can't be tamed. The single's video matches her need to be accepted as one of pop's sexiest new adults (though she still isn't legal) with the same leotards and corsets we seem to see on everyone from Rihanna to Shakira, and choreography that attempts to challenge Single Ladies.
Aguilera's Not myself tonight follows suit with its futuristic sound and video paying homage to Madonna's Express Yourself and Human Nature, a hefty attempt to re-enter the pop world that has gone from it's college party girl Dirrty days and evolved into a more artistic and high end version of sexy.
Whether Aguilera pulls off the leather corest and whips or not, it seems between all the babes battling for queen bee of the pop charts, sexy is here to stay. Check out these latest karaokes from all of our favorite pop ladies, and sing them here on RK or purchase them from the Red Karaoke Store.
This week will mark one year since the tragic death of the incredible musical idol that was Michael Jackson, and in his honor, the karaoke challenge will be one of his less popular songs (not that any of them weren't) though just as delightfully full of the King of Pop's attitude and musical genius, Dirty Diana.
Dirty Diana has that contagiously edgy sound, a little bit tougher than Beat it, and was released as the fifth single from Michael Jackson's 1987 album Bad. The hard rock ballad about a groupie that just won't let up was still a relatively new musical area in Jackson's career at the time and, despite mixed reviews and queasy critical reception, still topped the charts as most of Jackson's songs always did.
Honoring the King of pop is no easy feat, particularly when it comes to trying to sing Dirty Diana, but I'd like to see as many Red Karaoke users give this awesome Michael Jackson song a try. Post a link to your effort in the forum and your rendition could be featured in next week's newsletter and on the official Red Karaoke facebook page.
Hikaru Utada, also know by her stage name as Utada, is a Japanese American singer, song writer and producer, born in New York City but renowned in Japan as one of the most influential artists of her time with over 50 million records sold world wide.
With musically inclined parents, a record producer and a singer, its no wonder that Utada made her first professional recording at age 12, singing with her mother in a band called Utada 3 or U3. Utada was influenced greatly by her family, and even recorded her first solo projects under the name Cubic U, a mathematical reference to her being the third Utada.
As Cubic U, Utada released several solo projects starting in 1996 including I'll be stronger and Close to you, a cover of The Carpenters song which was released along side her moderately popular debut album, Precious.
While Utada attended high school, she focused on becoming a singer songwriter, unlike most female Japanese artists who only wanted to become Idols. Utada worked hard recording and released two singles which both sold millions, Automatic/Time will tell and Moving on without you, leading up to the release of her first official album under the stage name Utada, First Love.
First Love and it's lead single of the same title became history makers for Utada, giving her the highest selling album in Japan's music history and a number 2 single. All of this led up to Hikaru Utada's immediate popularity, helping her achieve the #5 rank on Japanese radio's Top 100 Artists of the 20th Century.
Though Utada took a break for a couple of years, which included some time studying at Columbia University, her follow up album after that, Distance, sold 3 million copies in its first week. The album and many of its singles, including Addicted to you, Wait & See: Risk, and For you/Time limit become some of the highest selling in Japan in recent years.
Utada released the singles Traveling, Hikari and Sakura Drops/Letter in the time leading up to her third album, all of which topped the charts, and helped the album Deep River sell over 2 million copies its first week, making her the only artist in Japanese history to have three consecutive albums be so succesful.
During this time, Utada had been gaining some experience in the US market by writing and recording a song for the Rush Hour 2 soundtrack. Blow my whistle, which featured R&B singer Foxy Brown and was cowritten by Pharrel and Chad Hugo was one of Utada's first foray's into that market. This led to her decision to release an English language album whose first single, Colors, had a more experimental sound and became the longest charting single of the year with 45 weeks under its belt.
In 2004 after working in New York City on her debut English language album with Island Def Jam Music Group, Utada released Exodus. Though the album debuted at number 1 in Japan and was aided by producers and writers like Timbaland, Exodus didn't gain much attention in the US with barely noticed singles like Easy Breezy and You make me want to be a man. The lead single from Exodus, Devil inside, did however become a club hit in the US and topped the Billboard Dance/Club charts.
After her English debut, Utada returned to Tokyo and released Ultra Blue. This album included well known hits of Utada's including Be my last, Passion and Keep Tryin’ and pepared Utada for her tour, Utada United 2006.
Utada's fifth studio album, Heart Station, produced the hit Flavor of life which was the year's highest seller and featured on a popular Japanese drama, Hana Yori Dango, and Prisoner of Love which won best Theme Song for it's use in the show Last friends. Utada was also voted the favorite artist in Japan of that year, and produced a successful single in the United Sate with Ne Yo, Do you. Despite reaching number 1, Heart Station was still not as popular as her previous albums, though she became the only Japanese artists to have 5 consecutive chart topping records.
Utada has continued her stateside career with another English language album, This is the one, released in 2009 that featured the single Come back to me. Utada supported this album's release by performances with the artist Mika in Japan and by releasing several remixes of her single Dirty Desire. She also has planned her first US tour, Utada: In the flesh 2010.
Luis Miguel Gallego Basteri, described as the “Latin Frank Sinatra,” was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 19, 1970 to Spanish singer Luisito Rey (Luis Gallego Sánchez) and Italian actress Marcela Basteri. The oldest of three boys, Luis Miguel has brothers Alejandro and Sergio. Due to his father’s career, his family moved to Mexico, where he later became a citizen in 1991. The future singer attended school until 5th grade, but had to switch to private tutoring due to his early entrance into show business.
At this time, his father, whose career was declining, decided to completely dedicate himself to his son, accompanying him with guitar and looking for a television debut so that he could sign a record deal. He debuted successfully in 1981 at the wedding of the Mexican president José López Portillo’s daughter, thanks to the support of then Mexico City chief of police Arturo Durazo Moreno. The success of this performance was so great that a month later the record company EMI offered him a contract.
With this new opportunity, Luis Miguel was able to record his first album in 1982, called 1+1=2 enamorados, at an age of 12 years old. He broke into the movie scene two years later in 1984, getting a lead role in Ya nunca más, marking the beginning of a long and successful career. He won his first Grammy award in 1985 for “Me gustas tal como eres,” a duet with Scottish singer Sheena Easton, which was included in her only Spanish album, Todo me recuerda a ti. His performance that same year with Easton in the Festival de Viña del Mar (Chile) would win him the “Antorcha de Plata” award, the highest honor of the festival.
He continued this trend with a second place win as a participant in the Eurovision Song San Remo (Italy), with the song "Noi ragazzi di oggi" ( "The kids of today"). Additionally, he would add three more awards to his early career for: "Directo al corazón", "Decídete" and "Palabra de Honor." He would eventually record "Noi ragazzi di oggi" on his only Italian album, entitled Collezione Privata (1985). Earlier in 1984, Luis Miguel starred in the film Fiebre de Amor, joined by then-child actress and singerLucero. This would be his last film performance, as he then decided to devote himself strictly to singing.
In 1987, due to problems with EMI, he debuted with Warner Music for his ninth album, titled Soy como quiero ser, beginning his collaboration with Spanish musician, producer and composer Juan Carlos Calderón, the author of the song that won him his first Grammy. This album led him to five platinum records and eight gold at the international level. That same year, he finally left his father as a business partner, and didn’t see him again until four years later when he was on his deathbed.
In 1988 he released Busca una mujer, whose first single, "La incondicional," spent seven months atop of various pop charts. Seven singles from this album would occupy the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks over the course of more than a year.
His album 20 años (1990) sold more than 600,000 copies in one week. Six singles from the album simultaneously entered the Top 100 in Mexico. The now nicknamed "Sol de Mexico" toured Latin America and the United States, and won two “Antorcha de Plata” awards at the Festival of Viña del Mar. That same year he received the European Excellence Award in Spain and his first World Music Award in Monaco, becoming the first Latin American to receive recognition as Best Selling Artist.
In 1991 he met the Mexican composer, musician and singer Armando Manzanero, who co-produced the album, Romance, which sold over seven million copies internationally. He became the first Latin American to receive a gold record in the U.S. for a Spanish album. The album also went gold in Brazil and Taiwan. He would go on to win the Billboard Awards in 1992 for Best Latin Artist, Best Album and Best Artist for a Spanish song.
The next year, Luis Miguel was the only Latin American invited to participate in the recording of the album Barcelona Gold for the upcoming Olympic Games. He then won the award for Best International Music Video at the MTV Awards for his song "América, América", which would be part of a special edition album, América & En Vivo. The same year he lost his father, Luis Rey, which delayed the recording of Aries. Many speculated that his father's death was caused by the breakdown in his relationship with his son.
At 23 years old, he produced Aries, with which he received his second Grammy (Best Latin Pop Album). He won two Lo Nuestro Awards for Pop Artist of the Year and Best Pop Album, Billboard Awards for Best Male Artist and Best Album of the Year, and recieved more than 40 platinum and 6 gold records worldwide. For this record, Dominican songwriter and musician Juan Luis Guerra contributed the ballad "Hasta que me olvides" which became one of the most well-received of the album.
That same year Luis Miguel began a more extensive tour throughout America. He was the first Latin singer to sell out Madison Square Garden in New York and run four consecutive shows at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, following this with three shows at the Knight Center in Miami.
In 1994, Segundo Romance hit the market, debuting at #27 on the Billboard Top 200, the highest achieved by a Spanish album to that date. For this he won another host of awards, including Billboards, World Music Awards, and Lo Nuestro, as well as his third Grammy. The album achieved 35 platinum records worldwide. He was recognized by the RIAA (Recording Industry Artists of America) following the sale of over two million copies of Romance and Segundo Romance in the U.S., making him the first foreigner singing in their native language to achieve this distinction.
Luis Miguel paid homage to one of his great musical influences by performing "Come Fly With Me" with Frank Sinatra for what proved to be Sinatra’s last album: Duets II. As a result, he was chosen to participate in the TV special Sinatra: Duets to promote the album.
He then released his first live album, El concierto, recorded during performances at the National Auditorium, which broke CD, cassette, laser disc and home video sales records. A year later, in 1996, Walt Disney Studios invited him to record “Sueña,” Spanish version of the theme song for the animated feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and was included on his next album, Nada es igual.
Nada es igual sold 1,300,000 copies and received 30 platinum records worldwide. The first single from that album, "Dame", ranked first for all Spanish-language stations in the United States, as well as in Mexico, Central America, South America and Spain. In September he was honored by the organizing committee of The Hollywood Walk of Fame with a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
By mid-1997 he released Romances, his third album of boleros, produced by himself with the help of Armando Manzanero and Argentine musician, composer and arranger Bebu Silvetti. Romances debuted at #14 on the Billboard 200, the highest position ever for a Spanish album. "Por debajo de la mesa,” “El reloj,” “Contigo,” “Bésame mucho” y “De quererte así” all reached # 1 on radio charts throughout Latin America.
He then began an extensive tour with 17 consecutive dates at the National Auditorium, and 5 more at the Radio City Music Hall in New York with the goal of putting out a new record. Pollstar recognized Luis Miguel as one of the 20 All-Time Top Grossing Artists for one venue.
Romances would sell more than 4.5 million copies, being his fastest and best-selling album, with 50 platinum records worldwide. For this he won his fourth Grammy in 1998, the Billboard Latin 50 Artist of the Year and the prize for Best Male Pop Album of the Year, in addition to his fourth World Music Award as Best Selling Latin Artist. In Spain, Luis Miguel sold more than a million copies between Romances and the trilogy Todos los romances in one year.
In 1999 he brought out a new album, Amarte es un placer, producing it with composers Armando Manzanero and Juan Carlos Calderón. Luis Miguel contributed as an author, composer and arranger of several songs. By July the first single "Sol, arena, y mar" was released, which started its first week at #1 in Argentina, Chile and Mexico.
In early 2000, he made 21 consecutive appearances at the National Auditorium, with over 225,000 viewers in total, and was honored with 4 platinum and gold records for Amarte es un placer. According to the William Morris Agency, this tour was the highest grossing in the history of Spanish-speaking artists.
On October 3, 2000 he released Vivo, recorded during concerts on the Monterrey tour, which included big hits throughout his career and previously unreleased track "La bikina" accompanied by a mariachi, and won yet another Billboard Award.
In late 2001 and 2002 would come, respectively, Mis romances (his fourth work of boleros, with the single "Amor, amor") and Mis boleros favoritos (a compilation of his best performances, plus a DVD).
During September of 2003 the performer launched his first album of original songs in four years, called 33 in reference to his age, which landed the hit single: "Te necesito."
In 2004 he presented his first production with Mariachi, a tribute to his homeland entitled México en la piel. The album sold nearly a million copies in Mexico alone. Moreover, he set a new record in the National Auditorium in Mexico City, with 30 consecutive dates played. This feat earned him the “La Estela de Plata”, recognition that the National Auditorium specifically made for Luis Miguel for his record shows in the venue. This record in turn earned him the Grammy for best Mexican American album, the Latin Grammy for best ranchero album, the Latin Billboard for best ranchero album, the Latin Billboard tour of the year, and the Lunas del Auditorio prize for best pop concert in 2005. In 2005 he also released a greatest hits collection called Grandes éxitos.
On November 14, 2006 he released Navidades, a Christmas album which compiled 11 Spanish version holiday tracks that originated in the US. For this album, Luis Miguel again collaborated with Juan Carlos Calderón. In 2007, he began a tour called Grandes éxitos, which had the same set list for Spain, Venezuela and the United States.
In May 2008, Luis Miguel released a new album, Cómplices, which contains 12 previously unreleased tracks from Spanish composer Manuel Alejandro, including hit single “Si tu te atreves.” Like many of his previous and successful works, this album was produced by Luis Miguel himself. Cómplices went four times platinum with 324,000 copies sold on the day of release and diamond for its more than 400,000 within three weeks of its release. Cómplices reached #1 in Spain, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina and is the eighth album from the superstar to hold the #1 spot on Billboard's tally, solidifying Luis Miguel as the artist with the most #1 records in the history of the magazine. The album also reached #10 in the "Top 200" (Billboard), the highest he has achieved in his career in the United States.
In 2009, he released his newest album, Noculpes a la noche, which contains remixes of many of the singer’s hits.
Luis Miguel is the father of 3 children, Michelle 18, Miguel (born 31 January 2007) and Daniel who was born on 18 December 2008. The latter two are the result of his relationship with Mexican singer and actress Aracely Arámbula.
As the summer continues heating up, there couldn't be a better karaoke that embodies that oh so familiar desire to get away from it all on a tropical vacation than The Beach Boys hit, and this week's challenge, Kokomo.
Kokomo was written in 1988 and recorded by The Beach Boys for the soundtrack of Cocktail, starring a much younger, less crazy, but still as handsome as ever Tom Cruise, and was even nominated for a Best Song for Motion Picture grammy.
Kokomo may have lost the grammy to Phil Collins and his Two Hearts, and also a golden globe for the same category, but the single still did pretty well, charting at number 1 in the United States, Japan and Australia. Besides which, I don't think there are many people who recognize the Collins winner, but I know everyone can sing the chorus of Kokomo.
Have some fun with this week's challenge and sing your own rendition of Kokomo. Post a link to your version in the forum and you could be featured in next week's newsletter and on the official Red Karaoke facebook page.
is a Puerto Rican singer and composer, whose music combines pop with latin rhythm and rock influences, born Luis Alfonso Rodríguez López on April 15th, 1978 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. From an early age, Luis showed signs that music was going to guide his life. At three years old he was imitating the pop stars in Menudo, and soon thereafter joined the Children’s Chorus in San Juan. At 10 years old, his family relocated to Orlando, Florida. He formed various boy bands during high school, at which time he met and befriended the future N’SYNC member Joey Fatone. Fonsi continued to study music in college at Florida State University, practicing theory, singing, and composition.
Discovered by the music department president who had connections with record studios, Luis Fonsi was able to record his first record in 1998, titled Comenzaré, which gained recognition by the Billboard review with singles "Si tú quisieras" and "Perdóname," and joined an elite group by recieving a gold record on his first release.
He followed with a second album, Eterno, which lauched his international career, landing a hit in Spain with “Imagíname sin ti.” At this point Fonsi was touring worldwide while acting on TV shows.
In 2000, Fonsi participated in the Jubileo 2000 where he sang in front of then pope John Paul II. The following year, Ednita Nazario won a Latin Grammy for a song composed by Fonsi, with whom he collaborated to sing at the White House as a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
In 2002 he surprised his fans by releasing an album of ballads, Amor secreto. He later released highly successful English version under the title Fight the Feeling in the US. Toward the end of 2003 he launched his fourth album, Abrazar la vida, which featured more Latino influenced rhythms and lyrics. His song “¿Quién te dijo eso?" became one of the most listened to in 2003.
After that appeared Paso a paso, a more mature work that showed a very intimate Fonsi, influenced by his wife Adamari López’s diagnosis of breast cancer, to whom he dedicated the title track. During this time he also appeared regularly on the TV series Taína and soap operas such as Corazones al límite with Sara Maldonado.
Luis Fonsi has also worked in aspects of production. More than just a singer, Fonsi is a songwriter and composer as well. As mentioned earlier, he penned Ednita Nazario’s Grammy winning interpretation of “Tanto que te di.” He has also written for pop star Olga Tañón. He collaborated with Cristina Aguilera on the song “Si no te hubiera conocido” on the American singer’s album in Spanish. He has also sung duos with various artists, including David Bustamante, Wisin y Yandel, and former Spice Girls member Emma Bunton.
For most of us Summer means beautiful weather, fun vacations and maybe even the chance for a fleeting romance. So this week I decided to choose a challenge to channel all that exciting summer energy into some smooth crooning with the song Summer Wind.
Summer Wind was very famously recorded by the king of crooning Frank Sinatra of his 1966 album Strangers in the Night. His rendition, though it peaked at the 25th spot on the Billboard shot, was not the only popular remake of the 1965 Johnny Mercer tune, and has been covered by artists ranging from Barry Manilow to Lyle Lovett and even Westlife made their own version for their ratpack tribute.
The song is a beautiful and simple ode to the joys of summer romance, something every person can appreciate when filled with nostalgia for their youthful holidays away from schoolwork and other responsibilities.
Now you to can take a trip down memory lane, or look forward to the summer love that may be awaiting you this summer, but singing Summer Wind for this week's karaoke challenge. Post a link to your rendition in the forum and you could be featured in next week's newsletter and on the official Red Karaoke facebook page.
This week's challenge is the infectious "boop boop a doop" classic, I wanna be loved by you, lightheartedly honoring the iconic Marilyn Monroe in celebration of her would be birthday this past Tuesday.
Though Marilyn Monroe famously sung the 20's tune for her role in the classic farce Some like it hot, I wanna be loved by you was originally performed by and was considered the signature song of none other than Helen Kane, the inspiration for the ever ageless Betty Boop with her cutesy baby talk voice.
Sing your own rendition of I wanna be loved by you, whether it's in sultry Monroe or seductive Sinatra style, and post a link to your rendition in the forum. Your rendition could be featured in next week's newsletter and on the official Red Karaoke facebook page.
Nelly Kim Furtado is a Canadian singer who hasn’t stopped climbing the ranks of the music world since the release of her first album in 2000 and is now one of the most successful singer/songwriters in the business.
Furtado was born December 2, 1978 in Victoria, Canada. At 11, she learned to play the trombone and keyboard, and by 13 she was composing her own songs. In 1997 she moved to Toronto where she formed her first group, a hip-hop duo called Nelstar (which would later become the name of her own record company) with a local musician Leonardo Dantes. One of their songs got an offer to make a video, but she wasn’t happy with the duo’s musical direction and eventually rejected the offer to pursue a solo career.
Her first album, Whoa, Nelly! came out in 2000, was called “a delightful and refreshing antidote to the army of "pop princesses" and rap-metal bands that had taken over popular music at the turn of the millennium.” The record became an almost immediate international success, thanks to songs like “I’m Like a Bird,” “Turn Off the Light,” and “On the Radio (Remember the Days).”
In 2003, she released her second album, titled Folklore, referring to her parents emigration from Portugal and subsequent settlement in Canada. Folklore didn’t match the success of her first album, due in part to her record company’s failure to properly promote the record. Even so, critics consider the album as a whole one of her best, and the song “Força” was chosen as the official anthem for the 2004 European Football Championship held in Portugal.
In June of 2006 she released Loose, her third studio album, which became the most successful of her career. Primarily produced by Timbaland, the album shows a mix of R&B and hip-hop influences, but also experiments with hard rock rhythms, which Furtado noted was influenced by bands she was listening to during recording, especially System of a Down.
She collaborated with various artists for the record, most notably Calle 13, Timbaland, and Juanes. The singles varied significantly depending on the country, but in the US there were eight singles, with “Promiscuous” and “Say it Right” reaching #1.
In 2009, Furtado set out to take over the Spanish music market, and released an album entirely in Spanish called Mi Plan, consisting of eleven unedited songs mostly composed by Furtado herself. She again worked with multiple other artists, including Josh Groban, Juan Luis Guerra, Julieta Venegas, La Mala Rodríguez, Concha Buika, and Alejando Fernández. Two official singles were released for the album, “Manos al aire” and “Mas,” along with other promotional singles released on the internet.
Currently Nelly Furtado is finishing her newest album, which will be called Lifestyle, and is set to be released in May 2010. She has been working with Timbaland again for the new recording, and has said that the album with be a combination of the styles of her previous four albums.