Chris Rene Talks ‘X Factor’, Family & Sobriety

Chris Rene of Santa Cruz on Walmart Risers

Chris Rene, who finished third in the first season of ‘The X Factor’, visited Walmart Risers to discuss his crazy younger days, his famous musical roots, how he stays motivated, and his hit new EP ‘I’m Right Here’. The 29-year-old also performed an exclusive acoustic version of his single, ‘Rockin’ With You.’

Talking about his first single, Chris explained, “Before I went on the ‘X Factor’ and before anyone knew who I was, I was a crazy kid. I had a lot of fun. I did a lot of crazy stuff. The song ‘Young Homie’ I kind of wrote for all the kids out there. When you’re younger, you’ve got to prove yourself to the older kids and you want to do what they’re doing. Stuff like that. It’s a message of be true to yourself and love yourself and don’t trip homie because life’s too short and why trip off the small stuff.”

Discussing advice for ‘X Factor’ hopefuls, he said, “I don’t know what advice I’d would give someone who wants to go and do the show. It depends what kind of person you are, and really what you want. If you come from the heart, I’d say go do it. But if you’re looking for money or something like that, I’ve got nothing to say to you. If you really have a passion about it, just be true and be yourself, because you never know what can happen unless you try. It all depends on if people can feel you and see if you’re true and see if you’re genuine. If you are, you’re gonna get fans and you’re gonna change people’s lives.”

Talking about balancing a busy professional career with family, Chris said, “Being an artist and being on the road all the time, and being a father at the same time is a challenge, because I’m mostly gone so I can’t really be there for him. His mom takes care of him and his grandpa and his grandma. I want to see my son. I want to be there for him, but knowing that I’m making the sacrifice to create a better future for both of us is what keeps me grounded.”

“What keeps me motivated is first of all, being clean and sober and taking care of myself, which is an everyday struggle and a journey. That’s the most important thing because without that, I wouldn’t be here talking to you guys. I wouldn’t be there for my kids. I wouldn’t be there for my mom or nothing, so that comes first. Then my kids and my family. Those are the main reasons why I’m still here.”

Check out the interview and ‘Rockin’ With You’ performance video at View additional pictures from Chris’ visit after the cut. (more…)

Karmin ‘Hello’ Music Video

Amy Heidemann of Karmin riding a bike during their 'Hello' music video shoot

Karmin released the music video to their latest single ‘Hello’, the title track off Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan’s full-length debut album, out now on Epic Records. Amy and Nick teamed with Stargate, Autumn Rowe and Claude Kelly writing the song. Check out the Brian DeCubellis directed video, shot in China Town in Los Angeles, via VEVO below. View additional pictures from the video shoot after the cut.


Skylar Grey ‘C’mon Let Me Ride’ Music Video Photos

Skylar Grey and Eminem on the set of her 'C'mon Let Me Ride' music video

Behind the scenes photos from the set of the Skylar Grey music video for her new single ‘C’mon Let Me Ride’, featuring Eminem, have been released. Grey, known by many as Holly Brook, has described the treatment as “fun and sarcastic.” The single comes from the Mazomanie, Wisconsin native’s second (first using the moniker Skylar Grey) full-length album ‘Don’t Look Down’, due Spring 2013. ‘C’mon Let Me Ride’ will be released to all digital retailers on December 11th, as will the music video. Eminem’s hometown of Detroit was the location the music video was shot a few weeks ago. Check out a few additional pictures from the video after the cut. (more…)

Tristan Prettyman Performs ‘Cedar + Gold’ Tracks, Discusses Breakup Themed Album

Tristan Prettyman shows off her arm tattoo, which reads 'find and follow the good path' in Balinese script, during her Walmart Soundcheck performance

Tristan Prettyman visited Walmart Soundcheck to promote her new album ‘Cedar + Gold’, a record that chronicles her breakup with singer Jason Mraz. Prettyman also performs an exclusive five-song set, including ‘My Oh My’, ‘I Was Gonna Marry You’, ‘Quit You’, ‘Come Clean’ and ‘When You Come Down’.

During the interview, the tattooed San Diego singer songwriter talked about why she titled the new album ‘Cedar + Gold’, the process of writing songs for the album, working with producer Greg Wells on the project, what inspired the song ‘Come Clean’, playing the songs from the new album live, how some fans talk about how she has put their life into song.

Discussing the story behind the album’s name, Tristan said, “The title of ‘Cedar + Gold’ kind of comes from a long winded story, but I’ll try to compress it as best I can. There’s three main components to how I came up with the title. The first has to do with the house that I live in, which is also the house that I grew up in until I was four. It’s the house my mom was pregnant with me in. My dad bought this house in the ’70s, lived there, met my mom, and now I just moved back into that house. The second part is, I was having lunch one day with my friend. He was talking to me about alchemy. He was working with this alchemist and he was explaining to be about alchemy, the process of turning lead into gold and he looked at me and said it’s essentially what you’ve been doing with your music. You’ve been turning all this stuff that’s been happening to you into positive, making something beautiful out of it and making your art with it. I really loved that concept. Alchemy is sort of mystical and magical. I took that and I dwelled on that for a couple of days. One day I had a dream. I woke up from a dream where my grandmother literally came to me. She was like the genie in Pee Wee Herman, the head. I just saw her face right before I woke up and it was her, she just said, ‘Cedar and gold’. I walked out into my living room and looked at the living room and thought, ‘Oh all the walls are cedar. The ceiling is cedar. I like to say the cedar of my living room held the space for me to make the songs and make them into gold.”

On the songwriting process, she said, “When I started writing it, I thought this is definitely going towards kind of a breakup album. As I began to finish the record I could see the journey of the record really started after I stopped touring on the last album, which I got really burnt out on music. I wanted to just take some time for myself. I wanted to travel and find my anchor again. I was feeling very lost. I didn’t even know if I wanted to keep playing music and it’s sort of like starting over again because when I started writing music in the first place, it came from that place. Music was just this thing that I went to because I needed to purge these things or get my emotions out or tell a story. In a roundabout way all my travels, I also had a vocal surgery, two polyps removed. I got back together with an ex-boyfriend and got engaged and un-engaged and music was the first place I ran to. Most of these songs were written in the moment right after a fight, right after a conversation, right after getting a voicemail. I showed up at the writing session and the guy is like, ‘What do you want to write about?’ ‘I want to write about how I was going to marry this person’ and I said I want to put that in the song. He looked at me and said, ‘You really want to go there?’ ‘Yes, I don’t know how else to say that except just to say it’.”

Talking about writing the track ‘Come Clean’ with a friend, she said, “He sort of had this idea for the song about coming clean. Come clean when things get blurry, when they become hard to understand, when lines are crossed, and I had recently been in a situation where I had crossed a line. That song is about you have something happen and it’s not something you had planned to happen. You never had it planned, but for some odd reason, you got yourself in a pickle and now you’ve got to get yourself out of it. You’ve got to take responsibility and own up to what you did. It’s basically admitting when you’ve done wrong.”

Watch the live set and interview at Check out additional pictures from her appearance after the cut. (more…)

Carly Rae Jepsen On ‘Kiss’ LP, Justin Bieber Duet, Songwriting

Carly Rae Jepsen poses in front of a wallpaper background during her on Walmart Soundcheck appearance

Carly Rae Jepsen made an appearance on Walmart Soundcheck. The Canadian pop singer did a live set from Los Angeles that included ‘This Kiss’, ‘Your Heart Is A Muscle’, ‘Guitar String / Wedding Ring’ and ‘Call Me Maybe’.

During an interview with the Canadian pop singer, she talked about all the covers and videos that have been posted of the summer smash ‘Call Me Maybe’, calling her album ‘Kiss’, embracing the music her parents listened to, shifting more towards pop after enjoying the Vancouver nightlife, her memories of music growing up, how James Taylor being an inspiration on her album ‘Kiss’ surprises people, her duet with Justin Bieber on the song ‘Beautiful’, and more.

“It’s been quite something to see the different variations of ‘Call Me Maybe’,” Carly said about all those YouTube videos. “It really makes my day. I get sent it from all my friends. ‘Hey have you seen the Olympic team or have you seen the Obama one? The Katy Perry version.’ It doesn’t get old. Actually, it’s a great way of rejuvenating the song for me to see that two girls in Germany have decided to do a little dance-off in their living room to the song. I feel kind of like I need to pinch myself every time I see someone else has taken a liking to the song and made their own version of it. It’s very flattering.”

On calling her album ‘Kiss’ thanks largely to ‘This Kiss’, Carly Rae said, “It seemed really fitting to call the album just simply ‘Kiss’. You look at the other songs and they are really romantic. It really is about that kind of flirtation and the excitement of the beginning of things. Truthfully there was no different feeling from ‘Call Me Maybe’ than any of the other songs that I’ve written. It was a collaboration between two friends, Josh Ramsey and Tavish Crowe. I do remember there being this level of excitement over the song, but nothing dissimilar from every time that we write together. Just being in the studio and in that creative process I do feel every time there’s this sort of thrill to it. If it takes off, it takes off. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I think that’s what I like so much about songwriting is the process of actually writing the song and what comes after is just a bonus.”

Discussing her music memories growing up, the 26-year-old recalled, “Music surrounded my whole life from being a baby on, so it’s hard to distinguish my first musical memory. I do remember the first time I ever went on stage. Growing up, my dad used to play guitar for me before bed, sort of a bedtime story. He would sing songs. I remember I would always sing along to the James Taylor covers of songs that he’d written and he asked if I’d be interested in singing in front of people, because they noticed I wouldn’t stop. I was stoked on the idea and there was a local talent contest in Mission, BC, where I’m from. I sang ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Eternal Flame’, and there was a crowd of about 400 people. I remember being terrified and thrilled at the same time, and I knew from that moment on this is what I wanted to spend my life doing.”

Talking about her ‘Beautiful’ duet with Justin Bieber, Carly Rae said, “That was a bit of a dream as well. I remember being really nervous because it was my first time coming to LA for work and meeting Scooter and Justin for the first time. This was right around the time when I just signed the contract, so my life was just starting to have some big shifts in it. I went to hear all of Justin’s albums so far, ‘Believe’, and he played me this particular song and asked if I’d be interested in singing on it. I was like okay, yes please, amazing. I didn’t know he meant right then and there. Literally in 15 minutes I was thrown into the vocal booth. No pressure or anything. There was a room full of people and I was like shaking. They said just go ahead and sing. As soon as I kind of got into the vibe of the song I wasn’t nervous anymore. It kind of melted away. It’s a song I’m already nostalgic for and it’s not even come out yet, because it was such a special time in my life.”

Check out the live set and interview at View additional photos from Carly Rae’s appearance after the cut. (more…)

Nelly Furtado Discusses ‘The Spirit Indestructible’, Performs Live Set

Nelly Furtado eyes on display during a photo shoot for Walmart Soundcheck

Nelly Furtado is featured on Walmart Soundcheck in a live set and interview in support of her fifth studio album, ‘The Spirit Indestructible’. The Canadian singer’s live show, from Los Angeles, featured performances of ‘Maneater’, ‘Big Hoops (The Bigger The Better)’, ‘Spirit Indestructible’, ‘Turn Off The Light’, ‘Be OK’ and ‘Parking Lot’.

During the interview, Furtado talked about the album being aggressive, how she came up with the title track, having a balance in life, writing all of her lyrics and melodies, some features on the album, learning a lot in the music business over her 12 year run, and more.

On the album, Nelly said, “I’m really, really excited about it because I feel like it has a real adrenaline and energy to it and excitement. There’s a rawness to it. I’d describe it as a friendly punch in the face. It’s not violent, but it’s aggressive, it has a rawness and immediacy to it. The themes are quite positive and quite spiritual and very uplifting.”

On the title track, Nelly said, “It’s one of my favorites. It means a lot to me and I hope it means a lot to the fans that end up listening to it. I make music so people can enjoy it and bring it to their own worlds. I feel like the songs aren’t even mine. They’re mine when I write then and then after I share them they just belong to everybody else. I really make music for people to enjoy and that’s why I make music. ‘Spirit Indestructible’ kind of was the idea for an album title before it became a song. It came from a book I was reading. The phrase really jumped out at me, the spirit indestructible and this idea that we are all indestructible whether you’re talking about today’s times or if you’re talking about history and times when humans have overcome. The song has had many meanings and the meanings continue to evolve. That’s what I like about songs like that. When there’s a real positive love of the message in the music, people really take that and they re-interpret that and it becomes many things for many people and I love that.”

Talking about her personal life, Nelly said, “I think the secret to balance in life is having positive people around you in your personal life and your career. You need to surround yourself with positive people with great energy and you need to be able to determine what kind of energy drags you down and what doesn’t. My family has been amazing. I’ve had really good family around. They’ve managed to really keep me grounded because they’re so real. I come from a very working class background and simple roots. That really helps me.”

On being a veteran in the music business, she said, “I think just having been in this business for about 12 years now, I’ve learned a lot over the years. The first, they say that you have your whole life to write your first album. For me that would have been ‘Whoa Nelly’, which came out in 2000. I feel like I’ve lived a whole other lifetime since then. It’s 2012 and this ‘Spirit Indestructible’ feels like my debut again in a way, probably because it’s really eclectic. The sounds, there’s pop. There’s urban. There’s hip hop, reggae, world music, dance. All in one pop CD. I see myself as a vocal instrumentalist. My instrument is my voice and the different genres I explore are like playgrounds for my voice.”

Check out the performance and interview at and check out additional photos from the appearance after the cut. (more…)

Ed Sheeran Performs ‘The A Team’ On ‘Good Day New York’

Ed Sheeran and Jewel

Ed Sheeran touched down in New York City the other day, making an appearance on ‘Good Day New York’, where he did an interview and performed ‘The A Team’. Backstage, the English singer songwriter ran into another popular recording artist, Jewel.

Asked what he was doing later tonight with his show the following night, Ed said, “I’m meeting up with some friends. I’ve got some friends that are in New York, which is really random, so I’m going to go out and have a drink.”

Talking about the hard work needed to get to where he is now, Ed said, “I’ve probably done the same amount as anyone else in my position has done. I’m just trying to keep the ball rolling at the moment.”

Talking about his break into the music biz, Ed said, “I did a lot of touring. I released a lot of independent EPs, and grew up a fan base and then I got picked up by a label and the album was released.”

Watch the performance at

Alanis Morissette Discusses Motherhood, Ever Imre Inspired ‘Guardian’

Alanis Morissette, seen wearing a jacket during her photo shoot for Walmart Soundcheck, was interviewed about how her son Ever Imre played an influence on her album 'havoc and bright lights'

Alanis Morissette brought her new album ‘havoc and bright lights’ to Walmart Soundcheck for a special live performance and exclusive sit-down interview. The set list included ‘Woman Down’, ‘You Learn’, ‘Havoc’ and ‘Guardian’.

During the interview, the Grammy-award winning singer discussed how now being a mom influenced the recording of the new album, how her song ‘Guardian’ was about her son Ever Imre, learning to reach out for help as a mother, trying to manage her time to avoid being a workaholic, the message behind the female empowering track ‘Woman Down’, her love of decorating and how this record “nails every sonic soundscape that I live for.”

Talking about the album’s recording process, Alanis said, “I wrote the record when my son turned 5 1/2 months. We build a make shift studio in our house so that I could breastfeed and be available for my son and write at the same time. I definitely reached that critical juncture, where I was at that Y in the road where one side was career and the other side was choosing momhood full time, and I decided that I didn’t want to have to pick.”

Discussing the maternal influences on the song ‘Guardian’, she said, “The chorus is about my son, and this protectorship, this momma bear that emerged. I was always channeling my material energy, often times in very inappropriate ways with certain ex-boyfriends, and so now that I have this son it’s really appropriate for me to love him in this kind of way. Then I saw the difference in how I was loving him and how I wasn’t taking care of myself, so the verses are about me growing this inner mom and inner parent frankly to take care of myself better.”

On what she’s learned about motherhood, Alanis said, “The greatest lesson I’ve gleened from being a new mom is to reach out for help. The women’s movement was such that for a long time we were property, so we were owned, and we were very dependent. Then it segued into this independence, burn the bra movement, so we were really independent and it was all about autonomy. Now in 2012 it really feels like this interdependence, new paradigm. It feels like it’s approrpiate to need each other, to be empowered and to actually say I need your help, so I’ve learned how to reach out for help and seek support.”

Check out the performances and interview at, while additional pictures from Alanis appearance can be viewed below the cut. (more…)

Nelly Furtado ‘Parking Lot’ Music Video Photos

Nelly Furtado performs with her dancers while shooting her music video for 'Parking Lot', directed by Ray Kay

Nelly Furtado has released pictures from the set of her new music video for ‘Parking Lot’, a track featured on the Canadian pop singer’s upcoming album, ‘The Spirit Indestructible’. The video was directed by Ray Kay, who has done work with Lady Gaga and Beyonce, and was inspired by Nelly’s teen years hanging out in parking lots with friends. The track follows up to album’s first single and title track, ‘Spirit Indestructible’.

Nelly Furtado sitting in her car on the set of her 'Parking Lot' music video, directed by Ray Kay

Nelly has also posted a video message about how fans can pre-order the album which will include an exclusive bundle on her official site. Copies of ‘Spirit Indestructible’ pre-ordered from Nelly’s online store in physical or digital formats will include a winged, silver charm necklace inscribed with the album’s title. The bundle is available with both the standard and deluxe editions. ‘The Spirit Indestructible’ is also available for pre-order on iTunes.

Cody Simpson Meets With Fans At Kmart In Virginia Beach


Cody Simpson has released photos from a recent in-store appearance in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Australian pop singer posed for photographs and signed autographs for fans at a local Kmart on Monday (August 20) to promote his brand new teen apparel line, sold exclusively at the retailer. The first 1,000 fans in attendance received an autographed photo of the picture Cody is holding above. Check out additional pictures after the cut. (more…)