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The punk-rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs assembled in New York in 2000. The lineup was comprised by vocalist Karen Orzolek, guitarist Nicolas Zinner and drummer Brian Chase. Nicolas and Orzolek performed together before the formation of this team, as a folk rock duet Unitard. Karen was a student of a cinematography college while Nicolas’s core occupation was photography. Therefore, their music activity went on an irregular basis and none of the musicians paid it a lot of attention. Nevertheless, the duet soon realized the necessity of a drummer for their live performances. There came Chase and the band shifted from folk to punk and was renamed to Yeah Yeah Yeahs, an odd phrase from one of The Beatles’ songs.
At the first rehearsal, the band manufactured a few songs and in a short while the musicians performed them as a supporting act for The Strokes, and The White Stripes. Early in 2001, the outfit released their first single, Bang! This attempt did not perform extraordinarily in the market, but there were more and more people coming to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs live. This was largely associated with the figure of Karen, the vocalist. She worked hard on the image of her band and succeeded remarkably. The lyrics of many songs concealed indecent messages, while the clothing the girl appeared on the stage in was impossible to forget. Having acquired a significant fan base, Yeah Yeah Yeahs escaped to the studio to prepare the self-titled EP. It saw the light of day late in 2001. In the first half of 2002, Yeah Yeah Yeahs surfaced on the international forum. First, they played on the European venues with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and then they arranged their own tour over the UK.
In 2002, Yeah Yeah Yeahs spent the intervals between the concert campaigns to work on their debut full format album. Before they issued it, the group’s supporters were offered to while away the waiting time with the Machine EP. The much-anticipated Fever to Tell hit the stores in 2003. The sound was much cleaner than the one featured on the band’s first works, and the electronic instruments had a much broader application. Thanks to the ballad Maps, a 2004 hit, the album reached a noticeable commercial success. This composition granted the whole CD a golden certificate. At that time, Karen moved to Los Angeles. In 2005, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs members took up their side projects. Karen contributed to the making of the soundtrack to the Nike shoes commercial. Zinner recorded a solo album called Head Wound City and had the book with his pictures published.
Late in 2005, Yeah Yeah Yeahs got together again in the studio to start working in their second long player. Show Your Bones was recorded within a very short period, but this never affected its quality. The album was delivered in spring 2006 and surprised both critics and music lovers with the maturity and proficiency of the featured material. This record made the whole way up to the eleventh position in the album charts and still remains the band’s best selling effort. Yeah Yeah Yeahs spent the rest of the year playing concerts to promote their fresh release. In summer 2007, the musicians released Is Is, a collection of songs written at different stages of their career. In 2009, Yeah Yeah Yeahs prepared another present for their supporters, the new studio album It’s Blitz! Without making radical changes in the music, the Americans made another step towards the perfection of the style they chose in the very beginning. This studio work showed that the musicians are moving in the right direction.
Show Your Bones
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On October 14, 1978 in Dallas, Texas Jonetta Patton brought Usher Terrence Raymond IV into the world. Known simply as Usher he was destined to conquer the R&B music scene. Usher took his first musical steps at the local church with the youth choir in Chattanooga, where he grew up. After joining a singing group his family realized his musical potential and moved to Atlanta, Georgia in order for the young singer to pursue a musical career.
At the young age of eleven, the talented youngster joined a music group called the “NuBeginnings” with whom he released the album “Nubeginning Featuring Usher Raymond IV” in 1991. The album was available regionally and by mail order at the time and re-released nationally in 2002 by Hip-O Records. Usher however, did not remain in the group, considered a “bad experience” by his mother. Two years later, Usher competed on the talent show “Star Search” which brought him in contact with a representative of LaFace Records. This contact ultimately led to a contract with the label. Usher then recorded his introductory track “Call Me a Mack” for the soundtrack of a drama-romance film, “Poetic Justice” in 1993. A year later the artist released his debut album, “Usher”, which peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album was promoted by the singles; “Can U Get Wit It”, “Think of You”, and “The Many Ways”. Between his first and second album Usher recorded “Let's Straighten It Out” a duet with Monica, he appeared on LaFace's 1996 Olympic Games benefit album “Rhythm of the Games” and sang “I Swear I'm In Love” for the soundtrack of the movie “Kazaam” in 1996.
The following year, “My Way”, Usher’s second album was released producing his first chart topping single in the UK, “You Make Me Wanna” which won the Best Male R&B/Soul Single at the 1999 Soul Train Music Awards. The album also produced his first US number one single “Nice&Slow”. “My Way” has been certified six-time platinum by the RIAA. After the release of his album Usher embarked on a tour that included performances on Puffy's “No Way Out” tour, appearances with Mary J. Blige as well as the opening act for Janet Jackson's “The Velvet Rope Tour”. A live album, “Live”, was released in 1999 and has been certified gold in the US. Preceding the release of his third studio album, “All about U”, “Pop Ya Collar” was released as the album’s first single but as the single did not have the anticipated success and a few tracks had leaked the album was stalled in order to be modified. The album eventually hit the stands as “8701” producing the singles “U Remind Me” and “U Got It Bad” both of which topped the Billboard Hot 100. “U Remind Me” earned the artist the Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance an award Usher won the following year as well for the track “U Don't Have to Call” making Usher the third artist to win this award two years in a row, the two previous being Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder.
“Confessions” Usher’s fourth studio album was released in March 2004 and thanks to over 10 million sales it was certified Diamond. The singles, “Yeah!”, “Burn”, “Confessions Part II” and “My Boo” all topped the Billboard 100 making Usher the first artist with four singles to top the chart in a row. While the fifth single also reached the top ten, peaking at number eight. The success of the album caused the awards to come pouring in with Usher winning three Grammy awards; R&B Performance by a Duo or Group, Rap/Sung Collaboration and Contemporary R&B Album as well as 11 Billboard Music Awards including Artist of the Year. From 2005 to 2007 Usher collaborated with many renowned artists such as Lil' Jon on the track “Lovers & Friends, with R. Kelly on “Same Girl”, with Omarion on a remix of “Ice Box” and with Mary J. Blige on “Shake Down”. Ushers eighth top of the chart single “Love In This Club” as well as other successful singles “Love in This Club, Part II”, “Moving Mountains” and “Trading Places” came from the studio album “Here I Stand” released in May 2008. To promote the album Usher embarked on the “One Night Stand” tour performing for an all female audience. He also appeared at the “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial” alongside Stevie Wonder and Shakira. On July 7, 2009, he sang “Gone Too Soon” at Michael Jackson’s memorial service. Usher’s hits kept coming and in 2010, he released “Raymond v. Raymond” which hit number one on the Billboard 200 chart upon release, the third album in a row to début atop the chart, the album was just as much a success internationally. From the album came the hit singles; “Papers”, “Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)”, “Lil Freak”, “OMG” and “There Goes My Baby”. The success of the album earned the artist two American Music Awards; Male Soul/R&B artist and Favourite Soul/R&B album. That same year “Versus” was released, an EP follow -up to “Raymond v. Raymond” was released as well as a deluxe edition of the latter. “Versus” was promoted by the singles “DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love” and “Hot Tottie”. Live appearances at that time include his performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and at the American Music Awards. He also made a surprise appearance at the Super Bowl XLV with The Black Eyed Peas and will.i.am performing “OMG”.
Usher’s fans, are not restricted to his music but can also enjoy his performances on the small, big and silver screens. In the 1980s in the television series “Moesha”, his début acting role in “The Faculty”, his first film role in “The Bold and The Beautiful”, in the film “She’s All That”, in the Disney movie “Geppetto,”and in “Light It Up” his first starring role. In 2001, he acted in the film “Texas Rangers” and in 2002 he had TV appearances on “The Twilight Zone,” “7th Heaven,” “Moesha,” and “American Dreams.” He also played the role of a disc jockey in the 2005 film “In the Mix”. However, Usher has not stop there as he lent his talent to the theatre as well, taking on the role of Billy Flynn in the Broadway musical “Chicago”. Usher has moved from musician in to the realm of triple threat as a singer, music, and theatre and Broadway star.