During Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus took home the Video of the Year trophy in a surprise upset -- and then turned her acceptance speech into a powerful call to action. Miley's "Wrecking Ball" clip beat out much more recent and talked-about clips -- from "Fancy" to "Happy" to "Drunk in Love" -- to take the top prize of the night. But instead of coming onstage to accept it, Miley sent an unknown young man instead. Identifying himself as Jesse, he said he was accepting the award for the "1.6 million runaways and homeless youths who are starving, lost and scared right now." While Miley watched from the side, tearing up, Jesse went on to note that L.A., the entertainment capital of the world, has a disproportionate number of young homeless people. He then invited everyone to visit Miley's Facebook page to see how they could help. She's asking her fans to donate money for "My Friend's Place," a homeless center for young people in Hollywood. Beyonce was the biggest winner on the night, taking home three trophies in addition to the Video Vanguard Award.
During the ceremony, rapper Common mentioned Ferguson, Missouri, which has been a hotbed of protests and occasional violence since unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot by a police officer there in early August. "The people have used their voices to call for justice and change, and to let everyone know that each and every one of our lives matters," said Common, noting that hip-hop has "always been about truth, and a powerful instrument for social change." Before handing out the award for Best Hip-Hop Video, he called for a moment of silence for Brown, "and for peace in this country and in the world." During the show, a brief public service announcement about Ferguson was also shown.
One of the highlights of the night was when Taylor Swift gave her first performance of "Shake It Off," which she sang wearing a two-piece, midriff-baring fringed sequin number, accompanied by dancing acrobatic men in tuxedos and female backup singers. At one point, she ascended to the top of a giant "1989" sign onstage -- that's the title of her album -- looked over the edge and said, "Nuh, uh. I don't care if it's the VMAs. I'm not jumping off there. All kinds of people are getting bit by snakes...it's dangerous!" That was a reference to the fact that, during rehearsal, one of Nicki Minaj's backup dancers was, in fact, bitten by a snake. She's OK, though.
After much anticipation and a lot of leaking, Brad Paisley's Moonshine In the Trunk album is released today in stores and online. Brad says that he sees his fans — and himself — in his new album:
(Brad Paisley) "This is the record where I am seeing the faces of the people I look at every night on these songs. I’m looking at the coolest fan base. And this album I think describes them. I know it describes me to a T, in many ways, you know? This is an album that doesn’t necessarily ignore the trials and tribulations of living in 2014, but what it really says is, 'Okay, things aren’t perfect, but it’s Friday.'"
Paisley is also releasing a special Zine-Pak to extend the content you get with the new album. As he shares, he would have loved if he could have gotten a ZinePak-styled version of some of his favorite artists’ records:
(Brad Paisley) "I would have eaten this up if I could have gotten something like this back in the day when I was buying Clint Black albums or something, you know? And to be able to see pictures of how they did it in the studio — Restless Heart, that would’ve blown my mind to see them or Alabama or something the way it was goin’ down and how they recorded and what they looked like when they were recording it, and it’s a really neat, in-depth look, and I hope that fans will take the time to look through it ’cause it’s really worth seeing what went into this record."
A MAN HIS MUSIC AND CARS
It's no secret that Keith Urban loves cars and he likes to sing about cars too as his latest single "Somewhere In My Car' continues to climb the country charts this week. His Fuse album also features a few other songs with a car in the title – "Cop Car" and "Red Camaro," among them.
Keith talks about how the car theme figures prominently in his songs.
(Keith Urban) "The car theme figures heavily in a lot of my songs, ‘cause I love cars and I love listening to music in cars, and I love all of the moments – all kinds of moments that we humans experience only in cars, you know? As couples and arguments and makeup sessions and make-out sessions and everything, I just love everything to do with cars."
Florida Georgia Line's latest single "Dirt" continues to rise on the country charts this week in the top ten. As Tyler Hubbard shares, the first time he heard the song it gave him chills:
(FGL's Tyler Hubbard) "When we first heard ‘Dirt’, I mean, we were blown away. It was one of those songs, you kinda get done listenin’ you have chill bumps on your arms, and you’re just like, wow, I can really relate to that. So, it his us hard the first time we heard it. Kinda felt, hey this is somewhere we need to go, just at least for the next single. ‘Cause we’ve done the party songs, we’ve done the upbeat fun stuff, and this is just a song that everybody can relate to. People young or people older, everybody kinda has that place in their life that’s home and that they have a special spot in their heart for. So I think that’s the kinda thing we’re tryin’ to capture with this song. Just kind of a little reminder of the importance of where you came from, where you grew up, and just in general where you live now and whatever that area is for you in your life."
Brantley Gilbert is a grown man with a successful career on his hands and several people in his employ. However, as Brantley shares, he still looks to his parents now and then for advice:
(Brantley Gilbert) "We’re at kind of a point in all of our lives right now where I lost my Grandfather on my Dad’s side and that was pretty hard. They both got a lot on their shoulders and a lot goin’ on and it’s kinda one of those things where I try my best not to put anything else on ‘em than they already got. I feel like I’m at the age now, and don’t get me wrong, there’s always situations where when it gets bigger than me it’s time to go talk to Mamma and Daddy and God. But for the most part, I feel like I’m at the age now where I’ve learned enough to where I can handle situations, and maybe even be the anchor in certain situations, more often than not."
Newcomer Leah Turner says that she’s willing to be very personal when it comes to her songwriting:
(Leah Turner) "You know, I don’t ever think too personal because my mom and dad would always say, just don’t forget that you’re not the only one going through this. And I have been given…the Lord’s given me a gift to be able to write down what I’ve gone through, and I actually want to be as real as possible when writing because what music has done for me in certain situations, I want to do that for somebody else. And if I can help one person — lift them out of a moment, keep them in that moment to make them feel like this is worth fighting for — I’ve done my job, and I’m doin’ what I’ve been put on this earth to do."
COUNTRY MUSIC IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL
Blake Shelton talked with Rolling Stone Country recently about his brand new radio single "Neon Light." He said, "The song, the melody, the chorus is so George Jones or George Strait. It really is. Of course, I’m always going to have the haters and critics out there that say it's not. But then, kiss my ass! I know more about those records than a lot of people." As for musical genres, Shelton won't be going pop like Taylor Swift did anytime soon. He said, "We do include elements in our music today that sonically make them different. But the heart of country music is still alive, and still there." Shelton's 11th studio album, Bringing Back the Sunshine is set for release on September 30.
A LOVE AND THEFT WEDDING
Stephen Barker Liles of Love And Theft, married his longtime girlfriend Jenna Michelle Kennedy on Sunday evening. The couple wed at Ruby Nashville, located just a few blocks from Nashville’s famed Music Row. The bride wore David Tutera for Mon Cheri. The ceremony included a dedication for their son Jett Barker Liles. Guests included Love And Theft member Eric Gunderson, his wife Emily and their son Camden.
Hunter Hayes has officially announced his fall headlining tour, the "Tattoo (Your Name) Tour," set to kick off Thursday, October 30 at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania. Warner Music Nashville label mates Dan + Shay and The Railers will join Hayes as supporting acts for the tour. Hunter says, "This tour is definitely going to be different than anything we’ve ever done before…and maybe anyone has ever done. It's a lot of firsts not only for us, but even for the fans who have seen our show before. Every tour is all about the fans, but this one proves it. Not only are they going to be part of the show, they are the show…you’ll see what I mean!"
In anticipation of the tour announcement, Hayes met up with Dan + Shay and The Railers at Safe House Tattoo Studio in Nashville. To see what happened when the three acts got together, go to http://smarturl.it/TattooTourTeaser.
THE OPRY DEBUT OF SAM HUNT
Newcomer Sam Hunt made his Grand Ole Opry debut last week joining Carrie Underwood, Craig Morgan, Trace Adkins and more on country’s most famous stage. Eager to hit the stage, Hunt shared, “this is such an unbelievable experience. I’m so excited and nervous and just happy my family was able to come up for this!” In addition to his Opry debut, Hunt’s "Leave the Night On" continues to climb up country radio’s Top 20.