Worth a listen: January 2021 in Music

The local and international music scene continues to evolve and thrive despite the limitations resulting from the global pandemic. In this post, I have listed the hottest news in music for the first month of 2021 for you music lovers to enjoy.

In 2020, Bryan Estepa released two new songs, continuing on from the success of his exceptional 2019 album Sometimes I Just Don’t Know. The second of those singles, ‘Admit Now, Pay Later’, received a video premiere on Rolling Stone Australia, was featured on NME Australia and had strong national radio airplay – including selection as one of the featured Singles of the Week on 2ser FM in Sydney. Now the Sydney-based Filipino songwriter reveals the second of his collaborative efforts with multi ARIA and APRA award-winning Australian songwriter Josh Pyke.

Estepa has always had an undeniable ear for hooks. Combined with classic pop and rock arrangements, (like his heroes You Am I, The Beatles and Wilco) his songs always possess a timeless quality. He’s proved it over and over again across six acclaimed albums and live shows in Australia, Japan, the USA, UK, Spain, Sweden and the Philippines.  

On ‘Trick of the Light’, Estepa combines heavenly melodies and a melancholic air on this irresistible slice of indie guitar pop, singing about acceptance, letting go and allowing yourself to feel whatever it is that comes out while you’re treading new waters. As always with his songwriting, there are layered poetic brushstrokes in the way Estepa blends and informs his songs with multiple meanings, as he explains. “I also like the idea that the presence of light does not necessarily signal happiness or life but can also mean that emotions and perception can be blurred by its appearance.”

Working with Pyke, Estepa was impressed with the producer’s instinct and ability to enhance the inherent strengths of Estepa’s songs. “It’s exciting watching Josh work! You sense that his creative light is always on and he needs to get his ideas out quickly before it starts to flicker. He takes on what I think the song’s direction might be but adds a couple of detours that are normally right on the money.”

Pyke is quick to reciprocate the praise. “Bryan’s a great writer and collaborator. He’s got a classic pop sensibility but is really open to feedback and experimentation which made my job as producer really fun and free.”

Sonically, there’s a beautiful weightlessness to the production and instrumentation that gracefully carries the song. Guitars sparkle and lightly jangle amid some sublime piano, backing vocals and percussive elements that add unique detailing to the melodic richness of the track.  

ZAYN scores another No.1 album in the Philippines with ‘Nobody Is Listening’

January 2021 in Music

ZAYN’s third studio release Nobody is Listening makes history once again as it debuts at No. 1 on iTunes Philippines Top 100 albums chart a few hours after its release. Co-written by ZAYN, the project highlights his R&B influences and showcases deeply personal lyrics. Nobody is Listening sees ZAYN in complete creative control, from designing the album cover art to his sound, he has created a moment in music that is all his own.

The album contains the previously released singles “Vibez” and “Better,” both of which were embraced by fans and critics alike, with Wonderland proclaiming ZAYN was here to “save 2021” with the release of “Vibez” and Billboard calling “Better” a “straightforward R&B track, expressing love in spite of disagreement and designed to showcase one of the most skilled voices in modern pop.” The latter single has accrued over 105 million streams across all platforms, and upon release the video received a half a million views in the first 10 minutes.

ZAYN’s critically acclaimed debut album Mind of Mine saw him become the first male solo artist in the world to simultaneously chart at #1 on the UK and US album charts in the first week of release. The album’s lead single “Pillowtalk” hit #1 in 68 countries around the world and was recently included in Billboard’s “Songs That Defined the Decade” list.

His follow up, Icarus Falls, captivated fans and garnered over 5 billion worldwide streams across all platforms in less than a year, a staggering feat for any artist. Alongside his solo success, ZAYN has also collaborated with a variety of artists, including Taylor Swift and SIA and most recently lent his vocals on “Trampoline” with Shaed, which received an iHeart Music Award for “Best Remix.” Alongside building a reputation as a world class music artist, ZAYN has become one of music’s biggest fashion icons. He has graced the cover of every major magazine from Highsnobiety to Vogue. In addition to being named “Most Stylish Man” at the GQ Man of the Year awards, he also was awarded “New Artist of the Year” at the American Music Awards and “Top New Artist” at the Billboard Music Awards. Nobody is Listening was released via RCA Records.

American recording star MAX and SUGA of BTS drops a star-studded remix of “Blueberry Eyes,” feat. Lil Mosey and Olivia O’Brien

After the global success of their maiden collab smash, Acclaimed pop sensation MAX and SUGA of BTS are committed to redefining the top 40 landscape with the release of “Blueberry Eyes” remix, featuring breakthrough hip-hop star Lil Mosey and singer-songwriter Olivia O’Brien.

“Having Lil Mosey, the mastermind behind ‘Blueberry Faygo,’ add his story to ‘Blueberry Eyes’ felt too iconic not to create the ultimate blueberry hit song,” said MAX. “The cherry on top is getting to add the legendary voice of my friend Olivia O’Brien. I’m so excited for this final chapter of ‘Blueberry Eyes’ with my brother SUGA and honored to work with all of these incredible artists on this new version of the song.”

On the day of its release, MAX and Suga were featured on the cover of Apple Music’s New Music Daily playlist and the song went No.1 on iTunes in 66 countries as well as trended No. 1 worldwide on Twitter and No.1 on YouTube’s Video Hot List. “Blueberry Eyes” has also been featured on several of Spotify’s coveted playlists including Today’s Top Hits, Pop Rising and Mood Booster, to name but a few.

The song follows the release of MAX’s “Blueberry Eyes” feat. SUGA of BTS [Steve Aoki Remix], which has more than 5 million global streams and 2 million views on YouTube.

MAX has been labelled a “Young Pop God” by GQ and named a “top popstar to watch” by Billboard. Since the breakout success of his debut album ‘Hell’s Kitchen Angel’, he has garnered more than 1.2 billion streams and toured the world multiple times over. He yielded an inescapable smash with his 3x platinum hit “Lights Down Low,” which generated over half a billion streams globally, soared on the Billboard Hot 100, reached No. 7 at Top 40 radio and earned him an iHeartRadio Music Awards nomination for “Best New Pop Artist.” Most recently, MAX released his sophomore album ‘Colour Vision’ featuring his current single “Blueberry Eyes” feat. SUGA of BTS.

Ritt Momney’s “Put Your Records On,” now a hit in the Philippines!

Ritt Momney’s rework of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” is now a certified smash in the Philippines. The sleeper hit that catapulted the 21-year-old producer and singer-songwriter into global fame, has now reached a top 10 peak on Spotify Philippines’ Top 50 this week, and continues to impact mainstream radio stations such as Monster RX 93.1 (No. 8), 99.5 Play FM (No. 8), and more.

Jack Rutter, the man behind the Salt Lake City-based music project, is amazed by the attention that his take on the 2006 classic is receiving. “I didn’t expect the cover to be anything more than a fun little release in between albums,” he shares in a statement. “I was super surprised to see it taking off on TikTok. It’s been the coolest thing ever to see people from other countries enjoying it.”
The hip-hop-flavored, electro pop tune initially gained significant traction via online video platform, TikTok before it blew up on several music markets worldwide, including a top 10 placement on Australia and New Zealand’s official charts, and a No. 1 peak on Spotify US and Global Viral 50 charts late last year.

Released a few weeks ago, its music video finds Jack Rutter “imagining himself as a future pop star stuck in a psychedelic dreamscape.”

Ritt Momney’s version stays truthful to the pop sensibility of Corinne Bailey Rae’s hit record, but his trademark lo-fi production somehow gives the track a fresh, contemporary spin. “I really didn’t change much, and I think it’s really important to remember that what makes it good is the songwriting that Corinne and her co-writers did on the track,” says the multi-talented crossover act. “I may have modernized it a bit, but I hope people don’t give me too much credit for that.”

Corinne Bailey Rae, the original artist behind the soulful track, gave Ritt Momney her blessing in an intimate Zoom chat sometime last year. Like Ritt Momney, her original version became a huge hit when it first came out, peaking at No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart, and becoming a staple in several singing shows across the globe.

Details and images were provided in recent press releases.

BTS #LifeGoesOn TikTok Challenge Sets a Record of 930M views in 15 days

TikTok, the leading destination for short-form mobile videos, today announced that BTS’ ‘Life Goes On’ which recently topped the Billboard ‘Hot 100’, hit a milestone on TikTok, setting a record of 930 M hashtag views in just 15 days.

Held from November 21 to December 5, the #LifeGoesOn challenge was a call for users all over the word to interpret and positively express how ‘Life Goes On’ in their own creative ways. The videos created with #LifeGoesOn had more than 463,276 in 15 days of the campaign.

BTS also participated in the challenge and connected with their fans by releasing TikTok videos of their own: Jin goes through a flipbook, RM and V does maple leaf art, Jimin decorates a glass bottle, j-hope takes Polaroid pictures and JungKook practises calligraphy. In response, the group’s fans, ARMY, uploaded videos of themselves dancing and singing along to the new song, as well as moments in their daily lives with friends and family.

A special ‘Life Goes On (ARMY version)’ music video will be released on the official BTS TikTok and social media channels on December 30, capturing selected video submissions that were part of the #LifeGoesOn challenge.

For more details about the challenge, visit the #LifeGoesOn Challenge Event Page.

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

BTS launches world premiere of “Dynamite”

Global superstars BTS recently released the music video for their new single “Dynamite” worldwide through their official social channels.

The new music video of “Dynamite” is colorful and bright, featuring retro concept props, hairstyles, and attire. The overall mood is lively and vibrant from start to finish, perfectly capturing the joyful energy of the song’s melody and lyrics. 

It opens with the image of BTS as they stand gathered but soon scatter. The members one by one express their own style and individuality in different spaces. 

BTS delivers dynamic performances in and out of various locations, including a room, doughnut shop, record shop, basketball court, luxurious stage, and open field. The “Dynamite” music video shows off not only remarkable group choreography but also improvised dances, as well as solo and unit performances. The members perform with seriousness and charisma, but also brighten the mood with playful expressions. 

The second half of the music video features vibrant “color powder” rocketing into the sky, accentuating the explosive energy and joyful performance of BTS as they dance on an open field. 

This vivid Disco Pop track marks the superstar group’s first-ever song to be released completely in English; having sought a “breakthrough” to overcome a sense of disheartenment stemmed from the current global climate, BTS embarks on a new challenge through “Dynamite.”

BTS, an acronym of Bangtan Sonyeondan or “Beyond the Scene,” is a South Korean boyband that has been capturing the hearts of millions of fans globally since their debut in June 2013. The members of BTS are RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook. Gaining recognition for their authentic and self-produced music, top-notch performances, and the way they interact with their fans, the band has established themselves as global superstars breaking countless world records. While imparting a positive influence through activities such as the LOVE MYSELF campaign and the UN ‘Speak Yourself’ speech, BTS has mobilized millions of fans across the world (named ARMY), topped prominent music charts, performed multiple sold-out stadium shows across the world and has been named as one of TIME 100: The Most Influential People of 2019. The band has also been recognized with numerous prestigious awards like the Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards. 

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

Shopee partners with CJ ENM to bring KCON online, featuring Kpop icons

Shopee Live Kpop Fest kicks off on June 10, with an exclusive free screening of KCON:TACT 2020 Summer featuring GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ITZY, MONSTA X, Stray Kids, and more from June 20-26

Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, partners with Asia’s leading entertainment and lifestyle company CJ ENM to bring KCON, the world’s largest Korean culture festival, online for the first time.

KCON is a highly-anticipated annual event for Kpop fans across the globe, entering its ninth year of bringing the ultimate Korean culture fan experience worldwide including the US, Japan, and Thailand. It will go online for the first time in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, with Shopee as the official live stream partner for the KCON:TACT 2020 Summer concert. This partnership will see Shopee air live performances, concerts, and more from KCON:TACT 2020 Summer for free to users on Shopee Live.

KCON:TACT 2020 Summer will be the highlight of Shopee Live Kpop Fest, which will kick off on June 10. Launched in collaboration with CJ ENM, the festival aims to meet the growing demand for online entertainment amid social distancing measures in the region. Popular Kpop groups including GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ITZY, MONSTA X, and Stray Kids will also make special appearances on Shopee Live, while Shopee users can enjoy daily Kpop themed streams and challenges.

Agatha Soh, Head of Regional Marketing at Shopee said, “Shopee is proud to be the exclusive partner of CJ ENM to stream KCON:TACT 2020 Summer to fans in Southeast Asia and Taiwan for the first time, as part of Shopee Live Kpop Fest. This partnership builds on our efforts to connect people through entertainment and shared experiences, and comes after a series of successful collaborations with Kpop stars. Shopee Live Kpop Fest and KCON:TACT 2020 Summer reflect our commitment to meet evolving needs, as people around the world stay home and turn to online entertainment. We look forward to more exciting collaborations with CJ ENM in the future.”

Don Kim, General Manager of Global Festival at CJ ENM said, “KCON is the largest festival of Korean culture in the world. Bringing the festival online, we have lined up an amazing experience for KCON:TACT 2020 Summer including interactive events with state-of-the-art technology, a star-studded concert lineup, and more. We are excited to go above and beyond what fans have experienced so far, and we are excited to partner with Shopee for fans in Southeast Asia and Taiwan to join the festival.”

From June 10 to 26, avid Kpop fans can look forward to a wide range of live streams and challenges daily at Shopee Live Kpop Fest, including:

  • Exclusive appearances by popular Kpop idols, WJSN and Weki Meki on Shopee Live at 8PM (GMT +8) on June 10 and 15 respectively. Users can enjoy first-hand access to the groups with exciting performances, interviews, games, and more in each stream.
  • Daily Kpop themed challenges for fans to show off their knowledge, recreate iconic Kpop looks, and more. The best fans stand to win attractive prizes such as vouchers and signed merchandise from their favorite idols.

Shopee will mark the finale of Shopee Live Kpop Fest by screening KCON:TACT 2020 Summer on Shopee Live from 20 to 26 June. Shopee users and Kpop fans can look forward to seven consecutive days of non-stop entertainment, including live concerts and interviews by some of the biggest Kpop stars in the world, including GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ITZY, MONSTA X, and Stray Kids.

Stay tuned for more updates on KCON:TACT 2020 Summer and Shopee Live Kpop Fest at http://shopee.ph/m/live-kpop-fest

Download the Shopee app for free via the App Store or Google Play.

About Shopee

Shopee is the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. It was launched in 7 markets in 2015 to connect consumers, sellers, and businesses in the region.

Shopee offers an easy, secure, and engaging experience that is enjoyed by millions of people daily. It offers a wide product assortment, supported by integrated payments and logistics, as well as popular entertainment features tailored for each market. Shopee is also a key contributor to the region’s digital economy with a firm commitment to helping brands and entrepreneurs succeed in e-commerce.

Shopee is a part of Sea Limited (NYSE:SE), a leading global consumer internet company. In addition to Shopee, Sea’s other core businesses include its digital entertainment arm, Garena, and digital financial services arm, SeaMoney. Sea’s mission is to better the lives of consumers and small businesses with technology.

 

K-pop group BTS set to perform at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards

Hosted by Kelly Clarkson, the “2019 Billboard Music Awards” Airs Thursday, May 2 at 8:00am on Blue Ant Entertainment

dick clark productions recently announced that global superstars BTS will take the stage with chart-topping singer/songwriter Halsey for the worldwide collaborative debut of their brand-new track “Boy With Luv” at the “2019 Billboard Music Awards.” BTS and Halsey join previously announced performers Kelly Clarkson, Lauren Daigle, Khalid, Panic! At The Disco and Sam Smith & Normani, plus a special performance by 2019 ICON Award recipient Mariah Carey.

The “2019 Billboard Music Awards,” with returning host Kelly Clarkson, will broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, May 2 at 8am on Blue Ant Entertainment available on SKYcable channels 53(SD) and 196(HD), and will feature this year’s hottest musical acts, unexpected collaborations and buzzworthy moments.

Two-time Billboard Music Award winners BTS last performed at the “2018 Billboard Music Awards” with their top 10 Billboard Hot 100 single “Fake Love.” They also walked away with the Top Social Artist trophy in both 2017 and 2018, and are nominated in the Top Duo/Group and Top Social Artist categories this year. Three-time Billboard Music Award winner Halsey took the Billboard Music Awards stage in both 2017 and 2018, first performing her hit “Now or Never” and then joining The Chainsmokers the following year to pay tribute to Avicii. Halsey is nominated this year for Top Female Artist and Top Selling Song for “Without Me.”

The “2019 Billboard Music Awards” is produced by dick clark productions. Mark Bracco, Barry Adelman, Kelly Clarkson and Robert Deaton are executive producers.

For the latest news on the Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs), exclusive content and more, be sure to follow Blue Ant Entertainment on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BlueAntEntertainment/, @BlueAntEntertainment on Instagram and @BlueAntEnt on Twitter.

Billboard Chart Facts:

BTS
In the past year, BTS scored its first two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart with Love Yourself: Tear and Love Yourself: Answer. The act also claimed their first top 10 hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Fake Love.” So far, the South Korean pop phenom has seen its catalog of albums earn 2.6 million equivalent album units in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music, while their collected songs have tallied over 4.2 billion on-demand streams. Additionally, BTS remains an incredible force on social media thanks to their fans ARMY, as reflected on Billboard’s Social 50 chart. The group has racked up over 100 weeks at No. 1 on tally, which ranks the most popular music acts on social media.

Halsey
In 2015, Halsey launched at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with her debut studio album Badlands. A year later, she scored her first No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single, as featured on The Chainsmokers’ “Closer.” She tallied her first Billboard 200 leader, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, in 2017, while 2019 brought her first Hot 100 No. 1 as a lead artist, “Without Me.” She has earned four No. 1s on the Pop Songs chart, with her latest, “Eastside,” with Benny Blanco and Khalid, replacing “Without Me” directly at the summit.

“Billboard Music Awards” nominees and winners are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring and social engagement, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including Nielsen Music and Next Big Sound. The awards are based on the chart period of March 23, 2018 through March 7, 2019. Since 1940, the Billboard charts have been the go-to guide for ranking the popularity of artists, songs and albums, and are the ultimate measure of success in music.

Blue Ant Entertainment

Blue Ant Entertainment is a general entertainment channel with the best mix of reality, drama, comedy, and daily programmes. Featuring hit series such as Siren, Bull; competition series The X Factor UK; dailies airing express and day-and-date with the U.S. and U.K. markets, including: Entertainment Tonight, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden. The channel also airs box office classics and ‘LIVE’ broadcasts some of the biggest award shows in the world, including The Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, American Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards.

Show details and photo provided by Blue Ant Entertainment in a recent press release.

Check out my previous posts on Blue Ant Entertainment: