Gomez Among 24 Artists Featured on Orlando Shooting Charity Single “Hands”

Selena Gomez is lending her hands to help the victims of the Orlando Shooting.

The 23-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress is among 24 artists featured on a new recording to raise money for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre.

Selena Gomez

The all-star release, entitled “Hands” — a charity single from Interscope Records with support from GLAAD — was conceived by hit songwriter Justin Tranter, co-writer of Justin Bieber’sSorry” and hits for Gomez, DNCE, Fall Out Boy and Gwen Stefani.

In addition to Gomez, the single also features Jennifer Lopez, who has worked on her own charity single with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stefani, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Juanes, Pink, Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears.

The June 12 shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando, which killed 49 people and injured 53, is the most deadly mass shooting in American history and the deadliest act of violence against the LGBT community.

Funds from the song will aid families with medical care, counseling and will also be used for education.

“Like the rest of the world I woke up to the news that morning and was horrified and sad and scared,” says Tranter, who has raised money and awareness for LGBT causes since coming out at age 14.

“Hands” is available on iTunes.

Proceeds will be distributed by Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida and GLAAD.

The idea for the all-star project came together one day after the shooting.

L.A.-based Tranter and songwriting partner Julia Michaels had been on the road with Gomez writing songs aboard her tour bus in Miami the weekend of June 11 when news of the bloodshed prompted Tranter to switch course. That afternoon he signed on as a volunteer at The Center Orlando, the region’s chief LGBT community center.

“I called them and said, ‘If I fly up is there something for me to help with?'” he tells Billboard. “They say, ‘We need as many hands as we can possibly get.'”

“Hands” took hold the next day when Tranter met GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis who had arrived at the center from New York.

Beyond their immediate efforts — distributing food and water and GLAAD’s work with media — both were looking to make contributions that would have ongoing benefits. They point out that the massacre was also a profound attack on people of color, as that Saturday evening had been a popular “Latin Night” at Pulse. Most of the victims were of Latin heritage and Ellis says she does not want that point forgotten.

“When you hear the song it talks about hate being the driver here,” she says, “and that’s important because we have to be able to identify what’s driving these cruel acts in order to stop them. Artists using their platforms to accelerate acceptance is very powerful.”

Aligning with Interscope for the release, Tranter, GLAAD and Interscope president of A&R Aaron Bay-Schuck put the word out that a fundraiser was in the works. Within days artists from all spheres of the business had lined up — also among them Halsey, Ty Herndon, Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Adam Lambert, The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, MNEK, Alex Newell, Mary Lambert, Prince Royce, Jussie Smollett, Nate Ruess and RuPaul — all recording separately from their homes, local studios, touring locations or wherever they happened to be at that moment.

“We assigned everybody what we thought would be the best part for their voice,” Tranter says, “and we asked them all to sing an additional part, just in case. But everybody got it done in time so we ended up with extra vocals.”

In Los Angeles “Interscope let us use their studio,” he notes. “Mary J. Blige recorded in New Orleans. Britney Spears in Thousand Oaks, I think. Pink in Santa Barbara. MNEK recorded at home in London. Selena recorded in her studio bus. Dan Reynolds recorded in his home. Adam Lambert was in Luxembourg. Ty Herndon the country star was in Spain. Kacey Musgraves, Nashville. Everyone just got it done.”

Another goal of the record, according to GLAAD, is to fund educational programs.

“This was an American guy who was born in Queens,” Ellis says of the gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, who was killed by police after a three hour stand-off. “He learned that hate here in America. This happened on American soil, against a particular community.”

While politicians and lobbyists have focused in recent weeks on Islamic terror and familiar narratives about gun ownership, Ellis, Tranter and others in the LGBT community want people to remember that this was a hate crime.

“I’m not educated enough to speak on the political details,” Tranter says. I’m a songwriter, not a politician. It could have been a million things but clearly, 100 percent, this was an attack on the LGBT community and people of color.”

“Hands” grew out of an unfinished piece that Tranter, Michaels and co-writer and producer BloodPop (formerly known as Blood Diamonds) had been working on and then shelved.

“The song didn’t ever finish itself and it didn’t ever feel right,” Tranter says of their initial efforts. “Now we know why.”

Mark Ronson also co-produced, while vocal engineer Benjamin Rice finessed the disparate tracks: “He helped us find the structure and make sense of it all.”

Warner/Chappell publishing executive Katie Vinten brought in numerous artists, among them P!nk, whom Tranter calls “a lifesaver,” adding, “Her vocal on the chorus is like from heaven directly.”

Spears opens the song with the plaintive line, “Can hold a gun or a hold a heart.” RuPaul is heard quietly toward the end, saying “take my hand baby.”

The songwriters had no specific plan as they entered the studio — only that they didn’t want the piece “to ever sound dated.”

“We didn’t want to have any trendy electronic elements,” Tranter notes. “We wanted it to sound classic, timeless and human. We want this anthem of positivity to be played for years to come.”

Download “Hands” here at iTunes.

Nickelodeon Renews Hurtado’s “School of Rock” for a Second Season

Ricardo Hurtado has another year of school left…

Four episodes into School of Rock‘s freshman run, the musical comedy series starring the 16-year-old Latino actor, has been renewed for a 13-episode second season by Nickelodeon.

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The show, based on the 2003 Paramount Pictures film starring Jack Black, hails from Paramount Television. It marked the first series order for the then-newly launched TV division of Paramount Pictures, and a corporate synergy play between the Viacom companies.

School of Rock, which airs Saturdays, averages almost 2 million viewers a week. The second season, which starts production this month, will continue to mix comedy with cast performances of popular and original songs.

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School of Rock follows a group of rule-abiding students — Zack (Lance Lim), Lawrence (Aidan Miner), Freddy (Hurtado), Summer (Jade Pettyjohn) and Tomika (Breanna Yde) — who learn to take risks and reach new heights thanks to substitute teacher Dewey Finn (Tony Cavalero), a down-on-his-luck musician who uses the language of rock ‘n’ roll to inspire his class to form a secret band. Throughout the school year, the middle-school classmates navigate relationships, discover their unknown talents and learn lessons on loyalty and friendships.

Season 1 featured guest appearances from musical artists like Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) and the cast covering hits such as “Heart Attack” (Demi Lovato) and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (Twisted Sister).

School of Rock is developed by Jim and Steve Armogida, who serve as executive producers with Jay Kogen (The Simpsons). The original movie’s director Richard Linklater and producer Scott Rudin serve as executive producers, along with Eli Bush.

Lovato Lends Her Voice to the Re-Recording of Fall Out Boy’s “Irresistible”

It looks like Fall Out Boy finds Demi Lovato irresistible

The American rock band has re-recorded its American Beauty/American Psycho track “Irresistible” with the 23-year-old part-Mexican American singer/actress.

Demi Lovato & Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy plans to release it is a single this Friday (Oct. 16).

The song first appeared in January 2015, leading off the band’s sixth studio album with Patrick Stump on vocals.

Now with Lovato in tow, the album’s latest single will look to follow on the chart success of “Centuries” and “Uma Thurman.”

“I think Demi Lovato has one of the most powerful voices today,” bassist Pete Wentz wrote on his blog. “So we worked through an afternoon and she just got it. Excited for you guys to hear this new version of the song on Friday.”

Carey Scheduled to Kick Off the Toyota Concert Series on NBC’s “Today” Show

Mariah Carey is preparing to rock the Rock

NBC‘s Today show has announced its lineup for the annual Toyota Concert Series on Today, now in its 19th season, with the 44-year-old half-Venezuelan American singer kicking things off on May 16 in Rockefeller Plaza.

Mariah Carey

It will mark Carey’s sixth concert for the morning show and gives the singer, who recently notched her 17th No. 1 on the Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs chart, a chance to promote her new album, expected to be released in late May.

But Carey isn’t the only Hispanic artist slated to appear on the Today show…

Camila Cabello, Lauren Jauregui, Ally Brooke Hernandez and their Fifth Harmony band mates will also take part in their first-ever Toyota Concert Series on Today. The all-girl group, recently named the favorite band on social media at the Shorties, will perform on July 11.

Meanwhile, Aloe Blacc, who lends his voice to Coca-Cola’s World Cup anthem “The World is Ours,” is set to make his debut performance as part of the concert series. The 35-year-old Panamanian American singer-songwriter is scheduled to perform on August 1.

Other artists scheduled to perform includeTim McGraw, Jennifer Hudson, Fall Out Boy and Usher all in the mix.

The concerts take place on Friday unless noted. More performers will be announced at a later date.

Here’s a look at the complete schedule:

MAY
16 Mariah Carey
23 Tim McGraw
26 Austin Mahone (Monday)
30 Rascal Flatts

JUNE
5 Pharrell (Thursday)
6 Sara Bareilles
13 Train
17 Little Mix (Tuesday)
20 Fall Out Boy
27 Phillip Phillips

JULY
4 Ed Sheeran
11 Fifth Harmony
18 Jason Mraz
25 OneRepublic
29 Jennifer Hudson (Tuesday)

AUGUST
1 Aloe Blacc
8 TBD
15 Neon Trees
22 TBD
29 Ariana Grande

SEPTEMBER
1 Maroon 5
5 Usher

Iglesias to Perform at “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”

Enrique Iglesias will be rockin’ in the New Year.

The 38-year-old Spanish singer has been announced as one of the first confirmed performers for ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2014.

Enrique Iglesias

Iglesias, who recently contributed a song to the typhoon disaster relief album Songs for the Philippines, joins a roster that includes Robin Thicke, Fall Out Boy, Jason Derulo and Jennifer Hudson.

Iglesias and company are expected to treat fans with their respective hits when they take the stage on the West Coast on Tuesday, December 31 at 10:00 P.M. EST. More performers for both the Times Square and West Coast parties are going to be announced later, according to a statement released by the network.

Black Eyed Peas member Fergie will host the annual bash alongside Jenny McCarthy.

“As the ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ legacy continues, it is an honor to be a part of the largest celebration of the year,” Fergie said. “I am excited to share the stage with so many global stars.”

Ryan Seacrest, who has been involved with the show since 2005, will lead the midnight countdown from Times Square in New York City.

 

Fifth Harmony Perfoms Latest Single at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Lauren Jauregui, Camila Cabello and Ally Brooke Hernandez have proven that their better together this Thanksgiving

The Latina singers, members of the Simon Cowell-created all-girl group Fifth Harmony, celebrated the recent holiday by performing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

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Fifth Harmony, who joined a lineup that included Austin Mahone, Ariana Grande and Florida Georgia Line, rode on the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish float and performed their latest single “Better Together.”

Other performers during the 87th installment of the iconic holiday event included Cher Lloyd, who appeared on a Brooklyn Bridge replica; Fall Out Boy, Kellie Pickler, Gavin DeGraw and the Goo Goo Dolls.

This year’s parade, a three-hour event, featured more than 50 character balloons, which included SpongeBob SquarePants, Snoopy and his bird friend Woodstock and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Due to strong wind, the balloons were flown lower than normal.