Auli’i Cravalho to Perform at PBS’ Televised Independence Day Celebration “A Capitol Fourth”

Auli’i Cravalho is embracing the independence

The 20-year-old part-Puerto Rican actress/singer will perform at this year’s Independence Day celebration A Capitol Fourth, which will feature a pre-taped concert and live fireworks from Washington, D.C.

Auli’i Cravalho

The city has lifted almost all COVID-19 restrictions, and President Joe Biden is planning an event at the White House that day, his goal for having at least 70% of the country with at least one COVID-19 shot.

But producers have been planning the show for months, with COVID-19 forcing them to set aside the traditional live concert on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

In addition to Cravalho, others who will perform at the event are Jimmy Buffett, Cynthia Erivo, Alan Jackson, Pentatonix, Jennifer Nettles, Train, Gladys Knight, Mickey Guyton, Ali Stroker, Jimmie Allen and Laura Osnes.

The National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jack Everly, will perform John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare, honoring U.S. participation in the upcoming Summer Olympic Games. The orchestra and the Joint Armed Forces Chorus will accompany the fireworks with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

Vanessa Williams will host the event, with Renee Fleming set to open the show with the National Anthem. The concert will honor men and women of the military, with other participants including the U.S. Army BandPershing’s Own,” the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The Joint Armed Forces Chorus and The Armed Forces Color Guard provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

The concert, a co-production of Michael Colbert of Capital Concerts and WETA-TV, will air on July 4 from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm ET on PBS, and it also will be broadcast to the American Forces Network. NPR stations also will air the event, and it will be streamed on Facebook, YouTube and PBS.org through July 18.

Cravalho rose to acclaim as the voice of the title character in Disney’s computer animated musical Moana. Her other credits include NBC’s Rise and Netflix’s drama film All Together Now.

Swizz Beatz to Receive ASCAP Voice of the Culture Award

Swizz Beatz is a voice of the future

The 42-year-old half Puerto Rican recording artist, music producer and entrepreneur will receive the ASCAP Voice of the Culture award alongside Timbaland and D-Nice to kick off the 2021 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards on June 22.

Swizz Beatz

Following the presentation, the music creators will take part in a 2021 ASCAP Experience conversation, “Voices of the Culture: How Swizz Beatz, Timbaland & D-Nice United the World Through Music,” at 12:00 pm ET/ 9:00 am PT.

The virtual conversation will explore how Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s virtual music battle series Verzuz and D-Nice’s Club Quarantine became tools for uplift within the Black music community and touchstones of empowerment during the pandemic.

To join the conversation, participants can RSVP at www.ascapexperience.com/schedule. They can also submit a question for the three creators before June 10.

Verzuz has featured such epic matchups as Gladys Knight vs. Patti LaBelle, Erykah Badu vs. Jill Scott, Earth, Wind & Fire vs. The Isley Brothers, and Snoop Dogg vs. DMX.

Club Quarantine attracted a virtual community of millions to Instagram Live for sets of funk, disco, hip-hop and R&B.

In addition to launching these popular events, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland and D-Nice are accomplished music creators in their own right.

Grammy-winning songwriter-producer Swizz Beatz has been in the music and business worlds since he was 16. He began DJing and working at his uncle’s company, Ruff Ryders Entertainment, while still in high school. Within a short time, Swizz produced the company’s first hit, by DMX. More success followed as a producer and artist. As a producer, Swizz has worked with a diverse array of artists, including Jay-Z, Madonna, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Metallica.

The 2021 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards is a virtual celebration that takes place on social media from June 22-24. The event recognizes songwriters, composers and publishers behind the most performed R&B/hip-hop, rap and gospel songs of the past year. Friends and fans can join the online festivities as ASCAP shares photos, videos, acceptance speeches and more from some of its top songwriters and publishers, posted with the hashtag #ASCAPAwards to @ASCAPUrban on Instagram and @ASCAP on Twitter and Instagram.

The ASCAP Experience takes place twice a month on Wednesdays through the end of 2021. Songwriters, composers and music business professionals can join the ASCAP Experience community for access to conversations with songwriters and producers from across the musical spectrum, plus panels with top industry executives, song feedback, networking opportunities and more. The virtual sessions are free to attend and take place on a variety of platforms, including YouTube, Instagram and on the ASCAP Experience website.

Ashanti to Face Off Against Keyshia Cole in Next Verzuz Battle

Ashanti is preparing for a big musical battle…

The 39-year-old part-Dominican American Grammy-winning singer and actress will face off against Keyshia Cole in the next Verzuz battle on December 12.

Ashanti

“Yeah, it’s official! The paperwork is IN,” the official Verzuz Instagram teased the “legendary Ladies Night,” with a split image of the singers’ faces.

The matchup is no surprise for fans, who’ve been buzzing about the potential pairing since May, when Cole commented under a side-by-side comparison of the duo’s hits. “My fans sent me this @timbaland @therealswizz @ashanti @verzuztv,” she wrote at the time. “is this accurate?”

The matchup marks the fourth female-charged battle, following Erykah Badu and Jill ScottMonica and Brandy, and Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle.

Ashanti’s biggest hits include the chart-topping singles “Foolish” and “Always on Time,” with Ja Rule.

Don’t miss Cole and Ashanti’s Verzuz battle on Saturday, December 12 at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on Verzuz’s Instagram page and on Apple Music.

Demi Lovato Performs Rousing Rendition of National Anthem at the Super Bowl

It’s a star-spangled night for Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

The 27-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress helped kick off Super Bowl LIV on Sunday night at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami with a soaring rendition of the National Anthem

Wearing an all-white pantsuit with a belt, Lovato delivered a note-perfect rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, nailing both the dramatic “land of the free” climax and the elongated closing “brave” note. 

The anthem has been performed at the Super Bowl in recent years by P!nkLuke BryanLady GagaIdina Menzel and Gladys Knight

The Super Bowl marks Lovato’s second Sunday in a row delivering a high-profile performance on national television, having debuted her new heart-wrenching single “Anyone” at the Grammys a week earlier

The song is expected to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, Lovato’s first entry on the chart since “Sober” in 2018. 

Miguel: This Year’s Best New Artist at the Soul Train Awards

Miguel only released his debut single, “All I Want Is You,” last November… But that’s all the time the critically acclaimed crooner has needed to take the music world by storm and start reaping the rewards.

During the 40th anniversary taping of the Soul Train Awards at Atlanta’s historic Fox Theater this Thursday, the 25-year-old half-Mexican R&B singer/songwriter was named the 2011 Best New Artist. He beat out some of the industry’s biggest rising stars, including part-Latino doo wop singer Bruno Mars and soulstress Marsha Ambrosius, to take home the coveted award.

miguel

Miguel, who received three nominations for this year’s Soul Train Awards, lost the Best Male R&B/Soul Artist award to Cee Lo Green. But he’s still in the running for the Song of the Year award for his insta-classic “Sure Thing.” The song is facing off against Kelly Rowland & Lil’ Wayne’s “Motivation,” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” Chris Brown’s  “She Ain’t You,” Kayne West’s “All of the Lights” and Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton’s “So In Love.”

Along with picking up the Best New Artist award, Miguel performed his latest single “Girls Like U.”

Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer at Atlanta’s historic Fox Theatre, the show included special tribute performances to Gladys Knight, Earth, Wind & Fire and the late Heavy D.

Here’s a look at the only four awards (from 11 categories) that were doled out during taping:

Best New Artist
Miguel

Best Male R&B/Soul Artist
Cee Lo Green

Best Female R&B/Soul Artist
Jill Scott

Record of the Year (The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award)
“Far Away” – Marsha Ambrosius

The 2011 Soul Train Awards will be broadcast on BET and CENTRIC on Sunday, November 27 at 9:00 pm Eastern.