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POP! Goes The Interview: Matt Rad

Rad songs (say so much.)

Rad songs (say so much.)

His name is Matt, but most people call him… Matt. The engineer, producer, writer, food connoisseur and lover of all that is art has been in the music industry for over a decade now, but especially in the past few years, Matt Rad (born Matt Radosevich) has made a name for himself on the pop airwaves with content for acts like Andy Grammer, Chris Wallace and One Direction. Most recently, Rad’s been in the studio with Ohio rockers Walk The Moon, best known for a pair of Alternative hits: “Anna Sun” and “Tightrope”.

Since my chart’s beginning in the fall of 1999, eight songs that Rad’s been involved in made it into my top 40, reaching a high of #4 three times in his career. (I think a #1 is not too far away, if you ask me.) Perhaps you’ve heard of some of these songs…

Engineering
GOOD CHARLOTTE, “Predictable” (#17, 2004)
THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS, “Gives You Hell” (#4, 2009) and “The Wind Blows” (#14, 2009)

Production and Writing
ANDY GRAMMER, “Fine By Me” (#4, 2012)
BONNIE MCKEE, “American Girl” (#31, 2013) (Production)
CHRIS WALLACE, “Keep Me Crazy” (#18, 2013) and “Remember When (Push Rewind)” (#4, 2012)
ONE DIRECTION, “Best Song Ever” (#10, 2013) (Production)

On 2012’s year-end survey, “Fine By Me” ranked at #22 and “Remember When (Push Rewind)” ranked at #26. This year, two out of his three songs (“Best Song Ever” and “Keep Me Crazy”) to make my weekly chart are in my Top 100 of 2013, which means two out of three ain’t Rad… uh, bad. They’re all rad and Rad. Yes, moving on.

Mr. Music Man himself with his seventy-six trombones leading the parade of pop hits was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of my questions about working with specific acts, message board fun and of course, what he might whip up for a meal. There’s no other way to describe him than as radiculously rad. Check it out below:

PGTC: Who were some of your favorite acts growing up and when did you decide to start making your own music?
Rad: I started classical piano lessons at five and my parents had everything from The Beatles to Stan Getz to The Jackson 5 playing constantly, so I had a pretty diverse musical landscape around me growing up. Being from Oakland, the first music that I really discovered on my own was rap and punk rock. I remember hearing a kid spitting Snoop Dogg’s version of “La Di Da Di” (as “Lodi Dodi” from 1993’s Doggystyle) on the playground in elementary school and I was just infected by it. At the same time, I discovered bands like Green Day, Nirvana and Weezer. I started making hip hop beats and playing in rock bands and it just spiralled from there.

PGTC: I imagine there was a transition for you working with rock acts like Good Charlotte and Taking Back Sunday and then finding yourself on the pop scene with bands like Emblem3 and One Direction. Was there any hesitation making the jump or do you feel just as comfortable working in either genre?
Rad: Honestly, there wasn’t much of a transition at all. I love working with creative people and I challenging myself, so it doesn’t matter much to me. It’s funny being known as a different type of record maker to different people. When I was 16, I was a white kid in Oakland who made beats and I was also a punk rock kid who went to 924 Gilman (a music club based in Berkeley, CA.) When I got to L.A. and started working for [producer] Eric Valentine (Smash Mouth, Third Eye Blind, etc.), I did nothing but live in his world, so I got known as a guy who made rock records. Now, I’m a pop guy. I’m happy to be thought of as any of those things, but I’ve also got some new projects brewing that don’t fall into any of those categories.

PGTC: You seem to have a pretty good relationship with Andy Grammer and Chris Wallace having produced and written on both their albums. Tell me about working with them. Are you working with Andy on his forthcoming second album?
Rad: I love working with both of those guys so much. Andy and I wrote “Fine By Me” the first day we met. We just had this great chemistry trying to impress each other. Chris and I had a similar thing, where we both came in trying to beat everything we’d done before, and we came out with his first two singles in the first three days we worked together. Both of those guys are crazy good writers and just great human beings all around.

I’ve written a bunch with Andy for his next record, but he’s still a ways away from putting the final touches on it. He and Chris and I actually got together and wrote a couple of songs. We’ll see where they end up, but the three of us together is such a fun combination.

PGTC: Your biggest song on my 2013 year-end chart and one that I’m sure gained you more followers is One Direction’s “Best Song Ever”. What was your experience like with that particular song and be honest, did you fan girl a bit when you heard you’d be co-producing one of their songs?
Rad: I enjoyed working on that song so much. I had worked on some other projects for Syco, and I got a call from Tyler Brown (A&R manager for Syco) in the U.K. about helping finish the production on a new song for the guys. I knew the band from “What Makes You Beautiful” but otherwise, I didn’t know their music that well. When they sent me the song, and I heard Harry (Styles)’s vocal in that first verse, and I had a real “woah” moment. He sounded like a badass rock frontman. Julian Bunetta and John Ryan put together such a dope production already and I just went with where they were headed and piled on guitars and distorted bass and drums. Credit to the band, Julian and John, and Tyler for having such a concrete vision for a big rock song. I loved the whole process.

PGTC: Between Chris Wallace’s “Keep Me Crazy” (also in the year-end top 100) and Emblem3’s “3,000 Miles”, there are a few active singles that you’ve had some involvement in. I’m biased coming from a blog with “charts” in the name, but do you keep track of how your songs are doing?
Rad: Oh yeah! I love seeing how people respond to the records I work on. I’m forever trying to capture the feeling I had when I first discovered music for myself, and at the same time I’m trying to have other people feel that same excitement. When I see the audience go up on Mediabase, I definitely get excited. (laughs) That just means more people are hearing things that I’ve worked hard on!

PGTC: In a similar vein, I remember that the first time we spoke was after this tweet from July where you spoke of Pulse Music Board (and no, we don’t want you to hate yourself; we’re all love, or at least I am.) Are you out searching for blog and message board feedback on your work / are you secretly undercover on PMB stanning for your faves?
Rad: I check out PMB periodically because it has a huge education about how radio works. I don’t really seek out internet feedback on a creative level (though, of course, it’s nice to see people say nice things.) I love the discussions on PMB that involve the history and arc of hits and the threads where people analyze the trajectory of a song, like Ellie Goulding‘s “Lights” and how long it took to get to #1. I like when people discuss how fun. and Janelle Monáe‘s “We Are Young” was #1 at iTunes for a month before pop radio started playing it at all. It’s a great source of knowledge about how the business responds to what kinds of records. It can also drive you insane with the crazy debates people get into, so I sometimes take a break from it.

PGTC: Following that, if there was to be a Matt Rad fan or stan account, which of the following Twitter handles would be most desirable to you?
A. @RadToTheBone [Pretty self-explanatory. It’s r-r-r-rad.]
B. @TheRadMatter [The Mad Hatter ain’t got nothin’ on you as you travel through Wonderland.]
Or C. @BlazingRaddles [The Waco Kid to your Governer, from one Mel Brooks fan to another… but Young Frankenstein may top my list.]

Rad: As a giant Blazing Saddles fan, I think C is an easy choice. An alternate option: @CantYouSeeThisRadIsANit.

(Obviously, this labor of love’s just waiting for you all to follow it.)

PGTC: Since you like to eat and cook in addition to making good music, if I were to reserve a table at Chez Rad for the evening, what would be the signature dish and drink on the menu? (You can pick the music too, but the jazz tribute to Katy Perry is probably too much.)
Rad: I’m calling a slight audible and making the meal brunch. The food would include my dad’s french toast recipe, my grandmother’s pancakes, my mother’s eggs, some country ham, bacon, and a whole lot of seasonal California fruit. The drink is champagne (with or without orange juice). The music is something left of center and upbeat like Cornelius or Cashmere Cat.

PGTC: With the holidays approaching, besides admiring your newly pressed Platinum plaque for “Best Song Ever” (I mean, you need to at least once or twice), what other activities or traditions do you and your family have?
Rad: I spend the holidays in Oakland where I grew up. My parents are there, my brother is there, and many of my best friends are there. I’m very close with all my extended family too, and almost everyone ends up in the Bay Area this time of year. We spend lots of time together around the holidays just eating and drinking and catching up.

PGTC: Finally, what are you most excited about in 2014?
Rad: There are a couple of things I’ve worked on that I’m really excited for people to hear. First is this artist named Kes, who is like Prince meets The-Dream inside the movie Blade Runner. (Find more on Kes here.) He and I did a song called “Gimme Your Love” which is one of the best songs I’ve ever worked on. The other project is a rock band called “Mini Pig”; I don’t know that I’m allowed to say much more than that, but it’s the most visceral, frantic, gritty project I’ve worked on in a long time. (Rad also co-wrote “Cue The Rain”, which will appear on Glee star Lea Michele‘s upcoming album, Louder.)

I’m also excited to see whatever Kanye West does. He’s consistently the most exciting person in music and pop culture.

_____
Watch out for where Chris Wallace and One Direction end up on my Top 100 of 2013, beginning on December 15 and concluding on Christmas Eve, December 24. Thanks again to Matt Rad for the great chat, and continued success into 2014. We can’t wait to hear what’s coming next (and munch on that brunch, of course.)

View more about Matt Rad on: Elemental Music | Pulse Recordings | Facebook | Twitter | @BlazingRaddles (of course!)

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PROFILE: Will The U.S. “Latch” Onto Sam Smith In 2014?

La la late to the party, we are.

La la late to the party, we are.

At the tender age of 21, British performer Sam Smith has already accomplished a lot in his still budding musical career. Through a series of solo songs and a pair of hit singles with other acts, Smith has accrued a big international fan base that is hoping to expand into the United States in the next year, where he’s yet to become a household name. Most recently, the singer collaborated with Disclosure, Nile Rodgers and Jimmy Napes on a song called “Together”, which lit up the blogosphere and has achieved minor chart placement throughout Europe. Now, Smith’s about to get his lucky break in the U.S. with his features on two songs being issued to radio at the same time: “La La La” by Naughty Boy, which is serviced to CHR radio on Tuesday via Capitol, and “Latch” by Disclosure, coming to the same format in January via Interscope.

Born in the small village of Bishop’s Stortford, Smith’s been singing since age 8, first training with a jazz vocalist before moving onto work with musical theater while passing his school work. After moving to London at age 18, he began a regular job at a bar before signing to PMR Records last year and making his mark in the music industry. Unfortunately, once again, the U.S. is behind the rest of the world when it comes to this talented guy, so I’ll catch you up to speed on his success so far.

His first big appearance on Disclosure‘s “Latch” made its debut on the U.K. Singles Chart in October 2012, climbing to #11 the next month and charting in the top 40 for 18 consecutive weeks, a very large sum for a song that just missed the top ten. In most countries, the song barely scratched the top 40, if at all. Though it hasn’t ranked on the Hot 100 yet, “Latch” has thus far reached a peak of #27 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs chart, which began in January. It’s a chilled-out house track that’s been a little too different for many audiences, but the U.S. could turn things around for it.

“La La La”, however, is a different story, a more globally recognized hit single. It was producer Naughty Boy‘s first single to be released outside of Europe and it was a smash, achieving top ten rankings in over 20 countries. It also earned the two acts their first #1 in the U.K. back in May and turned out an eleven week run in the top ten. Pretty impressive. I’m sure the year-end tabulations over in Europe will be good to it. We’ll see how it fares on next year’s American surveys. Satellite radio should be all over it in the next few weeks before the majority of the CHR panel even considers it. However, the soulful vocal meets tribal dance arrangement track should prove to be a winner with a good label backing.

To add to the madness, all eyes are on what label Smith will end up on here in the States, as that has yet to be determined. Will he end up at Capitol, as evidenced by this Billboard report in which CEO Steve Barnett notes that “we’re in final talks to sign another artist affiliated with [Naughty Boy‘s Hotel Cabana]”? Will he sign at Interscope, where many acts from his U.K. label, PMR Records, are currently under contract? There’s also Republic Records, who have taken in singer John Newman and DJ/producer Martin Garrix in the last few months — could they steal another solo performer with some U.K. success? Time will tell on this one and your guess is as good as mine. However, things couldn’t be better for the young performer, one who has a lot to be thankful for this year and a lot to anticipate during the next year on the worldwide front.

(EDIT: Smith has officially signed with Capitol Records for his solo material. Way to go!)

Look out for more announcements from Smith, including more collaborations and solo releases, in the next coming months. He’s come a long way from his beginnings; let’s see if he’s “got you shackled” along with the rest of the mainstream music market here by the end of next year.

Download via iTunes: “La La La” (Addicted To Bass Remix) :: “La La La” (Ibiza 2013 Edit) :: “Latch” :: “Together”

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One Year Later And Still Popping!

POP! goes the anniversary.

POP! goes the anniversary.

I didn’t think I was going to get to this point, but it’s finally here and I’m so excited. It’s been a great first year of writing here on WordPress with my music blog, POP! Goes The Charts, and I can’t thank you all enough for supporting me in this adventure. November 28, 2012 seems so far away at this point, even if it was just 365 days ago. Of course, I’ve made it through the ups and downs, the struggle for post inspiration, the “take it down” private messages, etc. but that wild ride continues to be one I enjoy driving through. So, here are just a few of the statistics that made this a great first full year:

In the past twelve months, my blog has racked up north of 240,000 views on a total of 440 posts for an average of 550 views a day and 1.2 posts, which sounds about right. (Maybe not the 1/5 of a post part, but I digress.) A lot of these have been focused on the home page or in the archives — 52,000 of them, in fact, which equates to about 21%.

The biggest direct click post of the year was my Friday Forty countdown of the Top 40 Boy Bands based on radio data archives, which has been viewed just under 9,300 times since its late February debut. Whether you were Team *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys or New Kids On The Block back in the day, we all love our boy bands once again thanks to new kids in town like One Direction and The Wanted and all of those reunions, of course. Keep calm and stan on, you all.

The largest sum for a single premiere is on “Ways To Go” by Grouplove, which has accumulated 7,500 views since June. “Ways” went to #5 on my personal chart a few months ago and peaked at #2 on Alternative radio. Look for it to rank highly on my year-end survey, which will be starting in a few weeks. In other words, you’ve “got a little bit longer” to wait.

My most successful album review was for Avril Lavigne‘s self-titled album of a few weeks ago, racking up 1,600 views. Reaction for the effort was mixed, although it did debut in the top ten on the Billboard 200. The third single from it, a duet with husband Chad Kroeger titled “Let Me Go”, is currently gaining at Hot Adult Contemporary radio.

As for Profile posts, where I go on a bit about new and breaking acts, Danny Mercer takes the prize for that, with 950 views on my post from the end of May. At the time, Mercer was riding the charts on a collaboration with rapper Pitbull called “Outta Nowhere”. Unfortunately, it tanked, but look out for some solo material from him coming on Columbia Records next year. He also co-produced “Save Your Soul” on Celine Dion‘s most recent album, Loved Me Back To Life.

Finally, there’s my top chart post of the year. Every week, I make a weekly top 40 music survey, and for some reason, the chart dated February 24 is the most viewed one of the past 12 months with 176 views. The #1 song of the week for the second frame was “Mermaid” by Train, which you’ll also find has done particularly well on my 2013 year-end chart. Once the tide comes in, you’ll see where it’s washed up.

Thanks for a great year once again and here’s to another fantastic one!

Best wishes and Happy Thanksgivukkah,
Adam

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“Brother”, Can You Spare A Rhyme? Records Keeping It Relative

Hermanos with hits,

Hermanos with hits.

He’s got a magic touch. 24-year-old Avicii is folking things up one more time with vocalist Dan Tyminski, a member of Alison Krauss‘s backing band, Union Station. Their collaboration, titled “Hey Brother”, has already gone to #1 in the DJ and producer’s native Sweden, as well as several other European territories. However, the song has yet to be a hit in the States, though it does get serviced to an assortment of radio formats within the next few weeks. Until it inevitably storms onto the scene next year, enjoy this list of brotherly hits from the past, bro. (Please remind me to never say “bro” again.)

“Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show”, Neil Diamond (#22, 1969)
After a series of top 40 misses, it was this that brought Diamond back into the 20’s on the Hot 100 and would lead to the Platinum selling followups “Sweet Caroline” (#4) and “Holly Holy” (#6). No word on his live plans thus far for the new year.

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, The Hollies (#7, 1970) and remade by Neil Diamond (#20, 1970)
The original by the English group was their third top ten hit in America and first of the 70’s. Diamond’s remake was featured on Tap Root Manuscript. “Heavy” was also a U.K. #1 last year as a charity single from The Justice Collective.

“Tell It All Brother”, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition (#17, 1970)
Before Rogers became a top-selling Country star of the 70’s and 80’s, his band was big on the pop survey with a handful of charting singles beginning in 1967. This was their penultimate top 40 entry and the group would eventually split by 1976.

“Brother Rapp (Parts 1 & 2)”, James Brown (#32, 1970)
It was yet another hit for The Godfather Of Soul and did even better on the R&B survey, where it peaked at #2. The two part record is about 5 1/2 minutes in total and both sections were credited when it charted. Brown passed away in 2006.

“I’m Not My Brother’s Keeper”, The Flaming Ember (#34, 1970)
Bringing the soul of Detroit to the charts, this American band ranked three songs on the Hot 100’s top 40 between in 1969 and 1970, this being the last of the three. It also made the top 20 on the R&B chart in 1970. The band is no longer together.

“Hey Big Brother”, Rare Earth (#19, 1971)
Signed to Motown Records, the band was the label’s first all-white act to find success on the Hot 100 with three top ten singles in 1970-71. This was their last record to make the top 40, and they continued to chart through 1978’s “Warm Ride”.

“Brother Louie”, Stories (#1, 1973)
The quartet from New York City had a big #1 in the States with a song that originally went to #7 in the U.K. for Hot Chocolate. The driving force behind it was its theme: an interracial relationship between a white male and a black female.

“Me And Baby Brother”, War (#15, 1973)
This was the followup to “Gypsy Man” (#8) and the second single from the top ten album Deliver The Word, which was certified Gold. The funk rock band last made the top 40 in 1978, though they are still together today under a varied lineup.

For more on that brotherly love and other singles from the siblings that sing, follow the blog below or hit the “Get Social!” tab to find out how you can connect with PGTC on social media.

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An Early Hanukkah Gift: From “Royals” To “Oils”

She's not yet lost all her gelt.

She’s not yet lost all her gelt.

Like to get festive just a little bit early? I offer you this. Hanukkah may still be a little ways away (two weeks from today), but I thought I would throw my hat into the ring and offer up some lyrics that you can sing along to for the big day. After all, it’s a time to be joyous and celebrate and maybe discover a parody or two online in the meantime. So, here I am celebrating at the expense of 17-year-old Lorde‘s massive #1 single that’s still topping the charts and might be purchased with some lucky gift cards during this season. I hope you enjoy my little tune (and don’t eat too many potato latkes – your stomach will pay for it the next day.)

Have a great Hanukkah,
Adam

(P.S. If you’re liking it, let me know below or on social media, and I’ll be sure keep the fun continuing on the blog during this holiday season.)

“OILS”
A parody of Lorde’s “Royals”
From the (fictitious) album Pure Hanukkah

[Verse 1]
I’ve never spun a dreidel painted fresh
I cut my lip on chocolate gelt from the wrapper
But they’re so proud of how I blessed
At the menorah, then we play after

[Bridge]
And every game’s like
Roll shin, don’t win, put another coin back
Next play, roll hey, now I’m picking up half
I don’t share, we’re drinking Manischewitz ‘til it’s clean
And then the game goes
Nun’s up, no luck, get it on the next shot
What skill, gimel, now you’ve won the whole pot
I don’t share
Now, here’s the story of our answered prayers

[Chorus]
We don’t have enough oils (oi-ls)
To run the length of Hanukkah
Yeah, that supply will never stay
We need the stuff that runs eight days
Reading ‘bout how the Jews were (Jews were)
You can call them Maccabees
Miracles come true (come true, come true, come true)
Let me live that history

[Verse 2]
We stuff our mouths with sufganiyot
Say “Chag Sameach” in the car to our Grandma’s
And in the window, candles glow
Unwrapping gifts, no time for Santa

[Bridge]
And back to dreidel like
Roll shin, don’t win, put another coin back
Next play, roll hey, now I’m picking up half
I don’t share, we’re drinking Manischewitz ‘til it’s clean
And then the game goes
Nun’s up, no luck, get it on the next shot
What skill, gimel, now you’ve won the whole pot
I don’t share
Now, here’s the story of our answered prayers

[Chorus]
We don’t have enough oils (oi-ls)
To run the length of Hanukkah
Yeah, that supply will never stay
We need the stuff that runs eight days
Reading ‘bout how the Jews were (Jews were)
You can call them Maccabees
Miracles come true (come true, come true, come true)
Let me live that history

[Middle 8]
Oh, oh, oh-oh
My latkes are the dish supreme
So pass around the sour cream
Oh, oh, oh-oh
And applesauce, the perfect pair
The Festival of Lights is in the air

[Chorus]
We don’t have enough oils (oi-ls)
To run the length of Hanukkah
Yeah, that supply will never stay
We need the stuff that runs eight days
Reading ‘bout how the Jews were (Jews were)
You can call them Maccabees
Miracles come true (come true, come true, come true)
Let me live that history

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“Anything” Can Happen: Hedley Goes Stateside Once More

On their own again.

On their own again.

If you’re a regular PGTC reader from Canada, then I’m fairly sure you know who this quartet is. They’re the hit-making band out of British Columbia named Hedley. The current formation of the group includes Jacob Hoggard on lead vocals, Dave Rosin on guitar, Tommy Mac on bass and Chris Crippin on drums. Formed in 2004, Hoggard was a top 3 finalist on Canadian Idol before leading his group to four multi-Platinum albums and nine top ten hits in their native country. In fact, they’ll be releasing their fifth album, Wild Life, next week and the expectation is that it’ll be another top 5 album for the boys.

This is all great, but outside of Canada, the four-man band isn’t known well at all. While Universal Music has been handling their material up north, it’s been Capitol Records taking the reins in the U.S., and thus far, their attempts have gone largely unnoticed or haven’t held up well. They’re hoping to change that with the Stateside release of the band’s latest top ten single in Canada, “Anything”, with a presumed album release here in 2014. Will the fifth time be the charm for the label behind big acts like Katy Perry? Here’s a look back at their four previous singles here and what the chances look like for their new one:

“ON MY OWN”
U.S. radio date: Fall 2006

The band’s first single in America was also their debut release in Canada, which put them up on the map and soared up the charts there. However, in the States, “Own” was released nearly a year after its Canadian debut, going to CHR radio and picking up about thirty stations. It just missed the top 50 at the format and disappeared entirely after its run was completed.

On my top 40, “On My Own” spent a week at #25 during a 9 week run. Canada-only followup “Trip”  spent 6 weeks bubbling under my top 40, but did not chart.

“OLD SCHOOL”
U.S. radio date: Spring 2009

From their American compilation album, Never Too Late, this was another top ten hit in Canada. “Old” was delivered to radio here in March and did even worse, maxing out at just over a dozen stations before falling off the radio playlists. However, this release was split between both CHR and Hot AC radio, a difference that would impact Capitol’s push the next time around.

“Old School” spent 9 weeks bubbling under my top 40, but did not chart.

“PERFECT”
U.S. radio date: Summer/Fall 2010

Things began to change for the better with the label started promoting this ballad. Released in Canada at the beginning of the year, this song didn’t start showing up on the U.S. radar until July, and it slowly made its way up the Hot AC survey with no CHR crossover. Garnering about forty stations at its peak, it rose to #25 on the survey after some time, and went recurrent.

On my top 40, “Perfect” spent two weeks at #21 during a 13 week run. It ranked as my #85 song of that year.

“KISS YOU INSIDE OUT”
U.S. radio date: Summer 2012

This single appears on a 2012 rerelease of the album Storms. It is their only release to be simultaneously promoted in Canada and the U.S., which worked to their advantage in both territories. It’s the biggest single the band’s issued in their homeland, peaking at #2. It’s also their biggest Hot AC single, a #24 entry, with a much faster run and more support than “Perfect” had.

“Kiss You Inside Out” spent 11 weeks bubbling under my top 40, but did not chart.

So, what about “Anything”? Can it do anything in the U.S.? The short answer is, in my opinion, a definitive yes. It’s a feel good song about not being pushed down by limitations and being driven to achieve your goal. Hoggard sings, “A thousand disbelievers couldn’t keep me on the ground/I’ve invented a momentum that will never slow me down/I believe it ’cause I feel it and I shout it out loud/I can, I can, I can so.” It sounds far different from their other singles released here, a quirky pop anthem with a heavy drum beat and a rotating cast of voices who come in and out in the chorus. The horn-intensive breakdown is also reminiscent of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘s “Can’t Hold Us”, so the familiarity factor is also present.

The game plan for Capitol Records begins with an Alternative radio adds date on November 19 and a likely Hot AC radio release in early 2014 before an eventual crossover to CHR. They should do OK with this one; it’s one of their better chances to finally break Hedley on a bigger level. Whether it actually happens, I can’t say for sure, but don’t stop dreaming about it. Yes, it’s an uphill battle, but as long as the band and label are focused, then anything could turn into everything next year.

Purchase Hedley‘s new album, Wild Life, on iTunes Canada. / Purchase Hedley‘s Anything EP on iTunes United States.

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Sharpening Their Claus: Christmas Carols Ready To Sleigh

Singles all the way.

Singles all the way.

November 1. It’s the day after Halloween, but it’s also that dreaded day when radio stations around the U.S., specifically Adult Contemporary and Classic Hits ones, could make that call to flip their station to all-Christmas music. The horror! The holiday tunes are coming earlier than ever this year, so I guess it makes sense to highlight what’s happening before the mistletoe madness begins. Here are three singles I’m looking forward to hearing on the air as that great flip of formats marches on:

EMELI SANDÉ – “Winter Wonderland”
Label: Capitol Records / Adds Date: n/a

Here’s a gal who is having a great 2013 in America, responsible for three top 40 singles across the various airplay charts – two on her own, “My Kind Of Love” and “Next To Me”, along with the Labrinth duet “Beneath Your Beautiful”. Originally featured on an EMI sampler from last year, Sandé’s take on the nearly 70-year-old song sees a reissue this year as a part of the soundtrack to the upcoming film The Best Man Holiday, which opens on November 15. It was recorded as part of the 1 Mic, 1 Take series along with other acts like Graffiti6 and Tristan Prettyman. Understated but powerful, she’s at her best on this with that dramatic, soul-drenched voice of hers. It definitely has the potential to become the biggest Urban hit of the season.

KELLY CLARKSON – “Underneath The Tree”
Label: RCA Records / Adds Date: November 4 (AC)

Over the years, the former American Idol winner has issued renditions of Christmas classics on several compilations, including “My Grown Up Christmas List” and “O Holy Night”; now comes the ultimate test. Clarkson’s first full-length album of both original songs and remakes, Wrapped In Red, is the most anticipated holiday-themed release of the season; it hits stores tomorrow, October 29. Her first single from the effort is a masterpiece, channeling Darlene Love and Phil Spector‘s Wall Of Sound era in a perfect pop record. Produced and co-written by Greg Kurstin, the future multi-format smash is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. By the end of this holiday season, you may be asking, “Uh, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” who?”

MATTHEW MORRISON – “This Christmas”
Label: 222 Records / Adds Date: October 28 (AC)

You know him best from the television show Glee as the lovable Will Schuester, but earlier this year, Morrison released his first album with the newly formed 222 Records (from Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine), a standards album entitled Where It All Began. It did not chart. This latest single from the actor and singer comes from a forthcoming six song EP, A Classic Christmas, which looks to be a digital-only release available on November 19. Morrison’s version is a pretty faithful take on the Donny Hathaway release of four decades ago, with a lush brass section and a fantastic saxophonist paired with his vocal. Look for this one to garner a bit on Adult Contemporary play like his original 2011 single, “Summer Rain”. (No stream is up at this time.)

For even more early Christmas singles, check out all these tracks delivered to radio in the past few weeks along with their intended formats for play or are being prepped for release overseas:
CHARLIE WILSON“I Still Have You” (Urban AC)
COURTNEY RAU – “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (AC)
HEART – “All Through The Night” and “Please Come Home For Christmas” (AC / Classic Rock)
OWL CITY featuring TOBYMAC“Light Of Christmas” (Christian AC / Christian CHR)

ERASURE – “Gaudete” (Europe – December 16)
LEONA LEWIS“One More Sleep” (Europe – December 2)
RICHARD & ADAM – “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In (On Christmas Day)” (Europe – December 16)
THE BIG REUNION – “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” (Europe – December 16)

Also watch out for singles from Christmas albums and EPs by Ariana Grande, Mary J. Blige, Susan Boyle, Tamar Braxton, Trace Adkins and more coming soon.

For more ho, ho, hot tracks from the snowy side of pop music, keep it locked on PGTC by clicking the “Get Social!” tab above or the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page.

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