Tag Archives: Nicole Scherzinger

PROFILE: Danny Mercer Goes From “Nowhere” To The Big Leagues

The dynamic duo of the moment.

The dynamic duo of the moment.

Were you watching the television show Katie recently? You may have noticed a performance on the show by rapper Pitbull and a new singer named Danny Mercer, who performed a track together. It’s a major change in style for the rapper and it’s a major shift in lifestyle for Mercer, a recent college graduate who is now making a huge splash into the world of music. If the song’s a hit, the payoff will be huge, but it helps that Mercer has some major backing already at such a young age. He’s got the chops and the charisma and he’s ready to pop.

Mercer was born Danny Murcia in Bogotá, Colombia and moved to Weston, FL at 6 months with his family. He developed a liking for music at an early age, learning the guitar at age 7 and writing songs by age 14. He joined the class of 2014 at Columbia University in New York City, and that big city adventure led him to an internship at Atlantic Records in the spring of 2011. That role provided him with a few contacts and he sent his demo tapes out, one of which came to Pitbull‘s attention via his manager. After some initial hesitation, Mercer lent his voice to the chorus of the rapper’s song, “Outta Nowhere”, which has now become the fifth single from the rapper’s album Global Warming. It was just announced as a single last week and went to radio this week at the CHR format, picking up 21 adds in total, including commitments in major cities like New York City, Las Vegas, Sacramento and San Francisco. It’s sure to pick up more next week as programmers return from the Memorial Day weekend.

In addition to his single of his, Mercer co-penned two other tracks on Pitbull‘s album Global Warming. He also co-wrote Nicole Scherzinger‘s “Boomerang”, which went to #6 in the United Kingdom in March. Singer Frankie J‘s current top ten hit on Spanish radio, “No Te Quiero Ver Con Él”? He was also involved with that song. According to his Twitter profile, Mercer has also worked Akon, The Wanted and will.i.am, providing him a lot of exposure to a great crop of artists as a newcomer in the industry. There’s more – he’s also signed as a solo artists with Columbia Records, with an EP due late this summer. Like college, like label, I guess. He’s a busy guy, but he’s ready to take over and his perseverance and drive are definitely appreciated.

As a “hook singer” (though he’s only known for one song at this point) with a looming solo career ahead of him, there will surely be an attempt to pigeonhole him into the Bruno Mars or Mikky Ekko category, maybe even a Mike Posner type as he’s coming straight out of college into the industry. However, I’d argue that he’s even more well-rounded than even these hit singers. He can obviously play the piano and sing, but he also has jazz aspirations, having initially wanted to study jazz guitar before choosing to go to New York City. He also has a Latin appeal having written songs in Spanish, which could prove really useful down the line. Plenty of singers like Enrique Iglesias and Shakira have used the technique of recording singles in both English and Spanish versions to great success; who says Mercer can’t be next? He writes R&B music, he writes dance music… and let’s face it, the hook of “Outta Nowhere” sounds sonically like it belongs in a OneRepublic song, so he can easily transition into rock. Dare I say he’s a musical chameleon? It’s clear that the guy can work across the spectrum and get the job done while balancing all he has to do in college. Now that he’s graduated early, he can focus solely on his music without any other distractions.

It will be interesting to see what kind of trajectory happens for Mercer, but with Pitbull to help him out for the ride, the dog-eat-dog world of the biz may as well be muzzled while he’s unleashed on the charts.

Liking the sounds of Danny Mercer so far? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Coming Back ‘Round: A Bevy Of “Boomerangs”

Popular words in song titles come and go based on crazes or merely coincidence. Sometimes two songs are released at the same time with the exact same title, but with different lyrics and melodies. For example, in 1979, “Crazy Love” by The Allman Brothers Band and Poco were out at the same time and both in the top 40 for a week in April, both completely unique songs. So, it was surprising when I saw a song going to one particular radio format recently and remembered this is not the first or second, but the fourth time this same song title has been issued as a single globally in just the past few months. That would be “Boomerang”, like the one you throw in the air that whirls around and comes back. Recently, it’s come back into our musical consciousness in a rare event. Three are currently out now, while one peaked out a few months back. Here they are:

What a Doll.

What a Doll.

NICOLE SCHERZINGER – “Boomerang”
Release Date: March 10 (U.K.)

She’s the former lead singer with Eden’s Crush and the Pussycat Dolls and she’s had some decent success as a solo act over in Europe. Her album Killer Love produced several hits there a few years back. Her latest song was co-produced by will.i.am. Scherzinger’s song and music video premiered in late January, while a digital download was made available in early March. Though the song went top ten in Ireland, Scotland and the United Kingdom, it generally didn’t perform well anywhere else it was released. No album followed it, but she is in the process of recording one, which could be out as she judges on the tenth season of the U.K.’s version of The X Factor, which will likely return at the end of August. Scherzinger’s solo run in the U.S. never took off besides some minor airplay, so don’t expect this one to get promoted here. Look for more information on new music from Scherzinger, including a music video for an Italian single with Eros Ramazzotti that will premiere next month.

Download Scherzinger’s “Boomerang” on iTunes (U.K. only.)

Just like that title, they keep comin' around.

BARENAKED LADIES – “Boomerang”
Release Date: March 22 (United States)

We’ve loved them for over two decades now as they climbed the charts with hits like “One Week” and “Pinch Me”. Their latest album, their first in three years, is titled Grinning Streak and it’s their second without founding member Steven Page. However, the band has soldiered on and looks to have produced another solid album full of goodies. It’ll be in stores next week and I’ll be picking up my copy. I did a review of the song back in March when I first heard it, which you can view here. (Hint: I really like it.) It was co-written by band member Ed Robertson and Zac Maloy and went to AAA radio in the U.S. earlier this month. The song is doing well in the group’s native Canada, where it’s approaching the top ten on their Adult Contemporary chart and is just below the top 50 at Hot Adult Contemporary radio. It’s been added to handful of stations here in the U.S., but not enough to make a significant impact yet. However, it’s just getting started, so stay tuned to hear it on your local station.

Download BNL’s “Boomerang” on iTunes.

The stage is Set.

The stage is Set.

THE SUMMER SET – “Boomerang”
Release Date: April 16 (United States)

This quintet is originally from Scottsdale, AZ and have been together since 2007. They’re now with their third label, Fearless Records, which is known for housing other alternative and independent acts like Breathe Carolina and Mayday Parade. The group recently competed in a contest sponsored by Macy’s for the chance to win a performance spot at the third annual iHeartRadio Music Festival among two dozen other acts. Pop duo Megan & Liz ended up as the winners last year. Well, it turns out that they indeed won it. Congrats guys! That’ll be taking place in mid-September. In the meantime, this single of theirs went to CHR radio back in April and has about 20 stations on it thus far, including one of the top stations in Chicago. It may be sticking around as the label looks to boost their presence on the airwaves in anticipation for their gig in Las Vegas. We shall see, but the song’s catchy enough to be a summer hit. Check out a preview of their forthcoming music video.

Download Summer Set’s “Boomerang” on iTunes.

No monkeying around.

No monkeying around.

LUCY SCHWARTZ – “Boomerang”
Release Date: May 22 (United States)

From Los Angeles, this 23-year-old singer has been recording since 2007 when she was still in high school. She’s been involved in a lot of charity efforts in her time in the industry. She’s been in lucky in that she’s been able to place songs on the soundtracks to many movies during this time, including Shrek Forever After and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. One of her songs is currently being used in the film What Maisie Knew, which had a limited opening a few weeks back. This time around, her composition is being featured on the new Netflix-only season of the once-cancelled FOX show Arrested Development, which just debuted on the service yesterday and has already received a ton of buzz. This is Schwartz’s first single not to be independently released by herself, which is true of her first two albums and EPs. Instead, she’s opted for a deal with Red Light Management for airplay purposes. Schwartz’s song is being serviced to AAA radio on July 1. Her album, Timekeeper, is out in stores on August 6.

Download Schwartz’s “Boomerang” on iTunes.

Just in case you were wondering, only two songs with the word “boomerang” in them have hit the top 40 on the Hot 100 since its 1958 start. In 1962, Charlie Drake went to #21 with “My Boomerang Won’t Come Back”, and in 1965, Jr. Walker & The All-Stars got to #36 with “Do The Boomerang”. I also liked a 2011 single by the Plain White T’s called “Boomerang”, but nobody really remembers that one. Maybe you’ll remember one of these songs listed above a little more.

Which one of these four “Boomerang” songs is your favorite? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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PROFILE: James Arthur’s Nearly “Impossible” Trek To America

He's got the hit Factor.

He’s got the hit Factor.

James Arthur‘s life has changed significantly in the past few months. The 25-year-old born in Middlesbrough, England was in and out of bands and projects for most of his teens before deciding to tryout for the U.K. version of The X Factor. He was picked up by mentor Nicole Scherzinger, formerly of Eden’s Crush and the Pussycat Dolls, and he won the competition, beating another member of Scherzinger’s team, Jahméne Douglas. This was back on December 9 of last year. It was only just the beginning.

As in any singing competition, Arthur had a winning single to record, which for that season of the show was a remake of Shontelle‘s “Impossible”, which made her a hit in the U.S. for a hot minute before disappearing off the radar. It just missed the top ten on the Hot 100, though it crept in there on the Singles Chart in the United Kingdom, so it was already recognizable to most people before this new cover came out. Arthur’s version of the song was made for download almost immediately after his win on the show. No surprise there. It shot straight to #1 in countries like Ireland and Scotland, and spent three non-consecutive weeks at #1 in the United Kingdom with first week sales of 490,000 copies. It has since become the largest-selling winner’s single in the history of the show, with download sales over 1.3 million copies in that country alone. “Impossible” is also currently a Platinum-certified hit in Australia, where it recently peaked at #2 on the ARIA Singles Chart. (It’s top 5 on iTunes there currently.) It’s been great for the franchise, but it’s also been great for the singer himself. He’ll be putting out a followup single in Europe in May, no title determined yet. However, he’s not quite done with his first smash… yet.

There are now signs that James Arthur‘s hit overseas may be impacting North America this summer. The song is already being pushed to adult contemporary radio in Canada. It’s been added to four stations in Montreal and one in Ottawa in the past few weeks. Weekly detections currently put it just below the top 50 on Canada’s AC format chart with about 40 spins in the past seven days. This is small compared to the dozens of other current songs that are played on radio there every week. However, it’s a start, and an important one at that. A lot of Canadian releases that originate from overseas tend to make their way into the United States at some point or another. What I’m saying is, prepare yourselves. We may have another round of “Impossible” playing on our airwaves here in the next few months.

Should he successfully make it over here, he would only be the third X Factor winner to break the American market. We had Leona Lewis several years ago of “Bleeding Love” fame, a number-one hit back in 2008, but she’s been long gone from our shores after her second album was a dud. We now have Little Mix‘s “Wings” at our CHR format and it’s picking up a bit of steam, so perhaps they’ll be able to go ever higher. These two are, of course, in addition to the many finalists from that show who have come the United States. Some became big, like Cher Lloyd, Olly Murs and One Direction. Others faltered, like JLS and Rebecca Ferguson. Point is, it can go either way with these kinds of artists, but with the hype he currently has from the U.K., I’m guessing his label thinks that he could do pretty well here. I agree.

While it’s odd to hear an already popular and commercial song switch perspectives from female to male, Arthur has a good take on the song. His raspy and rough vocal make it an emotional experience, which is dramatized just enough without being too sappy. The arrangement itself is also augmented into a pop/rock feel, which does well against Arthur’s more soulful tone. It’s not dated in any particular way, it’s just pleasant. There will likely better songs on his album, but Arthur does all he can with his version of the song to turn it into a full-fledged power ballad that is honest and pure to the core. With slower songs doing well at the moment, it’s best to strike when the iron’s hot, and James Arthur is still boiling at the moment. Hopefully that’s the one thing that will make this trip to America a little less “impossible” and a lot more plausible.

Buy the music video for “Impossible”. (U.S. only – only the video is available here.)

Who will be the next X Factor finalist or winner from the United Kingdom to make it across the pond? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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