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NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: Releases For The Week of October 12, 2018

You Mai proceed.

Reactive R&B and rap titles lead this week’s New Music Friday report, as Q4 continues to bring on the hits. These are the notable digital and physical releases hitting the market today:

ELLA MAI – Ella Mai (iTunes)
Mai has become one of the breakout R&B stars of 2018, with “Boo’d Up” and “Trip” scoring well at Rhythmic and Urban radio, as the former track slows down at the Top 40 format following a minor crossover. With notable playlisting already in effect overseas and solid sales and streaming expected here, the self-titled set should have one of next week’s higher debuts.

QUAVO – Quavo Huncho (iTunes)
From the rap trio Migos, this performer has often appeared as a featured artist on a growing list of big singles, but this release is his first solo studio album. Prominent features include Cardi B, Drake and Travis Scott, so expect streaming stats for the new release to be fairly high.

YOUNG THE GIANT – Mirror Master (iTunes)
Featuring the recent top 20 Alternative song “Simplify” and follow-up single “Superposition”, the fourth studio album for this act will look to break the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart, much like their last album did two years ago.

Notable albums out this week: Basement‘s Beside Myself (iTunes), Belly‘s Immigrant (iTunes), Jess Glynne‘s Always In Between (iTunes), Jimmie Allen‘s Mercury Lane (iTunes), Kurt Vile‘s Bottle It In (iTunes), Morgan Evans‘s Things That We Drink To (iTunes), Nico Santos‘s Streets Of Gold (iTunes), TobyMac‘s The Elements (iTunes), Tom Morello‘s The Atlas Underground (iTunes)

Notable holiday albums out this week: Eric Clapton‘s Happy Xmas (iTunes), LeAnn Rimes‘s It’s Christmas, Eve (TV Soundtrack) (iTunes), The Monkees‘s Christmas Party (iTunes)

Notable EPs out this week: Ashlee + Evan‘s Ashlee + Evan (iTunes), Kim Cesarion‘s Bleed (iTunes), Nicklas Sahl‘s Planets (iTunes), Youngr‘s Obsession (iTunes)

New digital singles that you can buy this week include:
“11:59” and “Ringing In My Ears”, Chris Ayer (iTunes)
“80’s Baby”, New Kids On The Block / Salt-N-Pepa / Naughty By Nature / Tiffany / Debbie Gibson (iTunes)
“Angels (Kia Love and M-22 Remixes)”, Tom Walker (iTunes)
“Be Somebody (Tyron Hapi Remix)”, Steve Aoki + Nicky Romero featuring Kiiara (iTunes)
“Bells”, The Unlikely Candidates (iTunes)
“Bring Me Love” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, John Legend (iTunes)
“Can’t Knock The Hustle”, Weezer (iTunes)
“Come A Little Closer”, Skizzy Mars & Prelow (iTunes)
“Come Together”, SVRCINA (iTunes)
“Consequences (Orchestra)”, Camila Cabello (iTunes)
“Cowboy”, ALMA (iTunes)
“Cycles”, ANNALIA (iTunes)
“Dazed & Confused (Acoustic)”, Ruel featuring Ezinma (iTunes)
“Don’t Look Me Over”, Luke Christopher (iTunes)
“Drunk As Hell”, Lost Kings featuring Jesper Jenset (iTunes)
“Easy”, Great Good Fine OK (iTunes)
“Emotion”, Astrid S (iTunes)
“Expectations”, Lauren Jauregui (iTunes)
“Fashion After All”, Poppy (iTunes)
“Give Me My Name Back”, Meg Mac (iTunes)
“Hold Me Up”, Sam Tinnesz (iTunes)
“Home”, Cheat Codes (iTunes)
“I Wish You Were Here (Acoustic)”, HRVY (iTunes)
“Ice Cold”, Netsky & David Guetta (iTunes)
“If You Were Mine (KC Lights Remix)”, Ocean Park Standoff (iTunes)
“Last Call”, Hudson Thames (iTunes)
“Let Go”, James Hersey featuring Filous (iTunes)
“Light On”, Maggie Rogers (iTunes)
“Lose Us”, Rozzi & Scott Hoying (iTunes)
“Loyal”, Paloma Faith (iTunes)
“Love You Anymore”, Michael Bublé (iTunes)
“Luck Pusher”, FINNEAS (iTunes)
“Medicine (Just Kiddin Remix)”, Robinson (iTunes)
“Mia”, Bad Bunny featuring Drake (iTunes)
“Miss You All The Time”, O.A.R. (iTunes)
“Moves (Wideboys Remix)”, Olly Murs featuring Snoop Dogg (iTunes)
“Nobody Knows You Anymore”, Kevin George (iTunes)
“Not A Damn Thing Changed”, Lukas Graham (iTunes)
“People”, LINES (iTunes)
“People You Love”, Matt Hartke (iTunes)
“Pieces”, Declan J Donovan (iTunes)
“Promises (David Guetta Remix)”, Calvin Harris & Sam Smith (iTunes)
“Recovery”, LP (iTunes)
“Rise & Fall”, Mike Perry featuring Cathrine Lassen (iTunes)
“Rose”, Allan Rayman (iTunes)
“Run That Back”, Sofi De La Torre (iTunes)
“Simple Romance”, Coin (iTunes)
“Table For One”, AWOLNATION featuring Elohim (iTunes)
“Telephone”, The Shadowboxers (iTunes)
“Telling All My Secrets”, Mitchell Tenpenny (iTunes)
“Under Pressure”, Shawn Mendes featuring teddy<3 (iTunes)
“When I’m Ready”, FRANKIE (iTunes)
“Wild And Free”, Kirsten Arian (iTunes)
“Woman Like Me”, Little Mix featuring Nicki Minaj (iTunes)
“Wondering”, M.O & Chip (iTunes)
“Wrapped Around The Axle”, Peter Bjorn & John (iTunes)
“Writer’s Song”, Bibi Bourelly (iTunes)
“Yesterday”, Virginia To Vegas (iTunes)

Next week: look out for new albums from Disturbed, Greta Van Fleet and more. For Adam’s personal picks of the week, listen to the PGTC Friday Faves list on Spotify!

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NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: Releases For The Week of August 7, 2015

It's Dre Day... and everybody's celebrating.

It’s Dre Day… and everybody’s celebrating.

This week’s New Music Friday is all rapped up, because the good Doctor is back in his office and ready for the people. However,  he’s not the only one with a musical memento coming to you today. So, take your vitamins and your wallet out, because here’s a look at the week’s new album and single releases:

  • DR. DRE — Compton, A Soundtrack (iTunes)
    • I was 9 when 2001 came out nearly 16 years ago, and it’s hard to believe that the former N.W.A. rapper is putting out his first album since then (and final one) today. The head of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics is looking for his first #1 ever on the Billboard 200. It could very likely happen with this set, but it is also exclusive to Apple, which could hinder its performance versus a wide release.
  • LUKE BRYAN — Kill The Lights (iTunes)
    • Featuring his recent #1 on the Country survey, “Kick The Dust Up”, it’s no surprise that Bryan will have one of this year’s top opening weeks when all is said and done. The question is, can he beat Dre’s soundtrack? With radio on a roll for followup “Strip It Down” and some big promotional appearances on the schedule, he certainly could do it.
  • VARIOUS ARTISTS — NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 55 (iTunes)
    • I know what you’re saying: they’re on the 55th edition? It’s true. The newest compilation from the group should be heading for a top five debut. Look out for NOW What’s Next tracks from great new acts like Clairity and Conrad Sewell.
  • More albums out this week: Fear Factory‘s Genexus (iTunes), Frank Turner‘s Positive Songs For Negative People (iTunes), Health‘s Death Magic (iTunes), IAMDYNAMITE‘s Wasa Tusa (iTunes), Mac DeMarco‘s Another One (iTunes), Miss May I‘s Deathless (iTunes), Never Shout Never‘s Black Cat (iTunes), The Mynabirds‘s Lovers Know (iTunes), tobyMac‘s This Is Not A Test (iTunes), Vivian Green‘s Vivid (iTunes), Soundtrack to Ricki And The Flash (iTunes)
  • More EPs out this week: Coucheron‘s Playground (iTunes), Jarryd James‘s Jarryd James (iTunes)

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Again”, new from Fetty Wap. (iTunes)
  • “Back Together”, a new single from Robin Thicke and Nicki Minaj. (iTunes)
  • “Body On Me”, new from Rita Ora and Chris Brown. (iTunes)
  • “Devil”, a collaboration from Cash Cash, Busta Rhymes, B.o.B and Neon Hitch. (iTunes)
  • “Love Myself”, a single (and new iHeartMedia On The Verge track for CHR radio) from Hailee Steinfeld. (iTunes)
  • “Making The Most Of The Night”, an instant grat track from Carly Rae Jepsen. (iTunes)
  • “Way Down We Go” new from Kaleo. (iTunes)

Next Friday, our preview will include new albums from acts like Dillon Francis, Melanie Martinez and New Politics. See you then!

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From Christian To Crossover: Britt Nicole Goes For The “Gold”

After the "Gold" rush.

Just call it a “Gold” rush.

If you’re a regular Christian radio listener, then you probably know who Britt Nicole is. The 27-year-old singer has been at it for a few years now, but 2013 looks to be a big year for her as her single “Gold” crosses over from the world of Christian into the more Contemporary music scene, a rarity for many acts. In fact, Nicole is only the fourth solo female since the 1980’s to pull off the trick successfully. Christian music has often been very polarizing for the mainstream teen audience; programmers fear that anything too religious-based will turn away the urban crowd and/or who is just turned off by the background of the act. I’ve been guilty of it myself. However, some of those acts just manage to breakthrough with a non-offensive, harmless and uplifting tune or two. If you’re curious about the history of the process, well, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Amy Grant had been releasing albums since 1977, but in 1985, A&M Records took over partial promotion of her album, Unguarded, and single “Find A Way” hit the mainstream top 30. By 1986, she was on a top-selling duet with Peter Cetera, “The Next Time I Fall”. For years, Grant built up a following at adult contemporary radio, but nothing hit big nationally. Despite one other top-40 hit by the band Stryper in 1987, that was all for Christian crossovers, until Grant struck again with her 1991 release, the pop-oriented Heart In Motion. Lead single “Baby Baby” made a huge splash and spent three weeks at #1 on the radio and two on the Hot 100. Grant became the first Christian music artist to hit the top spot, and would make the top ten with follow-up singles like “Every Heartbeat”. In fact, at CHR radio, five consecutive singles made the top ten, a feat yet to be matched by any Christian artist. 1994’s House Of Love and 1997’s Behind The Eyes also produced big AC hits and more minor CHR entries, but her success eventually waned at both formats.

Amy Grant‘s sudden and spectacular mainstream story encouraged many a Christian singer to try their luck at popular radio to positive results. First was Michael W. Smith, who had been making the Christian charts since 1983. His first wide release from Go West Young Man, “Place In This World”, was co-written by Grant. It went top ten in the summer of 1991. In 1992, Kathy Troccoli scored her only mainstream hit, “Everything Changes”, a top 5 at CHR radio and top 20 on the Hot 100. Songs by DC Talk and Jars Of Clay also placed in the top 20 at the format in 1996. By the late 1990’s, most of these acts were back to just releasing to Christian radio as boy bands and bubblegum music took over mainstream radio.

With teen singers on the rise, Virgin Records took a chance on then 17-year-old Stacie Orrico, handling the pop promotion for her second, self-titled effort. Two big singles hit, “Stuck” and “(There’s Gotta Be) More To Life”, which went top ten at mainstream radio. Further reigniting a Christian music movement was MercyMe and their single, “I Can Only Imagine”. Originally issued in 2001, it went to #1 on the Christian AC chart. The song was remixed and rereleased to mainstream radio in reaction to the Columbia disaster, where a seven-person crew on the shuttle were killed as it disintegrated back to Earth on February 1, 2003. The song’s impact began slowly, then built an audience through airplay in primarily southern markets. Hitting the CHR top 50 in late May, it peaked in mid-August at #29 and spent a huge 20 weeks on the chart. The band would have several other AC hits, where “Imagine” made the top 5, but nothing made it onto the CHR airwaves.

After the success of those two acts, other Christian artists began to push their releases to mainstream radio to mixed results. Bands like FlyleafRelient K and Switchfoot managed to gel with the sound of the format, the latter act scoring two top ten hits in 2004. Plumb broke the AC format with 2007’s top ten single, “In My Arms”. Acts like Rush Of FoolsSteven Curtis Chapman and former DC Talk member tobyMac, however, saw very limited AC and Hot AC airplay with no big singles. Just as a decade before, the run of crossover singles managed to last a good few years before the genre was overshadowed by dance and electro-pop music and left the mainstream genre.

Flash forward to 2013 and Britt Nicole has made it into the CHR top 40 with “Gold”, the first Christian act to break at this specific radio format since 2008. Nicole released her first album, Say It, in 2007, followed by The Lost Get Found in 2009. Both albums launched hit singles, notably her second effort, which saw both the title track and a follow-up single, “Walk On The Water”, hit #1 on the Christian CHR chart. Last year, she released Gold, which included another high charting hit, “All This Time”. It was then announced that Capitol Records would be taking over the crossover promotion of the album and the rerelease of it, coming on February 26. The title track, remixed very slightly, was made available for airplay in December. It’s mainly been added to stations in smaller radio markets, thus, it has a low audience, but it’s still accumulated several hundred new spins during the past few weeks. The song itself isn’t even remotely religious; just a feel good anthem about feeling beautiful and confident being your unique self (“Whatever you’ve been told/you’re worth more than gold”) up against a bouncy guitar line and some drums. The video reflects the same message as five teased children (a “vampire girl”, a homosexual guy, an anorexic teen, a rebel skater chick and a short basketball player) are transported into a “dream world” where everyone is accepted regardless of what they look like and have a big house party. Plus, who doesn’t love a young girl carrying around a bunch of balloons? It won’t ruffle any feathers; rather, I would hope it inspires a lot of radio listeners that are bullied or pressured by other to conform to a certain way. It’s pretty relatable. At the same time, Nicole faces an uphill battle. Will people think of her differently coming from a Christian background or will she just be accepted with her catchy song of hers? It’s only #226 on iTunes, though that’s much higher than other songs getting airplay on that format. Time will tell, I suppose, but she’s off to a good start, and the song is, at least in my opinion, worthy of being the big hit that everyone jams along to.

So, if Britt Nicole makes the top twenty or so at CHR radio, could this be the start of a new era of Christian crossovers? Will acts like Colton Dixon, Hawk Nelson or Meredith Andrews be next to take the prize? How long could Nicole keep pumping out singles to the format if she eventually sees some big numbers? Stay tuned. This could be a holy handover.

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