beauty

Review: Katie Melua achieves ethereal beauty on new album

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This cover image released by BMG shows “Album No. 8” by Katie Melua. (BMG via AP)

AP

Katie Melua, “Album No. 8″ (BMG)

Katie Melua sings as though she’s sharing a secret, which is what makes her music so inviting.

Born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Melua lives in the United Kingdom and is more popular there than in the United States. Perhaps that’s because she rarely raises her voice, but on “Album No. 8,” she really doesn’t need to.

Her affecting, arresting alto stamps the set’s 10 original songs with an ethereal beauty that’s immediately ear-catching. When Melua begins by singing “I’m taken in,” she’s describing her audience.

The Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra provides support, with lovely arrangements by producer Leo Abrahams. As strings swirl and bloom, Melua is also accompanied by guitar, piano, organ, saxophone, bass and drums in various combinations that never spoil the intimate mood.

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gift

The Real Reason Carrie Underwood Released Her Christmas Album As Early as She Did

When country music superstar Carrie Underwood announced in the summer of 2020 that she planned on releasing her first-ever Christmas album, her fans went wild with excitement.

Considering that most Christmas albums release in late October, the Sept. 25 drop of Underwood’s My Gift was super early.

Here’s why the American Idol champ decided to gift her fans when she did.

Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood | Theo Wargo/WireImage for Turner

Underwood’s 1st holiday music album

Underwood announced in July 2020 of her plans to release her very first holiday music album, titled My Gift. While she’s performed holiday tunes in the past, My Gift marks her first complete album in the genre.

In the album’s trailer in July 2020 the mother of two revealed how she decided this was the year to release a holiday song collection.

“This year,” she said, “it was just kind of on my heart to do

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women

Tiwa Savage Expands Afrobeat With Her Debut Album, ‘Celia’ : NPR

Celia, the third studio album from Nigerian singer Tiwa Savage, is her American debut.

Lakin Ogunbanwo


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Lakin Ogunbanwo

Tiwa Savage was already turning heads with her music — a deft fusion of Afrobeat with pop, R&B and hip-hop sounds — for years when she was handpicked by Beyoncé to appear on The Gift, the soundtrack album for the 2019 remake of The Lion King. Now, the Nigerian artist has returned with her third studio album and American debut, Celia. She spoke about the record’s themes and featured collaborations with All Things Considered; hear the radio version at the audio link, and read on for an edited transcript.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

NPR: The first song I want to ask you about is “Temptation,” which actually features Sam Smith. Can you talk a little

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gift

‘It’s Been in My Heart to Do a Christmas Album For Years’

Carrie Underwood lands her eighth total and consecutive No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, all of which have launched at the summit, as her first holiday full-length, My Gift, opens atop the list dated Oct. 10.

In its first week, ending Oct. 1, the set, released Sept. 25, earned 43,000 equivalent album units, with 43,000 in album sales.

“It has been in my heart to do a Christmas album for years, and we started planning this last year when we finished the Cry Pretty Tour 360,” Underwood tells Billboard. “Who would have known what would happen in the world since then, and how much we would all be ready for the hope and joy that Christmas music embodies this year more than ever.”

On the 56-year-old Top Country Albums chart, My Gift marks the 2005 American Idol winner’s record eighth consecutive career-opening No.

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gift

Carrie Underwood on Chart-Topping ‘My Gift’: ‘It’s Been in My Heart to Do a Christmas Album For Years’

On the 56-year-old Top Country Albums chart, My Gift marks the 2005 American Idol winner’s record eighth consecutive career-opening No. 1. She passes Miranda Lambert, whose history on the survey encompasses seven leaders, most recently 2019’s Wildcard.

My Gift follows Underwood’s last LP, Cry Pretty, which arrived with 266,000 units in September 2018. Her run started with 2005’s Some Hearts, followed by Carnival Ride (2007), Play On (2009), Blown Away (2012), Greatest Hits: Decade #1 (2014) and Storyteller (2015).

My Gift was produced by Greg Wells and includes eight traditional and three original songs. John Legend duets on new composition “Hallelujah” and Underwood’s five-year-old son, Isaiah Fisher, is featured on “Little Drummer Boy.” Isaiah makes his own Billboard chart debut, as “Little Drummer Boy” enters Christian Digital Song Sales at No. 8 and the multi-metric Hot Christian Songs chart at No. 45.

The LP also arrives at

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wedding

The Wedding Present announce album of James Bond theme song covers to benefit CALM

Not From Where I’m Standing will see The Wedding Present (and former members) cover 20 James Bond theme songs to raise money for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).

Speaking about the project, The Wedding Present’s David Gedge said, “Where do ideas like this come from? Well, I can tell you that this one was born during a soundcheck in New Zealand, in 2013, when the band were playing around with the main melody of the classic Bond theme “You Only Live Twice”.”

Gedge adds, “And then came another idea. Each of the artists on this proposed compilation would be required to have a physical connection to Cinerama or The Wedding Present. I liked the unifying feel of that. I suppose it appealed to the collector in me. None of the artists I approached asked for payment for their track and so the obvious thing to do was to make this

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