Man Crush Monday: Ed Sheeran

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          He is Edward Christopher Sheeran, also known as Ed Sheeran. He is  is an English singer-songwriter. Born in Hebden Bridge, raised in Framlingham, Suffolk, he moved to London in 2008 to pursue a musical career. In early 2011, Sheeran released an independent extended play, No. 5 Collaborations Project, which caught the attention of both Elton John and Jamie Foxx. He then signed to Asylum Records. His debut album, +, containing the singles “The A Team” and “Lego House“, was certified quintuple platinum in the United Kingdom. In 2012, he won two Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act. “The A Team” won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

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           Sheeran began to become known abroad in 2012, in the United States he made a guest appearance on Taylor Swift‘s fourth studio album, Red, and wrote songs for One Direction. “The A Team” was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards and he performed the song in duet with Elton John during the ceremony. He spent much of 2013 touring North America as the opening act for Swift‘s The Red Tour. His second studio album titled x (read as “multiply“) was released worldwide on 23 June 2014, charting at number one in the UK and US. He was nominated for Best New Artist at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.

Ed Sheeran

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          Sheeran was born in Hebden Bridge near Halifax, West Yorkshire but moved to Framlingham, Suffolk as a child. His father, John Sheeran, is an art curator and lecturer. His mother, Imogen Lock, is a culture publicist-turned-jewellery designer. His parents ran the independent art consultancy, Sheeran Lock, from 1990 to 2010. Sheeran, the younger of two boys, has an older brother, Matthew, who is a classical composer and postgraduate music student.

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           Sheeran‘s paternal grandparents were Irish and he was raised as a Roman Catholic. He sang in a local church choir from the age of four, learned guitar at a very young age, and began writing songs during his time at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham. His early childhood memories include listening to Van Morrison during his trips to London with his parents and going to an intimate Damien Rice gig in Ireland when he was eleven. In addition to Rice, he has also cited The Beatles, Bob DylanNizlopi and Eminem as his biggest musical influences. He is a patron of the Youth Music Theatre UK. He was accepted at the National Youth Theatre as a teenager.

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          In 2012, Sheeran purchased a farm near Framlingham, Suffolk, which is currently undergoing renovation. He has stated that he hopes to raise a family there.  Sheeran lived between Hendersonville, Tennessee and Los Angeles for the duration of 2013. Sheeran is the second cousin of broadcaster Gordon Burns.

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To know more about Ed Sheeran, just go here: http://www.edsheeran.com/splash/x-buy-us

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Flashback Friday: John Lennon

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            He is John Ono Lennon, born John Winston Lennon. He was an English musician, singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a founder member of the rock band the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. With Paul McCartney, he formed a songwriting partnership that is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century.

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           Born and raised in Liverpool, as a teenager Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze; his first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles in 1960. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Working Class Hero“. After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to raise his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.

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            Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings, on film and in interviews. Controversial through his political and peace activism, he moved to Manhattan in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by Richard Nixon‘s administration to deport him, while some of his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture.

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               As of 2012, Lennon‘s solo album sales in the United States exceeded 14 million and, as writer, co-writer or performer, he is responsible for 25 number-one singles on the US Hot 100 chart. In 2002, a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth and, in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

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           At around 10:50 pm on 8 December 1980, as Lennon and Ono returned to their New York apartment in the Dakota, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to the building. Lennon was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07 pm. Earlier that evening, Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman.

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          Ono issued a statement the next day, saying “There is no funeral for John“, ending it with the words, “John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him.” His body was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Ono scattered his ashes in New York’s Central Park, where the Strawberry Fields memorial was later created. Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life. As of 2014, he remains in prison, having been denied parole eight times.

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To know more about John Lennon, just go here: http://www.johnlennon.com/

Woman Crush Wednesday: Iggy Azalea

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           She is Amethyst Amelia Kelly, better known by her stage name Iggy Azalea. She is an Australian rapper from Mullumbimby, New South Wales. She left for the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a career in hip hop music, first residing in Miami, Florida, and then other parts of the southern United States, including Houston, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. She first gained recognition after the respective music videos for her controversial songs “Pu$$y” and “Two Times” went viral on YouTube. In September 2011, she released her debut mixtape Ignorant Art and subsequently aligned herself with Atlanta-based rapper T.I. In March 2012, T.I. announced Azalea‘s signing to his record label imprint Grand Hustle. In July 2012, she released an EP executive-produced by T.I., titled Glory. Later, she went into professional modeling, became represented by Wilhelmina Models and was announced as the “New Face of Levi Jeans“. Also in 2012, Azalea became both the first female and the first non-American rapper to be featured on XXL‘s annual Top 10 Freshmen cover issue.

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           After label conflicts, her debut studio album The New Classic was finally released on 21 April 2014, under Virgin EMI and Def Jam Recordings. The album debuted among the top five of several charts worldwide and received generally mixed reviews. The album was preceded by four singles, “Work“, “Bounce“, “Change Your Life” (featuring T.I.) and “Fancy” (featuring Charli XCX). “Fancy” went on to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, with Azalea becoming only the fourth solo female rapper ever to top the Hot 100. Additionally, with Azalea featured on Ariana Grande‘s single “Problem“, which rose to number two on the Hot 100, the same week “Fancy” topped the chart, Azalea joined The Beatles as the only acts to rank at numbers one and two simultaneously with their first two Hot 100 hits. Additionally, Azalea went on to pass Lil’ Kim as the female rapper with the longest-leading number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and moved into a tie for fifth place, among lead women who have scored the longest commands on the Hot 100 this decade.

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           Although Azalea is Australian, she raps with a Southern American accent. When she first moved to America, she was involved in the Southern hip hop scene of Miami and later Atlanta, which made it easy for her to cultivate the Southern influence in her music: “I lived in the South for five years; you pick up things from your surroundings and teachers. The people who taught me to rap are all from the South and so was the music I had listened to as a teen.” While Azalea‘s debut extended play Glory was intended to focus on hardcore-rap, the EP also touched up on other genres including electronic dance music.

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           Although Azalea began rapping at the age of 14, she was infatuated with hip hop from age 11 when she heard Tupac Shakur‘s “Baby Don’t Cry (Keep Ya Head Up II)“: “It was the song that made me fall in love with music and also what sparked my Tupac fascination. That would later make me pick up my own pen and write songs”. In her early interviews, Azalea regularly mentioned Shakur‘s influence: “I was sickly obsessed. I had every picture of Tupac ever printed on my wall”. She has also mentioned Missy Elliott as the female rapper who she is influenced by and admires the most. Outside of music, her fashion sense is influenced by various people such as Grace Kelly, Lil’ Kim, Gwen Stefani, Spice Girls, Victoria Beckham, and Fran Drescher.

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           In late 2011, Iggy Azalea began dating American rapper ASAP Rocky, whom she met through American record producer Chase N. Cashe. She confirmed that they were dating in a January 2012 interview with Vibe. It was around this time that she got the title of Rocky‘s breakout mix tape Live. Love. A$AP, tattooed on her fingers. She had claimed she was not the only one with tattoos dedicated to the relationship, just Rocky‘s were not visible. In July 2012, Rocky stated they were no longer dating. In March 2013, Azalea revealed she had crossed out the “A$AP” part of the tattoo months previously. She has been in a relationship with Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Nick Young, an American, since November 2013. Azalea and Young were featured in the March 2014 issue of GQ magazine.

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To know more about Iggy Azalea, just go here: http://iggyazalea.com/