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Neil Young Faces U.S. Citizenship Application Delay Due to Marijuana Use




Neil Young penned a letter on his Neil Young Archives website this week about his experience attempting to obtain citizenship in the United States ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

«I want to be a dual citizen and vote,» Young, who’s a Canadian citizen, explained in a Nov. 8 post titled «I Have Been Very Successful in My Life.» «When I recently applied for American citizenship, I passed the test. It was a conversation where I was asked many questions. I answered them truthfully and passed.»

«Recently however, I have been told that I must do another test, due to my use of marijuana and how some people who smoke it have exhibited a problem,» he wrote in reference to a policy update issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services earlier this year.

Young continued: «The problem is defined in an April 19, 2019 addition under Attorney General Sessions. USCIS issued a Policy Alert which includes: ‘An applicant who is involved in certain marijuana related activities may lack GMC (Good Moral Character) if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity is not unlawful under applicable state of foreign laws.'»

«I sincerely hope I have exhibited good moral character and will be able to vote my conscience on Donald J. Trump and his fellow American candidates, (as yet un-named),» he added.

In an October interview with the Los Angeles Times, Young had said, «If everything goes as planned, I’ll be taking the oath of citizenship” soon after his Nov. 12 birthday. “I’m still a Canadian; there’s nothing that can take that away from me,» he noted. «But I live down here; I pay taxes down here; my beautiful family is all down here — they’re all Americans, so I want to register my opinion.»

In the note on his website, Young promised to keep his fans posted about the status of his application.


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2020 Grammys: Lizzo, Billie Eilish & Lil Nas X Top Nominations




For the first time in Grammy history, two artists are nominated in each of the «Big Four» categories in the same year.

Lizzo is the top nominee for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, with eight nominations. This marks the first time that a new artist has been the year’s leading contender since 2004, when Kanye West was that year’s top nominee, with 10 noms. In the nominations announced on Wednesday morning (Nov. 20), Lizzo is followed on the leaderboard by Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X, with six noms each; and Ariana Grande, H.E.R. and Finneas O’Connell (Eilish’s older brother), with five noms each.

Lil Nas X, improbably, is this year’s top male nominee. His record of the year nomination for «Old Town Road» (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus), which famously set a new record for most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (19 weeks), was hardly a surprise, but his album of the year nom for his EP 7 was a bit unexpected.

For the first time in Grammy history, two artists are nominated in each of the «Big Four» categories (album, record and song of the year, plus best new artist) in the same year. Lizzo is nominated for the deluxe edition of her third album, Cuz I Love You, and for her smash «Truth Hurts.» Eilish is nominated for her first-full length album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, and her smash hit «bad guy.»

H.E.R. and Finneas each received nominations for album, record and song of the year. H.E.R. scored with her compilation I Used to Know Her and soul ballad «Hard Place» (which she performed on last year’s Grammy telecast). Finneas scored with Eilish’s album, which he produced, and her hit «bad guy,» which he produced and co-wrote.

Eilish, 17, is the youngest artist to be nominated in each of the Big Four categories in the same year. That record was formerly held by Mariah Carey, who was 20 when was nominated in all four categories in 1990.

Eilish set other age-related records. She is the youngest artist in Grammy history to receive an album of the year nomination. The old record was held by Taylor Swift, who was 19 when the nominations for the 2009 awards were announced. Eilish is the youngest best new artist nominee since Justin Bieber, who was 16 when he was a 2010 nominee.

Women did exceptionally well in this year’s nominations. Female solo artists grabbed five of the eight slots for album of the year for the second year in a row. They also took five of the eight slots for best new artist for the second year in a row.

Here’s a closer look at five key categories on this year’s Grammy ballot:

Album of the year: Joining Lizzo, Eilish, H.E.R. and Lil Nas X are Bon Iver’s I,I, Lana Del Rey’s Norman F***ing Rockwell!, Grande’s Thank U, Next and Vampire Weekend’s Father of the Bride. This is the first nomination in this category for all of these artists except H.E.R., who was nominated last year for her compilation, H.E.R.

H.E.R., 22, is just the third artist in Grammy history to amass two album of the year nominations at such a tender age. She follows Barbra Streisand (The Barbra Streisand Album, 1963, and People, 1964) and Karen Carpenter (Close to You, 1970, and Carpenters, 1971).

7, which clocks in at a brief 18:44, is one of the shortest album of the year nominees in history.

I,I and Father of the Bride are both also nominated for best alternative music album. It’s the first time that two alternative albums have been nominated for album of the year since 2000, when Beck’s Midnite Vultures and Radiohead’s Kid A were both nominated.

Norman F***ing Rockwell! isn’t the first title that includes what people used to call «the F word» to be nominated in a marquee category. Cee Lo Green’s «F*** You» was nominated for record and song of the year for 2010.

Among the albums that were passed over in this category: Swift’s Lover, Maren Morris’ Girl, Beyoncé’s Homecoming: The Live Album, Ed Sheeran’s No. 6 Collaborations Project, Khalid’s Free Spirit, Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars, Tyler, the Creator’s IGOR and Gary Clark Jr.’s This Land. Swift was also passed over in this category with her previous album, reputation. This marks the first time she has missed out in this category with back-to-back studio albums.

Record of the year: Joining Lizzo, Eilish, H.E.R. and the Lil Nas X/Cyrus collab are Bon Iver’s «Hey Ma,» Grande’s «7 Rings,» Khalid’s «Talk» and Post Malone & Swae Lee’s «Sunflower.»

This is the first nomination in this category for all of these artists except Cyrus (who was nominated in 1992 for «Achy Breaky Heart), Bon Iver (which was nominated in 2011 for «Holocene») and Post Malone (who was nominated last year for «Rockstar,» featuring 21 Savage).

«Old Town Road» is this year’s only hit to receive nominations for both record of the year and best music video. Childish Gambino’s «This Is America,» a vastly different work, won in both categories last year.

«7 Rings» interpolates Rodgers & Hammerstein’s «My Favorite Things» from The Sound of Music. That Julie Andrews-led soundtrack was a 1965 album of the year nominee.

Among the singles or tracks that were passed over in this category: Halsey’s «Without Me,» Jonas Brothers’ «Sucker,» Sheeran & Khalid’s «Beautiful People,» Swift’s «You Need to Calm Down,» Cardi B & Bruno Mars’ «Please Me,» Sam Smith & Normani’s «Dancing with a Stranger» and Maren Morris’ «Girl.»

Song of the year: Joining «Bad Guy,» «Truth Hurts» and «Hard Place» are «Always Remember Us This Way» from A Star Is Born, «Bring My Flowers Now» from Tanya Tucker’s comeback album While I’m Livin’, Lewis Capaldi’s smash ballad «Someone You Loved» and the title songs from the Swift and Del Rey albums.

This is Swift’s fourth song of the year nomination, following «You Belong with Me,» «Shake It Off» and «Blank Space.» Swift is just the second female songwriter to amass four song of the year noms, following Marilyn Bergman, who co-wrote four song of the year nominees with her husband Alan Bergman.

Swift is the first songwriter to land a song of the year nomination for a song written without a collaborator since Mike Posner, who was nominated three years ago for «I Took a Pill in Ibiza.» She’s the first female songwriter to accomplish this feat since Sara Bareilles, who was nominated 11 years ago for «Love Song.»

«Always Remember Us This Way» is the second song from A Star Is Born to receive a song of the year nom, following «Shallow» last year. A Star Is Born is only the second soundtrack in Grammy history to yield two song of the year nominees. The first was The Lion King (1994), which spawned «Can You Feel the Love Tonight» and «Circle of Life.»

Among the songs that were passed over in this category: Morris’ «Girl,» Clark Jr.’s «This Land,» Halsey’s «Without Me,» Post Malone & Swae Lee’s «Sunflower,» Maggie Rogers’ «Light On,» 21 Savage’s «a lot» (featuring J. Cole), Khalid’s «Talk» and JoBros’ «Sucker.»

Best new artist: Joining Eilish, Lizzo, Lil Nas X and Rogers are Black Pumas, Rosalía, Yola and a nine-member New Orleans group, Tank and the Bangas.

Rosalía is the first artist to be nominated for best new artist at the both the Grammys and the Latin Grammys. She was nominated in this category at the Latin Grammys two years ago. She is also the first artist to be nominated for best new artist with a foreign-language album (El mal querer). She is not, however, the first Latin artist to be nominated for best new artist. José Feliciano won in 1968. But he had a hit English-language album, Feliciano!, which included his soulful reinvention of the Doors’ «Light My Fire.»

Among the artists who were passed over in this category: Megan Thee Stallion, Summer Walker, Juice WRLD, Capaldi, Morgan Wallen, Blanco Brown and Carly Pearce.

Producer of the year (non-classical): Dan Auerbach, John Hill and Ricky Reed each received their second nominations in this category. Jack Antonoff and Finneas are first-time nominees in the category.

Finneas is nominated in each of the Big Three categories for his work with Eilish. Reed is nominated for record and album of the year for his work with Lizzo. Antonoff is nominated for album and song of the year for his work with Del Rey.


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Live Nation’s Arthur Fogel Talks Artist Development, Asia




Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Muse. The future of the stadium-level concerts business is in good hands, reckons Arthur Fogel, Live Nation’s chairman of global music and CEO of global touring.

Fogel should know. The veteran promoter is a pioneer of the multi-billion-dollar global touring network which top-shelf artists regularly traverse.

Currently, the Canadian-born executive is on the road Down Under with U2, who are touring the Joshua Tree in stadiums across Australia, the Irish rockers’ first trip to these parts in nine years.

Speaking with Billboard last week at the Live Nation Partner Summit in Brisbane, Fogel was confident the next-generation was ready for the big stage when the older A-league superstars call time on touring. 

“I think it’s happened. It’s like when you invest in the stock market, you’ve just got to hang in there. Play it long. Ultimately it’ll pay off,” he said. 

Fogel, who has guided mega-tours for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Madonna, The Police and many others, said artist development was the key to success. “Over the past 10 years,” he continued, “there’s been a huge explosion of new artists, many of whom have picked up the business. As those legendary acts do stop touring, the business will be just fine. There is no bottom falling out.”

The latest-leg of the Joshua Tree Tour will see U2 visit Japan for the first time in 14 years. And their shows in India and south-east Asia will be the Dubliners’ first in a 40-year-plus career. 

As more territories mature and plug into the touring marketplace, the live business should continue to flourish, Fogel enthused.

“When I started the global tours on that 1989 Rolling Stones (Steel Wheels) tour, there were maybe 18-20 countries in terms of an itinerary for a tour. Now there are 60-plus. You look at Latin America, eastern Europe, Middle East, South Africa, south-east Asia. It’s a real place to do shows, to do business.”

Asia remains one of the most logistically challenging regions for staging large-scale tours, though artists do need to get going and “properly touch all regions of the world,” he continued. “It’s very easy for people to move on and forget about you if you don’t show them love. That was one of the reasons why it was important to get down here at this time. But it is challenging, there’s no question.”

The Joshua Tree Tour rolls on to the Sydney Cricket Ground this Friday and Saturday nights.


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DJ Shadow Performs ‘Rocket Fuel’ With De La Soul on ‘Kimmel’




DJ Shadow, the veteran Californian producer and DJ, isn’t in any doubt what time it is. It’s Our Pathetic Age. And he slapped that phrase on his latest album, an ambitious double set which features assists from Run The Jewels, Nas, Ghostface Killah and more.

On Tuesday, Shadow (aka Josh Davis) took his show to late night TV, performing album track «Rocket Fuel» on Jimmy Kimmel Live with a little help from De La Soul.

The Endtroducing maestro worked the wheels of steel for the energic hip-hop adventure which can be seen in full below.


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