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Ed Sheeran and Elton John Discuss Their Christmas Single, Plus Ed Tells Elton About Listening To Black Sabbath With His Daughter, His Fireboy DML Remix & More On Apple Music 1

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Elton John welcomes Ed Sheeran to Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1 this weekend to discuss the release of the pair’s brand-new Christmas single, “Merry Christmas.” During the chat Ed and Elton reveal how they first decided to collaborate on a festive track, plus Ed discusses introducing his daughter to Black Sabbath over daily “vinyl breakfasts,” teases details of his new remix of Fireboy DML’s “Peru,” shares why Brandi Carlile’s song “Mother” means so much to him, and more.

Video highlight, key quotes and images from the episode are below. If you’re able to use, please credit to Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1.

Listen back on demand any time with an Apple Music subscription at apple.co/_RocketHour.

 

VIDEO | Ed Sheeran and Elton John on their duet “Merry Christmas”
Watch: https://music.apple.com/us/post/1599590074

Ed Sheeran And Elton John Discuss Their New Single ‘Merry Christmas’…
Elton John: I’m so excited about this. I rang you up last Christmas and said, “You should write a Christmas record.”

Ed Sheeran: I found the voice note from that day actually. Yeah, so Elton rung me Christmas Day and said “You should do a Christmas record.” And I was like, “I don’t really know”. And I said, “Would you do another one?” He said, “Well, if I did another one, it would have to be a duet, I’m not going to do another solo.” So I said, “Oh we should do it together.” But then when we were planning it, I remember, because “=” was coming out, I was maybe 20, 22, maybe, 23. And I, midway through the year, just realised, why the f*** would we postpone anything? We’re going to have a great Christmas together. We had such fun shooting the music video and it’s so good. I love it so much.

Ed Sheeran Tells Elton John About Having “Vinyl Breakfasts” With His Daughter…
Me and my daughter do vinyl breakfast every single day. Where over lockdown, I got super into vinyl, I know you are super into vinyl too. But I basically would get up with her in the morning, I’d make her breakfast, and then we’d sit down and eat together and listen to a vinyl. And this is her favourite. She just loves this album [Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’]. So, I think ‘War Pigs’ is such a great way to start a record.

Ed Sheeran Tells Elton John About His Remix Of ‘Peru’ By Fireboy DML…
So I got sent this a week ago, to remix it. Someone, a friend of mine, Jamal [Edwards] who runs SBTV sent it to me. He said, “Fireboy DML would love you on the remix of this song.” And I’ve just found it really intriguing. So I recorded a verse for it… and it’s a song that’s blowing up in Nigeria and Ghana at the moment and their club scene runs over Christmas. So you basically put a song to the club in the middle of December, which would seem a weird thing to do in England. But yeah, so I’ve done the remix for this song, but this is the original and it’s just, it’s an earworm, and it’s addictive, and I’m obsessed with it. I mean, Cherry will tell you, I’ve had this song on repeat constantly in the house for the last week.

Ed Sheeran Tells Elton John About Meeting Brandi Carlile & Why Her Song ‘The Mother’ Is Special To Him…
Ed Sheeran: Do you know? So I met Brandi with you. Yeah. And that night. So we have mutual friends, me and Brandi, which is Courtney Cox. And Courtney is dating Johnny [McDaid], who I made my record with. And there was this night in LA where Brandi and Elton both came round for dinner. And at the end of the night, do you want to say what happened at the end of the night? We all got round.

Elton John: We all got round, sang songs, Brandi played a couple songs. You played a couple songs on the guitar. And then she sang this song [‘The Mother’]. And I was watching you, as she was singing it, because it is the most beautiful song.

Ed Sheeran: But it is exactly how you feel as a new parent, exactly. And I think five years ago, I would’ve listened to this song and been like, that’s beautiful. But now I listen to this song, and I mean, the first line, ‘The first thing you took from me was selfishness and sleep.’ I mean, that is literally, I remember speaking to my dad about having a kid and he was like, “How are you finding it?” And I just said, “Well, you just get less selfish, don’t you? You just go, well, my decisions are no longer my own. I’m making them for my child.” And I just think it’s such an amazing reflection of parenthood. And there’s so many songs that are written about being a first time parent. And the knee-jerk reaction is obviously to pick up a guitar or get on a piano and write a song about it. But this is such a direct, perfect tune about being a parent, not just a mother, but just a parent. It’s so good.

Ed Sheeran Tells Elton John About Meeting Elvis Costello At The World Variety Show…
Ed Sheeran: So do you know what’s interesting that he said to me? Because he stopped me just as I was leaving and we had a long chat and it was about you because he said, “Elton is to you, as in to me, what he was to me in the late 70s.” He said, when he was first starting out, you were at your absolute peak, peak, peak, peak, peak. And he said, he’d had a couple of hits out and you won an award and you went on stage and you said, “I don’t deserve this award. This award deserves to go to Elvis Costello.” And he said it was from that point that people started really taking him at his-

Elton John: That’s nice

Ed Sheeran: Yeah. And you introduced him to his wife as well.

Elton John: Yes.

Ed Sheeran: Didn’t you officiate the wedding?

Elton John: They came to one of my concerts at the Royal Opera House and they got married at this house.

Ed Sheeran Tells Elton John He Immediately “Clicked” With Fred Again…
Fred is someone that I met in 2016 and I’m very particular with people that I work with. I’m very much like I’ve worked with people I know and like, and I’d worked a lot with Johnny McDaid, I’d worked a lot with Foy Vance, a little bit with Benny Blanco at that point, and I was going into “÷ ” and my A&R Ed Howard was like, “You have to meet this kid, Fred.” I think he was 21 at the time. “You have to meet him. He’s one of the most talented producers that we know.” And I remember going to the studio with him and instantly clicking, but not so much musically, but more like friendship wise. And we just started hanging out as mates. And then every now and then we’d meet up together and make tunes. … But he, in that time, became a solo artist and put out this record called “Actual Life”, which is my favourite album of this year. It’s absolutely incredible.

Ed Sheeran Tells Elton John He Cried Hearing Foy Vance’s Song ‘I Will Be’ For The First Time…
I’ve been a massive fan of him. And then I got to know him. I took him on tour. We’ve been writing songs together. And I remember staying up at his house in Aberfeldie in 2011 or 2012. And he had just got out of a divorce, quite heavy. And he sat down and played this song on the piano and it made me cry. And I remember just being like, that is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. And then when he signed to my record label, I just kept nudging him being like, where is it? The world needs to hear this song. And he did it as a live performance on this Live record. And it’s the one place in the world that this song exists. But I really feel like he needs to, he knows this anyway, I’ve been nudging him for.

Ed Sheeran Tells Elton John About ‘Small Bump’…
It’s a song that was written basically about a friend’s miscarriage. And I wrote it when I was probably 18. And it was one of these things, I mean, I found most of the album is basically me entering into the real world. I grew up in the middle of the countryside in Suffolk. Never really seen poverty, never really seen drug addiction. Never really seen it, I didn’t really experience anything, I was just living in the middle of the countryside. And then moving to London, suddenly all these real life things came out, and that’s where ‘The A Team’ comes from, where ‘The City’ comes from, where ‘Small Bump’ comes from. And basically, all of the songs were knee-jerk reactions to situations happening around me, basically.

Elton John Tells Apple Music About His First Encounter With One Of His Musical Heroes, Leon Russell…
Leon Russell at The Troubadour on the second night I played, I was in the middle of ‘Burn Down The Mission’ and I saw him and I went, “Oh”, because you can’t miss that long white hair. And I was mortified because I thought he’s going to time me out and tell me how to play the piano. But he came back and he gave me a recipe for my voice, because my voice was a little hoarse. He said, you must always have a spoonful of vinegar, a spoonful of honey and hot water and stir the hottest water you can bear to gargle with, and gargle with it for a minute or two minutes. And you’d be surprised what comes out of your throat. And I’ve always done that.

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Netflix Commits $1 Million towards Scholarships in Africa

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Netflix , the world’s leading entertainment streaming service, has  announced a commitment of US$1 million towards the newly-established Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund (CESF) for film and TV students in Sub-Saharan Africa. The scholarship fund forms part of Netflix’s global Netflix Creative Equity Fund  launched in 2021 to be allocated to various initiatives over the next 5 years with the goal of developing a strong, diverse pipeline of creatives around the world.

The scholarship fund will cover the costs for tuition, accommodation, study materials and living expenses at institutions where beneficiaries have gained admission to pursue a course of study in the TV & film disciplines in the 2022 academic year.

The Netflix CESF is targeted for rollout across the region in the academic year commencing in 2022, starting with an open call for applications in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in partnership with social investment fund management and advisory firm Tshikululu Social Investments (https://bit.ly/3qLORX2) as implementing partner/fund administrator in Southern Africa. Fund administration partners for East Africa and the West and Central Africa regions will be announced in due course.

“Netflix is excited by the potential of the next generation of storytellers and we’re committed to investing in the future of African storytelling in the long-term,” says Ben Amadasun, Netflix Director of Content in Africa. “We believe there are great stories to be told from Africa and we want to play our part by supporting students who are passionate about the film and TV industry so they too, can ultimately contribute to the creative ecosystem by bringing more unique voices and diverse perspectives to African storytelling that our global audiences find appealing.”

How it works:

The Netflix CESF is designed to provide financial assistance, through full scholarships, at partner higher educational institutions (HEI) in South Africa to support the formal qualification and training of aspiring creatives from a SADC region country that wish to study in South Africa, and are able to obtain the necessary permissions to do so. The following countries will be eligible: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In the SADC region, the fund will be available to students who have obtained admission to study in various film & TV-focused disciplines, for the 2022 academic year, at the following partner institutions:

Students interested in applying for scholarships for the 2022 academic year will be able to find additional information, application criteria, a list of partner higher education institutions (HEI) and will be able to apply online on our fund manager and advisory partner, Tshikululu’s website (Tshikululu.org.za). Applications are now open until 04 February 2022 at 23h59 CAT.

The Netflix CESF will also benefit students from other parts of Africa – particularly East Africa as well as West and Central Africa. Fund administration partners for East Africa and the West and Central Africa regions will be announced, along with the calls for applications, in due course.

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Cummings Blasts Weah After Unprovoked Attack On Peaceful Protest

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Liberian opposition leader Alexander B Cummings has launched a stinging attack on President George Weah after government forces today launched an unprovoked attack on peaceful protesters in Monrovia, injuring multiple people.

 

The protesters displayed banners and posters calling for justice and indicating solidarity with Cummings, the leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), who is being prosecuted by the Government of Liberia on discredited, politically motivated charges of “forgery and criminal conspiracy”.

 

Cummings accused the Weah administration of abusing its authority to restrict Liberia’s political space ahead of the 2023 presidential elections.

 

“Today, thousands of Liberians took to the streets of Monrovia to exercise their right to peaceful assembly. This right is one of the cornerstones of Liberia’s democracy, bestowed to us through our constitution. These peaceful, lawful protesters have been tear-gassed, wounded, and arrested by police,” Cummings said.

 

“I have stood firm and calm when the government has violated my own democratic rights, through the manipulation of courts and casting false accusations. I cannot remain calm when the democratic rights of my fellow Liberians are violated, and law-abiding citizens are left bleeding on the streets on Liberia.”

 

Footage and pictures of the protest have been circulating widely on Liberian social media, showing multiple injuries and abuses by police.

 

Cummings, a former international business executive, called on Weah to govern in line with international democratic standards, or move aside in favor of others who can.

 

Cummings said, “The weak leadership of President Weah has brought the Liberian economy to the brink of collapse; the events at this protest, combined with the bogus charges levelled against me, is further evidence that he is now abusing his position and using every tool, including democratic institutions, at his disposal to cling to power. Enough is enough.”

 

The ANC leader called on his countrymen to defend the country’s young and hard-won democracy.

 

He said, “Now, I speak to all Liberians – whether my supporters or critics. Liberia cannot continue in this downwards spiral. Our democratic rights are not guaranteed. We – the upholders of democracy – need to protect them. Our chance to choose the government we deserve, and deliver the future we deserve to a future generation of Liberians, comes in 2023. I stand with you. I hear you.”

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Social audio platform Stationhead launches new web interface, a first for live social audio

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Live social audio platform Stationhead is now accessible via its new web interface, making it the first entry in the social audio space to allow users to broadcast their own streaming audio shows—fully integrated with streaming music—directly from the web without using an iOS or Android app. In the wake of the new web interface launch, host engagement has increased by 50%.
Stationhead’s new web platform provides users with the ability to integrate premium recording hardware, giving professional creators even more options. With over 3.5 million active users and 20k+ active hosts spending an average of more than two hours on-platform per day, Stationhead continues to expand and improve its capabilities for all users.
“Stationhead has exploded in popularity this year. Our exponential organic growth is a testament that radio needed to be reinvented for the world we’re living in today,” Ryan Star, CEO and co-founder of Stationhead, tells Billboard. He goes on to explain about the new web interface, “As we continue to grow, it is critical to give our users even more ways to stay connected with each other and for our hosts to be able to take it to the next level.”
Stationhead continues to see extensive adoption by top tier artists since its launch, with Cardi B, Camila Cabello, Megan Thee Stallion, Brandi Carlile and Raekwon all making live appearances on shows. Coldplay is now using Stationhead as their primary radio outlet, featuring broadcasts from members of the band, and Ed Sheeran and Halsey have also held listening parties via Stationhead while The Maine and Vanessa Carlton have established their own artist stations on the platform. Most recently, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak joined guest host D-Nice for a listening party debuting their new record as the superduo
Silk Sonic.
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2022 Grammy Awards rescheduled to April 3 in Las Vegas

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The 64th annual Grammy Awards have a new air date. (more…)

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Actors, Keith Powers and Ryan Destiny split after dating for 4 years

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Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers are calling it quits. (more…)

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T.I. says no one can outrap him

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T.I. is laying claim to the throne. (more…)

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