Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande among winners at 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards
Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Drake were a few of the top winners at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles on March 14. Taylor took home the tour of the year award for her "Reputation" stadium trek while Ariana won female artist of the year and Drake won male artist of the year. Music stars including Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves and Halsey also attended and raised eyebrows with their fashion choices on the red carpet.
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R. Kelly explodes during CBS interview, faces new rape accusations in Detroit
During a March 5 interview with Gayle King on "CBS This Morning," R. Kelly erratically defended himself against allegations that he sexually assaulted and abused girls and women. The R&B singer claimed that all his accusers are lying before breaking down in tears during their 80-minute sit-down. "Thirty years of my career and you try to kill me?!" he yelled at the camera, insisting he's broken no laws when it comes to women. "This isn't about music! I'm trying to have a relationship with my kids and I can't do it!" he also claimed. Hours later, he was jailed in Chicago for failure to pay $161,000 in child support. On March 6, the Detroit Police Department announced that the singer — who'd been arrested in Chicago in February — was under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 2001.
R. Kelly returns to court over child support payments
R. Kelly returned to a Chicago courtroom on March 13 for a closed hearing regarding his child support payments. The disgraced R&B singer, who was arrested the previous week for failure to pay $161,000 in back support, was ordered by a judge to continue to give $21,000 a month to his ex-wife, with whom he has three children, his lawyer told reporters.
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Justin Bieber steps aways from music to address "deep rooted issues"
On March 25, Justin Bieber announced that he's taking a step back from music to repair "some of the deep rooted issues that I have… so that I don't fall apart." The pop sensation shared the news on Instagram, explaining, "I've toured my whole teenage life, and early 20s, I realized and as you guys probably saw I was unhappy last tour and I don't deserve that and you don't deserve that." He further explained that he wants to be able to "sustain my marriage and be the father I want to be. Music is very important to me but Nothing comes before my family and my health."
Ariana Grande signed away 90 percent of royalties for "7 Rings"
Ariana Grande signed away 90 percent of the royalties for "7 Rings," her second-most popular song ever, to the estate of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, according to a New York Times report published on March 19. "7 Rings" samples the melody of "My Favorite Things," a song written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for their 1959 musical "The Sound of Music." Concord, the music company that owns the late songwriters' back catalogue, requested 90 percent of the songwriting royalties and Ariana's record label, Republic, "accepted without further negotiation."
Jerry Lee Lewis suffers minor stroke
"Great Balls of Fire" singer Jerry Lee Lewis, 83, suffered a minor stroke on Feb. 28, according to a statement released by his representative on March 2. "He is with his family, recuperating in Memphis and the doctors expect a full recovery," the statement read. "The Killer looks forward to getting back into the studio soon to record a gospel record and on the road performing live for his fans. His family requests privacy at this time. Well wishes and prayers are greatly appreciated."
Three Canadian radio stations ban Michael Jackson's music following HBO documentary
Three radio stations in Montreal, Canada, pulled Michael Jackson's music off the air after allegations that the late King of Pop sexually abused children resurfaced in the new HBO documentary "Finding Neverland." "We are attentive to the comments of our listeners, and the documentary released on Sunday evening created reactions," a spokesperson for Cogeco Media, which owns radio stations CKOI, Rythme and The Beat, said on March 5. "We prefer to observe the situation by removing the songs from our stations, for the time being." Further, "The Simpsons" executive producer James L. Brooks announced that a Season 3 episode featuring Michael's voice would be removed from syndication and streaming services.
Rascal Flatts scrap themed restaurants after project is linked to alleged mobster
Rascal Flatts announced they would not be moving forward with their planned Rascal Flatts-themed restaurants after the project was linked to alleged mobster Frank Capri. He allegedly defrauded investors out of money before construction on the restaurants began, according to an Arizona Republic expose. "The band terminated the license agreement and is no longer in business with this company or Mr. Capri," the group's publicist said on March 13. "Rascal Flatts licensed use of their name, image and logo to the restaurant developer and had nothing to do with the construction or build-out plans for these restaurants."
JAY-Z, Dave Matthews Band and more to headline major music festivals
Woodstock 50 announced on March 20 that JAY-Z, Dead & Co., Chance the Rapper and more will be among the leading performers at the Woodstock 50th anniversary festival in Bethel, New York, in August. Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, J Balvin and Chainsmokers joined the lineup for Lollapalooza 2019 in Chicago in August, according to a March 20 announcement. The Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon and Mumford & Sons will be headlining the Kaaboo Del Mar music festival near San Diego in September, festival officials announced on March 21.
Britney Spears musical headed to Broadway
Britney Spears is Broadway bound — or at least her music is. A musical featuring the pop singer's catalogue was announced on March 12. "Once Upon a One More Time" will feature 23 of Britney's songs and showcase classic princesses including Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. The show is scheduled to premiere in 2020.
Kanye West hit with lawsuit after claiming his contract is "servitude"
Kanye West is being sued by his music publisher, EMI, after claiming his personal services contract was "servitude." The publishing company filed a lawsuit against the rapper for his "efforts to renege on his bargained-for contractual obligations to the company," according to legal documents made public on March 8. The news comes just a few months after Kanye sued EMI, claiming that his contract equates to slavery because it lasted longer than seven years without a "moment of freedom."
Dolly Parton shuts down use of her music during 2020 campaigns
Dolly Parton wants everyone to play her music — except 2020 election candidates. The country singer expressed her disapproval of political candidates using her tunes after Senator Elizabeth Warren played "9 to 5" during her presidential candidacy announcement on Feb. 9. "We did not approve the request, and we do not approve requests like this of [a] political nature," Dolly's manager told The Associated Press.
K-pop star Jung Joon-young arrested for sharing sex videos without consent
K-pop star Jung Joon-young was arrested on March 21 for illegally sharing sexually explicit videos of women, without their knowledge or consent, in a group chat. The singer was taken into custody just a few hours after he publicly apologized to the victims and "everyone who has showed affection for me" at a hearing in Seoul, South Korea.
Myspace criticized after losing 50 million songs
Myspace found itself back in the headlines on March 18 after news of a massive data loss resurfaced. The company reportedly lost 50 million songs — music uploaded to Myspace before 2015 — a little more than eight months ago. "As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos, and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from Myspace," the company told users. "We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest that you retain your backup copies."
Brooks & Dunn, Ray Stevens to be inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame
Country music superstars Brooks & Dunn, comedic singer Ray Stevens and music executive Jerry Bradley will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2019, according to an announcement released on March 18.
JAY-Z, Neil Diamond works to be added to National Recording Registry
JAY-Z's 2001 album "The Blueprint" will be inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry, along with Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly," Earth, Wind & Fire's "September," Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual" and more. The Library's National Recording Preservation Board announced the news on March 20.
Music star deaths
Acclaimed guitarist Dick Dale, also known as "the King of the Surf Guitar," died on March 17 at 81. The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint committed suicide at his home in England on March 4 at 49, his bandmate confirmed. Roger Charlery, better known as Ranking Roger — the singer from the English Beat, General Public and Special Beat — died on March 26 at 56 following a cancer battle. Hal Blaine, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer and member of the Wrecking Crew, died on March 11 at 90. Bernie Torme, a guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Ian Gillan's band Gillan, died on March 17 after battling virulent double pneumonia. He was 66. R&B singer Andre Williams died in Chicago on March 17 after being diagnosed with colon cancer that spread to his lungs and brain. He was 82. Up-and-coming country singer Justin Carter was fatally shot on March 21 after a gun accidentally fired during a music video shoot. He was 35.