“Black Belt Willie”: the Mellow Minstrel is master of more than music

Willie Nelson ears his 5th degree black belt (photo courtesy of Austin American-Statesman, Ralph Barrera)

Willie Nelson earns his 5th degree black belt (photo courtesy of Austin American-Statesman, Ralph Barrera)

Art is art, be it musical or martial. After nearly 20 years of dedicated study, country music icon Willie Nelson was promoted to 5th degree black belt on Monday (4/28) in the Korean martial art of GongKwon Yusul. Not too shabby for a man who turns 81 today!

Though Nelson didn’t show off his skills during the low-key ceremony held at his dojang (training hall) in Austin, Texas, his instructor, Grand Master Sam Um, stated that Nelson could definitely hold his own and also pointed out that “he (Nelson) has more stamina than I do!” Of course, we all know that Willie has very effective ways of conserving his energy.

The “Red-Headed Stranger” joins an impressive list of celebrities and icons who have also earned black belt-status in their respective martial arts, including Ed O’Neil (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), James Caan (Gosoku Ryu Karate), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Taekwondo), and the late/great Elvis Presley (Chito Ryu and Kempo Karate).

Nelson with Grand Master Sam Um (courtesy Ralph Barrera)

Nelson with Grand Master Sam Um (courtesy Ralph Barrera)

We here at Karaoke Cloud congratulate you, Master Nelson, both for your promotion and the celebration of your 81st birthday. We hope you keep on kickin’ for many years to come!

Keep It Down! UK man’s love for Celine Dion too much for neighbors

Loud music may damage your hearing... and piss off your neighbors!

Loud music may damage your hearing… and piss off your neighbors!

I love my music and I love it loud! Five Finger Death Punch, Metallica, Godsmack; there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t crank it up in my apartment, and yes, I’m sure my neighbors love me for it. Thankfully I’ve not yet received any noise complaints (that I know of). Gareth Davies did, however, and apparently didn’t give a damn. That is until law enforcement confiscated all of his music and audio equipment!

quickmeme.com

quickmeme.com

Davies, a 47-year-old UK resident, had a nasty habit of driving his neighbors crazy by cranking up his beloved Celine Dion. According to azcentral.com, Mr. Davies repeatedly blasted “My Heart Will Go On” day and night in spite of a noise-abatement notice received from officials. After a whopping six repeated violations, the authorities had finally had enough. Police reportedly seized his entire music collection along with all of his audio equipment, including his Playstation 3, speakers, and television! All because of his love for the Canadian princess of pop.

To be fair, it wasn’t all Celine’s fault. Mr. Davies apparently had a thing for James Brown, too, as he was known to treat his neighbors to repeated performances from the Godfather of Soul and, strangely enough, the theme song from Toy Story. Whatever floats your boat… or ticks off your neighbors.

While the confiscation of all his music (and apparently his entire entertainment center) may seem a bit extreme, authorities have made it clear that Mr. Davies will have the ability to apply for the return of all his equipment in a month’s time. I’m not sure which would be worse, a month without music or a month without video games.

Queen Bey Owns the Throne

Beyonce, Queen Bey, karaoke, Karaoke Cloud, KaraokeonVevo

Photo courtesy of passionevents.eu

All hail the Queen! Off the success of her self-titled album and the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, Beyoncé shows no signs of slowing down. She graces the cover of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” labeled as a titan. In the issue Sheryl Sandberg writes, “Beyoncé doesn’t just sit at the table. She builds a better one.”

Bey shocked the world with the surprise release of her visual album in December. Beyoncé is female-centic; it contains messages of feminism, expresses vulnerability, and proudly embraces sexuality. The video for her single “Pretty Hurts” officially premiered on TIME.com a few days ago. Her passionate calls for self-empowerment through topics such as love, beauty, and motherhood place her as a prominent voice concerning women’s roles in society and pop culture.

In terms of business, she seems to be writing the playbook on innovations in the music industry. She holds the title for the fastest-selling album in iTunes history. It makes sense that others are considering employing her strategy. At one point it was believed that Mariah Carey may use a similar approach with the release of her upcoming album.

But not everyone is a part of the BeyHive. Bill O’Reilly has been highly critical of her new music. Known for always vocalizing his opinions, Bill scrutinized her single and video “Partition” and found it laughable when Russell Simmons referred to it as art. It’s no surprise that he disagreed with TIME placing her on their annual list. He recently ranted about the “negative influence” she may have on young girls especially in the African-American community, citing issues of teen pregnancy.

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Last Chance! Closing out National Karaoke Week

An empty mic is a blank canvas

An empty mic is a blank canvas

This is it! Today is your last chance to celebrate National Karaoke Week. It also happens to be friday. What a coincidence! So grab some friends, throw caution to the wind, and make tonight your night to rock the mic! Just please, for the love of everything that is holy, don’t yell “YOLO!” at any point during your performance.

New to the public karaoke scene? Not sure where to start? Well here are a few all-time karaoke favs to get you started.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar: Great song, high energy, daring life to do it’s worst… you can’t possibly go wrong choosing this classic to kickstart the night!

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: What are you waiting for? Grab a partner and strike Motown gold with this feel-good duet. 

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice: “Alright stop, collaborate and listen…” If it’s your natural instinct to want to finish these lyrics then this is the song for you! A performance of this 90’s classic is sure to entertain.

Let It Go – Idina Menzel: Hey, why not? Everyone else is doing it. Join thousands and take on this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Original Song.

Dream On – Aerosmith: Long live Aerosmith! Give your best Steven Tyler impression and finish strong with this rock power ballad. 

I think you’re good to go! Remember, karaoke is about having a good time, so let loose and belt it out! Who cares about pitch anyways? And as always, Karaoke Cloud is here for all your karaoke wants and needs.

 

Ronnie Milsap Tops List of 2014 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees

Gold and platinum albums of country's greatest legends at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville (photo: lifesbigandsmalladventures.com)

Gold and platinum albums of country’s greatest legends at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville (photo: lifesbigandsmalladventures.com)

On April 10th the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted its newest members. Icons such as Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, and Kiss (full list here) were immortalized and guaranteed “legendary” status. Not to be outdone, the world of country music celebrated their own legends earlier this week by inducting Ronnie Milsap, Hank Cochran, and Mac Wiseman into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

 

2014 CMA Hall of Fame Inductees [left to right]: Hank Cochran, Ronnie Milsap, Mac Wiseman (photo: countryweekly.com)

2014 CMA Hall of Fame Inductees [left to right]: Hank Cochran, Ronnie Milsap, Mac Wiseman (photo: countryweekly.com)

The ceremony was held Tuesday morning (4/22) on the Rotunda at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. The late Hank Cochran, “The Legend,” was inducted in the songwriter’s category by one of last year’s inductees, Bobby Bare. “This guy was a great songwriter,” Bare stated. “He could break your heart with a set of lyrics.”

Mac Wiseman was the second inductee of the the morning. The legendary bluegrass singer and a 70-year veteran of the music industry stated how honored he was to be inducted in the same year as his friend, Hank Cochran. “I hope I will prove worthy of the honor,” he stated. “I can’t say how pleased I am [to be inducted] in the same year as Hank Cochran.” Wiseman accepted the nomination from a wheelchair due to post-Polio Syndrome, but claimed to be in good health and definitely appeared to be in good spirits.

 

Last, but certainly not least, was the six-time Grammy Award winner Ronnie Milsap. Blind from birth, Milsap refused to let his disability stand in his way. He took the country music world by storm in the 1970’s and 80’s and garnered forty #1 hits, placing him third all-time to George Strait and Conway Twitty.

“I’ve wanted to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame for as long as I can remember,” he said Tuesday morning. “I did not get to Nashville until I was 30. I’ve often thought if I got here earlier things would have turned out different. You just never know.”

The world of country music is all the richer thanks to these three legends and their induction into the Hall of Fame is the least the industry could do to show such well deserved appreciation. Congratulations, gentlemen!

Katy Perry as the Master of Disguise

Katy Perry

Photo courtesy of vancitybuzz.com

From the costumes to the wigs Katy Perry is known for being versatile with her image, but I don’t think anyone has ever seen her quite like this. She introduces us to her “insane friends” in “World’s Worst Birthday Party Entertainers,” a teaser video for her next single “Birthday.”

She transforms into several laughable characters: Goldie The Dancer, Yosef Shulem The MC, Kriss The Clown, Ace The Animal Trainer, and Princess Mandee. Together they form the last individuals you would want to see at any birthday party. Creepy or hilarious? You be the judge.

“Birthday” is the fourth single from her album Prism. The video is set to premiere tomorrow (4/24) and she’s been hyping up the release in every way possible. Monday she described her video for the single as “the most insane one I’ve ever done” to her 52 million+ followers on Twitter. Earlier this month she posted a lyric video, which of course sticks with the birthday theme as it is centered around celebratory sweets.

Major props to the makeup and wardrobe teams responsible for making Katy Perry completely unrecognizable. She’s known for pushing the envelope and some are calling her stereotypical portrayal of Yosef offensive. (Could this be a repeat of the “Dark Horse” controversy?) One thing is clear- Katy’s no one-trick pony.

Fallon Showcases Brian Williams’ Mad Skillz!

Brian Williams on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (photo courtesy NBC)

Brian Williams on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (photo courtesy NBC)

Jimmy Fallon is at it again! Famous for his comedic tributes to music with skits like the History of Rap with Justin Timberlake and the Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing with Will Smith, Jimmy has also featured NBC Nightly News’ very own Brian Williams in a series of re-mixed news broadcasts set to popular hip-hop tracks. Thanks to Fallon’s tech-wizards on Monday night (4/21) Williams was laid back, sippin’ on “Gin and Juice.”

While Williams is highly respected as a news journalist, the thing about pop-culture is that you also become famous for whatever the pubic decides you’re famous for. “It’s all anyone mentions to me anymore,” he told Fallon in an interview Monday night on the Tonight Show. According to Williams, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. approached him at a New York Rangers game and informed him that he, Williams, was now a “huge figure in the rap and hip-hop community.”

The Snoop Dogg remix is only the most recent in what has become an ongoing series featuring “B-Dubs,” one of the many nicknames Fallon has given to the prolific news man. Among others, Williams has also covered Sugar Hill Gang‘s “Rapper’s Delight” (with an assist by fellow anchor Lester Holt) and “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

I love how Fallon regularly mixes music with comedy. Not only are the skits funny as hell, but they also help to pique interest in various music genres and remind people that yesterday’s music was pretty dang awesome!