Music News: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Cher, Reba McEntire among Kennedy Center honorees

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2018 Kennedy Center honorees pose on Dec. 1, 2018.
2018 Kennedy Center honorees pose on Dec. 1, 2018. (Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
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Lin-Manuel Miranda, Cher, Reba McEntire among Kennedy Center honorees
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Above, listen to an episode of The Current's daily Music News podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also sign up for a daily Music News e-mail and join our Facebook group.


On Sunday, the annual Kennedy Center Honors were held in Washington, D.C. Honorees included Cher, Reba McEntire, jazz great Wayne Shorter, and composer Philip Glass. In an unprecedented honor for a creative team rather than a particular individual, the creators of Hamilton were recognized as "trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category."

The ceremony will be televised on CBS on Dec. 26; while presidents have historically been in attendance, the Trumps declined to attend, as was the case last year. Highlights of this year's ceremony included Cyndi Lauper covering Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time," Kelly Clarkson doing Reba McEntire's "Fancy," and a group including Lin-Manuel Miranda himself performing the song "One Last Time" from Hamilton. (Rolling Stone)

Grammy nominations delayed due to Bush death

The announcement of this year's Grammy nominations has been pushed back from Wednesday until Friday, so as not to conflict with the state funeral of former president George H.W. Bush. A day earlier, on Thursday, this year's Golden Globe nominations will also be announced. (Spin)

Bon Jovi wine wins distinction

The magazine Wine Spectator has named the best rosé of the year, and it's Jon Bon Jovi's rosé. The wine, called Hampton Water, landed at number 83 on the magazine's latest list of 100 best wines, the highest ranking of only two rosés on the list.

In a statement, the Bon Jovi leader said, "It's a testament to all of our hard work and I could not be more proud to share our excitement for, and love of, Hampton Water with people all over the world." (The Takeout)

Tons of tour announcements

'Tis the season for 2019 tour announcements. Four big ones just dropped:

Bruce Springsteen says that with his Broadway show closing, it's "time to get back to my day job." That means he's working on a "singer-songwriter album" to follow 2014's High Hopes, but although that LP will feel like a "solo album," he says, he's bringing the E Street Band on a UK tour next year. Dates have yet to be announced. (Consequence of Sound)

Queen are capitalizing on the Bohemian Rhapsody buzz by heading out on tour, with Adam Lambert standing in for the late Freddie Mercury. In a statement, Lambert said, "We have been designing a brand new visual spectacle that will reframe these iconic songs and we are excited to unveil it!" The tour kicks off on July 10 in Vancouver, wrapping up on Aug. 23 in Charlotte. (Billboard)

Jenny Lewis has announced her first solo album in five years. On the Line will feature contributions from Ringo Starr, Beck, Ryan Adams, and more; a North American tour supporting the album opens on March 26 in Bloomington, Ill. and runs through May 26 in San Diego. (Pitchfork)

Hootie and the Blowfish are regrouping for a U.S. tour, their most extensive in over ten years. With Barenaked Ladies opening, the tour starts on May 30 in Virginia Beach and wraps up on Sept. 13 in Columbia, S.C. They're also finishing up their sixth studio album, which will be their first in 15 years and will also land around the 25th anniversary of their 1994 smash Cracked Rear View. (Consequence of Sound)

Pras accused of illegal international conspiracy

Pras, the third most-famous Fugee, has been accused of taking part in an international conspiracy involving tens of millions of dollars.

Federal authorities have not made any criminal charges against Pras, but his name comes up in court documents supporting a felony conspiracy charge against George Higginbotham, a former Justice Department official.

It's all part of an international scandal that's been under investigation for years. Basically — if there is a way to put this "basically" — an investment company was created by the Malaysian government, supposedly to aid economic development. Billions of dollars were then allegedly illegally laundered through that company to land in the U.S., and $3.5 billion of that money has now been frozen.

Where Pras allegedly came in was as part of a campaign to hide connections between the Malaysians and a lobbying effort launched to try to get the Justice Department to pull back from its investigations. Pras was allegedly the go-between who got Higgenbotham, a longtime associate of his, involved.

Will Pras himself ultimately be charged? "It's an ongoing investigation," says a Justice Department spokesperson...but he's got to be nervous that Higginbotham just pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. (ABC News)

In addition to his work with the Fugees, he also had a top 20 hit in 1998 with "Ghetto Supastar," featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard and Mya.

Viral clip: Ariana Grande breaks the internet

Ariana Grande didn't actually break the internet with her video for "Thank U, Next," but she sure gave it a workout. On Friday, the pop star released the wildly anticipated clip supporting her current chart-topper, and it immediately broke the record for simultaneous viewers of a YouTube premiere: 829,000 people were watching when the video went live, which is the equivalent of filling Wembley Stadium to capacity over nine times. It went on to break a record for most YouTube views in a 24-hour period. As of Monday, it was pushing a total 100,000,000 views on YouTube. (Billboard)

The video's director, Hannah Lux Davis, told Pitchfork that she and Grande initially conceived of the video as a Mean Girls burn book come to life — then decided to work in references to Legally Blonde, Bring It On, and 13 Going On 30. Grande then reached out to her friend Kris Jenner to play the Amy Poehler role from Mean Girls, using her real friends instead of professional dancers to do the iconic "Jingle Bell Rock" dance, in the spirit of the original film.


Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Hamilton Original Broadway Cast: "One Last Time"
Jenny Lewis: "The Voyager"
Jesse Spillane: "Dance Rocket" (CC BY 4.0)
Ariana Grande: "thank u, next"


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