Quick Hits: Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco, Anthrax, Brian Wilson biopic, mtvU Woodie Awards
January 18, 2013

Alicia Keys

The NFL has announced that Alicia Keys has been tapped to sing the National Anthem before the Super Bowl on February 3 in New Orleans. This is her third Super Bowl, a new record, having performed "America The Beautiful" before Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005 and appearing as part of the pre-game show before Super Bowl XLII in 2008. Keys, who turns 32 next week, has been promoting her latest album, Girl on Fire, and she has a major tour launching in March. Meanwhile, Beyoncé will provide this year's halftime show entertainment, and part of her set is said to include a reunion with Destiny's Child.

British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran plans to work on his next album while he's on tour with Taylor Swift later this year. "I've got around 26 songs for the next record, and I've got another nine months on the road to keep writing as well, so the record's definitely on his way," Sheeran told Billboard. "I can tell you it will probably come out in February 2014, and I'm gonna be recording and writing it over the whole Taylor tour." The trek kicks off on March 13 in Omaha, but before that, Sheeran is up for a Song of the Year Grammy for "The A Team," and those awards will be handed out on February 10.

John Mayer was back onstage singing for the first time in almost two years at a benefit show in Montana this week. After having two surgeries to remove a growth in his throat, Mayer has been cleared to perform, and he told the crowd: "It's been a crazy couple of years... going on bed rest, going a little mad." He played four songs at the show, which raised more than $100,000 to help firefighters who battled a blaze that destroyed more than 8,500 acres of forest and farmland in Montana. Mayer has also been tapped to play this year's New Orleans Jazz Festival on April 26.

Rihanna's collection of clothing and accessories for British brand River Island is set for its debut on February 16 at London Fashion Week, according to Fashion Week organizers' calendar of fall previews. Rihanna's items will be available in River Island stores in Great Britain, and in the United States and Japan, starting on March 5. The singer said in a statement that an appearance at fashion week is "a dream come true."

Apparently Lupe Fiasco's next album, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 2, will no longer be released. An announcement was posted on the Rapper's now-suspended Twitter page, which read: "Hello. A decision has been made that the project titled F&L2 Part 2 will be summarily cancelled for public release in 2013… The title/concept for Lupe's 2013 release will be revealed later this year." Fiasco's Twitter account was later stripped of content and now only one post remains: "The #LF twitter is now closed. Please follow @DJBusy + @SNDCLSH for daily updates. Thank You."

Anthrax will offer the eight-track covers EP called Anthems on March 19. The tracklist features Rush's "Anthem," Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak," AC/DC's "TNT," Boston's "Smokin'," Cheap Trick's "Big Eyes," and Journey's "Keep on Runnin," as well as the album version and a special remix of Anthrax's "Crawl" from the band's 2011 album, Worship Music.

Actor Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine) will portray Beach Boy Brian Wilson in the upcoming biopic Love & Mercy. The movie will be directed by Bill Pohlad and the script focuses on Wilson's fight with mental illness and his relationship with his wife, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The project is taking an "off-the-beaten-path approach" to telling the story, looking at the seminal moments in Wilson's life, his art, his struggles and the love that kept him going. Dano will actually play the younger version of Wilson, while another, yet-uncast actor will play the elder version.

MTV has announced that the 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards will return to Austin, TX on Thursday, March 14 as part of this year's SXSW festival. The Awards will then air on MTV and mtvU on Sunday, March 17 at 8 p.m. Performers and nominees for the Woodies, which honor new and up-and-coming artists, will be announced soon.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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