Quick Hits: Nico & Vinz, Sam Smith, Weezer, Ariana Grande, Shelby Lynne, Enrique Iglesias, T.I., Iggy Azalea
August 21, 2014

Afro-Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz will release their first U.S. album, Black Star Elephant, on September 16 via Warner Bros. Records. In addition to their hit song "Am I Wrong," their debut features 13 tracks and 7 interludes which pay homage to their parents' nationalities. Additionally, the duo is set to perfom at the Fashion Rocks concert on September 9 in New York City. Airing live on CBS from Barclay's Center, the Ryan Seacrest-hosted special celebrating the relationship between fashion and music also will feature performances by Afrojack, Duran Duran, Jennifer Lopez, KISS, Miranda Lambert, Pitbull, Rita Ora, The Band Perry and Usher.

Sam Smith

Sam Smith is the final performer added to this year's MTV Video Music Awards, which will be held at the Forum in Inglewood, CA on Sunday, August 24. It will mark the singer's U.S. award show performance debut. Smith's hit "Stay With Me" is nominated for Best Male Music Video, as well as the MTV Artist to Watch award. He will perform on the show along with Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Rita Ora, Iggy Azalea, Maroon 5, Usher, Ariana Grande and 5 Seconds of Summer.
Weezer is pushing back the release date on their upcoming album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, by one week. It was originally due in stores on September 30. "We have to release EWBAITE one week later than planned, on Oct 7," Weezer wrote on their Tumblr. "This is a bummer and we really hate to make our fans wait longer. We worked very hard to finish the album on time for you, so we're really sorry about this and hope you understand."

With the release of the new song "Best Mistake," Ariana Grande has now landed three songs in the Top Six of Billboard's Digital Songs Chart. She set a new record by becoming the first female artist in history to accomplish that feat. The last artist to notch three songs in the Top Six was Michael Jackson in 2009. Grande's sophomore effort, My Everything [Republic Records], will be available August 25.

Shelby Lynne has inked a deal with Rounder Records, and she recently completed recording what will be her first album since 2011's Revelation Road. The as-yet-untitled album is tentatively set for release in early 2015. Additionally, Rounder will celebrate the 15th anniversary of Lynne's landmark breakthrough album I Am Shelby Lynne with a special deluxe reissue, due on October 7. The two-disc I Am Shelby Lynne Deluxe Edition features the re-mastered full-length album plus six previously unreleased bonus tracks from the original sessions. The special package also contains Shelby Lynne: Live at the House of Blues on DVD, a newly unearthed, never-before-released, 16-song, 90-minute concert performance captured at Los Angeles’ House of Blues on April 28, 2000.

Enrique Iglesias has made history with his latest single, "Bailando." The song just hit Top 10 at Top 40 radio, marking the first time a non-English song infiltrated the Top 10 at the format since Los del Rio’s "Macarena" in 1996. Meanwhile, he's preparing for his co-headline tour with Pitbull and J Balvin, which kicks off September 12 in Newark, NJ.

T.I. has unleashed a new song titled, "New National Anthem," featuring Skylar Grey. The powerful record provides politically-charged commentary. Check it out at Soundcloud here.

A brand new original series called A.K.A. has premiered on Vevo. The show connects with artists to find out how they chose their stage names. The first episode features Amethyst Amelia Kelly, a.k.a. Iggy Azalea. Check it out below.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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