Paula DeAnda – Walk Away
Born in San Antonio, TX, Paula DeAnda grew up listening to Selena and other female vocalists, often performing their songs with her cousins at family gatherings. Soon she started taking piano lessons and singing around town, both as a soloist and as a backup vocalist. In 2002, DeAnda’s family decided to move to Corpus Christi in order to further her career, and once there the young singer met manager Ed Ocanas, who arranged for her to record the first piece she wrote, “What Would It Take,” and get it on local airways. Shortly after that, Artist DeAnda went to the studio with producer Happy Perez for her second single, “Doing Too Much,” a song that eventually made it into the Billboard Top 40 in early 2006. That caught the attention of record executive Clive Davis and an audition was arranged, resulting in DeAnda being signed to Arista offshoot J Records. Her debut album was released in the summer of that same year. Marisa Brown.
Paula DeAnda – Walk Away
Trey Songz – Cant Help But Wait
Working in Timbaland’s enormous shadow isn’t for everyone. Just ask Scott Storch.
But then again, not everyone is as prodigious as Timbaland’s current production co-pilot, Nate “Danjahandz” Hills.
The low-profile Danja has quickly amassed an impressive résumé, lending his talents to works by Justin Timberlake hits and Nelly Furtado hits and co-producing Timbaland’s latest album, Timbaland Presents Shock Value (see “Timbaland Still In Shock Over Jay-Z, Madonna, Elton Collaborations”). That’s all without attracting the type of attention lesser producers get after their first hit — apart from showing up in the dis track Storch aimed at Timbaland, that is (see ” ‘I Had To Speak Up’: Scott Storch Responds To Timbaland’s Jabs”).
But now, on his own, he’s laced what are arguably the hottest rap and R&B tracks out at the moment in DJ Khaled’s all-star collabo “We Takin’ Over” and Trey Songz s “Wonder Woman.”
“I think I got all the success first, before stating my presence,” Danja recently explained to MTV News over the phone from London. “Before anyone really knew who I was I already had four #1 hits [Timberlake's "SexyBack" and "My Love," and Furtado's "Promiscuous" and "Say It Right"] and two Grammy Awards. So now I kind of got to work backwards.”
With that MO in mind — and, conveniently, while Timbaland has been out promoting Shock Value — Danja has finally been able to make some serious noise of his own.
He’s been spreading his “ringtone” sound, which he describes as the way he tests his melodies to make sure they’re catchy right away.
Danja, however, is quick to note that his star turn isn’t coming by way of Timbaland’s scraps. He explained that in light of the duo’s recent successes, both of their phones have been ringing nonstop, but that Khaled specifically sought out Danja’s services, as did Trey Songz’s camp.
“Me and Tim got a lot of the same phone calls once all of these hits started hitting,” Danja said. “We’ll call each other and be like, ‘You trying to do this?’ So we’ll just do it together. Of course me and Tim are partners, and while he’s on the road, I kind of just been holding down the studio. We’re teaming back up for Madonna. [And] we teamed up for Duran Duran. We did a 50 Cent [track] together. We did a T.I. joint together. So we were kind of back and forth. But he doesn’t call me and hand me work that he doesn’t want to do. That ain’t our relationship. I think we both do things that are inspiring for the both of us. If the energy ain’t right for him, it ain’t right for me. That’s how we work.”
But the pairing of these two Virginia natives almost didn’t work out.
Danja was introduced to Timbaland in 2001 after a music symposium in their home state. Afterward, the young producer was able to land a meeting with Timbaland that very night through a mutual friend, and Danja played beats for him.
According to Danja, Tim was impressed with what he heard, but negotiations between the two led Danja to decline an invitation to meet Timbaland in Los Angeles.
Two years later, Danja was able to score another sit-down with Timbaland through the same friend. This time, Timbaland did most of the talking and offered the younger producer advice.
“He was just kind of explaining the road he wanted me to take,” Danja said. “At that particular time, he said he was ready to share a lot of his knowledge and everything going into the future.”
By December 2003, Danja had relocated to Miami to work with Timbaland. Ever since then, they’ve amassed a number a hits for big names like Jay-Z, the Game and Diddy.
It wasn’t until recently, though, that an experience actually made Danja put into perspective how far he’d come since first meeting Timbaland.
“I just had that moment recently in the shower,” he said. “After sessions are over I’m kind of focused on what I’m doing. But for some reason a lot of things were hitting me at once. I felt grateful for being here. I went straight from Madonna to Duran Duran [in one day]. So I had to sit back, understand and realize where I am.”
James Blunt (born in Tidworth, Wiltshire, England on February 22, 1977) is an English musician whose debut album, Back To Bedlam, and single releases – especially number one hit “You’re Beautiful” – brought him to fame in 2005. His style has been described as a mix of jazz, rock and soul, and comparisons have been made between him and early Elton John. Along with the vocals of the album, Blunt plays a variety of instruments including the piano, guitar and organ.
Blount (the name was changed for his music career) was born at a British Army hospital, the son and grandson of senior army officers. He was sent to board at Elstree School aged seven, and at thirteen was accepted into Harrow School. While there, and aged only sixteen, he became one of the youngest holders of a UK Private Pilot Licence. He read aeronautical engineering at Bristol University on an army bursary which required him to enlist on graduation. He joined the Life Guards the senior regiment in the British Army. During his four years service he was promoted to Captain with the British Army and served as a NATO peacekeeper in Kosovo, one of the first to enter those areas where war crimes had been committed. It was this experience that led to his writing of the song “No Bravery”. After his tour of duty in Kosovo he was sent to Switzerland where he became the captain of the Household Cavalry downhill ski team. One of his final duties in the army before retirement was the funeral of the Queen Mother on April 9, 2002, where he carried her coffin. He has said that he had been shot at more times than 50 Cent. (Nyhetsmorgon interview on TV4)
Sporting a multicultural membership, a sociopolitical agenda, and a musical mix of hip-hop, reggae, and Latin rhythms, Germany’s Culcha Candela are a tough group to pigeonhole. Formed in Berlin in 2003, the group’s membership reflects diversity, with singers Larsito, Don Cali, and Lafrotino hailing from Columbia; singer Johnny Strand from Uganda; singer Itchyban from Poland; singer Mr. Reedoo from Germany; and DJ Chino con Estilo from Korea. Culcha Candela’s music reflects all of this, with lyrics sung in German, English, and Spanish spun over Jamaican and Latin rhythms, all done with a distinct hip-hop sensibility. The group released its debut album, Union Verdadera, in 2004, followed by NEXT Generation a year later in 2005.