Ashlyee Hickman

  From playing on the streets of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California to performing on Dancing with the Stars, Andy Grammer has a lot to be optimistic about. The “Honey I’m Good” and  “Keep Your Head Up” crooner had our hearts in his pocket at first listen and even has Taylor Swift smiling! Andy gave ME the details on his music career and his take on where to find the perfect guy.
  
 
ME: When did you figure out you wanted to pursue music?

AG: I wasn’t exactly sure it was music, I just knew I wanted to create and affect people. From a very young age I was learning how to impress people— like by juggling or magic and learning how I can make someone smile. When I found the guitar I was like, “Whoa, I can make you smile!” Once I kind of latched on to that, that was my favorite mode of creating.

ME: So you would go out to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and play your music? Tell ME what that was like?
AG: With music and this rock star kind of ideology in how this works, you can get caught up in a bunch of other things besides, “Do people like me when I play music?” There are all of these other things like, “I have to look at shoes, I think that will help,” or, “If I had a video concept, that will make—” that’s all important too, but when you go out to the Promenade you can just point-blank say: “Alright, I play music. People either like it and they stop and give me 10 bucks for a CD, or they don’t.” It’s the most basic element of, “Do you like what I’m playing,” and you can really start to figure out where you stand with people’s ears. It’s a great, great way to develop if you go out in the street and just have people tell you whether they like you or not.

ME: That’s super scary! How did you get  the nerve to put yourself out there like that?
AG: You just gotta take a leap; take the leap in putting yourself out there. You have to be one of those people who is willing to take the burn of having someone come up to you say, “You need to turn down, dude, like we’re just trying to enjoy our food and you’re bothering us.”  Handle the lows and you can also get some highs which is like there’s 100 people around you all clapping to a song they didn’t even hear until today, and now they all want to buy a CD. There are highs and lows, and I think that’s the art industry for everybody. 
ME: People kind of do that through YouTube.

AG: Yeah, exactly YouTube does that too. That’s actually really interesting, and that wasn’t quite as big when I was really in my intense development stage. Now it seems like, oh my God, everyone is doing that!



ME: Speaking of YouTube, I was reading through the comments for your song “The Pocket,” and one guy said you rep the guys who don’t think with their, ummm, let’s say man-parts. Now that we know there are at least two of you out there, where do you think girls can meet more guys like you?
AG: It’s funny, to say I don’t think with my man-parts is like— that’s a little bold. I think you just want to find someone who is at least trying. We all have our demons and the things that aren’t the best about us. Hopefully you’re at least trying to work on them— that’s all I can say that I am. I wrote that song and I mean it, you know, but that’s a good day. What I will say is that I genuinely try to be a good guy, and I think there’s a lot of guys out there like that. I don’t think we’re in short supply.

ME: I believe that. You actually touch on not being the perfect guy all the time in your song “Ladies.
AG: Yeah I think there is no perfect guy, there is no perfect girl. I think you just want to be awake and at least try to be a better person, that’s the goal.

ME: “Keep Your Head Up” is a big hit for you! What’s the story behind it?  
AG: So I was out at the Promenade and I hadn’t sold enough CDs at all. I was paying my rent out there so it would get kind of tense near the end of the month when you have so many days left at the Promenade and you’re like, “I need to make this money.” So one day I didn’t sell any and I went home and wrote myself a little pick-me-up track.

ME: So it really ended up helping you out too!
AG: That’s so funny, the way the world works. Thank God I didn’t sell any CDs that day. If I sold CDs I wouldn’t have written that song that’s helping me get on tour with everybody right now.

ME: It’s a great song for everyone a bunch of situations whether they’re facing graduation or trying to figure out how to follow their dreams.
AG: Yeah that’s the thing: It’s always gonna be hard so you might as well just smile. it’s never going to be completely fine. I don’t think that’s why we’re here.

ME: So how do you keep your head up when times get tough?
AG: That’s a great question. I keep my head up by taking in inspiration from other people. So the band that I’m opening for, I’ll go and watch their sets and just really enjoy what they’ve put into it and how it’s working, or listen to other artists and see what they’re doing. When I’m home, I love to see comedy. I love to be inspired; it always helps me stay excited.

Tell ME: Which Andy Grammer song are you in love with?
-Ashlyee Hickman




Justin Bieber Punks Taylor Swift on MTV's Punk'd

No need to wait for April Fool’s day, MTV will bring the pranks to you every week starting Thursday, March 29, with the revamped version of Punk’d. Tune in at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
 
Justin Bieber kicks of the series as host and head prankster. How do you rattle the hopeless romantic who is Taylor Swift? Convince her she’s just set an entire wedding on fire! That’s just the beginning, as different celebrities take turns as host, “This season Ashton Kutcher hands over the hosting reins to a new celebrity each week, including Justin Bieber, Nick Cannon, Miley Cyrus, Lucy Hale, Kellan Lutz, Bam Margera, Mac Miller, Heather Morris, Hayden Panettiere, “Punk’d” alumni Dax Shepard [and] Tyler, The Creator,” MTV blasts in their press release.
 
The unsuspecting victims are just as amazing, including “Glee’s” Dianna Agron, Zac Efron, Shenae Grimes, Ian Harding, “The Hunger Games” stars Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson *gasp for breath!* Rob Dyrdek, Khloe Kardashian Odom, Sean Kingston, Demi Lovato, New Boyz, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, “Teen Wolf’s” Tyler Posey, Darrelle Revis, The Wanted and more!
 
We found two sneak peeks for this awesoME revival. Tell ME: Who do you want to see Punk’d?
 

Watch: Justin Bieber Punks Taylor Swift

Get More: Punk’d, Full Episodes

 

Watch: Miley Cyrus Punks Liam Hemsworth

Get More: Punk’d, Full Episodes

—Ashlyee Hickman

Natural Hair

Imagine using a comb that would automatically straighten your hair. The catch: the temperature of the tool measures between 300 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Welcome to the world of black hair care.

 Alissa sometimes has her mother straighten, or “press,” her hair. “It’s an uphill battle, you never know who’s going to win: my mom or the hot comb,” she said referring to the notion that the experience gives new meaning to the phrase, “Pain is beauty.” 
 
History of black hair care
Madame C.J. Walker
The pressing comb is used close to the scalp, so the intense heat may cause burns if not used with care. Often its invention is attributed to the hands of Madame C.J. Walker. Although she did not dream up the tool that is a staple in black hair care, Walker has made many contributions.
 
In the early 1900s Walker, formerly Sarah Breedlove, went on the road selling door-to-door to promote her new hair products. In 1910, Walker built a factory, The Madame C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, in Indianapolis as well as a salon and a beauty training school.
 
Her ambition and daring vision for herself made Walker the first self-made female millionaire— setting the tone of entrepreneurship for women and blacks everywhere. Because of the advancements in hair care, courtesy of Walker and those who followed, blacks now have more options in terms of how to style and take care of their hair.
 
Science: Why is black hair different?  
Actually, at the root of it all there isn’t any structural difference in hair based on ethnicity. Each strand of human hair has the same chemical make-up. “All hair is composed of nitrogen, sulfur, water, iron traces and amino acids,” said Author Naomi Sims in her book, “All About Health and Beauty for the Black Woman.”

 Differences in hair texture start in the layer under the skin where hair grows, according to Dr. Susan Taylor, the founder of Society Hill Dermatology in Philadelphia.In terms of texture, black hair varies from the hair of other ethnicities because of the fact that the it typically comes from curved follicles, the tiny pores from which the hair grows. These follicles produce tightly coiled hairs that makes it more susceptible to form microscopic knots. These knots create the texture that makes it harder to detangle and causes the hair to break if not properly handled.

Styling options: Natural, Press, Braids and Weaves
Because of the care it takes to maintain hair, some leave maintenance to professionals who specialize in black hair care. Others take hair care upon themselves in the comfort of their own rooms, “I do my own hair. When I do go get it done it’s usually for fun,” Jayde said.
“Sometimes I’ll just wash it and wear it natural, my hair is really curly.” Besides the simple press-and-curl—typically sported by females (Snoop Dogg tries it from time to time)— African Americans choose from a variety of options to style their hair. “For me it varies with the seasons, like in the summer I wear it very natural. In the winter I’ll do it differently. Honestly, it’s just whatever is easiest at the time,” Jayde said.

Another alternative is wearing braids. “Someone asked me if I take out my braids every night and put them back in, in the morning,” Alissa said. (The answer: No, she doesn’t). A benefit of getting hair braided is its convenience and low maintenance. “I’ve had braids since eighth grade because it’s easier and I like it better,” Britt said.

Though the style lasts a long time, it also takes a while to style. Estimated time of completion: within seven to eight hours. “During that time I usually read a book, watch TV or sleep,” she said. When it is time to get her hair done again, Britt has to unbraid each of the hundreds of individual braids. Britt described how some are surprised to see her hair in the transition before and after getting braids. Her words of wisdom: “When a black girl gets her hair braided it does not grow overnight.” Additional hair is braided with the natural hair for the sake of style and to the braids hold longer.

Weaves or hair extensions are also options for hairstyles. However, it is not an act exclusively used by blacks. Celebrities like Diana Agron, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato use them as well. Be careful not to assume: Not all black girls with long hair have weaves. Jayde said she feels frustrated when faced with the all-too-common question that many blacks face when it comes to whether or not she’s wearing her natural hair. “I do get offended, people should be educated enough not to make assumptions because of race. That’s why when someone asks, ‘Is that your real hair?’ I ask, ‘Is yours?’”
Though Britt doesn’t get offended, she said she does it annoyed simply because of how often the question comes up, “But I get that some people just don’t know for sure.”

The world of black hair care is vast and ever changing. With innovations in technology and advancements of style, hair continues to be an avenue of expression and experimentation.
Ashlyee Hickman

Photo credit: DioBurto


 

"New Girl" cast starring Zooey Deschanel

“New Girl” (FOX), Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

Who’s the girl who stole our hearts and made us proud to be dorks? It’s Jess! Well, actually it’s Zooey Deschanel and her character Jess in the smash hit “New Girl.” This show is dedicated to every girl who has had a tough break up. This show is dedicated to all the girls who can’t help it if they like “Lord of the Rings” or spontaneously break out into song! That’s right, ladies, there’s finally a show for you!
 
And it all starts with a boy. After Jess finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, she hits Craigslist to find a beautifully described, “sun-soaked” apartment. To her surprise, all three of her roommates are guys! She doesn’t really mind, the apartment is gorgeous, and since the guys find out Jess’s friends are gorgeous models (including her BFF, Cece, played by Hannah Simone), she gets the spot as the new roomie.
 
Watching Jess cope with her lost love by endlessly watching “Dirty Dancing,” sobbing each time she heard “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” was hilarious—ummm, mostly because I know I’ve done the same thing, except with “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” Zooey’s male counterparts quickly become lovable with Coach, an intense personal trainer who needs serious help communicating with women (Don’t get too attached to Damon Wayans, Jr., like I did, he’s just guest starring :/), Schmidt (Max Greenfield)—a womanizer and major contributor to the apartment-wide Douchebag Jar and Nick (Jake Johnson) a heartbroken bartender still coping with his breakup.
 
It was fun to see the Bro Code soften up and let Jess in to help her with her dating life. Prepare to laugh (even when you realize you’re laughing at yourself) and swoon over these bros-turned-gentlemen. Although don’t expect too much brotherly love— if “New Girl” follows the good old formula of television/drama/life, expect one (or more) of the roomies falling for the quirky, cute Jess with looks worthy of a Rimmel spokesmodel (Oh, wait…). I’m thinking it’ll be Schmidt. Either way, it looks like so far “New Girl” earned the tilte New Fave Show!

So tell ME: What is your go-to chick flick when you’re down?

—Ashlyee Hickman

Photo by Autumn DeWilde (FOX)

500 Dates of Summer

Disneyland Resort

Been a while since you’ve ventured out to The Happiest Place on Earth? With new rides, like
The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and makeovers to the classics, like Star Tours, there’s no time like the present to visit the Disneyland Resort! Get your friends together for an early morning huddle to plan your ride agenda for the day, and strategically choose which rides you’ll need a FASTPASS. In between rides, go on a character scavenger hunt/photo shoot and snap fun and crazy pics with your favorite Disney characters! C’mon, who doesn’t want to snag a kiss with Aladdin and post it as her Facebook profile pic?
 
Before you line up to ride Indiana Jones™ Adventure, stop by the Tiki Juice Bar for an ice-cold Dol
e Pineapple Whip. It’s tangy, pineapple-y awesomeness in your mouth that is sure to beat the inevitable heat of SoCal.
 
Details:
Address: 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92802
Hours: As early as 8 a.m. to as late as midnight. Check the Disneyland calendar for exact times  
Price: $76 each (Psst, check to see if your university or parents’ companies have any deals on tickets. You might save enough to cover lunch!)


 

Andy GrammerWe caught Andy Grammer at the inaugural session of the Homegrown series at The Grammy Museum to get the scoop on what he’s been up to these days. Here are 10 awesoME things about the singer/songwriter.

 
1. Andy gets a lot of influence from Piano Rock, Acoustic Guitar and Hip Hop. He said “Sublime” and “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” were two of his favorite, most influential albums.

2. He has an amazing band. Let ME introduce you: Will Gramling rocks the keys, Zach Rudulph on the bass, Mike Lindsay on the drums and Jacob Fatoorechi on the guitar. With their powers combined, they can’t help but put on an awesoME show.

3. His album,
“Andy Grammer,” is dedicated to his mom, who passed away. When he closed down the show with “Ladies,” he said there was no way he would have written a song like it if it weren’t for his mom. He said she comes out through the entire record.

4. He sings, plays the piano, guitar and he can beatbox. We wonder what else he’s hiding up his musical sleeves?

5. He keeps his friends close and “enemies” closer. When you’re battling out between acrobats, a singing three-year-old and hot break dancers on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, it’s survival of the coolest. Andy made friends with all of the performers (or buskers, they’re also known as), and even invited the break dancers, like Candyman, to perform at his shows.

6. He’s a great salesman. Andy had to get creative to get himself heard. He told a story of a gig in a college in Iowa. Nobody showed up. Andy grabbed his guitar, went to the cafeteria and screamed, “Hey, I’m going to play you a song!” He  played in the middle of the caf and invited everyone to go to his show.

7. Andy graduated from Cal State Northridge and majored in music business, because it was the closest major that dealt with what he wanted to do be a musician.

8. He knows how to write for the ladies. If the amazing songs “Ladies,” and “The Pocket” are any indication, Andy Grammyerm, we mean Grammer not only has talent, but a big heart for romance. Listen to see if he’s talking about you in his equally swoon-worthy song “Build Me a Girl.”

9. His dad is Grammy-nominated children’s singer and songwriter, Red Grammer. Andy said he encouraged him in his music and taught him he should be nice to everyone.

10. Andy LOVES his fans. Andy signed hundreds of copies of his EP so his fans could take home a special gift from him. He also stayed after his performance to take pictures and sign autographs for everyone.

Need more? Click here for his interview with MyEveryzine! Tell ME: Which Andy Grammer song are you obsessed with?
-Ashlyee Hickman

500 Dates of Summer

The Grammy Museum

Couldn’t get the tickets to the must-see summer concert? Here’s the next best thing. Grab a bite to eat at L.A. Live and go to The Grammy Museum. Yeah, you heard ME right, a museum. This one isn’t your typical stroll down ancient memory lane. The Grammy Museum is a fun, interactive venue full of the kind of history you can can dance to! While you explore, don’t miss the third floor’s all-access pass to everything that has to do with the Grammys. Take a gander at the Grammy trophies and then drool over some of the most memorable Grammy outfits, including dresses worn by Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez. Catch a performance, like Andy Grammer’s Homegrown appearance, in the Clive Davis Theater. It’s a super intimate, 200-seat theater that really gives you access to artists in a unique, memorable way.
 
Other highlights, the John Lennon, Songwriter exhibit lets you mix your own version of classics like “Give Peace a Chance.” You can get your Glee on and lay down your own vocal tracks! Speaking of Glee, check out the exhibit dedicated to Rachel Berry’s (Lea Michele) idol, Barbra Streisand.
 
Psst, after a day of fun and music, see if you can catch your fave performer at the back of the Staples Center or at the tour bus area. Don’t forget your Sharpie!
 
Details:
Address: 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, California 
Regular Hours: Monday – Friday 11:30am – 7:30pm, Saturday – Sunday 10:00am – 7:30pm
Price: 10.95-$12.95 (bring your school ID for the student rate)


 

 

 2011 Amercan Idol, Scotty McCreeryScotty McCreery joins the likes of Jordin Sparks, Carrie Underwood, David Cook and Kris Allen as an American Idol. With a velvety-smooth voice that could send Garth Brooks up the creek, the North Carolina native has ME feeling a little bit country, and loving it! Is it too early to request a duet with Taylor Swift? Here are 10 things you need to know about this year’s American Idol.
 
1. Scotty is from Garner, NC, a town of 26 thousand people— that’s less than .07% of the population of Los Angeles!
 
2. His first audition was in Milwaukee and he sang Josh Turner’s “Young Man.”
 
3. He won BIG. The final showdown between Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina garnered 122 million votes, more than any season in the 10-year-old series!
 
4. Along with the title of “American Idol,” Scotty earned a record deal with 19 Recordings. His debut single and swoon-worthy ballad, “I Love You This Big” is out now.
 
5. His favorite quote is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He always wore the same necklace with a black cross. Look for it next time you see him!

6. Scotty is down-to-earth. His southern charm and grounded demeanor even comes across in his tweets: “Thank yall [sic] so much for keeping me around.”

7. Scotty was protected by the government! Because Scotty and Lauren are minors, they were subject to child labor laws. The Department of Labor has restrictions on the number of hours minors can work in a day.

8. He’s close to his mom.  He admitted to tearing up when Lauren sang “Like My Mother Does,” during part one of the finale. Both of their mothers stayed with them throughout the competition.

9. The American Idol will hit the road with the remaining 10 contestants for the American Idols LIVE! 2011 Tour, starting on July 6, in West Valley City, UT.

10. He wants to go to college, “College is important to me,
he said. He also has his heart set on Nashville. Dear University of Tennessee: That should be music to your ears!
-Ashlyee Hickman

Photo Credit: Frank MIcelotta / FOX

Tell ME: Who did you want to win American Idol?

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