Get to Know Country Singer Canaan Smith, Nashville’s Next Rising Star

Meet country's newest star Canaan Smith, the Nashville-based musician who has been rising the country charts with his hit "Love You Like That" and his newest single, "Hole in a Bottle"—both off of his debut…


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Meghan Trainor reflects on rising fame

Meghan Trainor looks back on her career as her video for All About That Bass smashes the one billion mark on Vevo.
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Rising Star Pico Alexander Talks Social Media, Bioluminescence and Taking Risks

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I met up with Pico Alexander at the Cafe at the Signature Theatre on the eve of his 24th birthday. He was taller than I expected with a thick head of hair that he hid under his fedora hat. Pico has a spiritual energy to him, with a look and demeanor that reminds me of a young Johnny Depp. When I make the comparison he smiles and blushes; “He was my favorite when I was a kid. I used to pause the dvd Edward Scissorhands because I was crying so much. I felt so bad for him! Like when he punctured the waterbed or tried to cut the steak. I love that guy. Thank you for saying that.” Sodas in hand, we sat down, with piano music playing in the background at the Cafe, and started chatting:

Where does the name Pico come from?
My grandfather started jokingly referring to me as Pico when my mom was pregnant with me. And then when I was born, they wanted to give me a serious name, so they named me Alexander. But nobody ever called me Alexander except for one teacher in sixth grade.

Growing up, you went to LaGuardia High School. What did you focus on?
I auditioned for music and for acting because that’s what my parents were breeding me to be. I played classical piano and trumpet for awhile. My mom has this fond memory of me getting into her car after the audition and saying ‘Mom, i’m going to be an actor’. But in reality I had been writing that in journals for years.

You are kind of a man of mystery. You aren’t very active on social media. You don’t use twitter or have an instagram account.
No social media for me.

Why’s that?
I think that I spent too much time comparing myself to other people and it didn’t seem very real anymore. All of a sudden you have more than a thousand friends and everybody is posting all the best things that happened to them. And it kind of unsettled me really. I started posting a status and waiting to get the likes. If I got the likes then I was validated as a human for that day and if I didn’t it was like “f***, nobody likes me”

Who is Pico?
I don’t know. I’m trying to figure that out. I’d be hesitant to give any sort of an answer because its always changing.

What would your friends say about you?
They would probably say I’m one of the most immature people they’ve ever met!

In what way?
I can be my share of selfish and uncompromising and loud and obnoxious and a bit of an asshole and definitely mean to my share of people. And not very empathetic. And these are the things that I’m working on now. It definitely took me awhile to realize that I’m not the center of the universe.

Did your off-Broadway show Punk Rock help in that way?
Sure, I think Punk Rock had an effect.

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Let’s talk about What I Did Last Summer. Who do you play?
I play Ted. He’s a local boy, a Canadian. He can be a little bit of a rowdy influence and he’s a friend of Charlie, the protagonist. Charlie meets Anna Trumble who is a bit of an outcast and eccentric and she taps into his potential and tells him that he has a gift and he has to work on finding out what it is. She unlocks that for him and he goes and finds out there is more to life than what he originally thought.

Do you have a pre-show ritual?
We pretty much just lose it back there in the dressing room. It’s me, Noah Galvin, and Dan Weiner our drummer. We all share the dressing room, get hyped up, and listen to music.

I saw that you played a young Joe Carroll in FOX’s The Following. What was it like being on set?
The scene was a lot bigger beforehand. There was a fish in the scene and the character Doctor Strauss puts the fish on the table and its flopping around and the Doctor wants to illustrate to Joe that he’s enraptured by it. Which was super interesting because, by law, you are only allowed to take a fish out of water for 20 seconds at a time. So we had a dude standing by with a bucket who would constantly interrupt the scene and grab the fish and throw it in the bucket and take another fish and put it on the table.

I read online that you want to swim with sharks. Is that right?
Yeah, I’d love to swim with sharks! Sharknado. A bit of a metaphor for wanting to risk it all in a way.

What are some of your hobbies?
I’m writing a lot lately. And I’m very fascinated with my dreams. I’m taking a sober year this year. I had a crazy experience at the end of last year. I was away on a small island with my family and I swam in this bio-luminescent bay and thought – it’s not going to get any better than this – and on the spot decided to try a year of sobriety as a challenge. Because of that, my dreams are so vivid this year. So I want to really focus on that unconscious self this year and connect with that self and see what it is that I truly want.

Do you meditate?
I meditate a little bit. Not as much as I’d like to.

One question I ask everyone: What’s one thing you would tell your 15 year old self?
To slow down. Listen. Observe. Help people. Help them up not push them down. And to be honest. High school is a really tough time for everybody and we don’t really understand that at the time. Be honest about your fears and your shortcomings. And just be nice.

What do you like best about yourself?
That’s crazy. I never think about that. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in melancholy. I think I like my honesty. I’ll ask people questions that might be uncomfortable but will also put myself one hundred percent out there. I’d rather fail than be mediocre.

Is there anything that you want people to know about you?
No. He laughs. I’m always weary of putting anything in writing because it’s always changing. If I had to choose, I would want them to know that I’m loyal.

Do you have any favorite quotes?
I like the quote “It is written” from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Because it means it is what it is and everything is what it is and that’s ok.

For tickets to see Pico Alexander in What I Did Last Summer at the Signature Theatre now thru June 7th, click here.

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Arts – The Huffington Post
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Exclusive: Rising Country Star Kelsea Ballerini Takes Us Behind the Scenes on Her Tour

Knoxville, Tennessee native Kelsea Ballerini is quickly becoming a hit on the country charts with her single "Love Me Like You Mean It." And with her debut album, The First Time, out this week and…




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U.S. Deaths Due to High Blood Pressure Keep Rising: CDC

Most marked increases seen in those aged 45 to 64 and those over 85

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Rising Stars Luncheon Postponed

The finalists for this year Fashion Group International’s Rising Stars awards will have to wait until Feb. 6 to find out who the winners are.

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Number of Americans Taking Statins Keeps Rising: CDC

Even more should be taking them to cut risk of heart attack and stroke, cardiologist says
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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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E-Cigarette Use May Be Rising Among Teens

Nearly one-third of those surveyed in Hawaii have tried the devices
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The Order: 1886 Game Awards 2014 Agamemnon Rising Gameplay (Stream)

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New gameplay and another look at the gorgeous cinematic graphics of The Order: 1886.
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Women in Art: 5 Rising Art Stars

As a person who spends a great deal of time visiting and scouring artist’s studios all over the world, I have been very fortunate to locate five rising stars in the art world that just happen to be women. However, to pretend the fact they happen to be women is not significant or that the playing field in the art world is equal for women would be tantamount to denying global warning. Therefore, it is my personal hope, through this continued Women in Art series and highlighting exceptionally talented women artists, curators, collectors and creatives, we can collectively tilt and hopefully balance the scales.

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C. Finley

C. Finley is a stylistically promiscuous artist who lives and works in both Rome and New York City. Her work incorporates interests in color theory, performance, women’s work, and the environment. Previous projects include the dance film Finite and Infinite Games which premiered at the Judson Memorial Church, the 2014 Whitney Houston Biennial: I’m Every Woman, and Wallpapered Dumpsters.

Finley has shown internationally with exhibitions at Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna; Robert Fontaine Gallery, Miami; Scope Miami and New York; FDA Projects, Rome; High Energy Constructs and Salon Oblique, Los Angeles; and the Dumba Collective, New York.

As a member of the artist collective HowDoYouSayYamInAfrican?, she participated in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. In 2012, Finley was the artist-in-residence at the Gai Mattiolo fashion house in Rome, Italy. As the recipient of the Eszter Cohen Grant, Finley continues to wallpaper trash receptacles in cities throughout the world. Finley received her BFA from the Pratt Institute, New York and her MFA from California State University, Long Beach.

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Annika Connor

Annika Connor is a Contemporary Romantic painter. Her work depicts a sense of haunted mystery and a fascination with beauty. Overall, her paintings read as fragments from a daydream and portray a longing for lost fantasy and abundant pleasure.

Connor has worked professionally as a painter in New York, London, Stockholm and participated in numerous national and international exhibitions. Annika is Swedish-American; she currently resides in Brooklyn where she maintains an active studio.

In addition to her work in the studio, Connor is also heavily involved in sustaining the art community in which she creates. As a supporter of the art she admires, Connor is the Owner/President of AI Productions, an emerging corporation whose mission is to serve the artistic community by facilitating the presence and publication of young talented artists and educating the public about their work.

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Kristin Jai Klosterman

New York City based artist Kristin Jai Klosterman is best known for her sculptural work in metal and wood, and mixed media paintings that deal with the environment, energy and movement. Her large-scale metal sculptures can be found in public forums in California, Texas, Tennessee and Minnesota. She has had solo exhibitions in Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles and has participated in many group exhibitions in Los Angeles and New York. She has also collaborated with the stylish Tom’s Shoe Company where her imagery was prominently featured in one of their international campaigns.

Klosterman has also been involved with an ongoing collaboration with Venice based Light and Space artist, Laddie John Dill and together they have realized numerous monumental sculpture commissions all over the United States.

Klosterman has been developing her own process of contrasting elements, on one side the hard materials of the sculptural series and on the other side the soft delicate silks and fabrics of her canvases, meticulously hand painted, drawing from imagery she creates inspired by the Fibonacci Sequence. Both sculpture and painting series’ resonate with movement and balance while using contrasting materials and methods. These combinations of different natural elements further define the balance of the feminine and masculine embedded in her work.

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Imani Shanklin Roberts

Washington, DC native and current New York City based artist Imani Shanklin Roberts recently graduated from Pratt Institute where she earned her BFA/MS in Art Education. As an artist and enthusiastic educator, Roberts peels apart topics on race, gender, and identity, she seeks to create and facilitate socially responsive work that encourages ideas of self-realized liberation.

Drawing inspiration from African American artists that have visually explored identity using figures and identifiable color choices, she creates work that is reflective of how she experiences the world.

She has exhibited in various spaces in the DC area including The Anacostia Arts Center and Busboy’s & Poets. Most recently, the eco-eatery and community gathering space, Habana Outpost in Fort Greene, Brooklyn displayed her work throughout the summer season. The Brooklyn community has also gotten a glimpse of the artist’s work at The Soul of BK festival hosted by MoCADA Museum. In 2012, CBS DC recognized Roberts as one of the “Best Up-and-Coming Artists in DC”. Her distinct aesthetic empowers her viewers to deconstruct limitations and think beyond while embracing their cultural identities.

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Maria Kreyn

Originally form Gorky, Russia, Maria Kreyn’s art education is rich, varied and global. Ms. Kreyn trained in classical drawing at The School of Representational Art in Chicago while formally studying philosophy and mathematics at the University of Chicago. She later apprenticed in Europe with Odd Nerdrum for three years, living between Iceland, Norway, and France.

According to Maria, she takes an angle of her very own to comment on the human condition. Her figurative images aim to reactivate the spirit of the collective unconsciousness all in the hopes of conquering what Sontag calls the relentless melt of time.

Maria’s desire to stop time for viewers of work allows them to bask in the eternity as well as celebrate the present moment. While painting and drawing at their best can be a timeless story, Ms. Kreyn masterpieces tend to be spatially wrapped into a single moment. It Maria’s that making art is about looking at the vastness of our life slowly and deeply, while simultaneously connecting to our ecstatic and tragic shared experiences. Ms. Kreyn’s intricate paintings are not simply brilliant and hauntingly romantic, they are more importantly studies in the motion or stillness of the soul. Maria now lives and works in New York City.

@all photos courtesy of selected artists
Arts – The Huffington Post
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