It's remarkable to think that Superchunk's career has spanned four decades. The North Carolina band got its start in 1989, and here it is in 2013, with a new record called I Hate Music that demonstrates an undying passion for punk-fueled story songs with catchy phrasing.
Rapper Blitz the Ambassador explains to Tell Me More for the occasional series "In Your Ear," that his favorite songs are the ones that helped shape his sound. "I keep these songs really close because they always remind me of where it all begins, and what makes me the artist that I am," he says.
As his name suggests, Blitz sees himself as an ambassador for Africa and hip-hop.
Most opera singers work their way to the big league by singing bit parts in regional opera houses. Not soprano Angela Meade. She landed on top instantly with her professional debut in the lead soprano role of Giuseppe Verdi's Ernani at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2008.
It was a dream come true. The star soprano took ill and the understudy, Meade, was suddenly shoved into the spotlight. The press said she sang "like an old pro from start to finish."
Cellist and composer Erik Friedlander lost his wife of many years, dancer and choreographer Lynn Shapiro, to breast cancer in 2011. She'd been diagnosed a decade earlier, and Friedlander says music became a place of vital release for him as her condition worsened.
"During the difficult years, I did take refuge in working," he says. "It was a place where I could make the rules; where I could control what I could control."
Days AreGone, the debut of the California sibling act HAIM, has been pegged for months as one of the year's most anticipated releases and was finally released this week. But before Este, Alana and Danielle Haim formed their current musical trio, they were in another group — with their parents. Under the name Rockinhaim, the sisters performed covers of classic rock songs alongside their parents. Danielle Haim says their musical indoctrination began early on.
These days, Lawrence Brownlee spends most of his time on the stages of the world's great opera houses. That's where you'll find him singing Rossini and Donizetti. His supple, strong, high-flying voice can negotiate the tightest hairpin turns with grace and elegance; that, and his ability to command the stage as an actor, has won Brownlee the praise of critics worldwide.