by Jessica Letkemann, Billboard.com
As chart stars like Ke$ha, Jay Sean, Adam Lambert and Wyclef Jean descended upon New York this holiday season, Billboard’s cameras caught up with them at Z100′s Jingle Ball concert and at the Vevo launch party to find out their personal highlights of 2009 and their big plans for 2010. Some themes emerged among the diverse list of artists. Several cited Michael Jackson’s death as the most important music moment of their 2009. As for 2010, many have albums coming, tours afoot, and have projects with Taylor Swift either in the can or in the works. Video interviews by Mariel Concepcion and Evie Nagy.
Kris Allen, unsurprisingly, cites his “American Idol” experience as his highlight of 2009. The “Idol” winner says it has been “crazy and I feel good.” As for 2010, look for him to kick off a tour in February and, before long, perhaps new music will be forthcoming. He’s planning to start writing his next album soon. Meanwhile, check out Kris performing Kanye West’s “Heartless” live in New York in the video above.
Justin Bieber‘s plans for 2010 include releasing the second half of his album so the “ladies… don’t have to wait.” He says his favorite moment of 2009 was getting to perform at Wembly in London, “even though I broke my foot. I’ll never forget it.” See the cast for yourself in the video as Bieber performs “Love Me” live in New York.
Boys Like Girls say 2009′s best moment for them was working with pal Taylor Swift, who appears on “Two Is Better Than One” from BLG’s September album “Love Drunk.” In the video, check out the band playing the title track live in New York. Coming up in 2010, catch Boys Like Girls out on the road, or as they phrase it, “a bunch of not going home.”
Ciara is quick to site the passing of Michael Jackson as the most important music moment of 2009. Her plans for 2010 include new music.
Miranda Cosgrove was happiest about her mom’s Christmas dinner in 2009 (“She won’t tell me the recipe,” the “iCarly” star laments). As for 2010, she’s most excited about her first solo album, due in the spring. It will include, “a lot of relationship songs” the 16-year-old actress/singer says.
The Fray were pleased with the warm reception to their self-titled second album in 2009, they say. But the top moment? Easy. The record was nominated for a Best Pop Vocal Album” Grammy on Dec. 2.
Allison Iraheta, the redhead who took fourth place on “American Idol” in 2009, mentions both the death of Michael Jackson and her “Idol” cohort Adam Lambert’s much-debated American Music Awards performance as the most memorable music moments of the year. She says she’s most looking forward to spreading the word about her new album “Just Like You” in 2010.
Wyclef Jean keeps it simple. He says the music highlight of 2009 for him was watching Alicia Keys and Jay-Z perform “Empire State of Mind” at the World Series in New York this fall.
Ke$ha says 2009 was a whirlwind for her. The “TiK ToK” singer says she, “worked really, really hard for the moment she could say she was No. 1.” But what was the highlight of her 2009? She got to leave her waitressing job. She says she told her employers, “I quit, bitches!” In 2010, look out for her album “Animal” on Jan. 5, and soon thereafter, a big tour. “I’m just trying to cover the world in glitter, one country at a time.”
Adam Lambert is so over the controversy surrounding his bawdy performance at the American Music Awards in November (“It’s all in the past,” he says). 2009′s highlight for him was the “American Idol” finale. He calls getting to sing with Queen and Kiss “totally surreal.” In 2010, Lambert will be coming to a town near you, possibly starting with a spring tour that “pulls out all the stops: costumes, fire, dancers, the whole nine yards.”
Leighton Meester branched out from her “Gossip Girl” fame in 2009 with a star turn on Cobra Starship’s hit “Good Girls Go Bad.” She says when she first heard the song on the radio, “I screamed like a nerd.” In 2010, look for the actress/singer’s first album as well as a pair of movies: “Date Night” in April and “The Roommate” in October.
Orianthi first wowed American crowds as the dexterous guitarist for Michael Jackson. She was prominently featured in the footage that makes up the doc “This Is It.” As you might guess, the Australian says that the best moments of 2009 for her were “getting to audition for Michael Jackson’s band and working with him. It was life-changing.” Up her sleeve for 2010 is the release of her debut album, “Believe,” which features a song with Steve Vai and “guitar solos on every track,” as well as a tour in Feb. or March.
Pitbull is partial to Jay-Z’s “Blueprint 3″ as the best music moment of 2009. He calls Hova’s album an “inspiration.” What’s up for him in 2010? Look for more singles from “Rebelution.” “I’m staying dedicated to the project, old school music style,” he said on camera.
Raphael Saadiq is quick to note that his music’s success at iTunes was the highlight of 2009 for him.
Jay Sean celebrated his first Hot 100 No. 1 in 2009. He says, “how many people manage to get a No. 1? It was such a blessing.” How did he react to finding out his single “Down” had topped the chart? “I dropped the phone!” Sean lets us in on the fact that he may possibly work with Taylor Swift in the new year.