Desiigner: is the hyped rapper the genre’s new hope or a shameless hacker?

Hes signed to Kanyes label, divided sentiment at the BET awards and been accused of rending off Future but is there more to him than gratifies the eye?

Last year, Brooklyn rapper Desiigner crashed into the spotlight with Panda, a catchy trap track that likens a white BMW X6 to the endangered mammal. Within months of the track surfacing, the 19 -year-old rapper was signed to GOOD Music by the labels newly appointed president, Pusha T, and the signing was announced soon after by label boss Kanye West at his Yeezy Season 3 event. Wests album cut Pt 2 featured a rather prominent sample of Panda, which is now being criticized as a blatant bite of Atlanta rapper Future, who produced two number 1 albums last year: Dirty Sprite 2 and What A Time To Be Alive with Drake. The comparison isnt without its flaws, but it has far more merit than Action Bronsons resemblance to Ghostface Killah or when some rap fans believed Your Old Droog to secretly be Nas. You dont have to listen too hard to hear Panda as Future cosplay.

Panda is clearly influenced by Futures highly influential running, a stretch among the most prolific in rap history. It attempts to synthesize the most basic elements of Future hits into a serviceable rapper-suit: the auto-tune coated croakings, the hammering nature of some of his most fearsome cadences( Same Damn Time, and Sh! t, for example ), and his chant-like recitations( Racks and Jumpman ). Even the lyrics to Panda read like a generator spewing out garbled content from Future sungs( I got broads in Atlanta/ Twistin dope, lean, and the Fanta isnt much of a stretch from Im rolling strong weed inside the Phantom/ Im simply a street nigga from Atlanta/ We set the codeine inside a Fanta from Futures Jordan Diddy ). The anthem and Desiigner have received the ire of the #FutureHive and created eyebrows from even casual observers. He isnt the first rapper( or musician) to mold himself in the likeness of a popular star, but he very well might be the laziest.

In the weeks that followed the Future revelation, Panda climbed to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, get a folksy pop cover, and eventually going platinum in several countries. Its been a bigger reached than any anthem of Futures. But whats been particularly astounding about this run is watching a anthem this boring become so trendy, and watching Desiigner doubled down by releasing a full mixtape of Panda variations.

Desiigners story is an interesting one. The rapper turned a beat he purchased online for $200 originally labeled in its YouTube description a Meek Mill-Ace Hood Type Beat into a cosign from the worlds most popular rap star. If he isnt playing Future, then hes playing someone else. As MTV News critic Meaghan Garvey points out, his sound is heavily indebted to Chicagos drill scene, mimicking tumbling cadences from rappers like G Herbo( FKA Lil Herb) and Lil Bibby. Its a bit like watching one of those Michael Jordan-Kobe Bryant mirror-image highlight reels( only instead of Kobe, its Nick Young ). Hes committed to the role.

The few samples of his early music remaining on the web are vignettes of other rap superstars: Desiigner fashioning himself shadow marionettes in the likenesses of Kid Cudi, Travis Scott or Kevin Gates. His recently released debut mixtape, New English( a fitting title for a rapper who has largely produced indecipherable verses ), scans as charade that turns on the sonic prospers of Chief Keef( Da Day ), Waka Flocka Flame( Monstas& Villains) and, of course, Future( Roll Wit Me, Caliber ).

Desiigner
Desiigner Whats been most astonishing about this run is watching a anthem this boring become so trendy. Photo: PR Image

If Desiigner isnt blatantly rending off the styles of others, then at the very least hes a master troll. He continues to dance around the Future comparison in interviews, never outright denying the accusation. And when skeptics first starting saying Panda was a knock off of the Atlanta rapper, Desiigner responded by taunting a follow-up anthem called Pluto, the name of Futures debut album. The trolling has continued as recently as the coming week, when he performed Futures part in DJ Khaleds new single I Got The Keys. Its the closest hell get to being Future.

The best song of Desiigners career thus far isnt even a anthem; its an a cappella freestyle for his XXL Freshman class selection, a rap hymnal called Timmy Turner that has already inspired countless remixes. The tune commands more impression in 46 seconds than New English does in 36 minutes. Or, at the least, it did, until legendary producer Mike Dean teased the official version, which turns what was an impassioned performance into simply another one of his soulless imitations. Desiigner is most interesting playing himself, but hes most comfortable playing someone else.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Madonna raises $7.5 m for Malawi and criticises Trump at Miami show

Singer says plight of Native Americans induces her ashamed to be an American at benefit performance and auction

Madonna has repeatedly criticised Donald Trump and said she is ashamed to be an American, in a performance and auction in Miami that created more than $7.5 m( 5.9 m) for her Malawi foundation.

Images of the president-elect appeared behind her as she sang the line You know that youre toxic from her cover of the Britney Spears hit.

The singer also disclosed she had once been in Trumps bed for a magazine photoshoot when the tycoon was not at home. She took a shot at his cheap sheets, saying: They wont be Egyptian cotton since we all know how he feels about Muslims, dont we?

Madonna encompasses Toxic

Madonna also spoke about the plight of Native Americans and asked why their land was being destroyed. It just really builds me feel ashamed ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being, truly, she said before performing her 2003 hit American Life.

The benefit show, billed as an evening of music, art and mischief, insured Madonna revive her cabaret display, Tears of a Clown, first performed in Australia earlier this year.

It was one of the many parties held during Art Basel Miami Beach, the biggest art fair in Northern america, which attracts super-rich art collectors and celebrities from across the world. Guests, who paid at least $5,000 to attend, included Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, former boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, Courtney Love and James Corden.

Before her hour-long performance, Madonna auctioned pieces from her personal art collection, including a Tracey Emin print that sold for $550,000 and three Herb Ritts photographs from her 1985 wedding to Sean Penn that fetched $230,000.

Other lots included a Damien Hirst painting, a private performance by the magician David Blaine, who also attended, and a week-long stay at DiCaprios home in Palm Springs that ran for $140,000.

Penn bid on several items when the auction stalled. At one point, Madonna walked into the audience, climbed on tables and gave one man a lap dance. She abruptly stood up at another point, grabbed the chair on which she had performed and said she also want to get auction it , noting $600 could send a girl in Malawi to secondary school. The chair sold for $10,000.

Madonna adopted her 11 -year-old son, David, from an orphanage in Malawi more than ten years ago. At the time, she said she didnt know where Malawi was. David had pneumonia and malaria. His mother died in childbirth and his siblings were also dead.

He was at the event to introduces the singer, telling the audience: I realise Im one of the lucky ones.

Madonna showed videos of Malawi, asking for help to build a paediatric surgery and intensive care unit at a hospital there. Half the population are under the age of 15, according to her foundation, Raising Malawi.

As well as political statements and corny buffoon jokes, Madonna lamented the fact she was very single and had not had sex for some time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Madonna raises $7.5 m for Malawi and criticises Trump at Miami show

Singer says plight of Native Americans induces her ashamed to be an American at benefit performance and auction

Madonna has repeatedly criticised Donald Trump and said she is ashamed to be an American, in a performance and auction in Miami that created more than $7.5 m( 5.9 m) for her Malawi foundation.

Images of the president-elect appeared behind her as she sang the line You know that youre toxic from her covering of the Britney Spears hit.

The singer also uncovered she had once been in Trumps bed for a publication photoshoot when the tycoon was not at home. She took a shot at his cheap sheets, saying: They wont be Egyptian cotton since we all know how he feels about Muslims, dont we?

Madonna encompasses Toxic

Madonna also spoke about the plight of Native Americans and asked why their land was being destroyed. It just really stimulates me feel ashamed ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being, really, she said before performing her 2003 hit American Life.

The benefit show, billed as an evening of music, arts and mischief, insured Madonna resuscitate her cabaret depict, Tears of a Clown, first performed in Australia earlier this year.

It was one of the many parties held during Art Basel Miami Beach, the biggest art fair in North America, which attracts super-rich art collectors and celebrities from across the world. Guests, who paid at least $5,000 to attend, included Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, former boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, Courtney Love and James Corden.

Before her hour-long performance, Madonna auctioned pieces from her personal art collecting, including a Tracey Emin print that sold for $550,000 and three Herb Ritts photographs from her 1985 bridal to Sean Penn that fetched $230,000.

Other plenties included a Damien Hirst painting, a private performance by the magician David Blaine, who also attended, and a week-long stay at DiCaprios home in Palm Springs that went for $140,000.

Penn bid on several items when the auction stalled. At one point, Madonna strolled into the audience, climbed on tables and dedicated one man a lap dance. She abruptly stood up at another point, grabbed the chair on which she had performed and said she also want to get auction it , noting $600 could send a girl in Malawi to secondary school. The chair selling off $10,000.

Madonna adopted her 11 -year-old son, David, from an orphanage in Malawi more than a decade ago. At the time, she said she didnt know where Malawi was. David had pneumonia and malaria. His mother died in childbirth and his siblings were also dead.

He was at the event to introduces the singer, telling the audience: I realise Im one of the lucky ones.

Madonna indicated videos of Malawi, asking for help to build a paediatric surgery and intensive care unit at a hospital there. Half the population are under the age of 15, according to her foundation, Raising Malawi.

As well as political statements and corny buffoon jokes, Madonna lamented the fact she was very single and had not had sex for some time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Acid house legend DJ Spank-Spank of Phuture dies

Earl Smith Jr was one of three founders of the Chicago house legends who released the groundbreaking 12 -minute single Acid Tracks in 1987

One of the innovators of acid house has died. DJ Spank-Spank was one of three founders of Chicago house legends Phuture, alongside DJ Pierre and Herb J, who released the groundbreaking 12 -minute single Acid Tracks in 1987.

DJ Spank-Spank real name, Earl Smith Jr suffered a stroke in May, but the cause of his death was not apparent. The news was initially broken via a tweet, since deleted, from Chicago DJ The Black Madonna, but it had now been been confirmed on Phutures official Facebook page.

The post read: To our Acid House family and Music family at large we are very sorry to say that our friend and partner DJ Spank Spank has passed away. Spank is( was) a legend. We will for certain continue the run hes started on his final album project and his innovations in music. Please for now: Pray for his family and DJ Pierre two brothers. Allow them is high time to grieve. We will come back with news. Much love.

DJ Pierre told Thump: Spanky is the reason why the group Phuture was formed. The world has no idea how talented he was and how much I depended on him. He texted me last night saying he was working on music and how excited he was to have this opportunity to perform again. We were working on our album project and he was so excited about that. Im simply speechless right now. He lived for this music. So we will make sure he forever will live in this music we created together. He will be in a better place. Love each other people. Love life.

Dance music legends queued up to pay tribute on Twitter.

Justin Robertson (@ robertsonjustin) September 22, 2016

Phuture – Spank Spank your music changed my life. Thank you for creating such great jacking greatness #DJSpankSpank https :// t.co/ NvFI1MZyYH

Gilles Peterson (@ gillespeterson) September 21, 2016

RIP DJ Spank Spank … Phuture https :// t.co/ kljovMVsQG

alan_oldham (@ alan_oldham) September 21, 2016

#RIP #Chicago Acid House pioneer #DJSpanky. I used to play this on my old radio demonstrate back in #Detroit https :// t.co/ ibsOyDb9Ts

Mike Servito (@ mikeservito) September 21, 2016

that sound is still resonating 30 years later and changing my damn life one squelch at a time. https :// t.co/ hVn6u 4OJT7

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Madonna raises $7.5 m for Malawi and criticises Trump at Miami show

Singer says plight of Native Americans induces her ashamed to be an American at benefit performance and auction

Madonna has repeatedly criticised Donald Trump and said she is ashamed to be an American, in a performance and auction in Miami that raised more than $7.5 m( 5.9 m) for her Malawi foundation.

Images of the president-elect appeared behind her as she sang the line You know that youre toxic from her encompas of the Britney Spears hit.

The singer also disclosed she had once been in Trumps bed for a publication photoshoot when the tycoon was not at home. She took a shot at his cheap sheets, saying: They wont be Egyptian cotton since we all know how he feels about Muslims, dont we?

Madonna covers Toxic

Madonna also spoke about the plight of Native Americans and asked why their land was being destroyed. It just really constructs me feel ashamed ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being, genuinely, she said before performing her 2003 hit American Life.

The benefit show, billed as an evening of music, art and mischief, assured Madonna resuscitate her cabaret present, Tears of a Clown, first performed in Australia earlier this year.

It was one of the many parties held during Art Basel Miami Beach, the biggest art carnival in North America, which attracts super-rich art collectors and celebrities from across the world. Guests, who paid at least $5,000 to attend, included Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, former boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, Courtney Love and James Corden.

Before her hour-long performance, Madonna auctioned pieces from her personal art collecting, including a Tracey Emin print that sold for $550,000 and three Herb Ritts photographs from her 1985 bridal to Sean Penn that fetched $230,000.

Other lots included a Damien Hirst painting, a private performance by the magician David Blaine, who also attended, and a week-long stay at DiCaprios home in Palm Springs that ran for $140,000.

Penn bid on several items when the auction stalled. At one point, Madonna walked into the audience, climbed on tables and gave one human a lap dance. She abruptly stood up at another point, grabbed the chair on which she had performed and said she also wanted to auction it , noting $600 could send a girl in Malawi to secondary school. The chair sold for $10,000.

Madonna adopted her 11 -year-old son, David, from an orphanage in Malawi more than a decade ago. At the time, she said she didnt know where Malawi was. David had pneumonia and malaria. His mom died in childbirth and his siblings were also dead.

He was at the event to introduces the vocalist, telling the audience: I realise Im one of the lucky ones.

Madonna proved videos of Malawi, asking for help to build a paediatric surgery and intensive care unit at a hospital there. Half the population are under the age of 15, according to her foundation, Raising Malawi.

As well as political statements and corny clown jokes, Madonna lamented the fact she was very single and had not had sex for some time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The George Michael we knew: celebrities remember him one year on

Its almost a year since George Michael died. Here, Elton John, Mariah Carey, James Cordon and Tatjana Patitz recall their friend

Elton John:’ On Christmas Day last year I lost a beloved friend’

George was always great fun to be with. He was never afraid to speak his intellect. Like me, he’d often get himself into trouble by saying what he truly thought. He was straightforward, which meant you always knew where you stood with him- rather than someone who will be nice in front of you and then horrible behind your back. So gratifying up with George was always an event because he had such a definite sentiment on everything and when sentiments clashed it would make for an interesting evening.

People genuinely adored George and it wasn’t just the music. They felt for him and they felt his fights; he was completely authentic. He wasn’t touring all the time or putting records out year after year. He was a true star. When you watched George perform you were going to see someone who really could sing beautifully and move you with his music. It was a treat. With all his trials, afflictions and the publicity, people could relate to the flaw. We’re all imperfect and we all have our flaws. He had his fair share of pain in life and this came out in his songs.

Throughout his problems he kept dignified and tried hard to stay private. George, like the rest of us, built mistakes and sometimes publicly, but people could see what I personally was lucky enough to know about George. That he was one of the kindest, most generous people that I ever met in my life.

‘He
‘ He was a true star ‘: George Michael with Elton John and Andrew Ridgeley in London in 1985. Photograph: Rex/ Shutterstock

What he will be remembered for most importantly is being a brilliant and talented artist. He wrote unbelievable tunes and had an amazing voice. I never heard him sing a bad note. You can hear every emotion in his voice- ache, regret and joy- and that’s the mark of a genuinely great singer. George could sing anybody’s lyric and make it sound like his and that’s an extraordinary talent to have, to be able to construe his own and other people’s songs in different ways every time he performed them. He was without doubt one of the greatest songwriters this country ever produced and certainly one of the best vocalists ever.

On Christmas Day last year I lost a beloved friend: a lifetime’s friendship that was founded on music to start with. One of my earliest memories with George is of he and I sitting in a car merely off Hyde Park listening to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go on cassette and I said:” This is the nearest record I’ve heard to Motown .” It was( and still is) only such a brilliant record and we went on to have a brilliant relationship.

George was a very private man. He always had the mystique thing about him. He wanted to keep things private, had his own group of friends and he didn’t want people to know everything about him. Of course he lived under massive scrutiny and some artists would do anything for that level of advertising all the time. Not George though. He wasn’t in the paper everyday, he wasn’t posting his life on social media and I think it made a difference. What people might have forgotten about George is that when Listen Without Prejudice was originally released over 25 years ago now, he did no promotion for the album, which back then was revolutionary. This was 1990 and he was following up Faith , which was huge.

This was a massively foresaw album and a completely different voice and feel to Faith . Where as Faith was joyous, Listen Without Prejudice was his grown-up record. Like George, Listen Without Prejudice has a sense of mystery. It’s a very ethereal album that has an aura about it. It’s probably his masterpiece. It’s an album that has grown in stature. George got everything that he had inside, every emotion on to the record and thank God he did. At the time I thought he was bonkers for not doing any promotion, but seem how it all worked out. He let the art do the talking.

The video for Freedom’ 90 was genius. At the time, it was completely sensational. It was the height of the supermodels and having them in the video was brilliant. It said everything he needed to say.” Here’s my record and it’s fabulous; here’s my video and it’s even more fabulous !” The video is all people talked about, it was so huge. Once it was in your mind you wanted to buy the record.

I was unbelievably touched when George named me as one of his major three influences alongside such brilliant company- Freddie Mercury and Stevie Wonder. Lately, as part of the Listen Without Prejudice re-release promotion, I was asked if I could hear my influence in his music and I can hear little bits of me in him. When I write, I’m influenced by other people, too, so I know what it’s like, and I’m very flattered. There are songs like Praying For Time where I can hear little bits of myself, but I also hear a lot of John Lennon. There were so many different facets to George and you can hear his progression through early Wham ! on Faith and on his later albums. You can hear him grow as an artist and evolving from his original voice into more beautiful territory.

You can always tell a George Michael sung- from the intonation of his words and the way he breathes and the route he phrases. I will always recollect him for his wonderful music, his kindness and his beautiful voice. Voices like that don’t come along that are typically. He had a gift from God which he shared with the world- a genuinely beautiful instrument. His music continues to touch people all around the world. He was such a generous man who dedicated so much without wanting any advertising. He’ll be missed for his music, but above all his humanity. I was lucky to have him in my life.

Mariah Carey:’ It was so nice to sit down and have a proper conversation with him’

‘We
‘ We first met somewhere in London. We ran for a three-hour dinner, and we had a lot in common ‘: Mariah and George perform on stage for the finale at Live 8 London in Hyde Park on 2 July 2005. Photograph: Getty Images

He was in Wham! when I was in school, and I used to love Careless Whisper. My friend Rene and I would sing it in gym class. We used to sing that ballad all the time. That was before I truly knew about George, about Wham! It was Faith that became my favourite of his albums. It was a masterpiece, and it inspired and influenced me. I loved it so much.

I was a new artist on Sony when all the drama around Listen Without Prejudice happened, when there was the issue of him not wanting to appear in any of the music videos. I was behind the scenes[ Carey’s then- husband, Tommy Mottola, was head of Sony in the 1990 s, when Michael sued the label ]. I would hear the executives behind closed doors, and I didn’t like what I heard them saying because I was a huge fan of George.

We first met in England, somewhere in London. We ran for a three-hour dinner, and we had a lot in common: we both had these big issues such as Sony. I love Sony now, it’s a totally different place, but at the time we’d both gone through our own situations with the label, and we had quite the conversation about it. It was a little traumatic.

He was very kind. We both loved music. We both loved writing and making music. And I loved him. We had a long talk about a lot of things that I’m sure many people would be interested in knowing. It was a really nice experience for me. When you’ve grown up listening to somebody, and actually admiring them and their artistry, it’s nice to be able to sit down and have a proper conversation with them. Some of his songs are my favourite anthems ever. I was so happy we were given the opportunity to get to know each other.

When he passed away I was devastated. I was in Aspen for Christmas, and I didn’t really believe it at first. People make up so many rumour. It seemed surreal. I put on Faith again and simply sat and listened to it, and guessed again about what a masterpiece it is.

Way before he passed away, I decided to remake One More Try, one of my favourite of his songs. I had wanted to do a duet with him, and I was told that he would have loved to, but it was difficult at the time because he wasn’t doing too well. I wanted to do a live version, like when he and Elton did the duo[ of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me ].

A lot of people loved his music. He was one of the top artists we had. I wasn’t surprised by the reaction to his death- I was going through it, too. It was tough, and it’s so sad that we’re not going to get any new music from him now. He made a great contribution to the world.

Tatjana Patitz:’ I recollect getting really drunk on tequila and giving him advice’

Model
Model performance: Tatjana in a scene from the video of Freedom’ 90. Photograph: Brad Branson

George’s music was the backdrop to my upbringing in Sweden; he was my first crush as a young teen. My modelling career started in the early 80 s, and in 1987 I flew to LA to work with Herb Ritts. At the time, he was working on an ongoing publication project where he’d shoot a model and musician or actor together: I’d done one with Johnny Depp, and I was to do one with George. It was the first time we met and I was starstruck.

He was so lovely to work with- sweet and softly spoken, the opposite of what you think such a huge superstar will be. At the time it wasn’t OK to come out. A plenty of artists had to hide their sexuality, to the purposes of fans and record marketings. Things were very different then, so it must have been difficult for him. After the shoot, I maintained bumping into him in LA at various nightspots. I recollect getting really drunk on tequila one night and devoting him some unwanted “advice”.

A couple of years passed and my agent called to say George wanted me to be in the music video for his new sung, Freedom’ 90. I was really surprised, as the last day I’d seen him I’d been quite …[ inebriated ]. A plenty of people were use models in videos then, but usually accompanying the musicians. George didn’t want to be in the video at all. He’d asked David Fincher to direct it. I flew in on Concorde for the working day and we filmed at Merton Park Studios. That was the last day our world’s collided.

His death was a shock and it’s sad to think that the individuals who soundtracked a whole generation’s teen years- Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Prince and George Michael- are run. George was so very influential, a true pop star.

James Corden:’ He had empathy for people and a great sense of mischief’

‘I
‘ I owe George for the success of Carpool Karaoke ‘: James Corden and George Michael in the 2011 Comic Relief sketch. Photo: Toby Merritt/ Comic Relief

We’d written this sketch for Comic Relief with George in intellect[ the first-ever Carpool Karaoke , in 2011 ]. I’d heard he liked Gavin& Stacey so I hoped he’d be interested in working with me on it. George was in Australia, but his manager was happy to set up a bellow. I was told he’d ring me at 3.45 am. It was the strangest impression, get into bed and thinking:” When I wake up it’s going to be because George Michael is on the phone .” I define my alarm for 3.30 am and then ran and sat in the spare room waiting for the call. After initial small talk, I told him the idea and he loved it. I recollect him saying:” This is great. I’ll be back in the UK in a few weeks’ period and we’ll can fix a date to do it .”

We’d exchanged jokey text in the weeks leading up to shooting- it was his idea to wear matching tracksuits and he’d had a lot of input- so when it came to the day, and we got a message saying George had cancelled, I was amazed. It’s only retrospectively that I realise that when he was in Australia, he was feeling great- it was sunny and blue skies and he was feeling confident about the way he looked and was in a positive place. He’d come back to north London and had suddenly retreated back into himself and felt a little bit scared about doing anything publicly.

At the time, I sent him a text saying:” Look, I can’t begin to imagine how you’re feeling, and I can’t begin to imagine what life is like for you in London, but I merely want you to know that if you change your mind, we’d still love to do this, but I get it if you don’t .” He reacted, joking about something else, and then ran quiet. Finally, at around 11 pm that night I sent him a text saying:” Your silence is deafening my ego ,” and he called me two minutes later. We talked for half an hour and he said he wanted to sleep on it. I woke up to a text saying:” OK, let’s shoot it on Friday .”

He turned up and did it and he was just wonderful. I feel I owe George for the success of Carpool Karaoke . It was the first one and Mariah Carey agreed to do the second, having assured the one with George in it. I don’t think we’d have been able to volume the level of talent we have without him having been the first.

It must have been difficult to be George Michael. To be that famous all the time. For most people who get to that level, it’s fleeting, but George was consistently world famous for so long. From what I know from those that have experienced it, “the worlds biggest” you get, the smaller your world becomes, until it’s just a handful of people around you and the four walls of your house.

The thing I loved most about him was that he had an unbelievable sense of empathy for people and an innate understanding of the fight that we all have as humans. And that was counterbalanced with a great sense of mischief. I feel very fortunate that I ever got to be in his orbit.

George Michael: Freedom ‘ will air on Channel 4 on 16 October at 9.15 pm. Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 is likely to be rereleased on 20 October

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Karen Carpenter: starved of love, by Randy Schmidt | Extract

Karen Carpenter &# x27; s velvet voice charmed millions in the 70 s but behind the wholesome image she was desperately unhappy. In a disclosing new biography Randy Schmidt tells the full narrative of her losing battle with anorexia

The Carpenters were one of the biggest-selling American musical acts of all time. Between 1970 and 1984 brother and sister Richard and Karen Carpenter had 17 top 20 makes, including ” Goodbye to Love “, ” Yesterday Once More “, ” Close to You ” and ” Rainy Day and Mondays “. They notched up 10 gold singles, nine gold albums, one multi-platinum album and three Grammy awardings. Karen’s velvety voice and Richard’s airy melodies and meticulously crafted arrangings stood in direct contrast to the louder, wilder stone dominating the rest of the charts at the time, yet they became vastly popular, selling more than 100 mA records . Richard was the musical driving force but it was Karen’s effortless voice that lay behind the Carpenters’ hits. Promoted from behind the drums to star vocalist, she became one of the decade’s most instantaneously recognisable female singers .

But there was a tragic discrepancy between her public and private selves. Offstage, away from the spotlight, she felt urgently unloved by her mother, Agnes, who preferred Richard, and fought with low self-esteem, eventually developing anorexia nervosa from which she never recovered. She died at the age of 32.

In 1996 journalist Rob Hoerburger powerfully summed up Karen Carpenter’s afflictions in a New York Times Magazine feature: “If anorexia has classically been defined as a young woman’s struggle for control, then Karen was a prime nominee, for the two things she valued most in the world her voice and her mother’s love were exclusively the property of her friend Richard. At least she would control the size of her own body.” And control it she did. By September 1975 her weight fell to 6st 7lb( 41 kg ).

Karen’s quest to be thin seems to have begun innocently enough just after high school graduation when she started the Stillman water diet. Although she was never obese, she was what most would consider a chubby 17 -year-old at 10 stA 5lb.( She was 5ft 4in tall .) She levelled off at around 8st 8lb and maintained her weight by feeing sensibly but not starving herself. Even so, eating while on tour was problematic for Karen, as she described in 1973: “When you’re on the road it’s hard to eat. Period. On top of that, it’s rough to eat well. We don’t like to eat before a indicate because I can’t stand singing with a full stomach You never get to dinner until, like, midnight, and if you eat heavy you’re not going to sleep, and you’re going to be a balloon.”

Karen was shocked when she saw photos from an August 1973 Lake Tahoe concert where an unflattering outfit accentuated her paunch. She hired a personal trainer, who stimulated visits to her home and recommended a diet low in calories but high in carbohydrates. Instead of slimming down as she had hoped, Karen started to put on muscle and bulk up. Watching the Carpenters on a Bob Hope television special that autumn, she remarked that she had put one across some extra weight. Richard concurred she looked a bit heavier. She was discouraged and vowed she was going to “do something about it”. She fired her trainer, and immediately set out on a mission to shed the unwanted pounds on her own. She bought a hip cycle, which she used each morning on her bed, and because it was portable the equipment was packed and taken with her on tour.

“She lost around 20 lb and she looked fabulous, ” recollects Carole Curb, the sister of Karen’s then boyfriend, record executive Mike Curb. “She weighed 110 lb[ 7st 12 lb] or so, and looked amazing If she’d been able to stop there then life would have been beautiful. A plenty of us girls in that era went through moments of that. Everybody wanted to be Twiggy. Karen get carried away. She simply couldn’t stop.”

Having witnessed Karen’s meticulous routine of counting calories and scheming food intake for every dinner, Richard complimented her initial weight loss during a break from recording as the two dined at the Au Petit CafA( c ), a favourite French bistro on Vine Street near the A& M studios. “You look great, ” he told her.

“Well, I’m just going to get down to around 105. “

“A hundred and five? You look great now.”

Karen’s response worried Richard. In fact, this was the first time he paused to consider she might be taking the diet too far. Friends and family began to notice extreme changes in Karen’s eating habits, despite her tries at subtlety. She rearranged and pushed her food around the plate with a fork as she talked, which gave the appearance of eating. Another of her strategies involved offering samples of her food to others around the table. She would rave on about her delicious meal and then insist that everyone try it for themselves. “Here, you have some, ” she would say as she enthusiastically scooped heaps on to others’ plates. “Would you like to savour this? ” By the time dinner was over, Karen’s plate was clean but she had dispersed her entire snack to everyone else. Her mother, Agnes, caught on to this ploy and began to do the same in return. “Well, this is good, too, ” she would say as she set more food on to her daughter’s plate. This infuriated Karen, who realised she would have to find other ways to avoid eating.

By the time Karen’s weight fallen to 6st 6lb, she looked for ways to disguise the weight loss, especially around those she knew would stimulate commentaries or pester her to feed more. She began to layer her garment, a strategy her agent Sherwin Bash noticed in the early part of 1975. “She would start with a long-sleeved shirt and then set a blouse over that, ” he explains, “and a sweater over that and a jacket over that With all of it you had no notion of what she had become.”

But family friend Evelyn Wallace was shocked when she caught a glimpse of Karen’s gaunt figure as she sunbathed topless in the back garden of the Carpenters’ home in Downey, California, one afternoon. “They put this screen around her so nobody else could see her, ” Wallace explains. “She loved to runs lay out in the sunshine. I don’t know whether it was to get a tan or get away from her mother. Anyhow, I happened to go out to the kitchen for something and I considered her out there. She merely had on her little bathing suit shorts. You couldn’t tell whether it was a girl or a boy. She had absolutely no breasts.”

Karen’s new slim figure required that she purchase a new stage wardrobe, and she opted for a number of low-cut silky garments, some strapless or even backless. Bash was frightened to see her bony shoulders and ribs. Even her hip bones were visible through the thin layers of cloth. He asked Karen to rethink the wardrobe options before going on stage. “I talked her into putting a jacket on over the bare back and bare arms, ” he said, “but the audience watched it.”

There was often a collective gasp from the audience when Karen would take the stage. In fact, after a few depicts, Bash was approached by concerned fans who knew something was awfully wrong but assumed she had cancer or some other cancer. Even critics took note of her gaunt appearance. A review for Variety praised Karen’s emergence from behind the drums to centre stage but commented on her degenerating appearance. “She is terribly thin, almost a wraith, and should be gowned more becomingly.”

No one really understand why it is Karen wasn’t eating. To those around her the solution seemed simple: eat. “Anorexia nervosa was so new that I didn’t even has been able to pronounce it until 1980, ” band member John Bettis said. “From the outside the solution appears so simple. All a person has to do is eat. So we were constantly trying to jostle food at Karen My opinion about anorexia is it’s an attempt to have control something in their own lives you can do something about, that you can regiment. That just got out of control with her.”

Band members witnessed her exhaustion. She was lying down between shows, something she had rarely, if ever, done before. They were shocked to see how she could be flat on her back one minute and on stage singing the next. Even when doing back-to-back proves, Karen displayed “a tremendous amount of nervous energy”, said Bash. Unlike her parents, Bash had no qualms about tackling Karen on the issue of anorexia. “The fact that she was anorexic was discussed innumerable times There was every attempt to get her to seek professional help, but I believe her family was the kind of household where the mother would say, ‘We can take care of ourselves. We don’t need to have someone assistance. This is a family matter.'”

When Karen dieted, or “overdieted”, Bash explains, there was a rush of attention from the family, especially Agnes. “Karen had never had attention from Agnes before her mother doted exclusively on Richard so she liked it. The experts say that one of the things that seem to be drive young girls to overdiet is that they were oftentimes the kids that never got attention. It’s a style of get the love from their family that they never get before.”

By the autumn of 1975 Karen’s failing health could no longer be ignored. In addition to her skeletal appearance, she was mentally and physically exhausted. Although she made it through a series of indicates in LasVegas without a major incident, upon returning to Los Angeles she checked into Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, where she spent five days while doctors ran exams. “She is suffering a severe example of physical and nervous exhaustion, ” said Dr Robert Koblin in a statement to the press. “She had a hectic four-week schedule lined up in Europe but I could not allow her to go through with it. In my opinion it would have been highly dangerous to her long-term health.” Melody Maker reported that the Carpenters’ tour would have been the highest-grossing tour in Britain and that approximately 150,000 people were set to see them during the planned 28 -day European trek. Ticket marketings for the 50 displays, which sold out in a matter of hours, were refunded. It was reported that the Carpenters may have easily lost upward of $250,000 due to the cancelled concerts.

Under Agnes Carpenter’s close watch, Karen slept 14 -1 6 hours a day. “My mother supposed I was dead, ” she told biographer Ray Coleman. “I normally manage on four to six hours. It was obvious that for the past two years I’d been running on nervous energy.” Her weight eventually climbed to 7st 6lb.

Over the next five years Karen continued to struggle with anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Meanwhile Richard Carpenter fought and won a battle with Quaalude addiction. Then in June 1980, after an unsuccessful attempt to launch a solo career, Karen announced her engagement to a property developer called Tom Burris .

Thirty-nine-year-old Tom Burris met a number of Karen’s requirements in a potential husband. “He was very attractive, is a great pleasure, and he seemed very generous, ” said Carole Curb. Two months into their relationship, Burris told Karen he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. The couple’s plan for a year-long participation was ditched when they announced in July their plans for an August ceremony. The move to be married alarmed Karen’s friends. According to Karen ‘Itchie’ Ramone, Karen’s friend and the wife of producer Phil Ramone, “That’s when everybody’s antennas ran up.” Days before the bridal rehearsal Burris fell a bombshell: he had undergone a vasectomy prior to their session. Karen was dumbfounded. He offered to reverse the procedure but their chances at a family would be significantly lessened.

Karen felt betrayed. Burris had lied to her; he had withheld the information collected for the duration of their courtship and engagement, knowing full well that starting a family was at the top of Karen’s list of priorities. This was a bargain breaker. The bridal was off. Karen picked up the phone and called her mom. She wept to Agnes as she explained the deceit that left her with no choice but to cancel the ceremony. But Agnes told her she would do no such thing. Family and friends were travelling from all over the country to attend the event. Moreover, the wedding expenditures had already cost what Agnes considered to be a small fortune. “The invitations have gone out. There are reporters and photographers coming. People magazine is going to be there. The bridal is on, and you will stroll down that aisle. You stimulated your bed, Karen, ” she told her. “Now you’ll have to lay in it.”

Most of Karen’s family and friends had assumed Burris’s lifestyle and net worth are similar to her own. The expensive vehicles and other possessions gave him the appearance of a multimillionaire, but what others did not realise was that he was living well beyond his means.

“It wasn’t long after they got married that he started asking her for fund, ” recalls Evelyn Wallace. “He’d dedicate her some excuse, and she’d give him the money. He’d ask for $35,000 and $50,000 at a time. Finally it get down to the point where all she had left was stocks and bonds.”

As Itchie Ramone recalls, “Tom couldn’t afford the houses, the cars, her wedding ring; he couldn’t pay for anything.” Karen began to share with friends her growing distrusts about Tom , not only concerning his finances but also his lack of feelings for her. He was often impatient, and she admitted being fearful where reference is would occasionally lose his mood. “He could be very cruel to her, ” says Itchie. But Karen’s longing to be a mother provide proof stronger than her desire to leave her husband. At their house in Newport Beach Karen expressed to Burris her desire to get pregnant and start a family. His reply was brutal. She was still exclaiming hysterically when she called Itchie Ramone for supporting. Burris had told her he wouldn’t even consider having children with her and called her “a bag of bones”. According to Itchie, this matrimony was “the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was perfectly the worst thing that could have ever happened to her.”

Friends indicated she and Burris attempt marital counselling. Instead, the Carpenters prepared to leave for Europe and South America. Itchie went along to keep Karen company. In reality, however, according to Itchie, “Laxatives were her major companion. When we were in Paris we made quite a scene in a pharmacy across the street from our hotel about her needing to buy more laxatives. I indicated natural food groups that might alleviate her ‘constipation’ but she always won those arguments.”

Following a brief stop in Amsterdam, the Carpenters arrived at London’s Heathrow airport on Wednesday, 21 October 1981. They made numerous promotional appearances while in London, both in person and on television. On Thursday they videotapeed an interview for Nationwide , a popular news magazine on BBC television. Barely one minute into their visit, host Sue Lawley astonished Karen by casting light on her darkest secret. “There were rumours that you were suffering from the slimmer’s illnes anorexia nervosa, ” Lawley said. “Is that right? ” “No, I was just pooped, ” Karen said with an intense frown. “I was tired out.”

“You went down to about six stone in weight, I believe, didn’t you? ” Lawley asked. “I have no idea what ‘six stone in weight’ is, ” Karen responded, becoming perceptibly uncomfortable and increasingly agitated. She struggled to fake a giggle, rolling her eyes at the interviewer, who speedily converted the amount to approximately 84 lbs. “No, ” she said, shaking her head adamantly. “No.”

In actuality her weight was hovering around 5st 10 lbs even then. The interviewer’s continued efforts to pinpoint a reason for Karen’s skeletal appearance inspired Richard to come to his sister’s defense. “I don’t really feel that we should be talking about the weight loss, ” he told Lawley. “Maybe it’s better to take a pass on the whole thing. It’s truly not what we’re here for.”

“I am just asking you the issues to people want to know the answers to, ” Lawley replied.

Returning to Los Angeles in November 1981, Karen filed for divorce. Leaving behind the pieces of her broken matrimony, she set out on a year-long recovery mission, relocating to New York City’s Regency Hotel in January 1982. Manager Jerry Weintraub arranged for Karen and Itchie Ramone to share a two-bedroom suite. Cherry O’Neill, the eldest daughter of vocalist Pat Boone who had herself recovered from anorexia, had recommended Karen deem coming to the northwest and watching the doctor who helped her. But in Karen’s world, one name was synonymous with anorexia treatment, and that name was Steven Levenkron. He was a psychotherapist specialising in eating disorder and his successful book The Best Little Girl in the World had become a highly acclaimed television movie, which aired in May 1981. Levenkron agreed to treat her. He received APS1 00 for each hour-long conference five days a week, totalling $2,000 a month. “I liked Levenkron, at the least in the beginning, ” Itchie Ramone says. “No one truly knew why someone would get the ailment or how to treat it, so we were really looking to him to ‘save’ her.”

Arriving at Levenkron’s office at 16 East Seventy-Ninth in Manhattan, Karen weighed in at an alarming 5st 8lb. A week into their daily sessions, Karen admitted to Levenkron she was taking a large number of laxative tablets 80 -9 0 Dulcolax a night. This did not astonish Levenkron. In fact, it was a common practice for many anorexics. “For quite some time, I was taking 60 laxatives at once, ” acknowledges Cherry O’Neill. “Mainly because that was how many came in the box I would ingest the entire contents so as not to leave any evidence.”

What did stun Levenkron was Karen’s next casual disclosure. She was also taking thyroid drug 10 pills a day. He was shocked, especially when she has pointed out that she had a normal thyroid. Realising she was using the medication to speed up her metabolism, Levenkron confiscated the pills. This was the first case of thyroid medication abuse he had seen in his dozen years in the field.

According to Levenkron’s 1982 book, Treating and Overcoming Anorexia Nervosa , the patient must become totally dependent upon the therapist. Once the patient has transferred their dependence on to him, he tries to teach them how to create their own sense of identity, and he helps them disengage from their dependence on him with new behaviours, habits, and guessed patterns.

Karen took advantage of the beautiful spring climate and began a new exercise routine to and from her sessions with Levenkron a brisk two-mile round-trip stroll. This was yet another method to burn extra calories. Outwardly Karen seemed committed to the idea of therapy, but as evidenced by her daily strolling regimen, she was not as committed to making actual changes that would result in real progress. “She was still walking a lot, and she was exercising, ” Carole Curb says. “And then she was into throwing up and taking pills that construct you lose water-weight. Debilitating things like that.”

Several months into his conferences with Karen, Levenkron began to suspect that she had fallen off the wagon. He invited the Carpenter parents and Richard to a 90 -minute family therapy session at its term of office. “They did come to New York eventually, ” Itchie Ramone recalls, “and merely after a lot of nudging. By then, Karen seemed to be starting to turn the corner a little bit emotionally.”

The stigma surrounding mental illness and a need for therapy was frightening for the family, especially Agnes, who felt Karen was simply going overboard as far as dieting was concerned. If only she would stop being so stubborn and merely feed. Over the years the family tried every possible approach to get through to her and stimulate her feed. “Everyone around her “ve done everything” they could have humanly done, ” Richard said in 1993. “I tried everything the heart-to-heart, the cajole, the holler It can only induce you fucking. Plainly it wasn’t about to work, and I was upset.”

Levenkron explained that the family’s attempts to threaten or bribe Karen out of her behaviours would never attain them go forth. According to his volume, “Failure of the family to understand this renders division within the family that in turn outcomes in impressions of rage and guilt. The household atmosphere is chaotic, reinforcing the anorexic’s notion that she and no one else knows what is best for her.” Levenkron suggested to the family that Karen was in need of a more tactile, demonstrative kind of love. Karen wept uncontrollably during the course of its meeting. She told them how sorry she was for having put them in a situation where they felt a need to defend her upbringing, and she went in so far as to apologise for ruining “peoples lives”. “I think Karen genuinely needs to hear that you love her, ” Levenkron told the family.

“Well, of course I love you, ” Richard told her unreservedly.

“Agnes? ” The therapist tapped the mother’s shoe with his own.

Rather than address her daughter, Agnes explained how she preferred to be called Mrs Carpenter. “Well, I’m from the north, ” she continued. “And we just don’t do things that way.”

“Agnes couldn’t do it, ” says Itchie Ramone, who discussed the meeting with Karen and Levenkron after the family left. “She couldn’t do it In therapy you’re basically stark naked. Then your own mother can’t reach out to you? And the style she doted on Richard. Most children would try to dance as fast as they could to make their parents love them, but it was at that point that I guess Karen decided it was time to take a step back.”

After the meeting with Levenkron, Richard became angry with the treatment plan, which he thought to be worthless. He was upset that Karen had not checked herself into an inpatient facility as one would do to conquer substance abuse. He and his mothers returned to California and chose to keep their distance after this painful encounter. They built no farther attempts to contact Karen’s therapist. “What I find interesting, ” Levenkron stated in 1993, “is that in the entire time Karen was in New York, I got zero bellows from the family. I have never treated anyone with anorexia nervosa whose household didn’t call regularly because they were concerned.” Likewise, Richard claimed to have never received a call from Levenkron.

Karen and Itchie were surprised to learn that Levenkron was not an actual physician. “We used to call him ‘Dr Levenkron’ all the time, ” Itchie explains. “Then we found out that he wasn’t even a real physician. Any medical issues she had, we had to go see this other doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital.”

According to Evelyn Wallace, “Karen picked the incorrect guy to go to. He wasn’t even a doctor. It seemed like Levenkron was simply trying to talk Karen out of having anorexia, but she’d talk to him and she’d go back to the same routine.”

By the autumn of 1982 Karen depicted no real signs of progress. In fact, her walkings to and from sessions with Levenkron kept her body weight beneath the six stone mark. Itchie Ramone called Levenkron and voiced her concerns. “Look, Karen’s get thinner and thinner, ” she exclaimed. “Plus, it’s obvious she doesn’t have her usual energy anymore. When do you expect this turnaround? She’s just skin and bone.”

The therapist agreed that Karen seemed extra tired and was not reacting as quickly as he had hoped, and vowed to try another approach. After her next session with Levenkron, Karen asked Itchie if she could borrow a swimsuit. “What? ” Itchie asked. “There’s no pond in the hotel. Besides, it’s cold out! “

“No, I have to wear it tomorrow for Levenkron, ” Karen answered. The two stopped by the Ramones’s apartment to pick up a size 2 light green bikini are subordinate to Itchie. Karen changed into the bikini and emerged smiling. Itchie was mortified and unable to hide her reaction. “What’s the matter? ” Karen asked. “It fits.”

“Uh, yeah, it fits, ” she said hesitantly. “You can use it tomorrow, I guess.”

Returning to Levenkron the following day, Karen was asked to change into the bikini and stand in front of the office mirror. He urged her to survey and evaluate her body. “She didn’t genuinely find any problem with how she seemed, ” Itchie recalls. “In fact, she thought she was gaining a little weight. But she was 79 lb.”

In mid-September Karen phoned Levenkron and told him her heart was “beating funny”. She was quite upset, anxious, and confused. She complained of dizziness to an extent that she was unable to walk. Despite not being medically qualified, he recognised her symptoms as those of someone suffering extreme dehydration. Karen was admitted to New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital on 20 September 1982 to begin hyperalimentation, or intravenous feeding.

The next morning she went into surgery to have a small-bore catheter implanted within the superior vena cava( right atrium of the heart ). An unexpected complication was detected afterward that day when she complained to the nurse of excruciating chest pain, and X-rays uncovered the doctors had accidentally punctured one of her lungs in their attempts to insert the tube.

As her lung began to mend, Karen’s body quickly responded to the artificial means of feeding. The hyperalimentation process completely replaced all of her nutritional needs, and a precise daily calorie intake was dispensed through the catheter. This loss of control was known to often spark fear in patients, and doctors who resist hyperalimentation argue that it does not teach the patient to eat properly. However, Karen went along with it and gained 12 lb in only a few days. Solid foods were slowly reintroduced as the level of assistance from Karen’s IV minimized, and she continued to gain weight steadily. Unlike many other patients she seemed pleased and excited to display visitors her advance. Richard flew in to visit on 25 October and, like most who assured her there, was shocked and saddened. She was still horribly emaciated and barely identifiable by this stage. “You see how much better I look? ” she asked.

Richard nodded in agreement but only to appease his sister. In an attempt to divert the attention away from herself, Karen told him of other patients who were much worse off. But he was not sidetracked. “Karen, this is crap, ” he said abruptly. “Don’t you understand? This is crap! You’re going about this all the wrong way. This guy isn’t getting anything accomplished because you’re in a hospital now! “

By November Karen was eating three meals a day at Lenox Hill, and trying to stay positive about the weight gain, by then approaching the 30 lb mark. The return of her menstrual cycle, which had ceased during the previous year, seemed to signify an improvement in emotional and physical wellbeing.

On 16 November Karen visited Steven Levenkron for the last day and presented him with a farewell gift, a framed personal message in needlepoint. The large green-threaded words “you win I gain” served as tangible proof of the long hours Karen had spent alone in the hospital. Learning of her plan to leave, Levenkron reminded Karen she was abandoning the program much too soon, and that treatment takes at least three years. He indicated a therapist in Los Angeles so that she might continue a routine of some sort upon her return home, but she declined. She promised to call him and swore she would not take any more laxatives or diuretics. Agnes and Harold( Karen’s father) gratified up with her at Levenkron’s office that day. The couple had flown to New York City to bring their daughter and her 22 pieces of luggage home. It was obvious to most that Karen’s treatment was inadequate and objective too soon.

“She tried to get help, ” says her longtime friend Frenda Franklin. “She went to New York to try. It merely wasn’t the right way to do it. If this had happened in today’s world I believe Karen would have lived. I think we would have had a good shoot. They know much better. We were dancing in the dark.”

Karen ate heartily on Thanksgiving Day, much to the pleasure of their own families, and she even called Itchie Ramone that night to tell her of all she had feed. “She said to me, ‘I ate this and that and all my favourite things, ‘” she remembers. “She was very proud of herself then. We were all very proud of her. It seemed like progress.”

In the weeks following her return to Los Angeles Karen went back to shopping and socialising without delay. Although others felt she was still quite fragile and thin, Herb Alpert, who had first signed the Carpenters to A& M, assured Karen shortly after the New Year and remembered her looking terrific. She bounced into his office saying, “Hey, look at me, Herbie! What do you think? How do I seem? ” Alpert agreed that she looked happier and healthier than he had ensure her in some time, and felt she appeared to have won the combat. “I am so happy, ” she told him.

“I’m ready to record again, and Richard and I have been talking about getting the group together and performing.”

Despite her high spirits, she was taking more naps than usual and sometimes lying down by seven in the evening. Richard did not believe she was well, and he told her so. On Thursday 27 January Florine Elie drove to Century City for her weekly clean of Karen’s apartment at Century Towers. There the housekeeper made an unnerving discovery. “When I was running up there I found Karen, ” Elie says. “She was lying on the floor of her closet.” She gently shook Karen who awoke but was groggy. “Karen, is there something wrong? ” she asked.

“No, I am just so tired, ” she replied.

“Maybe you better go lie on your bed, ” she said, helping Karen up and tucking her into bed.

Florine checked on Karen again before leaving. By then she was awake and adamant she was OK.

Tuesday 1 February determined Karen dining with her friend, this time at Scandia on Sunset Boulevard. They were joined by stage producer Joe Layton, and the trio discussed plans for the Carpenters’ return to touring. Karen ate with enthusiasm and after dinner returned to Century Towers. This was the last day Richard would assure his sister alive.

The next day Karen spoke with Itchie Ramone, who was pregnant with her and Phil’s first child. Karen shared her plans for the week. She would sign the final divorce newspapers on Friday and then prepare to leave for New York. “That weekend, 6 February, she was going to hop on a plane and be there for the birth, ” Itchie recalls.

Shortly after midnight, biding overnight with her parents, Karen gone over her to-do listing with Frenda Franklin by phone, and finalised plans for the next day. “OK, I am going to drive in. There shouldn’t be a lot of traffic, ” she said. According to Frenda, Karen enjoyed keeping up with traffic reports. “Then we’re going to go get the red fingernail polish.” The two had a noon appointment for a manicure in festivity of her divorce.

On Friday morning, 4 February, Karen awoke and went downstairs to the kitchen, where she turned on the coffeepot her mom had prepared the night before. She went back upstairs to get dressed. When the coffee was ready, Agnes dialled the upstairs bedroom phone, but its ring, heard faintly in the distance, went unanswered. Agnes went to the foot of the stairs and called to her daughter but there was no response. Entering the room, Agnes procured Karen’s motionless, nude body lying face down on the floor of the walk-in wardrobe. Her eyes were open but rolled back. She was lying in a straight line and did not appear to have fallen. “She had just laid down on the floor and that was it, ” Agnes recalled.

The autopsy report listed the cause of death as “emetine cardiotoxicity due to or as a consequence of anorexia nervosa.” The finding of emetine cardiotoxicity( ipecac poisoning) revealed that Karen had poisoned herself with ipecac syrup, a well-known emetic commonly recommended to induce vomiting in cases of overdose or poisoning.

Levenkron claimed to know nothing of Karen’s use or abuse of ipecac. In their telephone call she assured him she was maintaining her new 7st 10 lb figure and had totally suspended utilize of all laxatives. He never suspected she was resorting to something much more lethal.

In a radio interview videotapeed soon after Karen’s death, Levenkron discussed the autopsy findings: “According to the LA coroner, she discovered ipecac and started taking it every day. There are a lot of women out there who are using ipecac for self-induced vomiting. It creates painful cramps, tastes terrible, and it does another thing that the public isn’t well informed. It slowly dissolves the heart muscle. If you take it day after day, every dose is taking another little piece of that heart muscle apart. Karen, after fighting bravely for a year in therapy, went home and apparently decided that she wouldn’t lose any weight with ipecac, but that she’d make sure she didn’t gain any. I’m sure she believed this was a harmless thing she was doing, but in 60 days she had accidentally killed herself. It was a shocker for all of us who treated her.”

In one of Levenkron’s most recent books, Anatomy of Anorexia , the author boasts of his above-average recovery rate in working with those suffered by eating disorder. “In the last 20 years I have treated nearly 300 anorexics, ” he wrote. “I am pleased to state that I have had a 90 per cent recovery rate, though tragically, one fatality.” That was Karen Carpenter.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Nile Rodgers:’ Sadiq Khan seems like a totally cool guy’

The Chic frontman talks about Bowie tributes, working with Noel Gallagher and inviting Londons new mayor to his festival

Hello, Nile! Is it actually 4am where you are now?
Yes! Im in a auto on the way to the airport.

Youve said in the past that you dont sleep much. Do you think dreaming less has limited or boosted your creativity?
It has been this style since I was five years. It seems mathematically impossible for me to feel good, but I do! I actually believe I dream more even if Ive only been asleep for five minutes, Ill always wake up thinking its the next day. I go right into REM sleep.

Youre bringing Fold, the festival you curate, to London the summer months . Have you invited Londons new mayor?
That would be genius. Just before I left my house, they had Sadiqs statements about Donald Trump on CNN. I would love him to come, that would be so super-cool. Ill try and way him down. He can have VIP tickets, on me!

Itll be the first music celebration ever held at Fulham Palace . Do you think theyre worried people might dig up all the bishops interred there?
Well, I hope that doesnt happen! Folds reputation is very safe, and people are just there to have a good time. I curate each one like a local celebration, thinking about what will play well in that area. On the first night, I have Alison Moyet and the Thompson Twins, then we work our style up to funk night.

And Becks playing on the second night!
Yeah! He performed with me at the last Fold in New York. I know Beck quite well we met at an Elton John party where Chic were the entertainment. I pulled Beck aside on the red carpet, told him I wanted to work with him. We ended up in the studio. Thats a perk of Fold I set aside a week during rehearsals to work with as many artists as I can on new recordings.

Noel Gallagher lately said he was a big fan. Would you record with him?
If I worked with Noel, wed figure out something great. I love him! Hes astounding. He must be incredibly shy, because he always threatens to come to our gigs and never shows up. Perhaps I should invite him to Fold. Dude, you merely gave me an idea! Lets get him on stage at Fold. Im going to try to get in touch with him when I get back home.

A new Chic album was due out last year. Is it finished yet?
Originally, the album was going to be based on unreleased Chic material, but I started to feel that, as an artist, Ive learned a lot in the 20 years since[ Chics bass guitarist] Bernard[ Edwards] passed away, and it felt unjust to limit the album. But Im working on it. I was in California a couple of weeks ago working with Lady Gaga, and the next day I started writing a anthem with Miguel; it was so good I sang it to Justin Timberlake over the phone and he loved it.

Can you sing the song to me now?
I cant do that! The hooking will be out there and someone will sample it. But its truly catchy. I cant talk to you about the Lady Gaga music, either, but I can tell you one thing its funky.

Nile
Nile Rodgers perfoms at Hyde Park in 2015 Photograph: Joseph Okpako/ Redferns via Getty Images

As well as the London celebration, youve got a Fold happening in New York, featuring Bette Midler and the Village People. What does Bette have planned?
We havent figured it out yet. Its the first time were performing together, but we go back a long way when Chic were signed to Atlantic and had our first reach, the president of Atlantic wanted us to work with Bette Midler or the Rolling Stones. Instead, we chose Sister Sledge and came up with sungs like Lost in Music and Hes the Greatest Dancer.

So, in a parallel universe, the Rolling Stones objective up recording We Are Family?
Well, therein lies the rub: the Stones had their way of doing things. I dont think theyd have sat back on the lounge and let me and Bernard write all their songs.

Whats your favourite Village People deep cut?
I like the record that broke them San Francisco. Their first album is compositional genius; I heard it around the same day I heard Donna Summers Love to Love You Baby, and those records inspired me to be submitted with the whole Chic concept. People insure them as a novelty, but what is Kiss? What are Slipknot? Its funny that stone bands do the novelty thing and get away with it.

Did you view Gagas Grammys Bowie tribute as a success?
Yes and more. We had a massive undertaking: Gaga really wanted to tell Davids story in music, and I had to remind her we only had a five-minute segment. We figured out a way to make it run. A lot of people dont understand that we gave a lot of thought to it; it was just as much my input as hers.

Good luck with the festival, Nile!
Thanks! And if you can hook me up with the mayor, tell him its an open invitation! He seems like a entirely cool guy.

Ill get him to bring Noel along.
Awesome. That “wouldve been” ultimate hookup.

Nile Rodgers plays Fold festival on 26 June

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Sean Paul: ‘Drake and Bieber do dancehall but don’t credit where it came from’

A decade after he defined the genre in the 2000 s, the Jamaican artist is having another moment. He explains how he plans to take dancehall back to its roots

I will have some of dat green juice. Sean Paul has barely stepped over the threshold of Westlake Recording Studios, located in the sprawl of West Hollywood, when he politely attains the request. Knowing of Pauls life-long love affair with marijuana, his muse for many a club hit over the years, I presume this is a smoke-free route to enjoy the herb. But when Ritchie his security guard comes back moments afterward, it is with a cold-pressed kale concoction in hand.

Thats quite the clean-living transformation, I remark. Sean Paul grins and leans back, relaxed, against a grand piano. Gone are his signature cornrows( or, afterward, his not-so-signature mohawk ), and he has given up smoking weed due to asthma. It turns out that I wasnt far wrong after all. Oh, I still like to get high, it helps with the imagination, he says. Except now I simply have it in tea.

Life has clearly changed since the early 2000 s, when Sean Paul Henriques brought the booty-bouncing rhythm of dancehall out of the Kingston clubs and onto the world stage. The Jamaican artist was once the go-to human for dancefloor dynamite, sungs that exhorted us all to shake that booty non-stop, when the beat drops just keep swinging it. Get Busy, Gimme The Light, the Beyonc-featuring Baby Boy, Breathe with R& B singer Blu Cantrell these ballads became commonplace, at carnival, in a bougie Chelsea bar or a suburban Oceana club. Back then he was among the worlds pop elite.

But while his 2002 album Dutty Rock launched dancehall into the mainstream, musical tastes inevitably moved on. And though Paul himself has been critical of some of dancehalls homophobic content, there was outcry over the derogatory lyrics of contemporaries like Beenie Man and Elephant Man. Soon the genre fell out of favor and out of the following chart. Pauls 2005 followup The Trinity was popular among fans but panned by critics, and he remembers his fade-out from global fame a little remorsefully.

Sean
Paul and Beyonc in 2003. Photograph: Dimitrios Kambouris/ WireImage

Since about 2009, I was fighting that worry that I wasnt relevant no more, he says, as we sit in the windowless womb of a studio. It does emphasize you out at times. I was like, I was up here and now Im nothing to people. His last album, 2014 s Full Frequency, sold fewer than 5,000 transcripts in the US. In 2015, the Grammy award-winning performer left his label and became an independent artist for the first time in a decade.

Over the past year, however, dancehall has been dutty wining its route back into the worldwide consciousness. Diplo, long in debt to dancehalls digital rhythms, brought them to an even wider audience as Major Lazer. Last year, Lazers track Lean On became the most streamed single of all time, albeit one thats since been given the dubious title of tropical pop. Then came Justin Biebers mega-hit Sorry, which teamed a skeletal dancehall beat with pure pop and was a accompanied by dancehall moves in the dancing video. Never one to be left out, Drake openly drew on dancehall throughout Views From The Six. Dancehall talent Assassin, meanwhile, attained his mark both on Kanyes Yeezus and, more recently, Kendrick Lamars To Pimp A Butterfly.

Its an international resurgence that Sean Paul has witnessed with both amusement and scepticism. Hes even saw dancehall influences in artists who might be considered unlikely adopters of Jamaican riddims. You can definitely hear it in Taylor Swift, he says. You know that song? He launches into a high-pitched rendition of the chorus of Shake It Off. See, theres definitely dancehall in there.

One thing was for sure, though: if dancehall was coming back, so was he. Sean Paul still lives in Jamaica, but we satisfy in LA because this is where he has come to work on his new album. The surprise success of Cheap Thrills, his recent chart-topper with one-woman pop hit machine Sia which not only reacquainted the starring with the top of the charts but also landed Sia her first Billboard number one has spurred him to finish his new material speedily. As the 43 -year-old says himself , no one is better placed to bring back some authentic dancehall.

He is outspoken about the new generation of artists whove appropriated the sound of dancehall without acknowledging its roots. It is a sore point when people like Drake or Bieber or other artists come and do dancehall-orientated music but dont credit where dancehall received from and they dont necessarily understand it, he says, shaking his head. A lot of people get upset, they get sour. And I know artists back in Jamaica that dont like Major Lazer because they think they do the same thing that Drake and Kanye did they take and take and dont credit.

While Paul says hes a fan of Drake( I love some of his songs but I dont think hes the best rapper) the bashment hook and patois phrases being implemented in Opinions From The Six are assured by Paul as less of a homage to dancehall and more of an exploitation. Hes not alone. In May, respected dancehall figure Mr Vegas openly attacked Drake as a fake for not fully crediting his Jamaican influences.

A major problem, Paul adds, is that many of the authentic dancehall artists in the Caribbean who gain popularity online cant get visas to travel in the US, both to tour and work with producers, because they have sentences on their records. One crossover artist Popcaan, for example, who appeared on Opinions From The Six and has furthermore worked with Jamie xx, has, according to Billboard, struggled to work in America because of past marijuana-related offences.

Sean Paul is equally dismissive of tropical home, a music genre which began as a way to describe the soft, Balearic-infused synth of DJs like Kygo but has since been attached to tracks which clearly draw from dancehall. Rolling Stones review of Rihannas Work described it as a tropical house-flavored track featuring Drake while a Wall Street Journal article described how Biebers What Do You Mean? was pioneering the Caribbean, beach-party vibe of tropical house in the mainstream. Its no astound that the genre has been accused of whitewashing Jamaican influences out of popular music.

Sean
Paul in the studio. Photograph: Bampson

But Paul does acknowledge that major label artists have adapted the dancehall voice for current savors, and this really is styles he has to look to, too, if he wants relevancy again. Dancehall is back but this time its also infused with Afrobeat, with hip-hop, with trap, and thats fine with me, he says. Sure, I would like what we do in Jamaica, that authentic dancehall, to be on top, but it simply isnt. So I want this album to bridge that gap.

Over the past year, hes penned more than 200 tracks, both on his own and in collaboration with musicians and producers back in Jamaica, and recruited a series of starry producers, such as Blood, who was behind Biebers Sorry. Theres a way with Wiz Khalifa as well as another with one of this years breakthrough pop superstars, yet to be announced. It doesnt sound too far off familiar Sean Paul territory, only with more EDM drops.

Pauls attitude is more one of pragmatism than puritanism when it is necessary to inducing sure this album recurs his successes of a decade ago. Hell seemingly work with anyone who is up for it. I merely worked with Clean Bandit, and another English pop group what are they called? There is an awkward pause as he tries to remember. Oh yeah, Little Mix.

The one constant is Pauls ole intent to construct people dance: hes the first to acknowledge he makes party music because it was one of the few levellers he had as a child. Growing up in a middle-class suburbium in Kingston, Paul was just 13 when his daddy was sentenced to 15 years in jail for drugs offences. As a outcome, his mum worked two jobs to keep the family afloat.

Music a sense of equality with everyone, and a release on the weekends when I didnt think about father in prison, or mum having to conflict, or me feeling like an outcast, he says. It was just like, This song is fucking dope, and that daughters hot, let me wine on her. Thats what I want my music to keep doing.

Now that hes married, and with a baby on the way, Sean Paul may no longer be the lothario we once knew( South American girls, Europe daughters, Harlem girls, Jamaica girls, Down Under girls he actually did love us all ), but his talent for get bodies sweaty on a dancefloor has not softened. As Blood takes to the desk and begins detonation out one of the new beats recorded in Jamaica, the urge to shake that thing is undeniable , no matter that were in a cramped studio. And that, right there, is why we still need Sean Paul.

Sean Paul performs at Bestival, Isle of Wight, 11 Sep, and Electric Ballroom, NW1, 13 Sep

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Dad Loses 70 lbs After Divorce To Become MMA Fighter

Keith Rocheville has find some tough times. Two years ago, at the age of 38, he was forced to move back in with his parents after going through an nasty divorce and losing his task .

I was depressed, in the worst routes. I couldn’t leave the house. I basically stayed in a room all day, strolled to the corner if I bummed$ 5 from my mama. I was 38. Pathetic.

The troubles had started when his matrimony hit the boulders and he lost job. Keith was unable to pay the Child Support for kids he had from a previous marriage, fallingso far behind that the court deemed it a misdemeanour. This in turn meant that his drivers license was revoked.

Trying to save the marriage and family I had, I utilized what little I made to pay our bills. We owned a really reasonably nice home, the only I had ever owned.Our matrimony simply couldnt be saved, and I eventually fell so far behind in is in favour of state charged me with a felony.

Things get even worse for Keith. After moving back in with his mothers he had started watching an old flame again, but when Keith was asleep at a pool party she went through his phone and considered a text he’dsent to a friend stating that he wasnt planning on sticking around.

I woke up to being be borne by each leg by a human, floating across the lawn.They flung me in the gravel drive and it was dead quiet. They merely started stomping me in silence. All I could do was encompass my face.

Keith was left with a separated shoulder, two broken ribs and a broken clavicle. He then find himself homeless. After sofa hopping for a while two brothers brought him back to California and sent him to find a doctor, who revealed that Keith had suffered a transgressed back but simply hadnt realised it.

The continued stress caused Keith to end up in a psych ward twice and he began to lose weight. He was struggling to find a job as he wasnt permitted to drive. He eventually decided to move back to St. Louis to live with some friends who were into health and fitness.

I ran in the mornings and I operated at night. I would do push-ups and simply body weight exerts at home twice a day, at least once at worst. Only a small amount of all this because I wasnt very strong. I would take a day off when I felt wore down.

[ His friends] dont eat wheat products, rye, barley. Gluten-free. I thought it was obnoxious at first, having to worry about what I ate was never a problem, I liked to cook and I ate healthy, just too much .

Keith was knocking around with friends who were into wrestling and boxing. The owned of the Cage Championship tournament in Jefferson City approached him and asked him to enter a fight. Keith dropped his body weight from 220 lbs to 147 lbs in order to enter the featherweight division.

I lost I was too eager to demonstrate myself and I only was off my time.I didnt have any discipline. I had two years worth of feeling bottled up into walking into the octagon.

Keith has now procured himself a chore as a carpenter and is able to pay child support to his children again. Whilst Keith has done well to turn their own lives around, he may still find jail period for his past troubles.

I still have nothing. I spent six weeks in district incarcerate this summer, I have a court date for felony support on 19 th. There is no help for someone like me, I merely cant get back on my feet. I dont have medication or alcohol problem, I merely have life problem.

I am emotionally 200 per cent better. My spirit is in a good place, its merely not the same without my kids to share it with.

Keith is now developing hard or his next battle. Lets hope he kicks some ass .

H/ T: Daily Mail

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