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Taylor Swift on Facing Opposition to Releasing "1989": "The Biggest Struggle Turned into the Biggest Triumph"


Courtesy The Hollywood ReporterTaylor Swift is one of the cover stars of The Hollywood Reporter's "Rulebreakers" issue, and inside she talks about the opposition she ran into when she tried to break some rules by switching genres with the release of her mega-selling album, 1989

Asked what her biggest challenge of the year has been, Taylor tells The Hollywood Reporter it was convincing her team that releasing a pop album was the right move for her.  "I get kind of called in front of a group of people who have known me and worked with me for years who would sit down and say, 'Are you sure you want to call the album 1989? We think it's a weird title,'" she recalls, adding that they also asked her, "Are you sure that you want to put an album cover out that has less than half of your face on it? Are you positive that you want to take a genre that you have cemented yourself in and completely switch to a new one that you are a newcomer to?"

Taylor, though, stuck to her guns.

"Answering all those questions with, 'Yes, I'm sure,' that was, I think, something that really frustrated me at the time -- like, 'Guys, don't you understand, I promise, this is what I'm dying to do!'" she explains, but notes, "The biggest kind of struggle turned into the biggest triumph when it worked out."

Taylor also broke some rules this year when she decided to pull her music from Spotify.  She faced criticism for the move, but she also got a lot of unexpected support.

As she tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I didn't think that it would be shocking to anyone. With as many ways as artists are personalizing their musical distribution, it didn't occur to me that this would be anything that anyone would talk about. But I could never have expected so many text messages, emails and phone calls from other artists, writers and producers saying 'thank you.'"

Other celebrities featured in the publication's "Rulebreakers" issue include Angelina Jolie and Chris Pratt.

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Maroon 5's Guitarist Teases New Wedding Crashers-Themed Video, Talks "Animals" Clip Controversy


Lisette M. Azar/CBX

Last week, word came that Maroon 5's video for their new single, "Sugar," would feature scenes of them crashing real-life weddings.  Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine says this plan -- showing up unannounced at actual couples' nuptials -- could have gone horribly wrong, but amazingly, it didn't.

"I will say that it couldn't have gone any better," James tells ABC News Radio.  "Basically, we approached the grooms. So the grooms knew about the surprise, but it was a surprise for the brides. And we were behind a screen and we start playing the song, and the screen drops, and everyone was just really stoked. And I think it's really going to be one of our best videos yet." 

No word yet on when that video will premiere.  Meanwhile, the video for the band's current hit "Animals" caused some controversy earlier this year, because it cast Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine as a creepy stalker who hangs around -- literally -- in a meat locker -- when he isn't sneaking into the bed of a woman played by his wife Behati Prinsloo.  The clip was condemned by an anti-sexual assault group, who called it " a dangerous depiction of a stalker's fantasy — and no one should ever confuse the criminal act of stalking with romance."

"Yeah, a little bit," says James when asked if he was surprised at the controversy.  "We've made so many videos that we were stretching a little bit to try something new and we sort of approached it like a little mini-movie. So yeah, I was a little surprised from all the controversy. But I think it certainly wasn't our intention to offend anyone."

Meanwhile, "Animals" itself has become a massive hit, even outpacing "Maps," the band's first single from their album V.  James says unlike the controversy over the video, the single's success hasn't been a surprise.

"Well, I always believed in it as a song. I always kinda felt like it was the biggest song on the record,"he tells ABC News Radio. "It just has one of those undeniable ear worms in it that you can't kinda sort of get rid of. And I really love the production."  

Fans will hear both "Sugar" and "Animals" when Maroon 5 kicks off their big tour this February. First, though, they'll ring in 2015 with two shows in Las Vegas on December 30 and 31.

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Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Perform Songs from "Cheek to Cheek" During "Tonight Show" Visit


PRNewsFoto/Live Nation EntertainmentTony Bennett and Lady Gaga, visited The Tonight Show Wednesday to talk about their recently released chart-topping album Cheek to Cheek, and perform two numbers.

Bennett, 88, recalled a piece of advice he received from a New York City cab driver years ago, who declared, "All you entertainers are lousy."

Bennett said when he asked the driver what he meant, the cabbie explained, "It's not like the old days...Once [entertainers] used microphones...everyone's a phony...You have to sing without a microphone."

The legendary crooner told Fallon he took the cabbie's advice, and to this day, he ditches the microphone every time he performs in a concert hall.

Lady Gaga shared the story of how the unlikely duo came up with the idea of recording an album together after Bennett happened to catch her singing some standards at a charity event.

"I was singing that night and I decided to sing some standards, because you know, there were a lot of rich people in the audience," she told Fallon. "So I was singing some songs and then after the show was over, they said Mr. Bennett would like to meet you and I said, 'Oh, I can't believe that Tony Bennett watched me sing a standard. What was I thinking?"

Bennett obviously liked what he heard, because, according to Gaga, "We met backstage...and he asked me right then and there to make a record, and I said, 'Yes.'"

Later, the duo performed a couple of songs from their Cheek to Cheek album: the title track and "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)."

Fallon later posted a web exclusive of Gaga singing the Cole Porter song "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye."

 

 

 

 

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Tove Lo Cancels Shows, Needs Vocal Cord Surgery


Photo credit: Johannes HeljeTove Lo will open for Katy Perry in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday and Saturday night, but then she plans to return home to Sweden to take care of a serious matter: she needs surgery on her vocal cords.

Tove wrote on Instagram, "Excited to be here and play my last two shows on the #PrismaticWorldTour before heading home for my surgery. Such an amazing year I've had. Feels very epic to end it on the other side of the world.. In a place I've never been."

On Tuesday, she posted a lengthy message on Twitter explaining that she has "cysts" on her vocal cords that need "surgery as soon as possible."  She added, "It breaks my heart to have to say I have to cancel all shows for the next two months...this is hard 'cause if I don't have my voice, I have nothing BUT I will be fine and I hope you all understand that I really can't wait for this to be over and done with so I can tour my ass off in every country in the world!!!! And write an insane amount of music!!!!"

She later tweeted, "The second I'm back on my feet I'm gonna tour the f**k out of this world."

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Watch the Trailer for Backstreet Boys Documentary "Show 'Em What You're Made Of"


Francesca FoleyA trailer for the upcoming documentary Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of is now online, and it shows the group discussing everything from their early beginnings to their troubles with Lou Pearlman, the man who first put them together.

The documentary, which arrives in theaters and on VOD on January 30, features AJ McLean saying, "From 1999 til about 2002, we were the biggest band in the world...then, it just stopped."

In the trailer, we see scenes of the group recording in the studio in the present day, discussing Pearlman's financial misdeeds, and talking about how they had to go to Europe to start their career because at the time, the American music scene had no interest in boy bands.

There's also behind-the-scenes footage of rehearsals, plus scenes of the group onstage and, of course, screaming fans. "We've seen the best and worst of each other," says AJ.  "20 years is a long time, for anybody, let alone...a buncha dorks jumping around onstage, singing and dancing."

The documentary's title comes from a song on the Backstreet Boys' most recent album In a World Like This.


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Selena Gomez Didn't "Throw a Fit" at Taylor Swift's Birthday Party


ABC/Randy HolmesDespite a report, it appears that Selena Gomez did not, in fact, "throw a fit" at Taylor Swift's birthday party last week.

US Weekly reported that at the party, Selena "got emotional" over Justin Bieber, and shouted, "No one understands me! My boyfriend doesn't even understand me," while the other partygoers just "stared" at her.  However, Selena's rep tells Gossip Cop, "There is not one ounce of truth," to the story, and the website reports that nobody who attended the bash witnessed the alleged incident.

The party, which took place in the wee hours of December 13, featured a star-studded guest list that included Beyonce, Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Nick Jonas, Sam Smith, Charli XCX and many other stars.

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Taylor Swift Notches Fifth Week at #1 with "Blank Space"


Heather Wines/©2014 CBS Broadcasting IncTaylor Swift's now been filling in the blank space on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks.  Her single, "Blank Space," has now remained at #1 longer than her two previous #1s, "Shake It Off" -- which topped the chart for four weeks -- and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," which spent three weeks in pole position.

Helping to keep Taylor on top was her performance of the song at the Victoria's Secret 2014 Fashion Show.  Another artist who appeared on that show with her also benefited from the exposure:  Ed Sheeran, who sees his new single "Thinking Out Loud" jump from #24 to #6. This is Ed's second U.S. top 10, following "Don't."

A third artist who sang on the Victoria's Secret show, Hozier, holds at #2 with "Take Me to Church."

Elsewhere, Meghan Trainor can now boast two top 5 hits, as "Lips Are Movin'," the follow-up to her eight-week #1 "All About That Bass," jumps to #4.  Sam Smith also scores his second top 5 hit, as "I'm Not the Only One" jumps to #5.

What's next for Taylor? Sources tell Billboard that her song "Style," which she also performed on the fashion show, will be the next single from her album 1989.

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Ariana Grande, Train, Gavin DeGraw to Perform on "Disney Parks 'Frozen' Christmas Celebration"


Image Group LA/ABCAfter you're done opening presents on Christmas Day, you can check out some great music on Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration, airing on ABC.

The show, hosted by Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, will feature Ariana Grande performing from Walt Disney World, singing "Santa Tell Me" and her cover of "Last Christmas" by Wham!  Gavin DeGraw will perform from Disney's Hawaiian resort Aulani, singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and his single "Fire."  Train will perform from Disneyland in California, singing their seasonal tune "Shake Up Christmas."

In addition, X Factor winners Alex & Sierra will perform "Love Is an Open Door," from Disney's Frozen, while YouTube star Lexi Walker will perform her acclaimed version of Frozen's "Let It Go."

There will also be plenty of Frozen-themed festivities, including appearances by Elsa and Anna, as well as some touching reunions of real-life families.  The show is set to air at 10 a.m. ET but will vary depending on your location. Check your local listings.

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Madonna Addresses Album Leak, Thanks Fans for Not Listening


Image credit: Mert & MarcusA few weeks ago, Madonna and her manager were furious when a couple of songs from her upcoming album leaked online.  Now the entire album has apparently found its way online, but some fans, aware of Madonna's feelings on the subject, have taken to Twitter to say they won't listen.   The Queen of Pop has now taken to Instagram to thank those fans, and to caution them that what's out there isn't exactly the finished product.

"Thank you for not listening! Thank you for your loyalty!" Madonna writes in her post.  "Thank you for waiting and if you have heard please know they are unfinished demos stolen long ago and not ready to be presented to the world."

The alleged album is being referred to by one of two titles: Iconic or Unapologetic B**ch, that last one being one of Madonna's frequently-used hashtags.  The alleged track listing features song titles that have already been confirmed or rumored, such as "Rebel Heart," "Make the Devil Pray," "Messiah," "Living 4 Love," and "B**ch I'm Madonna."

Madonna's new album, which includes production and songwriting collaborations from the likes of Avicii, Diplo and Ryan Tedder, as yet has no official title or release date.

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Demi Lovato Reveals the Body Part She Loves the Best


Giuliano BekorA behind-the-scenes video documenting Demi Lovato's fashion shoot for Allure magazine can be seen on the magazine's website. In it, Demi talks about what make her feel sexy -- and it's not what you'd expect.

"What makes me feel sexy is being able to rock no makeup, wherever I go," she says. "Also wearing pants or skirts that showcase my beautiful ass..ets."  She laughs, "It's my butt.  I love my butt.  Hopefully it stays that way, 'cause this ain't going anywhere!"

Demi also explains that it's none other than Kim Kardashian who's helped her feel better about embracing her booty and being a curvy woman.

"I really learned to accept my body when the trend started becoming less about super super skinny models that was completely unattainable for anyone to have," she explains. "Kim Kardashian: say whatever you want about her, but she has revolutionized what's accepted with curves nowadays."

Demi will appear in the January issue of Allure.

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"Ghost" Singer Ella Henderson Sees American Success as "a Marathon, Not a Sprint"


James MoriartyIn a year that's seen a batch of Brits storm the U.S. pop charts, from Sam Smith to Jessie J to Rixton, you can add Ella Henderson to the mix.  After coming in sixth place on the 2012 version of The X Factor and being signed by Simon Cowell, Ella's already hit #1 on the U.K. single and album charts.  Now she's making inroads in the U.S. thanks to her hit "Ghost," which boasts a magic ingredient: the songwriting talents of OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder.

"There's something special with Ryan," Ella tells ABC News Radio.  While she also collaborated with other top songwriters for her debut album, including Babyface, she says Ryan is the one who really "got" her, and that's why "Ghost" is such a great song.

"He just really took my character and he just understood me as a person and brought it out through my music," she explains. "And it's soulful and it's anthemic and it, you know, it's something that I think that my music should represent."

Working with him was "insane," adds Ella, telling ABC News Radio, "He's like Tigger -- you bounce off his energy.  You know, I'm quite chilled [out] in the studio...so I guess our personalities really worked out well together in a studio situation."

Ella's debut album, Chapter One, came out in October in the U.K., but it's arriving in the U.S. on January 13.  Ella's already made multiple appearances to promote it, including on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, NBC's The Voice and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and she says she's thrilled to have the opportunity to be in the U.S. and introduce herself to a whole new set of fans.

"It's just so exciting to be out here," she tells ABC News Radio. "I think it's always this huge thing when a U.K. artist ever attempts coming out here, to crack it, [or] break it as we say.  But,  dunno, I kinda see it as a marathon, not a sprint.  I just want to enjoy it when I'm out here and there's something refreshing about coming out to the States."

"You know, it's so vast, so huge, that you almost feel like you have to start from the beginning," she adds. "And I love that feeling of having to, like, graft and work again." 

Look for Ella to make another major TV appearance before the year is out: stay tuned.

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Nicki Minaj Was a Waitress with an Attitude


Douglas Gorenstein/NBCCan you imagine being a customer at a restaurant where Nicki Minaj is your waitress?  During a visit to The Tonight Show Tuesday to plug her new album The Pinkprint, Nicki talked about some of her past jobs and admitted that when she worked as a waitress, she wasn't very friendly.

When host Jimmy Fallon brought up the "Anaconda" singer's role as Lydia, a mean office assistant to Cameron Diaz's character in the film The Other Woman, Nicki admitted that she too was guilty of having a mean streak.

"Well you know I was an office manager and I kinda would call out any time I wanted," she told Fallon. "And then when I was a waitress I was really [nasty] to the customer."

Nicki said she worked at several restaurants in New York City, including Red Lobster. She joked that she probably waited on some of the people in the studio audience.

Nicki also told Fallon she originally wanted to be an actress and then wanted to sing, but found it "boring."  That's when she then decided to rap because "that's what all the dudes were doing."  She told Fallon she thought being a female rapper would make her "cooler."

Later in the show, Nicki performed the tune "Bed of Lies" with singer/songwriter Skylar Grey.

The Pinkprint, which was released on Monday, also features appearances from Lil Wayne, Drake and Chris Brown.

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Justin Timberlake Appears in Camp Sketch During Surprise Visit to "The Tonight Show"


Douglas Gorenstein/NBCJustin Timberlake paid a surprise visit to The Tonight Show on Tuesday to join host Jimmy Fallon in a recurring sketch called "Young Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake Sing At Camp Winnipesaukee."

In the sketch, Fallon and Timberlake play younger, geeky versions of themselves who are cabin mates at a sleep away summer camp. After lights out, the two stay up and talk about girls, puberty and their favorite song, Third Eye Blind's "Jumper."

The sketch also features show writer A.D. Miles as camp counselor Mr. Fletcher, who repeatedly scolds the boys about making too much noise and orders them to go to bed.

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"The Voice" Crowns Craig Wayne Boyd as New Champion


Trae Patton/NBCCraig Wayne Boyd is your new The Voice champion.

The country/Southern musician from Nashville, who represented Blake Shelton's team, was named the season-seven champion of the NBC singing competition on Tuesday night, earning a recording contract. He triumphed over runner-up Matt McAndrew, a member of Adam Levine's team.

Two of Matt's teammates, Chris Jamison and Damien, finished third and fourth, respectively.

Blake is now a four-time winner as a coach on The Voice.

The show's two new coaches this season, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams, did not have any artists advance to the finals.

After host Carson Daly announced the results, Boyd sang his original tune, "My Baby's Got a Smile on Her Face."

During the finale, the four finalists had the opportunity to pair up with a special musical guest. Boyd and Lynyrd Skynyrd joined forces on the band's hit "Sweet Home Alabama"; McAndrew sang alongside Fall Out Boy on "Centuries"; Jamison and Jessie J sang her tune "Masterpiece"; and Damien and Jennifer Hudson belted out her song "It's Your World."

The men also brought back previously-eliminated artists for performances. Boyd invited DaNica Shirey, Sugar Joans and Taylor Brashears to join him on a rendition of The Georgia Satellites hit "Keep Your Hands to Yourself."

McAndrew welcomed back Mia Pfirrman, Sugar Joans, Taylor John Williams and Taylor Phelan for Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way."

Jamison teamed up with Luke Wade, Ricky Manning, Taylor Phelan and Ryan Sill on the Lloyd song "Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)." 

Damien invited Anita Antoinette, DaNica Shirey and Elyjuh Rene to sing the R&B classic "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" with him.

The two-hour finale also featured Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars bringing the energy with their hit "Uptown Funk"; Meghan Trainor delivering her new single "Lips Are Movin"; Ed Sheeran entertaining viewers with "Thinking Out Loud"; and Hozier performing "Take Me To Church."

The Voice coaches took the stage, too, singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

The Voice will be back on NBC for its eighth season next spring, with Stefani departing the show and on-again, off-again coach Christina Aguilera returning.

 

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Hozier Says It's "Surreal" to Have Adele, Taylor Swift & Colin Farrell as Celeb Fans


Credit: Alex LakeA year ago, few people in the U.S. knew who Irish singer/songwriter Hozier was.  Now, thanks to his hit "Take Me to Church," he's got a Grammy nomination, he sang on The Voice finale last night and he's got a bunch of celebrity fans.  That last part, he says, is "surreal."

Speaking to the Irish music publication Hot Press, the man born Andrew Hozier-Byrne talks about the fact that his celebrity fan club includes Taylor Swift, Adele and Irish actor Colin Farrell.  About Taylor, who was seen at one of his shows in Nashville, he says, "She’s very cool, very nice, very encouraging. She’s excited about new music, excited about other people’s music. Very cool. She came to the show and came backstage afterwards."  He also calls her "excellent," adding, "She's a lot of fun -- and she's a very funny person."

He has similar things to say about Adele, who came to one of his shows in London.  "Thank God, I didn’t know that she was there until after we'd finished," he tells Hot Press. "She’s fantastic: incredibly funny and easy to talk to."

As for Farrell, he says the actor "came to the L.A. show and I got to talk to him backstage as well, which was really, really cool."  He adds, "As well as the adjustments on the road between now and this time last year, meeting those people is about as surreal as you would imagine. But it’s a very good feeling.”

Hozier kicks off a major U.S. tour February 6, two days before the Grammys, where he's nominated for Song of the Year.

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Behind-the-Scenes Video Reveals No Photoshopping on Britney's "Women's Health" Cover


Image Courtesy Michelangelo Di Battista RCA RecordsWhen Britney Spears' cover shoot for Women's Health magazine was unveiled, some people suspected shenanigans when it came to the singer's appearance, saying she must've been Photoshopped because her nose looks much thinner.  But a behind-the-scenes video reveals that there's nothing sneaky going on: it's all due to makeup contouring.

In the video, which can be seen at the magazine's website, you can clearly see Britney posing in real life, looking exactly as she does on the cover, and, of course, flaunting her amazing abs.

Speaking about how she stays in such great shape, the mother of two tells Women's Health, "After I had [my eight-year-old son] Jayden, it was real easy for me to get back in shape. But five years later, I started noticing changes in my body. My hips are a little bit wider because I’ve had kids. So it was crucial for me to be continuous with my exercise. Consistency is key." 

Britney also reveals how she keeps her mind in shape, saying, "I meditate. But I fall asleep. I'm either going wild in my head or I'm asleep."

The new issue with Britney on the cover arrives December 23.

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Joey Fatone Is Now Confirming that Justin Timberlake's Going to Be a Dad


Tom Munro / RCA RecordsWhile he previously alluded to it, Joey Fatone is now coming right out and saying it: his 'N SYNC band mate Justin Timberlake and wife Jessica Biel are indeed expecting their first child.

Speaking to In Touch Weekly  magazine, Joey says, "He told me a while ago, and I kept my mouth shut. But now I can talk about it!”

Neither Justin nor Jessica have publicly confirmed the pregnancy.  Joey says that they're ready for parenthood, though, telling In Touch, "Jessica is awesome, and Justin is a kid at heart. [They’ll have] fun.”

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Iggy Azalea Tops Google's Top-Trending Searches for 2014


ABC/Randy HolmesGoogle has unveiled its list of search data for 2014, and it's a bit of a surprise to learn the top-trending music artist for the year was Iggy Azalea. But what'smore surprising is that Iggy sits atop doesn't include Beyonce.

Iggy's #1 on the list of Google's Top-Trending Music Artists of 2014, followed by Lorde at #2 and Sam Smith at #3.  The rest of the top 10, in descending order, are Meghan Trainor, Solange Knowles, Nicki Minaj, Weird Al Yankovic, Sia, Daft Punk, and Taylor Swift.  Despite Beyonce having one of her most buzzed-about years ever, she didn't crack the top 10.

Among the Top-Trending People of 2014 overall, Iggy was the only music artist to make the top 10, coming in at #6, right between NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and disgraced former NBA owner Donald Sterling.

The list of the Top-Trending Song Lyrics of 2014, meanwhile, is topped by A Great Big World's "Say Something," followed by Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" and Iggy's "Fancy."  Other songs that made the top 10: "Happy," "Blank Space," "Royals," "Dark Horse," "Bang Bang," "Counting Stars," and "Wrecking Ball."

By the way, "top-trending" refers to people or things that had the biggest increases in searches over the past 12 months.

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Rihanna Named Creative Director of Puma


Ellen Von UnwerthWhen it comes to fashion, Rihanna is known for her dazzling, daring red carpet looks, but she's just accepted a position with a company best known for more casual clothing.

Women's Wear Daily reports Rihanna has been named creative director of Puma, and will be overseeing the women's line for the sporting goods company, including shoes and apparel.  The Grammy-winning star was in Germany Monday for her first creative session with the Puma design team, where she chose colors and styles and discussed the line's overall direction.

As WWD reports, Puma says Rihanna's deal is a multi-year partnership, and that the singer's role will involve working with Puma to "design and customize classic Puma styles as well as create new styles to add to the Puma product portfolio."

Rihanna will also be the company's global brand ambassador, and star in its ad campaign for fall 2015.  In a statement, Puma's CEO said of the singer, "Her global profile, her charisma and individuality, her ambition -- all these things make her a perfect ambassador for our brand...Rihanna was a natural choice for us. We’re delighted to have her as a partner, and we’re looking forward to what’s to come.”

Rih posted a photo of herself signing with the company. "On the dotted line. #PUMA" reads the caption.

Rihanna, the winner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Fashion Icon Award, has also created a clothing line for the British label River Island, and a cosmetics collection for MAC.

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Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith to Perform at 2015 BRIT Awards


ABC/Ida Mae AstuteThey're friends, they're all newly-Grammy nominated -- and now Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith have been tapped to perform on the British equivalent of the Grammys: the BRIT Awards.

The ceremony will take place February 25 at the O2 arena in London. Taylor performed on the show last year, while Ed, who has two of the awards on his trophy shelf, sang at the event in 2012.  Sam won the BRIT Critic's Choice Award in 2013.

None of the nominations for the BRIT Awards have been revealed yet, except for the Critic's Choice category.

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