Lady Gaga readies jazz CD
NEW YORK, NY (AP) — Lady Gaga is a bona fide pop star, but the singer says recording jazz music was easier than pop.
Gaga has spent two years recording an album of jazz standards with Tony Bennett called Cheek to Cheek, to be released September 23.
"You know, it's funny, but jazz comes a little more comfortable for me than pop music, than R&B music," Gaga said in an interview Monday. "I've sung jazz since I was 13 years old, which is kind of like my little secret that Tony found out. So this is almost easier for me than anything else."
Gaga made the comments with Bennett by her side ahead of the duo's taped performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City for PBS, which will air in the fall. The album's first single, a cover of Cole Porter's Anything Goes, was released Tuesday. Other selections from the Great American Songbook that appear on Cheek to Cheek include It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Sophisticated Lady, Lush Life and the title track.
The 28-year-old and 87-year-old Bennett first collaborated on his Grammy-winning, platinum-selling 2011 album, Duets II. Bennett said fans will be impressed with Gaga's vocal performance on the upcoming album.
"They're going to say we had no idea she sings that well," he said.
"And they're gonna say they had no idea that Tony dressed so crazy," Gaga added, as Bennett smiled. "When you come out in your meat dress Tony, nobody is going to know what's going on."
Cheek to Cheek is Gaga's first release since last year's Artpop. Bennett released a collaborative album with Latin singers in 2012 called Viva Duets.
Aretha pumped up for food fair
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- There's something beyond delivering a set packed with her hits that's got Aretha Franklin jazzed about fair season: the food.
Ahead of her Thursday performance at the Ohio State Fair, the Queen of Soul says she's eager to track down some elephant ears, a fair staple of fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar.
"I'm looking forward to it," she says. "I love the state fair, and I love the elephant ears."
There may be plenty of opportunities for fried treats ahead, given that her busy 2014 tour also includes performances at the Wisconsin and Minnesota state fairs in August.
Franklin says her Columbus performance will be packed with familiar songs, selections from an upcoming CD being produced by Babyface and Andre 3000, and "a few surprises; I love surprises."
"We're going to have a rock 'em, sock 'em good time," she says.
After some health issues, the R&B diva says she's feeling as good as she did in her 50s but prefers not to focus on how far past 50 she is now.
"I am certainly old enough to be out after midnight," the 72-year-old star says. "Age is just a number."
She says she's planning a vacation to New York after her Wisconsin gig, including a stop at the US Open. She also is taking French lessons and studying classical piano with a Julliard graduate.
"I always wanted to go to Juilliard, but my schedule was so heavy at that time that it just never allowed me the time to go there for long enough to learn something," she says. "So what I did was I got a teacher who was a graduate and teacher to come to me."
'Mice and Men' exits Broadway on high
NEW YORK (AP) -- James Franco's play Of Mice and Men has left Broadway with a roar -- a box office record.
The show, co-starring Chris O'Dowd and Leighton Meester, said Monday it earned US$1,038,106 for the week ending Sunday, setting a new eight-performance weekly record gross at the Longacre Theatre and marking the first time the theatre ever housed a show that crossed the US$1 million mark.
The play, an adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel, follows two tragic migrant workers trying to make their way through the Depression.
The play recouped its US$3.8 million capitalisation in just 12 weeks and ended its 19-week run Sunday. It is the first American production chosen to be filmed by National Theatre Live.