American singer, songwriter, musician, and producer, Stevie Wonder, is one of the most celebrated and prominent figures in popular music, who at the age of 13, was the youngest recording artist to have achieved a #1 single with “Fingertips, Part 2”, and subsequently the first to simultaneously reach #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, R&B Singles and Album Charts.
To date he has amassed 49 Top Forty singles, 32 #1 singles and worldwide sales of over 100 million units. Stevie has won 25 Grammy Awards, the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.
While Stevie Wonder’s songs are unequivocally classic and his influence timeless, equally laudable are his humanitarian efforts, philanthropic leadership, and generosity of spirit. He has received awards from the President’s Committee on Employment of Handicapped People, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the American Association of People with Disabilities.
In 1983, Stevie spearheaded the realization of “Martin Luther King Day” as a national holiday. His participation in the 1985 “We Are The World” fundraiser for hunger in Africa was a music industry milestone while his involvement to put an end to apartheid in South Africa is legendary. He is the youngest recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, is a Commander of France’s National Order of Arts and Letters and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Apollo Theatre Hall of Fame.
Upon being awarded the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Stevie performed his commission, “Sketches Of A Life,” which placed him in a very select group of eminent composers who have received library commissions, including Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein and Paquito D’Rivera.
Stevie is a designated U.N. Messenger of Peace with special focus on persons with disabilities. He continues to be pivotal in U.S. and world events, demonstrating the activism that has made him such a vital voice for social progress and world harmony.
It isn’t every day that a person receives a letter of support from his hero, but it happened to Billy Ray Cyrus. It was June 1992, and the singer, songwriter, and guitarist had just struck it big with his debut album, the eventual 9x-platinum-selling No. 1 Some Gave All, fueled by the best-selling but critically drubbed single “Achy Breaky Heart,” which spent five weeks atop the Billboard Country chart. Amid dodging slings and arrows from the press, Cyrus received a letter of support from Johnny Cash, who wrote: “Thirty-six years ago I was working with Elvis and saw him take the same kind of flak you’re taking now. Congratulations on the way you’re handling it all. In your case, as in Elvis’, the good outweighs the bad. Let ’em have it. I’m in your corner.”
Some Gave All held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart for 17 weeks in a row and became the best-selling debut album of all time by a male solo artist.
Cyrus went on to enjoy a 20-year-career in the spotlight during which he has sold millions of albums worldwide, charted nearly 30 singles (including three No. 1 country hits), and racked up multiple film and television credits.
Now, fresh off the 20-year anniversary of Some Gave All, Cyrus is ready to unleash the album of his life, Change My Mind, which has made him recall some valuable advice that his friend, rock and roll pioneer Carl Perkins, gave him back in the day. “Carl said, ‘Hoss, just do what you do. Make your music, don’t be following anyone who says you have to sound like everyone else. That’s the main thing: Be original.’ Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash told me the same thing. All these years and all this turbulence later, I’m glad I listened.”
LeAnn Rimes has sold more than 40 million albums, won two Grammy® Awards, three Academy of Country Music Awards and 12 Billboard Music Awards. Rimes is the youngest recipient of a Grammy® Award, Rimes is as an accomplished actress and author, including writing two children’s books Jag and Jag’s New Friend, as well as the novel, Holiday in Your Heart and the inspirational book What I Cannot Change. She is currently filming an upcoming show with husband, Eddie Cibrian, to air on Vh1 in 2014. and was also the first country recording artist to win in the “Best New Artist” category. Rimes has placed 42 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 13 of which are top-10 hits, and has scored numerous hit singles in her career, including “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” which went #1 in 11 countries, and “How Do I Live,” which is the second longest charting song ever on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Having released more than ten studio albums, three compilation albums and two greatest hits albums in her illustrious career, Her latest album, Spitfire, LeAnn’s most personal to date, was released on June 4, 2013 and was immediately a critics darling. It debuted at number nine on Billboard’s Top Country Album chart and number four on iTunes. Rimes co-wrote nine of the album’s songs and with guest vocals by Rob Thomas and Allison Krauss (among others).
LeAnn has long-supported a variety of charity organizations including advocating for the National Psoriasis Foundation, The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes and StandUp For Kids. She most recently began work with The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. She most recently began her work with the Friend Movement, an anti-bullying organization.
McClain, formerly known as The McClain Sisters, Sierra, Lauryn, and China Anne
McClain, were born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Coming from a family of singers,
songwriters, and musicians, they have grown up in a house filled with music. They
formed their singing trio at the tender ages of nine, seven, and five, building their voices
and artistry from the groud up. The sisters have since then performed at the 2012 White
House Easter Egg Roll, sharing the stage with R&B sensation, Janelle Monae, and
Austrailian pop singer, Cody Simpson. Also, performing for over 78,000 people at the
2012 Houston Rodeo, the grouped rocked the stage, opening for Nickelodeonʼs Pop/
Rock boyband, Big Time Rush, resulting in the biggest selling night of the week long
festivities. Along with their strong sense of spirituality, these singing sisters believe that
their love for music, entertainment, and even more so, each other, can inspire
audiences all around the world.
Although renowned for their commercially successful 1998 single “Iris”, the Goo Goo Dolls have had several other notable and popular singles including “Name” from 1995′s A Boy Named Goo, “Broadway”, “Black Balloon” and “Slide” from 1998′s Dizzy Up The Girl, an album which produced five successful singles, and “Here Is Gone”, “Sympathy” and “Big Machine” from 2002′s Gutterflower. The Goo Goo Dolls have had 14 top ten singles on various charts, and have sold more than 10 million albums worldwide.
Their latest album Magnetic was released in June and debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. It was their 4th album in a row that debuted in the Top 10.
The Goo Goo Dolls have been closely involved with several charities over the years. including USA Harvest, the Food Bank of Western NY and Compass House. The band has also volunteered their time to perform at events for ECHO, Light of Day, among others. They have lent a hand for causes from Autism research, to scholastic musical programs as well as participating and donating to innumerable other charities.
John Rzeznik is an ambassador for VH1′s Save the Music Foundation. Robby Takac is the founder of the Music is Art Foundation. Mike Malinin is heavily involved in several charities including Rail to Trails and Farm Sanctuary.
Kenny Loggins’ remarkable four-decade-plus career has brought him from the top of the charts to the toast of the Grammys. He’s had smash hits on Hollywood’s favorite soundtracks, rocked worldwide stages, and found his way into children’s hearts while bringing his soulful, beautiful voice to platinum albums of a stunning variety of genres. His gift for crafting deeply emotional music is unparalleled, and it’s been a part of his life as long as he can remember.
In the 1980s, Loggins was the king of the movie soundtrack. Loggins provided the smash hit “I’m Alright” to the cult classic “Caddyshack.” When a pal asked Loggins to write a few songs for an as-yet-unmade picture called Footloose, he whipped up a No. 1 blockbuster. He scored a track on Tom Cruise’s Top Gun and performed that movie’s indelible hit “Danger Zone.”
He contributed to 1985′s landmark charity single “We Are the World” and wrote a passionate plea for environmental change called “Conviction of the Heart” that Al Gore called the “unofficial anthem of the environmental movement.”
Though he’s got 12 platinum albums, a pair of Grammys, and hits on almost all the Billboard charts under his belt, Loggins is far from done. With more Blue Sky Riders tunes and a children’s book in the works, he’s still looking forward to what’s next.
William Shatner has cultivated a career spanning over 50 years as an award-winning actor, director, producer, writer, recording artist, and horseman. He is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable figures and a major philanthropist.
Shatner’s newest musical project, Ponder The Mystery with lyrics by William Shatner and music by Billy Sherwood was released in October. It follows the well-received, space-inspired album Seeking Major Tom, which featured songs by U2, Frank Sinatra, Queen and Pink Floyd, and was released in October 2011.
In 1966, Shatner originated the role of “Captain James T. Kirk” in the television series Star Trek. The series spawned a feature film franchise where Shatner returned as Captain Kirk in seven of the Star Trek movies, one of which he directed.
Shatner played the title role in the hit television series T.J. Hooker and hosted, Rescue 911.
He won Emmys and his first Golden Globe for his portrayal of eccentric lawyer “Denny Crane” on both The Practice and Boston Legal. He received four more Emmy nominations as well as other Golden Globe and SAG Award nods. Shatner’s Raw Nerve, currently airing on Bio, is his own edgy, celebrity interview series. He is also a bestselling author and continues to act, write, produce and direct while still making time to work with charities and further his passion in equestrian sports.
His hugely popular one-man show, Shatner’s World will begin touring again in January 2014.
Richie Sambora is a rock guitarist, producer, musician, singer and songwriter who is the longtime lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi. He and frontman Jon Bon Jovi form the primary songwriting unit of the band and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has also released three solo albums: the most recent was released in September 2012 He is an ardent fundraiser for many charities such as Dream Street and Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s Disease charity.
In early 2013, Chris began working on what would eventually become Baptized. Early on, he made a conscious decision to approach the album from a different angle. It would’ve been too easy for him to simply repeat himself considering he and the band have been on quite a hot streak since their 2006 self-titled became the fastest-selling rock debut in Soundscan history. 2009′s Leave This Town gave them their second consecutive No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200, while Break The Spell reached gold status in merely four weeks of release in 2011. Throughout, they achieved four No. 1 smashes at radio as well as four Grammy Award nominations and four American Music Awards wins. Meanwhile, sales exceeded 7.5 million albums and 17 million singles. Nevertheless, as an artist, band, they chose to evolve for both themselves and their fans.
The Australian Institute for Performing Arts is an innovative full service performing arts organization providing training in both Australia and Los Angeles for students aged three – adult. They instill self-discipline, technique and a good work ethic in those they instruct. Enjoy their singing and dancing in this year’s parade!