Hunter Hayes, Aloe Blacc Among TNT's CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON Performance Lineup
Global box-office powerhouse Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, star of the upcoming TNTseries Wake Up Call, is set to ring in the holidays as host of TNT's annual music spectacular Christmas in Washington. Johnson will introduce a stellar lineup of musical performers, including Aloe Blacc, who topped the charts around the world with "Wake Me Up," his mega-hit with Avicii; Hunter Hayes, a four-time Grammy® nominee and the youngest male performer ever to top theBillboard country chart; Rita Ora, the British singer songwriter who is also making a big splash in fashion and film; Christina Perri, whose hit single "A Thousand Years" went quadruple-platinum; and Darius Rucker, the chart-topping, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who has successfully transcended multiple genres.
The star-studded CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON will premiere Friday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), exclusively on TNT. It will be followed by an all-new episode of Dwayne Johnson's new TNT seriesWake Up Call.
Celebrating its 33rd anniversary this year, CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON is a holiday tradition benefiting the Children's National Health System. The concert is attended each year by the President and First Lady, as well as many other Washington VIPs. This will mark TNT's 16th year presentingChristmas in Washington, which will be taped at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Dec. 14. Since TNT began televising CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON in 1999, the show has earned two Emmys® for Outstanding Musical Direction, with 14 nominations overall.
CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON is produced by the 25-time Emmy-winning team of George Stevens, Jr.and Michael Stevens for The Stevens Company. Most recently, they earned Emmys for the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Kennedy Center Honors - one of only three programs ever to win in five consecutive years. In 2013, George Stevens, Jr. received an honorary Academy Award® for his lifetime contribution to motion pictures.
For TNT, Ricki Rosenfeld and David Bryant serve as executives in charge of production onChristmas in Washington.
DWAYNE "THE ROCK" JOHNSON
Johnson shows no sign of slowing down as he's starring in a slew of tent-pole movies through 2015, including taking on the title role in this year's Hercules for Paramount, directed by Brett Ratner; the seventh installment of the enormously successfulFast and Furious franchise, reprising his role as Agent Hobbs alongside Vin Diesel; and the event film San Andreas, for Warner Brothers, in which he plays a rescue-chopper pilot who makes a dangerous journey across California to find his daughter in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. This year, Johnson will also be transitioning to the small screen for the HBO seriesBallers, directed by Peter Berg, about a group of football players dealing with their friends, families and handlers.
Among Johnson's other recent film credits are the dramatic thriller Snitch, about a father who goes undercover for the DEA in order to free his imprisoned son; the comic book action-adventure G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the second installment of the franchise, opposite Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum; the dramatic independent film Empire State, with Liam Hemsworth and Emma Roberts;Pain & Gain, alongside Mark Wahlberg; and major roles in the most recent franchise films Fast 5and Fast and Furious 6, which grossed a combined for $1.4 billion globally.
Dwayne's previous films include Race to Witch Mountain; The Tooth Fairy; Planet 51; Get Smart;The Game Plan; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which grossed over $325 million in 2011; Be Cool, MGM's sequel to Get Shorty, alongside John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Vince Vaughn; the 2004 remake Walking Tall; and Universal's The Rundown, a critically acclaimed action/comedy directed by Peter Berg and co-starring Sean William Scott, Rosario Dawson and Christopher Walken.
Next in the pipeline are Central Intelligence, a spy comedy with Kevin Hart and Ed Helms;Baywatch, a big-screen adaptation of the long-running TV smash; and The Janson Directive, based on Robert Ludlum's acclaimed novel.
Johnson has garnered much critical acclaim and recognition for his range and diverse roles, including 2009 where Entertainment Weekly named him to the top of Hollywood's next A-list stars, alongside, Robert Downey Jr., Ellen Page, James McAvoy and Amy Adams.
Dwayne's love of acting and desire to branch out led him to appear on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in March 2000, surprising many with his strength in the comedy and garnering the show's highest rating that year. Johnson was subsequently cast by Stephen Sommers in The Mummy Returns, which grossed more than $400 million worldwide. His character was so well received by Universal executives during dailies that they immediately planned a film based on his character, The SCORPION King, which broke box office records in 2002 becoming the greatest April opening of all time.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Hawaii, Dwayne Johnson excelled as a high school All-American and subsequently as a star defensive lineman for the University of Miami Hurricanes, helping lead his team to a National Championship. Upon graduating from the University of Miami, Johnson followed in the footsteps of his WWE Hall of Fame father, Rocky Johnson, and grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, by joining the competitive sports entertainment world of the WWE. Within a seven year period (1996-2003), his intense passion led to an extraordinarily successful career breaking box office attendance records across the US and setting Pay-Per-View buy rate records during that period as well. Dwayne Johnson's character creation of "The Rock" became one of the most charismatic and dynamic characters the industry has ever seen. In March 2012, Johnson made a record-breaking return to the WWE where he crushed John Cena at Wrestle Mania XXVIII in Miami.
Not content to simply be in front of the camera, Johnson penned an autobiography, The Rock Says, which reached #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List shortly after its publication in January 2000. Johnson also created The Rock Foundation in 2006, with a mission to educate, empower and motivate children worldwide through health and physical fitness. A dedicated philanthropist, Johnson a committed Celebrity Cabinet Member for The American Red Cross and serves as a National Celebrity Wish Ambassador for The Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2008, United States Congress and the United States Joint Leadership Commission recognized Johnson with the prestigious HORIZON Award, the U.S. Congressional Award given to an individual in the private sector who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and provided opportunities for youth nationwide.
[Aloe Blacc] With "Wake Me Up" - the 2013 mega-hit he sang and co-wrote for Swedish DJ Avicii and saw climb to #1 in 102 countries across the globe - Aloe Blacc proved himself a singer/songwriter with an irresistible power to capture the complexities of human emotion. Now with his third solo album Lift Your Spirit (Blacc's major-label full-length debut, released by XIX Recordings/Interscope Records), the rapper-turned-singer pushes further into a folk/soul/pop Fusion that's both undeniably joyful and eye-opening in message. Adding an of-the-moment twist to the music of LEGENDS like Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder, Lift Your Spirit is built on songs that pair Blacc's poetic yet incisive lyrics with huge hooks and RELENTLESS feel-good grooves.
Blacc, who began writing rap lyrics at age nine, put out his first hip-hop mixtape in 1996, and released his soul/R&B-laced debut albumShine Through in 2006. A Southern California native born to Panamanian parents, Blacc is also well-schooled in salsa music, and has closely studied everything from psychedelic rock and funk to reggae and dancehall. Raised on the boundary-pushing hip-hop of acts like Public Enemy, The Pharcyde, and De La Soul, Blacc developed a fierce admiration for such soul musicians as Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye and folk-rock singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor as a teenager.
Carefully crafting lyrics to create impactful music has been essential to Blacc since high school, when he first broke into the indie hip-hop scene. Back then Blacc and his partner DJ Exile formed a duo named Emanon and quickly became cult favorites in Los Angeles, largely due to their heavy inventiveness in working with jazz samples and breakbeat loops. Going solo in 2003, Blacc soon signed to indie label Stones Throw and transformed from rapper to singer-albeit without shedding his hip-hop spirit or sense of social consciousness.
Three years after the release of his solo debut, Shine Through, Blacc began work on the record that would change his life and career: Good Things, an album certified gold in the UK, France, Germany, and Australia, among other countries. Along with "I Need a Dollar," the platinum-selling single that was selected as the theme song to HBO's How To Make it In America, Good Thingsincluded the singles "Loving You Is Killing Me" and "Green Lights." In March 2014, Lift Your Spiritwas released to critical praise as first single "The Man" topped the charts around the world. Blacc spent this past summer on the road with Bruno Mars and made his acting debut in the James Brown biopic Get On Up.
[Hunter Hayes] Listen closely to Hunter Hayes as he talks, that million-mile-an-hour voice, all rapid-fire energy and bustling passion. Not long ago he released his second album, the country chart-toppingStoryline. But the 23-year-old, mind always churning, ideas jettisoning from brain to hand and voice, can't help but wonder what lies ahead for a four-time Grammy nominee, CMA New Artist of the Year and youngest male act ever to top the BillboardHot Country song chart.
The wonder of a talent like Hayes is that even when he has a rare moment of reprieve from the mayhem of touring the world on a solo jaunt, breaking the Guinness Book of World Records' mark for most concerts in a 24-hour period or, say, performing at the Grammy Awards, he's focused on his craft. As the multi-instrumentalist's journey - and outsize popularity - has exploded since his wise-beyond his- years 2011 self-titled debut album, the Breaux Bridge, Louisiana-native has steadily been on a quest to self-evolve alongside his artistic output. Why be in the business of creation, he believes, if you, the person people are eager to know and love, is hiding in plain sight?
It's easy to look at Hayes and marvel at his oft-recounted successes: receiving his first guitar from actor Robert Duvall at age 6; performing for the President the following year; signing with Atlantic NASHVILLE Records at age 18; touring as a support act for Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood not long after. It's all there for the world to see. Hayes wanted more. Hayes' hardscrabble mentality translated into this past year's monumental "We're Not Invisible" headlining tour, a dream realized for a musician whose concept for the massive live outing was utterly visceral.
If Hayes' live show is a wild, no-holds-barred vision put into action, Storyline is its logical predecessor. Expertly crafted yet cut with a free-flowing spirit where all ideas are worth exploring, the 14-track affair showcases Hayes' diversity and unerring commitment to not staying the course.
[Rita Ora] British songwriter, singer and actress Rita Ora dominated the U.K. charts with her first and certified platinum album Ora(2012), which included the number one singles "R.I.P.," "How We Do (Party)" and "Hot Right Now." Currently featured on the smash single "Black Widow" with fellow superstar Iggy Azalea, Ora is readying her second full-length album, to be released Spring 2015.
Ora has proven herself a force to be reckoned with, from her European tour with rock giants Coldplay, to collaborating with rap phenom Drake, to her headline Radioactive tour across the U.K.
Ora's influence expands well beyond the boundaries of music. She is also recognized for her powerful fashion sense with a number of global partnerships and collaborations. Ora recently launched her own three season-long #unstoppable collection with global brand adidas Originals. Ora is one of the newest faces for legendary designer Roberto Cavalli. She was also featured by fashion icon Donna Karan for DKNY's #WeAreNYC campaign which launched this past Fall, all while she continues her ongoing partnership with makeup brand Rimmel London, announcing her newest line just this week.
In addition to her growing influence in fashion and music, Ora will also appear in a number of upcoming films, including the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy out in February 2015 and Jake Gyllenhaal's Southpaw to be released in 2015.
[Christina Perri] In matters of love, should you rely on your head or your heart? This is the question Christina Perri posed as she began writing her second album, head or heart, a collection of cathartic songs that seek to reconcile how we make decisions in love and life including the hit singles "Human" and "Burning Gold". The singer's first album, lovestrong., grappled with the aftermath of a breakup, signaling Perri as an honest, genuine artist ready to share her emotional journey with her fans. That disc, released in 2011, was bolstered by the success of Perri's single "Jar of Hearts" and led the musician into nine tours over 27 months. Her final show supporting lovestrong. took place on October 9, 2012 at Los Angeles's iconic Hollywood Bowl with Jason Mraz. Two weeks later, Perri penned the first song for head or heart, her second album.
Perri spent two months writing and demoing on her own toward the end of 2012 before spending several months in early 2013 writing with nearly 30 co-writers. She said yes to any collaboration, refusing to get in her own creative way. The singer chose 16 to record and flew to London to meet with producer Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran). Perri initially intended to lay down one track with Gosling, but ended up staying at his farm in Bagshot, U.K., for the summer to record in his "tiny shack of a studio." The pair crafted nine of the album's 13 songs together and finished recording back in Los Angeles in August. There Perri also recorded with Butch Walker, John Hill and Martin Johnson. Her final number, "I Don't Want to Break," was co-written with fun.'s Jack Antonoff, who co-produced the track with Hill in New York at famed Electric Lady Studios.
The songs on head or heart, in many ways, feel like a logical extension of lovestrong., an album that first allowed Perri to open her heart to the world. The singer's career bounded forward after Perri performed her triple-platinum single "Jar of Hearts" on So You Think You Can Dance. She quickly found herself signed to Atlantic Records, creating her debut album, a bittersweet collection of songs about love and loss thereof. Produced by GRAMMY®-winning producer Joe Chiccarelli (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket) - lovestrong. entered the SoundScan/Billboard 200among the top 5 upon its initial release, while also proving an unqualified international sensation with Top 5 success in Australia and Ireland, as well as Top 10 sales in Canada and the United Kingdom. Perri was named as iTunes' Breakthrough Pop Artist of 2011. This was followed by the quadruple-platinum single "A Thousand Years," which was featured on Summit Entertainment/Chop Shop/Atlantic's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Parts 1 & 2 original motion picture soundtracks.
It was a whirlwind and it's brought Perri to where she is now. The singer has embraced the platform success brings and spends any possible moment involved with several nonprofit and charity organizations. She remains deeply involved with To Write Love On Her Arms, which helps people dealing with suicidal thoughts, and visits children's hospitals to spend time with kids grappling with depression. She's also on the board of THE VOICE Health Institute, an organization she became involved with after going through vocal chord surgery in 2011.
[Darius Rucker] Many people know and love Darius Rucker as the front man for Grammy-winning band Hootie and the Blowfish, while others know Rucker as a CMA Award-winning, Platinum-selling country artist. Regardless of the genre, Rucker has always lived at that creative intersection where great songs meet passionate performances so it's no wonder that many fans appreciate Rucker both as a rock star and a honky tonk hero. With his new album, Home for the Holidays, fans will see a new side of the artist. Welcome Darius Rucker - the crooner.
The Charleston native has long wanted to record a Christmas album and with Home for the Holidays, he delivers an instant classic. Produced by Frank Rogers, 12-song collection finds Rucker putting his unique stamp on such perennial favorites as "Winter Wonderland," "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow." "These are songs I love," the three-time Grammy winner says. "'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' is one of the songs I've always wanted to sing, especially the line: 'Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.' I've always wanted to hit that note for real. It was great to do all that stuff, and to write 'What God Wants For Christmas' was so timely and perfect for us."
With a voice that is as warm and inviting, with a little extra holiday spirit, Rucker is a natural at delivering Christmas music. Among the album's many highlights is a duet with special guest Sheryl Crow on the seasonal gem "Baby, It's Cold Outside." The album also features two original songs: "What God Wants for Christmas" and "Candy Cane Christmas," which was release to country radio last year and became an instant fan favorite.
On Home for the Holidays, Rucker tackles a holiday classic rarely recorded on Christmas albums even though it's a part of everyone's childhood memories. But he admits, his producer was skeptical when he said he wanted to cut "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," from the beloved cartoon Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He even gets a little help on the song from his children - 13-year-old Dani and 9-year-old Jack.
Whether leading a Grammy-winning rock band or hitting the top of the country charts, Darius Rucker has long been breaking the mold and stretching boundaries, and he does it again on Home for the Holidays. He's created a classic Christmas collection that is sure to become part of the soundtrack of people's holidays for decades to come.