AM Prep-Music

LAWYERS IN XXXTENTACION TRIAL WILL TALK TO DRAKE

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – Drake is expected to be interviewed privately tomorrow by lawyers involved in the trial for the 2018 murder of XXXTentacion (ex-ex-ex-ten-TAH’-see-YOHN’). The two rappers had feuded online. Attorneys for the three men charged in XXXTentacion’s murder argued in pretrial hearings in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that people besides their clients had financial and personal motives for killing him. Judge Michael Usan said yesterday that the defense would have to show something more substantial than online arguments in order for Drake to be called as a witness. Jury selection began yesterday. Opening statements are expected in early February, while the trial is expected to last into March. XXXTentacion was gunned down and robbed outside a motorcycle dealership near Fort Lauderdale in June 2018.

FLO RIDA WINS $82.6 MILLION IN LAWSUIT

MIAMI (AP) – Flo Rida (RY’-dah) has been awarded $82.6 million in a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Celsius energy drinks — and he still wants to be involved in the company. Flo Rida sued Celsius in May 2021. He said as a Celsius brand ambassador from 2014 to 2018, he introduced the company’s products to millions of people. Flo Rida said Celsius hid money from him as the company’s sales and stock value grew. Celsius’ legal team argued the company’s success came after the endorsement deal ended. Yesterday, a jury in South Florida sided with Flo Rida. He tells The Associated Press he still drinks Celsius products. His attorney, John Uustal, says Flo Rida wants the one-percent ownership he was promised and is willing to accept the stock instead of the jury award. Lawyers for Celsius did not return requests for comment.

VAN CONNER OF SCREAMING TREES DIES

UNDATED (AP) – Screaming Trees bassist Van Conner has died at the age of 55, according to his brother and bandmate, guitarist Gary Lee Conner. Gary Lee writes on social media that Van died of an extended illness on Wednesday. The Conner brothers formed Screaming Trees in Ellensburg, Washington, with singer Mark Lanegan and drummer Mark Pickerel. They had a rock hit in 1992 with “Nearly Lost You.” Screaming Trees had posted frequent updates about Van’s health, which had been in decline since late 2021. Van had liver problems, had emergency stomach surgery, caught COVID-19, developed a blood clot in his lung and had been in a coma twice. Gary Lee Conner says, “It was pneumonia that got him in the end.” Lanegan died last February.

JEFF LYNNE, GLORIA ESTEFAN, SNOOP ARE GOING INTO SONGWRITERS HOF

NEW YORK (AP) – Jeff Lynne says songwriting has always been his passion, and his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame means so much to him. Besides Lynne, the inductees include Snoop Dogg, Gloria Estefan, Sade (shah-DAY’) and Teddy Riley. Glen Ballard, who co-wrote Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” album and wrote songs for Michael Jackson, also will be inducted. So will Liz Rose, who wrote “You Belong With Me” and “Teardrops on My Guitar” with Taylor Swift. Estefan thanks her fans on Instagram, saying they are the reason she is receiving the honor. The Songwriters Hall of Fame inductions will be June 15 in New York.

SENATE WILL HOLD HEARING ON TAYLOR SWIFT TICKET MESS

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee plans to get to the bottom of the ticket debacle involving Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift tickets in November. Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar says in a statement the hearing will look into the high fees, long waits and website failures. Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee says the hearing will explore the lack of competition since Ticketmaster merged with promoter Live Nation more than a decade ago. In November, fans trying to buy Swift concert tickets were booted offline or waited in line for hours without being able to purchase.

NOEL GALLAGHER IS GETTING DIVORCED

NEW YORK (AP) – Noel Gallagher of Oasis and his wife, Sara McDonald, are divorcing. His representative tells People magazine Gallagher and McDonald are parting after 12 years of marriage and 22 years together. They have two sons, ages 15 and 12.

NCT 127 WILL PERFORM ON ROBLOX ON 1/27

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The K-pop group NCT 127 will celebrate “127 Day” — that is, Jan. 27 — with a virtual concert on the gaming platform Roblox. They will perform songs like “Kick It,” “Sticker” and “2 Baddies” in a free interactive virtual performance. NCT 127 also will have avatar item drops and a scavenger hunt.

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