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April 23, 2014

Meet The Vocalist Behind Your Favorite Tracks

Even the best of beats would be nothing without the right vocal line. A production sets the tone, but it's the vocal that shoots straight to your heart. Back in the day, artists like Martha Wash were famously pushed aside or uncredited for their… AYAH MARAR Everybody knows Ayah Marar’s voice from the Calvin Harris song “Thinking About You,” but what you may not know is that Marar sang on three tracks from Harris’s 2009 sophomore album, Ready For The Weekend, including the live show favorite “Flashback.” In between her time as album vocalist and her upgrade to featured artist with Harris, the Jordanian-British singer made waves on tunes by Kastle and Jack Peñate. She’s even been known to gig as a DJ. Legend has it that Ayah and Calvin first started working together when they were housemates in London. That sounds like the kind of house we want to party in. MATTHEW KOMA The list of EDM artists Matthew Koma has worked with is too long to be believed. Having collaborated with nearly every DJ from Afrojack to Zedd, the Long Island-born singer-songwriter was first signed to a deal with Interscope as a solo artist, playing post-punk rock music inspired by Bruce Springsteen. Earlier this year, a tune you may have heard called “Clarity,” which Koma co-wrote with Zedd, picked up a Grammy. You can currently hear Matthew on Zedd’s “Find You” and RAC’s “Cheap Sunglasses” - both of which showcase his gravity-defying tenor and a pop accessibility customized for the dance floor.  ELIZA DOOLITTLE If you live on the US side of the Atlantic you might know British singer, Eliza Doolittle (real name Eliza Caird) only from her collaboration with Disclosure on their two-step-inspired track “You & Me.” With two LPs under her belt and occasional modeling gigs, Doolittle is a pop star in her own right in addition to being a Disclosure diva. She reportedly reached out to Guy and Howard Lawrence of Disclosure through their manager after hearing their song “Latch,” saying she wanted to work with them. The result is a UK Top 10 single and venerable presence on the instant-classic album, Settle.  JOHN MARTIN John Martin owes much of his success to Swedish House Mafia, not to take anything away from his own  talent. You can hear John’s commanding chops on such SHM hits like “Save The World” and “Don't You Worry Child,” both of which he co-wrote and infused with an unparalleled upbeat intensity. Discovered by SHM’s Axwell, Martin was making pop and rock music at home in Sweden before collaborating with the EDM heavyweights. Since the success of “Don’t You Worry Child,” Martin has lent his voice to Sebastian Ingrosso and Tommy Trash’s 2013 tune “Reload” and released a single of his own, “Anywhere for You.”  HEATHER BRIGHT Heather Bright’s vocals are unmistakable and larger than life. On Porter Robinson’s “Language” and Zedd’s “Stars Come Out,” it’s Bright’s softly raspy voice that adds the edge of distinction a producer craves. Sometimes performing under her stage name, Bright Lights, Heather has worked with Hardwell and 3lau and also played festivals like Ultra and Electric Daisy Carnival. Her ability to turn up the energy on a track is a superpower, so much so that we don’t even mind that the New York-based singer-songwriter happened to co-write one of Justin Bieber’s early hits, “Somebody To Love.” It’s sure not a bad way to make a living.

29 Cutest Moments From North America's First Cat Café

Purina ONE's Cat Café is only open for four days, but you can hang out with adoptable cats while you sip some coffee. Here's the scoop!

10 Shakespeare Plays As Sun Front Covers

The Sun marked the Bard's 450th birthday in playful fashion today. These images did not appear on the actual front page: they formed part of a tribute inside the paper.

The Definitive Rankings Of All The Batmobiles

After we recovered from a full-body fanboy spasm from hearing the news that the last title in the Arkham video game series will feature the amazing drive-able Batmobile pictured above (in fact, a Batmobile so full of awesome goodies that its memory… What a tease. You start off the game inside this beast, taking the Joker back to his cell, but you can't even drive this thing. Hell, a group of thugs almost destroy it with baseball bats. This is the Batmobile, not your shitty Uncle Tony's Hyundai – it should be able to repel henchmen attacks at the very least. 5. Shumacher's Batmobile (Photo: Everett Collection) Look at this monstrosity. It's not enough to sully the cinematic history of the Dark Knight with a nipple-equipped batsuit, you also have to roll in a Batmobile that looks like Ed Hardy vomited on a party limo? 4. The Animated Batmobile Getting a little bit warmer with the ride from the stellar animated series. The car matched the gothic style of the cartoon, but the single seat really hurt the whole crime-fighting “duo” thing, and probably presented a bit of a pickle if ever he had to bring in a villain. 3. Adam West's Batmobile (Photo: 20th Century Fox / Everett Collection) Sure, this thing was all show, providing little or no protection for our heroes, but it was the blueprint for the gadget-filled Batmobiles we've seen on screen ever since. Also, there was no need to worry about pesky sharks. 2. Burton's Batmobile (Photo: Warner Bros. / Everett Collection) This polarizing Batmobile is either loved or hated by most – but its impact is inarguable. It inspired the previously mentioned animated Batmobile as well as many iterations of the ride in the comics. It also broke down to a small escape pod. Too bad that didn't happen in the Schumacher movies; we had a killer “wheels coming off” joke. 1. The Tumbler (Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.) Christopher Nolan gave the world's greatest detective an upgrade in every conceivable way (even in his vocal cords!) and his reimagining of the Batmobile was no different. Ditching the tired fins and long body for a compact and badass military-inspired wrecking machine was the best thing he gave to the franchise. Well, the second best. More on Maxim.com: Interview: Icon Jon Hamm 8 Actors You Forgot Were Foreign

What's It Like To Suddenly Become Attractive?

Quora users take a frank and objective look at the experience of undergoing an extreme physical transformation.

Commentary: Camera, Lights And Shower Rods? Oh, My!

First and foremost, I have never been a sex tape-watching kind of girl. Or at least I wasn’t before last week. And then it happened. The Internet lost its damn mind with news that Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s Mimi Faust and her boo, Nikko Smith, are releasing a sex tape. The tape, which “accidentally” got leaked to Vivid Entertainment, will be on sale later this month. When I saw this all transpiring on my Facebook feed, I was instantly annoyed. I didn’t really understand why everyone was so steam pressed. Another day, another sex tape... But then, during a gchat conversation with a good friend of mine (he sent… I haven’t been turned on that much by “porn” in, well, ever. Nikko, honey? I had no idea. Bless you. And that shower rod? Girl, bye. Mimi just redefined the pull-up for every single last one of us. But even in my own obsession with Mimi and Nikko’s sexual shenanigans (I even created a Spotify playlist dedicated to them), I have my issues with it, too. First, no matter how many crocodile tears Mimi sheds on the new season of her show, this tape was not an accident. This couldn’t possibly be the type of sex they are having on a Tuesday night. Not with perfect lighting, camera angles, zoom-ins and a perfect sound mix. Not to mention, her make-up and hair were on point. And if this is how you all want to rock, fine. Just admit that this is a scheme to stay relevant, have a “compelling” storyline on season three and to make some extra cash. We’re adults, we can handle the truth. Second, when is this "sex tape to stardom" phenomenon finally going to fade to black? And let me be clear: There is nothing wrong with two Black adults expressing their desire for one another. For far too long, Black sexuality has been deemed as something pathological. So I am all for examples of sex as something healthy, adventurous and fun (too bad I didn’t see a condom being used, that might have actually made a bigger statement). But when a sex tape carries more weight than, let’s say, an Academy Award, and when Kim Kardashian has a Vogue cover and Lupita Nyong’o doesn’t, can we admit that it’s a little problematic that the road to success is paved with something else than good intentions and merit. And not to channel my inner Claire Huxtable, but I do worry about how these mixed messages impact young men and women’s impressionable minds. There’s a very fine, confusing line between sexual empowerment and being objectified (even if you are the one doing the objectifying). How far will you go for fame, attention and relevancy? And from what we see daily on Twitter and Instagram, it’s obvious that the struggle to straddle these lines is getting really real. But even in all of my concerns about this sex tape culture and the pressure to have one in order to move ahead, I am still part of the problem. Because come next week, Mimi and Nikko just might get my $19.95. Sorry, my will is nowhere near as strong as Mimi’s shower rod. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.