Beacon Street Online’s Best of 2015 and Looking Forward to 2016

bestbso

As 2015 winds down, we’re looking back at another eventful year with highlights and features from some of the band’s biggest moments and projects to look forward to in the new year.

This year, No Doubt hit the road for a festival tour performing eight shows over the spring and summer. Gwen also teamed up with MasterCard for a couple of select and exclusive shows in both Los Angeles and New York and debuted two new songs that won both fans and critics over. In the fall, Gwen made her return to The Voice for season 9 which had her competing in the finale for the first time while promoting her biggest single since 2007 with “Used To Love You”.

Next year is shaping up to be another busy one for Gwen with her highly-anticipated third solo album expected to be released in early 2016 and a possible return to The Voice for season 11. Adrian confirmed earlier in the month that he’s unsure of the band’s next move and he is set to work on another band project of his own in the near future.

Make sure vote in our poll letting us know which was your favorite moment from 2015!

“Shine”

Photo courtesy of Getty
Photo courtesy of Getty

Announced in late 2014, Gwen paired again with Pharrell Williams for “Shine”, a track that was reportedly meant for No Doubt but was re-worked for the family film Paddington.

After a screening of the movie, Gwen wanted “Shine” to have an uplifting theme. She and Pharrell went back-and-forth over how to approach the lyrics, while she wanted to have more abstract lyrics, he wanted to go literal and “specific to the movie.” Gwen reflected on the lyrics saying, “… at first it felt weird (‘I wish I was a bear”), but then it actually made more sense for it not to have to be outside the movie. It’s a great song.”

Live in Los Angeles for MasterCard / “Start a War”

Photo courtesy of Memo for Beacon Street Online
Photo courtesy of Guillermo Moreno for Beacon Street Online

On February 7, Gwen returned to the solo stage for the first time for an exclusive show for MasterCard Priceless Surprises at the legendary Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. She treated 2,500 fans and cardholders to an extensive set featuring material from her past solo albums as well as a new song co-penned with Sia, “Start a War”. Gwen also debuted a few new songs live for the first time including “Baby Don’t Lie”, “Spark The Fire” and her collaboration track with Calvin Harris, “Together”.

Though fans were pulling for a single release of “Start a War” (since critics and fans were loving it universally), Gwen has since shared that she’s moved on from the material she wrote prior to this past summer including her work with Sia.

Gwen’s Return to the Grammys

Photo courtesy of Getty
Photo courtesy of Getty

Gwen made her return to the Grammy awards on February 8 for the first time since 2006 for a surprise performance of her collaboration track with Maroon 5, “My Heart Is Open”. She looked absolutely gorgeous on the red carpet wearing a stunning custom Atelier Versace jumpsuit which she called a piece of “artwork”. Before heading into the show, Gwen chatted about her recent collaboration track “Shine” and “Start a War”, which she debuted the night prior in Los Angeles.

Gwen has recently shared that a traumatic event happened shortly after the awards between her and ex-husband Gavin Rossdale that sparked their unexpected separation after 13 years of marriage.

Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day

Photo courtesy of Getty
Photo courtesy of Getty

No Doubt returned to the stage for the Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day which was held on the lawn of the iconic National Mall in Washington D.C. for over 350,000 fans. The concert was streamed live with thousands more tuning in and the band put on an incredible performance that set the pace for more festival shows to come throughout the spring and summer.

No Doubt’s Festival Tour

Photo courtesy of Getty
Photo courtesy of Getty

No Doubt hit the road for multiple music festivals this past spring and summer that brought them to cities all over the country. The band first performed for 350,000 fans in Washington D.C. for the Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day. No Doubt also made their debut appearances in New Orleans for Jazz Fest, Las Vegas for the Rock in Rio festival (which also debuted in America for the first time), the BottleRock Napa Valley festival in Napa, Jazz Aspen Snowmass festival in Snowmass, Riot Fest in Chicago with the band wrapping up in San Diego for the first annual Kaaboo Del Mar Festival. No Doubt also performed at the Evening with Women in Hollywood on May 16 that honored and raised funds for the the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

The band put on some incredible shows this past year and treated fans to a few unexpected surprises including an acoustic set and fan favorites like “Happy Now?” and “Sparkle”.

After Gwen and Gavin announced in August that they were divorcing, many fans wondered how Gwen would react and translate some of her most personal lyrics onstage. Though she admitted there were moments during the later shows that had her close to tears, Gwen gave off nothing but confidence in her delivery and even found herself ad-libbing lyrics in a few songs.

Gwen starts over on new album

Photo courtesy of Julia Michaels
Photo courtesy of Julia Michaels

After releasing two solo singles last year to underwhelming success, Gwen headed back into the studio in June with a new outlook on herself and songwriting. After separating from Gavin earlier this year (though it was held secret from the public until August), Gwen found an overwhelming amount of inspiration and ended up scrapping most it not all of her previous material that she had been working on. She had stated several times that her album she had been curating just didn’t feel right to her and wanted something more true and honest to herself.

Gwen teamed up again with producers and writers outside of her comfort zone and expressed how she was interested in writing music from the heart and not wanting to focus on making hits. She found herself writing more freely than she ever had, and after suffering several years of writers-block, was able to write a new song almost every time she went to the studio.

In late July, Gwen presented her album to the label and they had a hard time believing they would be able to market the material due it being “too personal”. She felt incredibly hurt and after telling her team what they had said, in a way of rebelling, Gwen told them she wanted to write the most “non-commercial” song ever. After revisiting some of her lyrics she had wrote earlier in the year, “Used To Love You” was written and ironically, everyone at the label loved it. For the first time in 25 years, Interscope personally contacted Gwen and told her she may have a huge hit on her hands.

As of November, Gwen shared that she has more than two albums worth of material written but is planning on writing more into the new year.

For more on Gwen’s upcoming third solo album, check out our feature on what to expect.

Kuu Kuu Harajuku

Photo courtesy of Kuu Kuu Harajuku
Photo courtesy of Kuu Kuu Harajuku

Gwen’s new executive-producer animated series Kuu Kuu Harajuku debuted on November 1 in Australia with a rumored domestic premiere date in 2016. The series follows HJ5, “a band driven by their inspirational leader, G” which features Love, Angel, Music and Baby. Gwen says that working on Kuu-Kuu Harajuku has been “dream come true” and that the series has turned out “better than I could have ever imagined.” “It’s been incredible to see the characters and the world they live in come to life… I can’t wait for everyone to see it! After all this time, seeing the Harajuku Girls come to life in an animated series has been an amazing experience.”

Mattel (behind Barbie) has signed on as the toy and doll manufacturer for the series and is excited to bring “this new franchise to life”. Doug Wadleigh, GM and SVP for Mattel says, “The unique Kawaii world of characters paired with the engaging musical narrative of Kuu-Kuu Harajuku has inspired us to create a truly distinguished line of upcoming dolls and toys.”

Kuu Kuu Harajuku is currently airing every Sunday morning on Australia’s channel Eleven (11).

Harajuku Lovers x Q&Q Smile Solar / Chasing Fireflies / Petco

Photo courtesy of Getty
Photo courtesy of Getty

2015 saw the return of Gwen’s Harajuku Lovers brand branching off with several collaborations and collections from flip-flops to pet accessories.

In March, Harajuku Lovers teamed up with Q&Q Smile Solar for a line of limited edition watches that were available exclusively at Nordstom. The first collection included 9 unisex pieces which retailed for $50 each and were made from both new and used recycled materials and finished with a waterproof casing. Like all Q&Q products, the watches were solar powered and could last up to three months on a single charge. The debut collection also featured many of Gwen’s signature prints such as polka dots, houndstooth, stripes and bright neon colors taking inspiration from the “Baby Don’t Lie” music video. A second line was released in May with 15 “emoji-inspired” timepieces and featured quotes from “Spark The Fire” with Nordstrom. A third wave of watches was launched with Macy’s this past holiday season.

Later in June, Harajuku Lovers launched an exclusive line of flip flops just in time for summer.

Harajuku Lovers partnered with Chasing Fireflies in September which featured a more “luxurious” line of children’s apparel and party accessories. Gwen called it one of the “funnest collaborations” she’s ever worked on and was given the creative freedom to design gorgeous costumes and clothes on a higher price-point. She celebrated the line with a launch party hosted by Chasing Fireflies and even had her little niece Stella model on the runway.

In one the most unique and surprising partnerships, Gwen collaborated with the team at Petco for a limited edition line of pet accessories and spa packages in November. She shared that she had a lot of fun working on the line saying, “It’s playful, modern, and super kawaii. I couldn’t be happier with how well it turned out.” Items were available both online and in select Petco stores.

“Run Away” / “Kings Never Die” / “Ashes”

Photo courtesy of Vevo
Photo courtesy of Vevo

This year fans were also treated to a few high-profile feature collaborations with both Snoop Dogg and Eminem. Tom also collaborated with rap-rock group Crazy Town on their first album since 2002.

In “Run Away”, Gwen cooed alongside Snoop Dogg on the song (produced by Pharrell Williams and co-written with Brent Paschke) that appears on his latest album Bush released this past May. The pairing was unexpected and though Gwen didn’t have her own standout part on the song, it was neat and refreshing to hear her alongside Snoop on such a funky laid-back track.

Eminem’s “Kings Never Die” was included on the Southpaw soundtrack and ranks as one of Gwen’s most high-profile collaborations ever. Though the track was promoted as a second-single contender, and even debuted in it’s first week of release at #35 on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart, “Kings Never Die” has yet to be released as a single. “Kings Never Die” was produced by DJ Khalil and was co-written with The New Royales.

Tom collaborated with Crazy Town and appears on their latest album with “Ashes” which debuted in August. He performs on the rap-rock track which features a sweet off-beat guitar.

Season 9 of The Voice

Photo courtesy of NBC
Photo courtesy of NBC

Gwen made her return to NBC’s Emmy-winning reality singing competition show The Voice for season 9. She was joined alongside familiar faces and fellow coaches Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton. Gwen was back with more experience and confidence this time around and shined throughout the entire season with another batch of talented artists including season 9 finalist Jeffery Austin.

The Voice included many memorable moments for fans including a fun four-coach performance to kick off the season, a Team Gwen performance of the 90’s hit “You Get What You Give”, an emotional performance of her new single “Used To Love You” and a very special and unique duet of “Leather and Lace” with Jeffery Austin, which was released on iTunes to promote the finale.

For more on season 9 including highlights, performances and photos, check out our coverage page.

The UD | Gwen Stefani Collection

Photo courtesy of Urban Decay
Photo courtesy of Urban Decay

In March, makeup brand Urban Decay announced that they were teaming with Gwen on The Ultraviolet Edge, UD’s new “global initiative to empower women”. Gwen took part in the campaign, helped raise awareness and was their first on a list of women that “rock their world”.

Wende Zomni, co-founder of Urban Decay, announced in September 2015 that the makeup brand would be partnering with Gwen for their first-ever collaboration collection. Aptly titled The UD | Gwen Stefani Collection, UD and Gwen worked together for four to five months on the line because they wanted to “get every detail right.” Gwen had her hands on every aspect of the collection from the makeup itself to the packaging. She shared that she’s wanted to collaborate on a makeup line for years but it never felt like the right time.

The first release from UDxGwen line was a limited edition eyeshadow palette featuring 12 shades that Gwen helped create and 3 traditional Urban Decay colors. The highly anticipated palette retailed for $58 and launched on November 22 on UrbanDecay.com and in their flagship stores (which sold out in less than 48 hours). The palette features more nude and neutral shades than beauty lovers were expecting but Gwen shares that the line represents what she loves to wear on a daily basis. “I can’t really get away with [crazy colors]. I can if I have a makeup artist, a photographer and lighting. But not in real life; I want to make stuff for real life. I want to be able to take that on the plane, and that’s it.”

UDxGwen fans have more to look forward to in the new year with lipsticks, lip liners and a blush palette on the way.

Tragic Kingdom Turns 20

Photo courtesy of Interscope
Photo courtesy of Interscope

Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt’s most celebrated and iconic third album was released 20 years ago on October 10. Tragic Kingdom went on to sell over 16 million copies worldwide, hitting the top spot in several countries and staying on top of the Billboard charts for weeks. The album spawned some of the band’s biggest hits to date including “Don’t Speak”, “Just a Girl”, “Sunday Morning” and “Spiderwebs”. The album hit #1 in the US in December 1996, almost a full year after the album was domestically released.

The day was full of special tributes from both the media and fans all over the world. During weeks leading up to the anniversary, we introduced our new TK20 section which was filled with our own special content and tributes to No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom and the impact it still continues to have on all of us.

“Used To Love You”

Photo courtesy of Getty
Photo courtesy of Getty

Co-written with J.R. Rotem, Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, “Used To Love You” is one of Gwen’s most emotionally driven songs in a long time. She surprised and debuted her new single to fans live in New York sharing that it was special track to her and was written just recently (due to the aftermath of her separation from now ex-husband Gavin Rossdale). Produced by J.R. Rotem, the single hit iTunes the following week as well as the music video which featured footage shot exclusively for Gwen’s New York show by good friend and creative director Sophie Muller.

“Used To Love You” led to many memorable television performances this past fall including high-profile appearances on Ellen, the AMAs, The Tonight Show and The Voice. “Used To Love You” skyrocketed up the iTunes chart peaking at #2 and still continues to land on the Billboard charts making it her most successful single since “The Sweet Escape” in 2007. The single is said to be the lead from her forthcoming album due in early 2016.

IPSF 2015 Spirit of Excellence Gala

Photo courtesy of Vimeo
Photo courtesy of Vimeo

The Irvine Public School District honored Tom with the Spirit of Excellence in Music award in October and both Tony and Adrian were on-hand to present the award. The gala premiered an excellent tribute to Tom that featured interviews with the band and loved ones we’re grateful the moment was shared with us fans to celebrate the much deserved honor.

American Music Awards

Photo courtesy of Getty
Photo courtesy of Getty

Gwen made an impact at this year’s annual American Music Awards when she appeared on the red carpet ahead of her “Used To Love You” performance. She arrived in one of her most daring and baring looks yet in a stunning sheer black Yousef Al-Jasmi gown with hair by Danilo and makeup by Gregory Arlt. The revealing look landed her on both the best and worst dressed lists by both fans and critics, but whether you loved or hated it, you had to respect Gwen’s ambition for continuing to take risks with fashion.

“Rainbow Connection”

Photo courtesy of YouTube
Photo courtesy of YouTube

Gwen pleasantly surprised fans when her name was announced as an artist contributing to the latest Disney cover compilation We Love Disney with her version of “Rainbow Connection”.

When approached to be appear on the album, Gwen was asked which Disney song she would like to sing, she chose “Rainbow Connection” since she’s always had a “special connection” to it. Gwen admits that she avoided the offer for awhile since she was overwhelmed at first when choosing a song. She shared that she first saw The Muppet Movie when she was a little girl and the soundtrack was huge in her family while growing up. “When I had my babies, I used to sing this song to them.” Gwen says that the song is still very special to her. “…to find something that was so part of my life and has a meaning for me is a dream come true”.

Vote and tell us which was your favorite moment of the year!

Looking Forward to 2016

Gwen’s upcoming third solo album
Even though Gwen has shared she has at least two albums worth of material written for her new solo album, she’s focusing on taking advantage of her inspiration and wants to write more into the new year. She still has a tentative release date of early 2016 for her new album. If all goes according to plan, we could see Gwen releasing a second single from the album in January. With her new philosophy of just living for the moment, we’re excited for what’s next from Gwen and have confidence a new album will be on the way in 2016. For the latest updates and what to expect from Gwen’s third solo album, click here.

Tom’s new “side band thing” and VolleyPay
In February, Tom announced that he was involved in a new “side band thing” which he had been “working on and recording a lot” alongside musicians “who are kind of well-known”. He didn’t share more about the project but fans are being lead to believe that Tom, Tony and Adrian might be working on something of their own outside of No Doubt. The boys have been in the studio writing and recording recently and Tom revealed that he was not working on new No Doubt material.

Tom shared that he’s also been working on a new mobile app with a local Long Beach group called VolleyPay (which you can now request an invite for early access), which he hoped to have out earlier in the spring. The iPhone app is described as a way to “accept ApplePay, credit cards and digital payments with only your iPhone. No bank required.” He said that his team had been working on the prototype over the last couple of months earlier in the year and said it’s been really fun. “Being a musician is obviously very creative, and I feel like there’s so much going on in tech and software that it’s certainly an exciting world. I love all of that and putting my ideas into that world. Long Beach is very inspiring.”

Adrian’s unannounced new band project
Like Tom earlier in the year, Adrian announced that he was involved in a “new band” but wasn’t allowed to share any additional details. It had fans scratching their heads and wondering if the No Doubt boys were up to something on their own outside of the band from the clue Tom shared saying they were all in the studio in October together.

The future of No Doubt
Adrian confirmed that as of November 2015, there were no tentative plans for the band to reunite to work on a new album or tour. “I don’t know when we’re going to record or play again. Yeah, that’s it.” We’re confident No Doubt will work together on something new in the future but we could see the band taking full advantage of another extended hiatus having Gwen releasing a new album of her own as well as TBA projects from Tom, Tony and Adrian.

In 2014, No Doubt parted ways with long-time management company Rebel Waltz and had been reportedly signed with Azoff MSG Entertainment. Adrian later revealed in April that himself, Tom and Tony were “self-managed” and only Gwen had signed a new deal with AMSGE. He continued by saying everything for No Doubt was in a “little bit of limbo right now” and confirmed no immediate plans for a new album or tour.

Steve Bradley’s new album and Los Angeles residency
After releasing his debut EP in July with Runaways, Steve Bradley has been hard at work alongside with Steel Pulse’s David Elecciri on a new full-length reggae album due in 2016 titled Valley of the Kings. Photos hinted that both Adrian and Gabrial McNair might appear on the album.

Fans are able to check out Steve during his new residency at the exclusive Skybar in Los Angeles’ Mondrian hotel starting in 2016 on every first and third Friday night each month. Check out BackOfHouse.org for more information.

The return of Oslo
Gabe recently shared on Instagram that his side-project band Oslo were getting back together to work on new music.

Gx and L.A.M.B. eyewear
In early 2016, fans can look forward to the debut lines of both Gx and L.A.M.B. eyewear. The first collections from Gx and L.A.M.B. will include 12 ophthalmic styles and 12 sunglasses from each brand. The lines are said to be influenced by Gwen and her extensive personal collection. Prices for the collections vary, with L.A.M.B. naturally having more of a luxurious touch. Each L.A.M.B. pair will retail $150-$250 and Gx is expected to range between $50-$175.

10 thoughts on “Beacon Street Online’s Best of 2015 and Looking Forward to 2016

  1. This was a year full of twists and turns for our favorite band and its members. Thanks BSO for this detailed and honest recap of 2015.

    The most surprising moment hands down was Gwen’s divorce and subsequent relationship with Blake.

    UTLY is without a doubt the highlight of the year for me! I am so relieved Gwen still has it in her to write a solid, meaningful, passionate song after releasing those two duds last year.

    A second highlight was the ND shows. It was awfully random, but an awful lot of fun too. Gwen had a fire in her that we haven’t seen in years.

    The strangest moment of the year was Shine. I still can’t fathom why the song was written for the movie, promoted, but never saw the light of day. I guess it’s just yet another “scratch your head” moment from Gwen’s camp.

    I’m looking forward to more music from Gwen in 2016, but I must admit that I’m hesitant given the multiple disappointments and broken promises we’ve had over the past 7 years. I am also really curious about what this “side project” is that Tom (and Adrian/Tony?) have been working on.

  2. This was a great post! It still amazes me how Gwen manages to get so much freaking stuff done!! (Especially with all the craziness of this year);World’s busiest schedule for sure.

    Highlight for me is definitely the Festival Tour.. I love solo Gwen and UTLY is 2nd but nothing beats live No Doubt in my books.. and hearing Happy Now? live again just is the cherry on top!

  3. Btw Jenny I think you should have briefly mentioned Qatar before the 1st Mastercard concert. After all Gwen debuted BDL and Together in that concert.

    1. I agree but I left it out since it wasn’t commercially marketed (outside of Qatar really) and her concert in LA was definitely the highlight out of the three shows.

  4. I guess as a fan it sometimes happens that you only notice the delays and letdowns, but when looking at such a detailed recap you actually see how much really happened in 2015. Yeah, it wasn’t all perfect (“Shine” and SAW never being released), but still it was quite a good year. Gwen got back in form imho and I am sure 2016 will bring some really good stuff. We already have many things to look forward to (Sesame Street, Trolls, possible Major Lazer collaboration, new single, new album…). Things definitely feel better now as they did at the end of 2014/beginning of 2015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *