"American Express Unstaged" welcomes Grammy® award-winning Pharrell Williams and Spike Lee as the first pairing for 2014

Live Vevo Event on YouTube Streamed Globally on June 3 from the World Famous Apollo Theater in New York City

TORONTO, May 27, 2014 /CNW/ - American Express announced today that Grammy® award-winning, multiplatinum singer-songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams and award-winning director Spike Lee have been selected as the next pairing in its popular live stream music series "American Express Unstaged," in partnership with Vevo and YouTube. Pharrell Williams' June 3rd live streamed concert will mark the artist's debut performance from the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City at 9:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM PT on Tuesday, June 3 at amexunstaged.com directed by Spike Lee. Tickets for the concert were made available to the public at ticketmaster.com on Friday, March 23.

"Spike Lee is an incredible visionary and I'm thrilled he agreed to collaborate with me for American Express Unstaged," said Pharrell Williams. "I know with his direction, this will be a really special experience."

Pharrell's June 3rd performance represents the 14th installment within the innovative live stream music series "American Express Unstaged." Launched in the summer of 2010 in partnership with Vevo and YouTube, "American Express Unstaged" showcases some of the music industry's most breakthrough artists playing at landmark venues across the country, while tapping some of today's most influential filmmakers to direct the live streams and using digital and social media to connect the online audience to the live shows in unexpected ways.

Award-winning director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Miracle at St. Anna, Inside Man and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts), one of contemporary cinema's most influential and provocative storytellers, was brought together with Pharrell by American Express to capture the performance with a visually stunning home viewing experience. This will be his second directorial appearance in "American Express Unstaged," following his partnership with John Legend & The Roots in September 2010.

"I am excited to collaborate with Pharrell and can't wait to help put together a really impressive show for fans," said Spike Lee. "As a filmmaker, the American Express Unstaged platform is really a great vehicle that enables digital innovation and will help share our creative vision with a global audience."

American Express, in partnership with Vevo and YouTube, will provide Pharrell fans and music enthusiasts worldwide with several pre-show and in-concert innovative digital features, experiences and one-of-a-kind content that further blur the line between an at-home and in-concert "American Express Unstaged" experience:

  • Digital Photo Mosaic: Fans will have an opportunity to impact the live experience by submitting a photo of themselves, which may be shown on stage during Pharrell's performance. To participate, fans 18 years of age or older can go to AmexUNSTAGED.com/Pharrell between May 27 and June 2 to upload their photo.

  • Digitally signed Photo of Pharrell: For the first time, American Express Unstaged fans can receive a special, digitally autographed photo from the artist by retweeting a message issued by American Express on June 3. The photo will be available to fans until June 5.

  • Backstaged: Introduced to American Express Unstaged in 2013, Backstaged aims to reward the digital audience for Tweeting.  If enough fans follow the call to action and tweet using the hashtag #AmexUNSTAGED leading up to and during the live stream concert, they can unlock a special piece of digital "Backstaged" content.  This content will be available for the online audience and released on amexunstaged.com after the in-venue encore.

  • Exclusive Digital Content: Leading up to the June 3rd performance, fans can visit amexunstaged.com to enjoy a series of videos featuring Pharrell and Spike Lee that will tell the stories and inspiration behind the music.

  • Choose Your Cam: The audience can control their viewing experience throughout the live show by switching between the director's main stream and alternate in-venue vantage points.

  • Rebroadcast: Following the live performance, fans will be able to enjoy a special looped rebroadcast on amexunstaged.com . Clips of the performance will also be available at amexunstaged.com and the Vevo mobile application beginning on June 6.

Fans can watch the live event everywhere they watch YouTube, Vevo's free apps for iPhone®, iPad® and Xbox 360.  This innovative digital stream, brought to life globally by online music leaders Vevo and YouTube, will build on previous duos such as Kings of Leon and Fred Armisen, Vampire Weekend and Steve Buscemi, The Killers and Werner Herzog, Usher and Hamish Hamilton, Kenny Chesney and Jonathan Demme, Jack White and Gary Oldman and many more.

For more information about American Express and entertainment, visit AmericanExpress.ca. Leading up to the June 3 performance, fans will be able to receive insider updates by connecting with American Express at amexunstaged.com, Twitter.com/AmexCanada or Facebook.com/AmericanExpressCanada.

About American Express Canada
American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express charge and credit cards, with outstanding products like the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, and the American Express® AeroplanPlus® Gold Card. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast. For more information, visit AmericanExpress.ca or connect with us at Facebook.com/AmericanExpressCanada.

Key links to products and services:  charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and corporate card

About Vevo
Vevo is the world's leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform with over 5.5 billion monthly views globally. Vevo brings a library of 100,000 HD music videos, exclusive original programing and live concert performances to everyone on the planet who loves music. Viewers can watch on-demand through Vevo.com, the mobile web and apps for mobile/tablets and TVs, or through Vevo TV, the always-on broadcast-style linear music channels built by expert human programmers. Additionally, Vevo syndicates its catalogue to dozens of sites across the web giving music fans the option to view their favorite programming anywhere, anytime. It is Vevo's massive scale and reach that has attracted more than 900 brand marketers around the globe since its launch in 2009.

About YouTube
Founded in February 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.  YouTube, LLC is based in San Bruno, CA and is a subsidiary of Google Inc.

SOURCE: American Express

For further information:

Amanda Betti
American Express Canada
(905) 474-7903
Amanda.betti@aexp.com

Emma Greasley
High Road Communications
(416) 644-2297
Emma.greasley@highroad.com

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