Sunday August 19th 2001


I think this week was the proverbial calm before the storm, only 2 new album
releases. One from a new femal trio and the other from funk veterans the Dazz
band. This new album by the Dazz band is bit more mellow than we are used to, a
couple a ballads and midtempo tracks and just a few more of less funky songs.
Certainly not their best album ever, but for any diehard fan worth checking out.
In the coming week of course there is the highly anticipated new album from
Maxwell as well as a new set from Christopher Williams and the week after that
Mary J. Blige, Kool & the gang and Brian McKnight.
Of last weeks new albums the new Isley Brothers "Eternal' did very wel, entering
The USA Billboard album chart at nr. 3. selling 225.000 copies with Usher at nr. 4.
Alcia Keys dropped to nr. 6

Exhale - Exhale

Exhale is a new female trio comprising of Tasha Belton, Tiko George and Toya
Watson. They are signed to Real Deal Records, a company founded by boxing
legend Evander Holyfield. As they say themselves: "We have the attitude of TLC
combined with a more traditional R&B flavor, like En Vogue, but we're still funky
Fresh, funky and flavor-filled, Exhale's debut offers a heaping helping of everything
to satisfy the fickle appetites of music lovers worldwide - a dash of hip hop, the
sweet sounds of seductive soul and the ever popular pinings of precocious pop, all
seasoned with their own brand of sugar and spice, and everything naughty and
Bounce to the beat of "Chillin' In Your Benz," a rhythm-driven ride along the streets
of Funk and R&B. On top of the pulsating track glides the smooth harmonies of
three ladies who can carry a tune farther than a bird flying South. Another cruising
cut is "I Don't Want To Fall In Love."
It has a great vibe between the music and the words. It's poppy but funky. It's about
two best friends, but the guy wants to take it to a boyfriend/girlfriend level.
With three ladies that can sing, it's no wonder some of the hottest tracks on Exhale's
debut are ballad-driven. Melancholy sweet "Still Not Over You" is destined to be
an anthem for lovers everywhere. This track is written by Tasha and Toya together
and is about breaking up with someone who you are in love with.
Whether it's the shimmering elegance of "Falling In Love" or the effervescent layers
of "Loving You," there is a presence in each cut that reeks of soul and the boundaries
of emotions, from the joy of new love to the pain of heartbreak.
Their first album, contains 11 tracks, of which eight the ladies wrote themselves.
They are young in age but wise in matters of the heart, which is reflected in the
tender, often soul-barring nature of their lyrics.
"We like the old school stuff, where lyrics were deep and had a lot of meaning,"
Tasha says of their songwriting process. "We like to think deep enough to make
people think and feel the song. We want to make them believe what we say."
Adds Tiko, "We feel you don't have to be profane to get your point across. We like
metaphors. We don't get explicit because we don't feel it's necessary to get your
point across."
Exceptional songwriters, singing sensations… yeah, it's time to Exhale!

Other news this week:


Grammy-Winning Singer Toni Braxton Expecting First Child

R&B diva Toni Braxton, who married Mint Condition keyboardist Keri Lewis in
Atlanta on April 21, is expecting her first child, a boy, on Christmas Day (December
25). The couple, who met four years ago while touring, is currently working on a
Christmas album that will feature the production of Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.
Braxton, who is the eldest of six children, recently told USA Today, "I always wanted
an older brother." The singer also shared that she hopes to have the child early, "I'd
like to be home with him at Christmas." The child will be named Keri Jr.

Michael Jackson's 'Invincible' Takes A Major Blow

Michael Jackson's "Invincible" will not come out on September 25. The album has been
in production for the better part of the last two years, and was to have been released
to coincide with Jackson's 30th anniversary concerts on September 7 and 10. now reports that production delays in the shooting of two videos
are to blame for the album postponement. Invincible's first single, "You Rock My
World," was already supposed to have been shipped to radio stations, and it now won't
hit the streets until the beginning of October. Not only has the release date of I"nvincible"
been pushed back, but the planned releases of the remastered editions "Dangerous",
"Bad", and "Thriller" have also been delayed. When asked to divulge the updated
release dates for the remainder of the Jackson material, an unnamed Sony Music
employee told LAUNCH, "We don't have any dates on that."


Kool & The Gang bring back the boogie

R&B veterans Kool & the Gang will on Aug. 28 release their 23rd album, "Kool &
the Gang Presents Gangland." The KFTA album will be the first since the group's
long-time lead singer JT Taylor departed for the second time in 1999. To compensate
for the loss, Gang leader Kool (real name: Robert Bell) says the act has turned back
the clock to the early '70s, specifically the De Lite album "Wild and Peaceful," which
spawned such hits as "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging."
"Since Taylor left, we've gone back to more of a '70s edge," says Kool. "The funky
stuff days. Then, of course, we're introducing a bunch of new artists to keep it fresh,
so we're not just doing the same old thing."
Guesting on the album will be Kool's son Da Prince Hakim with his Too Hot All-Stars.
Hakim raps on the set's first single, "Bigg Thangs." Kool says other guests on the
album include Funkin', a group comprised of the sons and younger brothers of the
original Parliament/Funkadelic members, and SX4, a female R&B quartet.
Kool & the Gang are also working on an album entitled "Odyssey," which will be
released next year. Kool says the set will feature contemporary artists reworking old
Kool & the Gang tunes.
"So far we have Jamiroquai, who have rerecorded 'Hollywood Swinging.' Bryan
Adams is working on a rock version of 'Celebration,' a new millennium rock version.
Other people we've talked to [are] Sting, Carlos Santana, Outkast, Whitney Houston,
and most recently R. Kelly." Actor/director Bill Duke ("Hoodlum") has also begun
preliminary work on film which will track Kool & the Gang's New Jersey beginnings.


Christopher: A real man

Christopher Williams--the fine brother who had thousands of female fans fainting
and "dreaming," is back. Pinch yourself, you're not dreaming, he's real. Christopher
Williams' first album in years entitled "Real Men Do," will be in stores August 21.
With his basic love song style still in tact, the album with it's alluring lyrics also has
a lot of mid- tempos and of course a lot of ballads. The album is sure to have an
impact. Williams' claims to have matured a bit and that his new album won't be so
much for the excited, screaming teen, but rather for the adults and young adults. He
sees this album reviving the live audience like the music of Teddy, Marvin and Luther
as well as the latest soul singers such as Maxwell, D'Angelo, Eric Benet and Joe.
Still, Williams' music will be a bit different. Not signed with a major label, which
any artist will admit can be constricting, he plans to start out both stateside and abroad.
A Spanish track on his album will be circulating in Spain while his first single does
rounds in the US. The soulful singer said he was really inspired to put out his music
in Europe after a three-month tour he made in 1997. He actually boasts huge
followings in London, Amsterdam, and other major European cities. Williams is
taking his new album straight to radio with a strategy to hit up a number of radio
shows and reunite with his fans and find new ones. He excitedly says that he's really
happy to be getting back out there, especially to help reshape and redefine Black
music. Again, look for this soul singer's new release, "Real Men Do," on shelves
August 21.


Macy Gray ready to relaese "The id"

Epic Records is set to release the sophomore album from the multi-platinum
recording artist, Macy Gray. After two years of touring in support of her Grammy-
winning, multi-platinum debut, "On How Life Is," Macy returned to the studio to
begin work on "The id."
Many of the musicians and vocalists that Macy befriended along the way make
special appearances on "The id" including: The Roots' Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson,
Slick Rick, Erykah Badu, Sunshine Anderson, Angie Stone and Mos Def.
The first single from "The id" will be "Sweet Baby" featuring Erykah Badu. The
video was directed by Dave Meyers (known for his work with Missy Elliot and Jennifer
Lopez, among others). The album also includes songs "Shed," which samples the
Pointer Sisters's "Yes We Can Can"; and "Hey Young World II," a remake of Slick
Rick's "Hey Young World."
"The id," executive-produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, picks up where Gray's
debut left off. The highly anticipated album, which mixes funk with rock and blues
effortlessly, will satisfy Macy Gray fans and introduce her to a new audience as well.
In support of "The id," Macy will embark on a tour to support the album in early 2002.

The O'Jays To Release 'For The Love...' In October

The O'Jays members Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, and Eric Grant are scheduled
to release "For The Love..." on October 9 on MCA Records. The record is the follow-
up to their 1997 release "Love You To Tears", released on Global Soul Records, a
label owned by Eddie's son, singer-songwriter Gerald Levert.
The Canton, Ohio group emerged as a doo-wop quintet in 1957, but did not score a
Number One hit until releasing "Back Stabbers" in 1972. They have since recorded
more than 50 hit songs, including "For The Love Of Money," "Love Train," and
"Used To Be My Girl."
The song "Let's Ride" is the first single from the new album. The following is the
"For The Love..". tentative track listing: "Long Distance Lover," "Don't Break My
Heart," "Let's Ride," "I'm Ready Now," "Baby Making Love," "Searching 4 The
One," "Put Out The Fire," "I Don't Know," "Latin Lover," and "Sounds Like Me."


Wyclef Jean To Star In "Shottas"

According to Variety, rapper Wyclef Jean will star in the gangster drama "Shottas,"
which will be set in Miami, Florida. The story of "Shottas" revoles around two
Jamaican thugs who reunite and decide to take on the city of Miami. Ky-Mani
Marley, Spragga Benz, Paul Campbell and Louie Rankin will also star. In addition
to Wyclef's acting role, he will also provide the soundtrack.


News 2001