Sunday May 12th, 2002
New CD's this week:
- Musiq - Juslisen: second album from this
neo-soul singer who recently dropped the
"Soulchhild" part of his name.
- Lauryn Hill - MTV Unplugged No. 2.0: the long awaited doouble live album from
former Fugees singer
- Will Downing - Sensual journey: on his 9th album Will captures the essence of
contemporary jazz, classic R&B-soul singing.
Short news stories this week:
EWF Set For ASCAP Honors
Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF will be honored
by the American Society Of Composers,
Authors, And Publishers (ASCAP) in the coming weeks for their contributions to popular
EWF will receive the performing-rights organization's Heritage Award at its 15th annual
Rhythm & Soul Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, on June
ASCAP president and chairman Marilyn Bergman said in a statement, "The music of
Earth, Wind & Fire is memorable, joyous, and endlessly inventive. Their songs evoke
romance, spirituality, and freedom. Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, and
company have created a lasting body of work that transcends category."
Previous recipients of the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award include Chaka Khan
and Peabo Bryson.
The EWF live collection, That's The Way Of The World: Alive In '75, was recently
released by Sony Legacy.
Others to be honored are James Taylor - he will receive the Founders Award, given to
pioneering songwriters who have made exceptional contributions to music - and Tony
Bennett. Bennett will be presented with the Pied Piper Award, which recognizes him for
his consummate musical artistry and extraordinary career as the foremost interpreter of
the Great American Songbook, according to ASCAP
Kelly Price Revives Her Party Mode On 'Priceless'
Since the release of Kelly Price's 1998
solo debut Soul Of A Woman, the Def Soul artist
has developed a reputation as one of R&B music's best balladeers. While Price is happy
to be held in such high regard, she doesn't want her fans to forget that she can also sing a
For her third album, Priceless, due out June 25, Price features a couple of upbeat tracks,
among them, "Take It 2 The Head," and "Someday." Price says that her fans should not
be surprised by her efforts to make people dance.
After all, it was Price who sang the chorus to the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money Mo
Problems" and Mase's "Feels So Good," two platinum club-friendly rap songs that
reached the top five on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart prior to the
release of Soul Of A Woman.
Price recently spoke to LAUNCH about her love for party music: "It's always been a part
of me. Before I was an artist, I was doing party records. I mean, it was all me with the
Mase records, the Biggie records, that was me. And that was very much a part of who I
am as a person. When it came time for me to write for myself and write about my
personal experiences, I just wasn't in partying mode because it just wasn't a partying time
in my life. And so everything I wrote just reflected what was going on around me."
Donell Jones Ready To Release New Album
Donell Jones showcased tunes from his new
album, Life Goes On, Wednesday night in
New York City at Club Coda. On the guest list to check out Donell singing his current
single, "You Know That I Love You," and more were controversy-stirring radio
personality Wendy Williams, newcomer rapper Lady May and fellow lover-man
vocalist Keith Sweat.
KeKe appearing before a judge
R&B singer Keke Wyatt went before a
judge Thursday (May 9) for an arraignment
hearing in Shelbyville, Kentucky, where she's facing a second-degree assault charge for
allegedly stabbing her husband on Christmas Day. A not guilty plea was entered, and if a
settlement with the prosecution isn't reached by July 11, motions from both sides will be
heard and a trial scheduled.
T-Boz, Chilli To Complete Fourth TLC Album
TLC's remaining members will press on and
complete the group's fourth album despite
the loss of their friend and group mate Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, according to Arista
Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas are keeping mum about the
album's title, but as with the trio's previous releases it was Left Eye who conceived the
name. Arista hopes to release the album later this year.
The girls started working on the disc late last year but had to break when T-Boz's sickle
cell anemia required her to be hospitalized for two months. The trio were getting ready to
resume recording, according to longtime producer Dallas Austin, when Left Eye was
killed in an April 25 car accident "I've done about six or seven songs," Austin said the
day after Left Eye's passing. "[We also have] pieces of four or five more things that
haven't been finished. Everybody was getting ready to start back working in the next
week or two."
He said TLC have had more input in the new disc than on albums past. "The girls were
pretty much more involved in pulling in producers and writers," he explained. "Where
[on the last three albums] it was usually molded by me saying, 'This is the sound,' this
one was being pieced together a little different, which was cool. We were doing this
album, then the greatest hits. Sitting down, you'd be like, 'I didn't know we had this many
hits just after three albums.' "
Lopes' personal publicist and friend Jay Marose said he's heard a handful of the songs and
that TLC's fans will be pleased when the album comes out.
The new songs are "not unlike the hits from [1999's] Fan Mail," he said Friday. "It's
connected even more. Fan Mail, that's who they were at that time. There was so much in
there that was really personal. This was the next step in that. The Lisa, Chilli and T-Boz
that we got to know in Fan Mail, this record was a deeper, better version of that. The first
track I heard blew me away. It had a bit of controversy."
Aside from the work they did with Austin, TLC recorded songs with Raphael Saadiq and
were scheduled to hit the studio with Babyface as well as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Gospel Trio Trin-I-Tee 5:7 Remakes Musiq's 'Love'
B-Rite Music/Jive gospel recording artists
Trin-I-Tee 5:7 have recorded an interpolation
of Musiq's Grammy-nominated "Love," which peaked at Number Two on Billboard's Hot
R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The song appears on their third album, The Kiss,
which is scheduled to be released on June 25. Andre Harris produced both versions.
Trin-I-Tee members Chanelle Haynes, Adrian Anderson, and Angel Taylor have dubbed
their version of the song "Lord." While Musiq's original song is a discussion of the
importance of love, Trin-I-Tee's rendition focuses on their relationship with God.
In 2001, Musiq spoke to LAUNCH about the meaning of the song, which he wrote as if it
were an actual conversation between him and the word love. "The concept is, I sat love
down with me, and we just had a conversation about how I felt about love, how I think
people use or misuse love, how I feel people need love, and what love has done for me in
my life," Musiq said.
Trin-I-Tee's The Kiss also includes production from Freddie Jerkins.
Trin-I-Tee's 1999 self-titled debut included the song "God's Grace," produced by R.
Kelly, which received airplay on R&B stations. In 2000, the group released the follow-up
Prince Goes Back To The Studio
R&B star Prince has returned to
recording following the completion of his One Night
Alone U.S. tour. The singer is currently holed up in his Paisley Park Studios near
Minneapolis, working on his first batch of new material to follow the release of 2001's
The Rainbow Children. At press time it was unknown whether the new material would be
distributed solely to members of Prince's New Power Generation Music Club, or if it is
for a complete album to come later.
Dawn Robinson And Kevon Edmonds Explain How 'Love Makes Things Happen'
The new musical Love Makes Things Happen,
which is based on music by renowned
producer and solo artist Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, will open in Los Angeles on
Tuesday (May 7) featuring an all-star cast including singers Dawn Robinson (En Vogue,
Lucy Pearl), Cheryl "Coko" Gamble (SWV), Kevon Edmonds (After 7), and comedian
The play, which incorporates Babyface's music catalog, tells the story of a successful
businesswoman, Sheila Carter (Robinson), who falls for the minimum-wage-earning
Chauncy Brown (Kevon Edmonds).
Casting director Robi Reed-Humes said the play includes her wish list of actors. "We
knew that because there was so much music involved, we needed great voices," Reed-
Humes said. "So that was key. Each person in this cast was our first choice for the role."
Making the transition from singer to actor was most difficult for Robinson, who said that
she is still adjusting. "I love it though," said Robinson, who adds that she's most
comfortable during the second half of the play. "That's more me. The Shelia Carter that I
play in the beginning is colder, she's corporate. So I can loosen up a lot more in the
second half. It's more of who I am."
Edmonds also relates to his character, which has had to deal with making low wages, and
being scarred by bad relationships. "In a lot of ways, we're not different," Kevon said.
"He's kinda of a quiet, easy-going guy, moral fellow, kind-hearted, giving, caring, but has
maybe once or a few times in his life had an experience that hasn't been the greatest in
terms of relationships."
For volatile stand-up comedian Joe Torry, however, his role as Chauncy's micro-
managing mailroom supervisor is different than the roles he typically portrays. "I
surprised myself because I'm not being as profane or being as dominating or as in control
as I am as doing standup, because I can control that," Torry said.
Robinson, Kevon, Torry, and writer and director David E. Talbert all agree though that
the characters are realistic. "It's important that we do shows that are not just cliché or fad-
driven or gospel superstar tributes; that the stories are driven by the stories, and that they
are driven by the characters," Talbert said. "So that's what I try to do with the shows-
create stories, create rich characters."
Love Makes Things Happen is executive produced by Babyface, Talbert, and Noel Jones.
Additionally, Reed-Humes and Tracey E. Edmonds produce it.