Sunday October 13th, 2002
New CD's this past week:
- Heather Headley - This is who I am:
Heather, already a big musical star (Lion King,
Aida), now has a wonderful debut RnB album
Short news stories this week:
New Edition In Talks To Join Bad Boy Roster
R&B outfit New Edition, which will
celebrate its 20th year in the
entertainment industry next year, are set to join Sean "P. Diddy"
Combs's Bad Boy Entertainment roster. Bad Boy representatives confirmed
that the wheels were in motion to sign the group to the label. Combs was
initially scheduled to produce several tracks on the group's forthcoming
set, but the mogul opted to bring the act aboard full time.
New Edition formed in Boston the late '70s under the guidance of Maurice
Starr--who was also responsible for that city's New Kids On The
Block--with the intention of replicating the success of the Jackson 5.
The group's first release was 1983's "Candy Girl." The group's original
lineup included Ralph Tresvant, Ronnie DeVoe, Michael Bivins, Bobby
Brown, and Ricky Bell.
Brown left the group in 1986 to pursue a solo career and was replaced by
Johnny Gill. All six members reunited in 1996 to release Home Again, but
whether or not Brown will be involved in the forthcoming set is still
uncertain as the singer is currently working on new solo material.
New Edition's albums include 1983's Candy Girl, 1984's double-platinum
New Edition, 1985's platinum All For Love, 1985's Christmas All Over The
World, 1986's gold Under The Blue Moon, 1989's double-platinum Heart
Break, and 1996's double-platinum Home Again.
Toni Braxton Is Tired Of All The 'Lies'
Though Toni Braxton's song "Hit The
Freeway," produced by the Neptunes,
entered Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart just two
weeks ago, the Arista Recording artist is also readying her follow-up
The second single from Braxton's fifth album, More Than A Woman, is the
record "Lies, Lies, Lies" that was produced by Braxton's husband, Keri
Braxton will record videos for both songs prior to the November 19
release of More Than A Woman. Award-winning video director Dave Meyers
and his protege Charles Infante will handle "Hit The Freeway," and the
director for "Lies, Lies, Lies" has not yet been announced.
Arista head Antonio "L.A." Reid said the label has big plans for More
Than A Woman. "This is the most extensive campaign that Arista has ever
formulated in support of a new album by Toni," Reid said. "All
departments are enthusiastically coming to the table with some of the
most unique and original ideas for exposure that we have ever devised.
Toni has risen to meet every new challenge we have presented to her."
Reid is also excited for Braxton and her husband, who are anticipating
the birth of their second child. "I am personally overjoyed that Toni
and her husband are expecting a new addition to their family," Reid
said. "This is a wonderful time in Toni's life. This album will be
another huge success for her."
Braxton also taped the video for "Baby You Can Do It," a collaboration
with Cash Money member Baby. The song samples the S.O.S. Band's 1980
hit, "Take Your Time (Do It Right)."
Throughout her career, Braxton has received six Grammy Awards for songs
from her eight-times-platinum 1993 self-titled debut,
seven-times-platinum 1996 effort Secrets, double-platinum 1999 album The
Heat, and gold Christmas record, Snowflakes.
Craig David Talks About Working With Sting
Singer-songwriter Craig David will release
his sophomore album, Slicker
Than Your Average, on November 19. The first single from the set is
titled "What's Your Flava?", and Chicago-based rapper Twista is featured
on the remix. David recently shot a Willy Wonka & The Chocolate
Factory-inspired video for the song in Prague with video director Little
One of the highlights of the Slicker Than Your Average is David's
collaboration with Sting, titled "Rise And Fall." David explained to us
that he initially only intended to sample the guitar riff from Sting's
1993 hit, "Shape Of My Heart": "That guy--he's, like, a true
professional, a gentleman at the same time. And it was crazy the way it
came about because I watched the film Leon, and in the rolling credits
its got 'Shape Of My Heart,' the classic, which plays out. I love the
guitar melody anyway, so I took the guitar riff, put it on my computer,
looped it up for however long now, wrote a new top line about the trials
and tribulations of an artist career: 'As quick as you can have success,
it can be taken away.'"
David explained that when he sent the song to Sting to get the sample
cleared, the former Police frontman loved it so much that David was able
to convince him to sing the chorus: "He came back and said, 'You know
what? I love the song. I like what the essence of it is all about.' So I
went back to him and said, 'You know what? It would be perfect if you
could come in just singing the chorus.' And it worked out that he's,
like, the experienced, more wiser one in the chorus, saying, 'Superstar,
you finally made it, but once your picture becomes tainted it's what
they call the rise and fall.' He's, like, 'I'm a man who's been there,
done it, listen to me Craig.' It was like the perfect duet. It wasn't
contrived in any way. It was kinda like all about the song, using 'Shape
Of My Heart' guitar riff, Sting, it just worked out."
David also shared that Sting was very easy to work with and open-minded:
"It was crazy to have him in the booth and me kinda saying, 'Sting, can
you kinda sing it like this because I got a vision for it to be
like....' I'm thinking, 'This man is in his right to say, 'You know
what, Craig, just sickle yourself for a second--just chill. Yeah, just
let me do my thing.'' He was open-minded, allowed me to express the way
I could hear it being sung, and it ended up being one of the highlights
on the album for me, so it was a nice vibe."
David's debut collection, Born To Do It, came out in 2001 and has sold
more than 1.5 million copies in the United States.
Teddy Riley takes full responsibility for Blackstreet's last break-up
Teddy Riley has announced that Blackstreet
is back and ready to go to
another 'level'. The group's new album. "Level II," is due in December.
During an interview this week with the BET Radio Network, Riley was in
the house with fellow members Chauncey Hannibal, Mark Middleton, and
Eric Williams-all of whom expressed sincere appreciation for each other
and the music they've created together. Things have not always looked
this promising for Blackstreet-as fans can remember two years ago when
Teddy Riley went back and cut an album with his former group Guy. Riley
admitted that it was a poor decision on his part. He told the BET Radio
Network, (quote) "It's like having a wife and going back to mess with
your old girlfriend. I did it to give the fans what I thought they
wanted… I gave them the Guy album-but it didn't work for me." Riley went
on to say that he found no "love" or "peace" in Guy-but that Blackstreet
"is where the peace is at." The front man also said, "I want to put it
on record that it was my fault of us [Blackstreet] having this
difficulty." Riley also made it clear that Blackstreet doesn't want
their re-emergence to be known as a "reunion," because (quote) "It makes
us sound like old men, and that's not the case… we never lost a beat.
When asked where Dave Hollister fits into their equation, Riley insisted
that Hollister is still with the group but that he is currently
promoting the release of his next solo album, which comes out October
15th on Motown Records.
3LW Sued By Ex-Member Naturi Over Split, Money
Estranged 3LW member Naturi Naughton is
suing the remaining members of
the R&B trio for allegedly squeezing her out of the group.
The civil suit was filed Thursday (October 3) in U.S. District Court in
Newark, New Jersey, according to a court spokesperson, and seeks
compensation for loss of income caused by Naughton's dismissal. The suit
also seeks to sever her contract with production company Nine Lives
Entertainment and Sony Music.
Naughton was treated differently than her groupmates, according to her
lawyer Ray Hamlin. He added that management accused her of not being
"urban" enough and that her two-parent, Catholic upbringing didn't jibe
with the image they had for the group. Naughton made similar claims in
The suit also requests an examination of the group's financial records,
because Naughton believes that she didn't receive money she was entitled
In addition to 3LW's Kiely Williams, 16, and Adrienne Bailon, 18, the
suit also names Big Cat Management; 3LW manager Michelle Williams, and
Tse Williams, owner of Nine Lives Entertainment, as defendants. Michelle
and Tse are also Kiely's sisters.
A spokesperson for 3LW and Sony Music didn't return calls for comment at
A summons was issued by the court clerk's office on Friday (October 4),
and it's up to the plaintiffs to serve the defendants with it. The
defendants then have 20 days to file an official reply.
Naughton announced her split with 3LW in August , and since then a she
said/they said war of words has erupted.
Gerald Levert Gives Funny Spin To 'Funny' Video
R&B singer-songwriter Gerald Levert is
set to drop his sixth solo album
on Elektra this month. The Cleveland native's G-Spot bows October 22.
The CD follows the gold-certified success of his last set, 2000's G.
The first single from G-Spot, "Funny," has been on the R&B charts for 10
weeks now. The lyrics tell of a man having a bad day who suddenly gets a
mood-brightening phone call from an old girlfriend. The tone of the tune
is upbeat and sentimental. But for the brand-new video for "Funny,"
Levert says he wanted to take things in a less-obvious direction.
Director Brian Barber came up with the video concept, which starts with
Levert driving an SUV when he gets the phone call, and soon ends in
disaster. The clip shows Levert getting so wrapped up in his phone
conversation that his attention wanders and the SUV plunges off a pier.
He then has to be rescued from the water.
Levert said that he loved Barber's treatment: "He brought this treatment
of me crashing in the water, and I thought that was just like saying
it's funny you should call and I crash in the water when you call. You
know, I thought it just made light of the whole thing. It was funny to
me. The song is about, really, this is somebody you haven't heard from
in a while. And finally you call and I crash. So maybe I shouldn't have
been talking to you in the first place ." Levert adds that the message
of the video is more about the irony of relationships, and not any
public service message: "It's like: Were you trying to send a message to
the people about talking on the phone while you're driving? No, no, no.
I'm very selfish in my writing and it just turns out to come out like
Posthumous Aaliyah Album Expected In November
Blackground Records and Universal Records
expect to release a posthumous
Aaliyah album in November, according to a Blackground spokesperson. The
album will feature her track "Try Again" as well as remixes of other
songs in her catalog, AP notes.
The Blackground rep was not able to confirm the album's tracklisting by
press time, but said the CD would include both unreleased and previously
Aaliyah died in an airplane crash as she was leaving the Bahamas in
August 2001. Prior to her untimely death, Aaliyah told us that she
always enjoyed hearing stories about how her music moved people: "I had
one kid come to me and tell me how one of my songs really affected him,
and it motivated him to ask this girl he loved to the prom--and she
accepted. And he didn't know if he could do it without my song, and I
was, like, 'Oh, that touched me so.' That feels good when you can touch
people like that."
"I Care 4 U" is the current release from Aaliyah's self-titled 2001
TLC Requests A Moment Of Silence For Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes On 'Dirty'
TLC's Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and
Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas remember former
member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who died in an automobile accident in
Honduras in April, on their fourth album, 3D, due out on November 12 on
On the upbeat, drum-and-bass driven "Dirty," written and produced by
Missy Elliott and Timbaland, the remaining members of TLC take time to
remember their friend. At the end of the song they sing, "Left Eye would
want us to break it down like this." And afterwards, they add, "Left Eye
gets a moment of silence."
Though the melancholy "Turntable" doesn't mention Lopes by name, its
discussion of overcoming struggles could also be a tribute to Lopes. In
the Rodney Jerkins-produced ode, T-Boz and Chilli sing, "You had your
ups and downs/It happened for a reason/'Cause after there was
showers/There will come a change of seasons/So please don't give up
now/'Cause sun shines through the clouds/It's gonna be all right."
In the chorus, they add, "Don't ask yourself why/Just look to the
sky/Believe it/So you'll see the other side."
The album's first single is the brash "Girl Talk," which attempts to
deflate the male sexual ego.