Sunday August 24th, 2003


New CD's this past week:

- Ace - Simply: solo album of the Public Announcement member


Music news stories this week:

Tamia Enjoys Working With Babayface

R&B artist Tamia is getting ready to release her upcoming album called
Still due in stores on October 28th. She collaborated with top-notch
producers while recording it, including Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds.
Tamia said what it was like working with producer Babyface: "He had this
record Smile for a long time. A lot of singers have tried it. He
actually had people come in and sing it. You know, well-known singers,
and it just didn't work and that magic wasn't there. And I was like
'please let me take a shot at it.' So we went in there and we finished
in like two hours."
Other producers on the album include Jermaine Dupri, R. Kelly, Warryn
Campbell, among others.
The first single, "Officially Missing You," is featured in the action
film A Man Apart, starring Vin Diesel and Larenz Tate.
Tamia released her self titled debut album in 1998, followed by A Nu Day in 
2000 which went gold and featured the single "Stranger In My House."

112 Is Ready To Get Hot And Wet With New Album

R&B quartet 112 isenjoying the success of its current single "Na Na Na
Na," featuring Supercat, which appears on the upcoming album Hot & Wet.
It comes out on September 23rd. The group's first release in two years,
Hot & Wet will be their first product since having signed with label Def
Soul Records.
Group member Q told us how excited 112 is about the new album: "One,
knowing that we have a new family, and two, we haven't been out in a
year-and-a-half. Like we ready, we ready -- like we've been on the
injured-reserve list for a year-and-a-half. We finally been cleared to
play. So, we're about to go out and hit like 70 a night."
Hot & Wet was produced by group member Daron Jones, Sean "P. Diddy"
Combs, and Stevie J., and features a guest appearance by Joe Budden.
"Na Na Na Na" currently sits at Number 23 on Radio and Records Urban
Hot & Wet is the follow-up to their 2001 album Part III, which featured
the hits "Peaches & Cream" and "Dance With Me".

Mary J. Blige Says She Was Robbed By Her Management

In the August 25th issue of Newsweek magazine, which hit newsstands
August 18th, Mary J. Blige says her management took hundreds of
thousands of dollars from her accounts without consulting her. "I'm
still trying to pay off bills for stuff I didn't even know I bought,"
says Blige. "It's amazing what people will do to you when they think
you're not looking. It had probably been going on for years."
In the article, Blige comes clean about her past problems. "I think
everybody knows by now that I had a lot of problems with drugs, drinking
and abusive relationships." She adds, "I know it sounds like something
everybody says -- but I had to like me and I didn't. I was drinking,
which was something people in my family did all my life, so I thought
that was the answer. But it just blinded me to what was really going on
in my life and in my career."
Blige is engaged to record producer Kendu, and she's getting support
from Geffen Records, the company which absorbed her old company, MCA,
last year. Queen Latifah introduced her to Kendu, who gave her an
ultimatum. "He told me that the alcohol had to go or he would go," Blige
says. Newsweek claims Blige is entering a new and more positive phase of
her career, noting her new album, "Love & Life" was mostly produced by
her old mentor Puffy Combs. She says, "We've had our differences in the
past. But he knows what makes my voice work. He still likes having
control of everything -- but he knows now I'm only going to let that go
so far this time around."

Aretha Franklin Teams Up With Mary J. Blige On New Album

Aretha Franklin has teamed with hip-hop vocal star Mary J. Blige on a
couple of songs for her latest release So Damn Happy, due to hit stores
September 16th. The album, her first since 1998's A Rose Is Still a
Rose, features 11 new tracks. The Queen of Soul also pairs up with
lyricist Burt Bacharach on several songs.
The CD's first single is called "The Only Thing Missin'." Other songs on
the set include two collaborations with Blige, including "Holdin' On"
and "No Matter What." Franklin also wrote and produced two tunes,
including the title track and "You Are My Joy."
Earlier this year, Franklin's 1987 gospel set, One Lord, One Faith, One
Baptism, was reissued with bonus tracks. Last fall, Columbia unveiled
The Queen In Waiting: The Columbia Years, a compilation featuring her
early recordings from 1960 to 1965 was issued..
Franklin landed more than thirty Top Forty hits between 1967 and 1976.
Fans can hear live versions off the new collection when Franklin hits
the road for The Queen Is On . . . The 2003 Tour. She plays in Verona,
New York, on August 22nd.
Franklin will also help kick off this year's NFL season by performing on
September 4th at Washington, D.C.'s National Mall along with Britney
Spears and Blige.
Upcoming Aretha Franklin tour dates are as follows:
August 22 - Verona, NY - Turning Stone Casino
August 24 - Hyannis, MA - Cape Cod Melody Tent
August 27 - Lowell, MA - Lowell Memorial Auditorium
August 29 - North Tonawanda, NY - New Melody Fair
September 4 - Washington, DC - National Mall
September 6 - Sterling Heights, MI - Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
September 20 - New York - Radio City Music Hall
October 4 - London, ONT - John Labatt Center
October 25 - Pittsburgh, PA - Heinz Hall
December 31 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theater

Kindred The Family Soul Says 'Far Away' Single Expresses Common Desires

Husband-and-wife singing and songwriting team Kindred The Family Soul is
climbing urban AC charts with their soulful tune "Far Away." The track
-- now at Number Ten on Radio & Records' urban AC chart -- is a showcase
for the voices of Aja Graydon and Fatin Dantzler. Lyrically, the tune is
an expression of frustration with the hard realities of urban life and a
desire for more love.
The Philadelphia-based couple -- who come from the same musical training
ground as Jill Scott, Bilal, and Jazzy Jeff -- wrote the song from their
own experience as young marrieds. Graydon told LAUNCH: [" 'Far Away'
came together pretty much out of the frustration of being newly married,
being new parents, viewing the world in a whole different way, pretty
much having a new perspective, and learning how to adjust to that
lifestyle. Understanding that the love affair is different and it has
different dynamics to it. Just longing for a a simpler kind of moment in
your relationship and a simpler time in general in your whole
Graydon and Dantzler are also the parents of a 4-year-old boy and a
1-year-old girl, a fact that makes their performing lives slightly more
complicated. "Far Away" offers insight and advice to other couples who
have dreams of a mental escape. Graydon added: ["But I think, too, just
finding those special moments and trying to fit them in, in a lifestyle
that says yes, I have children; yes, I work a job; yes, I live in the
ghetto; yes, I live in world that's kind of going haywire, but I can
find this bliss with the person that I love."]
Kindred The Family Soul unveiled its debut CD, Surrender To Love, in

Luther Vandross On The Road To Recovery

Luther Vandross, who has been hospitalized since suffering a stroke last
April, is apparently on the road to recovery. According to his
spokesperson, Vandross has been talking and showing signs of increased
movement on his right side. The spokesperson told Rolling Stone that
there have been "exciting developments" in his progress and "every day
there's something new."
Vandross is currently being cared for at an undisclosed rehabilitation
facility. Reports say he has even heard some of his own songs on the
radio -- and has sometimes been able to sing along. However, his
spokesperson said Vandross still has a long way to go, adding she didn't
want to "give the impression that miracles are taking place and he's
going to be up and singing right away."
Vandross' latest album, Dance with My Father, which was released in
June, is at Number Five on Billboard's R&B album charts.

Kem Appreciates The Success Of His Debut Album

R&B artist Kem is enjoying the success of his current single, titled
"Love Calls," featured on his debut album Kemistry. Before being signed
by Motown Records, Kem promoted his recordings via his own independent
label. Kem told said that prior to getting picked up by a major label,
he actually went into local businesses in his hometown of Detroit and
asked them to play his CD: "Went into the hair salons and: 'Play it,
just listen to it.' I gave a lot of music away -- probably against the
industry standard in the day of peer-to-peer music sharing and all of
"Love Calls" is currently Number Four on the Radio & Records Urban AC
Kem will be performing on Friday, August 22nd, in New York City.



News 2003

News 2002

News 2001