Sunday December 21rst, 2003
New CD's this past week:
- Joe - And then...
Music news stories this week:
Platinum-Selling Singer/Songwriter Carl Thomas Returns With 2nd Album
On the heels of the platinum-plus Bad Boys II soundtrack and Da Band's
gold-certified debut, Bad Boy Records continues its winning streak with
the highly-anticipated release of Carl Thomas' sophomore CD, Let's Talk
About It, February 10, 2004.
The forthcoming album is off to a great start with the launch of the first
single, "She Is" which was the #1 Most Added Song at urban radio. The
up-beat groove features the multi-platinum rap legend LL Cool J and
samples the popular 80's hit "Happy" by Surface.
"I have always liked the song, and I'm really good friends with the
group," says Thomas. "Plus, I wanted to be more up-beat on this record."
The talented singer signed with Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records in
1997. Three years later, the Chicago native burst onto the music scene
with his hit break-out ballad, "I Wish." The song was an instant hit and
drove his debut CD, Emotional to platinum success along with such other
smashes as "Summer Rain" and "Emotional." Thomas co-wrote and co-produced
several tracks on the album along with Combs, Mario Winans, Mike City and
Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie. On Let's Talk About It, Thomas taps the same
production team. "We have chemistry," he says, "and I didn't feel like
anything was broken, so I didn't need to fix it!"
Since his first release, Carl Thomas has been working non-stop
collaborating with Faith Evans, Lil' Kim, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes,
Ghostface and more. He's completed tours in Europe and most recently
headlined The Seagrams Gin tour which garnered rave reviews. Additionally,
Thomas was personally selected to perform with the legendary Harry
Belafonte and completed dates with Patti LaBelle in Las Vegas.
"I'm really excited about my new single and it being the #1 most added. I
am also glad to be getting back out there with my new album and
reconnecting with my fans."
The video-clip for "She Is" was shot in New York City and directed by
acclaimed director Erik White (Missy Elliot, B2K) and has been added to
BET and is in rotation at local video outlets.
R. Kelly Makes Up For Benefit-Show Bummer By Donating $50K
Nearly two months after R. Kelly staged an unprofitable benefit concert
for U.S. troops, he's made good and donated $50,000 out of his own pocket.
The show's designated beneficiary, the Texas Military Family Foundation,
at first struggled to find out how much money, if any, was raised at the
October 24 concert held in Belton, Texas. Proceeds were to be used to send
care packages to soldiers in Iraq.
Once a promoter for the show said no money would be forthcoming, the
singer's reps promised to rectify the situation (see "Weeks After R. Kelly
Benefit, Charity Wonders Where Money Is"), and two days ago the check
"It is with heartfelt gratitude that we thank Mr. Kelly for his
contribution," said Julie Curtis-Win, executive director of the
foundation, "and I am sure that the troops and their families that we
support would want us to thank Mr. Kelly on their behalf."
Curtis-Win said she expects that the care packages will be assembled
within the week and sent at the beginning of the new year.
Ruben Studdard Debuts At Number One
American Idol winner Ruben Studdard debuted at Number One this week on the
Billboard 200 albums chart after moving more than 416,000 copies of his J
Records debut, Soulful. Studdard edged out his label mate, Alicia Keys,
who slipped to Number Two this week after selling another 342,000 copies
of her sophomore set, Diary Of Alicia Keys.
Studdard explained that he was trying to deliver a complete album that
everyone could enjoy. Studdard said: "Been working hard,man, trying to get
a product that everybody can love and enjoy. Everybody in the family can
listen to and like and I think we did that.”
Studdard also explained how he selected the songs that were included on
his debut. Studdard said: " I was looking for songs that would translate
into a live performance because I'm all about my performance on stage with
my band. You know some artist like to do studio tracks and some people
don't like to perform with bands. With me that's my thing. I love to have
a band behind me."
Alicia Keys Kept Things Simple In Studio For "Diary"
Alicia Keys has some ideas about why her new album The Diary Of Alicia
Keys has been so well received, both creatively and commercially. She said
that part of the reason is that she took a relatively simple approach in
the studio, working live rather than relying on studio wizardry: "I tend
to keep the studio pretty simple. I feel like an extreme amount of
machines, it makes there be a lot of down time in the studio. Something's
breaking, something's not reading the cart properly, something is just
crashed. It makes it very frustrating. And for me, you know, I really like
to catch a moment. It's not necessarily about everything being perfect."
After debuting at Number One, The Diary Of Alicia Keys sold more than
342,000 copies in its second week of release and now sits at Number Two on
the Billboard 200, behind American Idol champion Ruben Studdard's Soulful.
Keys will start touring to promote the album next month.
Luther Vandross Receives Platinum Plaque From Clive Davis
R&B singer Luther Vandross is still in a New Jersey rehabilitation center
recovering from the life-threatening stroke he suffered in April, but on
Friday, December 12th, the singer got a special surprise visitor. Clive
Davis, chairman of the RCA Music Group, stopped in to formally present
Vandross with a platinum plaque to commemorate sales of one million copies
of his latest studio set, Dance With My Father.
According to the Associated Press and Vandross's publicist, the singer was
upbeat and joked, "This calls for a special cake too!"
Vandross also told Davis that he would like to attend the 46th Annual
Grammy Awards in February. Vandross, who is still in a wheelchair, was
nominated for five Grammy Awards.
Vandross and his label, J Records, released the singer's first live set,
Live 2003 At Radio City Music Hall, in October. The set was recorded in
February 2003 just two months before Vandross suffered the stroke.
Freddie Jackson, explained that the two have been trying to launch a joint
tour for several years. Jackson had a special message for Vandross: "You
know I want him to get better because right now, he is messing with my
money. And I want him to get better right now. I send him flowers and say,
'Come on now. Come on. Hurry up my brother!' But he's gonna be just fine
and we are praying for his strength and for his recovery and I believe
that God has something special planned for Luther Vandross that Luther
doesn't even know."