Sunday December 7th, 2003
New CD's this past week:
- Alicia Keys – The diary of Alicia Keys
Music news stories this week:
Janet Jackson Almost Done With New Album
Superstar Janet Jackson is almost done with her new album, according to
her producer Jimmy "Jam" Harris. Harris, who is one-half of the prolific
production duo Jam & Lewis, provided an album update to gossip columnists
Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith.
Harris said, "We're about 80 percent done, and we're planning on wrapping
the project right before Christmas for an early 2004 release. You may hear
a new single right at the beginning of the year."
Harris continued, "It will be a balance of a lot of different sides of
Janet's personality - there'll be the happy up-tempo songs, the very funky
tunes, the very sensual, sexy ballads - everything you would expect from
Jackson fans have had to wait almost three years for a new album. And
that's typical, Harris explained, saying, "Between albums she likes to go
live life, recharge her batteries and be able to share her experiences. It
not only raises her artistic level, she's able to talk about things she's
going through and other people can relate. That's one of the things that
allows her to connect truly with the fans."
Alicia Keys Wanted New Album To Be About Herself, Not Guests
Released last Tuesday, December 2nd is The Diary Of Alicia Keys. It
follows her 2001 debut Songs In The Key Of A, which sold more than five
million copies and won five Grammy Awards.
Keys said that she could have had a lot of guests on the album, but she
decided to keep things focused on herself: "I really wanted this album to
be very personal and very true to its title and to its spirit. And when
you open the album and you put it in, it's you and I, and that's what it
is constantly throughout the whole album. There's not really any guest
appearances -- there are definitely collaborations, but they happen in a
way that really just are special, and capture the moment."
One of those collaborations is with a reunited Tony! Toni! Tone! on the
Keys also teamed with rappers Nas and Rakim for "Streets Of New York,"
which is available on European versions of The Diary Of Alicia Keys, and
which was available for a time on the Internet.
Keys is performing at a special release party for The Diary Of Alicia Keys
on December 15th at Club Exit in New York City.
En Vogue Is Back With New Member, New Single
The original funky divas, En Vogue, are back. Now featuring original
members Cindy Herron and Terry Ellis along with newly added singer Rhona
Bennett, En Vogue is set to release a new CD, titled Soulflower, on
February 24, 2004. In the meantime, the lead single from the set, "Losin'
My Mind," was just made available on November 17 and is currently one of
the most added tracks at urban AC radio.
The first new set since the group's poorly received Masterpiece Theater in
2003, Soulflower again unites the girls with the team of Denzil Foster &
Thomas McElroy, the producers who first created the group as a quartet in
1989. Foster/McElroy also gave the ladies their biggest hits, including
"Hold On (To Your Love)," "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," and
"Free Your Mind."
New member Bennett, who was featured on the short-lived the Jamie Foxx
Show, is showcased on "Losin' My Mind," which also features some vintage
Babes In Toyland-style brass fanfare loops.
Soulflower also features En Vogue's version of Guy's 1988 ballad "A Piece
Of My Love."
Kashif To Release Double CD Of New And Old Material
Singer and songwriter Kashif is set to deliver his first US studio release in
ten years. The double-CD project, Music From My Mind, will be officially
released in January 2004. The collection features 15 new tracks, as well
as eight selections from his very first album, 1983's Kashif, which were
never before available on CD. Music From My Mind also features guests Will
Downing, Gerald Albright, Sheila E., Meli'sa Morgan, and Tony Toni Tone
member Dwayne Wiggins.
The set is separated into two sections appropriately titled New School and
Old School Set. The Old School segment includes Kashif's hits "I Just
Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On)," which went to Number Five on the R&B
chart in 1983, and "Stone Love," which peaked at Number 22 on the same
Kashif was a member of the R&B/disco outfit B.T. Express before breaking
out as a songwriter and solo artist. He logged hits for himself, such as
1984's "Baby Don't Break Your Baby's Heart," as well as a duet with Kenny
G titled "Love On The Rise" and the Number Two R&B smash "Love Changes"
with Meli'sa Morgan. Kashif also co-wrote Whitney Houston's smash "You
Give Good Love," and contributed tunes to albums by George Benson, Melba
Moore, Debbie Allen, and others. He was also a busy session keyboardist,
arranger and producer.
In recent years, Kashif branched out with services designed to help rising
musicians survive the industry. He published the seminal industry book
Everything You Better Know About The Music Industry, and has also authored
many other instructional manuals and software programs for musicians.
More information about Kashif, his products and services, and the new CD
can be found at brooklynboy.com.
His 1998 album "Who loves you" was only released in the UK on Expansion
Records. Five tracks from that album also appear on this new US releases.
For Sale: Peabo Bryson's Grammys
Remember when having a Grammy on the mantel was an honor reserved for an
elite and highly talented sect of musicians?
Not anymore. On the IRS auction block Saturday, for any tone-deaf Tom,
Dick or Harry with a buck or two to throw around: two Grammy awards,
courtesy of R&B star and tax evader, Peabo Bryson.
On Friday, the first day of the two-day auction held by the IRS in hopes
of recovering the more than $1 million in back taxes owed by the singer
attracted 235 registered bidders--and brought in more than $20,000 on the
sale of property such as guitars, couches and DVD players from Bryson's
It seems the Bryson name was worthy of a little price gouging. A Gibson
guitar, for example, sold for $5,000.
"A lot of this stuff sold for what you can buy it new," bidder James Land
told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Some people have no concept of
Dark days for Bryson began August 21 when the IRS seized his property
against $1.2 million in back taxes.
In happier times, the writer-singer-producer struck it rich with nine gold
albums, and hobnobbed with duet partners such as Natalie Cole and Roberta
Bryson earned his first Grammy in 1992 for his recording of "Beauty and
the Beast" with Celine Dion, and a second in 1993 for "A Whole New World"
with Regina Belle.
This weekend, those Grammys will go to a whole new home.
Aaliyah's Family Accepts Posthumous American Music Award
The family of deceased R&B singer Aaliyah recently released a statement
thanking the fans and Dick Clark's Dick Clark Productions, which produces
the American Music Awards, for naming the deceased singer favorite female
artist - hip-hop/R&B during the awards ceremony last month.
According to MTV.com, Aaliyah's family was unaware the singer was even
nominated for an award until the broadcast. The family issued the
following statement, "The family is deeply gratified that the public and
the AMAs have, year after year, continually recognized Aaliyah's strengths
and remarkable talents. They would like the public, the AMAs and Dick
Clark Productions to know of their love and gratitude, and that they would
be honored to accept the award on behalf of their beloved Aaliyah."
Aaliyah and eight others were killed in August 2001 when the twin engine
Cessna 402B they were flying in crashed shortly after takeoff in the