Sunday February 9th, 2003
New CD's this past week:
- Keith Sweat - Keith Sweat live
- Michael B. Sutton - Hopeless romantic
Short news stories this week:
Brian McKnight, Marc Anthony & More On Stevie Wonder Tribute Collection
Brian McKnight, Marc Anthony, Eric Clapton,
and Mary J. Blige are among
the artists featured on the new Universal/Motown Records tribute
compilation, Conception: An Interpretation Of Stevie Wonder's Songs, due
out March 18. The set is the first of its kind featuring interpretations
of Stevie Wonder songs by artists of all genres, including John
Mellencamp, India.Arie, Dave Hollister, Black Coffey, Angie Stone, and
The first single from the collection is "That Girl," by Joe featuring
Mr. Cheeks--the original version of the song came out in 1982 on
Wonder's Original Musiquarium I. The remake was the second most added
song at urban radio last week.
Wonder recently told us how it felt to have an impact on younger
recording artists: "I listen to the people that say that they have been
inspired by me, whether it be Glenn Lewis or India or Alicia or whomever
it might be, and you know, yeah, I hear a little me in there, and I like
that. You know, we are all influenced by each other. I mean, believe me,
I was influenced by Jackie Wilson, Donnie Hathaway, and some of the
Beatles stuff, and we can go on and on and on. There are a lot of
talented singers out there, and I think the great thing about music is
that it is becoming universal, and that's good."
Other tracks on the set include Blige's rendition of "Overjoyed,"
Clapton's version of "Higher Ground," Stone's take on "You Will Know,"
and Glenn Lewis's interpretation of "Superstition." In addition, the
collection features "Send One Your Love" by McKnight, "Visions" by
Musiq, and "Rocket Love" by Black Coffey.
Stevie Wonder and India.Arie's "Christmas Song" is nominated for a
Grammy Award in the best pop collaboration with vocals category, marking
the first time that a song created and financed exclusively for a
commercial has been nominated for a Grammy. The 45th Annual Grammy
Awards will take place February 23 in New York City.
The Isley Brothers Giving A "Body Kiss"
The Isley Brothers . . . featuring Ronald
Isley . . . a.k.a. Mr. Biggs
(an identity he created for an R. Kelly Video), will release their next
album, Body Kiss on May 13th.
The album is the follow-up to the group's guest-filled 2001 release,
Eternal, which found the legendary soul ensemble celebrating its
fortieth anniversary by working with the likes of Kelly, Jimmy Jam and
Terry Lewis, and Jill Scott.
The new album's first single is "What Would You Do," which has already
hit radio. The group will head to Chicago on February 10th for a two-day
video shoot with director Billie Woodruff (Britney Spears).
In other Isley news, Legacy will continue their string of reissues for
the group in April. The group's classic 1973 release 3 + 3 (featuring
the hit "That Lady, Pt. 1 and 2") will be remastered and expanded along
with Caravan of Love, the 1984 album issued by the splinter group
featuring Ernie and Marvin Isley along with cousin Chris Jasper.
Also in the works is an album featuring the Isley Brothers hits remixed
by various DJs. A lineup of remixers has not yet been set.
Saadiq Splits From Universal
Raphael Saadiq has left Universal Records
for pastures new. Saadiq's
last venture with the label was last year's critically acclaimed
"Instant Vintage" set but he claims the parting was amicable. "They were
cool enough to let me out" says Saadiq of the split, adding "I'll
probably do an imprint deal for Pookie (Saadiq's own label) and I've
already started work on a new album." Meanwhile, Saadiq recently hit the
number one slot on the US Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart with his
co-producer/co-writer credits on "Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop)"
by Erykah Badu featuring Common.
Incognito Settle At Dome
Dome Records has signed a UK territory deal
with Jean-Paul "Bluey"
Maunick to release the new Incognito album "Who Needs Love". The new
album, the group's first since leaving Talkin' Loud is scheduled for a
March 17th release and features vocalists Kelli, Sae, Joy Rose and Joy
Malcolm. All 13 tracks on the album, which is already picking up props
by those who have heard cuts, are co-written by Maunick, one of which
"Blue (I'm Still With You)" with Paul Weller who also contributes guitar
and keyboards on the track. Live-wise, Incognito remain as active as
ever. The band has recently returned from a four week stint in Japan and
will play a six night engagement at London's Jazz Café from April 20 to
25. Tickets are £17.50 and available from the Café box office and all
usual agents. Additional dates around the UK are expected to be
Making Of R. Kelly Video Followed By Premiere
Embattled R&B singer R. Kelly is taking
fans behind the scenes of his
latest video. Black Entertainment Television (BET) followed the Grammy
winner around Miami while he made the clip for "Ignition," the first
single from his forthcoming album, Chocolate Factory. The shoot can be
seen on BET's Full Access, which airs Wednesday (February 5) at 9 p.m.
ET, and will be followed by the world premiere of the clip. The special
will be rebroadcast on Thursday (February 6) at 8 p.m. ET.
Miami was also the scene of R. Kelly's most recent arrest. Kelly was
forced to take a break from making the video when local police hit him
with more child-pornography charges, which were related to his June
arrest on charges that he videotaped himself having sex with a minor.
Kelly is scheduled to appear in a Michigan court on Friday (February 7)
in relation to the charges. The legal problems facing Kelly have many
wondering if concerned fans will purchase Chocolate Factory when it
comes out later this month.
Whitney Houston's Father John Houston Dead At 82
John Houston, the father of superstar
singer Whitney Houston and former
husband of Cissy Houston of the Sweet Inspirations, died at the age of
82 on Sunday (February 2) at 5:56 a.m. ET at Columbia Presbyterian
Hospital in New York City. Houston, who suffered from diabetes and heart
disease, died from cardiac arrest due to a multiple organ shutdown.
The Houston family was informed late Saturday (February 1) that he would
probably succumb. His wife Peggy Houston was at his side, and one of his
sons, Michael Houston, arrived at the hospital just after he died. The
rest of the family was attempting to fly in from various locations. At
press time, the Houston family was in New Jersey working on funeral
Houston was the manager of his former wife's group, the Sweet
Inspirations, who sang back up on many of Aretha Franklin's classics. In
recent years, Houston aided his daughter Whitney with her career through
his Newark-based company, John Houston Entertainment LLC.
Late last year John Houston filed a $100 million lawsuit against his
daughter Whitney Houston for failing to pay for his services. At the
time he told Celebrity Justice, "I never thought about suing my
daughter. I never thought about it that way. I thought about suing the
corporation that belongs to Whitney, and she happened to be right in the
middle of it."
The elder Houston addressed his daughter directly during the interview,
"You get your act together, honey, and you pay me the money that you owe
me. If you do that, you haven't got a lawsuit."
The fees in question were allegedly for the help that John Houston
provided when Whitney negotiated a new contract with Arista Records, as
well as the assistance his lawyers provided in getting her
marijuana-possession charges dropped in 2000. Many around the family
maintained that outside forces coerced John Houston into suing his
daughter, but the two remained close until his death.
According to the singer's publicist, the father and daughter shared a
great deal of love for each other and, as far as they were concerned,
there was no problem between them. Houston visited her father prior to
H-Town Singer Dies Just As Group Reunites, Vigil Planned
A candlelight vigil commemorating the life
of H-Town singer Keven A.
"Dino" Conner was planned for Monday night (February 3) in Houston.
Conner was killed in a car crash last Tuesday (January 28).
The singer's twin brother and bandmate Shazam Conner told the Houston
Chronicle that the group was on the comeback trail when the tragedy
struck, saying, "We had basically just finished recording our new album
and were getting ready for an H-Town reunion tour."
As far as the future, Shazam responded, "We really haven't had time to
think about what will happen now."
The 28-year-old Keven Conner died when an SUV ran a red light and
crashed into the car he was a passenger in, which was driven by Teshya
Rae Weisent, 22. Weisent had just picked Conner up from the recording
studio, and on impact the two of them were thrown from the vehicle.
Weisent died on the scene, while Conner died on his way to the hospital.
Conner is survived by a daughter.
H-Town burst on the scene in the early '90s. The group's debut album,
Fever For Da Flavor, came out on Luke Records in 1993. The set was
certified platinum and featured the group's breakthrough hit, "Knockin'
In 1994, the group released the gold-certified album, Beggin' After
Dark. In 1996, the group scored a gold single with "A Thin Line Between
Love & Hate," which served the title track to the hit Martin Lawrence
movie. The group's most recent release was 1997's Ladies Edition.
Ashanti And Amerie Lead 'Soul Train' Nominees
R&B singers Ashanti and Amerie led the
list of nominees for the 17th
Annual Soul Train Music Awards when the nominees were announced on
Monday (February 3) in Beverly Hills, California. Each singer earned
three nods, and the two will face off against each other in the best
female R&B/soul single and best female R&B/soul album categories.
Ashanti was also nominated in the R&B/soul or rap album of the year
category, while Amerie got an additional nod in best R&B/soul or rap new
Several artists--including B2K, Justin Timberlake, Musiq, Nelly, and
Floetry--earned nominations in two categories. In addition, Nelly is
slated to receive the 2003 Sammy Davis Jr. Award for entertainer of the
year, while LL Cool J and Dionne Warwick will both receive the 2003
Quincy Jones Award for outstanding career achievements in the field of
The 17th Annual Soul Train Awards will take place at the Pasadena Civic
Auditorium on March 1. The event will be hosted by Queen Latifah and
Arsenio Hall. Some of the scheduled performers include Mariah Carey,
Nelly, LL Cool J, and Justin Timberlake.
2003 SOUL TRAIN MUSIC AWARDS NOMINEES
BEST R&B/ SOUL SINGLE, FEMALE:
"Why Don't We Fall In Love" - Amerie
"Foolish" - Ashanti
"Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop)" - Erykah Badu featuring Common
"Little Things" - India.Arie
BEST R&B/SOUL SINGLE, MALE:
"This Woman's Work" - Maxwell
"Dontchange" - Musiq
"Like I Live You" - Justin Timberlake
"U Don't Have To Call" - Usher
BEST R&B/SOUL SINGLE, GROUP, BAND, OR
"Bump, Bump, Bump" - B2K featuring P. Diddy
"I Should Be..." - Dru Hill
"Floetic" - Floetry
"Girl Talk" - TLC
BEST R&B/ SOUL ALBUM, FEMALE:
All I Have - Amerie
Ashanti - Ashanti
No More Drama 2002 - Mary J. Blige
Mahogany Soul - Angie Stone
BEST R&B/SOUL ALBUM, MALE:
Still Ghetto - Jaheim
The G Spot - Gerald Levert
Juslisen - Musiq
Justified - Justin Timberlake
BEST R&B/SOUL ALBUM, GROUP, BAND, OR
B2K - B2K
Full Circle - Boyz II Men
Floetic - Floetry
Best Of Both Worlds - R. Kelly & Jay-Z
R&B/SOUL OR RAP ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Ashanti - Ashanti
10 - LL Cool J
Stillmatic - Nas
Nellyville - Nelly
BEST R&B/SOUL OR RAP NEW ARTIST:
"Why Don't We Fall In Love" - Amerie
"He Is" - Heather Headley
"Awnaw" - Nappy Roots
"Oops (Oh My)" - Tweet
THE MICHAEL JACKSON AWARD FOR BEST
R&B/SOUL OR RAP MUSIC VIDEO:
"Wanksta" - 50 Cent
"Work It" - Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott
"Dilemma" - Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland
"Pass The Courvoisier Pt. 2" - Busta Rhymes feat. P. Diddy & Pharrell
BEST GOSPEL ALBUM:
Walking By Faith - The Canton Spirituals
The Rebirth Of Kirk Franklin - Kirk Franklin
Go Get Your Life Back - Donald Lawrence & the Tri-City Singers
Family Affair II - Hezekiah Walker & the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir