Sunday June 22nd, 2003


New CD's this past week:

- Monica - After the storm


Music news stories this week:

Beyonce Knowles Says Solo Projects Will Enhance Destiny's Child

The members of Destiny's Child hadn't performed together in nearly 18
months before last Saturday's (June 14th) pay-per-view concert, called
Beyonce Knowles, Friends, And Family. But the group -- Knowles, Kelly
Rowland, and Michelle Williams -- is still very much together, with
plans to record a new album next summer. Knowles says she expects that
the members' solo activities since 2001's Survivor will only make them
stronger as a group: "Before, Kelly and Michelle wouldn't write. They
didn't like to write. Since they've done albums, they've written more
and become more of their own artist. And I'm very excited to see what
happens in the studio, when the three of us get together and can bring
our own personal styles and everything to the table."
Knowles' first solo album, Dangerously In Love, comes out Tuesday (June
24th). Rowland's Simply Deep and Williams's Heart To Yours were both
released last year.
Knowles is also costarring with Jerry Maguire star Cuba Gooding, Jr. in
the film The Fighting Temptations, which is currently scheduled to open
on September 19th.

Mary J. Blige Releases 'Love @ 1st Sight'

Mary J. Blige has released the first single "Love @ 1st Sight" featuring
Method Man from her upcoming set Love & Life which will be released on
August 26th.
Love & Life will be executive produced by Mary J. Blige and Sean "P.
Diddy" Combs, who haven't worked on an album together since Blige's 1994
release, My Life. The two had a falling out but reunited in 2001 to
record a remix for Blige's hit "No More Drama."
Love And Life will feature the production of Dr. Dre and the Hitmen, as
well as guest appearances from Eve, Jay-Z, Method Man, and 50 Cent.

Luther Vandross' Latest Debuts At Number One

Luther Vandross' 15th album, Dance With My Father, debuted at the Number
One position on the Billboard 200 albums chart this week after selling
more than 442,000 copies according to Nielsen Soundscan. The highest a
Vandross set had debuted previously was at Number Four -- and that was
1994's Songs.
Vandross, who suffered a stroke in his Manhattan apartment on April
16th, was recently moved out of the intensive care unit of the Weill
Cornell Medical Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The singer's
status was upgraded to stable and according to his family, he has begun
to mouth words and is breathing on his own.
Dance With My Father includes guest appearances by Beyonce Knowles,
Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, and Foxy Brown.
Knowles, who duets with Vandross on a cover of the 1978 Roberta
Flack/Donnie Hathaway hit "The Closer I Get To You," says Vandross was
in good spirits during the making of his album: "When I got in the
studio, I was so nervous, but he was so witty, and funny, and charming,
I forgot that I was nervous. (chuckles) I wasn't nervous anymore. And we
had so much fun and the song turned out beautiful."
"The Closer I Get To You" appears on both Vandross' Dance With My Father
and Knowles' upcoming Dangerously In Love.

Aretha Franklin Kicks Off New Tour

Aretha Franklin kicks off her The Queen Is On!!!... 2003 Tour on
Tuesday, June 17th, in Boston at FleetBoston Pavilion. Next week, on
June 23rd, Arista Records will release the song "The Only Thing
Missin'," which is the advance single from her new, still-untitled
album. The Queen of Soul plans to perform the new number in addition to
her classic hits.
As an added surprise, each concert will include at least one
special-guest duet performance. Confirmed guests so far include Cissy
Houston, Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers, Dennis Edwards of the
Temptations, and Ali "Ollie" Woodson, also of the Temptations.
The highly anticipated new album is scheduled for release on September
16th, and features all-new tracks recorded with a variety of producers,
including the famed contemporary team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis in
addition to Burt Bacharach, Troy Taylor, and Gordon Chambers, among
Franklin has also called the new tour her "semi-retirement" tour,
The following are Aretha Franklin's The Queen Is On!!..2003 Tour dates
(subject to change):
June 17 - Boston, MA - FleetBoston Pavilion
June 21 - Portsmouth, VA - NTELOS Pavilion @ Harbor Center
June 24 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre
July 4-5 Atlantic City, NJ - Trump Plaza
July 9 - Highland Park, IL - Ravinia Festival
July 27 - Cleveland, OH - Scene Pavilion
August 22 - Verona, NY - Turning Stone Casino
August 24 - Hyannis, MA - Cape Cod Melody Tent
August 27 - Worcester, MA - East Park
August 29 - North Tonawanda, NY - New Melody Fair
September 6 - Sterling Heights, MI - Freedom Hill Amphitheater
October 4 - London, ONT, Canada - John Labatt Centre

Usher Is Back In The Studio

R&B singer Usher is currently in a Los Angeles studio working on his
upcoming untitled fourth album. The set will be the follow-up to 2001's
8701 which sold more than four million copies.
Producer Jimmy Jam said last week that Usher has just begun the
recording process: ["Just at the very beginning process, we haven't even
heard from the record company yet, from Arista when they're looking to
have something out, but Usher is very quick, and very prolific. I mean
we went in one day and came out with like four songs."]
Jimmy Jam also said that creatively Usher is filled with ideas: ["Usher
has a million ideas in his head and it's just a matter of trying to get
him to focus on one long enough to actually make a song, but he is

Essence Fest Plans Vandross Tribute

In place of his planned appearance at the 2003 Essence Music Festival,
soul balladeer Luther Vandross will be celebrated during the three-day
event. Patti LaBelle, Gerald Levert, Faith Evans, Ashanti, Kelly Price,
and the Luther Vandross Band take part in the July 4 salute at New
Orleans' Louisiana Superdome. Essence will use part of the proceeds from
the concert to make a donation to a charity chosen by the Vandross
As previously reported, Vandross has been hospitalized at New York's
Weill-Cornell Medical Center since suffering a stroke on April 16. Last
week it was reported that he has begun to recognize family and friends
is mouthing words, and has started mild physical therapy. Yesterday
(June 10), J Records released his latest studio album, "Dance With My
"Essence wants to embrace the outpouring of love and support everyone is
offering Luther," Essence's editorial director Susan L. Taylor says in a
statement. "So many people have asked us to tell him and his family they
are praying for his full recovery. There's no better way to offer our
prayers and love to Luther than to tribute him in the slot in which he
was to perform."
Performers and festival attendees will be able to contribute to a
videogram that will be made during the event and sent to Vandross.
In other festival news, LL Cool J, and actress/comedienne Mo'Nique have
been added to the July 4 concert bill, and the Gap Band has joined the
July 3 show. Meanwhile, previously announced performers Babyface and P.
Diddy and the Bad Boy Family including New Edition, Carl Thomas, and
Loon, have dropped out of the festival

Janet Jackson Looking To Release New Single Before The End of The Year

Superstar Janet Jackson is presently in a New York studio working on her
upcoming untitled eighth album. The singer will once again work with the
production team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The trio has been creating
magic since coming together to create Jackson's 1986 breakthrough set,
Control, which sold more than five million copies.
At the Songwriters' Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, June
12th, Jimmy Jam said that Jackson's upcoming set is hard to describe
since it's still in the early stages: ["It's too early to really say. I
mean it's kind of all over the place. We have some kind of up tempo
dance house things, we have some funky down tempo things, a couple of
real sensual ballads. I mean it's kind of as Janet records go. But we're
only about eight song in at this point so I mean there's not really a
clear direction of what we're gonna do yet."]
Jimmy Jam is hopeful that Jackson will be able to release a single
before the end of the year: ["We're gonna probably not have a full album
until next year, but hopefully we'll have a single ready to go by the
end of the year, would be what we hope to do. And I think we'll pull
that off."]

Kem Says It's A Matter Of Time

Singer-songwriter Kem is gearing up to release the second single,
"Matter Of Time," from his debut set, Kemistry, although the lead single
"Love Calls" still holds the Number Seven position on the urban AC Radio
& Records National Airplay chart.
Kem recorded and released his debut opus, Kemistry, on his own before
landing a deal with Motown Records. The singer shared that he has no
guest appearances on his set because he didn't know anyone when he
recorded the set: ["I wasn't in the loop dog. I was like at home, we're
in the basement man recording this record, you know. We didn't know
nobody to have a guest on the record man."]

Super Cat Steps In For Sean Paul On New 112 Single

R&B quartet 112 has tapped dancehall veteran Super Cat for the group's
latest single, "Na Na Na Na." Red hot dancehall artist Sean Paul was
originally on the song but the group felt that he was being spotlighted
too much on other projects.
Group member Slim explained to MTV, "The song got changed because Sean
Paul had a lot of other looks as far as being on different projects. We
wanted to keep it nice and fresh. We definitely understood that by the
time our first single would have dropped he would be on his third
single, and he has some other people he's working with... But it's all
good, we got Super Cat and he really blessed us."
112 is slated to release their fourth album, Hot & Wet, on September
9th. The group recorded the set in Nashville. Group member Q said that
it took the group roughly two months to do: "(We) went down to
Nashville, relocated down there for like I said about two months and
really just got to work, got busy. We recorded about 30 songs, and I can
clearly say and I know I speak for the guys, this is the best album to


News 2003

News 2002

News 2001