Sunday March 30th, 2003
New CD's this past week:
- Kindred The Family Soul - Surrender to
- Chico DeBarge - Free
- Brian McKnight - U turn
- 702 - Star
Short news stories this week:
Blige Goes Back To Basics
Yes, that's right, Mary J. Blige is
returning to the studio with the
gentleman who originally brought her to the forefront--P. Diddy--who is
executive-producing her new album, Love and Life, set for a summer
release. This will be the first time the pair have worked together since
1994's My Life. As a bonus, Mary is also singing over 50 Cent's No. 1
smash, "In Da Club," which won't be on the album, but serviced to the
underground. Obviously, there is something about that Dr. Dre-produced
track that's got everybody abuzz, because Beyonce Knowles also has a
version of the song which has been leaked to several radio stations.
Brian McKnight Pays Homage To Stevie Wonder
Brian McKnight released his latest album, U
Turn, on Tuesday (March
25th). The singer is also featured on the new Universal/Motown Records
tribute compilation, Conception: An Interpretation Of Stevie Wonder's
Songs, which came out earlier this month.
McKnight performed "Send One Your Love" with his two sons for the
tribute album. The singer explained that he chose the song because it
isn't one of the Stevie Wonder songs that gets remade often: "You know,
it's very difficult for me to have one favorite Stevie song. I chose a
song that not a lot of people redo first off. It's one of the most
beautiful songs he's done. It's not a ballad and it's not up."
McKnight also shared that he tried to keep it as close to the original
as he could: "I tried to keep it as close to the original as I could.
Also, something that my children can come and sing with me on--I got
both kids singing on the song. I wanted to pay a tribute to him that
usually isn't paid to him with this kind of song."
Brian just went through a divorce; he's under new management and his
latest album U-Turn, was released this week. McKnight says that he named
the album U-Turn because of all the changes that he is going through.
With years of experience behind him, there's no looking back for the
singer. The first song 'Should, Woulda, Coulda,' is a silky ballad,
which laments the dilemma of an individual seeing that they made a huge
mistake in love that is beyond repair. McKnight does look back to pay
tribute to a few R&B legends such as Marvin Gaye on the tune "Back Seat
(Getting Down)" and "If It Was Cool" which is supposed to be reminiscent
of a Prince jam.
Isley Brothers Return In May With New Album
The Isley Brothers return on May 6th with a
new album, Body Kiss,
on DreamWorks Records. The group's career now spans almost 50 years and
includes landmark hits like the million-selling "Shout," the original
"Twist And Shout," and "This Old Heart Of Mine" on Motown.
The Isley Brothers formed in Cincinnati in 1955. The group still
features 61-year-old original vocalist Ronald Isley and his younger
brother, 51-year-old guitarist Ernie Isley. Eleven of the new album's 12
tracks were written, arranged, and produced by contemporary R&B star R.
Kelly, with guest appearances by Isley fans Snoop Dogg on "I Like" and
Lil' Kim on the album's title track. Another number, called "Superstar,"
is based on the Isleys' 1973 Top 10 hit "That Lady (Part I)."
The first single from Body Kiss is "What Would You Do?" with a video
filmed in front of a live audience at Chicago's Congress Theatre. For
the video, Ronald Isley appears as "Mr. Biggs," a character he created
in 1996 for a video by R. Kelly. Kelly appears in the Isley clip, which
was directed by Billie Woodruff, who's shot videos for some of today's
hottest pop music acts including Ashanti, Britney Spears, and the
Brian McKnight & Vivica A. Fox Bring 'Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda' To Life
Brian McKnight released his latest album, U
Turn, on Tuesday (March
25th). The first single from the set, "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda," is
currently Number 12 on the urban AC Radio & Records National Airplay
McKnight directed the video for '"Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda," which
features actress Vivica A. Fox. McKnight recently shared that the
actress truly helped bring the song to life: "I wanted to do the extreme
of what could possibly happen if you weren't where you were suppose to
be, and you weren't doing what you were suppose to do. And I tell you,
Vivica came in and she was a pro, and she definitely gave me everything
I needed to be able to tell that story. 'Cause I was sitting there
looking at these models, and they were good-looking and had the whole
'boom pow,' but they wouldn't have been able to bring it."]
U Turn features guest appearances by Nelly, Carl Thomas, Tyrese,
Fabolous, gospel singer Kirk Franklin, Joe, and Tank.
Jill Scott & Kindred Help Bring Positive Message to Harlem Youth
Hidden Beach Recordings recently teamed
with Coca-Cola and The Apollo
Theater Foundation to host a day-long music career seminar at Harlem's
Thurgood Marshall Academy. Along with Hidden Beach artists Jill Scott
and Kindred The Family Soul, the label also secured a dedicated group of
music industry professionals to serve as guest instructors for the
school's 400 students. The event was part of The Coca-Cola Apollo
Theater Academy, a creative "school without walls" program that
introduces youth to careers in the music business. Scott serves as a
national spokesperson for the project.
Kindred's debut album "Surrender to love" was released Tuesday March
Back In Blaque!
The trio Blaque (previously on Sony) have
been in the studio recently,
readying their Elektra debut. Blaque has been busy working with one of
the CD's producers and co-writers, Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes), who also
produced and wrote "Get The Party Started" for Pink, as well as four
songs on Christina Aguilera's latest CD, Stripped. Elektra label mate
Missy Elliott also adds her production genius to Blaque's new album. The
girls, who officially began their recording careers as teenagers, have
been away from the music scene for the past few years and are very
excited about their upcoming debut on Elektra. Look for the
much-anticipated release this summer.
Ginuwine Mixed The Old With The New For Latest Album
R&B singer Ginuwine will release his
fourth solo album, The Senior, on
April 8th. The set features guest appearances by Sole, Tweet, Blu
Cantrell, Baby, Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Missy Elliott, and newcomer
Ginuwine recently explained that he incorporated a lot of the elements
from his previous work into The Senior:"(I) Just grabbed a lot of the
stuff from the older albums and, like, you know, combined it with this
new album, you know what I'm sayin'? Not the old songs, but just
listened to them and wrote songs like that and put it on this album."
The first single from The Senior is "Hell Yeah" featuring Baby. The song
is Number 18 on the CHR rhythmic Radio & Records National Airplay chart,
and Number 16 on the urban Radio & Records National Airplay chart.
LSG is back
Gerald Levert. Keith Sweat. Johnny Gill.
Each is a superstar in his own
right, with millions of records sold and dozens chart-topping hits. In
1997, these three stars shined together as LSG on the album Levert Sweat
Gill, which sold more than two million copies on the strength of the
platinum-plus #1 smash "My Body." Now these three stars are rejoining
forces for what promises to be one of the music world's biggest events
this year, the new album LSG-2. As you would expect from these three
artists, the album is a modern masterpiece -- virtually every track is a
potential hit single, with Gerald, Keith and Johnny trading soaring
leads and coming together in honey-smooth harmonies. The album features
the production talents of Mike City (Carl Thomas, Brandy), Stephen
Russell, Darrell "Delite" Allamby (producer of "My Body"), and, of
course, the members of LSG themselves. The first single is "Just
Friends," featuring Bad Boy rapper Loon, produced by Delite. LSG-2 will
be in stores June 24.
In related news, Gill has also recorded new material with New Edition.
The group is now signed to Sean "P. Diddy" Combs's Bad Boy Entertainment
and is slated to release a new album this year in conjunction with its
R&B Luminaries Sign On For Essence Festival
Nelly, P. Diddy, Maze, Nappy Roots, Smokey
Robinson, Jaheim, and Anita
Baker lead the lineup for the fifth edition of the Essence Music
Festival, set for July 3-5 at the Superdome in New Orleans. The
five-stage affair will feature a different host each night, including
Jamie Foxx, Wanda Sykes, A.J. Jamal, and Tom Joyner & the Crew. More
artists are expected to be added to the bill.
Nelly and the St. Lunatics will headline July 3, with Keith Sweat,
Dianne Reeves, and Third World also performing. P. Diddy leads the next
night's performers, joined by New Edition, Faith Evans, Carl Thomas, and
Loon. Biz Markie & Doug E. Fresh, Michael Franks, and the S.O.S. Band
will also be featured on that bill. Maze and Frankie Beverly will
headline July 5, with Will Downing, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and Chuck Brown
& the Soul Searchers among the other artists appearing.
Last year, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, India.Arie, Angie Stone, and
Luther Vandross, among others, performed at the festival. Attendance
capped off at about 180,000, according to organizers.
As in past years, the festival will also feature free, daily empowerment
seminars in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center with a range of
scholars and political, business, religious, and social leaders. The
Essence Marketplace will boast New Orleans cuisine, arts and crafts, a
boutique, and an area for celebrity meet-and-greets. Tickets are priced
$35-$125 and are on sale now via Ticketmaster.