Sunday March 9th, 2003
New CD's this past week:
- Terri Walker – Untitled: the new sound of British soul
Short news stories this week:
Whitney Up For Controversial Film Role
"Monster's Ball" producer, Lee
Daniels, wants to hire Whitney Houston as
lead female in his upcoming film "The Woodsman". Daniels, who likes
"dark" stories - "Monsters Ball" was about death row, prison culture and
interracial romance - is happy to maintain the bleak mood with his new
film whose theme is paedophilia. The movie's lead male character (not
yet cast) works in a lumberyard and thinks about having sex with
children. Obviously, a film of this controversial nature is guaranteed
to raise concerns (and eyebrows) and Daniels admits that he's "somewhat
scared" at making the film. However, he believes both lead characters
are possible Oscar-winning roles. Reportedly, Houston, who made her
acting debut eleven years ago in "The Bodyguard" with Kevin Costner, is
considering the role.
3LW Adds New Member
3LW is again a trio with the recent
addition of 15-year-old Jessica "J"
Benson of Maryland. Benson made her debut as a member of 3LW at last
weekend's Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles.
Benson, who is an accomplished singer and dancer, shared her thoughts
about joining the group, "Wow, what an incredible opportunity. Just a
few weeks ago I was just a high school student with dreams of a
professional music career and now it's happening so quick. I'm so happy
that Kiely and Adrienne have so fully embraced me and are teaching me
the ropes of how to handle this hectic, fast-paced life."
Former groupmember Naturi Naughton left the group in August due to
tensions with the group's management and her fellow groupmembers Kiely
Williams and Adrienne Bailon. In October, Naughton filed a lawsuit in
U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, against remaining 3LW members
Williams and Bailon, as well as group manager Michelle Williams of Big
Cat Management, Nine Lives Entertainment owner Tse Williams, and Sony
Music. In the suit, Naughton claims she was dismissed from the trio
because she wasn't "ghetto enough," among other reasons.
Fans can see the new lineup live this summer when 3LW tours.
Faith Evans, Eric Clapton, Keith Murray
& Others Turn Up On Kelly
R&B singer Kelly Price will release her
third solo album, Priceless, on
April 8. The set features collaborations with the Clark Sisters, Eric
Clapton, Faith Evans, and rapper Keith Murray.
Priceless has been done for some time and was originally scheduled for
release on June 4, 2002. At the Soul Train Awards on March 1, Price
shared why the album's release was pushed back: "It's 17 tracks, I
think, of the most incredible music I've offered yet to date, and I'm
really excited about it. I think, you know, we've been kind of sitting
on it for a minute and holding it for a minute, but I think that no fine
wine should be poured before it's time, and so April 8 is the day we
Musiq, Nelly, Ashanti, Score Top Soul Train Honors
Musiq, Nelly and Ashanti were Saturday's
(March 1) top winners at the
17th Annual Soul Train Awards, held at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena,
Musiq claimed best R & B/Soul album, male for Juslisen and best R &
B/Soul single, male for "Dontchange." Ashanti took home best R & B/Soul
album, female for her self-titled debut and best R & B/Soul single,
female for "Foolish."
Nelly claimed album of the year, along with the Sammy Davis Jr. award
for "Entertainer of the Year." Other winners included a best new artist
honor for Amerie, and Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott taking the Michael
Jackson Award for best video.
Musiq said the Soul Train wins are especially meaningful to him: "Not to
downplay any other awards show, but the only awards show that really
means a whole lot to me is either the Soul Train Music Awards or like
the BET Music Awards. They mean a whole lot because I'm, that's more
particular to me, and I feel more closer to that, but I definitely
appreciate any accolade that I get from anybody. I appreciate all the
love that I get. "
Amerie said she has a special place in mind for her best new artist
award. "I think I may put it...in my kitchen. 'Cause that's where I am
most of the time."(laughs). "I'm pretty good with French toast,
breakfast. I eat breakfast all day. I eat cereal, bacon, eggs and cheese
at like two 'o'clock in the morning."
Nelly didn't seem to know much about Sammy Davis Jr., though he received
an Entertainer of the Year presentation named for the late showbiz
legend: "To get an award like Sammy Davis Jr. award, you know, I never
met the man, wish I had. (laughs) "Definitely, but my grandfather loves
him. I don't know Sammy Davis, you know, like that. I can imagine that
any type of success at that period of time that any African-American was
having can do nothing but benefit my life, in any just cause. 'Cause,
you know, I'm in the same, field, you think? (laughs)"So I'm just
privileged that they would actually take the time to give me such
The awards were hosted by Elliott and Arsenio Hall of the new Star
Search. Performers during the show included India.Arie, Justin
Timberlake of *NSYNC, and LL Cool J, who seemed to get the most screams
for ripping off his tattered shirt to fully reveal his chiseled torso.
Soul Train Awards Winner List:
BEST R & B/SOUL ALBUM, MALE - Musiq,
BEST R & B/SOUL SINGLE, MALE - Musiq, "Dontchange"
BEST R & B/SOUL ALBUM, FEMALE - Ashanti, Ashanti
BEST R & B/SOUL SINGLE, FEMALE - Ashanti, "Foolish."
BEST R & B/SOUL ALBUM, GROUP, BAND OR DUO - B2K, B2K
BEST R & B/SOUL SINGLE, GROUP, BAND OR DUO - Dru Hill "I Should Be..."
BEST R & B/SOUL OR RAP BEST NEW ARTIST - Amerie
BEST R & B/SOUL OR RAP ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Nelly, Nellyville
MICHAEL JACKSON AWARD FOR BEST R & B/SOUL OR RAP MUSIC VIDEO - Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott
BEST GOSPEL ALBUM - Tri City Singers - Go Get Your Life Back
SAMMY DAVIS JR. ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR - Nelly
QUINCY JONES OUTSTANDING CAREER ACHIEVEMENT - Mariah Carey, female; LLCool J, male.
Musiq Working On New Album
Grammy-nominated singer Musiq is currently
working on his third solo
album, which he hopes to have out by late summer or early fall.
Musiq was recently featured in a new Coca-Cola ad campaign. He shared
that the commercial was trying to re-enact a creative process: "You
know, just classic Philly--scratch beatboxing, I'm singing, my girls
Aaries on the background, you got Amel Larrieux in there, too. It's just
a real feel-good type vibe, trying to re-enact. Yeah , it's
re-enactment, but trying to re-enact a real-life situation that actually
happens, you know, in a cipher in Philly, or anywhere for that
matter--just creative people just getting down."
Musiq's 2000 debut, Aijuswanaseing, was certified platinum. The singer's
2002 follow-up, Juslisen, is also approaching platinum status.
Ashanti Recording Second Album, Looking Forward To Movie
Ashanti is currently in the studio
recording her second album, which she
expects to have ready for release this summer. The set--for which she
said she already has five tracks completed--will be the follow-up to her
self-titled, triple-platinum 2002 debut.
Before her new album is released, Ashanti is squeezing one last single
out of her debut collection. She said that the single, titled "Dreams,"
has a very personal meaning for her: "'Dreams' is a very inspirational
record because it took me, like, nine years to get to where I am. You
know, I had three record deals, so I just want to inspire other people
not to give up."
Ashanti will also release a music video for "Dreams" within the next few
The singer-songwriter is also looking forward to her role in a remake of
the 1976 film Sparkle. The movie will be helmed by first-time movie
director Irv Gotti of Murder Inc., and will co-star Ashanti's close
friend, rapper Ja Rule. "I just looked at the script the other day,"
Ashanti said. "Everything is really in early, early, early preparation."
Ashanti said that although having a starring role in the film will be an
amazing experience, she's not looking to become a full-time actress: "I
mean, it took me such a long time to get into the music I kind of want
to stay in the music lane for a little while, but I'm not going to turn
down any good opportunities, you know?"
Ashanti will next perform a string of concerts in several Australian
cities starting March 9 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in
The singer, who recently picked up a Grammy for best contemporary R&B
album, is truly enjoying all of her new-found success. "Although I've
been doing it for a long time, this is really the first time it has
actually been successful," she noted.