Sunday May 18th, 2003
New CD's this past week:
- None to report
Music news stories this week:
Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown To Perform Together On 'VH1 Divas Duets'
Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown will
perform "My Love" from Houston's
latest release, Just Whitney, on VH1 Divas Duets. It will air live from
the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on May 22.
VH1 Divas Duet will also feature performances by Beyonce Knowles,
Ashanti, Lisa Marie Presley, Celine Dion, Jewel, Stevie Wonder, and
Actress and rapper Queen Latifah will host the show.
VH1's Divas series raises funds for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, a
nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music
programs in America's public schools.
Barry White Recreation Center In Los Angeles In The Works
The City Council in Los Angeles voted
unanimously on Wednesday (May 14)
to name a park recreation center in the community of South Park after
singer Barry White. The legendary singer grew up in the area and joined
in a local protest there last fall over a zoning issue.
Barry White, who is now 58-years-old, underwent surgery for kidney and
colon problems last Thursday (May 7). He's been ill since August of
1999, when he was hospitalized for a blood pressure condition.
Representative Maxine Waters suggested the renaming of the park facility
after seeing White at the protest rally last year. She said, "Barry has
never forgotten his roots in South Park and has made a lifelong
commitment to the community in which he grew up."
Ashanti Says Her Latest Single Is Perfect For The Summer
Grammy award-winning singer Ashanti
recently released a new single,
"Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)" from her upcoming sophomore set, Chapter II.
It's due out on July 1.
The singer explained the reason she released the song. "To me it's like
a summer banger," Ashanti said. "You know it has a very summery happy
kinda vibe. Someone told me today, they were like, 'It sounds sexy.'"
Ashanti also shot a video for the song last week in Miami with video
director Paul Hunter. It was the singer's first time riding an elephant.
"It was kind of scary with the elephant though," Ashanti said. "You know
I've never been on an elephant and she was like 10 feet high so, it was
definitely an experience. We were in the water with her. We were on the
beach with her."
In the meantime, Ashanti will be the opening act on the North American
leg of Mariah Carey's Charmbracelet World tour this summer.
The tour is scheduled to kick off on July 18 at Sullivan Arena in
Anchorage, Alaska, and wrap up on September 21 at the Verizon Wireless
Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Isley Brothers Top Album Chart First Time In Nearly 30 Years
The Isley Brothers have scored their first
Number One album in almost 30
years with Body Kiss, which debuted on top of the Billboard chart this
week. The release sold more than 150,000 copies in the U.S. It's the
Isley's first Number One on the chart since 1975's The Heat Is On.
The album's single, "What Would You Do?," is in the Top 20 on the
Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
The Isley's 2001 album, Eternal, reintroduced the legendary act to a
contemporary audience, with contributions from artists including R.
Kelly and Jill Scott. The album reached Number Three on the chart,
selling more than 1.2 million copies.
Brian McKnight Hooks Up With Nelly For New Single
Brian McKnight's latest single,
"Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda," is still
Number Four on the urban AC Radio & Records National Airplay charts, but
the singer is already gearing up to release a new single from his latest
release, U Turn. That new single called "All Night Long" features Nelly
and will be out in the coming weeks.
"All Night Long" is not the first time that McKnight and Nelly have
recorded a song together. McKnight recorded "Groovin Tonight" with Nelly
and the St. Lunatics in 2001. The song was included on McKnight's 2001
release, Superhero, and on the St. Lunatics's 2001 release, Free City.
Recently McKnight explained that he and Nelly are actually friends and
that only his friends will appear on his album. "Nelly and I are
friends," McKnight said. "I would never put people on my album that
aren't friends of mine. He came and graciously came over my studio one
night and wrote a great part to this song to 'All Night Long.' It just
made sense. I like the idea that people would say, 'What's this Brian
and Nelly? What is that?' And hopefully the music will speak for
U Turn features guest appearances by Nelly, Carl Thomas, Tyrese,
Fabolous, gospel singer Kirk Franklin, Joe, and Tank.
Luther Vandross' Mother Says Her Son Steadily Improving
Luther Vandross was "touch and
go" following his stroke three weeks ago,
but is steadily improving, according to his mother, Mary Vandross.
"Right after the stroke, he was in grave danger; it was very touch and
go," Mary Vandross said in a statement issued Monday (May 12). "But I
feel that it is just a matter of time before he improves and to me, his
appearance gets better daily. It's a very slow process."
The singer, 52, was forced to undergo a tracheotomy two weeks ago to
assist his breathing after contracting pneumonia (see "Vandross
Undergoes Tracheotomy, Remains In Critical Condition"). The singer
remains in critical but stable condition, according to a hospital
spokesperson, and has shown no signs of consciousness since he was found
in his New York apartment several hours after suffering a stroke on
Mary Vandross makes the trip to the intensive care unit at New York's
Weill Cornell Medical College hospital every few days from her home in
Philadelphia. She said she's been overwhelmed by the support from the
singer's friends and admirers, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whom
she calls "almost every day to pray with me."
Though Vandross remains unresponsive, Mary Vandross said she and the
singer's nieces play music and talk to him all day long, spinning such
favorites as Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick as well as his own
music. Among the songs they play for Vandross is the title track to his
upcoming album, Dance With My Father, which Mary said her son told her
was the best song he has ever written. "In fact, right after he wrote
'Dance With My Father' he called me and he said, 'Mama, I wrote a song
for you and daddy, I'm going to bring it and see what you think,' " she
The album is still slated for release on June 10. "Knowing how he loves
this new album, I believe Luther would want it to come out now and I'm
so grateful that he can get this chance," she said. "He is going to
recover and when he does, I want him to be greeted with a big success
story. He has to recover, he's all I have left, he's my last surviving
Aretha Franklin is hosting a candlelight vigil and prayer service for
Vandross May 19 at 6:30 p.m at the Little Rock Baptist Church in
Detroit. Joining Franklin will be the Ebenezer Mass Choir, her sons,
Eddie and Kecalf, and the Four Tops.
Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Babyface Added To Essense Festival Lineup
Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Babyface,
Yolanda Adams, Musiq, and Kindred
are among the latest artists to be announced for the 2003 Essence Music
Festival, set for July 3rd through July 5th in New Orleans.
These top artists join a slate that includes Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan,
P.Diddy and the Bad Boy Family, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Heather Headley,
Anita Baker, Third World, Nappy Roots, Keith Sweat, and many others.
Sponsored by Coca-Cola, the festival will celebrate its ninth year at
the Louisiana Superdome. The format for the festival includes main stage
performances as well as performances in four smaller "superlounges." The
festival also includes several empowerment seminars, with gospel star
Donnie McClurkin and motivational author Iyanla Vanzant among the
More information and a complete schedule is available by logging onto