Sunday September 14th, 2003
New CD's this past week:
- Calvin Richardson - 2.35 PM: real soul
music is back with this second album
Music news stories this week:
Heather Headley Marries Former New York Jet
R&B singer and actress Heather Headley
married former New York Jet Brian
Musso on September 6th at Musso's home outside of Chicago, according to
the Associated Press. The couple will reside in Chicago where Musso works
with inner-city children.
Headley and Musso have been dating for two years. The pair got engaged on
January 8th. Headley said that the key in her deciding to marry Musso was
that he wasn't in the entertainment business: "I tested him the first day.
I was like, 'Sing a song?' I was like, 'Good, can't hold a note, that's
Headley's debut, This Is Who I Am, was recently certified-gold for sales
of 500,000 copies. The Tony Award-winning actress is scheduled to appear
in two films next year including Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, the
Cuban-set sequel to Dirty Dancing, and The Breakup Handbook, a comedy
starring Morris Chestnut and Jamie Foxx.
Ronald Isley / Burt Bacharach CD Due In November
The new CD project that pairs the vocal
talent of Ronald Isley of the
Isley Brothers with the songwriting and production of veteran Burt
Bacharach will be released November 11th on DreamWorks Records. The
project has not yet been titled.
The CD was recorded this past June and July at Capitol Records' famous
Studios A and B in Hollywood, the site of classic recordings by Nat
"King" Cole and Frank Sinatra in the '40s and '50s. Isley recorded live
with a 40-piece orchestra conducted by Bacharach.
Among the Bacharach tunes Isley recorded are "Alfie," "In Between The
Heartaches," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," "Make It Easy On
Yourself," and "Windows of the World." Also included on the CD are two
new Bacharach tunes: "Count On Me" and "Love's (Still) The Answer."
Bacharach and Isley are expected to tour together and make promotional
appearances after the release of the album.
Meanwhile, Isley's current CD with his Isley Brothers siblings, Body
Kiss, is currently at Number 86 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart.
Stephanie Milles Wants To Pick Up Where She Left Off
Legendary R&B singer Stephanie Mills is
back after 13 years with a new
studio album, Born For This, which will be released in December. The
first single from the set, "Can't Let Him Go," was written by Gordon
Chambers, who has penned hits for Anita Baker, Carl Thomas, Whitney
Houston, and Deborah Cox.
Recently LAUNCH spoke with Mills, who said that she wanted to keep the
music fresh but she wanted to make sure her audience could relate to it:
["That was a big concern of mine. That the music sounded fresh but that
the lyrics were mature. That my audience could relate to it because its
been 13 years since I've actually had a studio album. And I wanted it to
be vintage Stephanie Mills, and I wanted to pick up pretty much where I
left off musically."]
Mills shared that her primary concern was giving her fans what they've
been missing for the past 13 years: ["My primary concern was giving my
fans what they haven't gotten from me in the last 13 years and staying
true to my audience. I didn't want to come out and try to be 21 or try
to have all these hip-hop people on it and have a lot of rap 'cause
that's not who I am."]
Patti LaBelle: The Most Sought-After Collaborator In Hip-Hop?
"I'm like Patti LaBelle, homie, I'm on
my own." You didn't think Patti
LaBelle's ties to the hip-hop community stopped with 50 Cent's line from
"What Up Gangsta," did you?
Or maybe you thought Ms. Patti's connection with rap just stretched back
to Nelly's video for "Dilemma" or the "Lady Marmalade" remake a few
Well, the fact is that many of your favorite MCs have been listening to
LaBelle since they were kids and their parents used to play her records
around the house. These days, such now-grown performers as DMX, Wyclef
and Snoop Dogg are calling up the legend to work with her. And she loves
"My favorite song is 'In Da Club,' " LaBelle said recently from
Philadelphia. "You put that on and I get buck wild. Before that it was
'Hot in Herre.' I'm just one of those girls, I love rap. I don't love
all the time what [some rappers say]. A lot of it is downright nasty and
wrong. I just don't like the fact that kids pick up everything. You
know, like [Khia's] 'My neck, my back my crack.' I saw some little girl
singing that one day and that really bothered me. I sing that song, but
"When I went in the hospital last week, the doctor said, 'Ms. LaBelle,
what hurts you?' " she continued. "I said, 'My neck, my back, my crack
and my knee.' I love that song. It's nasty, but I like it."
The love the hip-hop community has for Patti was recently matched with
dollars when she signed on with new Def Jam imprint Def Jam Classics.
"Barry White and Patti LaBelle were supposed to be the first acts to be
signed," she explained. "It was going to be people like Ray Charles, Ron
Isley, Anita Baker. People who could always work with or without a hit
record, legends. People who paid dues for themselves, people who could
put on a show without a hit record and could go out there and not
LaBelle hasn't wasted any time with her LP and has knocked out 30 demos.
She's been in the lab for the last three months, and among the
collaborators she's already worked with or received songs from are Missy
Elliott and Wyclef Jean. "After I finish the whole album, I'm going to
go back to him and we're going to finish up and do something else," she
Snoop Dogg and Nelly reached out to her and said that they were down to
make cameos, and LaBelle is trying to secure Bono, Dr. Dre, Beyoncé and
Kelly Rowland for the LP as well.
"We're just feeling it and finding out who Patti LaBelle is," she said
of the songs that are done. "I'm going to do 60 demos, and my problem is
going to be picking out 12 songs to go on the album at the end of this
venture. I don't know what I'm going to end up with, but I'm in a good
LaBelle was in a crowded place last month when she went to New York and
recorded "Thank You" for the upcoming DMX album Grand Champ.
"It was a circus," she laughed. "He had a hundred n---as in there. It
was awesome! He had ministers in there, his boys, his wife, his kids. I
was having him sing my part for me and all the people stayed in the
studio. It was like a big old party. At first I was like, 'Lord, I ain't
never seen this many people in the studio. If I make a mistake the whole
world is going to see it.' But I'm that girl that doesn't mind making a
mistake in front of people and then getting it right. I fumbled and got
Only time will tell if LaBelle will make just as big a splash with some
of the younger music fans as Ron Isley has the past few years with the
help of R. Kelly. However, LaBelle and Mr. Biggs will be teaming up
"I'm Mrs. Biggs," she said. "I saw him at the Essence Music Festival and
I said, 'You know, Ronnie, I have this song that I'm writing and I want
us to be Mr. and Mrs. Biggs.' I love his success."