Sunday August 29th, 2004
New CD's this past week:
- Boyz II Men – Throwback
- R- Kelly – Happy people / You saved me
Music news stories this week:
Eric Benét And Halle Berry Berry Divorce Getting Ugly
Movie star Halle Berry and musician Eric Benet were hoping to quietly end
their marriage, but now reports are surfacing that Benet has allegedly
threatened to keep Berry from seeing his daughter, India, if she refuses
to tear up the prenuptial they signed before their 2001 wedding.
New York 's Daily News reports Berry has grown close to Benet's daughter,
India , although she never legally adopted the 12-year-old. India 's
mother, Tami Stuff, died in a car crash when she was only fifteen months
Last fall after she announced that she and Benet would be separating,
Berry said, "I'm all India (has) as far as a mother goes. It feels as if
she's my own. I don't think anything's going to prevent us from having a
mother-daughter relationship. We're very close, and I will always be there
A source close to Benet told the paper, "She hasn't visited or spoken with
India for months. She's basically abandoned this child. Not only was her
last movie Catwoman a bomb, she's a bomb as a mom."
A source close to Berry countered, "People leverage things to get what
they want. This is a man who doesn't think he did anything wrong - even
though he spent a year in rehab for sex addiction."
Usher Says He's Not In Competition With Justin Timberlake
R&B sensation Usher insists that there's no rivalry between him and Justin
Timberlake. Usher told the Boston Globe Friday he's not in competition
with Timberlake, adding "I'm not in competiton with anyone but myself."
Usher has sold over 5 million copies of his latest CD Confessions, but
points out that it takes more than marketing and a hit record to secure
and maintain the top spot. He says, "...it's about the talent, and I go
out there and I work hard... If you really work hard, no one can take your
Usher was asked if he felt Timberlake was stealing any of his shine. He
said: "Actually I wouldn't say that he is stealing my shine unless he was
on the same stage with me or I was put in a situation where we were
fighting for the light."
LaBelle And Isley Score Together With "Go Solo"
Two veteran acts with more than 80 years on the R&B singles chart between
them team up on a new entry this week, paradoxically titled "Gotta Go
Patti LaBelle and Ron Isley made their debuts on this survey in the early
'60s within 15 months of each other. Philadelphia-born Patricia Holt had
already changed her name to Patti LaBelle when she joined the Blue Belles
on "Down the Aisle (Wedding Song)," which debuted on the Billboard R&B
singles chart the week of Aug. 31, 1963. The single peaked at No. 14.
Cincinnati-born Isley also made his debut as part of a group. The Isley
Brothers debuted the week of June 16, 1962, with a cover of the Top Notes'
"Twist and Shout." The original, released a year earlier, wasn't a hit,
but the Isleys spent two weeks at No. 2 with the song that was later a No.
2 pop hit for the Beatles.
LaBelle and Isley have even more in common. Both have sustained careers
through five decades, remaining contemporary and relevant. Neither artist
has been off the chart for a significant amount of time.
"Gotta Go Solo," issued on Def Soul Classics, is LaBelle's 47th chart
entry and Isley's 79th. LaBelle's biggest R&B hit to date is "If Only You
Knew," which was No. 1 for four weeks in 1984. Her second-biggest hit, "On
My Own," also was No. 1 for four weeks, but with a shorter chart run. Like
"Solo," "On My Own" was a duet (with Michael McDonald).
Isley's biggest R&B hit so far is the Isley Brothers' "Don't Say Goodnight
(It's Time for Love) (Parts 1 & 2)," which was No. 1 for four weeks in
1980. In second place is "It's Your Thing," again No. 1 for four weeks in
1969, but with a shorter chart run than "Goodnight."
Angela Winbush Ready To Perform Again, Plans New CD
Winbush is ready to return to performing now that her health is restored.
Last year, fans learned that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in
December 2002. Winbush underwent six months of chemotherapy she describes
as "radical," losing her hair in the process. But she's in complete
"I went through horrible changes, but I'm fine now," Winbush says. "When
people look at me, they say I don't look like I've ever been sick. I
didn't lose weight, and my skin didn't change. It was a horrible
experience, but the Lord walked me through it."
Winbush's latest CD was her 1994's self-titled effort, and she has mostly
worked on Isley Brothers CDs since then. But she plans to work on a CD of
her own later this year after lending her services to rapper/producer
KayGee's camp. Winbush says her music "will be contemporary, but with my
chord changes. It's gonna be me. It will be recognizable. It won't be
hip-hop. It'll be in my vein and of whoever came after me, the Jill Scotts
and the India.aries."
Recently Angela performed with The Isley Brothers at the Fox Theatre in
St. Louis which may have caused some eyebrows being raised.
Sure, Angela has performed with the Isley Brothers many times over the
years, but this time she was doing so as the ex-wife of singer Ron Isley,
aka Mr. Bigg.
Winbush says she has no problem dealing with the situation: "God gave me
the strength to roll on," says Winbush, who moved to Las Vegas after the
divorce. "This is straight business. We can work together still because we
always worked together."
It's likely Ron Isley just couldn't resist putting a triple-threat talent
such as Winbush - singer, producer, songwriter - back onstage.
After singing in Stevie Wonder's backing band in the late '70s, Winbush
hooked up with Rene Moore, and they became Rene & Angela, an Ashford &
Simpson-like pair specializing in strong, meaty ballads. Hits such as "My
First Love," "Your Smile" and "You Don't Have to Cry" came before a nasty
breakup that involved disputes over who contributed what.
"We split because he got so greedy," says Winbush. "God gave me those
songs at a particular time in life. They all had to do with something
happening to me, and they mean a lot to me. They're songs people like and
that've become classics, I'm told. And I had to fight for them and share
50 percent with a person who didn't write them. I had to do that to move
on. Everybody in the industry has a story like that."
Winbush spent years correcting the situation legally and learned from it.
"Watch who you get into business with," she says. "I was very gullible and
naive. I was straight out of school and the church, and had never dealt
with people in the industry. They'll use anybody and anything to get over.
That was my lesson."
After Rene & Angela ended, Winbush worked behind the boards at a time when
African-American female producers were nowhere to be found. She produced
such artists as Janet Jackson (her first album), Sheena Easton, Rufus &
Chaka Khan, Evelyn "Champagne" King and the Isley Brothers.
Winbush says it was difficult working as a producer then. "There were no
females controlling the budgets, putting the records together. Even when I
was producing the Isleys, I was given a lesser budget. I had to fight. It
was really something. It was tough. It's easier now for Missy (Elliott)
and other people. For me, it was absolutely no."
During this time, she also set her solo career in motion. "Rene told
everybody I didn't know how to do anything. I had to re-prove myself, as
usual. In this business, you have to re-prove and reinvent yourself all
the time. I don't take it personally."
She kicked off her solo career with the 1987 album "Sharp," which featured
the signature single "Angel." "That was my transition song from Rene &
Angela to Angela Winbush. I started growing up. By that point Ron and I
had already worked together and we started dating."
Winbush and Isley popped up on each other's albums, perhaps most notably
on "Hello Beloved," also from "Sharp." She wrote the song while working
with Wonder, though she didn't record it until almost a decade later.
"Since Ron and I were together at that point, he almost had a hard time
with the duet. But it wound up one of those special songs."
Another special song was "I've Learned to Respect (the Power of Love)"
from 1989's "The Real Thing." Winbush wrote the song as a teenager, and
she was told it would be her torch song one day. But Stephanie Mills
scored a huge hit with it first. "It started off being a gospel song, 'I
Learned to Respect the Power of God.' I don't know where the song came
from. It was the spirit. I was going through a lot, and the Lord gave it