Sunday December 5th, 2004


New CD's this past week:

- Gerald Levert – Do I speak for the world?
- Urban Mystic – Ghetto revelations


Music news headlines this week:

The O'Jays Say "Show Me The Money"

The O'Jay's may not be contestants on the hit reality TV show, The
Apprentice, but they still want the big pay-off. The group has been
spending some time in court lately trying to get royalties from their
former producers/songwriters, Gamble and Huff. Apparently they haven't
gotten paid for any of the songs that they recorded. Most notably, the
theme song, "For the Love of Money," from the Donald Trump helmed hit NBC
show. In an interview on Eurweb, Gerald Levert says his father, Eddie,
loved Gamble and Huff, but feels that if The Apprentice is one of the top
ten shows and his dad's song and voice are playing every Thursday night,
that the O'Jays deserve something

Will Downing Strolls Down Memory Lane With New Holiday Album

Singer Will Downing has a great deal to celebrate these days. The crooner
recently turned 41and he also has a new album in stores. The disc is
called Christmas, Love and You and the CD mixes holiday favorites with
several original cuts. Christmas has always been a source of memories for
Downing, who grew up in the Albany projects in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights .
He is hoping that the disc will provide listeners with a new soundtrack
that enhances fond Christmas memories to come. When the BET Radio Network
spoke with Will Downing, he talked more about the CD.

Vanessa Williams Begins Holiday Season

Vanessa Williams kicked off a series of holidays concerts last week
(Wednesday, December 1st) at New York City 's Palace Theatre. The
41-year-old singer played five consecutive nights and said the day before
that she’d looking forward to performing in New York : "It's Broadway.
It's New York. It's Christmas time. It's a combination of my hits, my holiday
music. I'll have a choir and strings and horns and my band, and doing numbers
with dancers. So it'll be, um, hopefully a sampling of what I do."
She recently released a new holiday album called Silver and Gold, which
includes several classic tracks, including a duet with Brian McKnight on
"Silent Night," "Joy to the World" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little
Williams is among the artists performing at the National Building Museum
in Washington , D.C. for the annual tree-lighting ceremony dubbed
Christmas in Washington. TNT Network will broadcast the show on December
15th at 8:00 p.m. ET. Also scheduled to perform are JoJo and LeAnn Rimes.
Williams is expected to release Love Songs, an album of standards, in


Brian McKnight To Write Theme Song For Martial Arts Film?

Singer-songwriter Brian McKnight has been tapped by pop musician Leslie
Loh to collaborate on the theme song for a forthcoming martial arts flick
called Black Salt. The song will be included on the soundtrack, which will
feature a score by Loh, a popular Hong Kong-born multi-instrumentalist
whose current single, "Boom Bang Bang," is a hit in the U.K.
Black Salt is described as an epic about a powerful and ancient form of
martial arts practiced by the Shaolin for hundreds of years. The concept
is already the subject of a popular video game and comic book. The film
version is due from October Pictures sometime in 2005, according to the
concept's owner, Owen Ratliff of Ratti Entertainment.
McKnight has contributed to other film soundtracks, including Jason's
Lyric, Stuart Little, Life, Men Of Honor, and Nutty Professor II: The
Klumps, among others.
McKnight's latest single, "What We Do Here," has climbed to Number One on
the national urban AC radio airplay charts. The song is the lead single
from McKnight's new album, Gemini, which will be released February 8th,


Usher And Alicia Keys Lead Billboard Music Award Nominations

Usher and Alicia Keys scored a slew of nominations yesterday (November
30th) for the 2004 Billboard Music Awards. Usher leads the competion with
15 nominations, while Keys is right behind him with 12 nominations. The
two superstars will compete against each other in several major
categories, including Artist of the Year, Billboard 200 album of the year,
and Hot 100 artist of the year.
Also nominated in multiple categories are Maroon5, OutKast, Kanye West, R.
Kelly, Gretchen Wilson, Hoobastank and Jay-Z
Billboard might consider changing the category "Top Selling Single of the
Year" to "American Idol Single of the Year." Three of the four singles
competing are by former American Idol contestants Clay Aiken, Fantasia
Barrino and Diana de Garmo. American Idol Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard
is nominated for Male New Artist of the Year.
Stevie Wonder will be presented with Billboard's Century Award during the
program, in recognition of his career achievements and influence on the
world of music.
The awards ceremony will be held December 8th in Las Vegas and broadcast
live on Fox.
According to Billboard, the awards recognize the year's leading artists
and songs as determined by performance on Billboard's weekly charts.


Jody Watley Back In The Studio

Billboard reports that 80’s sensation Jody Watley has stepped back into
the studio. She’s busy collaborating with songwriter/producer Milan Ross.
So far no label is currently attached to the still untitled project.
Watley stepped onto the scene as a solo artist in 1987 with here smash hit
“Looking for a New Love.” Subsequent hits that followed were “Don’t You
Want Me” and “Still a Thrill.” Her videos and style created a fashion
phenomenon. She won a Grammy for Best New Artist that year. In 1989 she
dropped her second album, which featured the hit “Real Love,” and the duet
“Friends,” with Eric B and Rakim. The song set a new and long lasting
trend of hip-hop artist collaborating with R&B and pop artist.

Raphael Saadiq Wraps Tour

Former Tony Toni Tone member Raphael Saadiq has had a flurry of activity
surrounding the recent release of his new album Raphael Saadiq As Ray Ray,
via his own Pookie Entertainment label. Saadiq wrapped a road trip that
was in support of the LP at House of Blues in Anaheim , California . The
show at West Hollywoodís House of Blues was star-studded to say the least
as Eddie Murphy, Johnny Gill, Leon Ware, boxer Laila Ali and Jimmy Jam
were on hand to watch Saadiq perform a two-hour set before a sold-out
crowd. Opening act Teedra Moses joined Raphael onstage for "Chic" from
Raphael Saadiq As Ray Ray. As part of the encore, the singer performed
"Skyy, Can You Feel Me" from his Instant Vintage album. Although Saadiqís
run is over, fans needn't fret: more tour dates are reportedly in the


James Brown Says He’s Considering Semi-retirement

"The Hardest Working Man is Show Business," James Brown, who will be
performing tonight (November 30th) in Kitchener , Ontario , says he's
planning on slowing down his pace. Brown, who's now 71 and currently on
tour, spoke with the Toronto Sun and explained, "Once I finish in Canada I
will probably go into semi-retirement, I think I should back off while I'm
on top because of my (diabetes). It can take a toll if I don't rest. I
have a lot of major (health problems) that go along with it." In recent
months Brown's legendary stage show has been trimmed down to about 75
minutes, and the performer -- known to many as "Mr. Dynamite" -- has had
to rely on background singers to help him out on some of the harder vocal
parts. Brown told the Sun, "I think I need to back off while I'm on top."
James Brown said that he's flattered that his influence can still be heard
in new artists: "I mean when you listen to 90 percent of the songs today
and you hear an actual part of my recordings in every song. I mean it's
never happened before, but I thank God for that."
Brown went on to say that he'd love to continue recording albums, but he
can't find a record label now that will allow him to record his own
material. He said, "They're telling (me) what I got to record and I don't
like that. I don't like these (non-musical) people getting in my business.
I want to record and further the story of what I'm about." Brown added
that his days of recording albums are over, unless, quote, "I can get a
recording contract to give me total creative control." However, if he ever
does record again, Brown would donate the profits to charity. He
explained, "Financially, I don't need to record. But when I work, I like
to be paid because I put my money back in young and poor people. I'm like
a 'Robin Hood' and I thank God, 'cause that's a good feeling when you're
doing things for the poor."


Second R. Kelly Sex Tape Seized

The FBI now have in their custody the R. Kelly sex tape featuring gospel
singer DeLeon Richards from over ten years ago, before she married her
current husband Gary Sheffield of the New York Yankees. The tape, along
with other items, were seized by investigators in a raid of the Southside,
Chicago home of Derrick Mosley, the so-called community activist who
allegedly tried to extort Sheffield for $20,000, the “Chicago Sun Times”
reports. Meanwhile, U.S. Assistant Attorney Virginia Kendall urged Judge
Morton Denlow to keep Mosley in jail while awaiting trial on attempted
extortion charges, despite appeals from Mosley's two older brothers who
appeared in court on his behalf.


Fantasia Tells The "Truth"

Although Fantasia has been performing her Missy Elliot produced song "Free
Yourself” during various recent performances to promote her new album of
the same name, the disc’s first single is actually "Truth Is," produced by
Soulshock & Karlin. According to Fantasia, the song is about a young woman
who has not gotten over a love lost. Fantasia shot a video for the track
last week with Diane Martel. The clip will reportedly combine performance
footage with a storyline following Fantasia as she sees an old boyfriend
at a restaurant and then struggles to get him out of her head. Free
Yourself was released last week.


Ruben Recovering

American Idol star Ruben Studdard has reportedly been released from
hospital in his native Birmingham , Alabama , after spending three days
recovering from exhaustion. The velvet teddy bear singer was admitted last
Tuesday after a bout of bronchitis left him overtired and he spent
Thanksgiving morning in hospital before he was allowed to leave and spend
the rest of the holiday with his family. Studdard is expected to return to
Los Angeles this week, where he's currently filming a TV diet segment for
news show EXTRA.

News 2004

News 2003

News 2002

News 2001