Sunday July 25th, 2004
New CD's this past week:
- Michael Cooper – Are we cool
- Ready for the world – She said she wants some
- Profyle - Profyle
Music news stories this week:
Erykah Badu A Mother Again
Erykah Badu gave birth to a daughter earlier this month at her home in
Dallas , according to People magazine. The baby, named Puma, was born on
July 5 and was not named after a sneaker, Badu's publicist told the
magazine. "Erykah is more down to earth than that. It's more likely that
the name has meaning, that it's something natural."
Badu has not publicly name the father of the baby.
Brian McKnight Releases New Single
Singer/songwriter Brian McKnight recently released a new single, "What We
Do Here." The song is the lead single from McKnight's forthcoming album,
Gemini, which will be released on September 21st.
McKnight has released seven albums since arriving on the music scene in
1991, including a Christmas set, Bethlehem , in 1998.
1997's Anytime and 1999's Back At One were his two best-selling sets. Both
were certified double-platinum for sales of more than 2 million copies
McKnight explained that his legacy as a songwriter is more important to
him than being recognized as a singer: "Without the songs, there really
isn't anything. I'm just another 'whoever.' Singers come and go -- songs
last forever. If nobody ever remembers who I am, I want them to say, 'Man,
that "Back At One," or that this or that that, that was a great song. Who
wrote that?'" McKnight's last release was 2003's U Turn.
Jam & Lewis Working With Heather Headly, EW&F, “Bridget Jones” & More
Super-producers Jimmy "Jam" Harris and Terry Lewis are working on a range
of projects these days, from film and TV music to tunes for R&B and pop
hitmakers. The pair recently moved their Flyte Tyme production studio from
Minneapolis to Los Angeles to step up their music output.
Recently, Jimmy Jam gave an update on upcoming film and TV projects,
including music for Bridget Jones' Diary, the animated Shark Tale, and
TV's Will & Grace. He said: "Actually, we are doing a lot of film stuff.
Bridget Jones' Diary, we just did a song with Mary J. Blige for that.
We're doing a bunch of stuff for Shark Tale with is an animated movie,
Dreamworks movie coming out for Christmas, or actually Thanksgiving I
think it is. And we just did Carly Simon for the Will & Grace soundtrack,
Carly Simon and Megan Mullally, that comes out right when the new season
of Will & Grace starts." Additionally, Jam and Lewis have recorded new
material with singer Heather Headley for her second album, as well as two
tracks with veteran R&B act the O'Jays and other material for a new set by
Earth, Wind & Fire.
Jam and Lewis, who were originally members of Minneapolis group The Time,
are best known for their hitmaking collaborations with Janet Jackson, as
well as New Edition, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and others.
Usher Inks Deal To Star And Executive Produce New Movie
R&B superstar Usher has agreed to star in and executive produce a new
movie, which will also be produced by MTV Films. According to the
Hollywood Reporter, the movie will not be autobiographical, and will not
be titled Confessions, as was previously reported. Details of the
storyline are being kept under wraps for the film, which will be
distributed by Paramount Pictures.
Usher's previous screen credits include 1998's The Faculty, 1999's She's
All That, 1999's Light It Up, and 2001's Texas Rangers.
The singer will next be seen in the Ray Charles biopic, Ray, which will be
released in October. Usher plays Jackie Wilson in the movie which also
stars Jamie Foxx, Regina King, and Kerry Washington.
Usher's latest album, Confessions, has been certified quintuple platinum
for sales of 5 million copies. Next month, the singer will launch his
Truth tour, which will feature Kanye West as the opening act.
Brandy’s Ex Robert Smith Says They Were Never Married
Singer Brandy's former flame and father of her 2-year-old daughter, Robert
Smith, recently told two New York radio stations that he and the
24-year-old singer were never legally married, though they told the media
that they had wed in secret to protect Brandy's image, according to
mtv.com. Smith, a record producer, added that he was never romantically in
love with Brandy though he continues to love her as a friend.
Brandy, who just released her Afrodisiac album on June 29th, says she was
hurt by Smith's revelations. In a statement, she said: "We still share a
common bond through our daughter, Sy'rai. He is not thinking about her,
me, or what we had together. He is trying to destroy my reputation while
using me and our daughter to get publicity and radio airplay for his
artists. I am stunned that he is being so dirty about it."
But Smith fired back with his own statement, saying he had no intention to
shirk his responsibilities as a father: "My comments were in no way made
to take away any responsibility from Sy'rai emotionally or financially.
And in no way am I an irresponsible father... I have recently been granted
joint custody of Sy'rai. When breaking off relationships it's always
difficult, and I prefer not to air our dirty laundry through the media. I
was just stating the truth." He added that he and the singer will have to
work our their issues in private.
In 2002 Brandy announced to the world that she was expecting a baby and
that she and Smith had tied the knot in secret the summer before. The June
2002 birth of daughter Sy'rai was documented on MTV's Diary Presents:
Brandy -- Special Delivery. The couple parted ways a year later.
But according to mtv.com, Smith had initially been conducting a
simultaneous relationship with a film producer until Brandy announced her
pregnancy and they decided to pose as husband and wife. Now that the two
are no longer a couple, Smith is expecting a new baby in two months' time
with the film producer.
Smith was on the New York airwaves to promote new singer Amanda, who is
signed to his Big Bert Entertainment label. Her debut single, "Please
Mister," will be released next month.
Meanwhile, Brandy's single with Kanye West, "Talk About Our Love," peaked
at Number 18 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart two weeks ago and
currently stands at Number 34
Rick James Hits The Recording Studio With Up-and-coming Rapper
R&B singer-songwriter Rick James has been enjoying a resurgence. The
singer, who is presently touring with Teena Marie, received the
prestigious Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award at the 17th annual ASCAP R&B
Awards last month, which he followed with a spirited performance at the
4th Annual BET Awards.
James has also found the time to work on new material for his upcoming
album and recently he recorded a song, "On The Run," with Chicago-based
rapper Bump J. The song was produced by Kanye West.
Recently James explained how blessed he is to still be doing what he loves
after all he's been through. He said: "God has saved me from so much, you
know, prison and ODs and people. Now he's lining me up with just the right
people. I finally got a lawyer you know that I love and can trust. I got
accountants. I'm back with my old friends, you know. I got to do what I
got to do, then I got to do his will."
Where's Raphael Saadiq? Ask 'Ray Ray'
R&B artist Raphael Saadiq will release his sophomore solo album, "Raphael
Saadiq As Ray Ray," in September via his own Pookie Entertainment imprint.
Why "Ray Ray?" Says Saadiq, "My mother calls me 'Ray Ray.' My homies call
me 'Tanqueray.' 'Ray Ray' represents the fun side of Raphael Saadiq."
First single "Chic Like You" is tipped to feature as-yet-unannounced
guests when it goes to radio next month. But album track "Rifle Love,"
featuring former Saadiq collaborators Dwayne Wiggins (Tony Toni Tone) and
Dawn Robinson (Lucy Pearl), has already leaked to some stations, including
The album will also include "Ray Ray's Theme," featuring Pookie artist
Joi, plus "The Fence," featuring Teedra Moses. It's the follow-up to
2002's multiple-Grammy nominated "Instant Vintage," which peaked at No. X
on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
"It's all about a feeling," Saadiq says. "I want this album to feel like a
movie, only it will tell several stories. I always try to come with
concepts --to keep myself amused more than anything. It's not about trying
to be deep. I just like to have fun."
Saadiq has also been plenty busy with production duties, including work on
Jill Scott's upcoming album "Beautifully Human," the Isley Brothers remix
album "Taken to the Next Phase" and Robinson's next solo project.