Sunday July 4th, 2004
New CD's this past week:
- Brandy – Afrodisiac
- Paul Tilman Smith – The invisible man
Music news stories this week:
Kem's Album "Kemistry" Goes Gold
Singer, songwriter and producer Kem has much to celebrate. The
Detroit-based artist's first album for Motown/Universal, Kemistry, has
been certified gold for sales of more than 500,000 copies. Meanwhile, his
single "Love Calls" has stayed in the top ten on the national urban AC
airplay charts for more than 30 weeks.
The gold certification of Kemistry is great validation for Kem, who wrote
and produced the album's ten tracks and initially released it
independently, selling more than 10,000 copies on his own before Motown
signed him up. Since his Motown release, "Love Calls" has become a
favorite track without the benefit of a video.
Fans have noted that the artist's appeal crosses age and format
boundaries, with some even comparing his vocal quality to that of jazz,
pop, and R&B star Al Jarreau. Kem says that he has heard the comparisons
and is flattered, although he didn't really hear Jarreau's music until
after he had formulated his own style. "Comparison to Al Jarreau is cool.
A lot of people think I've studied, but I haven't. I started listening to
Al Jarreau maybe in '95 and what it did was, a lot of the stuff I was
doing I was already doing. But when I heard that someone at the level that
he was at was doing it, it made it kinda like, OK, cool. Like, I'm not
losing my mind, actually, I can do this, because he's out there doing it
and he's definitely a pioneer."
Kem's second single is titled "Matter Of Time," which is one of the
most-added songs at urban AC radio.
The singer completed a 13-city tour with American Idol winner Ruben
Studdard and has begun work on his second album.
Rufus Kicks Up Search For New Lead Singer
Classic R&B band Rufus is looking for a new lead singer. The band that
once hit chart heights with singer Chaka Khan on "Sweet Love," "Once You
Get Started," and "Fool's Paradise," has regrouped recently and has
launched a nationwide talent search for a frontwoman.
Rufus' original band members --drummer and producer Andre Fischer and
bassist Bobby Watson -- are staging auditions in major cities, as well as
soliciting audition tapes. The pair says the new singer should have style,
vocal chops, and loads of talent. "We're not looking for Chaka Khan
clones; no one can replace what Chaka contributed to the band. We're
looking for exceptional vocal talent that will blend effortlessly with the
sound and legacy of Rufus," they note.
Auditions have already begun in major cities and will continue through
August. Applicants should send a cassette tape or CD with two songs, each
a maximum of two minutes, and an 8"x10" photo to: Rufus Contest, c/o
Paradise Artists, P.O. Box 1821 , Ojai , CA 93024-1821 . Applications must
be received by August 31st. More information is available at
In the meantime, Rufus will perform a couple of concerts. The group, which
also features guitarist Ray Parker, Jr., will perform July 9th at the B.B.
King Blues Club in Universal City , California , and July 23rd on the
boardwalk in Santa Cruz , California .
Teena Marie Says She Had Fun Making "La Dona"
Singer Teena Marie continues to gain accolades for her new album, La Dona,
as well as for her performances on tour with Rick James and Morris Day &
The Time. The singer/songwriter recently joined James on the BET Awards
ceremony in Los Angeles to perform their ballad classic "Fire And Desire."
Marie's La Dona album not only features new songs by the artist but a
wealth of performances by special guests, including James, singers Gerald
Levert and De De O'Neal and rappers Baby and M.C. Lyte. Marie said that
recording the set was a lot of fun, and she appreciates the support that
the other artists gave her even before she landed her deal with Cash Money
Records: " I had fun with everybody man, I mean, it was just beautiful.
Just the people that gave me love, I mean, you know, when nobody was
giving me love. Lyte! You know, Lyte, when Lyte came on board, you know, I
didn't even have a deal or anything, she was like, 'I don't care you don't
have a deal.' You know I was like, 'Well, but when I get one I'm gon' hook
you up,' you know. And it was just so wonderful to have people supporting
you like that."
Marie wraps up her tour on July 17th at the Theater at Madison Square
Garden in New York.
Ruben Studdard Planning Gospel Album
Vocalist Ruben Studdard, whose debut album Soulful has been certified
platinum, says he has plans to release some new recording projects within
the next year. The American Idol 2003 winner has recorded a new gospel
album for the fall, as well as a second R&B set that's due in 2005.
Studdard, who served as a presenter on the BET Awards from Los Angeles on
Tuesday, shared his upcoming plans: "Right now I'm working on a gospel
album that's coming out in November, and my second R&B album will be out
in February. That's about it."
Asked if he's set his sights on becoming the next big gospel star,
Studdard laughed and said he plans to be himself: "Uh ... I don't know You
know, I grew up in the church and grew up listening to gospel music so the
reason why I'm doing this album is to pay tribute to the people that I
listened to like Commissioned and the Winans and everybody, and that's the
reason why I'm doing this album. But as far as being the biggest gospel
artist in the world, I don't know about that. I'm just gonna be Ruben and
see what happens."
Studdard did not give details about the titles of the albums or their
final release dates.
Vanesse Williams And Rick Fox Split
Actress, singer, and former Miss America Vanessa Williams has called it
quits on her marriage with NBA player hubby Rick Fox. Representatives for
both parties confirmed to People magazine that the photogenic couple are
ending their five year, bi-coastal union, though neither side has yet
filed for divorce.
The publication cites an unnamed source who says the break-up is "not
entirely surprising since they've spent their entire marriage living on
opposite coasts." Williams lives in suburban New York and Fox lives in
L.A. , where he plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Williams and Fox have a four-year-old daughter named Sasha.
Williams' acting credits include Johnson Family Vacation, Eraser, and Soul
Ready For The World Ready For First Thump Records Release
R&B band Ready For The World will release its first album of new music in
seven years, when the Thump Classic R&B label releases new CD She Said She
Wants Some on July 20th.
The Flint, Michigan-based band comes back right in the R&B vein. Included
on the set are the tunes "Black-n-Mild," where the group uses clever word
play to equate cigar smoking with sex play; "Atomic Dogg Lover," which
builds on the George Clinton hit "Atomic Dog"; the ballad "Sticky Love";
"What We Gonna Do About That"; and the tune "Can't Nobody Do You Like I
Do" featuring a falsetto vocal by original lead vocalist Melvin Riley.
The the first full-fledged new jack band, the group originally featured
singer Riley and instrumentalists Gordon Strozier, Gregory Potts, Willie
Triplett, John Eaton, and Gerald Valentine. Ready For The World's first
chart hit was 1984's "Oh Sheila." Other hits included "Digital Display"
and the 1986 ballad "Love You Down."