Sunday June 6th, 2004
New CD's this past week:
- Brenda Russell – Between the sun and the
moon (UK release)
- Crea – Mystory
- Jesse Powell – Jesse
- Truth Hurts – Ready now
Music news stories this week:
Judge Says Aaliyah Producer Can Sue Over Jet Crash
Almost three years after Aaliyah's untimely death, a judge has determined
that her record label is eligible to sue the video producer who booked the
private jet that crashed in the Bahamas, killing the young star. MTV.com
reports that Justice Carol Edmean of the New York State Supreme Court
ruled that Aaliyah's label, Blackground Entertainment, is entitled to sue
because the singer and actress was the prime "asset" of the company, and
not an "employee." Aaliyah owned 10 percent of the label.
The film production company, Instinct Productions, had tried to have a
negligence lawsuit dismissed because Aaliyah was a company employee.
Luther Vandross & Family Approve Of Upcoming All-Star Tribute
Recovering vocalist Luther Vandross is reportedly thrilled about the
forthcoming all-star tribute album to his music, titled Forever, For
Always, For Luther. The set is due July 27th and includes new versions of
Vandross songs by Rick Braun, Lalah Hathaway, George Benson, Boney James,
Ledisi, Mindi Abair, Paul Jackson, Jr., Brian Culbertson, and Dave Koz,
Producer Rex Rideout, who has performed with Vandross on many occasions,
says it was important to him that Vandross and his family feel good about
the project. So Rideout said that he contacted singer Fonzi Thornton,
their mutual friend, and arranged to visit Vandross and play him the
music: "My friend Fonzi Thornton, which is probably Luther's closet friend
for like thirty-five years, and I told him I wanted to go down and see
Luther and wanted to present the record to him. And I went there and it
just happened that his mother was there, and his aunt Helen was there, his
cousin who takes care of him every day. And we went and we played the
record and he smiled and he enjoyed it."Rideout says he was happy that he
included a version of Vandross' Grammy-winning tune "Dance With My Father"
on the project, because that's what his mother asked to hear and also what
Luther, who is recovering from his 2003 stroke, actually sang to. Said
Rideout: "His mother wanted to hear 'Dance With My Father,' which Rick
Braun does on the album. We played it, and Luther's singing along as we're
playing it, and it was really just a touching moment and it let me know
that he approved of what we did in his own way. And his mother has been
very supportive of the record, she thinks that it's you know a great thing
to keep her son's memory fresh and to celebrate him while he's here with
us. "The first single from Forever, For Always, For Luther will be the tune
"Forever, For Always, For Love," performed by vocalist Lalah Hathaway.
Teena Marie Has Hip Hop To Thank For Comeback
The surprise comeback of R&B star Teena Marie wouldn't have happened
without the help of a very unlikely source -- a hardcore rap label. The
48-year-old queen of white soul-singers told the Star-Telegram that
getting picked up by Cash Money Records, the New Orleans-based label that
claims responsibility for coining the term "bling-bling," helped her
reclaim her spot on the charts -- and back into the R&B spotlight.
She said that after her tape fell into the hands of Cash Money executive
Ronald Williams, she wasn't sure where she'd fit in alongside the label's
raw, underground hard-core rap roster "But they knew all about my history,
and they were like 'We don't want you to try to do us, we want you to do
what you do."
Teena Marie's single, "I'm Still in Love" from her new album, La Dona, is
holding strong at Number Two on the Urban AC charts.
La Dona is down one slot from Number Three to Number Four this week on
Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Teena Marie's June tour dates are as follows:
June 11th - Fox Theater - Atlanta, GA
June 18th - Milwaukee Theater - Milwaukee, WI
June 20th - Smirnoff Center - Dallas, TX
June 25th - Venue TBA - Chicago, IL
June 26th - Universal Amphitheater - Universal City, CA
Prince CD Hits Platinum Through Ticket Sales
Prince's new CD, "Musicology," has hit platinum based solely on his tour
ticket sales, which include a copy of the album.
On May 20, the outing hit 1 million tickets sold, according to John
Meglen, Concerts West co-CEO. Meglen is producing the tour with co-CEO
Paul Gongaware. The tally includes shows that have already happened, plus
sales for a number of upcoming dates.
The Musicology tour has grossed more than $26 million and drawn 435,756
people to 32 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore.
The tour, which provides a free CD with each ticket purchased, is expected
to move more than 1.2 million tickets for 90 shows before it concludes in
Concerts West, the touring division of national promoter AEG Live, became
promoter/producer of the Prince tour after the artist saw a production of
Celine Dion's "A New Day ..." at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las
Vegas, also produced by Concerts West.
"Prince saw Celine's show, saw how we operate, and he seemed to be very
impressed with that," Meglen says. "I kind of classify it as, it is his
tour, and we're just providing operations, structure, and all of that, to
promote the tour."
Indeed, when the tour was announced, Concerts West's role was downplayed.
"Nobody is coming to see Concerts West," Meglen points out. "Everybody is
coming to see Prince."
Many now consider the inclusion of CDs in the ticket price to be a master
stroke. Other bands are implementing the concept, including Gomez and the
Prince's CD, released by Sony Music Entertainment, is also available at
"It was pretty much an idea that Prince himself brought up," Meglen says
of including the CD in the ticket price. "He knew he had his fans coming
to the shows, so why couldn't we simply, when you sell a ticket to the
fan, sell them the CD at the same time?"
About $9 was added to the ticket price to account for the CDs. "Basically,
we pay for the costs of the CDs, and Prince gets paid for providing the
CDs," Meglen explains. "He's his own record company in that situation."
Gongaware and Meglen say they were a little surprised by the controversy
Prince's strategy ignited in the industry.
"We're just doing what the artist wants," Gongaware says, "and this is an
artist that wants to reach the most people he can with his music."
Even with the additional cost for the CD, Prince's ticket prices are
extremely competitive. In most markets, they run $49.50 to $75.
The theory was to make the ticket affordable to everybody, Meglen says.
"We felt that we could do more seats and more people by having a lower
ticket price, and when you have an artist that loves to perform as you do
with Prince, time is really not fighting against you," Meglen says.
"That's what allows us to go do five Staples Center and break the
attendance records of Madonna and Springsteen, because more people can
afford to go to shows."
The CD distribution "takes a little more time to set up in terms of the
execution," Gongaware says. "We have a system down now, and it works very
Arenas have adapted to the system easily. "We handed the CDs out at all
the entry points, and it amounted to less than $500 in extra labor," says
Mike Wooley, assistant GM at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. The
Nashville venue's May 6 Prince show grossed $983,425 and drew 16,680.
The tour, currently averaging about $812,500 per show, should pick up some
financial momentum as the summer progresses.
"We played mainly secondaries on the first leg," Meglen says. "All the
major markets and multiple dates are coming in the next couple of legs."
Bottom line, the Musicology tour will end up as one of the elite treks of
2004, with a final gross likely to be close to $100 million.
Chante Moore Serves As L’Oreal’s Brown Sugar Spokeswoman
Singer Chante Moore has signed on as the first celebrity spokesperson for
L'Oreal USA's Brown Sugar, a professional line of hair color products
designed for ethnic hair. The singer, who is married to fellow vocalist
Kenny Lattimore, signed a two-year deal with L'Oreal's Mizani division.
The ad campaign featuring Moore will hit print media and billboards in
August, when the hair care line will become available at salons. The
campaign targets African-American hair stylists and their clients, since
the products will only be available at salons.
In a statement, Moore said, "This is a great opportunity for me to be
associated with a quality product, There's a lot of integrity involved,
and I try to represent that as a person and in my music."
In the meantime, Moore has signed to Jive Records and is currently working
on a new album. The vocalist's previous project was the 2003 duet album
with Lattimore titled Things That Lovers Do. Her last solo album was
Babyface Applauds Prince For Keeping Musicianship Alive
Singer, songwriter and producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds has nothing but
praise for superstar Prince, whose Musicology tour continues to roll out
across the country. Babyface, who says that young artists should all work
on their instrumental skills, pointed to Prince as the perfect example of
a star attraction. He adds that he was personally inspired by the show.
Edmonds said: "I saw the Prince concert in Los Angeles , which I was just
blown away. And I've always been blown away anyway. But he was just
pushing the point of being real musicians, and people actually playing and
people actually singing and being at the top of their craft. And that was
inspiring to see that and I applaud him in going around the country
pushing that message."
Babyface is currently putting the finishing touches on his forthcoming J
Records set, A Love Affair. The first single, "The Loneliness," is
currently at Number 19 on the national urban AC chart.
Stevie Wonder Receives Artistic Achievement Award
Stevie Wonder was given an award for artistic achievement at a recent
dinner for the T.J. Martell Foundation, an organization dedicated to
finding a cure for leukemia, cancer and HIV/AIDS. Fox 411 reports that
Wonder, who is preparing for the release of his first album in nine years,
accepted the award last Friday (May 27th) and spoke about his brother who
died from AIDS last year. In addition, he also shared about his first
wife, former Motown singer Syreeta Wright, who is battling cancer.
Motown veterans Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, and Michael McDonald
along with a few other artists then paid tribute to Wonder by performing
some of his biggest hits. Wonder himself sang a few songs, and recited
lyrics to the song "If Your Love Cannot Be Moved," which will be featured
on his upcoming album, A Time 2 Love, which is set to hit stores on July
On June 10th, Wonder will receive the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award from
the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame for
producing high quality work.
The T.J. Martell Foundation was founded in the mid-'70s by music industry
executive Tony Martell who lost his son, T.J., to leukemia.