Sunday May 9th, 2004
New CD's this past week:
- Patti LaBelle - Timeless journey
Music news stories this week:
Luther Vandross Gave First Interview Since Suffering
Luther Vandross gave his first interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show
yesterday (Thursday, May 6th) since suffering from a severe stroke in
April 2003. Oprah visited Vandross at a rehabilitation center where he
attends physical therapy and vocal coaching sessions. The pair, who have
been friends for several years, talked about Vandross' improving health,
the support from his fans and the importance of family.
In the TV interview, Vandross told the Oprah that he feels grateful for
all of his caring fans: "I wanna thank them for even caring. It's a
Vandross also told Oprah that he feels sad about putting his family and
friends through such a difficult experience: "I feel a sense of sadness
and joy. Mostly sadness though about what I've experienced and sadness
about what others have experienced in reference to the stroke."
Ruben Studdard sang "Superstar" as a tribute to Vandross.
Oprah also did an in-studio interview with Vandross' mother.
Vandross has moved out of the hospital but maintains a schedule of
rehabilitation multiple times a week where he continues to make progress.
Vandross' latest studio album, Dance With My Father, picked up four Grammy
awards and has been certified double platinum. Vandross was also honored
at this year's NAACP Awards where he was the winner of four awards.
Stevie Wonder To Release New Studio Album
Stevie Wonder will release A Time 2 Love on June 8th, marking his first
new studio in nearly a decade. It will be the follow-up to 1995's
Conversation Peace, which featured the Grammy Award winning single "For
Expect to see a lot of Wonder on TV before the disc comes out. He will be
paying a visit to The Oprah Winfrey Show and is set to perform on ABC's
Good Morning America.
On June 10th, the 53-year-old singer will receive the Johnny Mercer Award
by the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame for
producing work that's of "high quality and impact," according to
Wonder has had numerous Number One singles, including the hits "You Are
The Sunshine Of My Life," "Superstition," "I Just Called To Say I Love
You" and "Ebony And Ivory," a song he recorded in 1982 with Paul
Stevie Wonder was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1989.
Beyoncé And Jay-Z Married?
Rumors are circulating that Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z have secretly gotten
married. Page Six of the New York Post quotes an insider as saying, "They
went away to a Caribbean island two weeks ago - just them. But people are
also saying they got a justice of the peace to do it quietly in
California." However another source, who is reportedly close to the
couple, doubts Beyonce would ever elope, saying, quote, "No way would they
do it without Beyonce's parents around. They would hit the roof."
Regarding the supposed nuptials, a spokesman for Knowles said, "As far as
I'm told, I have no reason to believe that is true."
Teena Marie On Working Producer Mannie Fresh
Teena Marie's current single "Still In Love" featuring Baby, is the
leadoff track from her upcoming album, La Dona, which is due May 11th. The
song was produced by Marie with Cash Money producer Mannie Fresh. Marie
says that when she first started to work with him, the hip-hop hitmaker
seemed a little nervous about working with the R&B star.
Marie said that once she was signed to the Cash Money Classics label, she
began conversations with Fresh about making music. But the producer told
her he was intimidated by her status as a classic soul artist: ["Well, I
asked Mannie to send me a track, and it took him forever and I kept
bugging him. I was like, 'Where is my track?' And he kept saying to me,
'Well, everybody keeps telling me don't -- blank -- with the legend.'
(laughs) And I was like, OK. I said, 'But what does that mean? What? When?
But where's my track?' Because I don't even look at things like that. I'm
like, 'OK, but where's my track?' "]
She adds that Fresh ultimately sent her the perfect track that included an
Al Green sample, and she recorded her vocals and guitar work in her studio
to create "Still Lovin' You." She said: ["He wanted to send me something
that fit me, that enabled me to do my thing, you know, not something that
Cash Money Millionaires would do. So he sent me a real old school-sounding
-- I mean, he sent me an Al Green sample, just the track, and it enabled
me to go and write my own lyric and my own melody to it."]
"Still In Love" is currently at Number Three on the national urban AC
As the first artist on Cash Money's new imprint, Cash Money Classics,
Teena Marie is building a bridge between old and new school Soul music. La
Doña features a fiery collaboration with R&B crooner Gerald Levert on the
heartfelt ballad "A Rose," a track reminiscent of her legendary duet with Rick
James, "Fire and Desire (1981)." On "The Mackin Game" Teena Marie teams
up with Hip-Hop veteran MC Lyte and the up-and-coming underground hip-hop
artist, Medusa, a spicy track that shows women can hold their own weight. La
Doña also contains a reunion with soul/funk pioneer Rick James on "I Got You."
While gearing up for her new release, Teena Marie is currently doing spot dates
around the country and is a celebrity judge on Missy Elliott's new reality show
tentatively titled The Missy Elliott Project, scheduled to air this fall on UPN.
Teena Marie is currently performing select dates across the country.
Deborah Cox Extends Run In Broadway’s “Aida”
Canadian-born R&B/pop singer Deborah Cox has just extended her run as the
title character in Broadway's musical Aida. The singer was originally
slated to play the role of the Nubian princess only until June 13th, but
she agreed to stay with the production through September 5th. It is her
first time performing in a Broadway show.
Cox is the latest in a number of lead actresses for Aida who also have
recording careers. Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child, Heather Headley,
and Toni Braxton have also played the title role in the musical, which has
music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice. The role was originated by
Simone, daughter of the late vocal great Nina Simone. The current
production also features Mickey Dolenz, of classic pop group The Monkees,
in a key role.
Cox is currently represented on the Billboard Top Dance/Club Play chart
with "Easy As Life (T. Moran & W. Rigg Remix)" at Number 41. Originally
signed to Arista Records, where she released the albums Deborah Cox in
1995 and One Wish in 1998, Cox followed her mentor and Arista founder
Clive Davis to his new venture J Records, where she released 2002's The
Morning After. A remix project simply titled Remixed was released in June