Sunday September 26th, 2004
New CD's this past week:
- Maysa – Smooth sailing
- Raven Symone – This is my time
- Toshi – Time to share
- Lenny Williams – My way
- Ola Onabule – In emergency break silence (UK release)
Music news stories this week:
Anita Baker's "Everything" Is Certified Gold
Vocalist Anita Baker's glorious comeback continues. The singer's new
album, My Everything, has just been certified gold for sales of 500,000
copies in the US. The set debuted at Number One on Billboard's Top
R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart this past week, and Number Four on the all-genres
Billboard Top 200 albums chart.
Sales have no doubt been helped along by Baker's recent appearances on The
Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and The CBS Morning
Show. In addition, the singer graces the cover of Essence Magazine's
October issue, now on newsstands.
The strong chart showing is another gratifying development for Baker, who
took several years off from her music career to attend to family. Around
2002, Baker got the itch to perform again and began booking small dates
around the country. She says even then she was overwhelmed by the
audience's warm response, though initially she felt a little rusty. "And
I, you know, I just wasn't really ready physically. I had put on about 20
pounds, I still had Mommy hair, you know. But my fans, they just kinda
told me, you know, 'It's not really about your clothes, Miss B, it's not
about your hair, just bring the music.' And that's what we did, and they
wouldn't stop coming, man."
Baker is preparing for her upcoming performance at the Bermuda Jazz
Festival, October 9th on the island. For more info about Baker's
activities, log onto anitabaker.org.
Alicia Keys Inspired By Her Trip To China
Grammy Award-winning singer Alicia Keys is set to perform at the Great
Wall of China on Saturday night, September 25th. The event, which is being
billed as the Wall of Hope -- China 2004, is a benefit concert for the
China Children's and Teenagers' Fund. The singer will be joined by Boyz II
Men and Cyndi Lauper on the bill.
During a news conference in China , Keys told Reuters, "It's so much more
historical than America . I am very much inspired by my surroundings."
The singer added, "It's our obligation as human people who should love and
care about each other. I feel disheartened by the idea that just because
we don't live in the same place we don't feel and live the same things."
Usher Signs Movie Deal
Pop superstar Usher Raymond has signed on to star in a coming-of-age drama
about a kid from the streets who finds salvation through music. The
still-untitled movie will be produced by writer/producer Jonathan Prince
who met Usher when the singer played R&B legend Marvin Gaye in the
television series American Dreams.
George Benson Keeps The Faith
George Benson is beloved around the world as a great singer and jazz
guitarist. His current album, Irreplaceable, spans both instrumental
pieces and contemporary R&B fare. But many fans may not know that Benson
has a seriously spiritual side.
When the busy entertainer is not on tour, he says he enjoys leading Bible
study classes. It's something that makes Benson feel peaceful and
enlightened, "I'm also a conductor of Bible studies. I enjoy doing that,
helping people to come to an understanding of the Bible. Studying it with
them, you know, and getting their concepts and ideas and then allowing the
Bible to straighten us out. So that for me is fun because that was done
for me, and it helped me understand what this is all --why we're living
the way we live, what the future's going to be for mankind. It helps to
bring peace about in my mind, so I like to pass that on to others."