Sunday August 14th, 2005
New CD's this past week:
- Brigette - Starlight lounge (UK release)
- Nate James - Set the tone (UK release)
Music news headlines this week:
Ciara Leads Lady Of
Soul Awards Nominees
Ciara came away with the most nominations for the Tenth Annual Soul Train
Lady of Soul Awards, set for September 7th at the Pasadena Civic
Auditorium in Pasadena , California . The "1, 2 Step" singer earned five
nominations in all among the field of talented female artists named
Tuesday at a special press conference at Spago, Beverly Hills .
Ciara's album Goodies was nominated for Best R&B/Soul Album, Solo, while
the title track will compete for R&B/Soul or Rap Song of the Year. Her hit
with Missy Elliot, "1, 2 Step," earned her nominations in the best new
artist, best video, and best dance cut categories. The singer is also set
to co-host the awards program, along with singers Toni Braxton and Brian
Other multiple nominees included retiring trio Destiny's Child, Amerie,
and 2004 American Idol champion Fantasia, who scored four nominations
apiece. Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott, and duo Nina Sky each
pulled in two nominations.
This year's Lady Of Soul presentation will include a live performance and
award presentation by Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who will award
newcomer Amerie with the Entertainer Of The Year Award. Franklin herself
will receive Soul Train's 2005 Lena Horne Award For Outstanding Career
Achievements from Stevie Wonder.
The 2005 Soul Train Lady Of Soul Awards special is scheduled to air in
first-run national syndication between September 17th and September 24th.
Jill Scott Reveals The Source Of “Sugar Water”
Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Jill Scott is currently in the midst
of the popular Sugar Water Festival tour, which also features soulful
female artists Erykah Badu, Queen Latifah, and Floetry. Scott says when
she got the call from rapper-turned-singer and actress Queen Latifah, she
didn't hesitate to get involved.
Sugar Water is designed much like the all-female Lilith Tour founded by
pop rock singer Sarah McLachlan. The idea appealed to all the performers,
especially Latifah, who had not done a national tour in five years. Scott
told LA Weekly: "Erykah and I both got a call from Latifah saying that she
would like to go on tour. Then we all came up with the idea of having a
festival and owning the festival ourselves, quite similar to the Lilith
Fair. We were all like-minded, all multi-platinum artists, all Grammy
winners -- it just seemed like a really good match, and the more we talked
on the phone, the more I liked their personalities and thought, 'Yo, we
could work together. We could do great things together.'"
Fans may be wondering where the title Sugar Water came from, and Scott --
who released a book of poetry this year titled The Moments, The Minutes,
The Hours - gives a poetic definition. "We thought that Sugar Water was
very simple - a lot of people could relate to it," explained Scott. "Sugar
Water meant to me that water is the sweet nectar, it's the nectar of the
gods. I think three-fourths of the planet is covered with water. And we're
that sugar in the water."
Scott earned an Urban Alternative Grammy Award for her song "Cross My
Mind" from Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds Vol. 2, which has also just
been nominated for a Soul Train Lady Of Soul Award.
Philly's Carol Riddick Is Poised For Success
Singer Carol Riddick is much more than a pretty face and the newest singer
on the neo-soul block.
As her debut LP, "Moments Like This," drops next month, Riddick could join
the likes of Vivian Green and Jill Scott as a marquee torch-bearer for the
soul singer movement. The disc is that good.
"This whole CD is very close to me," said the 35-year-old South Philly
native "When I wrote it, I went directly into the studio at the height of
Riddick's charged feelings are evident throughout "Moments." There's
sure-fire soul-stirring songs such as the lead single "Brown Eyed Girl," a
song which hearkens to the days of smoky clubs with its slow, storytelling
vibe, and the heartfelt balladeering on "A Better Me." The title track and
"Flirtations" go a long way toward establishing Riddick as a solid
songwriter. Her choice of subject matter hinges on telling stories from
her point of view.
"The overall tone is femininity... dealing with a woman's security
issues," said Riddick, who started singing when she was 8 but has recorded
professionally since the late '90s, when she hooked up with "Jazzy" Jeff
Townes and his Touch of Jazz studios. She's also recorded vocals for
albums by Larry Gold, En Vogue's Terry Ellis and Jeff Bradshaw in recent
years. For the last five years, Riddick has toured as a backup singer with
Jill Scott. She's also has been on the road with Vivian Green.
"A learning experience," she said of her touring work.
Her album is coming out on Axis Music Group, an artists' collective that
is known for allowing artists to have more input on their records than
major labels usually do.
One of Riddick's producers said he was impressed with her voice,
determination and studio behavior. "When I first worked with Carol, I was
nervous. Carol is one of the most sincere and passionate artists I have
met," said longtime producer and Philly native Anthony Bell, who has
worked with Scott, Jewell and Green, among others. "As a producer you have
to be musical to appeal to her style. She's one of a kind."
Riddick's goal is not to be signed with a major label. She would simply
rather make music that's good for the heart and soul.
"Singing is like an out-of-body experience," Riddick said. "It's a gift
that God lets move through you, and it becomes easier to share."
Today's R&B Stars Go Back In Time On With “Roll Bounce”
New tracks from Brooke Valentine, Beyoncé, Keith Sweat and a collaboration
by Ray J and R. Kelly will lead the soundtrack for upcoming film "Roll
Bounce". Due Sept. 20 via Music World/Sanctuary Urban, the set will
accompany the Bow Wow-starring movie, which opens three days later in U.S.
Brooke Valentine's Jazze Pha-produced cover of the '70s favorite "Boogie
Oogie Oogie" featuring Fabolous and YoYo will be the set's first single.
All three artists will appear in an accompanying video to be shot in the
next few weeks by director Kevin Hunter. Williams and Ray J are expected
to make cameos in the clip.
Beyonce tackles Rose Royce's "Wishing on a Star," while Sweat puts his
stamp on the Intruders' "I Wanna Know Your Name." Ray J and Kelly
contribute the new song "Quit Actin,'" while Destiny's Child's Michelle
Williams reworks Al Green's classic "Let's Stay Together."
The album also features a new collaboration between Kool & the Gang and
Jamiroquai on "Hollywood Swingin,'" as well as a new Earth, Wind & Fire
song produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and period tunes like Chic's
"Le Freak" and Bill Withers' "Lovely Day."
Sanctuary Urban president Matthew Knowles tells Billboard.com he strove to
strike a balance between music that evoked the '70s time period in which
the film is set as well as songs that could garner airplay on rhythmic and
urban radio. "I think music was at its best in the '70s," he admits.
"What I wanted to do was similar to what I did with the 2003 soundtrack
for 'The Fighting Temptations,'" Knowles says. "That was both a gospel
album and a contemporary album. Here we have old and young: an adult AC
record as well as a rhythmic record."
"It's our first major soundtrack at Sanctuary Urban," he continues. "It's
something we're going to put everything behind. But it all starts with the
music, and we're fortunate we have a great movie to compliment the music."
Mary J. Blige To Release "The Breakthrough" In November
R&B singer Mary J. Blige will release her new album, The Breakthrough, in
November. MTV.com reports that Blige has recorded with Swizz Beatz, Cool &
Dre, Dre & Vidal, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Rodney Jerkins, the Neptunes,
Raphael Saadiq, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The set will be one of the
singer's most personal releases, as she addresses her battle with alcohol
and drug addiction, her uncontrollable temper, forgiving her father for
not being around when she was young, and being molested at the age of
Blige said, "This isn't something I have ever shared in the press, and
it's not something I want to talk about a lot. But I kept hearing about
children being molested, and I felt God was tapping me on the shoulder,
saying, 'You're not the only one.' I know being molested like that blocks
out your value, and it makes you feel you're not worth anything. I want
other women to know that something like that can happen to you, and you
can still grow to be happy and you can still break through to the other
Musically, Blige has also made a breakthrough in recent years. The singer
says: "Musically, I am not afraid or ashamed of anything vocally.
I am not afraid to crack. I understand what my voice is and I love what
it's about, and I'm not afraid or ashamed of it anymore, because for so
long a lot of people used to say, you know, 'She can't sing.' I used to,
like, take that as an insult but, I mean, knowing the truth, I know I can
sing. I was born and blessed with this, so it's evolved."
Blige's last release was 2003's platinum Love & Life. Mary explained
why she thingk that set was her least selling studio release to date: "I
was just, kinda like, really overjoyed at the fact that I'm actually happy
with a man in my life. I wanted to share that with my fans, which most
of them weren't ready for. A lot of them weren't ready to hear Mary J.
Blige this happy, so I probably lost maybe, like, a million of them."
Babyface Debuts "Grown & Grown" At Number Three On Billboard
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds' latest album, Grown & Sexy, made an impressive
debut on Billboard's R&B Albums chart this week. The singer, songwriter,
and producer landed at Number Three this week, which is his highest album
chart debut since 1993. He also landed on the Billboard 200 - the trade
magazine's ranking of best-sellers in all genres - at Number Ten.
The first single from the set, "Sorry For The Stupid Things," is off to a
great start with his prime audience, urban adults, with the single
climbing to Number Nine on the adult R&B chart.
Album sales were boosted by a July 19th performance by Babyface on The
Tonight Show With Jay Leno. He also got great reviews in June for his
brief concert tour co-headlining with Anita Baker. During that show he
performed hits old and new, including material he penned for other
artists, including Boys II Men, Bobby Brown, and the '90s trio After 7,
which featured his two older brothers, Melvin and Kevon Edmonds.
Average White band Concert DVD Out Next Month
A 1977 concert by Scottish funksters the Average White Band at the
world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival will now be available on DVD. Eagle
Rock Entertainment will release Average White Band: Live At Montreux 1977,
a vintage performance during the band's first flush of international fame,
on September 6th.
Live At Montreux 1977 kicks off with AWB "Pick Up The Pieces," the band's
Number One hit, as well as "Work To Do," "A Love Of Your Own," "Person To
Person," "Cut The Cake," and "Got The Love."
The DVD features three bonus performances, in rough cuts: "If I Ever Lose
This Heaven," "I'm The One," and "T.L.C."
AWB released the compilation AWB: Greatest And Latest in April. The
enhanced CD includes a DVD of interviews, AWB history, plus rare concert
and in-studio footage.
Jeffrey Osborne Working With Producer Paul Brown On Album Of Soul Classics
Veteran vocalist Jeffrey Osborne has teamed with smooth jazz producer and
guitarist Paul Brown to record his next album. The new set, titled From
The Soul, will be a collection of classic soul tunes and will be released
October 4th on Koch Entertainment.
Brown says he was thrilled to work with the singer, whom he hadn't met
before. He told us that he was amazed by Osborne's voice, and noted that
the album they are working on has a more mature direction than the
singer's previous solo releases: "He's unbelievable, I mean he just
impressed me so much. You know, at his age, he's singing better than ever.
And I guess he made a couple of albums over the last few years that were
sort of urban-leaning, real young-leaning albums that really didn't do
much. He then decided to do an adult record, somewhat a, I don't know,
Brian McKnight, Luther-ish kind of record."
Brown says he and Osborne whittled down lists of their favorite soul songs
for the album, including a version of Teddy Pendergrass' 1978 classic
"Close The Door" featuring saxophonist Boney James: "So we decide to do a
cover record of all the soul hits that he wanted to do. And he chose some
great songs. And we got together and notched down our lists and came up
with ten great songs, and he just sang them unbelievably great. One duet
with him and Boney on 'Close The Door,' Teddy Pendergrass. And we did some
Aretha and we some, you know, some great stuff."
Koch released Osborne's version of "Close The Door" as the
first single for smooth jazz radio. Another single, a version of Barbara
Mason's 1965 tune "Yes I'm Ready," will go to urban adult outlets.
Osborne is currently on the road with the Dave Koz & Friends: A Smooth
Summer Night tour.