Sunday December 11th, 2005
New CD's this past week:
None to report
Music news headlines this week:
New Janet Album Nearly Complete
Producing/songwriting team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are finishing up
production on Janet Jackson's eight studio album. Without revealing too
much, Jimmy Jam promises that the as-yet-untitled Virgin set will boast a
small tribute to Jackson's 1986 effort, "Control" (A&M).
"It's a milestone year for us and for the collaboration," Jam tells
Billboard.com. "It'll be 20 years since the release of 'Control,' so
there's definitely a little bit of a nod to that on the new album."
As previously reported, some of the album was recorded at Jackson
boyfriend Jermaine Dupri's studio. Dupri, who is president of Virgin
Urban, is also executive producer of the album.
"Hopefully in January we'll be done with her project," says Jam. "We're
trying to have a single around February and the album around April or May.
It's up to the record company, but we'll definitely have it done by then.
We're real close."
The new offering will be the follow-up to 2004's "Damita Jo," which was
released amidst the aftermath of Jackson's controversial Super Bowl
halftime show. The set debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 and has sold
979,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Jam, who serves as vice chairman of the Recording Industry Association of
America, was on hand last week (Dec. 8) to announce the nominees for the
48th annual Grammy Awards in New York. He and Lewis scored a nod for
producer of the year. Several projects they worked on also notched
multiple nominations, including Gwen Stefani's "Love. Angel. Music. Baby"
"Interestingly enough, they're all for different things," says Jam of
their nominations. "We're up for producer of the year, which is wonderful
since it's the body of work that we did throughout the year. But it's
really more a testament to the diversity of the artists that we work
"There was a point during the summer where we had the No. 1 downloaded
track with 'These Boots Were Made For Walking" by Jessica Simpson, and we
had 'Be Blessed' by Yolanda Adams at the top of the gospel charts," says
Jam. "To have produced two songs that have nothing in common, but to have
that be kind of the glue, is cool."
This year, the pair also lent production to Mary J. Blige's
"Breakthrough," due Dec. 20 from Geffen.
As for future collaborations, Jam is hoping to pair two of R&B's strongest
voices in Sade and Seal. "I've been saying for years and years that the
one artist I'm looking forward to working with is Sade," says Jam. "I
don't know if that's ever going to happen. I might be 70 years old and
still haven't worked with her, but I'd love to do a duet with her and
John Legend 'Inspired' By Grammy Nominations
With a leading eight Grammy nominations, R&B newcomer John Legend finds
himself in good company. He is tied with multiple Grammy winners Mariah
Carey and Kanye West in leading the field of nominees for the 48th annual
"To be nominated this many times is really big for my career," Legend
tells Billboard.com. "It's inspiring, and it lets you know that if you do
the right thing, you can succeed."
Legend's nominations include best new artist, song of the year ("Ordinary
People"), best R&B song ("So High") and best R&B album for his Getting Out
Our Dreams/Sony Urban Music/Columbia debut, "Get Lifted." The
West-produced disc peaked at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 1.5
million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"We had to spend a lot of time convincing people who didn't get it to get
it, and then once we had a team of people who were ready to go -- Sony was
ready to go, me and Kanye were ready to go -- we put it out there," he
says. "It just did so well, and it did beyond what a new artist is
supposed to do."
This year, Legend ventured out on his first solo tour after tagging along
on an Alicia Keys outing in support of her 2003 J album, "The Diary of
Alicia Keys." Next week, he will trek to South Africa for the first time
to headline MTV Base Live, a three-city concert tour with stops in
Johannesburg (Dec. 15), Cape Town (Dec. 16) and Durban (Dec. 18).
While he's enjoying the spotlight and the recognition for "Get Lifted,"
Legend is already looking to follow up his West-helmed debut effort with
another hit album.
"This validates the work and it inspires me to go work some more. I want
to go make another album and try to beat this one," he says. "I put
pressure on myself, but not with the awards. Creatively, I want to be the
best I can and make the best music I can make [and] give my fans something
they really love."
New Single And Video For Prince
Prince will release a new single and video, "Te Amo Corazon," on Tuesday,
with a full album, "3121," due in 2006.
Actress Salma Hayek directed the video, which was shot in Marrakesh,
Morocco, and stars Mia Maestro ("The Motorcycle Diaries," "Frida,"
"Timecode") alongside the Purple One.
VH1 will air "Te Amo Corazon" starting Tuesday along with exclusive
interviews with Prince and Hayek. Prince's Web site, NPGMusicClub.com,
will also stream the video. A site apparently devoted to the new album,
3121.com, currently features a logo and sole teaser line: "Don't U Wanna
Prince's latest work will be released on Universal Records, the latest in
a string of major labels (including Columbia, Arista and EMI) that have
signed one-off deals with the Minneapolis native.
An Australian music Web site reported Thursday that Prince will launch a
world tour in mid-2006. His run of 96 shows in 2004 grossed $87.4 million,
more than any other act that year and a personal record for Prince.
Kem Supports 'Album II' with 'Tour II'
R&B singer/songwriter Kem will set out for the road in February to
continue backing his second album release, "Album II."
Nashville-born, Detroit-based soul singer will launch his latest outing
with a Feb. 9 show in Richmond, VA. Kem--whose full name is Kem
Owens--completed a 20-city trek in support of his sophomore CD earlier
"Album II," which hit stores in May, features a number of guest
appearances, including Stevie Wonder lending harmonica to the song "You
"To me, this album is better than the last one, because I feel better as
an artist," Kem said in his official bio. "I stayed in the vibe of the
first CD. I took the production up a notch. And I had more time to develop
Kem's debut album, 2003's "Kemistry," has been certified gold by the
Recording Industry Association of America for shipping more than 500,000
copies in the U.S.
R&B Singer Tevin Campbell Joins Cast of Broadway's Hairspray
R&B singer Tevin Campbell will be Hairspray's next Seaweed J. Stubbs.
Current star Chester Gregory II will leave the hit musical on December 11.
Campbell is expected to begin performances two days later, according to a
Campbell has very little acting experience. His television credits include
one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and a guest appearance on
Moesha. He rose to prominence in the music world when he was just eleven,
appearing on Quincy Jones' 1989 recording Back on the Block. Prince wrote
the song "Round and Round" for Campbell shortly after that. The single
went gold, with Campbell singing it in the Prince film Graffiti Bridge.
His next single, "Just Ask Me To," from the Boyz in the Hood soundtrack,
was also a hit on the R&B charts. His debut album T.E.V.I.N. was released
in 1991 and became a big hit, spawning the successful singles "Tell Me
What You Want Me to Do" and "Alone with You." His follow-up album I'm
Ready went double platinum and featured the hits "Can We Talk," "I'm
Ready," and "Always in My Heart." I'm Ready proved to be his recording
peak--his subsequent albums Back to the World and Tevin Campbell were less
successful. Among his other credits is the benefit album A Very Special
Christmas 2, which also featured a tune by Darlene Love, who will play his
mother in Hairspray. In 2001 Qwest released The Best of Tevin Campbell.
LaBelle To Record First New Song in 30 Years
70s R&B group LaBelle, best known for their international hit song ‘Lady
Marmalade’, is about to head back into the studio to record their first
new song in 30 years.
Nona Hendryx, Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash will get together this Tuesday
(December 6) in a New York studio to record ‘Dear Rosa’, a tribute to Rosa
“Rosa was the woman who refused to get out of a bus in 1955 in Alabama and
was taken to jail,” Nona tells Undercover News. “That led to Martin Luther
King getting involved in a bus boycott which caused great pain to the city
and led Martin Luther King to becoming a civil rights leader”. MLK was 25
years at the time.
Rosa died about a month ago, aged 92.
‘Dear Rosa’ was written by Amsterdam based duo Soul Planet Control.
“I was in Amsterdam two months ago and was introduced to them,” Nona said.
“They wanted me to listen to their music. I did. Three songs including
“Dear Rosa” were amazing so I signed them to a publishing deal”.
Rosa knew of the song before she died. “It was written as a letter to her.
They sent her the lyrics and she sent a letter back thanking them. As it
was a letter written before she died, I recently changed the lyrics
slightly to make it a tribute,” she said.
Next, the idea came for LaBelle to record the song as their first new song
in 30 years. “It was never going to be a Nona song” said Nona. “It was a
song I wanted LaBelle to record. We had been talking about a record or a
reunion tour. Sarah and I were involved with a tribute to Patti in the
Bahamas six weeks ago and we talked about it then. I said “let’s do Rosa”,
they liked it but a few weeks later Rosa died so that became the emphasis
for us making it a tribute”.
LaBelle broke up in 1976 after become known globally with the song ‘Lady
Marmalade’ and the, (for the time), erotic lyric “voulez-vous coucher avec
moi ce soir?" ("do you want to go to bed with me tonight?"). It was most
recently a hit for Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliott, Mya and Lil Kim on
the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. They broke up because “Patti wanted to go on
her own,” Nona explained. “She felt she wanted to make a change and that
was the end of it”.
However, despite the break-up, Nona says she has always considered Patti
and Sarah her family. “You go through changes like family. You love them,
you hate them, you love them, you hate them. It depends on what goes on in
your life. We grew up together. We are like sisters. Living that closely
to people, there are things you love and things you don’t”.
‘Dear Rosa’ is expected to debut as a download soon on iTunes.
Stevie Wonder Lined Up For Super Bowl Pregame
Motown fans miffed by the NFL's choice of the Rolling Stones for Super
Bowl halftime entertainment are getting at least some satisfaction: Stevie
Wonder will perform during the pregame show at Ford Field.
Wonder will play three or four songs during the pregame show before the
game Feb. 5, Lori Lambert, vice president of strategic marketing for
Universal Motown Records Group, told The Associated Press.
Other artists -- still to be announced -- also will be featured in the
pregame show, Lambert said.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league was not prepared to make an
announcement about the pregame show.
However, he said, "we would be thrilled to be able to work with Stevie
Wonder performed during halftime in 1999.
The NFL's announcement last week that the Rolling Stones would provide the
halftime entertainment prompted an uproar in Detroit, the original home of
Motown Records, which gave the world such artists as Wonder, Smokey
Robinson, the Supremes and the Four Tops.
Detroit-area residents are fiercely proud of the city's musical
contributions, which extend beyond Motown to more recent stars like Eminem
and Kid Rock. Aretha Franklin's singing career started at the Detroit
church where her father preached, and the Queen of Soul still lives in the
area. Ted Nugent, Madonna and Bob Seger also hail from Michigan.
Many saw it as a snub that those stars were passed over for halftime.
Detroit radio personality Mildred Gaddis gave out the number of an NFL
official on the air and urged listeners to call and complain.
McCarthy said it was always the league's intention to honor Motown in the
pregame show. But halftime, he said, is bigger than Detroit.
"The Super Bowl transcends the host city and even the country," he said.
McCarthy noted that the 1998 Super Bowl in San Diego featured a Motown
tribute in honor of the label's 40th anniversary. Performers included
Robinson, Martha Reeves and The Temptations.
February's game will be the second in a row that halftime entertainment
has been provided by British musicians over 60. Paul McCartney played
halftime last year, as the NFL sought a family-friendly act to follow
Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" in 2004.
Ralph Tresvant Ready To Step Up With New Solo Album
Ralph Tresvant is the first member of legendary super group New Edition
ready to step up and launch his new solo Record in 2006. Ralph is taking
his career to the next level with his new business partners at Xzault
Media Group Inc, and his upcoming sophomore solo record, which will be
released in early 2006 followed by a tour with all six members of New
Edition, including Bobby Brown. Ralph Tresvant is the shining star of New
Edition and has been captivating audiences as the front man of New Edition
for over 20 years. He has been touted by Dick Clark as the musical heir
apparent to the long vacated throne of the late great Marvin Gaye, and has
always been an incredibly gifted, highly adored and unforgettable
performer. Ralph has continually had chart topping successes with hits
like, “Candy Girl,” “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Lost In Love,”
“Can You Stand the Rain,” “Sensitivity,” “Stone Cold Gentleman,” “Money
Can’t Buy You Love,” “Do What I Gotta Do, “Hit me Off,” “Still in Love, ”
“Hot 2 Nite,” and numerous others.
Ralph has just finished recording material for his upcoming solo album
“RizzWaFaire” which is set for release before, appropriately enough,
Valentine’s Day. Expect smooth, sultry vocals and silky, sexy R&B grooves
that will take you on an exciting musical journey. Look for the first
sensual single, “Home Girl” to hit radio in early 2006. Ralph wrote and
co-produced most of the material on this album, which also includes
writing and production credits from: Dan Bell and Dan Dillman of Xzault
Media Group Inc, Earth Worm Productions and more.
Of the new creativity on this latest work Ralph Tresvant says;
“The sound of the album is pure “RizzWaFaire”, “RizzWaFaire” being a
derivative from the French term “savoir faire”; which literally means
“Savoir”-“to know” and “Faire”- “How to do”. Kind of like having the
ability to say or do the right and graceful thing at the right time.
Elements of this album are very personal and reflect my own perspective on
my life, as I see it now. I truly believe the fans will really be able to
relate to this album and recognize all of the elements within the music
that represent where I have grown musically and also where much of my new
music relates to their own lives and experiences because each and every
one of my fans has a little bit of RizzWaFaire in them……. In reality,
RizzWaFaire is everywhere.”