Sunday February 6th, 2005
New CD's this past week:
- None to report
Music news headlines this week:
Brian McKnight Explains Title Of New Album
Singer Brian McKnight will release his new album, Gemini, next Tuesday
(February 8th). The set features guest appearances by Musiq, Talib Kweli,
Juvenile, Skip, and Akon, and the latest single from the album is
"Everytime You Go Away."
He explained the different reasons why he chose to title his latest album,
Gemini. He said: "There's a couple of reasons. One, I was born on June
5th, which puts me smack dab in the middle of Gemini. Number Two, my whole
life when you tell somebody that, they do that whole thing, 'Oh yes, you
got an evil twin, you've got this and that.' I've tried to shy away from
that for so long."
McKnight added: "But now, as I've gotten older, I realize that, you know,
there is some validity to what people may say, but I think we all have
that. I don't think that it's typical of people that were born at the end
of May and the beginning of June. I think that it's typical of everyone.
You show certain people the real you, and for one reason or another, you
have to be other people depending on the situation."
Singer/songwriter Shoots Kanye West Directed Clip For 'Ordinary People.'
Few people can be higher than R&B newcomer John Legend is right now. With
his debut album, Get Lifted, near the top of the albums chart, Legend's
feet are barely touching the pavement.
"I'm amazed," Legend said of the album's success.
"I knew it would do well, but I thought it would be over time with
word-of-mouth and not right out of the gate."
The singer/songwriter aims to stay on track with his second single,
"Ordinary People." The sparse song, co-written by Will.I.Am of the Black
Eyed Peas, features only Legend's voice and piano.
"Hip-hop stations that are playing Lil Jon all day are also playing my
song," Legend marveled. "I really appreciate the fans, because that song
was built by fans requesting it. People seem to really relate to the
lyrics and are often dedicating it to their significant others."
For the single's forthcoming video, Legend says mentor/video director
Kanye West wanted to keep things simple.
"I'm in an all-white room sitting at a black piano in everyman, ordinary
clothes playing the piano," Legend explained. "It's simple, but
beautifully and complexly shot. Actors play out family scenes to show
conflict and the ups and downs of relationships as I sing. Overall, it's
While Kanye has co-directed several of his own clips, "Ordinary People"
marks the first time he's directed a video for another artist.
"He did a phenomenal job," said Legend. "He and [fellow video director]
Chris Milk came up with the concept. I let them do their thing. As an
artist, my job is to be myself and perform."
Fans will soon be able to see Legend sing "Ordinary People" live when he
hits the road with Alicia Keys for her Diary Tour in late February.
"My label and everyone were keeping their eyes open for tours that made
sense for me," Legend said. "When we heard Alicia Keys was going on tour
it almost made too much sense. I have been very lucky to be on some great
tours with Kanye, Usher and now Alicia. I'm just putting forth the effort
to show more and more people who I am."
In the midst of promoting Get Lifted and preparing for the tour, Legend
has also gotten the opportunity to do a little film and TV work. The
singer recently portrayed a young Stevie Wonder on NBC's "American
"It was interesting," Legend said of playing the music icon. "I had to do
some acting in trying to impersonate him. It was an honor to do. Any time
you get to cover a Stevie Wonder song it's an honor. He was a young man
when he recorded the song and sang much higher than I sing now, so that
was a challenge. I just hope I did him justice."
The Stevie Wonder connection continues with Legend covering Wonder's
classic "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" for the soundtrack to the Will
Smith film "Hitch."
"People keep asking me to cover Stevie Wonder — I am going to have to ask
them to slow down," Legend said with a laugh.
With a full calendar, Legend still doesn't seem satisfied. He said he's
already planning his next set.
"I hope to release an album early next year," he said. "I have already
started writing a few songs."
Amerie Says New album 'Touch' Is More Up-tempo And Mature
To kick-start her return after being off the scene for a few years, R&B
songstress Amerie reached back to her Washington, D.C., roots to get a
little go-go flavor for her latest single, "1 Thing."
"Being from D.C., I always loved go-go, and my producer Rich Harrison used
to be in a go-go band, so he was always playing something," said Amerie.
"I touched on it a little bit with the last album, but I knew I wanted to
touch on it again. So when my manager Lenny Nicholson heard it, he knew it
was the single."
For the single's accompanying clip, directed by Chris Robinson and Amerie,
in her directorial debut, the singer shows a sexy new side of herself
moving and grooving with dancers and a go-go band.
The song serves as both the lead single to her forthcoming album, Touch,
and the "Hitch" soundtrack. With its heavy, percussion-driven backbeat,
the song, written by Amerie and Harrison, is already heating up the
"We were talking one day about relationships and how there's always one
thing that keeps you attracted to someone," Amerie said of the song. "No
matter what they do or how they act, there's that one undeniable thing
that keeps you coming back."
There's obviously something between Harrison and the songbird. The
producer, who has turned knobs for Beyoncé ("Crazy in Love") and Jennifer
Lopez ("Get Right"), was also responsible for Amerie's breakthrough hit
"Why Don't We Fall in Love."
"There is just this magic that happens when we work together," said
Amerie. "We've both worked with other people since my last album, but when
we get together everything seems to click. We're each other's musical
In addition to Harrison, Amerie also enlisted the production efforts of
Dre & Vidal, the Buchanans and Red Spyda, among others, for the album, due
April 26. The ubiquitous Lil Jon even manned the board for the title
track. According to Amerie, the overall theme of Touch is a bit more
mature than her All I Have debut.
"My last album dealt with the emotional side of relationships," the
25-year-old said. "It was also more mellow. I didn't really touch on my
sexuality. This album is a lot more up-tempo. I've grown in the last two
years. Usually when people say that, the next thing you know they're
rolling around naked, but that's not what I mean."
Janet Jackson May Be Mending Fences With MTV
Janet Jackson may be about to mend fences with MTV--one year after her
breast-baring incident at the Super Bowl Half-Time show produced by the
music channel. The Insider reports that Jackson and MTV are working on a
project that a source says will be announced "in the next week or two."
The source says, "It's not something you would expect from Janet...but
this will mend their relationship."
Jackson is currently in the studio working on her next album. A new single
is expected in May or June, and the album is due out in the fall.
In other news, Jackson is nominated for the 36th Annual NAACP Image Award
in the Outstanding Female Artist category. The awards will be announced in
a ceremony on March 19th and televised on FOX on March 25th.
Joss Stone Says That When Is Comes Her Boyfriend It’s All About The Music
Joss Stone says that musical talent is one of the things she finds most
attractive in her boyfriend, songwriter and producer Beau Dozier. Stone
tells Netherlands television show RTL Boulevard, "He's gorgeous and I love
him....and he's a good person too...he writes for a lot of different
people; he's a producer also. If he didn't respect my music and I didn't
respect his, we wouldn't be together. Because that's what we talk about
all the time. Everything he does (musically) I love...He just oozes soul."
Dozier is the son of legendary Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier. Father and
son co-wrote Stone's single "Spoiled" from her new album Mind, Body and
Soul. The song is Number 54 on the Billboard Hot R&B/HipHop Singles &
Joss Stone is up for three Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, Best Female Pop
Vocal Performance for "You Had Me" and Best Pop Vocal Album for "Mind,
Body & Soul”.