Sunday January 30th, 2005


New CD's this past week:

- Vanessa Williams Everlasting love


Music news headlines this week:

Regina Belle Nominated For Image Award

Vocalist Regina Belle is basking in the attention she's been receiving for
her latest album, Lazy Afternoon, which was produced by veteran
keyboardist and producer George Duke in Los Angeles. The project has been
nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Jazz Performance
Belle will find out whether she will receive the prestigious honor when
the 36th annual NAACP Image Awards will be taped March 19th at the Dorothy
Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles and broadcast March 25th at 8 p.m. ET/PT
on Fox-TV.
In the meantime, Belle has signed on as a performer for Tom Joyner's 2005
Fantastic Voyage. The sixth annual event is an adult-only, seven-day,
six-night cruise that sets sail from San Juan , Puerto Rico on May 29th on
Royal Caribbean's new ship, the Adventure of the Seas. The cruise sails to
St. Lucia , St. Maarten, and Barbados before docking again on June 5th. A
portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Tom Joyner Foundation,
which provides scholarships to help keep students in historically black
colleges and universities.
In addition to Belle, other performers on the cruise include comics Cedric
the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley; O'Jays veteran Eddie Levert and his son,
Gerald Levert, Brian McKnight, and gospel playwright Tyler Perry. For more
information on the cruise, log onto .


Jermaine Dupri Named Head Of Virgin Urban Music

Producer and So So Def label head Jermaine Dupri has been appointed
President of Virgin Records Urban Music, a new division at the label. The
announcement was made Monday by Virgin chairman and CEO Matt Serletic.
In his new role, Dupri will oversee Virgin's entire urban music operation
and output from its roster, including girlfriend Janet Jackson. In
addition, Dupri's So So Def label will be incorporated into the Virgin
Music family. Dupri will continue to record as a solo artist and produce
artists on the Virgin roster. He will be based in Atlanta and New York .
In the last decade Dupri established himself as a force in pop music, both
as a producer and a developer of new talent. Most recently, Dupri produced
three chart-topping tracks for the multiplatinum current album by Usher,
Confessions, including "Burn," "Confessions Part II," and "My Boo."
His resume also includes hit productions or remixes for TLC, Whitney
Houston, Aretha Franklin, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Chingy, Ludacris and Toni
Braxton. He also produced and co-wrote Number One hits "Always Be My Baby"
by Mariah Carey and "The First Night" by Monica, and produced previous
hits for Usher, including "My Way," "You Make Me Wanna ... ," "Nice &
Slow," and "U Got It Bad."
"As the new president of urban music for Virgin Records, I'm up for the
challenge," stated Dupri. "My strengths as a producer and hit-maker were
magnified this year with the success of my work with Usher. By joining So
So Def and Virgin, I plan to do for Virgin what Russell Simmons did 10
years ago, when he moved Def Jam to Island Records. I will catapult Virgin
into a young, hip label with chart-topping success in both R&B and rap
music. I also hope to change the whole look of the company so when
up-and-coming R&B and hip hop artists are looking for a home, Virgin will
be the first stop."
Dupri started his career early. The son of Atlanta manager Michael Mauldin
--who later became head of urban music for Sony--Dupri discovered Atlanta
teen duo KrissKross and produced their Number One hit "Jump" in 1992 when
he was just 19. The following year he established his Atlanta-based So So
Def label, which introduced such platinum-selling acts as Xscape, Da Brat
(the first female rap artist to go platinum), Jagged Edge, and Lil Bow
Initially distributed through Sony, So So Def was last associated with
Arista Records. In 2004, the label launched party jams "Tipsy" by J-Kwon
and "Damn!" by the Youngbloodz featuring Lil Jon and pushed five-time
Grammy nominee Anthony Hamilton to hit status.
Dupri has also recorded as a solo act, delivering the star-studded hip-hop
album Life In 1472 in 1998, yielding the hit "Money Ain't A Thing." He
followed up with 2001's Instructions.


Mariah Carey To Push Back Album Release Date

The release date of Mariah Carey's upcoming studio album, titled The
Emancipation of Mimi, has been pushed back three weeks. According to the album will be released on April 12th instead of March
22nd as previously announced. No explanation was given for the date
Carey collaborated with Kanye West, the Neptunes, Nelly, Snoop Dogg and
Twista on the new album, her first since 2002's Charmbracelet.
The first single from the album, "It's Like That," was last week's top
debut on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart reaching Number 53. That's
also the highest charting debut single Carey has had in almost five years.
Carey's also reached Number Eight on the Billboard R&B Top Ten recently
with her guest appearance on Jadakiss's "U Make Me Wanna."
Carey will be shooting a video for "It's Like That" next week with film
director Brett Ratner at the helm.


Motown Songwriter Norman Whitfield Pleads Guilty To Failing To Report Taxes

Former Motown staff writer and producer Norman Whitfield, best known for
co-writing Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," pleaded
guilty last Tuesday (January 18th) for failing to report more than $2
million in royalty income. The Associated Press reports that Whitfield
entered the plea as part of a deal with the IRS that requires him to file
delinquent tax returns. At the hearing Whitfield admitted to failing to
file tax returns on about $600,000 a year between 1995 and 1999, which
allegedly cost the government $955,000 in tax revenue. Whitfield is
scheduled to be sentenced on April 18th.
Whitfield is best known for producing and co-writing some of Motown's
biggest late '60s hits including Edwin Starr's 1970 Number One hit "War,"
as well as being the major force behind the Temptations' hits "Ain't Too
Proud to Beg," "Ball Of Confusion," and the Number One hits, "Just My
Imagination (Running Away With Me)," "I Can't Get Next To You," and "Papa
Was A Rollin' Stone."


Anthony Hamilton Thankful For Broad Appeal

Grammy and NAACP Image Award nominee Anthony Hamilton is earning a lot of
attention for his current album, Coming From Where I'm From. The project
has been certified platinum, and the single "Charlene" -- which already
peaked at Number Three on the Billboard R&B singles Top Ten -- currently
stands at Number 13.
It's been a long road for Hamilton, who struggled for more than a decade
to get his music heard. His previous solo CD, 1996's XTC, was released on
MCA, but wasn't well promoted. His national recognition came by appearing
on others' tracks, including the Grammy-nominated Nappy Roots song " Po '
Folks" in 2002, and the 2004 remix of the Jadakiss jam "Why."
Hamilton 's soulful, gritty style recalls the work of classic R&B men like
Al Green, Bobby Womack, and Bill Withers, which appeals to older demos.
But he says that his work with hip-hop artists, such as the Jadakiss
collaboration, keeps his appeal strong with younger listeners as well. He
said: "It's always a plus to have the youthful urban community behind it.
Because they are the ones that set the trends and really pave the way for
whatever song, whatever style of music that's at the top at the time, they
really decide that. So by them getting behind me, it was just saying,
like, OK, he's cool with the older folk, but the young folks like him
Hamilton is nominated for two Grammy Awards this year: "Charlene" is up
for best R&B male performance, and "Why" with Jadakiss is nominated as
best rap/sung collaboration. The Grammys will be held February 13th at the
Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.


Lalah Hathaway Tops Charts With Version Of Vandross Hit "Forever, For
Always, For Love"

Vocalist Lalah Hathaway is currently enjoying a Number One single with her
version of Luther Vandross' "Forever, For Always, For Love." The track
lands atop the national urban AC airplay chart, as well as Billboard's
Adult R&B airplay chart this week. The tune also enjoyed significant
airplay at smooth jazz radio.
The song is featured on both the all-star Vandross tribute album Forever,
For Always, For Love on GRP/Verve, as well as Hathaway's own current solo
CD, Outrun The Sky on Mesa/Blue Moon.
"Forever, For Always, For Love" was also the title track of Vandross' 1982
album, and for her version, Hathaway chose to sing in the same key as
Vandross' original. The fact that Hathaway could sustain the tune in such
a low key surprised producer Rex Rideout, but Hathaway says she loves
being able to challenge herself and please producers when she's called in
on other projects.
Hathaway has also lent her voice to albums with Grover Washington, Jr.,
Joe Sample, Marcus Miller, and many others. She said: "I tell you, I work
a lot. People call me to do a lot of stuff, which is really fun. I like to
be able to walk into a session and give a producer exactly what they want,
that's really fun for me and a challenge. I'm a little competitive with
myself that way, You know, it's great. I'm very blessed."

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