Sunday January 9th, 2005


New CD's this past week:

None to report

Music news headlines this week:

Ashanti Signs To Do Book For Children

Ashanti has decided that her next literary effort will be a book for
children. reports that Ashanti has signed a deal to author a book
for Hyperion Books for Children. Hyperion was the publisher of her first
book, Foolish/Unfoolish: Reflections on Love, a collection of songs and
lyrics. The children's book project is still in the preliminary stages of
Ashanti's new CD, Concrete Rose, is at Number 22 on the Billboard 200
albums chart and her single "Only U" is at Number 15 on the Billboard Hot
100 singles chart.
Ashanti stars in the upcoming film Coach Carter, which is scheduled to
open on January 14th. She's also filmed the role of Dorothy in the
made-for-TV movie The Muppet Wizard of Oz, which will air on ABC this

Johnny Gill “Love Songs” Compilation Due

Vocalist Johnny Gill, who began his career as an R&B soloist in the '80s
and later became part of the pop/soul group New Edition, will see some of
his best-loved ballads released in the new compilation Johnny Gill: Love
Songs, due January 11th from Motown/UMe.
The Gill set includes a new Mario Winans remix of the tune "It's Your
Body" featuring the late Roger Troutman, as well as two movie-related
recordings: "I'm Still Waiting" from 1991's New Jack City and "Let's Just
Run Away" from 1992's Mo' Money.
The Love Songs collection also features several Gill favorites, including
his Number One R&B tune "My My My"; "I Got You" featuring Boyz II Men's
Nathan, Shawn and Wanya; the studio version of "Quiet Time To Play";
"Let's Get The Mood Right"; and New Edition's Number One R&B smash "Can
You Stand The Rain." Rounding out the disc are "Lady Dujour," "Let's Spend
The Night," "Mastersuite," and the R. Kelly production "Someone To Love."
A native of Washington, D.C., Gill was discovered by fellow D.C. teen
crooner Stacy Lattisaw, who tapped him for the 1984 duet "Perfect
Combination." He also scored with his own self-titled solo album in 1983,
but after appearing on more tunes with Lattisaw and even saxophonist
George Howard, he joined New Edition after the departure of Bobby Brown in
1988 for the album Heart Break.
Gill finally hit the big time with his 1990 Motown debut, also titled
Johnny Gill. That album featured compositions and production by the two
biggest R&B teams in the business, Jam & Lewis and L.A. & Babyface. The
album spawned the smash hits "My My My," "Rub You The Right Way," and
"Fairweather Friend."

R&B Singer KEM Using Detroit Concert As Location For First Video

Universal/Motown has shoot the very first bona fide music video for R&B singer
KEM during his concert on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 at the Detroit Opera
House. The music video will feature the first new single, "I Can't Stop Loving You,"
from KEM's sophomore project, "KEM Album II."
The new CD is scheduled for release in March 2005; however, the first single will
hit air waves early January. The video shoot will include behind the scene concert
preparations as well as live footage of his performance and the Detroit audience.
Detroit audiences were among the first to experience KEM's new show with all new
music at the Detroit Opera House on December 29th. The concert featured music
from his upcoming album, "KEM Album II" with a mixture of Gold-Record selling
hits from Kemistry. The evening's opening acts included Conya Doss and Detroiter
Suai. Continuing his support of Detroit and its surrounding communities, a portion
of the proceeds will benefit Detroit Rescue Mission, Highland Park Development
Corporation, The Aneurysm Genetic Study Group at Wayne State University, and
African Americans and Allies Against Domestic Violence.


The Temptations’ Otis Williams Credits Miniseries For New Fans

Otis Williams of the Temptations is amazed that a new generation has
discovered the group. Williams, who's the lone original member still
performing with the group, credits the 1998 TV miniseries about the Temps
for their new fan base. Williams told Ohio's Ledger-Enquirer that on their
last album, which was called Still Tempting, the impact of the series even
found its way onto the title track. Williams said, "(The songwriters)
wrote it after they saw the miniseries -- it inspired them to write a song
about the Temps." He added, "It really is the first time we ever did a
song in reference to us." Still Tempting was the group's 60th album.
Williams said that after all these years, he still loves performing around
the holidays: "We take joy in producing the music and extreme joy in
bringing it to the people." Williams also said, "The other night, when we
were singing 'Silent Night,' and people were literally crying...when you
can touch the human heart like that, it's priceless."
Williams, who's been touring with the Temps for over 40 years, says he has
no intention of packing it in any time soon: "I'm going to ride the hair
off the horse...The horse will be bald when I get off."
The Temptations' next show is Thursday (January 6th) in Columbus, Georgia,
at the Bill Heard Theater At The River Center.


Anita Baker Looks Forward To Grammy’s

Anita Baker says she hasn't had time to think about recording the next
project after her Grammy-nominated "comeback" album, My Everything, or
even about a full-out national tour. The Detroit-based singer, who spent
the last two years performing spot dates, says she's focusing on her
appearance at this year's Grammy Awards ceremony, which is coming up on
February 13th in Los Angeles.
When asked whether she'd had time to plan out her next album, Baker
laughingly feigned fright: "Geez, no, man, I -- you know me, it takes me
a minute. I -- oh, you're scaring me (laughs)."
One of Baker's most-publicized scheduled performances of 2004 after the
release of her long-awaited album was an early-September gig at the
Bermuda Jazz Festival. But a stormy hurricane season dumped rain on the
Caribbean island, washing out the majority of the fest. Asked about her
rained-out experience in Bermuda, Baker said: "Not only me. Seal
got to perform that Thursday, the O'Jays were rained out, Isaac Hayes was
rained out, I was rained out. The Paxton festival in Bermuda, man, we were
in the middle of a tropical storm. We were scheduled to perform Saturday,
we stayed around Sunday to try to see what was going to happen but ... it
didn't work out. But hopefully, hopefully next year."
Baker's chart-topping single "You're My Everything" was nominated for Best
Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Her Grammy competitors in the category
include Patti LaBelle, Prince, Al Green, and a duet by Ray Charles & B.B.


Diana Ross Pulls Out of Cosmetics Deal

Diana Ross has pulled her support from her upcoming cosmetics line.
London's Sunday Mail reports that Ross has backed out of a multi-million
dollar partnership with Mac Cosmetics to promote her makeup line. Sources
say Ross pulled out of the deal because she hated the names of the colors
picked out for the collection. A Mac insider told the Mail that, "There is
tons of publicity planned (including) parties, events and television." The
insider went on to add: "They're trying to convince Diana to be part of it
again." A Mac spokesman says that plans are still underway announcing
that, "We're launching worldwide (at the end of the month) with photo
(ads) and products." A spokesman for Ross refused to comment.
Ross was originally supposed to appear in all the commercials and print
ads for the line. It's still unclear as to whether Ross has filmed her
commercial spots already.


Earth, Wind & Fire Planning Busy 2005

The Chicago-based group Earth, Wind & Fire that dominated the R&B charts
in the '70s and '80s, is in the spotlight once again. The band teamed with
fellow veterans Chicago for a sold-out tour last year, received an
all-star performance Grammy-sponsored tribute in Los Angeles last month,
and is nominated for a Grammy for the single "Show Me The Way" with
producer Raphael Saadiq.
EW&F will release their new album, Illumination, on February 15th. Plus,
the group's Maurice White is collaborating with Broadway veteran Maurice
Hines on a musical utilizing EWF's music, to be titled Hott Feett.
Earth, Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White says anticipation is high for the
reception of the new album, which in addition to Saadiq, features
contributions by producers Jam & Lewis, Floetry, Organized Noise, Kenny G
and Brian McKnight. He says that for a while longevity was not really
respected by people in the industry or even young audiences -- but he
believes the tide has turned. He told LAUNCH: ["Now I think we've stood
the test of time. A lot of the people that I've mentioned, like Raphael
Saadiq and Jam & Lewis, they've been past the ten-year mark in their
careers, so it definitely puts a different spin on how they look at people
like us. I think before, people didn't respect time, but after you kind of
been in it a while, you sort of see the ones that have been in it a while,
and you really kind of give them a lot of respect. So they really gave us
a lot of respect in that manner."]
Earth, Wind & Fire have been nominated in the Best R&B Performance by a
duo or group with vocals in the Grammy race. The awards will be held
February 13th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast at 8 p.m.


News 2005

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