Sunday July 31st, 2005


New CD's this past week:

- Babyface - Grown & sexy
- Aaron Hall - Adults only
- Trey Songz - I gotta make it

Music news headlines this week:

Gerald Levert Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor

R&B singer-songwriter Gerald Levert pleaded guilty Wednesday July 27th
to two misdemeanor counts stemming from a confrontation with suburban
Cleveland police during a traffic stop earlier this year.
The 39-year-old singer, whose single "So What (If You Got A Baby)" is
currently heard on urban adult stations, apologized in Cuyahoga County
Common Pleas Court as he admitted to charges of assault and attempted
obstruction of official business. He was fined $2,000 and put on probation
for one year.
The charges stem from a confrontation with police during a February 25th
traffic stop, when Levert and a friend allegedly got into an altercation
with police after they pulled over the vehicle of a woman the two were
Levert is the son of Eddie Levert, a founding member of the O'Jays. Gerald
Levert started his career with friend Marc Gordon and brother Sean Levert
in the group Levert, whose "Casanova" in 1987 put them on the map. Gerald
went on to a successful singing and songwriting career in 1991. His latest
album is Do I Speak For The World, released last November.


Destiny’s Child Isn’t Kidding About Saying Goodbye

Although fans may hope otherwise, Destiny's Child really does plan on
calling it quits after its Destiny Fulfilled...And Loving It tour wraps up
in September. The group's Kelly Rowland assured LAUNCH that the farewell
tour is not a gimmick to sell more concert tickets and CDs: "It is
goodbye. And we're just closing a chapter in our book. It was actually
talked about before this album because everybody...We've been doing this
since we were 14 and 15 years old. So what everybody has to realize is
that we're 24 and 25 now, and it's different goals between all of us,
personal goals that we would like to do."
Destiny's Child plans to release a greatest hits album and concert DVD
later this year. The latter was taped at a performance in Atlanta .
The trio's latest album, Destiny Fulfilled, debuted at Number One on the
Billboard Top 200 chart in December and has sold more than 2.7 million
copies in the U.S.
Destiny's Child performs on Thursday (July 28th) in Albany , New York .
The tour's final show will be September 10th in Vancouver , British
Columbia .

D'Angelo Moving To J Records?

Platinum-selling neo-soul artist D'Angelo is reportedly moving to Clive
Davis's thriving J Records label, home to such artists as Alicia Keys,
Santana, Cassidy, Fantasia, and Maroon 5. According to Billboard, D'Angelo
is making the move from Virgin Records, where he scored with his 1995
debut album Brown Sugar and his 2000 follow-up Voodoo. Both albums sold
1.7 million copies apiece.
The Virginia-bred singer and songwriter has been mostly missing from the
music scene for the past five years. He appears on a remix of Common's
recent single "Go," and is slated to appear on the upcoming Sly Stone
tribute set Different Strokes By Different Folks, due September 27th.
In recent years, he's contributed to Erykah Badu's 2002 set Mama's Gun,
Raphael Saadiq's 2002 set Instant Vintage, and jazz trumpeter Roy
Hargrove's neo-soul experiment The RH Factor in 2003.
There is no word yet on when D'Angelo will release his third full-length
studio set.


Sharissa Gets Help From R. Kelly, Mario Winans On New Album

R. Kelly, the Game, Wyclef Jean, Willie Jackson and Tank have all
contributed performances to "Every Beat of My Heart," the sophomore album
from R&B vocalist Sharissa. Due Sept. 27 via Virgin, the set features
production by Wyclef and Tank, as well Mario Winans and Tim & Bob.
First single "I'm In Love With a Thug" pairs Sharissa and Kelly together
as they wax on the perks and pitfalls of love with a "street hustler."
Sharissa co-wrote all of the album's material.
"I can't sing about things that I haven't experienced, so it was important
for me to work with producers who understood my struggle," she said.
"Every Beat of My Heart" is the follow-up to Sharissa's 2002 Motown debut,
"No Half Steppin'," which debuted at No. 7 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop
Albums chart and No. 44 on The Billboard 200.


Stevie Wonder’s Atlantic City Show On Sale

Tickets for Stevie Wonder's one-night-only performance on August 12th in
Atlantic City 's Trump Taj Mahal went on sale last Monday, July
25th. Prices for the tickets run from $85 up to $165.
The concert is shaping up to be Wonder's only U.S. show for the rest of the
Wonder, who recently performed at the Philadelphia Live 8 concert is still
putting the finishing touches on his upcoming CD A Time 2 Love, which will
feature a collaboration with longtime friend Paul McCartney. The album,
which has been delayed several times already is hopefully going to be out
by September.
Stevie Wonder explains that he finds himself constantly inspired by
younger musicians: "You know, as much as they may be inspired by you, you
might hear something that another artist of today, you know, a riff that
say, India might do, I say, 'Aww man, I like that riff.' It's an
expression of love that we have, I think, between each other. "


Lalah Hathaway Explains Why It Took 10 Years To “Outrun The Sky”

Vocalist Lalah Hathaway admits it was a long road getting her latest
album, Outrun The Sky, completed and released to the public. The set
--which includes her hit version of Luther Vandross' "Forever, For Always,
For Love" -- is the singer's first full-length album in 10 years.
Asked why it took so long, Hathaway explains that she was a victim of a
struggling record industry: "We started in '90--well, in '94 I left
Virgin and then it was taking an extraordinarily long time to find
someplace to go with the record. And then, we went to MoJazz and we made a
record and then MoJazz folded. And then we went to another place and they
folded. "
Hathaway says that despite all the changes, she never lost sight of what
she wanted her album to be: "The record industry has been in such
upheaval, but the whole time I've had kind of a clear conception of what
the record was. And I have a lot of material just mined out of that whole
period of trying to find a home for this music. So the wheels were turning
slowly. "
Hathaway currently has two singles on the national urban AC airplay chart:
'Forever, For Always, For Love" moved to Number Seven, while "Better And
Better" landed at Number 24 last week.


Patti Labelle Enjoyed Recording With Elton John For Her New CD

Elton John makes a guest appearance on Patti LaBelle's new CD, Classic
Moments, a collection of cover songs that span the '60s through the '90s.
The pair does a version of Elton's 1970 hit, "Your Song," which originally
appeared on his self-titled sophomore album. They recorded the track while
Elton was doing his residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas earlier this
year. LaBelle says that she enjoyed teaming up with an old friend on her
latest album: "Elton John -- 40 years ago was my piano player. He was in
the group called Bluesology. And it was a wonderful thing. And then we
recorded my new CD, and his song -- 'Your Song' was the one we did live at
Caesars at the Red Piano. We did the day before his show. And he did one
take. I did one take. He played the piano, took off his rings, and I put
them on. And I gave them back, and he said, 'No, you keep it.'"
Classic Moments also features LaBelle's versions of songs made famous by
Bonnie Raitt, the Pretenders, the Delfonics, Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael
Jackson and others.
The 61-year-old singer played Elton's Philadelphia Freedom Concert this
past Fourth of July. Her only other scheduled performance so far this year
is a September 14th visit to the Western Washington Fair in Puyallup,


Eugene Record Of The Chi-Lites Dies At 64

Eugene Record, the leader and co-founder of the Chi-Lites, died on Friday
July 22nd after a long bout with stomach cancer at the age of 64. The
Chicago-Sun Times reports that Record died at his daughter's house in the
Chicago suburbs. Funeral arrangements for Record are still pending. The
Chi-Lites are best remembered for their early '70s R&B ballads "Have You
Seen Her," and 1972's Number One hit "Oh Girl."
The original group, which included Robert Lester, Creadel "Red" Jones and
Marshall Thompson were originally named the Hi-Lites, but soon added the
"C" to honor their hometown of Chicago. They eventually scored eleven Top
20 R&B hits and have continued to perform on the soul circuit throughout
the years. In 2000, the Chi-Lites were inducted into the Rhythm & Blues
Hall Of Fame.
The group's music has continued to stay on the charts -- back in 1990
rapper MC Hammer covered the group's "Have You Seen Her" and in 2003 when
singer Beyonce Knowles's hit song "Crazy in Love" -- which sampled a part
from the group's "Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So),"-- won the Grammy Award
for Best R&B Song -- Record, who wrote the original song, was among the
Grammy recipients.
Recently, Eugene Record said he felt proud that the Chi-Lites' music
always stood for something positive, explaining that a lot of people
underestimate the power of music: "A lot of the music is dangerous...
it's really dangerous. People don't realize that music is a spiritual
thing and it touches parts of you that you don't really know that's being
touched, and that it influences you in ways you don't believe you're being
influenced. And a lot of it's good but a lot of it's very dangerous,
especially for the young generation."
Record, along with the current version of the Chi Lites, were featured in
Only the Strong Survive the 2002 documentary of 60's and 70's soul acts.

Ashanti Loses Lawsuit To Former Producer

A jury found that R&B singer Ashanti breached her contract with her first
producer and must pay him $630,000. The Grammy Award winner was not in
court on Thursday as the jury ruled in favor of Genard Parker, who worked
with Ashanti in 1996 and 1997 when she was 16. In her testimony earlier
this week, Ashanti testified claimed Parker did not live up to the terms
of their deal when she recorded in a home studio that was so crude she has
to sing in the bathroom.
Ashanti 's lawyer Harry Stokes said the singer was disappointed in the
verdict and it would be appealed.


Stevie Wonder, The O’Jays, & Natalie Cole To Headline Tobago Jazz Festival

Steve Wonder, the O'Jays and Natalie Cole will headline Tobago 's first
annual Gourmet Jazz Festival. The four-day Caribbean party kicks off on
August 12th at Fort James/Plymouth Recreational Field within the Hilton
Tobago Golf & Spa Resort. The O'Jays, along with R&B acts Angie Stone and
Babyface, will be performing on Saturday the 14th, with Wonder , India
Arie, and Natalie Cole headlining the Sunday night show. Stevie Wonder and
the O'Jays' appearance at the festival is shaping up to be their only live
appearances for the rest of the summer.
Tickets are priced at $85 for Friday and Saturday, and $100 for Sunday.
For more information on the festival log on to
The O'Jays' Eddie Levert says that even though the group has had a busy
year, with their recent Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction as well as
their hometown of Canton, Ohio renaming a street after them -- he still
feels like a kid: "My mind is still just as fresh as it was yesterday.
And, like, I'm still able to come up with the quick wit--I'm still able to
come up with a good idea for a show, and I'm able to think out my
business. The 40 years, to me, seems like I can do 40 more. It just seems
like it was 40 minutes, and all I can say to you all is, 'Wait a minute!
I'm not through yet.'"



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