Sunday June 26th, 2005


New CD's this past week:

- Eric Benet – Hurricane
- Keyshia Cole – The way it is
- Leela James – A change is gonna come
- Patti Labelle – Classic moments
- Felton Pilate – Nothing but love spoken here
- Mimi Terrell –It’s Mimi
- Alexander O’Neal – Live at the Hammersmith Apollo (UK release)

Music news headlines this week:

Stevie Wonder Says Synthesizers Have Their Own Character

Stevie Wonder's long-delayed new album, A Time 2 Love, is due out sometime
next month. Early buzz for the CD suggests that some of the songs recall
Wonder's groundbreaking early '70s synthesizer work on legendary albums
such as Music Of My Mind, Talking Book, and Innervisions.
Wonder told Scotland's Sunday Herald that in the '70s, he enjoyed pushing
the boundaries of synthesizers, rather than just using them to duplicate
sounds like horns and strings. He said, "I think everything has its own
character. The whole purpose of me using them was to come as close as
possible to what those instruments could do, but also to expressing how I
would allow those things to sound."
He went on to add that his instruments are merely a vehicle to get his
music across: "Melodies are like angels from heaven. They express a place
for the heart to follow."
Last week it was reported that Wonder arranged to pay for the funerals of
five children who recently died in a Philadelphia city row house fire.
Wonder's next two performances scheduled for next month in Philadelphia.
On July 2nd he plays outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the U.S.
Live 8 concert. On July 4th, in the same location, Wonder joins Patti
LaBelle and others at Elton John's Philadelphia Freedom Concert to benefit
HIV/AIDS programs and services.


Boyz II Men Hoping To Land A Spot On Philly ‘Live 8’ Concert

R&B group Boyz II Men has been busy touring, and the group recently
expressed interest in performing at the upcoming Live 8 concert in their
hometown of Philadelphia on July 2nd. Group member Shawn Stockman
explained that the event's organizers have been slow to get back to the
group. The singer said: "We put our name in and it's funny, 'cause it's
like some sort of political thing that's going on. You know, I don't know
what the hold up is, but someone has to talk to someone and someone has to
talk to someone and all that other stuff, you know what I mean, so I don't
know what the hold up is."
Stockman added: "We heard that it wasn't too many African Americans or
black artists that was on the show. I don't know what they're waiting for,
but we're waiting for Mr. Geldof to give us the go-ahead so that we can do
this show. But we did for the record, you know what I'm sayin', put our
name in, and it's just up to them now whether they want to put us on or
Jay-Z, P. Diddy, Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, Sarah McLachlan, Rob
Thomas, Keith Urban, and Kaiser Chiefs are some of the artists slated to
hit the stage on July 2nd in Philadelphia as part of Live 8, the huge Live
Aid sequel, which will feature performances around the globe on the same
day. The goal of the events is to get the leaders of the richest nations
to help developing nations emerge from poverty.
Will Smith will host the Philadelphia concert.


Mariah Carey To Sing At Fireworks Spectacular On 4Th Of July

Mariah Carey is performing at the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks
Spectacular, will be broadcast live on NBC on July 4th at 9 p.m.. This
will be the first time that the annual one-hour special will feature just
one performer. She'll be singing hits from her new album, The Emancipation
of Mimi, which has reached double platinum status and remains in the Top
Five of the Billboard Top 200 album charts this week.
The event is the country's largest Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza
and will feature nearly 40,000 brilliant shells exploding over New York
and New Jersey. The Macy's Fireworks also will include a special salute to
the U.S. Armed Forces, using firework shells never before seen in the
U.S., and a dramatic salute to the Olympic Spirit.
In other news, the "Peter Rauhofer Reconstruction Mix" and the "Atlantic
Soul Vocal Mix" of Mariah's hit single, "We Belong Together," will be
available in stores on July 12th. The original version of the song has
been Number One for four weeks in a row on the Billboard Hot 100 singles


Lalah Refuses To be Pigeonholed

Vocalist and songwriter Lalah Hathaway is enjoying her moment in the
spotlight once again on both the smooth jazz and R&B fronts. The singer's
recent album, Outrun The Sky, includes the smash version of "Forever, For
Always, For Love" that was featured on the Luther Vandross tribute album
Forever, For Always, For Luther. Meanwhile, the track "Better And Better"
is gaining strength on national urban AC playlists.
Hathaway insists that her music should fall under the category of "soul."
She adds that because of her musical diversity, demonstrated by
appearances on a broad number of recordings as well as her own albums,
that fans have different expectations about the music they'll hear when
they come to her shows. Said Hathaway ["See, I call the record soul
music. I have many different little sects of people who come to see me and
they wanna hear what I did on the Grover Washington record or the Art
Porter record or the Take Six record or the Winans record or the Marcus
(Miller) record or the Wayman Tisdale record or the Ricky Peterson record.
So many different types of people have defined in their minds what I am
and that's what they want to hear."
Hathaway -- the daughter of late soul/pop singer Donny Hathaway --explains
that she grew up listening to a broad array of music which influenced her
own musical choices: "Honestly, the people that get me really get me. You
know, when I grew up I was listening to Steely Dan and Chaka Khan and
Stevie Wonder and Bootsy (Collins) and Seals & Crofts. And I mean, we had
such a wide spectrum of music to listen to. There's a lot of colors in the
music and they like to kind of limit you to one box. Which I refuse to be
-- I refuse to be pigeonholed, I won't do it."


Stevie Wonder, John Legend, T.I. Added To Performers On BET Awards

BET announced last Monday that Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Ciara, Omarion,
and T.I. will join Mariah Carey, Destiny's Child, Missy Elliott and The
Game as performers at the 5th Annual BET Awards, set for Tuesday, June
28th, at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.
Gladys Knight will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, and actor Denzel
Washington will be presented with a Humanitarian Award, to be accepted by
his wife Paulette. Ciara is among the leading nominees for the evening,
with four nods, while other multiple nominees include John Legend, Jay-Z,
50 Cent, and Destiny's Child.
Acting couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith will serve as hosts for
the ceremony, which will be broadcast on BET at 8 p.m. ET/PT.


John Legend Feels Blessed To Have Written 'Ordinary People’

John Legend says that he's grateful that fans have connected with his
music through the hit single "Ordinary People," especially since a lot of
good music gets overlooked these days. The singer is currently headlining
a national trek in support of his platinum-certified debut, Get Lifted.
"I wasn't the first artist to put out an organic soul album, but the ones
with more success have to have a hit song and 'Ordinary People' was that
for me," he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "If you just have a good
album, it still might not get heard. But ['Ordinary People'] had a catchy
melody and hook, things that are very important for hit songs. It really
struck an emotional chord with people. When I sing it, even in France,
everyone knows every single word even if they don't speak English. I feel
really blessed that I wrote it."
Legend adds that his shows are focused primarily on the songs from Get
Lifted, without a lot of pyrotechnics or gimmicks. "There aren't a lot of
frills or bells and whistles," says the one-time management consultant.
"It's soul music blended with hip-hop. It's a very energetic show that
takes on a spiritual feeling by the end. Not that we're preaching, but
just the way we play the music."
The Get Lifted tour plays tonight in Richmond, Virginia's Landmark Theater.

Bobby Brown Says He Did The Reality Show To Stay Out Of

Bobby Brown's new reality show, Being Bobby Brown, is slated to premiere
on June 30th on Bravo. The show, which will feature wife Whitney Houston
and other family members and friends, will follow the former New Edition
member and his attempt to revive his career. Brown explained why he did
the show to Newsweek. He said, "I needed to do something to stay out of
trouble. Too much free time ain't too good for someone like me. And now
that I'm feeling healthy and off the drugs and other stuff I was doing --
I feel like getting myself back on track."
The singer added, "But honestly, the main reason I wanted to do this is
really for my kids. They're always saying, "Daddy, why do they always make
you look so bad in the press?" You know? They don't see their father as a
One person who wasn't so sure about the reality show initially was Whitney
Houston, but according to Brown, she eventually got into the swing of
things. He said, "She wanted no part of it. But then once the cameras
started rolling and she saw how much fun I was having, I couldn't get rid
of her. I had to tell her, "This is The Bobby Brown Show -- not The
Whitney Show!"
Brown added that Houston has been doing great since her last stint in
rehab. He said, "She's doing fine. It's been three months and she's
feeling good and is getting better day by day. This struggle with
(substances) is an ass-kicker. But we're both fighting it with all we
have. I think we can make it."


Luther Vandross Tribute Album In The Making

A Luther Vandross tribute album is in the works. According to,
producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are heading up a compilation for the
singer, who suffered a serious stroke two years ago. Artists expected to
appear on the set are Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard
and others. Jam said it was record producer Clive Davis who came up with
the idea. He said, "Mary J. does 'Never Too Much' and really makes it her
own. Celine does 'Dance With My Father,' and she lost her father earlier
in the year, so she sings it with a lot of passion."
There's no word on when the album will be released.
Vandross has spent the last two years going through rehabilitation to
recover from the massive stroke.


112 Wants To Know "What If?"

Atlanta-based R&B quartet 112 will release the next single, "What If?,"
from their latest album, Pleasure & Pain, later this month. It's the
follow-up to the group's lead single, "You Already Know," which peaked at
Number Three on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
The group's latest release is the first since LA Reid was named chairman
of the Island Def Jam Music Group and Jay-Z was named president of Def Jam
Records. 112's Daron Jones explained how the change in leadership will
help the group. He said: ["I think the addition of LA Reid, along with
Jay-Z, is gonna help us a lot, because, I mean, we're an R&B group, but I
guess you can say we're an R&B group with a mix of hip-hop as well,
because you think about a lot of our biggest records, you know, they had
hip-hop undertones."
Jones added: "So I think, you know, LA Reid joining the Def Jam family and
Jay-Z being put in position as president, I think it's a great move for
us. It's gonna help us out a lot with LA Reid's background in R&B and
Jay-Z with the hip-hop thing, I think it's perfect for us."
Pleasure & Pain is currently Number 102 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The set has sold more than 369,000 copies since it was released in March.


Stevie Wonder Says There Was A "Fuss" over New Single

There's no release date yet for Stevie Wonder's new album, but the world
is getting a taste through the funky first single, "So What The Fuss." But
Wonder said that some people around him kicked up a bit of a fuss over
using "Fuss" as the first single: "There was a lot of controversy about me
releasing 'So What The Fuss' first as a single. And they were saying
'Well, we can't get the young stations to play it.' I said 'You know,
y'all got to go for it.' You know, you can't, I can't be limited to just,
you know, 'OK, because I'm a certain age I can't do that anymore.' I just
don't roll like that."
"So What The Fuss" features guest appearances by Prince on guitar and En
Vogue on backing vocals.
Wonder is 55 years old and has been releasing albums since 1962.
His new album, A Time To Love, has been delayed several times. It's
expected to be out this summer, but no new release date has been
The album also features guest appearances by Paul McCartney, Doug E.
Fresh, India.Arie, Kirk Franklin, Busta Rhymes, and Bonnie Raitt.
Wonder is slated to perform at the Live 8 concert on July 2nd in


Donna Summer Announces First U.S. Tour In Five Years

Donna Summer will be launching her first U.S. tour in five years on June
26th at Prior Lake, Minnesota's Mystic Lake Casino. Before wrapping up in
September, Summer will stop in New York, Las Vegas, New Jersey, Dallas,
Los Angeles, Chicago, Michigan, and Toronto, among other cities.
Summer issued a statement saying, "I am really looking forward to
performing. It's my first summer tour in 5 years, I hope that my fans will
enjoy the new as well as the old." She closed by saying: "I would like to
take this time to thank my terrific fans for the continued support they
have shown me and tell them I would not be me without them!"



News 2005

News 2004

News 2003

News 2002

News 2001