Sunday May 22nd, 2005
New CD's this past week:
- KEM – Album II
Music news headlines this week:
R. Kelly Shoots Video With The Game As Hearing Continues
Want to see R. Kelly's video? No, not that video — the mini-movie he's
shooting for his "Trapped in the Closet" series. It's going to be
available as a bonus DVD with his upcoming album, TP-3: Reloaded.
"Trapped in the Closet" is a song in five chapters, the first two of which
have already been released to radio. Together, they portray a domestic
drama that became a 16-minute short film, which Kelly shot in high
definition. His reps call "Closet" a male version of "Desperate
Housewives," describing it as full of suspense and mystery, with
unexpected twists and turns. The first part of the film will air on BET's
"Access Granted" on May 25.
Kelly's been in Miami shooting a video for another song on the album:
"Playa's Only" (featuring the Game), which hits radio Thursday. Meanwhile,
his Chicago defense team represented him in court on Wednesday to argue
their previously filed motions to exclude evidence in his upcoming
child-pornography trial. The defense calls the identification procedure
used by the prosecution to try to match him to the sex tape "suggestive"
and seeks to throw that out.
His lawyers also want to exclude the findings of the prosecution's expert
forensic pediatrician, the University of North Carolina's Dr. Sharon
Cooper, who specializes in developmental pediatrics and determined that
the girl on the sex tape was underage.
However, Kelly lawyer Ed Genson made little headway in revisiting this
argument before Judge Vincent Gaughan called both prosecution and defense
teams into chambers, only to later emerge and announce that they would
continue the hearing on June 1.
Usher Breaks Promise: He Will Release New Music This Year
Singer is executive-producing and will contribute music to the soundtrack
of 'Dying for Dolly' film.
"I did promise there would be no more music from me this year, but
unfortunately we're back in the studio," the singer said Monday, winking
at the "unfortunately."
The new music will be the soundtrack to Usher's first movie in four years,
"Dying for Dolly".
"This time it's not me — it's my label, Us Records," he explained. "There
will be guest artists on the soundtrack as well. I'll be producing as well
as writing, but most importantly, I'll be executive-producing."
Usher kept further details to himself, but it's likely that singer Rico
Love and R&B group One Chance — the first artists he's signed to Us
Records — will appear alongside some of Mr. Entertainment's famous
friends. The film opens on November 23.
In other Usher big-screen news, the singer said he's still developing a
movie project with MTV Films. He also set the record straight about
"Dreamgirls," the Beyoncé-starring musical that Variety reported he had
joined, but that Usher's mother/manager later said he hadn't.
"There was consideration and conversation about it, but I'm not greenlit
for the film yet," Usher said. "But it's a great film for me to be a part
of ... if ... let me get that check, man!"
Usher was attending the 22nd annual ASCAP Pop Awards at the Beverly
Hilton, where he collected several plaques (ASCAP is a not-for-profit
organization that monitors and collects performing-rights royalties for
its members). He also joined Mariah Carey in presenting his friend
Jermaine Dupri with the Golden Note Award for lifetime achievement.
"He's been very, very instrumental," Usher said backstage. "As a
record-maker, as a songwriter, he's definitely been influential in
developing my talents and helping me to articulate myself."
Dupri, who attended the ceremony with girlfriend Janet Jackson, said he
was honored to be awarded the same trophy that P. Diddy, Jay-Z and Stevie
Wonder have received in previous years.
"It's kinda crazy," he said. "I always dreamed to be this dude and be in
the same company of people I'm in company with tonight. I'm starstruck."
LaBelle Offers Up 'Classic Moments' On New CD
Soul diva Patti LaBelle revisits a host of favorites on her upcoming
album, "Classic Moments." Due June 21 via Def Soul Classics, the 13-track
set is led by a duet with Mary J. Blige on Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No
Way" and a cover of Elton John's "Your Song," a No. 8 Billboard pop hit
upon its original release in 1970.
"Classic Moments" was produced by Babyface and Darryl Simmons. It also
includes LaBelle's renditions of Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgetting,"
L.T.D.'s "Love Ballad" and a hidden track with Kristine W, "Land of the
The album is the follow-up to LaBelle's 2004 Def Soul Classics debut,
"Timeless Journey," which debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop
LaBelle will perform two shows with John in the weeks ahead: June 23 at
the White Tie Ball in London and July 4 at John's previously announced
Philadelphia Freedom concert.
The artist has a handful of other performances on tap through the fall,
including an Aug. 20 stop at the Cincinnati Jazz Festival and a tentative
tour of South America in late October and early November.
Whitney Houston Expected To Hit The Studio Next Week
Whitney Houston is expected to hit the studio next week to continue work
on a new studio album. According to People.com, the 41-year-old singer,
who was released from rehab last month, plans to put the finishing touches
on material she has already started recording. There's no word on an exact
Houston is teaming up once again with legendary music mogul Clive Davis,
who discovered her in the '80s, to complete the upcoming CD. The new
project will mark the first time they've worked together in five years.
Davis first signed Houston to his Arista Records label in 1983. She went
on to sell 14 million copies of her self-titled debut album, which
featured the singles, "Saving All My Love For You" and "The Greatest Love
Meanwhile, Houston is expected to appear in a new reality series starring
her husband, Bobby Brown. Bravo plans to begin airing the show, called
Being Bobby Brown, on June 30th, and the cable network promises that it
will "demystify" their relationship.
Houston 's recent trip to drug rehab marks the second time she sought help
for substance abuse in the past year. People.com reports that it was
Houston 's mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, who petitioned a Georgia
court to order her daughter into a rehabilitation program.
Mariah Carey To Perform At MTV Movie Awards
Mariah Carey has signed on to perform at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, along
with previously announced performers Eminem and Nine Inch Nails. The show
will be taped at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on June 4th and
broadcast on MTV on June 9th. In addition, Tom Cruise, The Rock, and
Samuel L. Jackson have joined a list of presenters that includes Jessica
Simpson, Johnny Knoxville, Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, and Katie Holmes.
The event will be hosted by comedian Jimmy Fallon. More presenters,
special guest appearances and award tributes will be announced shortly.
The nominees for the 2005 MTV Movie Awards are chosen through a national
poll of MTV and MTV2 viewers. Winners are selected by MTV and MTV2 viewers
via phone, online and through text messaging.
In other Mariah news, her album Emancipation of Mimi is at Number three on
the Billboard Top 200 Album charts. Her latest single, "We Belong
Together" is at Number Three on the Billboard Top 100 singles chart.
The New York Post reports that Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley is
helping her pull together a more sophisticated look. However, Talley says
that he's merely a good friend of Mariah's and that they "inspire" one
another. He says, "I take no credit in having anything to do with Mariah's
next role as a fashion diva. I am not a fashion steward. I am not there
making fashion decisions for Mariah."
Ruben Studdard Sets Tentative Fall Release Date For Third Album
Ruben Studdard has set a tentative fall release for his third album, which
he's calling The Return Of The Velvet Teddy Bear. According to
Billboard.com, the American Idol winner is currently in an Atlanta studio
working on as many as 20 songs with several different producers, including
Mario Winans. Studdard is looking forward to releasing the new CD,
explaining, "It's coming along really, really well and it's turning out
like I wanted it to, so I'm excited."
The 26-year-old singer has a few dates lined up this summer and is
expected to announce a full-length tour for the fall, saying, "I like to
work and I just try to keep it moving."
Studdard's last album, I Need An Angel, was released last year. Despite
its inspirational spin, Studdard denies that it was a gospel album: "It's
R&B. I never went gospel. That was just a holiday release. I never made an
announcement that I was becoming a Christian artist."
Kem Celebrates New Album Release With Home Town Show In Detroit
R&B singer Kem celebrated his new release, Album II, with a home town
performance last week (Wednesday, May 18th) at the Zoo Bar in Detroit,
Michigan. Kem's set included songs from the new album as well as his
gold-certified 2003 debut, Kemistry. Fans who purchased Album II in its
first days on sale were be admitted to the gig, on a first-come
first-served basis, by showing the CD or their receipt for the album.
Album II features a guest appearance by Motown labelmate Stevie Wonder,
who plays harmonica on the track, "You Might Win."
Kem will be the support act on American Idol Fantasia's upcoming North
American tour, which kicks off on June 8 in St. Louis , Missouri .
E! Channel To Air Mariah Carey Reality Special
The E! Channel will premiere a new special called Mariah Carey Uncut, a
behind-the-scenes look at the life of the star, on Sunday, May 22nd at
10:00 p.m. ET. The program will follow Mariah Carey as she travels on a
promotional tour for her new album The Emancipation of Mimi, records in
the studio, makes television appearances and celebrates with pals
including Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Jermaine Dupri and Kanye West.
Mariah Carey Uncut will also give Mariah a chance to talk about the rumors
of diva behavior and nervous breakdowns that have haunted her career.
Referring to the media, Mariah says, "It's not so interesting to say,
'Mariah Carey woke up and had a normal day.' It's much more interesting
for them to make up stories about me demanding red carpets, breaking nails
and having breakdowns."
Check local listing for additional encore presentations following the
The Emancipation of Mimi debuted at Number One on the Billboard Top 200
albums chart a month ago and is currently at Number Two. "We Belong
Together," her second single from the album is at Number Three on the
Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
Babyface Returns With “Grown & Sexy”, His 9th Album
Ten-time Grammy award-winning gigastar Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, an iconic
figure of live performance, songwriting, and production whose work on his
own music and others' has resulted in more than 100 million career sales,
has completed his 9th album, Grown & Sexy, which will arrive in stores
July 26 on Arista Records.
Preceding the release of Grown & Sexy will be its first single pick,
"Sorry For the Stupid Things," which will impact at Urban and Urban AC
radio formats on May 23rd. The track was written by Babyface and Daryl
Simmons, and produced by Babyface and Gregg Pagani, who collaborated on
all instrumental parts and programming. Also in advance of the album's
release will be a live one-hour performance special, airdate to be
announced in the weeks ahead.
"Luv" is definitely the theme of Grown & Sexy. Babyface and Pagani
produced the bulk of the selections on the new album, and are responsible
for all instrumental parts and programming on those tracks, except for
live guitar parts (by Babyface and Eric Jackson) and keyboards (by
Clarence Allen or Cassandra O'Neal). Those titles include: "Tonite It's
Goin' Down" (written by Babyface and Daryl Simmons), "Grown & Sexy"
(Babyface-Simmons), "Mad, Sexy, Cool" (Babyface), "Goin' Outta Bizness"
(Babyface-Simmons), "Drama, Luv And 'Lationships" (Babyface), "Sorry For
the Stupid Things" (Babyface-Simmons), "Good 2 B In Luv"
(Babyface-Simmons-Pagani-Allen), "God Must Luv U" (Babyface), and "The
Getting 2 Know U" (Babyface).
Two tracks were produced by Babyface and the Underdogs (who shared
instrumental parts and programming), "Can't Stop Now" (written by Babyface
and Underdogs' Harvey Mason & Damon Thomas), and "The Loneliness"
Finally, "She" was written, produced, and performed entirely by Babyface.
Sessions took place at Brandon's Way Recording in Los Angeles, and tracks
were mixed by Serban Ghenea at Mixstar Studios in Virginia Beach, and at
Brandon's Way; and by Jon Gass at Brandon's Way.
Over the course of the '90s, Babyface not only distinguished himself as
the decade's single greatest hitmaker, but as one of the greatest
hitmakers in the history of popular music. His imprint (to date) extends
to 119 top 10 pop and R&B hits which include 47 #1 R&B hits, 51 top 10 pop
hits, and 16 #1 pop hits. For one span of time on Billboard's pop and R&B
Top 20 charts, Babyface was listed as the writer, producer and/or
performer on twelve separate songs.