Sunday October 9th, 2005                                                 


New CD's this past week:

- Anita Baker - Christmas fantasy
- Will Downing - Soul symphony
- Dwele - Some kinda ...
- Gerald Levert - Voices
- Jeffrey Osborne - From the soul

Music news headlines this week:

Fantasia Reveals She Is Functionally Illiterate

Fantasia Barrino went on ABC's 20/20 newsmagazine on Friday evening,
September 30th, to talk about her brand-new memoir, Life Is Not A Fairly
Tale, published the same day. The third-season American Idol winner --
whose debut album Free Yourself has been certified platinum -- confessed
on the show that she is "functionally illiterate" and had to dictate her
book to a freelance writer.
Fantasia said that her inability to read and write well kept her from
applying for jobs. On American Idol she often faked her way through
scripted segments and learned lyrics by listening to the songs, not
reading the sheet music. "Somebody would say, 'You know, it's pronounced
this way,' and I'd be like, 'Oh, I'm sorry, you know, I'm country, you
know,' " Fantasia told 20/20 about hiding her secret on the show.
Other revelations from Fantasia's book are that her mother is also
functionally illiterate, and that she was raped in her first year of high
school and blamed herself because of the way she was dressed.
Life Is Not A Fairly Tale also details the single mother's poor childhood
in High Point, North Carolina, and the importance of faith in her life.
Fantasia embarks on a new tour with Common and headliner Kanye West on
October 11th in Miami.

Jeffrey Osborne Releases “From The Soul”

Vocalist Jeffrey Osborne released his brand-new album, From The Soul,
this past week. Produced by smooth jazz player Paul Brown, the album is a
collection of favorite R&B and pop hits. Included are versions of Teddy
Pendergrass's "Close The Door," featuring saxophonist Boney James, Aretha
Franklin's "Till You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" and
Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face."
Osborne says that getting together with smooth jazz hitmaker Brown seemed
a smart move after he toured with Dave Koz & Friends in the summer of 2004
and saw how the audience responded to him. "I noticed Dave's audience knew
all my old songs, both as a solo artist and with LTD. That's when it
occurred to me that smooth jazz is mostly instrumental versions of old
school R&B; my audience from the R&B days moved to smooth jazz. So I
decided to go where my audience is and make a whole album in the smooth
jazz vein."
The former LTD frontman added: "If you're really going to make a smooth
jazz record, you have to do it with Paul. At first it was tough giving
someone else total control in the studio, but pretty soon I was loving
In addition to the songs mentioned above, Osborne also performs the
Impressions' "People Get Ready," Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's
Worth," Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet," the Gerry Goffin/Carole
King standard "Hey Girl," Brenda Holloway's "Every Little Bit Hurts," and
Barbara Mason's "Yes I'm Ready."

R. Kelly Concluding "Closet" On DVD

R. Kelly's multi-faceted musical drama "Trapped in the Closet" will be
revealed in full on the DVD "Trapped in the Closet Chapters 1-12." The
film is due Nov. 1 via Jive and tacks on seven new chapters to the saga,
the first five of which were released on Kelly's latest Jive album, "TP3:
The DVD will also include a documentary about the ever-evolving song plus
Kelly's running commentary and behind-the-scenes clips.
The sixth chapter of "Trapped in the Closet" is expected to hit U.S. radio
outlets within the next 10 days, according to a spokesperson. Plans to
make the song available from digital download retailers have not yet been
Although some radio stations have played all the chapters of "Trapped in
the Closet" back to back, only the first portion of the song reached the
charts. That cut peaked at No. 5 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
chart and No. 22 on the Hot 100.
Interest in "Trapped in the Closet" has no doubt spurred sales of "TP3:
Reloaded," which has moved 984,000 copies since its late July release.
Meanwhile, Jive has set a Nov. 15 release date for "Remix City Vol. 1,"
which rounds up 12 alternate versions of such Kelly hits as "Bump N'
Grind," "Ignition," "Step in the Name of Love" and "Feelin' on Yo Booty"
with YoungBloodz, the latter of which is previously unreleased.


Usher To Headline Hurricane Benefit Concert

Usher will be the headline performer at an Atlanta concert next month to
benefit hurricane victims. The concert will take place October 9th at the
city's Phillips Arena. According to Billboard, organizers of the event are
providing over 5,000 free tickets to hurricane evacuees that fled to
Atlanta after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit Project Restart which is working to
provide temporary housing to hurricane victims. Usher's New Look
Foundation will be working with corporate sponsors to provide housing for
1,000 families for up to a year. Usher plans to travel to Houston soon to
visit with evacuees and award the first home from the project.
Usher said that he puts the same amount of effort in his charity
work as he does in his entertainment ventures: "I've been very blessed
and I try to give as much as I possibly can, (I try to) open more doors.
And as those doors open I try to make each and every venture I work on one
that's special."

Shanice Wilson To Release “Every Woman Dreams”

Vocalist Shanice Wilson is preparing to release Every Woman Dreams, her
first album in six years, on October 25th. The singer and her husband, One
On One actor Flex Alexander, formed their own record label, Imajah
Records, to produce and release the new set.
The first single from the album is the title track, "Every Woman Dreams,"
which has begun to climb the national urban AC radio airplay chart. It's
her first charted single since 1999's "You Need A Man."
Wilson said that it's great to be back on the airwaves: "It feels
wonderful. I'm so happy. I took a five-year hiatus so that I could have my
children. I have a beautiful, sexy, gorgeous husband now, so, I just
wanted to have my family in place and now I'm ready to get back out there
with my music. So far the reactions have been really, really good, so I'm
really happy about that and I'm just doing what I've always enjoyed doing
and that's sing.
Shanice is planning to shoot a video for "Every Woman Dreams" on October
6th in Los Angeles.
First signed to Motown, Shanice released her debut album in 1987. She
broke big with the Narada Michael Walden-produced hit "I Love Your Smile"
from her 1991 album Inner Child. Subsequent albums included 21 ... Ways To
Grow in 1994 and her 1999 LaFace debut, Shanice.


Diana Ross Reportedly Not Responsible For L.A. Fender Bender

More information is surfacing about Diana Ross' recent fender-bender last
week in Los Angeles. The celebrity website is now reporting
that a witness has informed them that Ross wasn't in the car at all -- but
was only on the scene because it was her 17-year-old son Evan Naess who
allegedly got in the accident on Sunset Boulevard. The website ran photos
of Ross standing in the doorway of a nearby cleaners while the car was
being towed away. Ross and Naess eventually left the scene in Ross' red
In a strange coincidence, another unconfirmed report on the site states
that Ross -- driving the same red truck she picked her son up in -- was
seen smashing into a pole last Tuesday night (September 27th.)


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