Sunday February 26th, 2006                                                  HOME


New CD's this past week:

- Maysa - Sweet classic soul
- Shanice - Every woman dreams
- J. Rawls - The essence of soul


Music news headlines this week:


Jaheim's 'Classics' Crash In At No. 1

For the first time in his career, singer Jaheim has reached the top of The
Billboard 200 thanks to the Divine Mill/Warner Bros. album "Ghetto
Classics." Bowing at No. 1 on the big chart as well as the Top R&B Albums
list, the set moved 152,000 units in its first week of U.S. sales,
according to Nielsen Soundscan.
Jaheim has never previously cracked the top 5 of The Billboard 200. 2002's
"Still Ghetto" and 2001's "Ghetto Love" peaked at No. 8 and No. 9
respectively on the chart.


Ne-Yo Uses His Talent For Himself

It must be weird to hear someone else make it to the top of the charts
singing a song you helped write. That was the case for Ne-Yo, who was part
of the creative effort behind "Let Me Love You," which became a monster
hit for Mario.
But now the 22-year-old, born Shaffer C. Smith, gets to use his talent for
himself on his debut recording "In My Own Words." While not a complete
smash, it's a solid effort with some definite moments of real star power.
Among the highlights are the uptempo first single "Stay" with its
infectious beat, and of course, the can't-get-it-out-of-your-head clean
melody and catchy lyrics of Ne-Yo's current radio offering, "So Sick."
Another lovely song is "Time," a track where Ne-Yo uses his smooth vocal
tone to chastise a man for not making his relationship enough of a
Not everything is up to the high level set by those tracks, though. "When
You're Mad," about how he thinks his lady is cute when she's upset, wastes
good music on uninspiring lyrics, as does "It Just Ain't Right." It's the
opposite problem in "Get Down Like That," where refreshing-to-hear lyrics
about a man refusing to cheat on his girlfriend just don't seem to gel
with the music.
But Ne-Yo clearly has an ear for what makes a successful track, and will
probably be doing as much songwriting for himself as he does for other
artists in the future.

Toni Braxton To Tour After Decade-long Absence

Except for Broadway musicals and a few select appearances, Toni Braxton
hasn't done many live performances in the past decade. But that's about to
I'm thrilled to be going out on the road again," Toni Braxton said Friday
in a statement to The Associated Press.
By Kevork Djansezian, AP
The R&B diva is embarking on her first tour in 10 years to support her
latest album, Libra. The tour will kick off March 10 in Atlantic City, and
end July 3 in Houston at the Essence Music Festival.
"I'm thrilled to be going out on the road again," Braxton said Friday in a
statement to The Associated Press. "I can't wait to bring not only the
hits that people know and love but to share the new music from Libra with
the audience."
Braxton, who is best known for hits such as Breathe Again,You're Makin' Me
High and Love Shoulda Brought You Home, has starred on Broadway in Aida
and Beauty and the Beast.


Mario Sues Production Company To Void Contract

Multi-platinum recording artist Mario filed a lawsuit today (Feb. 16)
against Troy Patterson and Third Street Music Group to void his contract
with the production company, which he entered as a minor.
Mario Barrett, 19, claims that he has only received roughly $50,000 from
two albums that together have sold more than 3 million units worldwide,
generating about $20 million in sales for J Records. Meanwhile Patterson –
or his company – has received "hundreds of thousands" of dollars through
its recording agreement with J Records, which calls for seven albums, the
suit says. J Records is not named in the suit.
“Mario values his relationship with Clive Davis and J Records,” says Kenny
Meiselas, a partner with Grubman, Indursky and Shire in New York. The
high-profile lawyer, who also represents Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mary J. Blige
and other superstars, was retained by Mario about six months ago to handle
his business affairs. “Mario’s issues are solely with Troy Patterson and
Patterson’s production company, Third Street Music Group.”
According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in New York,
Patterson "insinuated" himself into Mario's life eight years ago, taking
advantage of the absence of the artist's father and the drug addiction of
his mother. In 2000, Mario entered a recording and publishing agreement
with Third Street, which then entered into a deal with J Records.
After release of Mario's first album in July 2002, Patterson and Mario's
aunt were appointed as the minor's guardian in connection with the
agreement by a Baltimore court, the suit claims. Patterson – or his
company – then acted as legal guardian, personal manager, business
manager, record company and publisher for Mario. In late 2004, Mario
parted ways with Patterson.
Mario is asking the court to void his agreement with Third Street and to
award damages for fraud, breach of fiduciary duties and other wrongful
Mario is managed by J Erving for the Coalition. John Rosenberg, head of
the entertainment litigation group for Sullivan & Worcester in New York,
is handling the litigation.
Patterson declined comment. Clive Davis was unavailable for comment.


Etta James the Music Legend Has A New Look and A New Album

With the March 14th release of "All The Way," the truly legendary singer
Etta James shows once again why, in the world of contemporary music, she
is virtually peerless. Etta's innate soulfulness is as evident on her
latest work, and a music career that has spanned five decades. Etta's new
recordings consistently reflect the kaleidoscope of emotions, feelings,
expressions and sentiments she's experienced and "All The Way" is no
With a new slimmed-down look, a rejuvenated stage show and celebrating an
incredible five decades as a recording artist, music legend Etta James
will showcase her enduring artistry on an amazing diversity of the eleven
songs featured on her new RCA Victor album, "All The Way."
Due in stores March 14, 2006 and produced by Etta's sons Donto and Sametto
and longtime musical associate Josh Sklair, "All The Way" includes a range
of material that would prove challenging for even the most competent
vocalists: "This is an album of songs that I've always loved, tunes that I
heard and thought, 'wish I could have been the one to do that one first!'"
explains the three-time Grammy winner, who has also been the recipient of
a NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award, a Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer
Award and is a W.C. Handy Foundation honoree. "For the first time in my
fifty-three years of recording, I really had control over an entire album,
start to finish. And that feels really good! I got to make an album that
I can listen to and say, "I really like this record!'"
During the month of its release, Etta will also be feted by NABOB (The
National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters) with the organization's
Lifetime Achievement Award at its 22nd Annual Communications Awards
Dinner, a staple event held each year in Washington, D.C. Hosted by
comedian and radio personality Steve Harvey, the show will be on March
10th and NABOB 2006 honorees will also include Alicia Keys, S. Epatha
Merkerson, Maya Angelou, Albertina Walker and Robert L. Johnson with
Aretha Franklin providing the evening's entertainment.
James, honored with a much-deserved star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame,
adds her special vocal magic to songs originally recorded by Prince ("Purple
Rain"), Marvin Gaye ("What's Going On"), Bobby Womack ("Stop On By") and
Simply Red ("Holding Back The Years") alongside Leonard Bernstein's
"Somewhere" (from 'West Side Story') and "All The Way," the standard most
often associated with Frank Sinatra. For good measure, Etta also included
R. Kelly's contemporary classic, "I Believe I Can Fly," James Brown's
enduring "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" and John Lennon's "Imagine."
Rounding out the musical solid set are "Calling You," (from 'Baghdad
Cafe') and "Strung Out," a tune originally cut by R&B legend Johnny
'Guitar' Watson, with whom Etta toured during her teen years after being
discovered by bandleader Johnny Otis in 1955.
The release of the 1993 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee's latest
project, the follow-up to the 2004 Grammy-winning RCA Victor set "Blues To
The Bone," comes at a time when Etta is showing off her new look: after
losing some 200 pounds in weight, the Los Angeles native grins, "Now I can
flaunt my figure wherever I go. I can go shopping and buy those outfits I
always wanted to wear!" The loss of weight has also dramatically changed
Etta's always-exciting stage performances: "Now I can stand up on the
stage again like I used to after five years of sitting down while I sang
... "


News 2006

News 2005

News 2004

News 2003

News 2002

News 2001