Sunday April 15th, 2007 HOME
New CD's this past week:
- Eric Roberson – Left (UK release)
Music news headlines this week:
Isley Brothers Writing New Tunes On Tour
The Isley Brothers are getting ready to make some more music --
baby-making and otherwise. Ronald Isley tells Billboard.com that even as
he and younger brother Ernie are touring to promote last year's Soul Train
Award-winning "Baby Making Music," the veteran R&B duo has begun to work
on material for its successor.
"We just started," says Isley, 65, who was delayed from promoting "Baby
Making Music" by kidney surgery in the spring of 2006. "We're just doing
it on the road, in the times that we have off."
Isley says the brothers have each been writing new songs and plan to keep
the new album a bit more self-contained than their recent efforts, which
have included collaborations with R. Kelly, Jermaine Dupri and
"We're gonna try to produce the majority of this album or at least half of
the album ourselves," he explains. "All the albums that we had that were
really, really successful, we try to write the majority of the songs
ourselves. We take a lot of pride in that. When someone else is writing
music for you, you say 'I like it' or 'I don't like it.' But in doing your
own, you have to really concentrate. You want to make sure everything is
Isley, whose wife Kandy gave birth to his first son, Ronald Jr., in
December, says he expects to write some topical lyrics for the new album
-- "You try to watch the news and see what's happening," he notes -- in
addition to the usual pillow talk tunes. The duo, whose tour hits Red
Bank, N.J., tonight (April 12), hopes to hit the studio soon and have the
album finished "in the next couple of months," perhaps in time for a fall
The Isleys have been taping and filming shows on the tour for a possible
live album and DVD, although no plans have been determined yet.
The senior Isley also has the specter of a tax evasion conviction hanging
over him, and a 37-month prison sentence that he's currently appealing.
But he remains optimistic, noting, "I have strong faith in God, and I know
everything will be all right. And when I say everything, I mean
Babyface Signs With UMPG
UMPG (Universal Music Publishing Group) has announced the signing of
legendary singer/songwriter, Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds, to an exclusive,
David Renzer, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Publishing Group said of the
signing, 'Babyface has long been one of our industry's leading lights as a
writer, artist, producer and entrepreneur. He has written, produced and in
many cases performed many of our modern day 'classic' songs. We are sure
that the story of hitmaking will continue for him, and are thrilled to
welcome him to the UMPG family.'
'I am pleased to be working with Universal Music Publishing,' said Kenneth
Edmonds. 'The team has demonstrated their appreciation of my music, and
their commitment to my career as an artist, producer and songwriter.'
Babyface is currently recording his new album to be released on Def Jam,
and he has cuts on Katherine McPhee, Fallout Boy, Nelly, Keisha Cole, KeKe
Palmer and Ashanti. He was previously signed to Sony/ATV who retain his
In addition to releasing over ten solo albums, Babyface's hit-making
skills have been credited on over 320 albums and he has produced for some
of music's biggest legends and top-selling artists, including: Mariah
Carey, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Madonna, Aretha Franklin, OutKast,
Vanessa Williams, New Edition, En Vogue, Usher, Phil Collins, Faith Evans,
George Michael, Deele, Eric Clapton, Pink, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Michael
Jackson, Janet Jackson, Carole King, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, TLC,
Boyz II Men, Bell Biv Devoe, John Mellencamp, Paula Abdul, Heather
Headley, and many more.
Babyface has produced a vast number of motion picture original soundtracks
including, The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale, Boomerang, Soul Food, and
Josie & The Pussycats. He also has had tracks featured on the following
soundtracks Ghostbusters 2, Poetic Justice, Bad Boys, Home Alone 2, Mr.
3000, The Preachers Wife, Phenomenon, Simon Birch, Duets, The Prince of
Egypt and many more.
Babyface is a 10x GRAMMY award winner, including four wins for Producer of
the Year (1992, 1995, 1996, 1997); three wins for Best R&B Song ('End of
the Road' 'I'll Make Love to You' 'Exhale'); Album of the Year (The
Bodyguard); Record of the Year ('Change the World'); and Best Male R&B
Vocal Performance ('When Can I See You Again').
Melvin Williams Releases Two New Albums
The Williams Brothers' Gospel roots span over four decades. The group,
which consists of brothers Doug and Melvin along with Henry Green, has
received numerous Stellar Awards and industry accolades. In addition to
their success as a group, Doug and Melvin occasionally release solo
In November 2006, Melvin tried something new. He released two albums,
"Crazy Like Love" and "Love Like Crazy," in the same month.
In March, he began promoting the albums in various cities.
"Crazy Like Love " is a gospel album that combines various music styles
including Traditional Gospel, Praise and Worship and Contemporary. Fred
Hammond, Walter Hawkins, Stan Jones, Lee Williams, Neal Roberson and
classic pianist Dana Kristina-Joi make guest appearances on the album.
"Another Blessing," the first single to be released, is a reunion duet
with Melvin Williams and Lee Williams.
"Love Like Crazy " is more urban and features Neo-Soul, Urban
Contemporary, Rap, Jazz and Poetry in love songs about everyday life and
relationships. Guest artists include Kirk Whalum, Irocc, Doug Williams
and Smurff & Poetry July. Williams and late R&B singer Gerald Levert
pair up for the smash single, "Why Aren't You Loving Me?"
Williams remakes classic love songs such as Curtis Mayfield & The
Impressions' "Keep On Pushing," Stevie Wonder's "Too Shy to Say" and James
Brown's "I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing."
Angie Stone Ready For The Next Level
For her next album “The Art of Love and War,” due sometime this summer,
Angie Stone believes she has incorporated all of the ingredients needed to
cross over and out of the midlevel R&B niche she has commanded since her
For example, she’s hoping to get John Mayer on guitar and Stevie Wonder on
harmonica for the track, “Happy Being Me.” The song is described by
Billboard as “the most eloquent track [of the album] that drives home
Stone's renewed spirit.
"When you get close to losing your life, you see it flash before you,"
Stone tells the trade of her bout last year with congestive heart failure.
"This song is a true testament to who I am and where I am."
The album is being recorded in a studio on Sunset Blvd. once used by the
late Marvin Gaye to record his 1976 album, “I Want You.” In fact, Stone
hopes his spirit will bless her recording experience. The time period has
already bled into such tracks as the ballad "Sometimes," inspired by the
soundtrack to the 1974 urban film "Claudine," Stone says.
Stone says she celebrated her “Patrice Rushen days" on the funky "Play
With It." She referred to another track, the uptempo "These Are the
Reasons," as her "drama queen comeback." She duets with Chyno -- the
Charlotte, N.C., singer/songwriter who appeared on UPN's "The Player" --
on the torchy "Half a Chance." Stone says with a laugh, "Men don't beg no
more, but I've got him begging on here."
Mary J. Blige also used the studio to record some songs from her
Grammy-winning album "The Breakthrough.” While absorbing that, Stone
credits another force on her side.
"This business is hard," she says. "I've been waiting all these years, and
I've survived." Pointing to her heart for emphasis, she adds, "But I can't
be touched right now, because God has me right here."
Carl Thomas Is Doing 'So Much Better' On New Album
Chicago native and platinum-selling R&B star Carl Thomas gave us R&B
music that was reminiscent of the golden days of Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke,
and Otis Redding but with a modern day edge. Who could forget the cinematic
"Emotional" released in 2000 that made any serious R&B crooner step up
their game. Now he's back and under the tutelage of the legendary music
man Jheryl Busby's Umbrella Recordings and Hit maker Mike City's Unsung
Entertainment for a one-off deal with his new soulful disc "So Much Better"
set for release in the summer of 2007.
The new single from "So Much Better," "2 Pieces," is already having
success at radio as the No 1 most added single at Urban AC. On "2 Pieces"
Thomas expresses raw intensity on the track with sweet lyrics about the
woman he loves. "Baby I can't take the thought of losing you/cause I know
that it would break, break my heart in 2 pieces."
In addition to releasing the new disc on his label, Unsung Entertainment's
Mike City is the producer that gave us Carl Thomas' stellar hits "I Wish"
and "You Ain't Right" from "Emotional" and has produced seven songs on "So
Much Better." Other producers on the disc include: Jimmy Jam and Terry
Lewis with Big Jim Wright, Brian Michael Cox, and up and coming producing
team, Pitch Black. Guest features include: Brandy, Dave Hollister, and
"In addition to being collaborators, Carl and I are long-time friends. We
decided that while he was in between deals we would do an album together
which would be released on my Unsung Entertainment label. Thanks to Carl
and Mr. Busby, who gave us the one-off deal, on his Umbrella Recordings
imprint, I am able to launch my label with a major star," states Mike
On "So Much Better," Carl Thomas keeps it sweet, but with an edge of
street on "Another You" which serves as an aural testimonial to the object
of his desire.
The melodic and hypnotic sounds of "Something About You," sounds like
nothing else currently blaring from the radio. Featuring vocals from
Brandy, "Something About You" is a timeless song that embraces the best of
pop and soul.
Umbrella Recordings' first release was on five decade diva Patti Labelle
where she released her first gospel album, "The Gospel According to Patti
Labelle," which has been in the Top 5 on Billboard's "Top Gospel Albums"
chart for 14 weeks and held the number one spot for 10 weeks.
"To have Carl Thomas as our second release is truly a blessing," says
Busby. "He is the ultimate male soul singer of the day and we are very
pleased that he decided to help his friend and do a one-off deal with us.
I am certain that this record will help to further cultivate his career
and solidify his growth for his next deal."
For the latest news on Carl Thomas be sure to check out his myspace page
Musiq Soulchild Is 'LUVAN' The Charts!
LUVANMUSIQ, the new album from Atlantic recording artist Musiq Soulchild,
has made an impressive debut at No 1 on the Billboard 200, as well as topping
the 'Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums' chart, with first week sales of nearly 150,000.
LUVANMUSIQ marks Musiq's Atlantic label debut and the multi-platinum
artist's first new album in over three years.
'This is a fantastic affirmation of Musiq's stature as one of the true
soul icons of his generation,' said Warner Music Group Executive Vice
President Kevin Liles. 'After three years away from the scene, he has
delivered an inspired album infused with honesty, emotion, and soul, and
his fans have welcomed him back with open arms. This is an exciting and
gratifying moment for all of us at WMG and Atlantic, and I want to
dedicate this achievement to Ahmet Ertegun, who always said that the
world's music is black American music. Congratulations to Musiq for
carrying on the extraordinary legacy that Ahmet has left us.'
'I want to send a special shout-out and huge thanks to everybody for
making LUVANMUSIQ the No 1 album in the country,' said Musiq Soulchild. 'I
couldn't have asked for a better re-introduction to the game, and it feels
so good to know that I can make music that people care about and want to
support. Thanks so much, and God bless.'
The blockbuster success of LUVANMUSIQ is being fueled by the hit single,
'Buddy'. It hits No 2 this week on both Billboard's 'Top R&B/Hip-Hop
Songs' and 'Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay' charts. The song also broke into the
top ten at Urban mainstream radio this week, while leaping to No 16 on
Billboard's 'Hot 100 Airplay' chart.
LUVANMUSIQ represents another milestone in Atlantic Records' storied
history as home to the most innovative, compelling, and enduring artists
in soul and R&B. The album sees the Philadelphia-raised artist continuing
to develop his own unique sound, a distinctly modern melding of 70s soul,
classic funk grooves, and hip-hop swagger.