6/22/09: Teena Marie
Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter, Teena Marie has landed herself back on the album charts with her latest release 'Congo Square.' With 18,000 copies sold during its first week, Lady T's Stax Records debut opus managed to land her at the number 20 spot on Billboard's Top 200 and number 4 on the U.S. R&B charts. The multi-talented instrumentalist also reached out to the likes of Faith Evans, Shirley Murdock, MC Lyte, George Duke and the ever so popular Howard Hewett, to help make 'Congo' a squared project. The 'Fire & Desire' singer is one of the headliners during the fifteenth anniversary of the Essence Music Festival, taking place next month in New Orleans.
Randee St. Nichols
6/22/09: Calvin Richardson
You can always depend on Calvin Richardson to dig deep into his vast musical roots to help inspire his style. Hence, the release of his forthcoming album 'Facts Of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack.' And judging by the title you can bet any amount of money that Richardson channeled the legendary great Bobby Womack for the opus. "Bobby Womack is a pioneer who is very important to the type of music that I do," Richardson professed. "He's a great artist who I have great respect for, who I built my sound around and as a result I feel I have a direct connection with him." 'Facts Of Life,' in stores and at digital retailers Aug. 25 via Shanachie Entertainment, features popular Womack hits such as 'A Woman's Gotta Have It,' 'Across 110th Street,' 'I Can Understand It,' and 'Harry Hippy.'
6/22/09: Death Row Records
It looks like Death Row Records is making a comeback (of sorts) in the music industry. According to Billboard, music publisher EverGreen has signed a deal with Canadian-based development company WIDEawake has acquired the assets of Death Row Records to be the international administration company of the now-defunct hip hop powerhouse record label. The deal entails EverGreen to handle licensing for all compositions and master recordings in Death Row's catalog, in addition to the processing of all mechanical and performance royalties in the catalog. Devoted 2pac fans can expect another album of unreleased material in 2010 to celebrate the late rappers birthday. The as-yet-untitled album will be distributed by E-1 stateside and EMI overseas.
Getty Images, Interscope Records
6/18/09: Fonzworth Bentley
Fonzworth Bentley fans may be in for a treat or two once his long-awaited debut album, 'CoolOutrageousLoversOfUniquelyRawStyle' comes out. Executive produced by Kanye West, the opus is expected to feature appearances by Andre 3000, West himself, and Anthony Hamilton – who is featured on the lead single 'Greener.' "The song 'Greener' is about leaving the past and looking to the future," Bentley states. "Whether it is a relationship, a career change or any type of upgrade in your life...It is my hope that after listening and seeing the visual for 'Greener,' people will be inspired to join the movement." 'CoolOutrageousLoversOfUniquelyRawStyle' is expected to hit stores later this year via E1 Music.
Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images
6/18/09: Kanye West/Beyonce/Maxwell
The annual 'BET Awards' have just got hotter! In addition to comedian-turned singer Jamie Foxx hosting this year's event, Beyonce, Kanye West, Maxwell, Young Jeezy, Ne-Yo and Soulja Boy are scheduled to perform. In addition to gracing the stage, Beyonce ties T.I. with five nominations including favorite R&B Female and Video of the Year. 'The 2009 BET Awards' will air live from Los Angeles on June 28.
Self Magazine / Getty Images
6/18/09: Queen Ifrica
This week, reggae music powerhouse VP Records released 'Montego Bay,' the debut album from Queen Ifrica, who's described as an audacious singer/songwriter with a husky tone reminiscent of late, great song stylist Nina Simone. The 13-track collection features production by Kemar McGregor, Rickman Warren, Donovan Germaine and C. Hurst and offers a new, striking Rastafarian voice taking on empowering anthems, lovers' rock tunes and social commentary.
6/18/09: The Roots
Although The Roots' schedule may be a bit hectic due to their new duties as Jimmy Fallon's house band, the legendary hip hop band are set to release their 11th album, entitled 'How I Got Over' via Def Jam. Questlove and company recently shot a video for the project's first single, 'I Walk Alone.' In addition to recording the Roots will appear alongside opera diva Jessye Norman, jazz singer Nnenna Freelon and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra on August 30 for the premiere of Langston Hughes' 'Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz' in Los Angeles.
Johnny Nunez, WireImage
6/18/09: Brian McKnight/Jill Scott/Stevie Wonder
Despite not having a set album title nor release date, R&B crooner Brian McKnight is pretty confident on releasing his latest effort today (if the decision was up to him). "If the deadline was today, I'd be perfectly comfortable putting a record out," McKnight said in an interview. "But I didn't want to rush and push anything. I wanted to let the ideas grow and evolve, naturally. As the deadline approaches I'm getting more and more creative; I wrote two songs today before I even sat down at the piano." The crooner's latest opus, which will be his first project in three years, will reportedly feature duets with Stevie Wonder ('Without You') and Jill Scott ('More Than Just a Thing'). The album's first single, 'What I've Been Waiting For,' is expected to hit radio rotation in the coming weeks.
Getty Images / WireImage
Two-time Grammy Award nominated singer-songwriter Ledisi is readying the release her new album, entitled 'Turn Me Loose,' which features production from Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Raphael Saadiq, and Chucky Thompson to name a few. The New Orleans-born vocal powerhouse credits the album's inspiration to Buddy Miles' classic soul/funk opus 'Them Changes.' "I cried when I first heard this album in 2008," she recalled. "I cried because I heard and felt the pain, the spirit in his voice it moved me. I wanted that freedom I heard in his voice. I wanted to scream and give my all without thinking. Ledisi's 'Turn Me Loose' hit stores and digital retailers August 18 via Verve Records.
6/11/09: Mary J. Blige/Clark Sisters
The Clark Sisters and Mary J. Blige are among the many people set to revive Maze and Frankie Beverly's anthology. As previously reported by Black Music Notes, the legendary band will release a tribute album entitled, 'Silk Soul Music....An All-Star Tribute to Maze f/Frankie Beverly' this August. It has now been reported in addition to the Clark Sisters and Blige, artist such as Musiq Soulchild, Mint Condition, Raheem DeVaughn and Ledisi are among the many people contributing to the project.
Getty Images / EMI Gospel