Popular producer Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins has been hard at work in the studio throughout 2009. However, the musician, who will be releasing a 50 track medley of his greatest hits later this evening on his official website, shows no signs of slowing down. In a recent announcement on his twitter page, Jerkins revealed that he has returned to the studio with Ciara, whom he collaborated with on her ‘Fantasy Ride’ LP on the track ‘Pucker Up’. ‘Fantasy Ride’ has sold a dismal 300, 000 copies to date.
This is some very interesting news. As one of people who largely enjoyed Ciara’s ‘Fantasy Ride’, I was very disappointed that the project failed to take off, especially given her extensive list of strong performances. Hopefully Darkchild will be able to give her the fire that she needs to propel herself to the top of the charts.
Sidebar: I am very happy that she decided not to let The-Dream and Tricky Stewart handle the entire project. Although Mariah Carey’s ‘Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel’ was a solid album, the sound got rather redundant half-way through.
Covergirl model Rihanna has decided to experiment with a new director for next music video. Just Jared reports that the clip, which will support her new single ‘Hard’, will be directed by Melina Matsoukas (Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Ciara) instead of Rihanna’s long time collaborator, Anthony Mandler. The latter has managed 12 of her other projects, including the video for ‘Russian Roulette’ and ‘Wait Your Turn’. ‘Hard’, which features rapper Young Jeezy, has thus far peaked at #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #17 on the Hip-Hop/R&B charts.
I must admit that this is a respectable artistic decision. It is always a good idea for artists to experiment with an array of directors in the same format that they work with writers and producers. Yes acts form bonds with particular collaborators, especially when they have worked with them for a very long time, but there comes a time when a certain level of redundancy emerges and the productions no longer seem ‘fresh’. Furthermore, although rather I enjoyed Mandler’s work on ‘Russian Roulette’, I was completely unimpressed by his work on ‘Wait Your Turn’. I hope that Melina is able to bring out the best in Rihanna, in ways that her vocal coach clearly could not.
Following on from our wildly successful Nokia / Rihanna competition, That Grape Juice is pleased to announce that we have once again teamed up with the phone giant! This time, we’re giving YOU the chance to win the brand, spanking new Nokia X6 handset (‘Comes With Music Edition’).
The must-have gadget features a 3.2 inch touch-screen display, 32GB memory (35 hours of music!), a 5 megapixel digital camera (with Carl Zeiss lens), membership to the Nokia Music Store (which boasts 6 million songs and counting), and a whole lot more. Christmas really has come early here at That Grape Juice!
Want to be in with a chance of winning this amazing handset? Well, we’re doing things a little differently this time round. Together with Nokia Music, we are looking to compile a list of the best R&B/Hip-Hop/Pop albums of all-time. So, to be in with a shot, all you have to do is tell us which 3 albums you feel are the best of all-time. Simple as that. Check out mine below:
Sam’s Top 3 Albums of All-Time
1) Thriller – Michael Jackson
2) The Emancipation of Mimi – Mariah Carey
3) Velvet Rope – Janet Jackson
When submitting your choices, be sure to include your full name and email address.
Upon the post reaching 100+ entries, a draw to decide the winner (as well as runners-up…who will each win Nokia Music Store vouchers) will made on Sunday December 6th.
VH1 today announced official details of R&B Fantasia‘s new reality show, which will air on the network next month (January 11th 2010 at 10pm). Titled ‘Fantasia For Real’, the docu-series will comprise 8 episodes. Check out the synopsis below:
Six years ago, Fantasia was a young single mother from High Point, North Carolina singing in her church choir and struggling to raise her daughter, Zion. On a whim, she tried out for the third season of “American Idol,” and seemingly overnight the world discovered Fantasia’s tremendous voice. Five years and 8 Grammy® Award nominations later, life couldn’t look more different for Fantasia. Her first album, Free Yourself, was a platinum-selling, chart-topping success, bringing her wealth, fame, and recognition as an accomplished artist. Fantasia has worked with many music industry legends, including Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, and Missy Elliot. In 2007 Fantasia was chosen to star as “Celie” in the acclaimed Broadway musical “The Color Purple.” Her book “Life is Not a Fairy Tale” made the New York Times bestseller list, and she also starred in a made-for-television movie based on her life.
As Fantasia’s fame has grown, her personal life has increasingly become more complicated. The sole breadwinner for her large family, Fantasia struggles to balance career, family, being single mother and the demanding life of a highly successful performing artist. Fantasia’s VH1 series delves into how she has dealt with the seismic aftershocks of fame, all while managing the daily demands of life on the road and writing and recording new music that will connect with her fans.
“Fantasia has engaged millions of fans not only through her music and her amazing talent but also by her incredible fairytale life story,” said Jeff Olde, Executive Vice President, Original Programming & Production, VH1. “Our audience helped Fantasia become an American Idol and now, with this series, they get a backstage pass into her real life as she confronts obstacles to realize her true potential as an artist, a mother, a daughter and a sister.”
I love me some Fantasia, so I will most definitely be checking for the show come January! Here’s hoping it ties-in with a new album, as it’s hard to believe it’s been almost 4 years since she dropped her last record, the incredible ‘Fantasia’.
Singing sensation Leona Lewis performed current single ‘Happy’ on CNN Heroes, which aired last night. While her album ‘Echo’ has yet to move me (or buyers either, judging by its US sales), I’m really warming to ‘Happy’ – particularly after watching this performance. Emotive and perhaps the best live vocal rendition she’s given of the song yet, she really knocked it out of the park with this one. Great performance!
In other Leona news,‘Outta My Head’ has been confirmed as her next European single, while ‘I Got You’ will serve as the follow-up to ‘Happy’ in the US.
After a tumultuous year, spurred on by ‘the incident’ which reverberated around the world, R&B star Chris Brown is back and looking to reassert his place at the top with new LP ‘Graffiti’ (due December 7th in the UK // December 8th US). With the world’s glaring eyes fixated on the performance of the project, it’d be hard to deny that this is the most important record the 20 year old will ever release. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the album, Brown’s 3rd, boasts production from some the industry’s most renowned hit-makers and artists alike.
The question on the lips of many, though, is: Does ‘Graffiti’ do enough to redeem Brown in the court of public opinion? I vote ‘Yes!’, albeit cautiously…
R&B stars Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Mary J Blige all performed on Oprah’s Holiday Music Extravaganza which aired today. Each performed alongside an artist from a different music genre, the performances of which you can watch above (Jennifer Hudson and Sugarland Hudson – Silent Night) and below. They all did a wonderful job: