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Madonna To Adopt Another African Baby
Pop superstar Madonna, today, saw her bid to adopt another child from Malawi denied:
A Malawian court has ruled that US pop star Madonna has failed in her bid to adopt a second child from the country.
“I must decline to grant the application for the adoption of the infant,” judge Esmie Chondo said after a closed-door hearing on Friday.
The application has been rejected over residency rules.
Madonna, who flew to Malawi on Sunday, was not in court to hear the ruling over Chifundo James, three. Her lawyer said she would lodge an appeal.
The 50-year-old singer applied to adopt Chifundo James, whose name translates into English as Mercy, on Monday.
Had her application been successful, Chifundo would have been a sister to David, the first child she adopted from the African country, and her biological children Lourdes and Rocco. {Source}
While I’m pretty indifferent to Madge’s aggressive pursuit of another African baby, I’m keen to hear what you all think…
Your thoughts?
That Grape Juice Interviews Dawn Richard
*Apologies for the delay guys. Rest assured it won’t be happening again. An end the ‘Sam roasting’? LOL*
In part 2 of our look into the demise of Danity Kane, we caught up with former member Dawn Richard. As a big supporter of That Grape Juice, Dawn was keen to use the site as a platform to set the record straight about a number of things, including the rumours of a solo deal, being Diddy’s ‘favourite’, the future of Danity Kane, her romance with Day26’s Qwannel and much much more. As ever, we ask the questions you really want answers to – no beating about any bushes. A great read, if I must say so myself LOL. Enjoy.
Interview by: Sam – That Grape Juice // Transcription: Bisi Kade

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Dawn Richard Shouts Out That Grape Juice

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Sam: Hey Dawn, how are you?

Dawn: I’m good, how are you? I’m great thank you.

Sam: It’s great to finally speak with you. How are you doing?

Dawn: I’m good, working in the studio as we speak.

Sam: What are you working on?

Dawn: I’m just writing. I’m doing a lot of writing for a couple of albums out right now, including my independent one for my soundtrack that I have with my comic book – Danity Kane comics. So (I’ve) been busy, doing a lot of writing.

Sam: With the whirlwind that has been the drama surrounding Danity Kane, you recently confirmed that the group has indeed parted ways…

Dawn: I didn’t confirm that we parted ways. I think everybody got it confused. I never confirmed it, I just told what happened, as regards when we had to show up for the recording of the new season of Making The Band. But I never confirmed whether or not we’re together or not. Because I’m still in touch with Aundrea; she and I are still moving forward with our work and stuff. So I just told the truth, as pertains to what happened in the show.

Sam: In terms of like public opinion and public perception a lot of people seem to think the whole case of like Danity Kane is like a… they didn’t see that as being resolved. What is your take on the whole apparent demise of Danity Kane?

Dawn: I don’t think of it as a demise, I think of it as ‘everything happens for a reason’. (What went down) is not at all I wanted. I wanted to walk away (from the ‘final meeting’) with all my girls because that was a formula that worked for us. That was giving us an opportunity to live our dreams. But that didn’t happen and that’s ok. And whatever happens for everybody I wish them well. You just have to move forward. You can’t keep looking in the past. So for me now I’m just looking forward and just trying to be positive in the situation I’m in.

Sam: The media and fans alike have been debating, since the climatic season finale last year, the reason for the breakup of what many looked at as one of the most promising girl collectives to emerge in recent years. What would you say was the root cause of DK split?

That Grape Juice Interviews Dawn RichardDawn: I think we all made it very clear what we thought was the reason for us separating. I think the fans and a lot of people just tend to just want to believe in their head what they feel it is. And that’s totally fine and that’s totally fine because that’s opinion. But I think we told everyone that it wasn’t just one thing, it wasn’t a person who broke up Danity Kane. There were a lot of situations that happened and that we were fighting with. Whether it was bad management, people being unhappy, or you know…there was more than one thing. It wasn’t just one person it was over a period of time that it happened. But I think fans and people in general just want to have a specific answer, when a situation happens. So, when they don’t get one they tend to choose an answer for themselves.

Sam: How do you feel that the spilt could have been prevented?

Dawn: I really don’t know. I mean a lot of things in life could have been prevented, If we choose the ‘shudda coulda woulda’ way of looking at things. I mean in this case, it doesn’t really help anything. I think at the end of the day it happened and do I wish a lot of things were different. However, life happens like that, not just with our situation, but generally. The biggest thing I wish is that we didn’t have the fans so separated and segregated. I wish we didn’t have to make people pick and choose who they like, who they’re gonna follow, what story there gonna stick to and believe that story. I wish we never had to do that to our fans; that’s my biggest gripe. (Because) I really wish they could just support us no matter what and not really pick a side, as it’s really hard for us to watch fans do that.

Sam: During last season’s finale of Making The Band, it was expressed by other members of the group that they felt you were receiving preferential treatment from Diddy and was being groomed for a solo deal…

Dawn:…I think if people know Puff…like Puff does not treat people preferentially. I’ve never known him to ever treat someone preferentially. I’ve seen him treat his businesses preferentially (laughs), but not a person. And I think that if I was treated preferentially, I feel that the girls maybe would have seen me laced in new things, you know what I mean? Let’s just all be honest and real, you know. I’m real on things. If I was treated in a certain way, I would have been like ‘I’m being treated in a certain way’, you know. But I wasn’t. Puff was all for DK [Danity Kane] and I feel like till this day, he will be for DK. For people who choose to believe that, I appreciate that and people who don’t, that is there opinion. But I can’t keep trying to tell people, I don’t know how many times I can say that is not true. If people are not gonna believe me then there just not gonna believe me.

Sam: Most [loyal] fans do believe that all of the members, including youself, had a hand in the demise of DK, but how does it feel when certain people make it seem like it was 100% your fault? There was talk of a solo deal for and you being groomed for a solo deal. What would you say to those saying such things?

Dawn: It’s hurting, it’s hurting but like I said I can’t force people to believe me. But it is hurting because you know I just I went through the process. Those who really know and those who were really there know where my heart has always been. It is very frustrating when you have different things like a TV show surrounding your situation, which kinda forces people to see a certain thing and that’s the whole picture – when in reality it’s not. So I can’t be mad at the people for feeling a certain way because if they were given a perception. That said, I can be hurt because I know what it is and what it was. You know, I think if anybody else was in the situation I’m in now, and had to live it and see it, they would be feeling a little bad. You have to live it to understand it.

Sam: What was your personal take on Diddy’s initial ousting of D. Woods and Aubrey? How did you deal with their departing from the group?

Dawn: I felt awful. That’s like you having a formula that works for you, you’ve been in theThat Grape Juice Interviews Dawn Richard situation where you’ve had a dream that’s come true for you, then you see that same dream being demolished in a second.

Just because you don’t get along with people in your life and in your work, doesn’t mean…What I’m saying is that you don’t, for example, always have the best business partners. Yet, that doesn’t mean you want to get rid of something that’s working for you and your company. That’s the person I am. We don’t have to get along at the end of the day, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have anybody else working with me because these people are the reason why my dream is coming true. So I was devastated because those were the girls that helped me get to my dreams. People can chose whether they want to be believe that, but I know in my heart that’s the reality of how I felt.

Sam: Were recruiting new members something ever discussed?

Dawn: On the show I did mention that to Drea [Aundrea] but she said she felt uncomfortable about that and Diddy said he would address that in the next meeting. So everyone has to watch the show. It’s on tomorrow Thursday at 9pm. Check it out and see what happens!

Sam: With making the band being such an integral part of the Danity Kane movement, what do you feel was left out from the show which would have conveyed ‘the reality of Danity Kane’ to your fans, particularly in light of the recent situation – as it has come as a surprise to many. With many believing it to be a publicity stunt initially.

Dawn: Well you guys didn’t see us when we were on the road, you didn’t see the moments when you know our business manager was indicted (laughs). You didn’t see, you know (laughs), those big moments where we lost our manager twice; you know you guys didn’t see those things. So you didn’t see us at our worst moments when we had to try and pick up the pieces, sewing our own outfits on tour. You guys didn’t see those moments. So you guys didn’t see how hard it was for us to try and make it work when we had so many odds against us.

Like honestly, honestly I don’t know, I don’t know. Because I feel like if the whole thing would have been shown they (the public) still would have made the interpretation the way they wanted to make it. Like I don’t know what, because I thought that from what people saw they would get it quite easily and they didn’t (laughs). I’m getting emails the next day like ‘I hope you die’. I mean I thought it was quite clear, that it was quite obvious. I think if you were a true fan and you followed Danity Kane, you saw events and you saw how the situation went down. I don’t know, I don’t know! What else could have been seen? I think at the end people found it hard to understand what was going on, hence pledged allegiances to the members they loved most and came to their own conclusions.

Sam: You say on the current season trailer, when talking to Day26, that Danity Kane fought physically. Could you elaborate on that?

Dawn: We had arguments; of course everybody has had arguments. I meant we fought like thatThat Grape Juice Interviews Dawn Richard and that didn’t get us anywhere, so (I was telling Day26) ‘please don’t do that’. That’s what I meant.

Sam: Ok. Prior to the season which saw Danity Kane return to Making The Band, you announced via your Myspace that D.woods and Aubrey had chosen to leave the group and the remaining three members would continue as Danity Kane. Since then we saw all five girls return. Many are keen to find out what exactly was the situation behind this?

Dawn: No I never said that. I know exactly what you’re talking about No! When D and Aubrey were rumoured to being going solo (as well as leaving the group), we didn’t want people to think that was true. We hadn’t talked to each other, so we said, and I’m quoting exactly what we said, ‘we support any endeavours that D. Woods and Aubrey embark on. Meanwhile, while they’re doing them, we will continue to hold down the fort.’ And everybody was like ‘Dawn has confirmed…’ You see what I’m saying… how people… I’m still learning in this business how to say things because I’m just so real, I’ll just say the reality of things, but people will take it and twist it. Then I get in trouble and I’m like ‘that’s not what I was saying’ and people start going ‘she said…’ It’s like I never said they were gone, I never said that. I said that ‘I was supporting any endeavour they embark on’. We were trying to make right for all them bad rumours that were coming up, so we were trying to ensure people that Danity Kane were still together, and that even though they were doing solo ventures we still were supporting them. But people was like ‘Dawn’s confirmed it’ and it just made me so mad. I can’t win.

Sam: I hear you. What’s your take on the handling of the group as well as the group’s success in the short while you were together?

Dawn: You know, I think it’s just not Bad Boy. I think people have it twisted, because they see certain things and just tend to put things on one label. All labels and all artist go through the same thing. I can name a couple of artist that have had first singles and the second singles take forever (to be released) and it dies out or the promotion isn’t as big on the second single and they die out. I can name a whole bunch of artists that this has happened to. That’s just the reality of this business. It’s a recession right now. Labels are losing money, artist are losing money. It’s political. There’s a lot of politics in this business. We can have a great first single then maybe for some reason another artist comes out on the label and they become top priority, so then our single is pushed to the side. That’s business. It’s just not our label, that’s every label. You know, I think people get it confused with just ours. That’s just dealing with the label it’s competitive and that’s just what you have to deal with.

Sam: Do you feel the fact you were made on a reality show impacted your credibility i.e. in the way of radio play, awards? I ask as many hail ‘Welcome To The Dollhouse’ as a great album, yet you all got very little back in the way of awards or nominations?

Dawn: Of course. We’re taken for as a joke. Our peers don’t really respect us as musicians. We had to totally fight every 5 seconds to make people believe that we did deserve to be in this industry. Our fans were amazing, we had great fans. But our peers and people that worked in the industry didn’t want to work with us, didn’t want to put us in those categories, and didn’t want to nominate us for things. I mean ‘Damaged’ did so well, yet we never got nominated for anything with that record. I mean we did get that one MTV nomination [2008 MTV Best Pop Video] and we lost to it. But it was like one of the biggest records of the summer. We just couldn’t win. It was like, no matter how much we try, how many steps we take up with our writing skills or our music, we just take 10 steps back because of the show. No, our peers don’t take us seriously at all.

Sam: Is that something you felt frustrated about or did you just feel you needed to continue striving to earn your credibility?

Dawn: I’ve learned that I’m I don’t feel frustrated about those things. I just continuously try keep walking in the light. I felt like ‘if you don’t respect my artistry now, you will eventually’. And I’ll just work for you to get it, I’m not going to be waiting for people to get it. I’m just gonna make myself better until they get it. That’s how I felt like we needed to be and I still feel like that now about myself, about the group. Some of us didn’t handle it that way, some of us did.

Sam: What’s your current status with each of the girls?

Dawn: My current status with Danity Kane is I wish them nothing but the best. And that’s for the record. I wish them nothing but the best in anything that they do cause they’ll be great in it.

Sam: Your take on Aubrey’s playboy spread?

Dawn: I’m glad she’s doing what she does. I’m glad she’s happy, I’m glad she’s doing what she loves. As long as she’s happy, I’m supportive.

Sam: You’ve gone on record to say you felt certain parts of Aubrey’s image weren’t That Grape Juice Interviews Dawn Richardinline with what the group were trying to perpetuate to your young audience. Yet we have songs such as ‘Bad Girl’, ‘Striptease’ and ‘Ecstacy’ from ‘Welcome To The Dollhouse’, which arguably also aren’t for that audience. Your take on this?

Dawn: I never, once again… I can’t stand this (laughs). I never had a problem with Aubrey’s status or what Aubrey does. Someone asked me ‘why did Aubrey get kicked out of Danity Kane?’ and I said what was quoted from the show! I didn’t say ‘I don’t like what she wore!’ I said ‘the reason why she was put out was because of what Puff said in the interview,’ and I wasn’t making anything up, I was just saying what was said on the show. And people said that I said it and that I was it’s like I can’t win. I didn’t ever have a problem with Aubrey… I love my group. I know who my group are – individually. I don’t have a problem with anyone. My issues were laid with the brand of the group. As long as the brand was taken care of and we were doing the right things, then I was cool. If we had an issue with our brand, that’s when I had something to say about it. Now, people ask me questions and I say exactly what was said from the man who did it and all of a sudden it was me who said it! I don’t have an issue with her in doing that. If that’s what she wants to do, then she’ll be great at what she does and that’s it.

Sam: Thanks for clearing that up.

You have evidently been blessed with an abundance of talent. What does the future hold for you? Solo deal, writing for others etc?

Dawn: Well, right now I’m working on an independent comic book soundtrack. And I have a single for it called ‘Falls Away’, which is on MySpace right now and it’s doing extremely well. It has almost 500,000 hits and I’m really excited about that. The fans have been really supportive. The follow-up leaked, a track called ‘If I Could’ and it’s amazing. The producer called ‘The Zamp’ did the track. It’s amazing. I’m really happy to just do something independent, something just my own. Nothing ‘solo’, as such; it’s not anything like that. It’s just something for me, ‘cause I write the comic book and not a lot of people do soundtracks for comic books. I love music and it’s just an opportunity to branch out and give the fans some great. I’m not putting a label on it, its nothing like that; it’s nothing like a solo career. Please, people do not get me in trouble every time I say something!

I’m writing a lot. I’m learning as a song-writer. Song writing and publishing is where you get your money and learn most from. So for me, it could be a small artist or a big artist, it’s a pay check. What’s more, it’s something that is helping me learn everyday, so I’m very happy that I get an opportunity to do it because it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like fun and I just get paid for it, so like it’s a great opportunity to learn and you never know what the future holds for me. I have a really strong work ethic. I will not stop. I have not slept in months. But it’s okay ‘cause I feel like that day when I lay my head down, that day when I get that *good good* sleep, it will be worth it because I worked so hard to get where I want to get. That’s where I’m at right now.

Sam: While Bad Boy has been a force in the past, we cannot shy away from a certain pattern that has emerged. A lot of people have followed Diddy’s career and track record. It’s no surprise that most of his artists, especially solo ones, aren’t as successful as they should be. What would be your terms & conditions to him, if he was to give you a solo deal [if he hasn’t already]?

Dawn: I don’t have any terms or conditions. I don’t know those things; I don’t know those things until I get to it. What I will say is that I don’t look at things, names and labels and all that. I just look at talent. Like I said, it’s a recession; a lot of people (including established artists) are falling with CD sales and stuff. It’s not just this label; a lot of people haven’t been doing as great as they could be doing right now because it’s a slow economy at present. Saying that, there’s always a first time or a new time for something and I feel like I have been blessed with the opportunity to have my dreams come true more than one time.

Sam: Cool. You’ve probably been asked several times, but do you feel like there is a possibility for you guys to ever get back together?

Dawn: You never know, you never know. I would never say no to that…

Sam: We’ve seen your relationship with Day26’s Qwanell blossom on television. Tell us 3 things you find special about Q.

Dawn: I think the biggest thing with him is that I am still extremely attracted to him. Like the first day I met him I still look at him sometimes and find myself like ‘dang he’s a good catch!’ I still get that as if it’s the first time we saw each other. And you’re like ‘dang ooh’… I still get that feeling with him, and it’s a good feeling. I think the second thing is, he’s my homie…like that’s my best friend. We have the best times just laughing and goofing around; we can’t separate the two. One day we’ll be all ‘lovey dovey’ and the next day it’s all about just homies day out. It’s like two friends going out and chilling you know. We just have that different dynamic. We have different elements of our relationship which I think is amazing. The third thing is you know we don’t sweat the small things. We’re very open with our relationship. We understand each others inside out, so we don’t ever let little small things affect how great we are as a team. It makes it work great. I have never had so fun mThat Grape Juice Interviews Dawn Richarduch knowing someone or being with someone that I have with Q.

Sam: How do you manage to maintain your relationship with the constant cameras?

Dawn: We don’t even see them, we don’t even see them anymore. Some people say that’s a scary thing because living your relationship in public could potentially ruin it. We know that and that’s a scary thing; but are we supposed to fake it and whatnot or close up when the cameras come? That wouldn’t be us. We’re real people, it wouldn’t be us if we tried to pretend like ‘okay I’m not going to touch you when the camera comes’ because that’s just wack. It’s not real; so for us we don’t see them (the cameras). The way we are together, is the way we are together on camera.

Sam: What can we expect in the current season of making the band. Surprise appearances? Your role?

Dawn: You have to watch, there’s a lot of things that’s gonna happen with these last couple of episodes. So Thursday 9pm, stay glued to the TV because you you’ll be surprised!

Sam: With the entertainment industry being so cut-throat and ruthless, how does Dawn plan on lasting the distance

Dawn: That’s a great question. I do think this industry is extremely cut throat. For me, though, I just will not accept failure and I will not expect quitting. So if it means more hours extra hours, and what not, for this person right here, I’m gonna be the person that comes in early and leaves late. And that’s just the way it is. I’ll be damned if I see it (success) go away. Because I know what the other side is like, I’ve been homeless, I’ve seen what it’s like to be in that environment and I refuse to be there, because I worked extremely hard to get where I am. So, for me, in order to be great, you have to put in the work for it. So I’m going to make sure I know this industry back and forth, as well as my craft. Make sure I know where the snakes fly and know how to step over them, move over and get to where I need to go.

Sam: Tell us a bit about Danity Kane comics?

Dawn: Yes, the first issue is out on www.danitykane.com. The second issue will be done in the fourth quarter which is around December of this year. The soundtrack will be out at the end of March of this year 2009. I’m really excited; it will be available at www.dkcomics.com.

Sam: That’s great. Wrapping up now, which Danity Kane song is your favourite?

Dawn: That’s a hard one – I like so many. ‘Sucka for Love’…

Sam: Could you give us an acapella of ‘Sucka for Love’, please?

Dawn: OK (laughs)…



…Danity Kane… the great thing about us was that we had five leads, so I’m just trying to overlap and sing at the same time (laughs)

Sam: It’s cool (laughs).

It has been recently been announced that Michael Jackson will be returning to the stage; I don’t know if you know about that. A lot of the British press have been very cynical as to whether Michael Jackson still has ‘It.’ Do you think…

Dawn: Of course! Michael can do no wrong when it comes to music. He can just moonwalk across the stage and it just makes me smile. Even if Michael Jackson doesn’t have ‘it’, he still has ‘it’. It’s Michael, come on now (laughs).

Sam: Most definitely!

What songs or albums do you have on constant rotation at the minute?

Dawn: I just got hip to ‘Chair Lift’ and I’m really liking them. I just bought The Dream’s album. Love it. Amazing. Who else has been on heavy rotation? ‘Ryan Leslie’ his album has been on rotation and love the ‘Sheen’s’ and ‘Vampire Weekend’.

Sam: Dawn I would like to say a very big thank you for your time and it’s very much appreciated

Dawn: No worries. I enjoyed speaking with you. I love love love the site!

Sam : Thank you 🙂

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Your thoughts on the interview?



Review up shortly…


In the meanwhile…

What do you think of the video?

Scherzinger: 'My Solo Album Is Coming Very Soon'During the press rounds for the Pussycat Dolls’ ‘Doll Domination 2.0’ re-release, lead singer Nicole Scherzinger revealed her ill-fated solo attempt is set to be resurrected very soon:

Chief Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger says her long-awaited solo album “may come more sooner than later,” but after two years of projected release dates and delays she’s not about to set one now.

“I think it’ll just come out when it wants to come out, on its own,” Scherzinger tells Billboard.com. “I’m still working on my album, and I’m very excited. I’m a relentless perfectionist. I get one chance to put out a first (solo) album, so when the right time comes I will put it out.”

Scherzinger has been working on the album, tentatively titled “My Name is Nicole,” since 2006. She’s released several singles — “Whatever U Like,” “Baby Love,” “Puakenikeni” and “Supervillian” — while several of the other songs considered for the project turned up on the Dolls’ 2008 released “Doll Domination.” The current incarnation of the album, she says, “is just in the works and in talks and in the writing process. I haven’t started recording yet.” She hopes to hit the studio in the summer, after the Dolls finish their run opening for Britney Spears and then tour Europe again.

“I’ll be excited to get back with old friends — will.i.am., Timbaland,” says Scherzinger. She also plans to work with good pal Lady Gaga and hopes to continue a new association with Academy Award-winning Indian composer A.R. Rahman, who collaborated with Scherzinger and the Dolls on an English version of his “Slumdog Millionaire” track “Jai Ho!” {Source}

As talented as she is, Nicole seems to lack that certain something as a solo artist. That, or people are so fed up of having her shoved in our faces as the only face / voice of the Pussycat Dolls that anything more (i.e. her solo attempts) would just be too much.

Are you still checking for Nicole’s solo LP?
That Grape Juice Interviews D. Woods

*Apologies for the delay guys. Rest assured it won’t be happening again. An end the ‘Sam roasting’? LOL*
With all the drama and hysteria surrounding the recent break-up of Danity Kane, many fans and observers have been left wondering what exactly caused the demise of arguably the industry’s most promising group. What’s more, many are keen to know what the future holds for the Danity Kane brand as well former members, who they have come to know and love over the years.
We caught up with former Danity Kane star and friend of That Grape Juice D. Woods, recently, who, as ever, spoke frankly about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! The cause of the break-up, Dawn going solo, Bad Boy, her own solo plans, Aubrey’s Playboy spread, the future of the group and so much more. A lengthy, yet really great read. Enjoy!
Interview by: Sam – That Grape Juice // Transcription: Bisi Kade

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D. Woods Shouts Out That Grape Juice

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Sam: Hey D, how are you? It’s been a while since we last met up, at last year’s MOBO Awards. What have you been up to since then?

D. Woods: I have been doing a lot of revamping and reinventing myself (laughs). (I’ve) been doing a lot of work in the studio, as well as setting up some new business ventures. So that’s been like from last November till now. And of course you know the election, being all excited and going to the events for our new president! Obama. So that’s just been another big part (laughs), I feel like Obama is part of the family now.

Sam: Ok, so this week saw Dawn from the group confirm that Danity Kane is indeed no more, citing the fact only she and Aundrea turned up for the filming of the new season of Making The Band – despite all being invited. What’s your take on what appears to be the official demise of Danity Kane?

D. Woods: Well… I mean, the official split and break up was aired during the last episode of last season. It was on our season finale so that’s been fact for some time now. It was a lot longer than what the general public knew because the split happened about two months before it aired. It’s something that had been in existence since the end of August of 2008.

You know it’s unfortunate. I do believe that we had great potential, but at the same time you know all things do come to an end and I feel like we accomplished a great amount of things as a group. Now it’s just a new season, you know a season of life and just time to support each other in what we’re doing after.

Sam: What would you say led to the issues with the group to begin with? (i.e. trust, commitment, friendship etc)?

D. Woods: Well I even voiced this on that ‘final meeting’ that we had. However you know because of television editing and stuff, it didn’t quite get aired! (Laughs) But I definitely voiced it and it was definitely the general feeling of all 5 of us that the cause was the issues we were dealing with as a group with the structure around us. From the onset, you know almost literally from day one, after our names were called out to be the official 5 members of Danity Kane, we were dealing with a lot of issues – everything from business and structure, team-wise, foundation and just how to function as a group, as well as how to put the right people around us.

We were 5 individuals, with different prior experiences with the music industry and entertainment industry. So when you have all these people who have been doing it on their own and then we’re in a situation where we never had like a team leader or a coach. It’s like on a basketball team, you can’t have all these star players and not have the right coach to utilize everyone’s best assets for the good of the team, and that was something we were struggling with from the jump. And I mean you could probably even attach to knowing that ‘Danity Kane’ was capable of so much more then what you saw, but we just never quite got there, you know what I mean? 

All that always goes back to the team (laughs) you know what I’m saying? The team around us. It’s not enough to just be talented, and it’s not enough for us to just work on our friendship. Our individual relationships were the smallest of issues; after all that happens with any group of people, you know what I mean? Your gonna have special relationships, your gonna have a little bit of clashing of personalities just because we hadn’t known each other before we were put into the group. These are things everyone goes through, yet really trying to make it work under such a microscope of that reality show camera (laughs), where every single issue was magnified and dramatised, took its toll, I think.

Sam: There seemed to be sentiments in the last episode that Dawn was being groomed for a solo deal of some sort?

D. Woods: Well, we knew that was happening for almost a year, (laughs) prior to it actually coming to a head at that finale meeting. And it’s just like, to me, you know that is the decision of the record label [Bad Boy]. It is what it is. During the finale meeting (not all of which was aired), I was just like (to Diddy) “I’m happy that you took to her (Dawn), I think she’s a great talent” Everyone’s preference is different, and his was her, you know what I mean? I was like you know “congratulations I hope you guys do great things”’. Unfortunately, I feel it wasn’t really presented in the right way. I feel like it’s about what you do, it’s about how you do it and I don’t feel like they (Diddy and the label) really prepared the whole collective for that particular decision in the most constructive way. That said (laughs,) it’s not really my place to say, I’m not the executive of the company and it’s not my life and my career; that’s Dawn’s decision. So, like I said when I was departing from the meeting at the last part of that episode, I was like “I’m glad he believed in you, I’m glad he saw something you in you and I hope you go far”.

Sam: Ok. Do you feel, in light of the escalating issues you described the group as dealing with, that you would have left the group irrespective of whether or not Diddy had called the meeting or ousted yourself or Aubrey? Or do you think you have probably would have stayed?

D. Woods: I can never really say, because it happened they way it did. I know that I tried many different tactics of making the situation work (laughs). During the 2 year+ span of being of a part of Danity Kane, I know that I offered as many parts of myself – my talent, my intellect, my resources, my relationships. I’m just definitely the type of person where I don’t really through my hands up and walk away. I feel like God had to make an exit for me (laughs), because I probably would have tried whatever otherThat Grape Juice Interviews D. Woodsr tactic I could think of to make it work. I probably would have like just kept trying until I was forced out, and that’s what basically happened (laughs). It was like “get out” and I was like “alright then, fine, I’ll leave” (laughs) you know what I mean. But, you know, when I’m a part of something I believe in I go 110%. I’m a Cancer so loyalty is definitely a prominent personality trait I have, and sometimes loyalty is to my detriment and I’m that’s just a life lesson that I’m learning, how to fine-tune that.

Sam: In our last interview, just before ‘Welcome to The Dollhouse’ dropped, you expressed that management and label issues were staple problems during the release of your first album. Did this change the 2nd go round?

D. Woods: It’s kind of like putting a bandage on a gunshot wound for a little bit, you know (laughs). That’s just the first analogy that I came up with (laughs). It’s like you can stop some of the bleeding, you make it a little bit numb to the pain, but all in all the problems were still there. I was happy that MTV did air and did showcase a little bit of the struggle that we were going through just to kind of like to gain some type of artistic integrity during that ‘Welcome to The Dollhouse’ album. I mean they only showed like the tip of the iceberg, but you know that was one of the times that I know myself and Aubrey we were tag teaming, like “Okay you talk to them (Diddy, the label, producers etc) now”… “alright you say this cause you better at talking to them in those type of ways and you know Rick Ross so why don’t you ask him to get on this song” etc. We were just really putting our heads together as to how to really make the album something that we could genuinely call our own.

But at the same time, we were like “why were we doing that?” We were just the artists, yet we had to play a lot of different roles and wear a lot of different hats, when we really should have been just thinking about being the best artistically and letting our management take those battles for us, you know what I mean? [Sighs] So, yeah experiences… it’s been a learning experience and I’m definitely proud of the album at the end of the day. Sometimes you go on an uphill battle and then you finally get to a Plateau and you’re like ‘Wooo, that was hard I don’t want to do it again like that, but I am glad I did it’ (laughs).

Sam: (laughs). Ok, so with Reality TV a lot if left on the cutting room floor, what didn’t we see that, perhaps would have shed more light on the situation?

D. Woods: Umm… I think you would have seen more of the individual roles that each one of us played, you would have seen a lot more of the creativity that I know I, myself, brought to the table. I think you would have seen a lot more of the passion, (you would have seen) that we weren’t just a bunch of whiny girls wanting it our way. We were trying hard (laughs), you know what I’m saying. We had already gone through the whole issue of proving ourselves initially and there we were proving ourselves once again; so you would have seen just more of a determination which screamed “alright okay we made it through door number 1, but we still have to get through door number 2”. You would have seen how we basically picked ourselves back up, and put ourselves back together from (a predicament of) almost being dropped from the label after the first album; and then putting ourselves back together as well as getting that motivation to not only do it again, but do it better than before.

I also wished they showed more of some of the silliness (laughs), you know what I mean? Like they made it so serious and so dramatised; we had so much fun while we were in Miami and we had some great times also at the ‘Circle House Studio’. I mean I really love those people over there. I built up a lot of good relationships with writers and producers that I probably would not have met had I not gone through that experience. One is producer Kwamѐ. I and he have continued to work together, and we have a really good working relationship. We balance ideas off one another really well. So yeah, more of the fun times.

Sam: In the trailer for the new season of ‘Making the Band’, Dawn is seen speaking to a few members of the Day 26 in one of their bust ups and she was quoted as saying ‘that DK actually thought physically’. Is there any kind of light you can shed on that?

D. Woods: I, myself, have never been in a physical altercation with any of the group members (laughs). I just know that that’s just not the way you solve problems, especially if you expect to come back together and work together. I just knew that, because, as heated as some of our discussions could get, I never wanted it to get to the physical, physical abuse…

Sam: But is it something that did go down in the group, during the time you were together?

D. Woods: I will say that a lot of objects flew (laughs) not from me, and I had to duck a few (laughs). My stature is just bigger than all the rest of girls’ I’m just tallest one, I’m a more muscular shape and everything. So I just knew that I just never wanted to be put in that position (laughs) where I would have to go into any of that. I didn’t want any of that to happen (laughs).

Sam: (Laughs!) Do you feel the direction of the group was restricted due to commitments on Making The Band in terms of International promotion, strengthening the brand as a whole? Many were perplexed when after just one single, the group went on tour, with a 2nd single (‘Bad Girl’) being released so long after.
That Grape Juice Interviews D. Woods

D. Woods: To be honest, I can’t really say. I know that I wanted us to definitely have a bigger international campaign. That is one of the main arguments I made and fought for with the 2nd album and some of the things I fought for, because I just know that the world is so much bigger than just the U.S market. It’s great to be accepted at home, but there are so many opportunities to tap into and knowing that if our music could relate more to an international market then there would be so many opportunities of touring, of collaborating with other artist etc. Unfortunately, that never happened and I can’t put my finger on the exact cause (budget, etc). They (the label and team behind us) just never really like pushed it for us to travel and nurture our audience Internationally. That said, that’s definitely something I’m aiming to do with my future project; I’ve already started putting work in on that front. That’s why I was there for the MOBO Awards (back in October). I was like “I need to come over here (laughs)… I need to touch this ground because I know it’s there”. I befriended Estelle and she had a lot of things to say in terms of how things work on the UK scene. I have some friends in Amsterdam and West Africa and I’m just like ‘okay ya’ll, I just got to get there, I got to get there’. I’m making preparations for myself to be able to do things I knew that Danity Kane would have been able to do. I’m gonna make sure I do them myself, now that the opportunity is there.

Sam: In last year’s season finale, you stated that everyone hasn’t been happy for long. How long has it been since you where happy in DK and what was your last memory of enjoying moments with everyone of the girls (specific with moments with each one)?

D. Woods: (Sighs) Like I said earlier, we were dealing with problems from the very beginning, yet there were A LOT of good times. I really can’t like pinpoint a month day or anything where I can say ‘yeah this is where like the good out ways the bad’, it was always kind of like a fight between the two. It was a fight to just try to look at the glass as being more half full, (rather) than half empty.

I recently wrote a letter to my fans on MySpace ‘cause I hadn’t really spoken out about anything. But I just wanted to let them know that I was having one of those moments when I was remembering how a lot of the time it was them that kept us (DK) going. ‘Cause we were like “we have some great fans… we have some really like great people who show up to every show”. There’s fans that I know personally; I know their first and last names, their mothers, their little brothers and sisters that they brought, and it’s like they almost became like our family…we called them our ‘fanily’ instead of ‘m’ for family, but we put a ‘n’ because it’s like our fans ‘like ya’ll our fanily’. So like, it really was like those experiences with them… the things they would give us cards, scrapbooks. That, more than anything, kept us pushing because we knew that there was at least you 50 people waiting outside right then, who just want to just hang out (laughs).

Sam: D, could you please elaborate on ‘Swagga like Us’, the Girls Club song

D. Woods: Girls Club! (Laughs). The group (we write and perform together), consists of myself, Meka Means, and Shanell. You know, we are definitely all about the girl power; we will be like U.S, raunchier version of the Spice Girls (laughs).

But (about the song)… we started hearing all the remixes of ‘Swagga like Us’ and we wanted to do one. We love M.I.A (the song’s originator), so we felt we got to represent for her because all these dudes jumping on her song. We wanted to give her something for the females and that’s really it you know…

Sam: People were under the impression that you were kind of taking aim at particular members of the group [DK].

D. Woods: (Pause) well I would just have to say that if you thought (laughs) I was talking about you, maybe you did something. But I really wasn’t, though. That’s an issue one has to take on for them and ask themselves: “Is it me? Did I do that? Did she feel that way?” But generally, it’s boasting that’s all Hip-Hop is. It’s talking junk, it’s playing dozens, it’s doing all of that. It’s making analogies and that’s all that it is. Like ‘Swagga’ you know what I’m saying (laughs).

Sam: I hear you. So, Diddy is quoted as saying that he is not allowing anyone out of their contract? What’s your current contractual obligation to Bad Boy / Making The Band looking like as at now?

D. Woods: (Sighs) Well, umm, someone called me and told me about that. It wasThat Grape Juice Interviews D. Woods on a promo or commercial or something right? (Sighs) yeah I would have to say that (laughs) they do a lot on that show, the creators of that show, and the creators of the promos, and the editors, the producers… they’re wonderful at doing their job…on making content and baiting people to want to watch. On top of that, Puff knows his reputation in the industry and so they play on that. So I think that is that is what that was I mean… yeah….

Sam: Is it one of those things you can’t comment on?

D. Woods: I’m just not gonna (laughs) comment on it.

Sam: Sam: (Laughs). Alrighty. What does the future hold for D. Woods? Will we be seeing you on the next season of Making the Band? Sound we can expect from your solo project etc…

D. Woods: Well you should look forward to definitely seeing me; I know that is a lot of folks’ concern. Like you asked me earlier “What have you been doing since the split?”

I definitely have been taking this time to really like decompress. Especially after being so committed to Danity Kane and what we wanted to create as a group, in terms of image perception and what specifically Boldwe wanted to stand for. It’s a case of trying to switch lanes from that.

It’s a process of really getting into myself and what I want to stand for, and what I want to use my talent and my art to do. So that’s what I’ve been doing, generally.

I have a couple things (that I’m working on) that kind of touch a lot of different interests of mine. I’m developing my known profit organisation called ‘Project Girls Club’. My group ‘The Girls Club’ is kinda like our version of a music industry sorority, so Project Girls Club would be like an outreach to younger girls to inspire them to do whatever it is that interest them. Investing in their interests and coming up with different ways to just support and give outlets to the youth. So that’s what I’m currently working on as well as a lot of new music for myself and other people.

And then there’s also finding creative ways to fuse my more artsy theatrical background with my more commercial industry status right now. So one of my professors from New York University we’ve been talking, and he actually is publishing some of his writing and actually quoting some my writing that I did when I was under him (in his writing). So I was like ‘wow so I’m gonna start delving back into that side of myself and developing some stage performance stuff’. I have a degree in theatre in NYU [New York University]. So I’ve been reading scripts and looking into film and television, but also like developing new work specifically for theatre. I love being creative, which is a really great feeling and space to be in mentally. Because after having to wear so many different types of hats (laughs) you kind of forget that you’re an artist. I’m a artist, first, at the end of the day.

Sam: Can we expect a solo deal in the future?

D. Woods: Well you definitely can, yeah.

Sam: So that’s a yes?

D. Woods: Yes… and you can also expect, my mix tape series to start hitting the information airwaves, my mix tape series is entitled ‘Independence Day’ gonna drop the first of the tapes in February, and it’s gonna be a little warm up (laughs) and definitely having fun on records. You can expect ‘Swagga Like Us’ remix to be on there too (laughs).

Sam: Cool. On the season finale of making the band, Diddy insinuated that he may have made a mistake in letting you go, yet continued to defend his decision to get rid of Aubrey. If he approached to rejoin the band sans the 2nd half of ‘D. Breezy’, would you consider a return?

D. Woods: Umm I think that after being fired so publicly (laughs), I think I’m ‘damaged’… to use one of our songs (laughs). Yeah, I’m a little bit damaged. Like, for whatever reason he (Diddy) may use as to why he kicked me out of the group, it was reason enough for him to do it. I don’t believe that the reason was just because of Aubrey. There was a real reason why he decided to terminate me, which I guess only he knows; a reason that will probably come up again, if I was to return.

Sometimes when you break up with someone in a relationship, that’s really where it should end, know what I’m saying? And I wish all of them well, but trying to put it back together usually brings to the forefront why you broke up in the first place.
(Laughs) I broke up with somebody actually! I just keep going back to breaking up with my ex-boyfriend…random…(laughs) so I’m kind of like damaged in that way too…

Sam: Is that a recent occurrence?

D. Woods: Yeah so I didn’t have a Valentine this year…

Sam: Awww (laughs). I’m sure there are plenty of guys queing up for you…

D. Woods: I wish (laughs)…

Sam: Aubrey…what’s your take on her recently released Playboy spread?

D. Woods: She told me she was gonna do it, she called me when she got the offer. We talk about everything that we’re both actually offered. We talked when she was offered ‘Hairspray’ [musical], we talked about when she was offered Playboy. And I just said “You know what? If you don’t have a problem within yourself, then do it! Just make sure that it’s tasteful”. Her main thing was that she wanted to make sure it looked tasteful. She wanted to make sure it was more of an artful photo-shoot, rather than just putting it all out there. So she told me, after she was done with the shoot, that it was done really beautifully and that she was really proud of the pictures. She really loved the photographer and she the loved the stylist and the makeup and the hair. And I could tell that it was something that made her feel good, I feel good for her. You know what I mean?

Sam: Some argue Aubrey changed in comparison to when she first joined the band. What’s your take on this?

D. Woods: It depends on what everyone’s opinion on her ‘change’ is. I will say, though, people change (laughs), people do not stay the same. When she auditioned for ‘Making the Band’, she auditioned a year before I did, so now that’s going on 4 years. People change in 4 years! You know what I mean, so you can’t expect anyone to stay exactly the same.

Sam: Very true. Do you still speak with any of the girls, as well as Diddy? What’s your relationship with each of the ladies like at present?

D. Woods: Umm the relationship that we had before the spilt is basically the same. The same amount of communication that I had with each of the girls then is the same as now now…

Sam: So is it a case of you more closer to Aubrey and the other girls you speak to more sparsely?

D. Woods: Yeah.

Sam: What about Diddy?

D. Woods: Exactly the same (laughs). When it was time to talk to the boss, we talked to him. He is not my boss anymore (laughs).

Sam: Harking back to one of the earlier questions; it was said that all of the girls were invited back to the most recent season. Is there truth to that? Were you invited back but declined?

D. Woods: Because of the situation and the way that it did play out, it was very complicated. It wasn’t as simple as just an invitation to just come back and someone just saying no. It was some other things that are very delicate and we never came to an agreement on the terms of how to come back.

Sam: Ok, what are the chances of reconciliation among all five girls? Is it possible at all for the girls to record under a different label with the same etc?

D. Woods: There’s always possibilities. I think that it always depends on each individual and where they are in their life and definitely how each person conducts themselves in that time span. When we left that finale meeting, I didn’t have any bad blood with anyone. So it just would depend on how each person conducts themselves, from now till whatever reunion or whatever.

Sam: Another question people are kind of keen to pose is if it is possible for the girls to perform under a different label, but with the same name? Is that a possibility at all?

D. Woods: (Sighs) (laughs) People have been wanting to know that since the first album. Again these are all things that music industry 101, take it, read all the books (laughs) and then it’s not just ABC 123 it’s defiantly a business yeah.

Sam: Are you aware of the division the DK split has caused between the fans? Many fans are finger pointing. Any message to the fans to stop hating on one another?

D. Woods: Yeah, I mean I knew that was gonna happen. Especially in the way it was aired and shown, the whole story is never told. So I would just to anyone who may want to choose a side, you know just really… I would say thank you first of all for being so invested and so concerned, that you are emotionally to the point where you want to point a finger and your mad. Because if you didn’t care you wouldn’t be mad, so obviously we made you care enough about all of us as a group or as a individual in a group, that you feel some type of way that the group spilt up. I would say thank you first. Second I would say it was a television show that these people watched at home in their living rooms, we lived it 24/7 all your seeing is about 35 minutes or I don’t know if it’s the 30 minute episode your only really seeing 19 minutes of are 24/7 life. So you don’t know the whole story please just support each person when they do what they gonna do after it. Because you can never understand the full scope of the situation at hand. And we ourselves who lived it we’re still trying to understand what happened.

Sam: Anything else you wish to add?

D. Woods: My website is missdwoods.com, I’m re-launching the site as well this month, to come along with my mix tape ‘Independence Day’ coming soon and stay tuned be excited cause it’s a new phase and I’m always aim to just be inspirational innovative in whatever I do so just be excited for what’s gonna come, cause its gonna be good.

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Your thoughts on the interview?

Lady GaGa took to the stage on last night’s American Idol to perform her current single ‘Pokerface’, which coincidentally hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 yesterday. While the vocals were questionable (very, in places), I did enjoy the performance on the whole. GaGa definitely serves as a much-needed breath of fresh air in today’s formulaic industry. 
Tidbit: GaGa’s #1 with ‘Pokerface’ is notable, as she joins a list of select few who have managed to hit #1 their with first and second singles. Go GaGa!
What do you think of the performance?

Many thanks for your continued patience with the Danity Kane D.Woods and Dawn Richard interviews. They were anticipated to be rolled out tonight, yet the server is finding it hard to cope with the length of both interviews. That said, they will be up UK time 8.30am 2nd April. You will not be disappointed (and the Sam roasting and cussing will end LOL). In the meanwhile, check out D.Woods and Dawn shouting out That Grape Juice:


That Grape Juice Exclusive: Kelly Rowland Update
Following the news of Kelly Rowland’s departure from Columbia Records earlier this week, rumours have been surfacing about the ‘Like This’ singer – one of the most ludicrous being that she is supposedly on suicide watch. Kelly’s team have reached out to That Grape Juice to clear things up, peep the statement they issued exclusively to That Grape Juice within the last hour:

The rumours that Kelly Rowland is on suicide watch as a result of her parting ways with Sony record label, are completely untrue.

The reality is that Kelly has spent the last week in Miami premiering ‘Love Takes Over’ with superstar French producer David Guetta, and hanging out with Guetta, Jade Jagger, and Will.i.am.

“As a solo artist, I felt the need to explore new directions, new challenges, and new freedoms outside my comfort zone,” Rowland said in a statement.

Columbia, for its part, said Rowland’s departure was a mutual decision, “and any reports to the contrary are false.”

Following Rowland’s split from Matthew Knowles’ Music World, and her appointment of Above and Beyond to handle her branding, Kelly is at the centre of three huge endorsement deals set to net her over £1 million this year. They include an exclusive restaurant launch and deal with a major high street fashion brand. Kelly was also recently asked to perform at Glastonbury but has declined as she’s tied up with filming ‘The Fashion show.’

Ms. Kelly certainly looks to be making all the right power moves to ensure she is able to endure in this indsustry – and get the recognition she deserves. More power to her! She told y’all she was gonna “bump like this” LOL.

In other Kelly news, Bravo have sent along Kelly’s video profile for ‘The Fashion Show’, on which she will serve as a co-host and judge. The show premieres on Bravo May 7th:


Your thoughts?

R&B crooner Mario is currently prepping his 4th studio LP ‘And Then There Was Me’ for release later this year via J Records. Meanwhile, the set’s supposed first single ‘Break Up’ has surfaced. The gritty mid-tempo cut, which features Sean Garrett and Gucci Mane, is, to be frank, pretty awful; most especially when considering the high quality the 22 year old served up with his last LP ‘Go’. I’m wondering whether it’s a case of dumbing down his sound to sell records or whatever, but it certainly isn’t a good look. Irrespective of sales, Mario has always been held in high regard for arguably being one of R&B’s best talents – something this track definitely doesn’t show. No.
Hit or Miss?
Keri Hilson Sales Are In...
The projected sales of Keri Hilson’s debut ‘In A Perfect World…’ were released today by Hits Daily Double and shows the Atlanta native to have shifted 93,819 copies of the LP in its first week, landing at #4 on the Billboard 200.
Though not the biggest of debuts, this is definitely an achievement for Keri considering the push-backs, being a new artist, the fact she hasn’t been all that visible on television etc. I guess the touring and radio promotion (aka ‘foundation promo’) has helped her amass a core fanbase. Here’s hoping the record continues to sell.
Your thoughts?
That Grape Juice To Interview LeToya
That Grape Juice are pleased to announce that we will be interviewing R&B star LeToya Luckett later this week. 
You know the drill now; if you have any questions for the ‘Torn’ singer, please drop them in the comments section. Remember, only legitimate questions will be considered. Thanks!
*Dawn and D. Woods interviews will be up for definite tomorrow!*
Mariah Carey UpdatePopular Mariah Carey fansite Mariah Daily Journal have shed light on the status of the singer’s forthcoming album:

As we all know, Mariah has been hard at work on her upcoming album which is reportedly set for release later this year. In her latest message on Twitter, she writes: 

MariahHBF: Hey! Getting ready to go to the studio in Miami. Very excited cos I haven’t worked w/”Big” Jim Wright in a while..remember “fly like a bird” 

Big Jim Wright has worked with Mariah for years. Most recently, he co-wrote and co-produced “Fly Like A Bird,” the Gospel-drenched song on Mariah’s best-selling 2005 album, The Emancipation of Mimi. The collaboration also produced two other tracks on the album, “Circles” and “I Wish You Knew.”

Both Mariah and Big Jim had worked together previously on tracks “Petals,” “Can’t Take That Away,” “Bliss” from Rainbow (1999); “Lead The Way,” “Twister,” “Want You,” “Reflections” from the Glitter soundtrack (2001); and “Through The Rain,” “Yours” from Charmbracelet (2002).

Meanwhile, in other album news, Jermaine Dupri (Y’all know who this is!) and Bryan-Michael Cox (“I Stay In Love,” “For The Record,” “We Belong Together,” “Shake It Off,” “How Much,” “The One”) in their recent posts on Twitter have revealed some information about a new Mariah song called “100 Percent.”

Jermaine Dupri: im on my to the studio to work on this new mariah record i no yall lambs wanna hear that

Bryan-Michael Cox: Still in with Adrienne in NY & JD is working on our joint with Mariah in ATL “100 Percent”. The General & The Ranger stay working!!!!

Jermaine Dupri: YO THIS MARIAH RECORD IS CRAZY

Bryan-Michael Cox: **** it was crazy when we did it!!!! I know it sounds crazy now!! Let’s get these damn Grammys like we always do…LOL!

Sounds promising. Here’s hoping the album is more ‘Emancipation of Mimi’-esque than the mediocrity that was ‘E=MC2’.

Your thoughts?
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