The video for Michelle Williams brand new single ‘We Break The Dawn’ finally made its debut today. In what may sound like an oxymoron: expectantly the video served up the unexpected. From Michelle’s edgy, sass, to the choreography, to the costumes…everything. The masses notion of ‘Michelle from Destiny’s Child’ really looks set to change. Good stuff. Michelle’s first secular solo LP ‘Unexpected’ hits stores August 12th.

What do you think of the video?

After being rested on the bench briefly, From The Vault returns this week with Destiny’s Child’s 2001 crossover smash ‘Survivor’. Fresh off the controversy of what seemed to be a revolving door of group members, the ladies re-asserted that they were ‘here to stay’ not only with this single and video but also with their album of the same name – their biggest selling (worldwide) effort to date:

Survivors indeed; their worldwide success with the record helped catapult them to the status they enjoy today – the biggest selling female group of all-time.

Your thoughts?

Kelly Speaks To Top DC Fansite During a recent promotional trip to France, Kelly Rowland was interviewed by one of, if not the, top Destiny’s Child fan website DC3 Forever. In the candid interview, Rowland spoke on a number of issues including the omission of popular tracks from the ‘Ms. Kelly’ re-release, the mishaps of the album’s original release and her third solo album. Check out extracts below (the full interview is in the ‘comments’ section):

JC: Some songs (Comeback, Still In Love With My Ex, Ghetto, Flashback) were removed from the re-release. Whose decision was it and why ?

Kelly: It was my choice, I wanted to close a chapter and move to the next step, so people asked me why I wouldn’t do a whole new record but the Freemason remix of Work took it to the next level.

JC: By closing a chapter, do you think of songs such as SILWMX ?

Kelly: Not really, I just wanted to have another view on the record and close the Ms. Kelly chapter.

JC: With Work being a international hit, why wasn’t it released in the US ? At least the original version that could fit better the American market ?

Kelly: I don’t know, seriously, I feel like I didn’t have anything to do with the success of Work in Europe. The Freemason remix took the song to the next level, fans kept requesting it on the radio. Look at Say My Name, the fans in the US made it a single, they made it happen, I didn’t have that little extra with Work over there.

JC: It looked like Work (Put It In) was originally supposed to be the first single ? Who decided that Like This would be a better first single and why ?
[I explained that way before the album got released, Work, under the title Put It In, was up for pre-order on different websites]

Kelly: Wow, really ? It was considered as the first single but I wasn’t sure of myself, I didn’t think it could be a hit. And then I read that blog and it made me feel bad, I got confused. So we picked up Like This, it sounded like a new beginning to me. But I wanted Work to be a single just like I wanted Still In Love With my Ex to be a single.

JC: Then why was Ghetto released as the 2nd single ?

Kelly: It was my decision. *SILENCE* (-I could feel she somehow regretted that choice-) I was in that zone, I wanted to release it.

JC: Do you already have any themes in mind for your third album ?

Kelly: I’m really inspired by the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s because there was more meaningful lyrics like Stevie Wonder. Look at Stevie Wonder, he is an inspiration for everybody, Whitney said she was inspired by him and she’s not the only one.

JC: So you want to do a couple of old-school songs ?

Kelly: Not really, I want a mixture, but I don’t want to give too much away. But we’ll do another interview together when the album will be ready, I’ll preview the tracks to you [ ] and I’ll also do blogs when I’ll be in the studio, with the producers”.

JC: When do you think it will be released?

Kelly: Top of next year, yes, top of next year. I wanna make sure I do the right choices, each single being a hit.

JC: You’ve said you really like Kanye, Alicia Keys, Will.I.Am, Danja, Timbaland… have you been in contact with any of them ? Possibly for the third album.

Kelly: These people are very busy, I gotta get the right timing. Actually one day Will.I.Am was in a studio, next to mine, and he started playing tracks for me, and there was this one track… I fell in love with it. So we’ll see…

JC: You recently saw Nelly at the Radio 1 Event… Would you like to work with him again, for your next album maybe?

Kelly: Yes, we talked about it, the idea of doing a Dilemma Part II or renaming it. We’ll go to the studio together and see if something magical happens.

A real interesting read, if I must say so myself. A new album due early 2009; Kelly sounds real focused about making sure everything is done right the next go round. Here’s hoping she shines like many know she can.

*Reminder* Today is the last day to enter our signed ‘Ms. Kelly: Deluxe’ CD give-away. Click here to enter.

Any thoughts?

Janet To Perform On Ellen; LUV Next Single?Janet Jackson’s appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show airs tomorrow. Check out the show’s description as per Ellen’s website:

The Queen of Pop, JANET JACKSON will drop by! We’ll talk about her new world tour. There are rumors of a possible Jackson 5 reunion — I’ll have to ask about that. Plus, she’s gonna treat us to her new hit, “LUV!” And we will be giving away tour tickets to our audience, and on our website we’re giving away a pair of tickets to each of her upcoming shows! Plus, I’ll have an “Extra” bonus.

Hopefully this will mark the (re)start of Janet’s promotion for the ‘Discipline’ project. I’m guessing ‘LUV’ may in fact be receiving the full single release this summer; rightfully so, IMO it’s the best song after ‘Feedback’ on the record. Either way, do be sure to keep it locked on That Grape Juice for the goods tomorrow.

Your thoughts?

Keri Hilson - Energy (Snippet)Having already enjoyed a very successful year with high profile features on efforts by Usher, Chris Brown and mentor Timbaland, Keri Hilson’s debut ‘In A Perfect World’ looks set to drop within the next few months. A snippet of what appears to be her first single ‘Energy’ (released to iTunes on May 27th) has surfaced. Unlike Keri’s material heard thus far, I’m not entirely sold on this. Though by no means poor, the song sounds doesn’t really offer anything new in comparison to a lot of what dominates the radio at present and does little to separate Keri from the masses. Still, I’m real optimistic about Keri delivering with the album.

Hit or Miss?

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Usher was the featured performer on the season finale of Saturday Night Live last night. As well as performing current single ‘Love In This Club’ with Young Jeezy, the Grammy winner performed another cut from his forthcoming ‘Here I Stand’ album called ‘This Is Sex’:

Love In This Club

This Ain’t Sex

Good stuff.

What do you think of the performances?

Despite 50 Cent’s plummeting popularity, reports are claiming that the G-Unit leader is set to sign a new ‘360’ deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation which is said to be worth a whopping $300 Million. Check out the report via Contact Music below:

The In Da Club hitmaker is in final negotiations with Murdoch’s News Corp firm – which owns social networking site MySpace – for a large stake in all aspects of the 50 Cent brand, including music, concerts, books and his label G-Unit Records.

If the agreement goes ahead, G-Unit Records and its roster of artists will move under News Corp’s MySpace Records umbrella.

According to reports, half of the $300 million deal will be in stock, potentially making 50 Cent – real name Curtis Jackson – one of the biggest News Corp shareholders.

However, the deal is not expected to be finalised until next year (09) – allowing the star to fulfil all of his contractual obligations with his current label, Interscope Records.

Unless 50’s music career has a turn-around soon, News Corp will be buying into a sinking brand IMO. The ‘Kanye Chart Battle’ episode reinforced that. Yes, he’s still a relatively big seller, but it speaks volumes that after the much hyped ‘battle’, ‘Curtis’ dropped like a rock on the charts. With every release since his 2003 debut, 50 has sold less and less. I guess time will tell if this works out…

Your thoughts?
Hit-maker Jermaine Dupri uploaded footage of Janet Jackson’s 42nd birthday celebrations yesterday night to his Youtube Blog. Check out the clip below:

It’s always good seeing Janet out of her media-ready element. 42? Kudos to her; she looks a hell of a lot younger.

Your thoughts?

MTV’s 2008 ‘Hottest MCs In The Game’After last year’s hotly debated ‘Hottest MCs In The Game’ countdown, MTV aired the 2008 edition of the special yesterday. Check out the list below of who the network’s panel (MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust) consider to be the top 10 MCs right now. The main criteria when compling the list was simply MCs who have been prominent within the last year. The list…

10. T.I. (#2 in 2007)
9. André 3000 (#4 in 2007)
8. Young Jeezy (#6 in 2007)
7. Lupe Fiasco (not on 2007’s list)
6. 50 Cent (#8 in 2007)
5. Snoop Dogg (not on 2007’s list)
4. Rick Ross (not on 2007’s list)
3. Lil Wayne (#1 in 2007)
2. Jay-Z (#7 in 2007)
1. Kanye West (#5 in 2007)

Hmm…I personally feel they generally have the right(ish) set of names on the list, however the individual charting of the MCs is definitely questionable…
What do you think of the list?
The full version of the new Beyonce snippet, ‘Should Have (Now I Know)’, which was posted yesterday has surfaced. Said to be produced by Ryan Tedder, the Synth-Pop ballad is fantastic on many a level. With it’s fresh sound and Beyonce’s trademark near-flawless vocal delivery, this one is definitely a winner. After hearing this, I’m kinda optimistic about the potential of her new album.

Hit or Miss?

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R&B songstress Mary J. Blige stopped by the Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday to perform the latest single to be lifted off her ‘Growing Pains’ album ‘Stay Down’. Check out the performance below:

Mary nailed it! The band definitely add an extra element to the track and it helps that Mary was on her ‘A Game’ vocally too. ‘Stay Down’ is hands-down my favourite Mary track since ‘Be Without You’, so it’s great to see the song get the single/performance treatment.

What do you think of the performance?

Solange - 'I Decided (Freemasons Mix)'Though Solange’s new single ‘I Decided’ was released digitally a while back, it is this, the Freemasons remix, that will be released as her official first single over here in Europe (it is being touted as the ‘Part 2’). Having worked their magic with Kelly Rowland’s ‘Work’ earlier this year, the ‘Masons really came through for Solange; I’m actually liking this mix more than the original. What’s more, considering the music that is dominating the charts on this side of the pond, Solange may just have a chance of doing big things on this side of the pond also.

Hit or Miss?

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