Blaque Get By With A Little Help From Superstar Friends

Detroit teen R&B/pop trio's upcoming single, 'As Is,' is a collaboration with *NSync's Joey Fatone.

The ladies in Blaque have a new single and a movie cameo on the way, but they're already setting their sights on the follow-up to their platinum debut album.

"It'll definitely be a step up from the first album," group member Brandi Williams said. "We're going to have a track from Babyface and one from Diane Warren."

In the meantime, the group — Williams, 17, Shamari Fears, 19, and Natina Reed, 18 — will appear on the silver screen in "Bring It On," a cheerleading movie starring Kirsten Dunst, coming out Aug. 25. Their next single, "As Is," leads the movie's soundtrack and is a collaboration with *NSync's Joey Fatone. The single also will come out this month, but its release date hasn't yet been settled on.

It won't mark the first time the Detroit teen trio have gotten superstar help. TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes signed Blaque to her Left Eye Productions, and their first single was the R. Kelly-penned and produced "808" (RealAudio excerpt), which went top 10 on the pop and R&B charts.

But Blaque made their biggest splash with "Bring It All to Me" (RealAudio excerpt), a sort of anti-"No Scrubs" testament to love being more important than wealth, which featured all five members of *NSync.

"Those guys are like our big brothers," Williams said. "They haven't been in the business a whole lot longer than us, but they've taught us a lot."

So has Kelly, she added. "He really taught us that we need to always remember that this is a business," she said. "There's time for games and time for work, and when you're with him, you'd better work."

The group just finished 13 dates on the Nickelodeon All That Music & More festival tour, which featured other teen-targeted acts such as A*Teens, B*Witched and LFO. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns Nickelodeon.)

"It was great to look out in the audience and see so many little kids," Williams said. "Usually, concerts aren't for kids, so it was really a great thing."

"They're really positive, and they sing about more than just boys and dancing," said Rachel Warrick, 13, who saw Blaque perform outside her hometown, Chicago. "They're fun, but my favorite song is 'Rainbow Drive,' which is about all races getting along."

"We try to put out music and an image that girls, and guys, can relate to and maybe even be inspired by," Williams said from the group's tour bus as it pulled out of Kansas City, Mo. "We don't want to be just a girl group."

To that end, Williams is adamant that, despite the superstar help, Blaque have their own musical vision. Reed had a hand in writing six songs on their self-titled debut, including the Motown-sounding "I Do" and the pensive "Mind of a King."

Blaque will vie against Destiny's Child's The Writing's on the Wall, 702's self-titled debut and Trin-I-Tee 5:7's Spiritual Love for the Soul Train Lady of Soul award for Album of the Year by a Group, Band or Duo. The awards will be presented Sept. 2 in Los Angeles.