For The Record: Quick News On Ashanti And Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, Hanson, Radiohead & More

Mariah Carey‘s upcoming Charmbracelet tour now has a supporting act — Ashanti has signed on for the North American dates of the trek, which kicks off Stateside July 26 in Minneapolis. …

Mary J. Blige and Mos Def will be honored at the 16th annual Essence Awards June 6 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Steve Harvey is hosting the event and Queen Latifah is presenting. … B2K, Nick Cannon, Heather Headley and boxer Laila Ali will announce the nominees for the third annual BET Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on May 14. The host of the show will also be revealed at the press conference. …

Marilyn Manson is promising a “one-of-a-kind performance” from his band at the release party for The Golden Age of Grotesque on Monday at the Key Club in Hollywood. The “Grotesk Burlesk” will feature art and music from the new album, as well as an appearance by performance artist, model and Manson girlfriend Dita Von Teese. … Linda Perry is helping yet another female artist go solo. The Official Songwriter for Rock Chicks (Pink, Courtney Love, Christina Aguilera) is now working with Gwen Stefani for the No Doubt singer’s upcoming solo album. …

The Donnas, Flaming Lips, Liz Phair and the Music are among the artists set to appear on the soundtrack for “How to Deal,” a new film starring pop princess Mandy Moore as a high school girl disillusioned by romance. Scheduled for release on July 8, the soundtrack will also feature Beth Orton covering the Cat Stevens classic “Wild World.” … Michelle Branch has recorded guest vocals for the next Hanson album. Matthew Sweet co-wrote some of the record, including the Branch collaboration. … And speaking of Sweet, the Thorns, his project with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge, will release their self-titled debut May 20. The trio recently portrayed street singers performing the Beach Boys‘ “Warmth of the Sun” on NBC’s “American Dreams,” which also featured the group’s original music in past episodes. …

Elton John is about to take another bite out of Broadway, this time with a stage adaptation of Anne Rice‘s novel “The Vampire Lestat.” Longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin will assist John with the project. “Lestat,” expected to open in 2005, will be John’s third theatrical undertaking, following “Aida” and “The Lion King.” … Some unreleased music discovered by Bob Marley‘s family may surface with the reggae legend’s offspring providing after-the-fact vocals, much in the same fashion as the Beatles‘ “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” in the mid-’90s. The Marleys are negotiating with Universal Records to release the project. …

Headliners Slum Village and Pharoahe Monch will kick off the Beats for Peace Tour Thursday night at New York club S.O.B.’s. The six-city tour also includes spoken-word artists. The idea of the outing is to inspire youth to take a more active role in bettering their communities. … Along with recording his next record, Aaron Carter is filming his first starring film role. The pop singer is defending the world from alien invaders in a flick called “Future Force.” … In other movie news, Coolio will co-star with Lou Diamond Phillips and Kristy Swanson in the TBS Superstation original movie “Red Water,” premiering August 10. The rapper plays a criminal searching for stolen money in a shark-infested river. …

Radiohead‘s June 5 concert in New York will be broadcast live via satellite in theaters across Canada. Details are available at www.famousplayers.com. … WC, Everlast, Daz and other West Coast rappers have collaborated with producer Fred Wreck on a song called “S.T.O.P. (Stop the Oppressive Politics).” Dilated Peoples, Defari, J-Ro, Tray Deee, Soopafly, RBX and Mac Minister are also on the track, which will be available only at www.fredwreck.com. …

Coldplay, Björk, Zwan and Iggy Pop are a handful of artists that will play this year’s Fuji Rock Festival, one of the most popular multi-day concerts in Japan. The event will take place July 25 to 27 in Naeba at the Naeba Ski Resort and will also feature Elvis Costello, the Minutemen, Goldfrapp, Ben Harper, Macy Gray, Death in Vegas, Bob Weir & Ratdog, Mogwai and others. …

05.06.03

According to a source within the Cash Money camp, the Big Tymers have linked up with R. Kelly for a possible first single for their upcoming album, due later this year. Kelly’s handiwork definitely will appear on the first single from the label’s only singer, TQ: Kelly produced and wrote “Keep It on the Low,” which features Baby, for TQ’s next LP, Gemini.

Exceeding internal expectations, Apple Computer’s online music store, iTunes, has sold more than 1 million tracks in the first week since its launch. The store currently has over 200,000 songs for sale at 99 cents a pop, which is part of its appeal over legit services like MusicNet and Pressplay that charge a monthly fee. It’s also super compatible with the iPod. iTunes is only available for Mac users now, though a Windows version is due by the end of the year. …

New Orleans rapper Juvenile won a federal copyright lawsuit Tuesday (May 6) for his 1998 hit “Back That Azz Up.” He had been sued by a local DJ working with Take Fo’ Records, who claimed that Juvenile used his song without permission. Both men testified in a five-day trial and Juvenile was declared the victor. As a result, Take Fo’ was ordered to return royalties from BMI. … Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day like a free performance from Kurupt and the (recently re-renamed) Death Row’s Back roster. Suge Knight will host his annual Single Mother’s Day Brunch at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Sunday with Crooked I, Danny Boy and jazz star George Duke performing. …

In the upcoming video for “Perfect,” Simple Plan perform in a nighttime rain storm on the roof of a house where a variety of stories are unfolding inside. “It’s a very serious song, so it’s going to be pretty intense,” director Liz Friedlander said. “I did [Blink-182's] ‘Adam’s Song,’ so I get all the downbeat ones from the power punk bands.” … Talib Kweli made not one but two Brooklyn connections for the remix of “Get By.” Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Jay-Z, and Busta Rhymes, who spent part of his life living in Flatbush, rap on the track that was just released. … Evanescence, Run-DMC‘s DMC and Groove Armada have been added to the lineup of the Coors Light Mountain Jam featuring 50 Cent and others. The August 30 event at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, will also feature Gov’t Mule and Toots and the Maytals. …

Robbie Williams has a lion tattooed on his arm and he’ll get to play a furry feline soon, too. The British pop star is set to provide a voice, opposite Kate Winslet (“Titanic”), in a BBC Television movie called “Pride” that will be built around actual footage of lions. … Oasis leader Noel Gallagher recently surprised roughly 100 people in a small Liverpool club with a six-song acoustic set, together with fellow Oasis guitarist Gem Archer, after joining the Stand onstage for one song during their set. The pair reportedly unveiled a new tune, as well as such Oasis standbys as “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”…

Evan Dando, Semisonic singer Dan Wilson, the Rembrandts and the New Power Generation band appear on Mandy Moore‘s upcoming Coverage, produced by Minneapolis’ John Fields. The covers album includes Elton John‘s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and the Waterboys‘ “The Whole of the Moon,” among others. … Paper Cranes — featuring actress Rain Phoenix on lead vocals — had a bevy of celebs in the crowd for their showcase at New York’s Mercury Lounge on Monday, including fellow thespians Julia Stiles and Liv Tyler, director Gus Van Sant, and Leona Naess, who got up to sing with the band for its encore …

A longtime Guns N’ Roses photographer has sued Axl Rose for allegedly reneging on a contract he made in January. Robert John, an established photojournalist in Los Angeles, said he agreed to supply the singer with hundreds of band photos taken since 1985 for a fee of $80,000, but that Axl has yet to cough up the cash. … Newly revamped indie rock heroes Jets to Brazil will embark on a U.S. tour starting May 27 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, their first major outing with former MK Ultra drummer Matt Torrey, who recently replaced founding member Chris Daly. Retisonic and John Vanderslice reportedly will support different legs of the tour. …

Lookout! Records recording artist Ted Leo has been forced to cancel several dates on his current tour in order to consult a doctor about his strained vocal chords. Leo wrote on his Web site that he lost his voice during a show in Urbana, Illinois, and that he’d prefer to deal with the problem sooner rather than later. He still intends to meet show commitments in late May and early June, and hopes to make up the affected dates. …