For The Record: Quick News On Mandy Moore, R. Kelly, Justin, Timbaland, Ne-Yo, Beyonce, Chamillionaire & More

Moore takes Wild risks; Kelly hospitalized in Miami; Timberlake salutes Tufts University women.

If you don't like Mandy Moore's upcoming LP, Wild Hope, place the blame squarely on the singer herself. "I knew exactly what type of album I wanted to make and firmly held my ground," she said in a statement announcing the May 8 release of the disc. Moore explained that the project, produced by John Alagia (John Mayer, the Dave Matthews Band) and featuring the singer/actress' songwriting talents, encouraged her to take artistic risks. "Making this record has been the most exciting and fulfilling creative experience of my life." ...

R. Kelly has been hospitalized in Miami following surgery for a ruptured appendix over the weekend. He will miss a scheduled court date in his child-pornography case on Wednesday (February 7), The Chicago Tribune reports. Kelly was expected to attend the status hearing, which will now proceed as planned without the singer, according to an official at the Cook County State Attorney's office. ...

Justin Timberlake brought his FutureSex/LoveShow to Boston Tuesday night, with Pink in tow as the opening act. During his second chat with the audience, JT sat down at the piano, rolled up his sleeves and said, "I've got a lot of friends in Boston. I'd like to make a little toast: Here's to all the girls of Tufts University." ... Timbaland, Ne-Yo, Taylor Hicks, Corinne Bailey Rae and Imogen Heap are among the artists participating in Grammy Career Day at the University of Southern California on Thursday. Randy Jackson, Sean Garrett and the Underdogs are also participating in the workshops. ... And in news involving two of the aforementioned artists, Timbaland's Shock Value — the first single to which, "Give It to Me," features JT and Nelly Furtado — will street March 27. Fall Out Boy, Elton John and other diverse artists also guest. ...

The nominees for the Soul Train Music Awards were announced Tuesday, and Beyoncé leads the field with three nods — B'Day is up for best female R&B/soul album, and "Irreplaceable" faces off for best music video and best R&B/soul single by a female artist. Double nominee Mary J. Blige meets Beyoncé in the female album and single categories, while John Legend, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and Yung Joc also racked up two nods each. Prizes for the 21st anniversary event, hosted by Omarion and LeToya, will be presented March 10. The ceremony will air in syndication beginning March 17. ...

Chamillionaire, Slim Thug, Pimp C and LeToya are among the guests on C-Murder's Screamin' 4 Vengeance, due March 20. The album addresses the circumstances surrounding the rapper's incarceration for a 2002 murder he says he did not commit, including the single "Posted on Tha Block." (He was sentenced to life in prison but was later released when his conviction was overturned.) Estevan Oriol (D12, Cypress Hill) directed the video, which features a Snoop Dogg cameo but no new footage of C-Murder, who is under a gag order. ... Jermaine Dupri was appointed president of Island Records Urban Music on Wednesday. The former president of Virgin Records' urban division will lead the new branch of the Island Def Jam Music Group, overseeing Island's entire urban-music operation. "Jermaine's career has grown from strength to strength over the years as a producer and songwriter and recording artist in his own right, as a respected label executive and entrepreneur and as a highly esteemed developer of new talent," Island Def Jam Chairman L.A. Reid said in a statement announcing Dupri's appointment. ...

According to the Smashing Pumpkins' Web site, the band's comeback LP, Zeitgeist, is due July 7. The post says it's due "07/07/07," a Saturday, even though records almost always hit U.S. stores on Tuesdays. Frontman Billy Corgan reactivated the Pumpkins in April, and thus far, the only original member of the group confirmed to return to the fold is drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Guitarist James Iha will not be participating in the reunion, according to sources close to the band, and it remains unclear whether bassist D'Arcy Wretzky will be involved in the Pumpkins' return. ... There are now five finalists in Incubus' video contest, which is allowing fans to create the clip for the band's second Light Grenades single, "Dig." The finalists, including a 44-year-old mom in Boston, will take the stage with the band at its Tuesday show at the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles. The videos were made using green-screen footage provided by the group and are available to view at IDigIncubus.com. ...

She's already lined up to host the awards show, and now that the nominations for the Junos — Canada's answer to the Grammys — are in, it looks like Nelly Furtado could be the night's runaway star. The singer is up for five prizes at the April 1 event, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year and the Juno Fan Choice Award. K-os and Billy Talent are also in the running for five prizes, while fellow Canadians Sloan, Islands and Ron Sexsmith are also up for prizes. Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dixie Chicks and Il Divo face off for the Best International Album trophy. ... The Walkmen, who trotted out two albums last year, have lined up a pair of tours: a headlining stint in March and a co-headlining jaunt with Kaiser Chiefs in April. The 'Men will spark their March trek on the 8th in New York and bring it to a close March 23 in Washington, D.C., with the Archie Bronson Outfit, the Broken West and Ferraby Lionheart in tow on select dates. The tag-team tour with Kaiser Chiefs — plus Annuals or the Little Ones, depending on the show — begins April 6 in Philadelphia and concludes April 28 in Los Angeles. ...

Former British rocker Gary Glitter had his child-molestation sentence reduced by a Vietnamese court Wednesday, AP reports. A judge took three months off the three-year term as part of the nation's Lunar New Year prison amnesty program. Glitter, who was convicted of molesting two Vietnamese girls, will be released in August 2008. ... Frankie Laine, one of the most popular entertainers of the 1950s, died Tuesday of heart failure, The Associated Press reports. The singer, who regularly crept into the top 10 before rock and roll took over the pop charts, was best known as the voice behind the theme to the TV western "Rawhide." He also counted "That's My Desire," "Mule Train," "Jezebel," "I Believe" and "That Lucky Old Sun" among his hits.

02.06.2007

Beyoncé has joined forces with legendary Mexican singer Alejandro Fernández to record "Amor Gitano" ("Gypsy Love"), a duet they sing in Spanish. The flamenco-pop track, co-written by Beyoncé, debuts Monday on Telemundo's "El Zorro" telenovela. On the tune, B sings: "I'm your thief, I'm going to love you even if they tear my heart out."...

Chris Brown has joined the lineup for this year's Essence Music Festival, which returns to New Orleans July 5-7. Brown will perform July 6, the same night that Beyoncé is scheduled to take the stage. Mary J. Blige and Lionel Richie are also onboard for the three-day event. ...

Brown is also among the latest crop of performers added to Sunday night's telecast of the 49th annual Grammy Awards. The newly added performances include a tribute to classic R&B singers featuring Brown, Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson; first-time Grammy performer Shakira in a duet with Wyclef Jean; and Rascal Flatts partnering with Carrie Underwood. Some new presenters have also been added, including the Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger, Natasha Bedingfield, Tony Bennett, Nicolas Cage, Seal, jazz legend Ornette Coleman, LeAnn Rimes, comedian Lewis Black and David Spade. The Grammys air Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. MTV News' "All Up in the Grammys" preshow begins at 7:30 p.m. on on MTV. ...

Happy that you'll finally get to read the last "Harry Potter" book in July but sad the series is ending? Your mixed feelings about "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" are no match for J.K. Rowling's. In a post on her Web site, the author says she's "never felt such a mixture of extreme emotions in my life, never dreamed I could feel simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric." This, on top of her "incredible sense of achievement." But she takes consolation that she's not alone and that her fans are bound to continue "arguing and speculating" even after the book comes out. "One thing has stopped me [from] collapsing in a puddle of misery on the floor," she wrote. "While each of the previous Potter books has strong claims on my affections, 'Deathly Hallows' is my favorite, and that is the most wonderful way to finish the series." ...

Nickelodeon's 20th annual Kids Choice Awards have named their host: singer/actor/ reigning Best Burp champ Justin Timberlake will lead the festivities, which air live March 31 on Nickelodeon. "I'm revving up to have an even bigger blast than usual," Timberlake said in a statement, "and I'm thrilled and proud to be hosting the 20th anniversary show. ... While honoring kids' opinions, it taps into the kid in all of us." Timberlake is also up for this year's Favorite Male Singer prize, facing off with Chris Brown, Sean Paul and Jesse McCartney for the trophy. Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Ciara and Jessica Simpson vie for Favorite Female Singer honors, while Fall Out Boy, Black Eyed Peas, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nickelback compete in the Favorite Music Group category. Fans can begin voting for the prizes — which also honor favorites in movies, TV and books — beginning March 5 at Nick.com. ...

While Gnarls Barkley wait to see how they fare at Sunday night's Grammy Awards, the group is asking fans to put themselves in the running in a different kind of contest: a haiku competition. A.B. Vidal, "Chief Executive of St. Elsewhere," posted a challenge on the band's site last week asking for poets to step forward with a haiku to win an unnamed prize. "Your theme can be either Solitude or Pineapples. Or, if you can manage it, both." Vidal encourages fans to enter often, but warns, "I reserve the right to be as arbitrary as I like in my decision making." The contest closes Tuesday (February 6). ... A judge in Newport Beach, California, issued an arrest warrant for Daniel Baldwin on Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. The actor, who has been charged with illegally taking another person's car, did not show up to Orange County Superior Court for his scheduled arraignment. ...

Hit-making producer Rick Rubin, best known for founding Def Jam Records alongside Russell Simmons and working with a range of artists from Johnny Cash to Jay-Z, has been offered a position with Columbia Records as co-chairman of the label, according to The New York Times. The report stated Rubin is currently under contract with Warner Bros. Records, which hosts his American Recordings label, but sources close to the deal revealed it's possible that Rubin could get out of the last three years of the arrangement provided he still produced records for acts signed to Warner. ... Rubin's pals the Nine Inch Nails have set April 17 as the release date for their next LP, Year Zero, according to the band's Web site. The album is expected to feature 16 tracks, including "The Beginning of the End" and "Survivalism." ...

Arcade Fire have posted the lyrics for their second album, Neon Bible, in anticipation of the disc's March 6 release. The lyrics are accessible through NeonBible.com, a site that looks a little frightful at first glance — flashing bibles on the opening screen lead to creepy black-and-white imagery, and clicking on "lyrics" at the top of that page brings up a ghostly-looking girl reciting a poem. Clicking to the right of the girl's book calls forth the song lyrics. The words fall in line with the somber mood, with "Intervention" featuring the lyrics: "Singin' hallelujah with the fear in your heart/ Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home/ Hear the soldier groan, 'We'll go at it alone.' " "Antichrist Television Blues" tells the story of a "good Christian man" who wants to put his daughter — who "can sing like a bird in a cage" — on TV. While that track has led to speculation that the Fire are targeting Joe Simpson, the song does not name names. ... Arctic Monkeys have set an April 23 U.K. release date for their second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare. The first single is called "Brianstorm."