Spice Girls Enlist Famed R&B Producers For Next Album

Team that made Janet Jackson a star writing and developing new songs for British pop sensations.

The acclaimed R&B producers who helped make Janet Jackson a superstar are

planning to Spice up their musical repertoire this year.

The team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who created dark, mechanized soundscapes

for Jackson's 1989 album Rhythm Nation 1814, is scheduled to produce and co-

write several songs for the third album by British dance-pop sensations the Spice Girls,

Jam said Friday.

And if that isn't Spice-y enough for fans, the duo also plan to work with group member

Melanie "Scary Spice" Gulzar on an upcoming solo debut, Jam said.

Jam and his partner, who are former members of the Prince-affiliated funk band the

Time, have already finished a song with the group, he said.

"We hung out with Baby and Sporty and wrote a song that turned out [well]," he said.

That as-yet-unreleased collaboration led the Spice Girls, one of the most successful pop

groups to come out of England in years, to invite Jam and Lewis to work more

extensively with them on their third album, according to Jam.

Both the group -- known for its motto "Girl Power" -- and the producers are "leaving ...

open" the question of how many songs will emerge from their work together, Jam said.

While that is taking shape, Scary Spice is preparing to spend some time this year with

Jam and Lewis in their Minneapolis-based studio, working on songs for her first solo

album.

"Mel's going to come up, bring her baby, and write with us. We're going to hang out,"

Jam said. The singer gave birth to a baby girl in February.

A spokesperson for Virgin, the group's record label, who asked not be named, confirmed

the Spice Girls are beginning work on a new album. The group, which has marketed

itself through everything from its music to the movies, is talking to several producers

about working with them, the spokesperson said.

In an online chat in October, Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton told fans to expect the first

single from the group's third album by Christmas '99.

Elizabeth Freund, a publicist working with the group, said she had been unaware that

Scary Spice was planning a solo album, but added the news wasn't surprising. The

singer has already worked on projects outside of the Spice Girls, including a

collaboration with hip-hop star Missy Elliot on the 1998 single "I Want You Back."

Sporty Spice (born Melanie Chisholm), is working on a solo album of her own in a Los

Angeles studio, Freund said. Sporty sang a duet with Canadian pop rocker Bryan Adams

on the song "When You're Gone," for his 1998 album On A Day Like Today.

Jimmy Jam said that his son, a pre-schooler, is particularly delighted that he's working

with the Spice Girls, whose fourth member is Posh Spice (born Victoria Addams).

"Yeah, I'm in Spice World now," he laughed.

Jam and Lewis are best known for their work with Janet Jackson on such blockbuster

albums as Control (1986) and Rhythm Nation 1814. The latter album alone

spawned seven top-10 hits.

The Spice Girls' next album will be their first without Ginger Spice (born Geri Halliwell),

who quit the group in May 1998. Their first album, 1996's Spice, helped bring

youth-oriented dance-pop back into the spotlight with such megahits as

href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-

music/Spice_Girls/Wannabe.ram">"Wannnabe" (RealAudio excerpt).

They released a movie, "Spice World," along with an accompanying soundtrack of the

same name, in 1997. The plot was based on the Beatles documentary-style classic "A

Hard Day's Night."

Halliwell is scheduled to release her solo debut in the summer. The album's first single,

"Look at Me," comes out May 10 in the U.K. and is scheduled to hit U.S. radio May 17.