Billboard.com gets the scoop from Tom Petty, Kanye West, Shakira, Pharrell, Daddy Yankee, Chingy and more backstage at the 2005 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.
Acknowledging that awards shows aren't exactly his cup of tea, Billboard Century Award winner Tom Petty said of his storied career: "I've had to think about it more today than I've had in years. It has been a big long blur."
"This is nothing I've ever done before," he continued. "[But] I do feel honored that somebody has gone to this trouble to notice the work we've done all this time. In the world of gimmicks and sound bytes, it's nice to be noticed and honored this way."
The artist will continue to have to put his memory to the test next year, as work progresses on a comprehensive Petty and the Heartbreakers documentary that will be directed by Peter Bogdanovich ("The Last Picture Show," "Mask"). "There's probably some new music we'll do for that," he said.
Despite his ascent from little-known producer to ubiquitous music industry mover and shaker, Artist Achievement Award winner Kanye West said he's still not satisfied with his achievements. "My goals are the cockiest thing about me, not what I say out of my mouth," he said. "I go into the studio to make a new album and I'll pop in 'Songs in the Key of Life' or a Marvin Gaye record and attempt to beat that record."
At last year's BMAs, West excitedly discussed "Bittersweet," a collaboration with John Mayer, but the tune did not appear on West's new album, "Late Registration," and has yet to see the light of day. "The song I think is going to be a really big song," he offered. "I held it for the next album, because, you know, you only get to perform one song at the Grammys."
In addition to a secret side project ("It's going to be really important to music next year"), West will devote 2006 to rearing new artists on his G.O.O.D. Music imprint, including Consequence, GLC and Farnsworth Bentley. Plus, he proclaimed, "I'm breaking into film, which is my new love. I actually had a meeting with Quentin Tarantino earlier today."
Shakira won three Billboard Music Awards last night, including Latin song of the year for "La Tortura" featuring Alejandro Sanz. The cut spent an incredible 25 non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart, having only been dethroned last week by Daddy Yankee's "Rompe."
"It's one of the biggest satisfactions of my entire career," she said of the tune. "It also left me with a friendship that I treasure so much. I of course share this award with [Sanz] and with my fans and the people who have been working hard in making this a success."
Shakira is eyeing a world tour for 2006, during which she will perform songs from her separately released 2005 albums "Fijacion Oral Vol. 1" and "Oral Fixation." "It was very ambitious to release two albums in less than six months," she said. "But I couldn't help it. It was like a woman who wants to get pregnant and doesn't figure out that she's going to end up with twins instead of one kid."
After being first set for a November release, Pharrell Williams' solo debut, "In My Mind" was then bumped to December and is now slated to hit stores Jan. 24 via Star Trak/Interscope. "I was supposed to be done, but I couldn't stop," he said when asked what was taking so long. Williams was also typically coy when asked if the album would still feature seven hip-hop tracks and seven R&B numbers as originally planned. "I can't tell you that, but it's incredible," he said.
The versatile artist/producer conceded "In My Mind" will boast guest appearances by Slim Thug, Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani, Jamie Cullum and Daddy Yankee (on "Mamacita," which the artist debuted during the BMA broadcast) and that when it comes to a solo tour, "You know I'm there."
Williams has also somehow found time to work on six new songs intended for a second Gwen Stefani solo album, including the Slim Thug collaboration "Breakin' Up."
Having won R&B/Hip-Hop song and Airplay song of the year BMAs for "Let Me Love You," Mario said, "It has been such a wonderful year. All I can hope for is that we hit it this hard again." Work has begun on a new studio album, which could be out by late next year. "I'm trying to come up with a way that I can beat 'Let Me Love You,'" the artist said.
"Right now I've just been writing by myself," he added. "I'm trying to bring out more of who I am. A lot of times, artists go straight into working with other producers, but I want to start alone so I can figure out the direction I want to go in." Mario will also debut on the big screen next year in "Freedom Riders," co-starring Hilary Swank and Don Cheadle.
St. Louis-reared rapper Chingy told Billboard.com he will release his third album, "Hoodstar," in March via his own Slot-A-Lot imprint through Capitol. The first taste of music from the set will be the Paulie Paul-produced "Nike Aurrs and Crispy Tees." Production will be supplied by Mannie Fresh, Three Six Mafia, Timbaland and Trackstarz, among others.
Among the other songs set for inclusion on "Hoodstar" are "Bounce That Thang Girl" ("It's booty-shaking music, of course," Chingy said) and "You's a Freak" ("The beat is hot," he enthused).
The rapper will make his debut film appearances in 2006, first in February's urban street drama "The System Within" and later in "Scary Movie 4." In the former, Chingy plays "a guy named Nick, a little street thug." In the latter, he keeps it real while facing certain death in a spoof of a scene from the Tom Cruise alien invasion blockbuster "War of the Worlds."
Latin Album Artist of the year Daddy Yankee won't have a new studio album out until next spring, but the reggaeton superstar is hoping Interscope's Dec. 13 release of "Barrio Fino en Directo" will help tide fans over. The project rounds up a host of live tracks and five new songs, including the new Hot Latin Tracks chart-topper, "Rompe."
Reggaeton is going to be there forever," he said of the genre, which has exploded into the mainstream this year. "For a lot of people, this is a new genre, but I've been doing this for the last 13 years.
Bringing his music to new fans has forced Daddy Yankee to quickly improve his English, which he previously learned only by listening to hip-hop. "Every day I'm learning the language better," he said. "One year ago, I didn't know a word in English."