After two years of preparation, R&B/pop icon Dionne Warwick is in the middle of recording a duets album for 2005 release. She is working with her son, producer Damon Elliott, on the double-disc se

After two years of preparation, R&B/pop icon Dionne Warwick is in the middle of recording a duets album for 2005 release. She is working with her son, producer Damon Elliott, on the double-disc set, to be titled "My Friends and Me."

The set will feature such collaborators as Elton John, George Benson, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan and Mya and individual performances by the members of Destiny's Child and Pink.

Warwick has previously collaborated to great effect before with the Spinners ("Then Came You"), Jeffrey Osborne ("Love Power") and Knight, Wonder and John ("That's What Friends Are For").

"This has been in the making since my 40th-anniversary celebration. Now I'm entering my 42nd year," Warwick says with a laugh. She adds that Elliott -- who has worked with Mya, Pink and others -- keeps her "up to snuff" on the contemporary front. The project is still shopping for a label.

Meanwhile, Warwick is promoting her first holiday album, "My Favorite Time of the Year." As previously reported, the DMI Records set boasts guest turns by Knight, Dave Koz and Bebe Winans. Featuring lush arrangements by Tim Heintz, the collection was produced by DMI CEO Tena Clark. Among the promotional appearances planned is a performance on the syndicated special "Soul Train Christmas Starfest."

Warwick says timing is the reason she hasn't released a holiday record before. "It's the first time I took time in the summer to do exactly what is done then -- [record] a Christmas CD," she explains. The singer has one more pressing issue -- to finish the anniversary world tour she began two years ago. Africa and South America remain, as do all 50 states.

"The object," Warwick says, "is to visit every continent, country and city I've performed in over the last 40-plus years." Warwick's next performances come Friday (Dec. 17) in Springfield, Ill., and Saturday in Enid, Okla.

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