Billboard Bits: Ben Lee, Sasha, Cam'ron/Diplomats
News on Ben Lee, Sasha, Cam'ron/DiplomatsNew West Records has signed singer/songwriter Ben Lee and will release his next album, "Awake Is the New Sleep," Feb. 22. It was produced by Brad Wood, who also helmed Lee's first two sets, 1994's "Grandpaw Would" and 1997's "Something To Remember Me By," both released on Grand Royal. The new release features guests Jason Schwartzman, Har Mar Superstar, Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis and Jason Falkner.
Lee just wrapped a run of dates with O.A.R. and will return to his native Australia for a Dec. 8 gig in Sydney and another show two nights later in Melbourne.
New West, with offices in L.A. and Austin, Texas, is also home to Delbert McClinton, John Hiatt, Tim Easton, Vic Chesnutt, Drive-By Truckers, Old 97's and Dwight Yoakam.
-- Carolyn Horwitz, N.Y.
Sasha will on Dec. 3 kick off a monthly residency at New York nightclub Crobar. The renowned DJ (real name: Alexander Coe) will host Fundacion on the first Friday of every month through June 3 at the club, which has a capacity of more than 3,000, utilizing a fully digital system for live mixing and remixing.
Sasha is in the midst of an Asian tour that finds him playing Kuala Lumpur tomorrow (Nov. 24), Tapei on Friday and Seoul on Saturday. The Welsh-born DJ is also due to appear Dec. 10 in Dublin and Dec. 11 in London.
Released in June, Sasha's latest album, "Involver" (Global Underground), debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums chart.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Cam'ron and the Diplomats will be joined by an unlikely guest for their Nov. 30 concert at the Apollo Theater in New York: incarcerated rapper Beanie Sigel. Sigel's "performances," which will be shown on video screens, were taped in a prison cell days before he began serving a year sentence on a weapons charge.
The show, which will also be available on pay-per-view, will be hosted by Doug E. Fresh and feature music by DJ Clue. Tomorrow (Nov. 24), the Diplomats will be on hand to give away gift certificates for free turkeys at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building Plaza in Harlem.
The Diplomats' new mixtape, "Diplomatic Immunity 2," arrives today via Koch. Cam'ron's next studio album, "Purple Haze," is due Dec. 7 via Diplomats/Roc-A-Fella.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.