Brian McKnight

'Turn' Me Loose

KnightR&B artist Brian McKnight collaborates with such guest vocalists as Nelly, Carl Thomas, Fabolous, Tyrese, and Kirk Franklin on "U-Turn," due this week from Universal/Motown. The first single from the new set, "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda," is No. 54 this week on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. "U-Turn" is the follow-up to 2001's "Superhero," which debuted at No. 7 on The Billboard 200 and has sold more than 870,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Other tunes appearing on "U-Turn" include "All Night Long" with Nelly; the title song, featuring Fabolous; and "Good Enough" with Joe, Carl Thomas, Tyrese, and Tank. "I was really feeling on Quincy Jones' [1990] 'The Secret Garden,'" McKnight says of the inspiration behind the latter cut. "What if I came up with a song like that with younger guys and me as the elder statesman? It's a good batting lineup with Joe leading off, then Carl, Tyrese, Tank, and myself."

Even in an increasingly hip-hop dominated music scene, McKnight remains confident in the fortunes of his new album. "For those of us who sing, it's hard," he concedes. "But I'm still a traditional person: You have to get radio to get success. If I want to become obsolete, I'll go against what's out there. I try to write songs and tempos that play on radio. I'm always cognizant of what's going on. So 'U-Turn' has hip-hop, it has R&B ... it has something for everyone."

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