When Jessica Simpson recorded her first album, 1999's "Sweet Kisses," she was just 17 years old. Now, knocking on the door of 21, the singer explains that there have been a few changes.
"When you're just growing up, you're trying to be this person and that person," she says. "It takes a while to find your place. For me, that meant discovering who I am as an artist and as a person."
Conductor Sir Simon Rattle and tenor Russell Watson took top honors at the Classical Brit Awards last night (May 31) at London's Royal Albert Hall, Billboard Bulletin reports. Rattle's EMI Classics recording with the Berliner Philharmoniker of Mahler's Symphony No. 10 was named ensemble/orchestral album of the year and received the critics' award. Rattle also won for outstanding contribution.
Lauryn Hill, Marc Anthony, and Luther Vandross are among the artists set to perform at a July 29 charity concert to benefit earthquake victims in El Salvador and India, Billboard can exclusively reveal. The concert, organized by the new nonprofit charity Aftershock, will take place at San Jose, Calif.'s Compaq Center. Quincy Jones, Clive Davis, and MTV Networks chairman/CEO Tom Freston are among the industry heavyweights who have lent their names in support of the concert.
A little more than a month after the event was postponed due to security concerns and other problems, the fifth annual Online Hip-Hop Awards ceremony has been canceled. "Over the last four weeks, as we've examined the possibilities of re-organizing, it became evident that a summer show would also not be possible," organizers said in a statement. "Inevitably, it was a combination of timing and current market conditions that contributed to our final decision to cancel."
Prince is welcoming fans to his Minneapolis-based Paisley Park Studios complex in June for a week-long gala event akin to his name-reclaiming celebration last summer. Prince: A Celebration will run from June 11-17 and feature an airing of the artist's new NPG album, "The Rainbow Children," as well as performances by the likes of Erykah Badu, Common, Alicia Keys, Nikka Costa, Fonky Baldheads, and the Time.
Wu-Tang Clan principal RZA kicks off a U.S. tour tomorrow (June 1) in advance of his forthcoming album under the Bobby Digital moniker. The set, "Digital Bullet," is due Aug. 14 on Wu-Tang/Koch/In The Paint. Killarmy, Wu-Tang Killa Bees, Shahiem, and Black Nights will support on all dates. "Digital Bullet" sports guest spots from Goodie Mob as well as Wu-Tang colleagues Method Man, GZA, and the currently incarcerated Ol' Dirty Bastard. First single "Show Me Love" going to radio in July.
Rhino is celebrating the career of the Yardbirds, the British guitar rock group that gave rise to the careers of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page. The two-disc "The Yardbirds: Ultimate!," due July 17, features 53 tracks recorded between 1963 and 1968, including b-sides and solo recordings by late vocalist Keith Relf.
Staind's "Break the Cycle" (Flip/Elektra) crashes into The Billboard 200 at No. 1 with more than 716,000 copies sold in the U.S., according to SoundScan. The album is the second consecutive hard rock set to debut at No. 1, following last week's debut by Tool's "Lateralus" (Volcano). Only the Dave Matthews Band, whose "Everyday" (RCA) enjoyed a 733,00-unit opening week, had a higher debut sales total this year.
Rapper Eminem (real name: Marshall Mathers III) says $142,480 a year is too much child support for his 5-year-old daughter. His estranged wife, Kimberly Mathers, says it's not enough. The dispute is the first significant bump in a divorce that was sailing rather smoothly in Mount Clemens, Mich.
Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias will make his feature acting debut in Robert Rodriguez's "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Columbia Pictures/Dimension Films co-production begins shooting this week in -- where else? -- Mexico.
Trisha Yearwood has reached a settlement with singer Michael J. Young in a lawsuit she filed to prevent him from selling a demo she recorded prior to becoming a star, Billboard Bulletin reports. Young (aka Michael J.) has been selling on his Web site Yearwood's demo of the song "Love What Ya Do to Me," mixed with his own vocals, as a "dance duet."