R&B singer Mya, country-pop artist Taylor Swift and Canadian singer/songwriter Feist performed as part of the Universal Music Group Distribution's product presentation today at the NARM Convention in Chicago. The 90-minute session highlighted summer and fall releases from UMGD, interspersed with two-song sets from artists. Also on hand were pianist Jon McLaughlin and jazz performer Kurt Elling.
The product presentation offered a brief preview of Paul McCartney's upcoming release for Starbucks' Hear Music, "Memory Almost Full." A video clip showed McCartney saying he was asked to preview a "little something" from the album. After playing a few notes on a banjo, McCartney said, "That's a little something."
The albums that drew the biggest reaction from the retail heavy crowd were unsurprisingly artists or projects that were among the industry's top sellers in 2006. A new Rascal Flatts album was warmly received, and it's pegged for a Sept. 25 release on Lyric Street. Also hotly anticipated is the sequel to Disney's "High School Musical," which Hollywood has set for an Aug. 14 release.
Other summer and fall releases from Hollywood include a new "Hannah Montana" disc, as well as the major label debut from hard rockers Atreyu. Island Def Jam ran through a number of strong fall titles, including Kanye West, Juelz Santana, Babyface, Ludacris, Nas, Hoobastank and Melissa Etheridge.
Universal Motown will drop a new Mya album in June, as well releases from Swiss Beatz and Staylight Run, also in June. Later in the year, Universal Motown promises new releases from Nelly (Aug.), and fall albums from Ashanti and Three Doors Down.
Interscope/Geffen/A&M is plotting a busy June, with new efforts from Marilyn Manson, Queens of the Stone Age, Enrique, 50 Cent and Common. Later in the year, the label group will drop releases from M.I.A. (Aug.) and a solo debut from Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am, which is due in the fall.
Out of Nashville, Lost Highway showcased a new albums from Bon Jovi and Ryan Adams, both of which are slated for June releases. Later in the year, Universal Nashville will release new albums from LeAnn Womack and Billy Currington. Highlighting fall releases from Universal Musica is a new effort from Juanes in September.