After a series of mixtapes, guest features on various projects and a much-touted debut on Dr. Dre's  Aftermath Records that never materialized, Marsha Ambrosius is finally closing in on her first solo CD. "Late Nights & Early Mornings" (Nov. 9) marks the singer/songwriter/producer's maiden voyage on her new label, J Records.
Best-known as the "Songstress" half of Grammy Award-nominated neo-soul duo Floetry  ("Say Yes," "Getting Late"), Ambrosius is courting attention for her solo debut by way of lead single "Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player)." Her frank yet witty treatise about a bad breakup scores a six-point boost to No. 33 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Marsha Ambrosius, "Hope She Cheats on You
Shooting from the hip with controversial lines like, "Hope that she Kim Kardashianed her way up/Don't know the difference between a touchdown and a layup/Got you on Viagra in order for you to stay up," Ambrosius ratchets up the reflection and honesty that have characterized her singing and songwriting (including Michael Jackson's  "Butterflies").
Featuring all new music and none of the previous recordings from the Aftermath sessions, "Late Nights" was produced by Just Blaze, Dre & Vidal, Rich Harrison, Focus and Ambrosius.
Both basketball players when they were students in their native England, Ambrosius and spoken-word artist Natalie "the Floacist" Stewart teamed up as a writing/performing duo in 1997. The pair subsequently signed to DreamWorks and bowed in 2002 with first album "Floetic." It has sold 864,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and contained the act's biggest Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs hit: the sensual, No. 8-charting "Say Yes."
Live album "Floacism" followed in 2003, and the duo's third and final collaboration was the 2005 studio set "Flo'Ology," which has sold 363,000, according to SoundScan.
In partnership with Giant Step, J Records is finalizing a promo tour for Ambrosius that will start in October and include performances and listening sessions. Also in discussion is a viral video of the singer's studio sessions, says Carolyn Williams, senior VP of urban marketing for RCA Music Group. In August, Ambrosius was chosen to launch "Centric Selects," cable network Centric's on-air and online campaign highlighting the next generation of R&B artists.
In an interesting turn of events, former partner Stewart is lining up her own solo debut as the Floacist. "Floetic Soul" (Shanachie Entertainment, Nov. 9) pairs the poet/singer with Raheem DeVaughn , MC Lyte  and Lalah Hathaway , among others. Lead single "Forever," featuring Musiq Soulchild  and produced by J.R. Hudson (Jill Scott ), recently premiered on SingersRoom.com.
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