Billboard Bits: Gwen Stefani, Tibet House, Peter Gabriel

Stefani will be out behind "The Sweet Escape," her second Interscope solo album. First single "Wind It Up" reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the title track, which features Akon, rocketed

Akon and Lady Sovereign have been tapped as the opening acts for Gwen Stefani's Sweet Escape tour, which kicks off April 21 in Phoenix and wraps with a June 22-23 stand in Irvine, Calif. Tickets go on sale Feb. 10.

Stefani will be out behind "The Sweet Escape," her second Interscope solo album. First single "Wind It Up" reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the title track, which features Akon, rocketed 53-31 last week on the chart.

"It's really exciting to have all these songs to choose from," Stefani told Billboard last month. "On the last tour, I only had one album, so it was like, 'OK! I guess these are the songs that I'm doing.' Now, I will get to choose the best and most delicious tracks."

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.






Lou Reed, Ray Davies, Patti Smith, Blondie's Debbie Harry, Sigur Ros and Laurie Anderson have signed on for the 17th annual Tibet House benefit, to be held Feb. 26 at New York's Carnegie Hall. Artistic director Philip Glass will also perform.

Tibet House is dedicated to the proposition that the wisdom and arts of all human civilizations vitally enrich the emerging global culture and its many cultural and educational programs. The organization's primary goal is to preserve and restore Tibet's unique cultural and spiritual heritage.

Proceeds will benefit the Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey, Farm Aid and the Karin Berg Fund for the Myositis Support Group. Tickets are available via the venue box office; tickets for a fundraising reception can be obtained by calling (212) 807-0563.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.






The two venture capital trusts (VCTs) of London-based Ingenious have made a further joint investment, totaling almost $4 million, supporting the North American release of Peter Gabriel's next solo album.

The investment will be made through a new joint venture company, High Level Recordings Limited, formed between the VCTs and Gabriel's company, Real World Limited. This is part of a wider working relationship with Real World, which both parties are hoping to build upon in the near future.

The deal follows the four investments announced in the latter part of 2006, supporting the debut albums of bands Passenger And Apartment, singer/songwriter Indiana Gregg and in Travis' upcoming fifth album.

-- Susan Butler, Cannes