Billboard Bits: Madonna Heading into Studio, Bruce Springsteen Talks Clarence Clemons' Stroke

Singer Madonna performs on stage at Vicente Calderon Stadium on July 23, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.

Billboard Bits serves up the best bite-sized nuggets of music news and gossip.

Madonna Heading to Studio Next Month, Says Manager
Madonna's manager Guy Oseary announced on Twitter that the pop star "goes into the recording studio next month to begin work"on the follow-up to 2008's "Hard Candy." "There is nothing to report in regards to tour.. you guys know how this works... first comes the album and next comes the…….." he wrote. (@guyoseary)

Bruce Springsteen Calls Clarence Clemons' Stroke 'Serious'
Bruce Springsteen says band mate Clarence Clemons' stroke was serious and he's going to need a lot of help to get back to his former self. On his website, Twitter and Facebook, the Boss calls the saxophonist a "beloved comrade" and writes, "Clarence will need much care and support to achieve his potential once again." ( Associated Press)

Jessica Simpson Signs On to Fashion Reality Show
Jessica Simpson will make her return to reality TV on NBC's upcoming fashion show "Fashion Star," which will be hosted by Elle Macpherson. Simpson, who recently announced a tween fashion line with sister Ashlee, will help search for the next big brand in fashion.

Paul McCartney Working with Gorillaz?
Paul McCartney says that he's talked with Gorillaz leader Damon Albarn about collaborating with the group, although the timing hasn't come together yet. "We have kind of talked. Nothing serious, but I like what they do," says McCartney. ( Spinner)

Tricky Stewart Signs Ulrika To Redzone
Back in the studio collaborating with Mary J. Blige on the singer's forthcoming "My Life II, the Journey Continues" (Sept. 20), producer Christopher "Tricky" Stewart is also busy developing the only female artist signed to his Redzone label: Ulrika. "This is the one that goes in my Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Rihanna history; the special shit that goes on in music every once in a while," says Stewart of Ulrika. He has been showcasing the alternative pop singer/songwriter to top A&R executives during a series of private sessions that will begin again next week. In addition to working on her debut album, Ulrika is co-writing with Stewart on a project for Jesse McCartney. A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Ulrika relocated to the U.S. after high school graduation and is based in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

(Reporting by Gail Mitchell, Jason Lipshutz and the Associated Press)