Billboard Bits: Madonna, Salute To The Blues & More
News on Madonna, Salute To The Blues, and Black Eyed PeasMadonna will make her episodic television debut on NBC's "Will & Grace" in May. The network did not give details on the storyline of the episode. Madonna hosted "Saturday Night Live" in the '80s and performed on the program in 1993; she has also appeared in three HBO concert specials.
The singer's forthcoming Maverick/Warner Bros. studio album is slated for an April release. The as-yet-untitled set will be preceded by the first single, "American Life." The new album is the follow-up to her 2000 set "Music," which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 2.86 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
-- Keith Caulfield, L.A.
Aerosmith, Macy Gray, Buddy Guy, Mos Def, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion are the latest performers to be added to the Feb. 7 Salute to the Blues concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall. As previously reported, the event will also feature B.B. King, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Aaron Neville, Keb' Mo', Dr. John, David Johansen, Vernon Reid, Shemekia Copeland, Mavis Staples, Gregg Allman, and Public Enemy's Chuck D.
The historic concert will serve as the kickoff event for what Congress has declared the Year of the Blues. The show will be filmed by director Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day") for a theatrical release that will be executive produced by Martin Scorsese. Tickets ranging from $50 to $1,250 are on sale via Ticketmaster and the Radio City box office. Proceeds will benefit The Blues Music Foundation.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Hip-hop outfit Black Eyed Peas is working on its next Interscope album, "Elephunk," and is planning to release the set sometime this spring. Group members Will.I.Am, Apl de Ap, and Taboo are joined on the album by Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker as well as Papa Roach on as yet-unnamed-tracks. "Elephunk" will be the follow-up to 2000's "Bridging the Gap," which bowed at No. 40 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally.
Meanwhile, Will.I.Am has signed on to host the new MTV2 show "My Definition," which will begin airing this spring. The program will feature hip-hop videos as well as performances from the rapper, who will be backed by "an all-star live band," according to a statement.
Black Eyed Peas will be in Park City, Utah, next week for performances Tuesday (Jan. 21) at Plan B and Wednesday at Club Suede, the latter with Grandmaster Flash. The shows coincide with the annual Sundance Film Festival.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.