Billboard Bits: New Babies, Mr. Cheeks, Osmond

News on New Babies, Mr. Cheeks, Donny Osmond

HetfieldFamilies are growing in a feminine way all about the music industry, as Metallica's James Hetfield, R&B singer Tamia, and country couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have all welcomed new female additions in recent days.

On Jan. 17, Hetfield and his wife Francesca had their third child, a baby girl they've named Marcella. All "are home and doing well," according to the official Metallica Web site. Tamia and her husband, Orlando Magic basketball player Grant Hill, celebrated Wednesday's arrival of their first child, a baby girl the couple has dubbed Myla Grace Hill.

Meanwhile, last month Hill and McGraw received Audrey Caroline, their third daughter. "The baby's great. She's doing wonderful," McGraw told reporters. "She's healthy and happy and we're happy and that's all that matters." Audrey joins sisters Gracie, 4, and Maggie, 3.

But even with a growing family, don't expect one of country music's most popular couples to slow down. "I'm looking forward to getting a new album out," McGraw said of plans for the coming year. "Faith will have an album out. We've got some shows we're going to do. We're going to be out there. I don't know if we're going to do a great big huge tour. I think we might pop up at a few clubs or do something fun this year."

-- Barry A. Jeckell & AP

CheeksRapper Mr. Cheeks will be seen in court on Monday (Jan. 28), but he's not in trouble with the law. The solo artist and former Lost Boyz member will appear on the syndicated court show "Judge Hatchett" to help counsel a troubled 16-year-old. During Monday's episode, Mr. Cheeks shares the devastating experience of the shooting death of his friend and fellow rapper Freaky Tah (real name: Raymond Rogers), who was murdered in 1999 as he left a party in the Jamaica section of the New York borough of Queens.

Last October, Mr. Cheeks released his debut album, "John P. Kelly" (Universal). The album debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and at No. 32 on The Billboard 200. First single, "Lights, Camera, Action," peaked last week at No. 10 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, and last month at No. 7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The track is up three positions to No. 31 on The Billboard Hot 100 this week.

The only tour date on Mr. Cheeks' current schedule comes as part of Big Shizzo III, set for Feb. 21 at the Allen County Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Ind. He'll sharing a bill with Outkast, 112, and Amanda Perez at the show, sponsored by local radio outlet Hot 107.9 (WJFX).

-- Barry A. Jeckell

DonnyVeteran entertainer Donny Osmond will kick off a brief tour April 10 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J. The 14-date tour -- which comes in support of Osmond's latest release, "This Is the Moment" (Decca Broadway/Universal Classics) -- will last through a May 10-11 stand at the Tropicana Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J.

Produced by the legendary Phil Ramone, "This Is the Moment" is a collection of Broadway songs recorded in a pop style. The set debuted last February at No. 18 on Billboard's Top Internet Albums chart and No. 64 on The Billboard 200.

Here are Donny Osmond's upcoming tour dates:

April 10: Red Bank, N.J. (Count Basie Theatre)
April 11: Buffalo, N.Y. (Center for the Performing Arts)
April 12: Verona, N.Y. (Turning Stone Casino)
April 13: Lowell, Mass. (Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
April 18: Mt. Pleasant, Mich. (Soaring Eagle Casino)
April 19: Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (Crystal Grand Music Theatre)
April 20: Normal, Ill. (Braden Auditorium)
April 24: Youngstown, Ohio (Powers Auditorium)
April 25: Orilla, Ontario (Casino Rama Entertainment Center)
April 26: Cleveland (Allen Theatre)
April 27: Chicago (Chicago Theatre)
May 9: Lancaster, Pa. (American Music Theatre)
May 10-11: Atlantic City, N.J. (Tropicana)

-- Barry A. Jeckell

Copyright 2002 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.