Billboard Bits: Madonna, Carole King, Macy Gray

News on Madonna, Carole King, Macy Gray

MadonnaMadonna will join Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and Jason Alexander in giving her voice to DreamWorks' animated feature "Madagascar," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film centers around four zoo animals who are returned by ship to their home country at the urging of animal activists. During the journey, the ship overturns, and the animals find themselves in Madagascar.

DreamWorks' recent animated film "Shrek" has been one the biggest hits of the summer, grossing $258 million in U.S. theaters thus far. As previously reported, Madonna will also star in a remake of the 1975 Italian love story "Swept Away," to be directed by her husband, Guy Ritchie.

Carole KingRevered singer/songwriter Carole King will on Sept. 25 release "Love Makes the World," her first studio album of new material in eight years. The album, due out on King's own Rockingale Records through KOCH Progressive/KELA, was primarily produced by King and Humberto Gatica.

"Making the album on my own, without the pressure of having to answer to a big record company, where decisions are made by committee, enabled me to make the album I wanted to make," King said in a statement.

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Celine Dion, Wynton Marsalis, and k.d. lang guest on the album, which features songs King wrote in collaboration with PopRox, Babyface, Mark Hudson, Gary Burr, and Carole Bayer Sager. In conjunction with the release of "Love Makes the World," King will launch her own Web site,

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Macy GrayMacy Gray called her hometown newspaper in Canton, Ohio, to apologize for a recent disastrous performance of the national anthem. Fans at Monday's Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition game in Canton started booing when the pop singer haltingly garbled the words into "Oh say, can you see, by the twilight's last gleaming."

Gray's mother had told the Repository newspaper that rehearsals went well. Gray then called while preparing for a concert in Detroit yesterday (Aug. 8). "I've never stood in the middle of a football field with 25,000 people watching, with planes flying over me," she said. "I blanked and I couldn't believe I forgot the words. I have total respect for that song."

Gray said she had wanted to honor her hometown with the performance and thanked those who clapped anyway.

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Copyright 2001 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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