News and notes from backstage at the 20th annual Soul Train Music Awards, held Saturday (March 4) in Los Angeles. The show will air in syndication beginning March 11.
In what is sure to be a hot ticket, Jamie Foxx says he will be going out on tour with Mary J. Blige this coming fall, with dates to be announced. “Hip-hop didn’t kill the R&B star,” declared the “Unpredictable” artist backstage. “This tour is going to be hot.”
Crediting Kanye West for bringing him back to music in a credible way, Foxx said he’s very proud of his first album on J Records. As far as his current day job is concerned, he’s presently shooting the film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls” with Eddie Murphy and Beyonce. Foxx said things are “cooking” on the set and promised the movie “will knock your wig off.”
Original En Vogue member Dawn Robinson said the group’s long-discussed recording reunion is still in the talking stages. In the meantime, Robinson is doing spot dates with En Vogue and is busy at work on her own solo album. She’s aiming to release a first single in April followed by the album in October. The as-yet-untitled set sports a hip-hop/rock feel that Robinson describes as reminiscent of En Vogue’s 1992 R&B/pop charter “Free Your Mind” but “edgier.” Among the producers she’s in discussions with are Chucky Thompson and Rich Harrison.
Singer/songwriter Avant said he wants to bring chivalry back to music and the male/female relationship a la Barry White, Marvin Gaye and the Temptations. After having spent the past 18 months raising his son, Avant will return April 25 with the Interscope album “Director.” The set will be led by the single “4 Minutes.”
In addition to its love themes, the album also delves into social issues (“Ghetto Public Service Announcement” with Jermaine Dupri). “I wanted to help raise people’s consciousness by talking about different issues,” says Avant, who wrote most of the set’s songs. “But the album still has my [love] vibe.” The artist added he is pondering a duet album with Cash Money songstress Keke Wyatt. The two paired together previously in 2000 (on Avant’s “My First Love”) and 2001 (Wyatt’s “Nothing in This World”).