Marc Anthony’s Cuban Groove
Cuban duo Gente de Zona is the first act to sign to Marc Anthony’s new entertainment company, Magnus Media. The deal came about after Anthony agreed to be featured on GDZ’s new single, “La Gozadera.” The Puerto Rican salsa star first heard the song when mutual pal Pitbull invited the pair — Randy Malcolm and Alexander Delgado — to Anthony’s house in Miami several months ago. When Malcolm played the track on his phone, Anthony was hooked. “I heard the future of music,” he told Billboard at the La Voz Kids finale in Orlando on June 7. “The song is a smash.”
Empire’s First Lady Loves Cool James
Empire diva Taraji P. Henson expressed appreciation for more than LL Cool J’s talent at the taping of Spike TV’s Guys’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles on June 6. When Henson presented the rap pioneer with an accolade honoring his 30-year career, she said: “Let me tell you what he does for women and hip-hop — LL, the way you lick your lips… I had to say it!” she exclaimed. Despite looking flustered, LL elicited squeals from the crowd when he licked his lips as he accepted his award. The show, which also featured Chris Pratt and The Rock, debuts June 18.
Evan Ross’ Family Affair
When Evan Ross kicked off his residency at Hollywood’s Sayers Club on June 2, it was a star-studded family affair. In the front and center cheering section: mom Diana Ross — who requested an encore of her son’s Billboard-premiered single “How to Live Alone” featuring T.I. — pregnant wife Ashlee Simpson and sister Tracee Ellis Ross (set to co-host the upcoming BET Awards with Black-ish co-star Anthony Anderson). Also dancing along was sister-in-law Jessica Simpson, while father-in-law Joe Simpson snapped photos. Others spotted in the packed room: siblings Ross and Rhonda plus rapper T.I. (who told Billboard he’s managing Evan), producers Jermaine Dupri and Dallas Austin, Grammy-nominated singer Luke James and Motown newcomer Stacy Barthe. Ross’ six-song EP is due shortly through producer Rodney Jerkins’ Capitol-distributed Evolve label.
Kiesza and Kelsey
The Tony Awards brought together two strange bedfellows at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on June 7. Kiesza, fresh off playing Governor’s Ball the day before, and actor Kelsey Grammar, who was seen in the aisles of the awards introducing the “Hideaway” singer to his wife, Kayte Walsh. Later that night, Grammar performed a scene from the Broadway remake of the Peter Pan film Finding Neverland, after being introduced by Kiesza, Nick Jonas and Jennifer Lopez, who all contribute to a compilation album released in conjunction with the musical.
This story originally appeared in the June 20 issue of Billboard.