247 The Sound Entertainment News

Busta Rhymes, a multi-award-winning actor, composer, rapper, and producer, will receive the BMI Icon Award on September 7 at the 2022 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. BMI President & CEO Mike O'Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative (Atlanta), Catherine Brewton will s

Busta Rhymes, a multi-award-winning actor, composer, rapper, and producer, will receive the BMI Icon Award on September 7 at the 2022 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative (Atlanta), Catherine Brewton will serve as the event’s host at the exclusive gathering, which will take place at the LIV Nightclub Miami Beach.


“As one of the pioneers of hip-hop, we are excited to honor Busta Rhymes as a BMI Icon,” said Brewton in a press statement. “Through his award-winning solo work, countless collaborations and acting, Busta is a true innovator in every sense of the word and has made a dynamic impact on legions of fans and music creators worldwide.

“His quick wit and intricate rapping style have made him legendary, inspiring many young performers to follow in his footsteps. We’re also thrilled to be back in person in Miami, celebrating our top music creators behind some of today’s most-performed songs. We’re looking forward to a fantastic night of great music.” 

Rhymes will be celebrated for his career in the early 90s with the Leaders of the New School Hip-Hop crew, leading to several successful albums and hits like “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See,” “Break Ya Neck,” “Dangerous,” “Gimme Some More” and “What’s It’s Gonna Be?,” featuring Janet Jackson.


The 35 R&B/Hip-Hop songs from BMI’s catalog of more than 18.7 million musical works with the highest number of performances in the United States over the previous year will also be honored throughout the evening. During the ceremony, the BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Songwriter, Producer, and Publisher of the Year will also be announced.


Just days after teaming with Madonna for a “Break My Soul” remix, Beyoncé has teamed with R&B legend Ronald Isley and The Isley Brothers for “Make Me Say It Again, Girl.” The single is a remake of the Isley Brothers classic from 1975’s The Heat Is On album.


You can hear a preview of the single below, and be sure to tune into iHeartRadio for the full single.


This Beyoncé run may be her best yet. With Renaissance already sitting on top of the Billboard 200, Beyoncé now has taken control of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Break My Soul.” Pulling off a trifecta, Beyoncé also holds the top spot on the Artist 100 chart.


Beyoncé’s reign at the top of the Artist 100 is a first since the start of the chart in 2014. The Renaissance album is the seventh No. 1 for Beyoncé and bowed with 332,000 equivalent album units.


“Break My Soul” jumps from No. 6 to No. 1, giving Beyoncé her eighth No. 1 single. All 16 tracks of the Renaissance album are placed in the Hot 100.


Beyoncé is the fifth woman to lead the Artist 100, Hot 100, and Billboard 200 charts at the same time. The other four are Taylor Swift, Adele, Ariana Grande, and Camilla Cabello.



Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' Album Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200

Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 332,000 equivalent units. It’s the largest first-week sales by a woman this year. 

The album’s hefty debut numbers also put Beyoncé behind British megastar Harry Styles as the second artist of 2022 with the most albums sold in its first week.

Outside of Adele‘s 2021 album 30, Beyoncé leads the pack as the first woman to have a new album launch atop the Billboard 200.

Each of Beyoncé’s seven studio albums topped the big albums chart — and she’s the only woman to achieve this feat. Her last proper solo album, Lemonade, opened at No. 1 with 653,000 units sold. 

Additionally, Renaissance earns Beyoncé her tenth top 10 album on the Billboard 200. Before this latest release, 2019’s The Lion King: The Gift entered at No. 2 with sales of 54,000. Then, a few months earlier, Homecoming: The Live Album started at No. 4 on this list, selling 38,000 in its first week. 


“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” said Beyoncé. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”

The music icon also thanked her fans for supporting her latest album. “I’m thankful that it was received and understood. Thank you to my beautiful team for your heart and grind,” Beyoncé wrote in a letter. “Thank you to all of the brilliant collaborators and musicians, composers and everyone involved in creating this piece of art. And thank you to the absolute best fans on the planet. I’m grateful to be loved by you.”


Renaissance was powered by the current single, “Break My Soul,” co-produced and co-written by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. It recently reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her eighth chart-topper and first since the Grammy-winning “Savage (Remix)” with Megan Thee Stallion.  

Not to mention, the 15 other Renaissance songs were entries on the Hot 100 this week. This feat brings Beyoncé’s Hot 100 appearances to 81, the third most among women. She passes Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin (73) and Ariana Grande (71) to trail behind Nicki Minaj (123) and Taylor Swift (168). 


“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” said Beyoncé. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”

The music icon also thanked her fans for supporting her latest album. “I’m thankful that it was received and understood. Thank you to my beautiful team for your heart and grind,” Beyoncé wrote in a letter. “Thank you to all of the brilliant collaborators and musicians, composers and everyone involved in creating this piece of art. And thank you to the absolute best fans on the planet. I’m grateful to be loved by you.”

Renaissance was powered by the current single, “Break My Soul,” co-produced and co-written by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. It recently reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her eighth chart-topper and first since the Grammy-winning “Savage (Remix)” with Megan Thee Stallion.  

Not to mention, the 15 other Renaissance songs were entries on the Hot 100 this week. This feat brings Beyoncé’s Hot 100 appearances to 81, the third most among women. She passes Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin (73) and Ariana Grande (71) to trail behind Nicki Minaj (123) and Taylor Swift (168). 


So far, Beyoncé has not shared an official music video for “Break My Soul.” According to the press release, visuals, including one for the lead single, are forthcoming. But she did drop several remixes, including a Queens Remix featuring Madonna.  It reimagines the original production with her co-star’s 1992 hit single “Vogue.” 

Other alternate remixes included those done over by producer/artist will.i.am, Chicago house DJ Terry Hunter, house producer/DJ Honey Dijon and DJ Nita Aviance.







Ne-Yo's wife files for divorce after she alleges he fathered a child with another woman

Days after accusing husband Ne-Yo of sleeping with another woman, Crystal Renay Smith has filed for divorce.

According to legal documents obtained by The Times, the entrepreneur filed a petition for divorce from R&B singer Ne-Yo — whose given name is Shaffer Chimere Smith — on Monday. The petition said Ne-Yo and Smith separated on July 22, 2022.

“Petitioner is entitled to a divorce from respondent upon the ground that the marriage is irrevocably broken with no hope for reconciliation,” the court document said.






Mary J. Blige Explains How She Curated the Set List for Apple Music Live Concert


Over the past 30 years, Mary J. Blige has gifted the world with 14 studio albums, her latest being 2022’s Good Morning Gorgeous. With more than a dozen headlining and co-headlining tours under her belt, Blige is more than familiar with how her fans react to certain songs she performs.

Blige’s upcoming Apple Music Live concert, set to premiere July 27, will celebrate her longevity in music and the 30th anniversary of her debut album, What’s the 411?

In an upcoming interview with Nadeska of Apple Music, Blige shared her approach to curating her career-spanning set list for Apple Music Live. 

“I’ve been touring and doing shows for years now so I know what the fans want to hear from each album,” said Blige. “So, you know…classics… you can’t lose with that and of course, they love ‘Good Morning Gorgeous’ and they love the album. But if you do not incorporate those classics… it will not be good.” 








Ciara's New Single 'Jump' Makes Top 5 Debut on Billboard


Ciara’s new single “Jump” makes a strong debut on Billboard.


This week, the Coast Contra-assisted bop enters at No. 4 on Billboard’s R&B Digital Song Sales chart. Elsewhere, the high-octane summer anthem debuts at No. 12 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales chart. 


Co-written by Ciara and Theron Thomas, “Jump” was released on July 8 and was accompanied by an electrifying music video. The Dave Meyers-directed video, packed with nostalgic nuggets for her fans to find, has garnered nearly three million views on YouTube


“Jump” is the lead single from Ciara’s upcoming eighth album, which will release on her Beauty Marks Entertainment imprint, in partnership with Uptown Records and Republic Records. 


Ciara announced her new deal earlier this month. “I am thrilled to partner with Uptown/Republic Records through my own label imprint Beauty Marks Entertainment,” she said. “Wendy [Goldstein] and I have been in discussion to work together for some time and the enthusiasm that her and the entire team have expressed over this new project marks an exciting new chapter in my career. I am grateful to be able to continue my mission of making the world dance with a team I admire, who are at the forefront of empowering artists.”




The untitled album will follow Ciara’s 2019 LP,  Beauty Marks, which she independently released on Beauty Marks Entertainment. It featured her platinum-selling single “Level Up.”


Ciara’s upcoming album is reportedly complete. “I’m actually finished with my album, which I’m really excited about,” she told the Associated Press in May.


Circling back to “Jump,” Ciara recently shared a compilation video of some of her famous friends such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kim Kardashian singing along to the song. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this turns out to be the next viral challenge for Ciara.

Beyonce reveals Renaissance album tracklist with 16 songs but collaborations are a mystery


The Single Ladies hitmaker is due to drop her long-awaited seventh studio album on July 29. She announced the news last month and released the lead single Break My Soul, which saw a departure from her usual R&B sound into house and dance music. 


With just over a week to go until Renaissance falls into our streaming libraries, Queen Bey has revealed the tracklist featuring an impressive slate of 16 songs. 


Of course, we’ll be in the dark about the content until next Friday but fans have been able to glean clues from the song titles alone.


Virgo’s Groove is the longest track on Renaissance at a hefty six minutes and eight seconds, and is a clear reference to our girl’s star sign with Beyonce, a proud virgo, born on September 4. 


It’s likely the track America’s Got A Problem will tackle social injustice issues as Beyonce, 40, has been particularly vocal in recent years about police brutality and African-Americans dying from Covid at a disproportionate rate.


It’s possible she could also reference the Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v Wade decision which ensured protections for people to seek legal abortions in the US. 

Other songs of note include Thique, Church Girl and Plastic Off The Sofa, the latter of which should be entertaining.


‘It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgement. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.


She added: ‘I hope you find joy in this music. I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.’



Usher Touches On The Possibility Of A Verzuz Against Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Or Trey Songz


Since he delivered what many R&B fans have been deeming an all-time great NPR Tiny Desk performance back in June, Usher has remained at the forefront of music and pop-culture. In addition to becoming meme fodder, the 43-year-old singer has also appeared alongside City Girls on their latest single, "Good Love."


Naturally, Usher's big summer has inspired countless fans to fantasize about the possibility of the Confessions artist participating in a Verzuz battle, with everyone from Chris Brown to Trey Songz being suggested as potential competitors. Chris Brown has already admitted that an Usher v. Chris Brown Verzuz would "make sense," and now, Usher has shared his thoughts on the two R&B icons going head-to-head. 


In a recent interview with E! NewsUsher revealed he was aware of fans clammoring for him to hit the Verzuz stage, but he quickly shut down any rumors and confirmed that a Verzuz match between himself and anyone else is not in the works.

"There was a flyer that was put together. It’s not official, no, we’re not doing that," Usher said. "But I can appreciate what I see. Nah, there’s no Verzuz. I don’t think y’all ready for nothing like that. You might be ready for something like that on stage, maybe in the future. Stay tuned."


Check out Usher's interview with E! News below. The Verzuz talk picks up around the 1:25-mark.

Muni Long Continues To Heat the Charts Up with New EP: "Public Displays Of Affection Too"


Breakthrough R&B star of the year, Muni Long just released the highly-anticipated follow-up EP to her 2021 debut, “Public Displays of Affection Too. The 5 track project, features “Baby Boo,” a new summertime anthem featuring Saweetie, plus more new hits, like “Pain” and “Another.”  


The release comes fresh off of Muni’s triumphant performance of her certified platinum #1 urban and rhythmic smash “Hrs And Hrs” at the 2022 BET Awards in Los Angeles. The most streamed and buzz-worthy artist in R&B today she has exploded with the success of "Hrs And Hrs”.  In addition to netting over 200 million streams and peaking at #1 at Urban & Rhythmic radio, the track rose to Top 5 at Apple Music, and hit #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. 


Before her soulful, conversational songwriting and powerful vocals caught fire around the world with “Hrs And Hrs,” Muni Long spent a decade as one of the best-kept behind-the-curtain secret weapons in the industry. 


Her journey as a much-in-demand songwriter, co-mingling R&B, rap, and pop, resulted in a diverse catalog of hits accumulated by Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, and Selena Gomez, to name a few.  


See what all the buzz is about by streaming “Public Displays Of Affection Too” below.

Big Sean 'can't wait to be a dad' as Jhené Aiko shows off baby bump in Beverly Hills


Jhene and Big Sean have a baby on the way.


On Sunday, the R&B singer was spotted strolling through Beverly Hills, sporting a new baby bump alongside her partner, rapper Big Sean. After a photo of the couple hit the internet, Sean confirmed the news on his Instagram, expressing his excitement at bringing new life into the world.


“Whole new motivation foreal!” Sean wrote in a now-expired Instagram Story. “Very grateful God continues to bless us thank you.”


“Can’t wait to be a dad,” he continued on the next slide.


Sean and Aiko began dating in 2016 and released an album together called “Twenty88” — a futuristic play on their shared birthyear, 1988. In 2020, Sean rapped about the pain of his partner enduring a miscarriage on his song “Deep Reverence,” which features the late Nipsey Hussle.


“It’s definitely a tough situation,” he said on “Sway in the Morning.” “But everything happens in the right time. I got so much faith in God and the universe, so I’ll just leave it there.”


Aiko is already the mother of a daughter, Namiko, whom she has frequently sung about. She’s also featured Namiko, 13, on many of her songs, including the standout “Promises” — although that streak recently came to an end.


“My daughter has been on all of my albums, except for this last one,” she told the singer CL for Rolling Stone’s “Musicians on Musicians” series. “She was like, ‘No, I’ll skip this one.’ She’s kind of too cool for me right now.”


Only time will tell if we hear a feature from the next addition to the family.

Alicia Keys Earns RIAA Gold Certification for 'City of Gods'


Alicia Keys has gained a new award from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).


The 15-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and producer has scored a gold certification for her appearance on “City of Gods” with Fivio Foreign and Kanye West. It’s her first RIAA certification since collecting more than a dozen in 2020.

“City of Gods,” which peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, appears on Foreign’s debut album, B.I.B.L.E., and West’s Donda 2 album.




In April, Keys released "City of Gods (Part II),” which was her piano-driven interpretation of the drill-inspired tune. She released a video directed by Sylvia Zachary and Sing Lee to support the song, which was the first release under her new imprint AKW. 


In December 2021, Keys released her double album, KEYS, which was also her final album on RCA Records. The album features Pusha T, Brandi Carlile, Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, Khalid, and Lucky Daye. 


“It is an invitation for all of us to show up to ourselves and not hold back any part of ourselves,” Keys explained to Rated R&B about the album. “I think a lot of us oftentimes feel like we have to dim it down and small it down. No, I refuse it anymore. I invite us all to refuse it because there’s a power and special energy that we all have.”


Keys is currently on The Alicia + Keys World Tour, which is her first headlining tour since 2013’s Set the World on Fire Tour. Keys’ current tour wraps up Sept. 24 in Nashville, Tennessee. Before then, she will play in major cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.


Rising acts Pink Sweat$, Mereba, Louis and the Yakuza, JP Saxe, D Smoke, Natalie Hemby, Ayliva and Belen Aguilera will support Keys on select dates.





Jennifer Hudson Achieves EGOT Status

Jennifer Hudson took home the award for Best Musical Sunday night at the 2022 Tony Awards. A Strange Loop, written exclusively by Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael R. Jackson, which Hudson helped produce, granted the accomplished singer EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) status.

Hudson is now the second Black woman behind Whoopi Goldberg to win all four awards and the third Black person, following Goldberg and John Legend.

She also goes into a three-way tie with Legend and Robert Lopez for the youngest person to secure an EGOT win. All three stars were 39 at the time of the fourth distinct honor.

Additionally, Hudson is the 17th person overall to join the EGOT crowd. 


At the 79th Academy Awards in 2007, Hudson accepted the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Effie White in Dreamgirls.

Hudson followed with her first-ever Grammy award. Her self-titled album won Best R&B Album at the 2009 Grammys, where she had Whitney Houston present her the trophy. She’d win her second of eight nominations in another album category: Best Musical Theater Album for The Color Purple.

Babyface and Ella Mai Announce New Song 'Keeps on Fallin'

Legendary singer/songwriter/producer Babyface and Ella Mai have announced their new song, “Keeps on Fallin,” which will release on June 17.


Babyface teased the upcoming collaboration, sharing footage from a March 2021 studio session.


In the clip, Babyface complimented Mai on her melodies and voice before starting work on the soon-to-be-released duet. They broke down the barriers for constructive criticism as well.  


The prolific musician D'Mile, who has won Grammys with Silk Sonic and H.E.R., is also involved with the song.





A post shared by Kenny Edmonds (@babyface)



Babyface, who toured the nation with Kem earlier this year, last released music as Lil Bayface last year. He dropped the demo of “Rock Steady,” the 1987 classic, performed by The Whispers, that he co-wrote and co-produced with L.A. Reid. 


Babyface teamed with Jam & Lewis, affectionately known as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, that same year for their debut album Jam & Lewis, Vol. 1. He co-headlined the album’s second single, “He Don't Know Nothin' Bout It.“ It peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Airplay chart. 


In 2015, Babyface released his latest album, Return of the Tender Lover

For Mai, she released her last album, Heart On My Sleeve, in May. It features her current single, “DFMU,” which reigns within the upper parts of the R&B and hip-hop charts. 


The follow-up to her 2018 self-titled album entered the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart at No. 2. It bowed at No. 15 on the Billboard 200.


Heart On My Sleeve comprises contributions from Latto, Roddy Rich, and Lucky Daye. Mary J. Blige and Kirk Franklin also make an appearance.


Mai supported her new album with varied performances, including visiting Vevo studios, where she sang two songs. 


Preview Babyface and Ella Mai’s new song “Keeps On Fallin” below.

Tank Sets Release Date for Final Album 'R&B Money'


Tank has revealed the release date for his long-awaited tenth and final album, R&B Money. The follow-up to 2019’s Elevation arrives Aug. 19 via his imprint R&B Money in partnership with Atlantic Records.

The R&B General recently shared the album’s latest single, "Slow" featuring J. Valentine, who also co-hosts a new podcast with Tank.

The other tracks on Tank’s forthcoming album R&B Money include the Kate Bush-sampled “Can’t Let It Show” and the self-sampled “I Deserve".  Both reached number one on the R&B charts. 

Besides J. Valentine and the three songs released, the 17-track set will feature contributions from Chris Brown, Alex Isley, Rotimi, Feather, TVERSE and D&D.



Discussing R&B Money in a statement, Tank said the pending album is “a labor of love to my fans and to the genre of R&B I wanted this album to pay homage to my influences and my evolution as an artist, and I think that’s what this final album represents.” 


Tank noted Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Keith Sweat, and Al Green as sources of inspiration for who he is as an artist. 


In preparation for the new album, Tank is performing nationwide. He’ll play a few Club Quarantine shows led by D-Nice. The R&B general also is on the lineup for this year’s Essence Festival of Culture and Cincinnati Music Festival. 


In other news, Tank teamed up with J. Brown for the new song “Don't Rush.” It is rising on the R&B charts. 


Tank’s R&B Money Tracklist

  1. “R&B Money”
  2. “When You Dance”
  3. “Home”
  4. “No Limit” feat. Alex Isley
  5. “Slow” feat. J Valentine
  6. “Morning” feat. Vedo
  7. “Can’t Let It Show”
  8. “See Through Love” feat. Chris Brown
  9. “Spoil Her Alert”
  10. “I Deserve”
  11. “Too Late”
  12. “Make Sure” feat. Feather
  13. “Let’s Take A Ride” feat. Rotimi and TVERSE
  14. “It’s Nothing”
  15. “Awesome” feat. D&D
  16. “Regular”
  17. “Summer Killa”



Trey Songz has been cleared of a sexual assault that allegedly occurred in Las Vegas. The R&B star was accused of sexual misconduct during a celebration of his 37th birthday at the Cosmopolitan hotel in November.


“The LVMPD has concluded the investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Tremaine Neverson and determined that no criminal charges will be filed. If any new evidence comes to light, the case will be reopened for further investigation,” a representative for the Las Vegas Metro PD told TMZ.


In response, Songz’s attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, released a statement: “We are pleased that Trey Songz’ has been cleared of wrongdoing and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department investigation has officially been closed.”


They added, “We are grateful to the LVMPD for the professional police work done and their thorough investigation, which included findings of inconsistency in witness testimony and insufficient evidence. We are pleased that Trey can now return to what he does best, entertaining.”



Chlöe Drops Huge New Single 'Treat Me'


Chlöe has shared her huge new single 'Treat Me'.

The R&B queen is making waves with each passing release, her solo trajectory taking her to the stratosphere.


Making her singular bow with 'Have Mercy' last year, Chlöe then sat down with Clash for an exclusive cover story.


New single 'Treat Me' is another emphatic statement, pivoting between soulful R&B elements and pop ambition.


A raw plea from the heart, 'Treat Me' comes equipped with a stunning Diana Kunst directed video.


Working with creative director Andrew Makadsi, it's a ruthless visual statement that leaves a real impact.

Tune in now.




Smokey Robinson Reveals Why He Resents Being Called An African-American


A 2004 poem titled “A Black American” by Smokey Robinson recently resurfaced when a teacher animated the poem for Black History Month. Amid the newfound traction, the Motown Records’ hitmaker spoke to his resentment towards the term “African-American” and the poem’s impact in correlation to the Black experience on The View. 


“I think that when you [use the term African-American], you’re disclaiming all the contributions that Black people have made to America. I consider myself to be a Black American, and I enjoy being called Black, and Black has been so negativized as a color down throughout history by those who wanted to negativize it. And so, it spilled over into the Black community and to the Black people. And even Black people back in the day calling each other Black was a sign for a fight […] Like Black was so negative,” the 82-year-old crooner stated.




Robinson went on to gift each host a copy of Walter Milton and Joel Freeman’s Black History 365: An Inclusive Account Of American History. He also spoke on Black Americans in the armed forces not dying for African countries but instead dying in states like Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. “We’ve contributed so much to America that it should be acknowledged […] That’s how I feel about being Black and I’m proud to call [myself] a Black American,” he exclaimed.


The original piece (see 2020 version above) was written for the season three finale of Def Poetry Jam. Watch Smokey Robinson’s full interview on The View below.

R&B star Mahalia announces Button Factory Dublin show



Leicester-born R&B musician Mahalia has announced her Dublin comeback show at the Button Factory on May 17th, with special guest Ruti.


The Grammy-nominated act recently dropped her brand new single ‘Letter To Ur Ex’ via Atlantic Records, following on from previous releases ‘Whenever You’re Ready’ and ‘Roadside’ (feat. AJ Tracey).


‘Letter To Ur Ex’ offers a more retrospective side of Mahalia, fusing her knowledge and experience with maturation. Exploring, understanding, and accepting every part of herself, Mahalia has taken her growth and merged it with her foundations; she has twisted her bases.


“I wrote ‘Letter to ur ex’ the morning after me and my guy had had a really bad argument due to a text that had been sent by his ex-partner the night before. I think when everybody begins a new relationship, it’s vital that it feels like a fresh start," Mahalia says of the track.


"Like everything before doesn’t really matter and the next journey begins now with only the two of you. I realized through this experience that this isn’t always the case. But, really, I just wanted to tell her how her actions were making me feel. How her gain in closure was my loss in love. And though I am also a woman who has felt all of those feelings before, I wanted to ask her to let him go so that I could hold him close. To close their old door so that I could open our new one."



Beginning 2020 with her second BRIT nomination, Mahalia featured on up-and-coming fellow Midlands rapper Pa Salieu’s debut mixtape, Send Them To Coventry, whilst also gracing the tracklist of Headie One’s No.1 album Edna.


Mahalia also received a Grammy nomination for ‘All I Need’ - Jacob Collier’s single of which she features alongside US rapper, Ty Dolla $ign. Shortly after, Mahalia concluded the year with two MOBO wins for ‘Best Female Act’ and ‘Best R&B/Soul Act’. She was also nominated for ‘Album Of The Year’ for her debut album Love and Compromise.


In 2021, Mahalia was also nominated for her first-ever Ivor Novello award for her 2020 collaboration with UK lyricist Pa Salieu for his single ‘Energy’ and subsequently concluded the year with an incredible headline show at London’s prestigious venue, O2 Brixton Academy.


Reflection has been the thread running through Mahalia’s writing and while the current global situation offers little more than uncertainty, the singer hopes that her music will encourage her listeners to carve out time to also look back and re-evaluate.


“We’re all fixated on how we can make ourselves better during and after this period of time but I want people to also reminisce on lovely or painful situations they’ve lived through and how they’ve helped shape the people they are now.”


Tickets €25.90 on sale this Friday, 4 March at 10am from singularartists.ie.


Usher Says New Album Will Release This Year


The last time Usher released a full-length album was in 2016 with Hard II Love. Three years ago this month, the iconic singer hinted at a sequel to his seminal 2004 Confessions LP. 


Since making that cryptic announcement, Usher has checked in more than a few times with different singles, including the chart-topping singles "Bad Habits" and the Ella Mai-featured "Don't Waste My Time." 


Additional one-off tracks surfaced, such as "SexBeat" featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris, "I Cry", " and" Too Much with Marshmello and Imanbek. He also contributed to songs by Summer Walker, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Jam & Lewis, and most recently, Mary J. Blige. 


With his second Las Vegas residency on its way, Usher is readying new music in the coming months. 


In a recent interview with People’s Mark Gray, the Grammy-winning superstar said his fans can look forward to fresh tunes ahead of his stint at Dolby Live at Park MGM.


“By the time we are live in July, you will have heard new music. My plan is to get back to servicing music the way that we did before,” he said. 

Usher had plans to make his long-awaited return before now, but his album rollout was delayed due to the pandemic.


For Usher, it seems like the additional downtime altered the direction of his ninth studio album for the better. 


He said, “In COVID, while we have been in quarantine, my ideas changed. I actually learned new things. I was able to really be reflective and find out what things matter and really have some true, honest, deep conversations with people and myself, to take some ownership of some of where my life has gone and some of the things that I’ve come through. It is honest.”


As for the anticipated arrival of his next album, Usher responded, “I’m going to release an album this year, hopefully, but now it’s just a matter of the timing, and what the name of the album is and all of that.”


Noted earlier, Usher is headed back to Las Vegas for another residency. Comprising 23 shows, Usher: The Vegas Experience, starts July 15 and runs through Oct. 29. 

Ahead of this residency, Usher will headline the Lovers & Friends Festival on May 21 in Las Vegas. 


In summer 2021, Usher celebrated the 20th anniversary of 8701. Legendary songwriter and producer Jimmy Jam spoke exclusively to Rated R&B about his involvement in the album.

Aiyana-Lee Releases Debut EP 'Wednesday's Child (Side A)' - See Behind-The-Scenes 'Gangster of Love' Photos! (Exclusive)


Aiyana-Lee is ready to make her big debut!


The 21-year-old rising R&B-pop sensation just dropped her debut seven-track EP Wednesday’s Child (Side A) on Friday (February 25), and Just Jared is bringing you behind-the-scenes of her new music video for “Gangster of Love,” which is currently Top 10 at U.S. R&B radio and just recently got a live daytime TV premiere on The Real.


“The ‘GOL’ video is a visual piece that really captures the essence of the song emotionally,” she explains to Just Jared of the music video.


“My creative partner, Nicole Anderson and me, sat together and crafted this treatment, instantly inspired by the power of the song. Nayip, our incredible director did a great job adding and bringing it to life! I hope the cinematic essence and story captivates and immerses people into a story…it’s definitely to be continued.”


The EP includes collaborations with acts like Neff-USebastian KoleNathalia Marshall and singer-songwriter Nicole Daciana Anderson, who is also Aiyana-Lee’s mother, manager and creative partner.


Wednesday’s Child takes its name from a popular nursery rhyme that predicts a child’s character based on their day of birth. It says, ‘Wednesday’s child is full of woe.’ Although I wasn’t born on a Wednesday, I believe we are all Wednesday’s Child,” she says of the EP.


“We’re all dealt a tough hand in life, no matter who we are. Going through troubled times and being an outcast, feeling like the world is out to get you, is something we can all relate to.”


Check out the EP, music video for “Gangster of Love” and the behind-the-scenes photos inside…



Eric Roberson Shares Video for "Lessons" Remix featuring Anthony Hamilton, Raheem DeVaughn & Kevin Ross



Eric Roberson has just unveiled the visual for his star-studded remix to his hit single “Lessons” featuring Anthony Hamilton, Raheem DeVaughn & Kevin Ross.

The remix builds upon the original which quickly became a fun favorite, and brings together some of the brightest stars in R&B right now. In the visual, each takes their turn performing their part of the instant classic song. Eric mentions about the video:


“My inspiration behind the Lessons Remix video was showing four brothers standing together harmoniously sharing the journey they took to find love. I wanted to showcase the brotherhood we share, the electricity behind our showmanship and the power of transparency.”


Also recently, Anthony Hamilton surprised fans with a special treat by bringing to the stage, Eric Roberson, Raheem DeVaughn, and Kevin Ross to perform the song for the first time during his Verzuz battle with Musiq Soulchild.


“Lessons” will be included on Roberson’s upcoming album of the same name to release on April 1st, 2022. Eric will also be releasing his first book, “LESSONS – The Book (100 Thoughts On Life & Love)” on March 1st.



Ashanti announces UK arena tour with Trey Songz and Mario

Ashanti is gearing up to return to the UK this summer, announcing an arena tour with special guests Trey Songz and Mario.


The R&B singer, known for the hits ‘Foolish’, ‘Baby’ and ‘Happy’, will hit the road between May 29 and June 2. She’ll perform at London’s OVO Arena Wembley, Leeds’ First Direct Arena, Birmingham’s Utilita Arena and Manchester’s AO Arena.


Put on in collaboration with UK promoters TCO, Ashanti’s upcoming UK trek will celebrate 20 years of her debut single ‘Foolish’, which was originally released on February 11, 2002.


Her last album was 2014’s ‘Braveheart’, but she announced in December that she plans to re-record her 2002 self-titled debut album, explaining at the time that she made the move “so I can collect my coins”.


The former Murder Inc. singer has become the latest in a growing number of high-profile artists to recreate their older work, in order to regain control of their master recordings.


Ashanti has also starred in a number of films including Coach CarterResident Evil: Extinction, and John Tucker Must Die. Her most recent film was last year’s Honey Girls – she played Fancy G, a pop star who hosts a contest to find the next big solo artist.




Jazmine Sullivan Tests Positive for Covid, Delays Upcoming Tour Stops


Jazmine Sullivan has announced plans to postpone upcoming shows on her Heaux Tales Tour itinerary. The singer confirmed that she tested positive for Covid-19 and is “taking every precaution” to isolate herself.


“My doctor confirmed today that I am positive with COVID. I am taking every precaution to isolate myself. I’m truly sad to have to cancel more shows but health and safety come first for myself, my team and all of you,” Sullivan said in a statement.


“LA’s show tomorrow will unfortunately be cancelled and we are likely cancelling shows for the next week based on my condition and the condition of my crew. We will let you know when the tour will resume once we have made that decision. As soon as we have more information in regards to tickets and rescheduling, ticket holders will be notified via email. Thank you so much for your understanding and support and I’ll be seeing you very soon.”


Sullivan’s statement comes a day after canceling her concert in Sacramento, California, for “feeling extremely under the weather.” 


Over the last few days, Sullivan has been transparent with fans about not feeling well. On Tuesday, she warned her Oakland, California, fans that she would need “a lot of help” at her concert. “Just know I’m doing my best. If I pass out throw some water on me and give me a chicken wing. That might revive me,” Sullivan said jokingly. 



Sullivan’s Heaux Tales Tour is in support of her project of the same name, which was released in January 2021. It includes her gold-selling hit "Girl Like Me" featuring H.E.R. It also includes her platinum-selling single "Pick Up Your Feelings", which is nominated for two Grammy Awards.


On Feb. 11, Sullivan released Heaux Tales, Mo'Tales: The Deluxe. The updated edition includes ten tracks — five songs and five tales, including a tale narrated by Issa Rae.


Sullivan kicked off The Heaux Tales Tour on Valentine’s Day. It was slated to wrap up on March 30, in Chicago, Illinois.

Jazmine Sullivan, Silk Sonic Win on Night Four of 53rd NAACP Image Awards


The NAACP has revealed the winners of fourth night of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards non-televised award categories. Jazmine Sullivan, Silk Sonic and Anthony Hamilton are among the winners.



Sullivan collected three awards, including Outstanding Female Artist, Outstanding Soul/R&B Song (“Pick Up Your Feelings”) and Outstanding Album (Heaux Tales).


Earlier this month, Sullivan released a deluxe edition of  Heaux Tales with ten additional tracks. Her hit single “Pick Up Your Feelings” is also nominated for two Grammy awards, including Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song. Heaux Tales is nominated for Best R&B Album.


Silk Sonic, who is set to kick off their Las Vegas Residency on Friday, won Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Traditional) for their smash hit "Leave The Door Open".


The D’Mile and Bruno Mars-produced song is nominated for four Grammy awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It appears on the duo’s debut album, An Evening With Silk Sonic, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.


Anthony Hamilton, who recently appeared in a Verzuz battle with Musiq Soulchild, was awarded with Outstanding Male Artist. In March, he will join Maxwell’s Night Touralong with Joe. The three R&B gents will perform across the U.S. until May 8.


Hosted by Anthony Anderson, the 53rd NAACP Image Awards will air live on BET on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. EST. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige is scheduled to perform at the ceremony. It’ll mark her first performance since her appearance at the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar.



Charlie Wilson Enlists Johnny Gill, Babyface & K-Ci For New Single "No Stoppin' Us"


Charlie Wilson’s new single “No Stoppin’ Us” is an all-star collaboration featuring fellow R&B legends Johnny Gill, Babyface & K-Ci Hailey.


The song puts a modern-day spin on the timeless McFadden & Whitehead classic “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”. The results are a fun, feel-good anthem that will have you grooving and keep a smile on your face.


This is the first new single from Charlie Wilson since he released "All Of My Love" featuring Smokey Robinson in 2020.


The singer is currently on the road performing alongside New Edition and Jodeci as part of "The Culture Tour" throughout the United States.

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