247 The Sound Entertainment News Archives for 2022-07

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.





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