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E-Spire Entertainment News

A place where we inspire to bring you the best in entertainment news.

BET Awards Update

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If you missed the BET Awards last night, you missed one of the best shows I've seen in ages. EurWeb did a good job highlighting the entire show, so click on the link (Eurweb.com) to read the highlights.

For me, some of the best parts of the show is when Prince, Stevie Wonder, Yolanda Adams, India Arie and Ms. Chaka Kahn graced the stage during her tribute. The young and talented Chris Brown and Ne-Yo were good. They made me feel like a proud older aunt (no not mother...not that old...lol). Mary J Blige did it like only Mary can. She rocked the house. I missed Beyonce's performance, but saw the clips and looks like she did her thing too.

For the full highlights, go to Eurweb.com.
posted by Shelia, 9:54 AM | link | 0 comments |

Conversation with India Arie

Saturday, June 24, 2006


RANDOM THOUGHTS with India Arie:


What’s your favorite time of year? Summer
Do you prefer being alone or in a crowd? Alone
What’s your favorite vacation spot? Near water…a place warm and tropical
Do you prefer an SUV, luxury car or sports car? Luxury car
Is your favorite thing to wear a dress or pair of jeans? A dress
Do you prefer lip gloss or lipstick? Both…together at the same time.
What do you find the most appealing or sexy about a man—his eyes, smile, physique or his mind? All of it.


To read the entire interview with India Arie, CLICK HERE.
posted by Shelia, 12:51 AM | link | 1 comments |

Lil Scrappy Interview

Friday, June 23, 2006


RANDOM THOUGHTS with Lil Scrappy:

Who’s your favorite rapper of all time? Tupac
What’s your favorite kind of car to drive? Sports car (Ferrari with the top down)
What’s your favorite piece of bling? My G’s Up/G Unit piece…one big thing…
Is there a picture of it on your website? No, but it’ll be there in a minute.
Besides rapping, name one thing you enjoy doing? Being with my little girl
Do you own a pet? No
Do you like being alone or a crowd? Both

"I’m about to change the whole game around…I’m going to show them I can do what they do plus more," says Lil Scrappy.

To read the entire interview with Lil Scrappy, CLICK HERE.

posted by Shelia, 11:28 PM | link | 0 comments |

SMACK DVD feat. Redman, Keith Murray, and Erick Sermon



See the video featuring Redman, Keith Murray, and Erick Sermon on "Don't Make No Sense."
Clean-low-res
Clean-hi-res
posted by Shelia, 9:44 PM | link | 0 comments |

Platinum Weird: The Untold Story

In 1974, Dave Stewart formed a band called Platinum Weird in North London with his female songwriting partner, muse and soul mate, Erin Grace. The pair originally met a few months earlier and formed a creative and spiritual bond. Their debut gig was at Mick Jagger’s birthday party where they quickly enjoyed a cult-like status performing at intimate gigs in London’s rock club circuit. Elton John’s Rocket label signed the band, putting down an advance to send them into studio and lay down tracks.

Erin’s behavior during the making of the album was unpredictable and eccentric. Prone to mood swings and emotional insecurity, she would often disappear for days, and then reappear as if nothing was unusual with a smile and couple of new songs. Perhaps because of her unconventional persona, men desired her and women emulated her. “She was wispy and elusive,” Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, once said. “I wasn’t quite sure what she was about, but I kind of copied her look.”

With art work finalized and a release date penciled in, Erin vanished again, leaving Dave nothing but a demo of a song called ‘Will You Be Around’ and a closet of metal hangers where she used to keep her clothes. As suddenly as she had appeared in Dave’s life, she was gone. “In a strange way,” reflects Mick Jagger, “I think Dave was the least surprised by what happened. Knowing her nature, I think he found it kind of appropriate.”

The highly anticipated eponymous album of Platinum Weird was never released and its name disappeared from public consciousness as quickly as the elusive songstress herself. Dave went into a deep depression, a period he later referred to as his ‘lost years.’

Click HERE to see what Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Christina Aguilera, and Kelly Clarkson have to say about Platinum Weird.

Watch the Entire Special July 5 only on VH1!

http://platinumweird.com/
www.myspace.com/platinumweird
http://www.platinum-weird.co.uk/
posted by Shelia, 9:38 PM | link | 0 comments |

Inside View with Brandon Massey

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Brandon Massey is the king of supernatural thrillers. After you read one of his books, you will be hooked--you've been warned. With several book releases coming out this year, I wanted to introduce him to e-Spire readers. So sit back, relax and take an inside look into the life of the award winning author Brandon Massey.

You're a prolific writer and have several releases out or coming out this year. How do you find a balance between writing and everything else?

A: Writing pays the bills, so for that reason it will always take a certain, high priority. :-) Basically, I follow a set schedule, writing from 9am - 4pm, five days a week. It's just like any other job. When I'm not working, I'm spending time with my wife, our friends and family, and in general, just living life.

Tell us about The Other Brother.

A: It's a story about a guy, Gabriel Reid, who appears to have a perfect life--great job in his dad's company, wonderful family, beautiful fiancee, luxurious home--when a guy named Isaiah Battle, the same age as him, and looking a LOT like him, shows up one day and says that he and Gabriel have the same father. And Isaiah is telling the truth! Gabriel's dad had an affair and fathered this son, who's now all grown up and wants what he believes he is entitled to--which happens to be everything that Gabriel has. It's a dramatic page-turner, emotionally grueling, and I can't wait to see what readers think of it.

Are your characters based on people you know?

A: I've never based a character entirely on something I know, but I do think many of my characters possess pieces--some large, some small--of individuals that I've met. And my characters also contain some of me, in many ways. I think this holds true for all writers.

How much research do you do before starting a novel?

A: As little as possible! Honestly, I don't do much research at the beginning, because when I start writing a book I don't know exactly what I'll need to know for the story in the first place. I do most of my research as I go along, and I try to only drop in enough tidbits to keep the story plausible and authentic-sounding.

In your opinion, what makes your novels stand out from some of the rest?

A: According to my readers, I have a knack for description--I always hear that my books are very visual, like films. It's a nice compliment because when I'm writing I'm seeing the story unfold in my mind like a movie.

I recently received an email announcing a new non-fiction book you wrote "The Fiction Writer's Answer Book." What prompted you to write a book geared towards helping other writers?

A: The sheer volume of questions I get from new and aspiring writers prompted me to start working on the guide. Before, when I would get these questions I either would spend time writing an email, or would refer the person to someone else's book. I finally woke up one day and said: why don't I write my own book?

The book will cover a range of questions, from whether you should start out by writing novels or short stories, how to get an agent, whether a writing conference is worthwhile, and so on. I'm publishing it as an ebook for download from my website, and it should be up by August.

What are the names of your other 2006 releases?

A: Voices from the Other Side: Dark Dreams II, a continuation of the horror/suspense anthology series that I edit. And Twisted Tales, a collection of fourteen of my short stories. Both of the books are in stores now.

Do you plan on going on tour soon? If so, how can readers find out when you'll be in their area?

A: I don't currently have a tour schedule, but when/if I do, you can find it at www.brandonmassey.com



Interview by Shelia M. Goss, entertainment writer and the national bestselling author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are True. Her website is www.sheliagoss.com. For more entertainment news, go to www.e-spire.blogspot.com.
posted by Shelia, 1:59 PM | link | 0 comments |

BET Awards June 27

Beyonce will debut her new single “Déjà Vu” to open the 2006 BET Awards on June 27, while her boy Prince is scheduled to close the show in what organizers are billing as a “Grand Opening, Grand Closing” event in Los Angeles.

Prince’s song selection is a closely guarded secret…even to the show producers…at this point,” BET said in a statement.

To read more about the awards show, go to http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur26943.cfm or http://www.bet.com.
posted by Shelia, 12:33 PM | link | 0 comments |

Meet Tonya Blount

With several writing projects and a talk show, Tonya Blount doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.



Please introduce yourself to the readers (tell the readers what kind of books you write, etc).

I am the author of Leaving the Wilderness, Jay’s Mansion and the newly released novel, Cha-Ching. Leaving the Wilderness--which is now a stage play, was loosely based on my life. It takes you through the life of the protagonist Jordan Baez as she endures physical and mental abuse from her husband of 13 years and finally makes her exodus. Jay’s Mansion is a follow-up to Leaving the Wilderness, however, it was never my intention to write Jay’s Mansion. Jay’s Mansion is also based on a true story, about my uncle who was three years older than me. We grew up as brother and sister. Shortly after Leaving the Wilderness was released he was brutally murdered by a friend.

Cha-Ching is a urban fiction novel, yet I believe it stays true to the writing that readers have come to expect from me--tragic, emotional, yet inspirational. I believe it is my best work…mainly because I had to step out of my comfort zone and write about a lifestyle I don’t admire.

Do you listen to music while you're writing?

Music is the core of my soul. I listen to all types of music when I’m writing. When writing Cha-Ching, I listened to a lot of Hip Hop music because I needed to tap into the energy of the music in order to write the book. I know with other obligations it can be a struggle finding time to write. Do you have a set writing schedule?
I don’t have a set writing schedule. I do have a crazy schedule these days, but writing is my first love. I make time to write because usually I can’t ignore the words that dance around in my head. Most of the time, I find writing late at night is when I am most creative though. How did you come up with your storyline?

Well, for my first two novels it was writing about true life. However, for Cha-Ching, I knew a few people doing some of things in the book and I knew that there were books out there about other hustles. I didn’t think there was one out about fake credit cards. So I took the challenge that my publisher gave me and wrote urban fiction but without leaving out the inspirational twist.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Write, re-write and do a lot of research.

How can you be reached and where can we purchase your books?

I can be reached my email at tonyablount@yahoo.com. I am also on my space at www.myspace.com/tonyablount

My books are available on line at http://www.amazon.com/ Cha-Ching is available in most bookstores.



Interview by Shelia M. Goss, entertainment writer and the national bestselling author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are True. Her website is www.sheliagoss.com. For more entertainment news, go to www.e-spire.blogspot.com.
posted by Shelia, 12:01 PM | link | 0 comments |

Chingy New Video "Pullin' Me Back"

View Chingy's new video for the single "Pullin' Me Back" from his new CD Hoodstar.

Chingy feat. Tyrese – "Pullin' Me Back" Video:
Windows Media
Real
Quicktime
posted by Shelia, 11:58 AM | link | 0 comments |

Hear New Music from Rick Ross

posted by Shelia, 11:57 AM | link | 0 comments |

Who Is Amber A. Whitman

Introducing poet Amber Whitman.

What inspires you to write poetry?

I have written many poems over the years, most can be found in my book. I take inspiration from many things, people, places, pictures, thoughts. I have also taken inspiration from nature for some of my poetry.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I can't say I always wanted to be a writer, but I was definitely writing poetry as a teenager. I went to a private school and through that we were touring the states in competitions. When my poetry started winning medals, that was huge for me. So with the purchase of our computer...it just seemed to come back to me. I think that I had that in me the whole time, but now I am truly able to pursue writing.

Was it easy for you to share your work with others?

For the most-part it was easy because I really didn't know the public that would be seeing my work. On the other hand sharing with friends and family was a whole other issue. As a writer, some of my work with invariably be about my family, relationships, and other details. One poem I wrote about my mother was pretty potent. I didn't know how to tell her that it would be in the book. I finally told her and she grew silent. That was hard.

What's next on my agenda?

I seem to never be able to stick to one thing. I have a family cookbook that I am working on...with pictures. I have two stories that I am currently working on....one is a fantasy and the other a relationship tale. I am hoping to turn the fantasy into a book...that would be my ultimate goal.....However, with a family it is sometimes hard to find the time to write. I have also been featured on a radio show called The Swimming Kangaroo...and that was a milestone. They even published one of my stories. I would have to say getting published and paid would be the natural next step and just getting my name and work out there......

Are you a full-time writer, If not what else do you do?

I would say, I am a full-time writer when time permits. I am also a wife and mother of a teenage son, so there are always responsiblities there. I would like to write more but with three of us in the house, we have to share computer times. I do some other things as well of course. I enjoy cooking, decorating, gardening, movies, and anything outdoors. I decided to stay home years ago to bring up my son...and that is what I find to be a very important job. However, writing has become my passion and now I need to make time for that as well.

How can readers learn more about you and your writing?

That's easy. They can just go to my personal/professional website at http://homebody2001-ivil.tripod.com

I have my bio, resume, poetry, stories and other credentials listed there as well as how to reach me. Subsequently they can visit my promotional booksite at http://www.geocities.com/whitmansbooks

If anyone would like to reach me they can do so through my email...and I would be more than happy to discuss issues with them. Also if they would like to purchase a copy of my book they can do so directly through me.

I would like to thank all my readers and you for this interview. I look forward to hearing from more people and to my future in writing.
posted by Shelia, 11:56 AM | link | 0 comments |

Introducing Jeremiah

Album Title: Chasing Forever
Album release date: August 8, 2006
Current Single: Get Away
Label: Siri Music
Website: http://sirimusic.com/
http://www.jeremiahonline.com/
www.myspace.com/jeremiahsoul

Audio:
Get Away

Audio:
Get Away (remix)
posted by Shelia, 11:56 AM | link | 0 comments |

Dan Lavery to Release Digital EP

DAN LAVERY RELEASEd DIGITAL EP JUNE 20TH

First new music to be commercially released by a former member of Tonic

New Jersey-born and Los Angeles-based writer-producer Dan Lavery is set to release a 3-song digital EP this week. The songs will be available exclusively online everywhere digital music is sold through Rock Ridge Music. The EP is the first to be released by a member of the multi-platinum rock outfit, TONIC.

"Having known Dan since the Tonic days, I am honored to be involved with his solo release," says Rock Ridge Music founder Tom Derr.

Tonic was catapulted into mainstream stardom in the late 1990's on the strength of several radio hits including "If You Could Only See", and "You Wanted More". The band received two Grammy nominations in 2003 for their album, Head On Straight. In recent years the band has been on a creative hiatus, playing only a few select live shows.

That hiatus allowed Lavery to focus on a newborn son, and to put more energy into producing and writing. In 2004, Dan contributed a track to the compilation of songs inspired by Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, an album which won a Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association. In addition, Dan began writing and producing for other artists.

It wasn't until a meeting with Rock Ridge's Derr earlier this year that he thought to release some of the material that had been accumulating. "Most of these songs were recorded almost immediately as inspiration struck, in the extra bedroom of my old home. There isn't always time to overthink your performances, but to me that's often a good thing", says Lavery.

Visit http://www.DanLavery.com for more information.

Listen to the first track, “Say That You Love Me” by clicking here - http://vista.streamguys.com/jspiewak/dan_love.wma
posted by Shelia, 11:50 AM | link | 0 comments |

The Return of Dr. Octagon new video

posted by Shelia, 11:38 AM | link | 0 comments |

Hit By A Train: The Best Of Old 97's

The Old 97's, led by Rhett Miller, have a rich, organic sound that effortlessly fuses roots rock, alt-country, and pure pop. Known for the raw intensity of their live shows and the authentic Americana punch of their recordings, the band formed in Dallas in the early '90s. Their early singles and 1994 indie debut, Hitchhike To Rhome, led to a trio of critically acclaimed and crowd-pleasing albums for Elektra, beginning with 1997's stellar Too Far To Care and running through 2001's Satellite Rides.

E-Card:http://www.rhino.com/flashcards/ols97s

posted by Shelia, 11:21 AM | link | 0 comments |

Reggae Gold 2006

Variety is the spice of life- And variety in entertainment is what Reggae Gold 2006 is all about! For the first time in its 14 year history, the world’s best selling reggae compilation is paired with a limited edition bonus DVD containing multiple exclusives and great extras. The CD is packed with 18 of reggae’s biggest hits in dancehall, roots, and lover’s rock styles making Reggae Gold 2006 an audio visual blast from the cutting edge of reggae!



Reggae Gold features mainstream hits Sean Paul ‘Temperature’ & R Kelly ‘Slow Wine (Remix)’ and top Jamaican hits Elephant Man ‘Gangsta Rock’ & Ding Dong ‘Bad Man Forward Bad Man Pull Up’.

The DVD includes LIVE performances by T.O.K., Assassin and new comer Ding Dong. Additional features include live dance segments, behind the scenes footage of RG06 photo shoot and interviews with sexy cover models. - Reggae Gold has got what’s hot in reggae music with top stars and breaking new artists! - Reggae Gold is the jump off to summer fun! Check stock on the entire Reggae Gold series from VP Records.

TRACK LISTING:
TEMPERATURE - SEAN PAUL
STEP OUT - BUSY SIGNAL
TOPPA TING - CAPELTON
BUN HIM - BLACK-ER & MACKA DIAMOND
GANGSTER ROCK - ELEPHANT MAN
BADMAN FORWARD BADMAN PULL UP - DING DONG
RING DING DING - L.O.C.
DANCE - VOICE MAIL
DUTTY WINE - TONY MATTERHORN
SLOW WINE (REMIX) - R.KELLY FEAT.SEAN PAUL & AKON
HOTTA - T.O.K
ANYWHERE WE GO – ASSASSIN
YOUTHS DEM COLD - RICHIE SPICE
THESE STREETS - TANYA STEPHENS
BABY TONIGHT - BITTY MCLEAN
I STILL BELIEVE - WAYNE WONDER
CAN'T GET OVER YOU - DA'VILLE
MA MA - GYPTIAN
posted by Shelia, 10:52 AM | link | 0 comments |

The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift - Soundtrack

posted by Shelia, 10:43 AM | link | 0 comments |

American Idol Season 5 Encores Compilation CD



"American Idol Season 5 Encores" features the top 12 finalists singing their best performances from this season. Rocker Chris Daughtry offers his take on Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive." Kellie Pickler contributes her special version of Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight." And Taylor Hicks sings the classic, Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It to the Streets." Just 17 years old, Paris Bennett, granddaughter of gospel singer Ann Nesby, uniquely updates Gladys Knight & the Pips' "Midnight Train to Georgia." Also 16, Kevin Covais impresses with his interpretation of the Nat King Cole classic, "When I Fall in Love." Katharine McPhee, lauded by the judges for her beauty and talent, sings Aretha Franklin's "Think." Elliott Yamin, excels on James Moody's "Moody's Mood for Love." Dubbed "Man-Diva," Mandisa is outstanding on a song that was a hit for Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston, "I'm Every Woman." Heartthrob Ace Young does a turn on George Michael's "Father Figure." Known for his country pipes, Bucky Covington sings the Stevie Ray Vaughn with Double Trouble arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." Teenager Lisa Tucker also turns to the Stevie Wonder songbook, with a perfect rendition of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours." And Melissa McGhee sings a song the judges raved about, her version of Heart's "What About Love."

American Idol Season 5 Encores in stores now! Listen to songs from Chris, Katharine, and Taylor below!

Taylor Hicks: “Takin’ it to the Streets”

Katharine McPhee: “Think”

Chris Daughtry: “Wanted Dead or Alive”
posted by Shelia, 10:36 AM | link | 0 comments |

Meat Loaf Returns

King of the pop-opera ballad, Meat Loaf. He’s been gone since 1993 but now he’s back! It has been thirteen years since BAT OUT OF HELL II: BACK INTO HELL and now he’s set to release BAT OUT OF HELL III: THE MONSTER IS LOOSE in October 2006. Buzz for this long awaited follow up album is already mounting after an unmastered version of the title track from the album “The Monster is Loose” was leaked during recording.



In the coming weeks, Meat Loaf will be revealing the first single from the forthcoming album. For now the leaked tracked is taking the internet by storm. This jaw-dropping new e-card tells the story behind the new album and offers highlights from his epic career which has now spanned four decades.

E-Card: http://www2.fanscape.com/meatloaf/3p/ecard.aspx

Hear Meat Loaf’s leaked track “The Monster is Loose” at www.myspace.com/meatloaf or http://www.meatloaf.net/.
posted by Shelia, 10:32 AM | link | 0 comments |

Ghidrah - A New Way To Discover New Music

Here are this week’s GHIDRAH songs:
SONG 1: Reel Big Fish “She’s Got A Girlfriend Now” (Live)
SONG 2: Indorphine “Spaghetti”
SONG 3: BlueSuedeGroove “Does It Hurt?” (Live)

And, for your convenience, here are the GHIDRAH links:
SONG 1: http://vista.streamguys.com/jspiewak/rockridge_1.wma
SONG 2: http://vista.streamguys.com/jspiewak/rockridge_2.wma
SONG 3: http://vista.streamguys.com/jspiewak/rockridge_3.wma

Be sure to visit the site weekly:

http://www.rockridgemusic.com/top-music.htm
posted by Shelia, 10:27 AM | link | 1 comments |

Jupiter Rising

JUPITER RISING – GO! (WINDOWS VIDEO): http://vista.streamguys.com/jspiewak2/jr_go_video.wmv

JUPITER RISING – GO! (WINDOWS AUDIO): http://vista.streamguys.com/jspiewak/jupiterrising_go.wma

JUPITER RISING BIO:
MYSPACE SITE: http://www.myspace.com/jupiterrising
“We’re on a mission to change the world,” proclaims 8o.Bug, singer, songwriter, DJ and half of the format-busting musical duo Jupiter Rising.

After one listen to “Go,” the barnstorming lead track from the pair’s debut album, (due this spring from Chime Entertainment), you might be forgiven for thinking the change in question will start on the dancefloor. If this relentlessly funky amalgam of hip-hop, pop, rock, dancehall and more doesn’t make you move, consult a physician.

But 8o and her partner, composer-multi-instrumentalist-programmer-human beatbox Spencer Nezey, have a lot more up their sleeves. Take, for example, the soaring ballad “Hero,” which was selected as the theme for the acclaimed International Museum of Women’s project Imagining Ourselves. The song’s soulful refrain yearns for “a hero to save us from ourselves,” but declares that if one doesn’t arrive, “I will do it myself.”

This sort of determination is at the core of Jupiter Rising’s mission. “We both felt so unsatisfied by most of the music out there,” 8o notes. “It’s either bands asking why life sucks but offering no explanation, or trite, dumb stuff about shaking your ass, getting the guy, getting money. We want our music to make people feel full of hope, full of self-awareness and a sense of connection and belonging. We want them to feel something they didn’t feel before they listened to us.”

Jupiter Rising frequently returns to these themes of self-empowerment and community. The infectious, old-school anthem “The Bus,” for example, celebrates the band’s perseverance en route to a music career – and boasts a cameo by an early player in hip-hop’s trip to the mainstream, Kid of Kid ‘n’ Play. Amid the heartache and poverty, 8o sings, “It’s the groove that keeps us comin’.” “I came up with the track for ‘Bus’ and already thought it would be a single,” Spencer recalls, “and then 8o came up with the chorus, and it was, like, damn!”

The epic throwdown “Backstage” captures the twilight moment between post-show exhaustion and afterparty euphoria – promising, with Jupiter’s typical resilience, that the band will take a breath and then be ready for the next round. Underlining the song’s atmosphere of off-the-wall, late-night jamming, the track features saxophone (courtesy of Spencer) and even a cümbüº (pronounced “joom-bush”), a Turkish banjo.

Romantic matters, meanwhile, give 8o a chance to display her expressive range. On the bottom-heavy love song “Frenz,” she testifies to a desire to take a platonic relationship to the next level. “I don’t expect ‘Frenz’ to change the world,” she relates, “but if someone can connect with that feeling – and give the song to someone they feel that way about – we’ve done our job.”

The musical chemistry between 8o – with her versatile, soulful vocals and pop instincts – and Spencer, a madly prolific writer who brings both compositional depth and an encyclopedic knowledge of beats to the table, certainly testifies to a unique artistic friendship. “It’s easy,” Spencer explains, “because she’s a storyteller. I’ll give her a concept and she’ll run with it.” Elaborates 8o, “He’ll be in working on a beat and I’ll go, ‘Ooh, I like that – how about this?’ Sometimes I’ll be in the other room listening to him writing a track, and by the time he’s added the instruments, I’ve written the song.”

The pair traveled along very different paths before they joined forces. Raised by her missionary mom and stepdad, 8o grew up traveling around the South – and wasn’t allowed to listen to anything but gospel until age 13. “I started singing as a child, studying records by classic gospel artists,” she remembers. “I sang my little heart out, and was performing in front of huge crowds early on – my first TV appearance, in front of thousands of people, came when I was about six.” She won vocal competitions everywhere she went, despite having had no formal training. “I would pull these gospel records apart,” she notes. “I could sing every tiny inflection.”

By her adolescence, though, she was a full-fledged punk rocker, sporting a pink Mohawk and listening to everything from the Dead Milkmen to Kate Bush while threading her skateboard through crowds of disapproving classmates. “I got switchblades pulled on me and rocks thrown at me, because I was a punk chick in the South,” she recalls, laughing. “I’d felt so much restriction in my life, and now I finally felt absolutely free.”

After singing in a short-lived rock band, 8o made her way to California and quickly became involved in the dance scene, and soon her vocals appeared on numerous singles on multiple labels. She joined a dance-oriented band and attracted industry attention with her dusky, expressive vocals. “I played a lot of dingy clubs and crazy raves and Burning Man,” she volunteers. Just as the band seemed on the verge of success, Spencer entered the picture.

The San Diego native began playing the saxophone at age nine. After an early interest in hip-hop, he made the segue to jazz and then to electronica. “I realized I was just into beats,” he points out. “I started listening to trance, drum ‘n’ bass, trip-hop, and then finally made my way back around to mainstream hip-hop. Now I listen to everything, and incorporate it all into my writing.”

His hip-hop/reggae band The Beats scored opening spots for artists as diverse as Busta Rhymes and Reel Big Fish, and he also got attention for a side project, Stereo Science. He was invited to a party by the proprietor of 4th Street Recording in Santa Monica, 8o was also at the party, and she was floored by Spencer’s beatboxing/vocal scratching. “I was on my way to the little girl’s room and I’m thinking, ‘This guy’s badass – I gotta grab him and get him into the studio,’” she says. “But somebody else grabbed him first.”

Happily, fate brought the two together again shortly thereafter. “I was working on a record in the Black Eyed Peas’ studio and she came in to sing the hook,” recalls Spencer. “She called me up and said, ‘Let’s work together,’ and I became part of her band.” He transferred from his San Diego-area college to Cal State University Northridge and moved into a room in 8o’s house, where their songwriting kicked into overdrive.

8o’s six-piece group had long been courted by producer-entrepreneur Marc Tanner, who signed them for his new label, Chime. But as they began working on the record, Spencer’s influence grew. “He and I were writing material that was just light years ahead,” 8o insists. “Soon all the old songs were replaced by our new stuff, and the six members shrank down to just us two.”

Produced by Tanner (Shawn Colvin, Madonna, The Calling), Jason Villaroman (Black Eyed Peas, Macy Gray, John Legend) and the band, Jupiter Rising began as a hip-hop party record but soon morphed into something more diverse. “It’s an organic record,” reflects Spencer. “We started with all these party joints, but there was a whole other, more musical vibe once we started working in the studio.” They were aided immeasurably by drummer-percussionist Mike Shapiro, who’d honed his chops with Brazilian wizard Sergio Mendez. “He’s made the most incredible music, but he was determined to just give us what we wanted,” Spencer marvels. “Plus he’s a dope cat – I spent a lot of time hanging out with him.”

The group’s name, meanwhile, came when 8o was preparing an astrological chart. “I came across the term ‘Jupiter expanding,’ and I loved that,” she remembers. “I did some research on Jupiter and learned that it’s this huge, gaseous planet with a molten core that has saved the Earth countless times – it has a massive gravitational pull, so it absorbs all this space debris that might otherwise hit us.” Jupiter’s liquid energy and powerful presence became a symbol of what she and Spencer hoped to achieve with their music.

“I really liked this idea of a dynamic force that draws its power from its core, but that also has all this room to grow,” 8o muses. “I’m hopeful that we can be this magnetic pull to help cultivate and unify all these like-minded people. People want to come together, to break down walls of religion, ideology and color. We want to plug into that and offer something real, something that steps away from all the negativity and superficiality that came before. Yesterday doesn’t count. We’re here now, and we’re ready to lead, to be a positive influence.”
posted by Shelia, 10:22 AM | link | 0 comments |

Disney Pixar Cars Soundtrack Contest

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Scroll down for your chance to win a copy of the Disney Pixar Cars Movie Soundtrack.
Please note the contest ends on July 4, 2006.
































Name:



Email Address:



Enter me in the Disney Pixar Cars Movie Soundtrack Contest:

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Mailing Address



By checking this box you indicate that you understand that no purchase is necessary and void if prohibited by law.

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Put html forms on your website.

posted by Shelia, 9:52 PM | link | 0 comments |

Donell Jones - Male Artist of the Week

Monday, June 19, 2006

Donell Jones is the Male Artist of the Week at e-Spire.

Donell Jones - Journey of a Gemini



Singers come and go, but Donell Jones seems to have staying power. Jones explains why he feels he’s had longevity in this business. “I’ve stayed true to my music and I sing heartfelt songs with a message.”

To read Donell Jones full interview, click on the image or CLICK HERE.

posted by Shelia, 12:55 AM | link | 0 comments |

LeToya Luckett Featured Female Artist for the Week

This week's Female Featured Artist is LeToya Luckett.

NEW CD - LETOYA



Photo by Dusan Rejlin

Shelia Goss: What was the motivation for this album?
LeToya Luckett:
At first I had NO plans on being a solo artist, but once I got in the studio and started writing I decided this was what I wanted to do. So I decided to make a record that reflected on the last five years of my life.

To read the exclusive interview, click on the image or CLICK HERE.

posted by Shelia, 12:45 AM | link | 0 comments |

Michael Bolton Interview

Friday, June 16, 2006

After interviewing Michael Bolton, I’ve gained more respect for him not only as a singer or a performer but as a person. For a man who has sold over 53 million albums and won numerous awards, I did not expect for him to be as humble and sincere about life as he is. It’s hard to condense our forty minute conversation into a page, so I will try to give you the essence of the man.

"I love songwriting. It’s second to my love for singing in how I express myself. When I hear a great song, I don’t need to have a pat on the back as the songwriter. I would rather sing it first. I’m all for that…with this swing record, I got to handpick crown jewels. I hope as a singer and interpreter of music that they are songs that people will relate to as well," says Michael Bolton.

Read the full interview by CLICKING HERE.

posted by Shelia, 2:38 PM | link | 0 comments |

Interview with Teena Marie

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Teena Marie is back with her second CD on the Cash Money Records label “Sapphire.” A few weeks ago I got a chance to speak with Ms. Teena Marie or Lady Tee as some of us call her. This interview is only an excerpt of the entire conversation I had with the R & B living legend.

RANDOM THOUGHTS with Teena Marie:

Do you keep a journal? Yes, a few of them.
What’s the last CD you listened to?
A compiliation Cd that I made myself of inspirational songs like Aretha Franklin’s “Holy,Holy”….Diana Ross’ “Ain’t No Mountain,” Minnie Rippleton, a lot of Earth, Wind & Fire, etc.
What’s the last movie you watched? Billy Elliott
What’s your favorite time of the year? Christmas, because my daughter was born on Christmas day.
Do you prefer slow music or fast songs? I prefer slow music. I like fast jams, but as a whole I like ballads.
What’s your favorite TV show? I don’t watch a lot of TV so that’s difficult. King of Queens…I like that show.

"You can hear a lot of the Rick (James) & Teena influence in this. I feel like he was writing it with me," says Teena Marie about her new CD Sapphire. Read the full interview by CLICKING HERE.

posted by Shelia, 1:18 PM | link | 0 comments |

Shanice Interview - One on One

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shanice Wilson was the little girl with a beautiful voice on Star Search that wooed music executives. Now she's all grown up and singing about things that concern women. With a successful early career, Shanice took a sabbatical, but now she’s back with Every Woman Dreams. Some wonder why she left the music scene when she did. She addressed some of those questions and more in a recent interview I had with her.

RANDOM THOUGHTS with Shanice:


Do you keep a journal? No. I told myself I wanted to start though.
What’s the last CD you listened to? I listen to so many of them. It would be Mariah Carey…The Emancipation of Mimi.
What’s the last movie you watched? Mission Impossible III – very exciting…a lot of action.
What’s your favorite time of the year? Summer…I love the heat…I hate to be cold…right now in California it’s in the 80/90s.
Where is your favorite vacation spot? Maui. When me and my husband went, I think that was one of the best times I had on vacation.
Do you prefer slow music or fast jams? It depends on my mood…sometimes I just want to hear slow music and then other times I just feel like dancing and want to hear something up-tempo…I like them both.
What’s your favorite TV show? American Idol

“With Every Woman Dreams, I want people to follow their dreams and keep dreaming. Not just the women, but men too. That’s what I’ve always done,” says Shanice. Read the full interview by CLICKING HERE.


posted by Shelia, 10:59 AM | link | 0 comments |

Brooke Valentine's "D-Girl" Video



BROOKE VALENTINE OFFICIAL SITE: http://www.brookevalentine.com/

BROOKE VALENTINE ON MYSPACE:
http://www.myspace.com/brookevalentine

Brooke Valentine feat. Pimp C – “D-Girl” Video Streams”


Windows Media
QuickTime
posted by Shelia, 1:24 AM | link | 0 comments |

Chamillionaire releases new single "Grown & Sexy"



Chamillionaire's currently running things on the Billboard charts with his current hit, "Ridin'". Never one to be satisfied, Cham's set to release his new single "Grown & Sexy". Click the links below to check out the new track.

CHAMILLIONAIRE OFFICIAL SITE
CHAMILLIONAIRE ON MYSPACE

Chamillionaire – “Grown and Sexy”

Windows Media Player
Real Player
posted by Shelia, 1:18 AM | link | 0 comments |

Hear Natalie's New Single "What You Gonna Do"

Album Title: Everything New
Album Release date: August 22, 2006
Single Title: What You Gonna Do
Artist Site: http://www.nataliemusic.com/

Audio – What You Gonna Do
posted by Shelia, 1:04 AM | link | 0 comments |

Jeremiah Single "Get Away"

Album Title: Chasing Forever
Album release date: August 8, 2006
Current Single: Get Away
Website: http://www.jeremiahonline.com/
www.myspace.com/jeremiahsoul

Audio:
Get Away

Audio:
Get Away (remix)
posted by Shelia, 12:52 AM | link | 0 comments |

Ashlee Simpson releases New Single



Who: Younger sister to Jessica Simpson, Ashlee rose to fame after the huge success of her debut album “Autobiography,” as well as a successful MTV reality show – The Ashlee Simpson Show. Ashlee's second CD "I Am Me," released October 18th on Geffen Records, entered the "Billboard 200" chart at #1, just as her first solo CD, "Autobiography," did in July of 2004.

Ashlee was born in 1984 in Waco, Texas, and raised in Dallas by her parents Joe and Tina Simpson. At age 4 she started dancing, and at age 11, she became the youngest person ever admitted to the prestigious School of American Ballet. Ashlee made inroads as an actress early on, appearing on shows like "Saved By the Bell" and "Malcolm in the Middle," but, it was a continuing role on the hit WB series "7th Heaven" that jump-started her rise to stardom.

What: Ashlee Simpson plans the release of her new single Invisible, reportedly about life, and about fighting back. Invisible was produced by label executive Ron Fair. The video is inspired by the film Million Dollar Baby and features Ashlee taking hits in the ring.

When: Invisible is available in late June/early July.

Click to hear new single.
posted by Shelia, 12:14 AM | link | 0 comments |

Dre releases new video "Chevy Ridin' High"

Dre releases his new video for the hit single "Chevy Ridin High" Feat. Rick Ross from his upcoming solo album "The Trunk."

The super producer behind some of hip hop and r&b’s biggest hits including “Hate it or Love it” (50 Cent & The Game), “New York” (Ja Rule), and “Say I” (Christina Millian) is set to release his debut album this spring on Jive Records. Check out his hit single “Naomi” and the new single “Chevy Ridin' High"!

After Dre lent his vocals to guest appearances on various projects including Terror Squad’s hit single “Take Me Home,” Dre decided to release “Naomi” which is hitting the airwaves, creating a huge buzz and was the most popular song played in the night clubs in Miami during the MTV Video Music Awards weekend.

Miami based super producers Marcello “Cool” Valenzano & Andre “Dre” Lyon and their production company Epidemic Music are embracing the huge success of their latest hits. First they topped the charts with Ja-Rule’s “New York,” followed by Terror Squad’s “Take Me Home.” To top off their accomplishments in the music industry, they recently won 3 BMI Top Urban Producers Awards for their #1 hit “Hate It Or Love It” featuring the Game and 50 Cent at the BMI Urban Awards in Miami.

The categories they won their BMI Urban Music Awards include:
#1 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Category for “Hate It Or Love It” – The Game featuring 50 Cent; Billboard #1 Hot Rap Tracks for “Hate It Or Love It” – The Game featuring 50 Cent; Billboard #1 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay for “Hate It Or Love It” – The Game featuring 50 Cent Top Producers BMI Urban Award.

Cool & Dre’s Jive imprint, Epidemic Music Inc., is a full functioning production company with their debut artist Dirtbag scheduled for release in 2006. As producers, Cool & Dre have huge collaborations coming up with recording superstars to include Whitney Houston, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, The Game, Mya, Pitbull, Christina Milian, Kelis, Mos Def, Lil E (Easy E’s son), R&B singing sensation Joe, Tyrese, Snoop Dog, new R&B sensation singing sensation Chris Brown among many others.

“Chevy Ridin' High" Video streams:
Windows Low
Real Player Low
posted by Shelia, 12:01 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sick Puppies Releases New Digital EP

ARTIST: SICK PUPPIES
ALBUM TITLE: HEADPHONE INJURIES – Digital EP
RELEASE DATE: 6/20/06
CURRENT SINGLE: My World
LABEL: Adrenaline

ARTIST SITE: http://www.sickpuppies.net/
My Space page:http://myspace.com/sickpuppies

AUDIO – My World

Windows media
Real media

More about Sick Puppies:
Sick Puppies are a guitar fuelled three piece rock band who now stand on the threshold of achieving their singular goal: the global release of the album they were born to make. The band carries an awesome energy on stage and a staggering sound fronted by the fretwork and awesome vocals of guitarist and singer Shimon Moore. Conspiring in the sonic stew that make up the Sick Puppies is bassist Emma Anzai who has been justifiably dubbed “the female Flea” .Uniting the band in rock bliss is the airtight pummeling of drummer Mark Goodwin who is truly one of the hardest hitters around.

The band was born when the two greatest outcasts of Mosman High School met each other in the only safe haven either of them knew…the music room. Shimon and Emma began jamming on Green Day and Rage Against The Machine songs until the urge to make their own sound took over and they began penning the loudest and most powerful songs that they could play.

Just months later, the Puppies beat out 3000 other bands in a demo competition run by the only national radio network in the country. As a direct and rapid result the Puppies were thrust into the limelight, and with their first recording experience behind them. The bands first year culminated in them being crowned the ‘Best Live Act’ at the Australian Live Music Awards. Since that time the achievements and highlights have flowed thick and fast, including tours with Good Charlotte, The Butterfly Effect and legendary bands Deep Purple and Midnight Oil.

Amid the fanfare of all the Puppies achievements remained a burning desire to take their music to the next level. To that end a pact was made to take the band to the ends of the earth and back, beginning with the writing and recording of the songs that they knew would resonate with a worldwide audience.

The band is currently in the studio making their record in Los Angeles. Which will be released later in the year, the Sick Puppies arrival is imminent. Stay tuned…
posted by Shelia, 12:00 AM | link | 1 comments |

Ne-Yo - Male Artist of the Week

Monday, June 12, 2006

Ne-Yo is the Male Artist of the Week at e-Spire.

Ne-Yo - In My Own Words



To read an interview with this talented singer, CLICK HERE.

Ne-Yo is to R & B as Kanye West is to hip-hop. Penning songs for others has helped Ne-Yo with his own solo project "In My Own Words." You must have been under a rock if you hadn't heard the debut song "So Sick" on the radio. Believe it or not, this isn't the best song on the CD. His lyrics are on point and there's not a bad song on the CD. The ladies have dominated R & B lately, but Ne-Yo is representing well for the male artists.

With a voice that’s soothing to listen, Ne-Yo's In My Own Words will appeal to both men and women listeners.

posted by Shelia, 12:55 AM | link | 0 comments |

Goapele Featured Female Artist for the Week

This week's Female Featured Artist is Goapele.

Goapele-Change it All



To read an interview with this talented singer, CLICK HERE.


"I grew up," Goapele explains, "inspired by a tradition of soulful singers like Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Bob Marley, and Miriam Makeba, people who created timeless music and positive change in the world. I'm also part of the hip hop generation, and my influences continue to grow, so my music has become a blend of many musical traditions."

It's no wonder Goapele's new CD “Change It All” has a mixture of neo-soul, R & B, and pop.

She is clearly a talented singer and songwriter. She stands out amongst the rest. If I were to classify “Change It All” in the neo-soul genre, it would be one of my top 10 favorites.

posted by Shelia, 12:51 AM | link | 0 comments |

Big Tuck The Absolute Truth Interview

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Few Words with Big Tuck
By Shelia M Goss



RANDOM THOUGHTS with Big Tuck:

Who’s your favorite rapper or rap group of all time? Snoop
What’s your favorite kind of car to drive…SUV/Luxury/Sports car? Luxury
Are you a morning person or night owl? Night owl
Do you prefer being alone or surrounded by an entourage? Alone
Being from Texas, I know this is a rhetorical question, but are you a vegetarian or do you prefer meat? Meat
What’s your favorite phrase to say when you great someone? What’s up with you?

With several successful mixtapes under his belt, Big Tuck already has a solid fan base underground. Now the masses will get a chance to hear what this member of the Dirty South Rydaz has to contribute to the world of hip-hop when The Absolute Truth hits the stores.

Big Tuck grew up on the south side of Dallas, TX. He’s been in the rap game for over six years. “I was doing poetry in elementary and junior high. Then I started rapping,” Big Tuck states.

There was quite a buzz surrounding Big Tuck after his successful “Purple Hulk” release. He could have gone with any record company. “Universal gave us a deal that we couldn’t refuse,” says Big Tuck about signing on with Universal.

When people mention rappers from Texas, they immediately mention rappers from Houston. With his swagger and style, Big Tuck plans on adding Dallas to the tip of their tongues too. “Dallas has a clubbish super crunk sound. Our music will have you bopping your head when you hear it.”

Big Tuck worked with quite a few people on this CD. With appearances by Paul Wall, Bun B, Chamillionaire, Slim Thug, Erykah Badu and tracks from Willieboy, Play N Skillz and others, listeners don’t want to miss picking up a copy of The Absolute Truth.

“Because of my swagger and what I talk about, I’m different than some of the other rappers you might hear out there,” states Big Tuck. “When you pick up my album, you’re getting a great album. There’s something to ride to. It’s the whole total package. It has a lot of crunk and energetic songs.”

For those who are looking to get into the rap game, Big Tuck leaves this advice. “Stay focused. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Do what you have to do and think ahead on everything.”

Big Tuck is very appreciative of his fans and appreciates the love of the Dirty South Rydaz and the Universal family. To find out what’s going on in Big Tuck’s world, visit one of his websites: www.myspace.com/bigtuck or http://www.big-tuck.com/

Interview by Shelia M. Goss, entertainment writer and the national bestselling author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are True. Her website is http://www.sheliagoss.com/. For more entertainment news, go to http://www.e-spire.blogspot.com/.
posted by Shelia, 8:05 PM | link | 0 comments |

Mr Lif

Who Is Mr. Lif?
By Shelia M Goss



Boston Bred MC Mr. Lif now lives in Philadelphia. His fans will be happy to know that he has a new CD set to be released on June 13th. “It’s been a long time coming…I feel this album really represents me,” Mr. Lif says about his new CD Mo’ Mega.

The focal theme for this album according to Mr. Lif is “Sincerity.” He states, “I’m unapologetically being myself on this album. I say what’s on my mind and what I feel in my heart. On this album, I try my best to bring the images to life through my words.”

Mo’ Mega has 11 tracks and it’s produced by acclaimed producer El-P. Mr. Lif shares more about the album. “It doesn’t sound like anything else. Hopefully, it’ll sound like a breath of fresh air for people; because it’s honest, raw, and to the point. The truth is being told on every track and it’s right in your face.”

With Mo’ Mega, Mr Lif says, “I speak and capture the sound of the times.”

His new CD Mo’ Mega hits stores on June 13th. To hear some of the tracks, visit www.myspace.com/mrlif or http://www.mrlif.com/.

Random Thoughts of Mr Lif:

What’s your favorite past time? Hanging out with my lady…having a good time…going out around Philadelphia…just enjoying the city and taking it easy.
Where’s your favorite vacation spot? Australia…I love Germany too…I also love Chicago and the Bay Area.
Are you a morning person or a night owl? I’m a night owl…I like the solitude I can achieve at night while everyone else is sleep.
If I were to go to your CD player, besides your own, whose CD would I find in it? It’s become the days of IPOD. The last thing I listened to was Kool Gee & DJ Polo…Wanted Dead or Alive is the name of the album.



Interview by Shelia M. Goss, entertainment writer and the national bestselling author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are True. Her website is http://www.sheliagoss.com/. For more entertainment news, go to http://www.e-spire.blogspot.com/.
posted by Shelia, 8:00 PM | link | 0 comments |

Introducing Ray Cash

Conversation with Ray Cash
By Shelia M Goss


Ray Cash vows to put Cleveland back on the map. This Cleveland native states, “A lot of people are not considered MCs. What separates me is my actual rapping. I go hard with the music and take what I say seriously.”

His debut CD Cash on Delivery (C.O.D.) will be in stores on June 27th. Listeners won’t be disappointed because this young dude from Cleveland can rap. “I’m here to stay. I want that longevity. When you listen to this album, I want you to say it’s like a breath of fresh air,” states Cash.

Cash On Delivery was produced by Rockwilder, Rick Rock and Knoxxxx. Cash also has a few guest appearances on a few tracks. “I wanted to work with these dudes out of respect,” he says of Scarface, Bun B and Pimp C. “It was an honor and pleasure to work with them.”

Cash is currently on The Blood Money tour with Mobb Deep and plans on going on his own tour once that’s over.

Cash On Delivery will be in stores on June 27th. Cash states at the end of the interview, “Everybody in Cleveland still got it. Bones back. I’m here. It’s going down.”

To learn more about Ray Cash, visit one of his websites:
http://www.raycash.com/ or www.myspace.com/raycashcleveland.

RANDOM THOUGHTS with Ray Cash

Who’s your favorite rapper? Jay
Do you think hip-hop has gone pop? Yes
What’s your favorite Run DMC song? Down with the King…used to play that song before every game when I played basketball in junior high
What’s your favorite kind of car to drive(SUV/Luxury/Sports Car)? Old school…old classic cars like a Cutlass.
What’s your favorite piece of BLING? Watches
Do you have an entourage or prefer riding solo? Prefer riding solo…got lightweight entourage. I don’t need no big entourage with 30 ****** around me.



Interview by Shelia M. Goss, entertainment writer and the national bestselling author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are True. Her website is http://www.sheliagoss.com/. For more entertainment news, go to http://www.e-spire.blogspot.com/.
posted by Shelia, 7:43 PM | link | 0 comments |

Troy "Smack" Mitchell Interview

Smack: The Man, The CD, The DVD
By Shelia M Goss

Troy Mitchell has been going by the name of Smack since he was thirteen years old. He recently released the SMACK: The Album: Volume 1 CD & DVD. He first came up with the concept in November 2002 and since then he’s released several titles in the SMACK DVD MAGAZINE series. “I was trying to fill a void that wasn’t out there for a lot of hip-hop artists. I wanted to give up and coming artists that weren’t getting on BET or MTV a chance to show their visuals to the world,” Smack explains.

Smack has always envisioned his idea taking off to where it is today. This is just one of the ways he feels like he’s giving back to hip-hop. Smack states, “Sometimes if they don’t have a project coming out, even the more established hip-hop artists might not get the exposure I feel they deserve. For example, somebody like Method (Man). Everybody loves Method, but he doesn’t have a project out there now. I want to keep the hip-hop artists in front of the people in between projects.”

SMACK: The Album: Volume 1 CD & DVD was released on June 6th and features up and coming rappers and more established rappers such as DMX, Juvenile, Bun B, Young Jeezy, BG, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, etc. “I’ve been working on this one for about nine months. It’s a well put together project,” says Smack.

Although Smack now has some financial support from Koch Records, it hasn’t always been that way. Smack states, “I started off 100 percent independent. I pawned my jewelry, sold my car and worked two jobs to get it off the ground.”

Smack has seen his dream become a reality. Not only can you find his latest contribution in the mom & pop stores, but he’s gone nation wide. “We now have national distribution, so you can find the CD & DVD at all the major chains like Best Buy, Circuit City, and others,” Smack states.

Smack contributes his success to the pioneers of rap, like Run DMC, Big Daddy Kane and others. “They gave me the inspiration to do what I’m doing,” says Smack.

To find out more about the Smack franchise, visit the website at http://www.smackdvdonline.com/ or www.myspace.com/smackdvdmagazine.



Smack E-card: http://www.audibletreats.com/smack.html

Interview by Shelia M. Goss, entertainment writer and the national bestselling author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are True. Her website is www.sheliagoss.com. For more entertainment news, go to www.e-spire.blogspot.com.
posted by Shelia, 7:29 PM | link | 0 comments |

CeeCee Michaela Presents "The HOLYwood Retreat"

CeeCee Michaela, known as Yvonne, the zany cop, from UPNs Girlfriends Presents, The HOLYwood Retreat to be held July 13-15, 2006

Atlanta, GA-Cee Cee Michaela presents The HOLYwood Retreat to be held July 13th 14th at Providence Baptist Church located at 1773 Hawthorne Avenue in College Park, Georgia. The HOLYwood Retreat is a God-ordained, God-directed, three-day workshop designed to educate, edify, and empower young men and women to achieve all that God has called them to be by living a life of purity. Well over 700 young men and women, from throughout the United States are expected to attend this exciting three-day workshop.

The mission of The HOLYwood Retreat is to educate and empower young men (ages 12-30 years) and young women (ages 9-30 years) with services that will equip them to improve their quality of life. By establishing self-awareness, building self-esteem, promoting sexual abstinence, providing education and awareness in the areas of teen pregnancy, repeat pregnancy prevention, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as HIV/AIDS. The HOLYwood Retreat will offer a weekend that includes a fashion and hair show, manicures, pedicures, a live interactive cooking show, educational classes that range from STD awareness to entrepreneurship, and culminating in a purity ceremony.

Those in attendance will be in position to experience an abundance of eye-opening, informational workshops as well as opportunities to interact with some of Americas most prominent, young female speakers, authors, performers, singers, and positive Hollywood celebrities while being able to showcase their own talents. To think: all of this in a fun and safe atmosphere! The following artists will be performing in the Beyond the 4 Walls Concert at the HOLYwood Retreat.

For more information call the HOLYwood Retreat hotline at 818-377-5737 or email ceeceemichaela@aol.com. Please visit http://www.holywoodretreat.com/ to register to attend.

The HOLYwood Retreat is one of many projects that Cee Cee Michaela organizes through her 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, GodzGirl / GodzGuy Network. For more information visit http://www.ceeceemicahela.com/

About Cee Cee Michaela:

Cee Cee began singing in church as a little girl. By the age of 14, she was singing in four octaves and four languages. She received her BFA in Musical Theater from The Boston Conservatory of Music and has graced the stages of Broadway along with the late, great Gregory Hines In Jellys Last Jam and Smokey Joes Café. She has guest starred in over 15 television shows as well as films. She is probably best known for her character of Yvonne, the police officer and Williams fiancée, on the UPN hit comedy series GIRLFRIENDS. She also played the role of Simone in the movie, HAIR SHOW, starring along with MoNique.
posted by Shelia, 10:58 AM | link | 0 comments |

EA's Top Black Game Developer

A Myspace Conversation With EA's Top Black Game Developer
By Jim Neusom
The City Lights Reporter
http://www.citylightssoftware.com/reporterindex.html
May 31 2006


Los Angeles - Anthony "Otacon" Inman (www.myspace.com/anthony561) is a
lead developer for EA Games. Anthony Is a graduate of MIT, he is a
child prodigy game designer, currently working for EA Games. Anthony
has worked on gamer classics like Halo, Madden, and he just put the
finishing touches on what's sure to be everyone's favorite Christmas
stocking stuffer...Superman.

Believe it or not, I met him casually on Myspace! As many of you know,
I've been exploring the world of Myspace lately (see
http://www.myspace.com/jimneusom). Trying to decide what's all the
commotion about? The following is one of many reports I plan to write
on my Myspace experience.

************

JIM: Good Morning Anthony, I am so glad to meet you. Bella Donna
(www.myspace.com/thedeadlynightshade) has told me all about you. Thank
you for this opportunity to interview you. You are the type of Black
man, I encourage our youth to follow. Your career has only just begun,
and you have achieved so much...

I joined Myspace because of all the media publicity (good and bad) it
was receiving. What is your impression of Myspace?


ANTHONY: Hello Jim, yes I have done a lot in my career, I can't really
say my career has just started, because I've been in this for a few
years now. I would have to say I've been developing video games for
about 5 or 6 years! I started when I was about 17 years old (my 2'nd
year at M.I.T.), but I have to say, I have done a lot in this industry,
from my graphics work, to my A.I. (artificial intelligence)
programming, but I feel as if I'm not really looked at like one of the
best developers in the industry today, because of my skin color...but
that's another story! I was the lead developer in the Superman
Project.. that's my role at EA games Lead Developer!

Now as far as Myspace goes! Old America don't like what they don't
understand! Myspace has gotten so much spot light why? because it has
74 million users on it? I feel as if corporate/governmental America is
mad at the fact they can't get a profit out of it? That's how I feel...
I mean Myspace is a very good way to Network... there's a lot of
companies on here. The company I work for EA Games, is in the works of
putting up a Myspace page, so our fans can have a 1-on-1 type thing
with us! I mean, was there ever this much spotlight on Black Plant.com?
No Why?

Everything in life has its pros and cons but I feel like Myspace is one
of the best things that has happened to Technology.... I have found
friends that I haven't seen since the 5'TH grade on here. So it's a
keeper in my book.... But like I always say; Most people don't
understand the LOGIC of things... that's why I guess I'm smarter then
most people...

JIM: I tell people; if you want to reach Black youth, you have to hit
them on their hip! They may not all have access to the Net, but they
dam sure have portable gaming devices and cell phones. Can you give us
a quick overview of the opportunities in developing games for mobile
devices?


ANTHONY: Multiplayer games are a natural fit with mobile devices, due
to their inherent potential for communication, such as buddy lists,
messaging, chat etc. Because they bring so many elements together
(gaming, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, location based services etc), they are, by
definition, more complex than mobile single player games.

While single player games have been popular on mobile devices, I
believe that the real potential of gaming on mobile devices lies in
multiplayer games, simply because a mobile device is all about
communication and successful multiplayer games are based on user
interaction (hence communication)

JIM: As a game developer, how do you define multiplayer vs. single
player?

ANTHONY: Obviously, from the name itself the game must be mobile and
more than one player can play it. But, that definition hides many more
aspects, for example; is a game which spans the Internet and mobile, a
mobile multiplayer game, or an Internet based game with a mobile
component? Mobile multiplayer games also have some unique issues such
as latency, the involvement of community, the impact of IP changes, and
so on.

Gaming, in general, originates from the video gaming industry. The
video gaming industry is already mature, and rivals the movie and the
music industry in terms of revenue. Traditionally, there have been
three ways video games have been played Console gaming (PS2, Xbox etc),
PC gaming, and handheld games (Nintendo gameboy device). Mobile games
were seen as a fourth platform for video games.

Most mobile games today are single player games developed using Java or
BREW. The game is downloaded on the mobile device as an application,
and costs under $5. Many popular games are based on brands, such as
Harry Potter/Lord of the ring etc. Popular genres include arcade games,
sports games, and fast action games. Similar to gaming on console, and
the PC, the players are predominantly male. Many mobile games seen
today have been straightforward conversions of more popular games, such
as older arcade games. The industry model is also similar to that of
console gaming, aiming for a few big hits, but also include a large
number of titles selling modestly.

JIM: OK, now you're getting into the business of mobile gaming. Can
you expound?


ANTHONY: Within the mobile applications industry, mobile gaming is a
relatively mature segment. There are well defined channels to market,
distribution models and aggregators. As the industry matures, it is
undergoing consolidation with a spate of recent takeovers (for example
infospace taking over www.iomo.com and Sorrento merging with
www.macrospace.com).

In contrast, the market for mobile multiplayer games are still nascent,
even in mature markets like Japan and Korea. In comparison to single
player games, multiplayer games also require a much higher rate of
initial investment. In spite of these two factors I believe that mobile
multiplayer games offer potential for new entrants because of the
following reasons:

a) Although there are still many limitations in place, mobile
multiplayer games could benefit from the network effect

b) The potential of creating communities around multiplayer games,
offers competitive advantages to the early entrant

c) Localized gaming via Bluetooth is possible which overcomes many of
the problems associated with deploying a game at an operator (although
Bluetooth introduces its own set of problems like the lack of an
integrated billing system, dependence on location etc)

d) Many mobile multiplayer games also have a web component. Thus, the
game itself could be distributed from the Internet with the mobile
component as an addendum.

e) Unlike the PC and console gaming models, mobile gaming has a much
larger player audience. In fact, simple, casual games targeting a large
section of the population offer the best chance for success.

Let us consider some key factors that influence the industry at the
moment and the opportunities for new entrants. We're discussing mobile
multiplayer games in greater detail, because they combine many
different facets of mobility for example community, location etc.

JIM: Is the mobile multiplayer game a separate category or is it an
addendum to the existing gaming platforms on the web?

ANTHONY: Certainly, many mobile multiplayer games also have a web
component. Adding a strong web component, enables the game to be far
more interesting, and potentially targets a larger user base. In
addition, the combination of mobility, location based services,
multiplayer games and social networking, has the capacity to produce a
new type of game which utilizes a virtual environment mapped to a
physical environment (often a city). Typically, the virtual environment
comprises players using a combination of a mobile device, and the web.

One of the best known examples is the Magi game (Japan)
www.mogimogi.com . The basic idea is simple - Its a game 'on the move'.
You pick up 'virtual' items. You trade them with other players. It also
uses a combination of the web and mobile experience. The web is used
for functions such as chatting.

Mogi is also unique in the use of the web to differentiate between
casual gamers, and hardcore gamers. Essentially, the casual player is
the one on the move, while the hardcore player is the one who directs
the casual players from the web console. Effectively, this brings a
greater number of players into the game.

I believe that the mobile multiplayer game is not a distinct category.
It will be an offshoot of gaming on the web. This categorization is
important, because it determines the channels to market, and also the
relative importance of the mobile operators in the equation. The
combination of the web, and mobility will be beneficial to all players
in the industry.

JIM: I have written extensively on portable gaming devices (see
http://www.citylightssoftware.com/reporterindex.html) and agree with
you completely.


ANTHONY: Ok, I'm sorry I have more to say about next generation
portable gaming devices. While we have discussed mobile multiplayer
games as an evolution of existing mobile single player games, a whole
new class of games are entering the market. These originate from the
console industry, and include portable gaming devices like the Sony
PSP, and the Nintendo Gameboy DS (we will call them portable gaming
devices to distinguish from mobile phones used to play games).

Benefiting from the experience of the console gaming industry, portable
gaming devices already have a rich interface and a catalogue of games
that they can draw on. Crucially, they use WiFi for the multi-user
communication (as opposed to the telecoms network). This allows them to
bypass the vagaries of the telecoms network, but at the same time they
are hampered by the limitations of Wi-Fi, because they can only operate
within short distances of the WiFi access point.

Its difficult to say how the market will evolve. My view is these two
classes of games (i.e. mobile multiplayer games, and portable gaming
devices) will end up serving different classes of customers. Mobile
multiplayer games will lean towards casual gamer, whereas the portable
gaming devices will attract the more hardcore, immersive gamer.

JIM: As you are aware, applications such as gaming, drive hardware
advances. But in the mobile industry, Cellular and Internet Service
Providers (CSP/ISP) are trying to create walled gardens, exclusive to
their service. What impact do you see technology having on this
paradigm?


ANTHONY: Operators have a love / apathy relationship with mobile
multiplayer games applications.

On one hand, mobile multiplayer games could generate a lot of traffic.
But the operators want to keep all the traffic charges. But developers
would like to share a portion of that traffic revenue. Currently, since
developers do not get a share of any IP traffic, they try to get an
upfront fee from the customer. As a result, the uptake is lower.

Secondly, the increased use of the web, means that the role of the
mobile operator is reduced when it comes to the multiplayer game.
Bluetooth gaming, also has the same impact on the mobile operators.

Hence, overall, you don't see many in the mobile operator community,
too enthusiastic about mobile multiplayer gaming. As far as the impact
of technology goes, the mobile multiplayer games industry, is impacted
in three ways:

Critical mass: Single player mobile games differ from multiplayer
mobile games in their emphasis on technology. For single player games,
the rich user experience is important. For multiplayer games, the
community/interaction is important. Thus, the winner of the game in
multiplayer mobile applications - is the one who achieves critical
mass. In general, simpler technologies lend themselves more to a
critical mass application. In Europe and USA, at the moment, that is
SMS/WAP.

Latency: Latency is the time difference between the time a machine
makes a request to the time it receives a response. Latency is critical
in fast action games. Many successful PC and console games are fast
action games. When the request/response occurs over the air network,
latency is high i.e. the amount of time is longer. This means, fast
action games are not suitable for mobile multiplayer gaming with the
exception of Bluetooth based games. In case of Bluetooth games, latency
is acceptable enough for mobile multiplayer games. Other genres are not
affected by latency such as turn based games.

Devices: Briefly, the key issue is will players buy gaming only
devices? A gaming only device (which may or may not function as a
phone) would appeal to the hardcore gamers. Hardcore gamers have
traditionally driven the console gaming industry, setting off a
virtuous cycle of richer features and more expensive hardware. Its too
early to say if this would play out on mobile devices

Hardcore gamers have always driven the uptake of console gaming.
Cinematic, immersive, richer games have led to better hardware.
However, the mobile device does not lend itself well to immersive,
extended game play. In the section on the impact of brands, we also
pointed out that casual gamers are becoming more important and popular.

The casual games model is much more suited to mobile gaming, due to its
simpler learning curve, familiar concepts etc. By extension, we believe
that casual gaming will also be popular with multiplayer games.
Multiplayer versions of casual games are already popular on the web and
can be easily extended to the mobile device.

JIM: What about specialized mobile gaming devices?

ANTHONY: The console gaming industry is driven by the hardcore gamers,
who are increasingly more demanding in their desire for richer, more
impressive games. This sets off a virtuous cycle with more powerful
hardware, richer graphics etc.

Most handsets are not mobile gaming devices i.e. they are not built
ground up for the purpose of playing mobile games. The first serious
attempt to create a mobile device whose goal was primarily to play
games (rather than as a phone) was the N-Gage from Nokia.

Gizmondo is another such device. Other devices such as Sony PSP and
Nintendo GameBoy are handheld gaming devices but provide connectivity
through WiFi and not the cellular network.

The console gaming industry is well defined and predictable with
hardware upgrades every four years and well defined channels to market
(mainly retail). With richer interfaces and powerful hardware, the play
times for console games are increasing. They are also becoming more
immersive and cinematic. In contrast, the mobile multiplayer games are
more suited towards the casual gamers. Currently, the companies
displaying an interest in mobile multiplayer games have their roots in
PC, or console gaming. The initial single player user base for mobile
games is also familiar with PC/console gaming.

The N-gage from Nokia, was the first attempt to create a gaming only
device. N-gage received a lot of negative press at its launch mainly
due to its awkward taco like shape and its requirement to change game
cards. However, the N-gage was an experiment at many levels and a
worthy one! The N-gage introduced many features for the first time
Bluetooth gaming, multiplayer gaming, a different channel to market
(retail), richer device capabilities needed for a good gaming
experience etc.

I believe that there are two separate market segments here; the
hardcore gamer who could be attracted to the specialized devices, and
the casual gamer who will use their phone to play simpler games.

The lack of unlimited use pricing is hindering many applications,
especially mobile multiplayer games. Indeed in many markets, we do have
unlimited use pricing today, but the price point (monthly fee) is very
high for general consumer adoption. Operators are playing a delicate
balancing game here. Clearly as 3G becomes more prevalent, the
available bandwidth exists. But, allowing people to use all the
bandwidth they want at a cheap rate, may lead to totally disruptive
applications, such as mobile VOIP, which can cannibalize existing
revenue.

Thus, unlimited use data pricing is a critical issue and should be
watched carefully. The market in which we see unlimited data use at low
cost, is going to see a hockey stick effect in mobile data usage, and
applications such as mobile multiplayer gaming.

JIM: Thank you Anthony, I'm sure my readers appreciate this short
course on Mobile Gaming 101.


ANTHONY: We have covered many aspects of mobile multiplayer games.
Mobile technology is an ever growing market and the applications are
getting bigger! Mobile technology will always be around. I prefer a
mobile game, then a platforms game. I mean, look at the prices for an
Xbox 360. Its price around $450-500, and the P3, is around 650. So now
you understand the need, and demand to make mobile technology better,
and applications designed to fit the needs, and the standers of the
users......

As an application, I find it very interesting, especially because
mobile multiplayer games can span both the web, and mobile. They also
offer a larger scope for new entrants. Any company who can get mobile
multiplayer game rights, stands to make a lot of money, especially if
they can create a successful community (which offers a strong barrier
to entry).

JIM: Lastly, is there anything else, you would like to say to my
readers?


ANTHONY: Most youth do not really understand the logic of technology,
and the big role that technology plays in our world to day! When I have
the time, I try to teach kids all about technology, and the logic of
technology! Even though I'm only 22 years old! I have done a lot in
this industry....... But what I'm really trying to say is, young kids
in today's time like what they see on TV... Most kids don't know what
technology is? They want to be rappers, athletes or something.

I think we all have to take responsibility and actively try to mentor
and interact with our youth. I really look up to a person who mentored
me, and taught me everything I know to date about gaming (and making a
good game)...Hideo Kojima. You might know him as the founder of Metal
Gear. I had the honor to work with him on one of his Metal Gear games
(Metal Gear 3) So I have to say he took me under his wing...this is
what I want to do for others.

All companies should promote Technology a lot more...... Especially to
our youth!

###

--------------------------------------

About The Author:

James I. Neusom, II is the founder and publisher of the City Lights
Reporter an online news journal that focuses on afrocentric and
multicultural technology based, issues, people, and websites. He is
also an e-commerce software developer, Webmaster, and Internet
promoter.

His stated corporate goal is to assist African Americans and people of
color in the achievement of social and economic equality on the Net. He
is a credentialed freelance writer and his opinions and insights can be
found on websites, community publications and many international
publications.

He is a national speaker, and donates his time to teach and encourage
small, minority and women owned business to get involved in Internet
technology.

Regular Freelance Contributor to;

The Black Web Portal
http://www.blackwebportal.com/wire/AuthorContent.cfm?PartnerID=57

Manhunt.com
http://www.manhunt.com

BlackPress.org
http://www.blackpress.org

Afromerica.com
http://www.afromerica.com/columns/neusom/

Black Filmmaker Magazine
http://www.bfmmedia.com/

You can find more detailed information on his website
http://www.citylightssoftware.com
or read his daily posts at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/The_City_Lights_Reporter/
( on Myspace go to http://blog.myspace.com/jimneusom)
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