dailyphoto080811.jpgjhud.jpgOscar winner Hudson ready for her CD close-up
Jennifer Hudson doesn’t drink coffee. Doesn’t like it, she says. Doesn’t need it, counters her manager, Miguel Melendez. It’s 6:20 a.m. on a Monday morning in July, and an uncaffeinated Hudson is busting full throttle through her warm-ups during a sound check for a performance on “Good Morning America.” It’s her first TV appearance in support of “Spotlight,” the debut single from her first album. Hudson shakes off any concerns about the ungodly hour. (“The band got there at 4:30 a.m.,” she notes.) Melendez, clutches his Starbucks as he watches. “Good Lord, she makes me feel old,” he sighs. It’s easy to forget Hudson’s youth, perhaps thanks to the years she’s already spent in the pop culture spotlight. At 26, her career path may be impossible to duplicate: She went from being a choir singer at her church in her hometown of Chicago to a Disney Cruise Line chanteuse to an “American Idol” contestant to an Academy Award winner for best supporting actress for her role in “Dreamgirls.” Thanks to the ever-expanding entertainment landscape, what this means is that Hudson has built a significant career on a multiple-octave voice — without releasing an album. (Continue Reading…)

More Than ‘Shaft’: Hayes was Goldmine of Influence
With its riveting orchestration, definitive guitar play and signature sensual baritone vocals, Isaac Hayes’ theme song for the 1971 movie “Shaft” not only became one of pop music’s iconic songs, but also the defining work of Hayes’ career. Yet the “Theme from Shaft,” which would earn both Grammys and an Oscar, was just a snippet of the groundbreaking music for which Hayes — who died Sunday at age 65 — was responsible. He penned soul classics like “Hold On I’m Comin'” for Sam & Dave, helped usher in the era of disco and was a goldmine for countless hip-hop and R&B artists who used his illustrious arrangements as the focal point for their songs decades later. “Isaac Hayes embodies everything that’s soul music,” Collin Stanback, an A&R executive at Stax, told The Associated Press on Sunday. “When you think of soul music you think of Isaac Hayes — the expression … the sound and the creativity that goes along with it.” (Continue Reading…)

Obama Policy Book Coming Out September 9th
He’s written million-selling books about his early years and the meaning of public life. Now, Sen. Barack Obama, with the help of his campaign staff, has another side to share with readers: policy wonk. “Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise” is coming out Sept. 9 as a paperback with an announced first printing of 300,000 copies and a list price of $13.95. Looking ahead to the digital market, the e-book, also $13.95, will go on sale the day before. “We are proud to have published two best-selling books by Barack Obama and are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to work with his campaign on such an important and inspiring book at this critical moment in our country,” Crown Publishing Group president Jenny Frost said in a statement. (Continue Reading…)

Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter