*ASCAP invited me to a Pre VMA event honoring the achievements of Jermaine Dupri and his Ocean 7 team with a private party in Beverly Hills. The location was so secret that we had to be transported there from another location. Unfortunately the secret location wasn’t secret for long because soon a caravan of cars and people were making their way up the long winding road to the mansion. So many that police and helicopters came in to literally shut it down.

Before all that happened though so many celebrities, 2010 VMA nominees, media and friends of JD came to support him and ASCAP. I saw Usher slide through, along with singer Anthony Hamilton, actress  Brenda Song; rappers Cali Swag District; songwriter/producer Brian Michael Cox; rapper Gucci Mane; singer/songwriter Jesse McCartney; producer Johnsta Austin; actress Lala Vasquez; rappers New Boyz; actress Meagon Good; producer Sean Garrett;  rapper Nelly; singer Johnny Gill, and actor Tristan Wilds. JD was the DJ for the evening.

Jermaine Dupri is a six-time ASCAP Songwriter of the Year winner and the Ocean 7 team consists of Usher, Nelly, Trey Songz, Brian Michael Cox, Johnsta Austin and Tyrone Davis. ASCAP is home for American music industry people that range from Duke Ellington to Dr Dre, from Maxwell to Stevie Wonder, from Jay Z to Beyonce’, from Alicia Keys to Diddy, and from Gucci Mane to NE-YO.

For more information on ASCAP log onto www.ASCAP.com and for more on JD log onto www.myspace.com/sosodefmusic.

Will Downing releases an audio novel with new CD project, ‘Lust, Love and Lies’ on Peak Records

“It’s been in the making and in my mind for 5 to 6 years,” said legendary singer Will Downing about his newest CD release on Peak Records (Concord Music Group) titled “Lust, Love and Lies (An Audio Novel).” This project is like no other, as you listen to his music you experience a well acted out “audio novel ” about, what else, “lust, love and lies.” “It’s my 15th project and so I am trying to do something difference.”

Different is what this is and Downing’s vocals couldn’t be better. What a wonderful journey Will Downing takes you on. The acting is so real that I had to ask if he really went through what his character experiences in the audio novel.

“No, and I hope there’s no trouble at home,” he laughed about his character cheating on his lady in “Love, Lust and Lies (An Audio Novel).” “This is a story I always wanted to tell, from the moment they meet and what happens to the end… it was hard, but fun.”

Normally I’d mention my favorite songs on the CD but on this one every song is important to the novel and thus has a special meaning and delivery by Will Downing in a way that relates to the story-line of the audio novel. “Lust, Love and Lies” include such cuts as “Glad to Meet You Tonight,” “Consensual,” “Safe in His Arms,” a powerful Gospel song featuring Dave Hollister; “Shades,” and “At This Moment.”

“The response has been really good,” Will said about the project. “(Which is a good thing because) It’s so hard out there, there are so many projects out.”

For more information on Will Downing and his new album “Lust, Love and Lies (An Audio Novel)” log onto www.WillDowning.com.

J.J. Hairston and Youthful Praise perform an unprecedented three concerts in one day

J.J. Hairston and Youthful Praise is known for their energetic and passionate performances, so when I learned that they had already performed twice the day I was to review their performance at Pastor Bishop Noel Jones church, City of Refuge, in Los Angeles, I wasn’t expecting the normal high energy J.J. and Youthful Praise performance they give, but I was solely mistaken.

“Nine are with me,” J.J. Hairston said of his Youthful Praise Choir members. “We have actually 30 members all together. When we travel I take 9 of them with me. So literally they help me out. I can pass the ‘mic’ to anyone of them. They are much better singers than I am.”

I think J.J. is being a bit modest because when initially introduced to them I thought he wouldn’t have the vocals because he is the choir director, but this guy can “sang.” Granted his nine lead choir members were unbelievably powerful, but J.J. got it going on vocally too.

Hairston and Youthful Praise is currently promoting their latest project “Resting on His Promise”

“‘Resting on His Promise’ is number 3 on Billboard,” J.J. informed me about the project that has garnered them nine Stellar Award nominations.
The choir’s beginning started in the church of his father-in-law.

“We started as a church choir. We formed our own choir because we were too young for the adult choir and too old for the kids’ choir,” Hairston stated. “We recorded a song and sent it to a friend at www.GospelFlavor.com and they loved it and started a record label to release it…now its five albums later.”

The father of three children (one boy and two girls) and his choir are currently on Light Records. For more information on J.J. Hairston and Youth Praise, and their music, log onto www.YouthfulPraise.org.