*”Friends…ain’t nothing like it,” said R&B singing sensation Keke Wyatt about Kelly Price, Tweet and Ruben Studdard appearing on her new album, “Unbelievable” (Shanachie). “(The album) Focuses on real life…reflects what I am now, who I was and what’s going on with me…I’m more happier.”

With a background in Gospel music Wyatt shows some ‘unbelievable’ vocal range on this project. She came into the music spotlight as a featured singer on “My First Love, a cover song of Avante – who was on MCA Records at the time.

The album “Unbelievable” offers 11 tracks, which include several Gospel/Inspirational offerings such as “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” and “Tears In Heaven.”

“My lawyer said, ‘Keke my mother said you better sing that (“Saturday Love,” with Ruben) – she loves Ruben’,” Keke laughed while reflecting on the conversation.

Wyatt said her favorite selection on the “Unbelievable” album is the cover-song “Love Under New Management” because she is – now that she has remarried – under new management. The mother of five (four from a previous marriage) has not lost a beat, as evident on this project. She has production support from Shep Crawford (Kelly Price), JR Hutson (Jill Scott), Steve Morales and Jesus Bobe (Lyfe Jennings), Ryan Pate and Oliver Gabriel (Satellite Music Group) and Dante “Inferno” Jackson.

“My first album sold a million,” Keke informed me. “So we’ll see what God says (about this one).”

Well if I had a vote, this one would be double-platinum. My favorite cuts off the “Unbelievable” album include “Mirror” featuring Kelly Price and Tweet – especially the lovely violin support; “Miss Your Plane,” “Love Under New Management” because Keke hits some impressive high notes; “Enough,” a powerful anthem of triumph; “Saturday Love” featuring Ruben Studdard; “Tears in Heaven,” which is so sweet I actually teared-up, and “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” because she does it a capella – a masterful perfection, if ever I heard one.

Learn more about Keke Wyatt and her new “Unbelievable” album at www.Shanachie.com.

Jazz Keyboardist Marcus Johnson’s ‘MJ Music Camp at NCCF’ offers one week master classes for talented youth, August 1-7, 2011

*Smooth Jazz keyboardist Marcus Johnson (Three Keys Music), who often combines Jazz with R&B and Soul, will host one week of master classes at his “MJ Music Camp at NCCF,” from August 1- 7, 2011. The classes will be held at the new National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) located in Washington, DC. Upon completion students will have recorded a song and have professional publicity photographs to walk away with.

“(NCCF) They just opened this year,” said the talent musician, who is also a lawyer (Georgetown University). “I love working with kids, teaching them about the music business. I don’t want to teach music, but the music business.”

If anyone knows the music business it’s Johnson, who formed – successfully –  his own production and publishing company, Marimelj Entertainment Group, and his own label Three Keys Music. Marcus has released an outstanding 11 albums independently and just recently released his 12th project, “This Is How I Rock,” which offers Pop/Rock with a Jazz spin.

“I was having a conversation with a friend – that works at BET Network – who had a music camp going on,” said Marcus Johnson about how the idea for his master camp came to be. “He said, ‘You need to do a camp.’ So I opened up my rolodex.”

Marcus said in four weeks the camp was established, thanks to a friend who organized it all and the National Center for Children and Families in Washington, DC who is housing the camp. NCCF had already named one of its rooms after the great Jazz pianist and it is in that room that the camp will be held.

Marcus once gave a seminar at my entertainment conference, “Uplifting Minds II,” and I can attest to the fact that the man is a vessel of information about the music business.

For more information on Johnson’s upcoming performances and more on the “MJ Music Camp at NCCF” log onto www.ThreeKeys.com.

International Jazz singer Rene’ Marie shows love for her country on her newest album, ‘Voice Of My Beautiful Country’

*“It started 4 or 5 years ago, I was in Russia,” Jazz singer Rene’ Marie said about how she started singing. “My eldest talked me into it.”

Rene’ said while in Russia they heard singers singing American songs and her son said, “Mom you can do this. She’s singing all the songs you sing at home…and she can’t sing”

As a result Rene’ Marie released “Renaissance” in 1997, “How Can I Keep From Singing” in 2000 (MaxJazz), “Vertigo” in 2001 (MaxJazz), “Live at the Jazz Standard” in 2002 (MaxJazz) and “Serene Renegade” in 2005 (MaxJazz). Her 2001 release received an award for “Best International Jazz Vocal CD” by the Academie Du Jazz in Paris, France – beating out Cassandra Wilson and Joni Mitchell. This year, just recently, she released “Voice Of My Beautiful Country” (Motema Music).

“The whole idea is how to make patriotic songs that reflect the culture and background of America,” she pointed out to me.

Reflecting on American history is exactly what is offered, especially on selections such as “John Henry,” “Angelitos Negros (Voice Of My Beautiful Country Suit),” “America The Beautiful,” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” With vocals reminiscent – to me – of Nancy Wilson, Rene’ Marie successfully combines Jazz with Soul, Blues and Gospel.

Though I love the twist she puts on the patriotic songs, my favorite cuts on the “Voice Of My Beautiful Country” include “O Shenandoah (Imagination Medley)” for her soft sweet approach to the song and “Drift Away” because I love the piano support by Kevin Bales.

For more information on Rene’ Marie log onto www.ReneMarie.com or www.Motema.com.