‘Like I Never Left’ Part III: Six of 2009s Top R&B/Pop Comebacks & Releases

2009 looks to be full of soulful music, a commodity that makes us bubble with joy and well… damn near fiery anticipation… So far in “Like I Never Left” we’ve taken a look at forthcoming efforts from some of R&B/soul’s most revered talent including Kelly Price, Toni Braxton, and Maxwell. Now its time to wrap up our list of 2009’s most anticipated comebacks and new albums. Boy was it hard narrowing down who was going to make the final list. Ready….. here it goes: She’s not the average girl and we love her for that. She’s not one to follow every little trend…and we love her for that, therefore it comes as no surprise that India Arie’s forthcoming album “Testimony Vol.2, Love & Politics” is one of this year’s most anticipated albums. Set for release, Feb.10, India Arie’s follow up to “Testimony: Vol. 1…” is full of what the singer recently called “99 percent uncompromised feeling”. Musiq Soulchild and Gramps Morgan assist Arie with this feeling, which she says is about “how people interact together; the politics and agenda setting that come into play whether you’re talking about men or women, the music industry, the world”. Since 2001 India Arie has reached hearts and minds with records like “Video,” “Brown Skin” and “The Heart of Matter”. With “Testimony Vol.2, Love & Politics,” India Arie says she’s on a mission to: “spread love, healing and peace through the power of words and music”. While India Arie’s words are meant for inspiration, R&B singer Ginuwine’s words cause some of us to scream, making them a hot commodity also… especially since it has been at least four years since the man that says he’s the “same ol’ G” has put out an album. Ginuwine, once known for the breakthrough 1996 single “Pony,” is gearing up for an “A-List” laden comeback this spring and he’s grabbed nearly every major R&B/pop producer to push the album to the top. Under a new deal with Notifi Records, Ginuwine’s seventh album has been linked to The Underdogs, Bryan Michael Cox, Adonis Shropshire, The Clutch, Tank and Johnta Austin. In addition to the aforementioned list of producers and songwriters, a Ginuwine and Timbaland reunion is rumored to be on this effort. For Ginuwine fans, a reunion with Timbaland brings to mind the singer’s hit album “100% Ginuwine,” an effort where Timbaland helped G on “What’s So Different,” “None of UR Friends Business” and “Same Ol’ G”. Ginuwine’s highly anticipated album, currently titled “A Man’s Thoughts” is slated for release in April. The album is led by the recently released single “My Last Chance”. Speaking of ‘Chance’, R&B group Next is reportedly taking a chance with a reunion album. Known for the late 90s hits “Too Close” and “Butta Love,” Next disbanded and has been silent for a number of years except for R.L who has gone on to release a solo album and a few singles. In 2009, Next is rumored to be putting out a stellar reunion effort with hopes that their chance will end in gold like their debut “Rated Next” a few years back. While the sound of Next’s fourth album sounds great, there is some concern about their effort due to the fact that it was originally discussed in 2007. Let’s hope for the best though. Like India Arie, R&B singer Monica is still standing and in 2009 the singer says she’ll be on shelves. Since Monica hit the scene in the early 90s she’s been applauded for records like “Angel Of Mine,” “Don’t Take It Personal” and “For You I Will”. In 2006, howevever, the songbird was blind sided when her album “The Makings Of Me,” a personal diary of sorts, became one of her lowest selling albums to date. Since then Monica is proud to be “Still Standing,” ironically the title of her promotional single and the working title for the forthcoming album. While no release has been set for Monica’s highly anticipated project, the effort, which has also been rumored to be titled “Lessons Learned,” is expected to be out mid-2009. Executive produced by Bryan Michael Cox, Monica’s sixth studio album has been linked to Ne-Yo, Stargate, Missy Elliott and Jermaine Dupri. Like Monica’s forthcoming effort, R&B/soul singer D’Angelo’s forthcoming album “James River” has fans and industry critics clamoring for new music. Kept under wraps for sometime, D’Angelo is arguably the year’s most anticipated return not only due to the music but also due the star’s downward spiral since “Vodoo”. Not only are fans looking for the singer’s groove, made popular on singles like “Brown Sugar” and “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” they’re also looking forward to seeing what the once chiseled singer looks like – especially since photos of a completely different D’Angelo surfaced when he was arrested for drug possession in 2005. Nevertheless, D’Angelo is on track to hit the road for a tour in 2009, possibly kicking off before the release of “James River”. According to D’Angelo’s publicist, the singer will be working with iconic singer Prince and has already worked with Raphael Saadiq, Mark Ronson and Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo Green, who all contributed to “James River”. At this time a release date has not been set for the singer’s album. We’re down to the most anticipated album of the year….. “The Voice” – Whitney Houston ! 2009 is sure to be a huge year for iconic singer Whitney Houston and anyone connected to her long awaited album, especially with the serious amount of media-frenzied drama surrounding nearly every piece of the singer’s life. While we are all anticipating the return of the voice that took Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” to new heights and the voice that belted out songs like “I Believe In You and Me,” “I Learned From The Best” and “I Have Nothing,” we are also looking to see what the diva has to say after divorcing Bobby Brown; going to rehab; dating Ray J; surviving the backlash of several performances including the infamous Michael Jackson Icons special; coping with the death of her father and so on. Like D’Angelo, Whitney Houston’s music rises above all the drama and backlash that always follows. After all it is that music that has captivated our attention. It is the music and the moments they’ve inspired that we all remember. While Whitney Houston’s album is currently untitled, the effort has been linked to some of the music industry’s most applauded talents in songwriting and producing including Will.I.Am, Ne-Yo, John Legend, Akon and several others. Also like D’Angelo, Houston’s project has been kept well under wraps and thus we’ll find out when you find out…as they say. One thing is for sure though, Houston’s effort is coming this spring according to Clive Davis. According to Davis, the diva will belt out songs at his annual pre-Grammy party and put out an album around March ! That’s it. “Like I Never Left: 2009s Most Anticipated R&B/Soul Comeback and Releases”. Click Here to return to Part I featuring news on releases from T-Boz (of TLC), Kelly Price, Silk, Dru Hill and more. Click Here for Part II featuring news on albums from Omarion, Maxwell, Toni Braxton, Sammie, LeToya Luckett and more. As always, stay clicked to Singersroom.com for updates on each of the aforementioned releases !


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