December 01, 2004


Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson Stardom came quickly for Kelly Clarkson when she won the “American Idol” competition in 2002. Since then she's been nominated for a Grammy, been on an extensive tour featuring the “American Idol” finalists and even dabbled in acting. Her husky vocals exude class and sex appeal, and paired with her perky, go-lucky Texas charm, she's won millions of fans around the world.

When her debut single, “A Moment Like This/Before Your Love,” dropped in 2003, it catapulted to the top of the Billboard charts in its first week. Her full-length album, Thankful, also topped the Billboard charts and had her collaborating with well-respected songwriters like Diane Warren, Christina Aguilera, Desmond Child and Cathy Dennis. The song she penned with Aguilera, “Miss Independent,” was nominated for a Best Female Pop Performance Grammy. Her stage and TV charisma also won Clarkson the opportunity to do a little acting. She starred in her own musical film, From Justin to Kelly, and she also played singer Brenda Lee in NBC's hit TV show, “American Dreams.”


Corn Mo

Corn MoRolling Stone called him “The Future of Rock” when he graced the pages of their “Cool Issue,” and his name is Jon Cunningham, but his alter ego is Corn Mo. This Brooklyn, NY based accordion-playing troubadour has been receiving loads of press. His act grew out of a Gong Show entry at his college and it is an inimitable blend of comedy and music reminiscent of rock ballads. Whether he is singing his tribute to Gary Busey in “Busey Boy” or doing an off-the-wall cover of Guns ‘N’ Roses, Corn Mo is a unique and captivating entertainer, but he does not want be passed off as a novelty act. Corn Mo has had quite a rise since he moved to New York from Texas. He has appeared on MTV’s TRL and the Jimmy Kimmel Live TV show, graced the cover of the New York Press, and was named “Best New Singing Comedian” in the Best of NYC 2003 issue of The Village Voice. Of late, Corn Mo has been on tour with the Polyphonic Spree and They Might Be Giants. To learn more about him, go to


Goapele In Tswana, a South African language, Goapele's name means “to move forward,” and that's just what this seductive and soulful R&B chanteuse is doing with her music. Based in San Francisco, Goapele has released two albums, Closer and Even Closer, garnering much praise for her emotional performance from publications like Billboard, Rolling Stone and Vibe. Her songs are a smooth potion of R&B, soul, jazz, hip-hop, heavily influenced by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley and Prince. To listen to an Audio Portrait interview with Goapele, visit the ASCAP website at

G Unit

G Unit If 2003 was 50 Cent's year of dominating the music charts, then 2004 could very well be the year that G Unit will rule. G Unit is 50's crew that he put together while shopping his music to record labels and backed 50 Cent on his incredibly popular mix tapes. The troupe consists of premiere emcees from Queens, New York, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, and southern compatriot Young Buck. Riding the success of 50's top selling Get Rich Or Die Tryin', G Unit's Beg For Mercy takes a bit of the spotlight off 50 in showcasing his trio of “street soldiers.” Due to this collaboration, many are seeing the G Unit's release as 50 Cent's second album and with that, the success of his first release is expected. The Unit already has a Reebok-sponsored line of athletic shoes, a clothing line in partnership with Ecko Unlimited and a record label, G Unit Records, which is a subsidiary of Interscope Records. Beg For Mercy, the first release on G Unit Records, blends hard-edged street commentary, mid-tempo dance floor grooves and assaulting moments of menace. ASCAP member Denaun Porter, who produced a track on 50 Cent's album, produced G Unit's bragging, boasting and reflecting first single, “Stunt 101.” Expect a blowout year for 50 Cent's G Unit.

Joss Stone (PRS)

Joss StoneJoss Stone had never been to Memphis or Detroit or Muscle Shoals when she recorded her debut album, The Soul Sessions (S-Curve), which was released in September. In fact, the 16-year old Stone had never even been to America, having grown up in the rural English town of Devon. So for those radio listeners who are discovering Stone’s unforgettable and powerfully soulful voice -- so classic, so American, it is quite a shock to learn that someone so young could possess such a sound.

The Soul Sessions was produced by soul legend Betty Wright, Steve Greenberg and Michael Mangini. The album is a collection of classic and deep soul covers that Joss makes her own; songs originally popularized by the likes of Sugar Billy, Soul Brothers Six, Joe Simon, Laura Lee, Carla Thomas and others. But the track that is getting her so much attention is her version of The White Stripes' “Fell In Love With A Girl.” Re-christened as “Fell in Love with a Boy,” Joss' version was recorded with The Roots (with backing vocals from Angie Stone and Betty Wright) creating a funky, percolating version of the song, that's altogether different from its blueprint. Other musical luminaries joining Stone on her debut are Little “Party Down” Beaver on guitar, Timmy “Why Can't We Live Together” Thomas on organ, and Benny “Let's Straighten It Out” Latimore on piano. Together, these legendary artists represent the cream of Miami's fertile 1970's soul scene.

Having made a splash in the U.S. in 2003, Stone is just now embarking on her first headline dates in the U.K. She is also getting ready to release an album of original material in 2004. While her success grows on both sides of the Atlantic, Joss Stone is already well on her way to becoming a world-class star.

The Dresden Dolls

The Dresden DollsThe Dresden Dolls, a Boston-based duo, call their music “Brechtian punk cabaret,” which as it turns out is the perfect description for their peculiar brand of music featured on their self-titled debut, produced by well-known producer Martin Bisi. Drummer Brian Viglione and singer-pianist Amanda Palmer wear mime-like face makeup with black-white ensembles and create music that wavers swiftly from romantic to neurotic. Palmer's voice is comparable in depth and scope to PJ Harvey's, ranging from gentle and vulnerable to just flat-out frantic. She sings songs about coin-operated boys, kissing misters, and savagely broken hearts. Recently, the duo have been spotlighted in CMJ's New Music Report, The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix and Boston Magazine.

Negroni's TrioThe Mars Volta