; New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series on Fox Lauryn Hill makes
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New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series on Fox Lauryn Hill makes

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									              Page 8D                                                                          Laredo Morning Times                                                                       Friday, May 10, 2002                                                                            Laredo Morning Times                                                                       Page 9D




Usher maps out a career in music, movie roles
BY NEKESA MUMBI MOODY
AP Music Writer
                                                                       “When I got into acting, it was like now I can actually take
                                                                     these emotions and pour them out into each one of these
                                                                     characters ... This was my first opportunity to cry and really
                                                                                                                                               Lauryn Hill makes a baffling return to music scene
  NEW YORK — Usher had just established himself as a                 open up, because that’s what really was going on inside of                BY DAVID BAUDER                                                                            missing from Hill’s equation are matters
young prince of R&B with his best-selling sophomore disc,            me.”                                                                      Associated Press Writer                                                                    like craft and presentation.”
“My Way,” when — at 20 years old — he decided to take a                Usher also was dealing with his first heartbreak; he had                                                                                                             Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles
break from music to try his hand at acting.                          fallen in love and had a painful breakup.                                   NEW YORK — Lauryn Hill was on top                                                        Times wrote that at times, it was hard to
  There was pressure from his record company to put out a              “I always said it would never happen to me. And the next                of the music world with her last album.                                                    tell whether the album came from a
follow-up quickly, he says.                                          thing I know, I was like sprung over love,” he says. “I don’t             “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”                                                          concert or news conference.
  But Usher was trying to do more than stay hot for the              think I’ll ever go that far again. It was weird, because I sort of        wowed critics, sold 6 million copies,                                                        “This kind of daring is all too rare in
moment.                                                              fell into love, and now I think I’m in a better position where I          earned five Grammys and influenced an                                                      pop,      but     the    boldness     isn’t
  “This is a career, in my opinion, that has gradual steps. You      can walk into love.”                                                      entire school of new soul singers.                                                         accompanied by any consistent
can’t have it all at once,” he says. “You see a lot of artists that    The heartache was the basis for much of what’s on his latest              Wait till you hear what she’s done                                                       discipline and craft,” Hilburn wrote.
come in, sell major records, tour and they burn out. I’ve been       disc.                                                                     next.                                                                                        Rolling Stone gave the album 3½
taught from the school of Michael Jackson that you give them           “I wrote songs about it. I meant it. I mean, ‘U Got It Bad’ was           On her new album, due in stores                                                          stars, however, saying “the results are
a hot album, take a step back two years, let them miss you.”         a real experience,” says Usher, who is now dating Rozonda                 Tuesday, Hill dramatically changes her                                                     sometimes messy, but more often
  Now 23, Usher is enjoying Jacksonesque success with his            “Chilli” Thomas from the group TLC.                                       style, intersperses songs with sermons                                                     they’re miraculous.”
third disc, “8701.”                                                    “That was like one of the worst periods of my life — so far,”           and doesn’t hide a raspy voice. It                                                           The album includes nine spoken-word
  It has sold more than 3.5 million copies in less than a year,      he adds with a laugh.                                                     instantly becomes one of the most                                                          interludes. One, where Hill talks about a
producing the No. 1 singles                                                                                  Usher not only helped write       baffling career moves in music history.                                                    trip to Disney World, stretches beyond
“U Remind Me” and “U Got It                                                                               the songs on the disc, he              The music industry is closely watching                                                   12 minutes.
Bad,” and his latest hit, “U                                                                              picked the producers and             to see whether fans view “MTV                                                                The songs generally run long, too.
Don’t Have to Call.” He won                                                                               had the most creative input          Unplugged 2.0” as brave or crazy, and                                                      Critic Alexis Petridis in the British
his first Grammy earlier this                                                                             he has ever had. He says the         whether it torpedoes a promising                                                           newspaper The Guardian wrote that the
year: best male R&B                                                                                       disc         represents        his   career.                                                                                    song, “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind”
performance for “U Remind                                                                                 maturation as an artist and
                                                                                                                                                 When released four years ago, the                                                        “would still be going on right now, if Hill
Me.”                                                                                                      as a man.
                                                                                                                                               solo debut by the former member of the                  LAURYN HILL                        had not necessitated its conclusion by
  The star’s first headlining                                                                                “I started at a very young
                                                                                                                                               rap trio the Fugees was praised for its                                                    suddenly bursting into tears.”
tour begins this month.                                                                                   age, so everybody that
                                                                                                                                               incisive lyrics and groundbreaking         of her performance last week, and its             Reporters at two music trade
  “You’ll see me standing on                                                                              worked with me looked at me
                                                                                                                                               synthesis of rap and soul. It won the      spinoff MTV2 channel has shown the              publications declined to be interviewed
my hands, doing frontflips,                                                                               as a kid, the little baby
backflips, singing, dancing —                                                                             Usher,” he says. “Now all of a       1999 Grammy for album of the year.         whole thing. The album is an unadorned          about the album, on the theory that if
entertainment,           ultimate                                                                         sudden, Usher’s getting older          So MTV was excited last summer           recording of the entire concert.                they didn’t have anything nice to say,
entertainment,” says the                                                                                  and he’s making decisions            when Hill approached with the idea of        Calderone called it a “bold move in a         they shouldn’t say anything at all.
Chattanooga, Tenn., native,                                                                               for himself, and he’s standing       taping a version of its long-running       day when album releases and videos                Calderone said the disc is more likely
                                                                                                                                               “Unplugged”      series,    said    Tom    are calculated, strategized and                 to appeal to Hill’s dedicated fans, not
whose full name is Usher
Raymond.
  “Like the greats do it. You
                                                                                                          up and he’s fighting hard to
                                                                                                          get that respect.”
                                                                                                             Jimmy “Jam” Harris, who
                                                                                                                                               Calderone, senior vice president of
                                                                                                                                               music and talent programming.
                                                                                                                                                                                          analyzed.”
                                                                                                                                                                                            Yet the initial critical reaction is mixed,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the      masses       turned    on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          “Miseducation.” It’s unclear whether
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  by    Cingular promotes movie with car giveaways
see Michael — at his best,                                                                                with partner Terry Lewis               “We had no idea when we sat down to      at best.                                        MTV will regularly air songs from             BY EMILIO RABAGO III                                        Staff photos by MICHAEL D. AMICI/Graphic by EMILIO RABAGO III
he’s always on stage. I feel                                                                               worked on the disc and has          do the show what kind of direction she       Jim Farber of the New York Daily              “Unplugged” as videos.                        ¿Qué Pasa? Int’l coordinator
                                                                 USHER
like I’m at my best when I’m                                                                               known Usher for years, said         was going into,” Calderone said.           News wrote that the disc “sounds as               Hill is not giving interviews about her                                                               the other one has a tan interior,” Ramos said referring
on stage. I’m most comfortable in front of an audience,              he was impressed by Usher’s tenacity.                                       Hill came armed only with an acoustic    though it should have been called               work because “she’s trying to keep the          With record numbers at the box office, “Spiderman       to the car in North Carolina.
performing and entertaining.”                                          “He just has a million ideas. He’s just going to keep throwing          guitar. She sang none of her hits,         ‘Lauryn Hill: Unglued.”’                        connection between the music and the          Fever” is everywhere. Toys, video games apparel, cell       Even though the cars have more than 500-
  The comparison to Jackson isn’t that far-fetched. Usher was        ideas at you,” says Harris. “He’s a hardworking guy.”                     instead debuting all new songs in a folk     “She’s giving Alanis Morissette a run         listeners as pure as possible,” a             phone covers and even two Dodge Vipers!                   horsepower and can travel at speeds higher than 200
a child star, making his recording debut at 15. He also borrows        Another producer on “8701” was Usher’s old mentor Sean                  style. She spoke at length about           for her money in the self-indulgence            spokesman said.                                 Yes, nationwide cellular service giant, Cingular        MPH, the car is as Dodge designed it.
liberally from Jackson’s signature dance moves and performs          “P. Diddy” Combs. Usher’s mother (and manager) had let her                personal and artistic problems between     department,” Farber wrote. “Both                  Her label, Columbia Records, did not        Wireless, is giving away two commemorative,                 “It’s street legal, nothing’s different. It’s a great sports
high-energy extravaganzas.                                           son stay with Combs when the 15-year-old needed to move to                the songs.                                 mistake disclosure for revelation, and          make an executive available to talk           uniquely-painted “Spiderman” themed Dodge Vipers.         car,” Ramos said.
  But Usher is far from a Jackson knockoff. He has his own           New York City to record.                                                    MTV aired a one-hour edited version      bald experience for good art. What’s            about the disc.                                 Cingular Wireless is promoting the movie through          Ramos also noted that the paint scheme was
smooth but street-wise style that has won fans of new and old-         Combs and Usher are still close — Usher croons on P.                                                                                                                                                             the drawing with the company’s philosophy in mind.        designed and painted by Bob Soroka, one of the
school R&B. He hasn’t been hurt by sharp good looks and sex          Diddy’s latest hit, “I Need A Girl” — but Usher said living with                                                                                                                                                     “Cingular is about self-expression, and here, people    original designers of the Dodge Viper.
appeal; in his videos, he’s often photographed shirtless.
  That charisma helped him make the transition from music to
                                                                     Combs opened his eyes to the seedier side of the business.
                                                                       “(It was) sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, that’s what it was. It was
                                                                                                                                                  New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series on Fox                                                                                        can express their love for ‘Spiderman,’” Rene Ramos,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cingular representative, said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Valued at $75,000 each, the amazing Dodge Viper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  GTS cars are scheduled to be given away Friday,
Hollywood, where he has done TV acting and appeared in               a good eye-opener,” he says. “It taught me a lot about                                                                                                                                                               One of the Vipers was in town Monday at the             June 28.
four films, from teen comedy “She’s All That” to the urban high      business, it taught me a lot about hustle. It taught me a lot               NEW YORK (AP) — 4Kids                                                                            licensing agent for the               Cingular location on San Bernardo, next to Wal-Mart.        In addition to the cars, Cingular Wireless is also
school drama “The Faculty.” His most recent movie was last           about determination and being aggressive ... but just how                 Entertainment, Inc. and Mirage                                                                     Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles          The other car was in North Carolina for the promotion.    giving away official movie posters and certificates.
year’s Western flop “Texas Rangers.”                                 cutthroat and nasty of a business it is.”                                 Licensing, Inc., the holder of the                                                                 property worldwide.                   The cars will be displayed in 80 cities, during their       Cingular wireless is offering the “Spiderman” face-
  The move to Hollywood paid off better than music ever did,           Usher said that uncensored view of the industry made him                rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja                                                                          “We are delighted to be          tour.                                                     plate covers for the Ericsson T60 phones, for about
Usher says, even though he had sold millions of records.             vow to avoid drugs and treat people with respect.                         Turtles, announced Tuesday                                                                            working with Peter Laird,            Spectators got the chance to view the Viper, take       $30.
  “I was straight for once in my life,” he says. “I went out to        “I’ve said I will never be like that. I will never sell myself to the   that 4Kids will produce 26                                                                            the co-creator of the              photographs with the car and register for a chance to       For those who missed the opportunity to view the
Hollywood, did some movies, bought a house. I bought my              devil like that.”                                                         episodes of a new                                                                                      Teenage Mutant Ninja              win one of the 10-cylinder sports cars. Spectators also   car in person, registration for the drawing is still within
mother a house, I bought some cars, I invested in a lot of             He says with a laugh that he never did share the sordid                 animated Teenage Mutant                                                                                Turtles, to introduce the         had the opportunity to have a picture taken with a        reach.
stock. I really got myself financially stable so I could get right   stories with his mother. There’s still a lot of kid in Usher              Ninja Turtles television                                                                               Ninja Turtles to a new            digital camera and later retrieve the photos through        You can view the car and register online by visiting
back to what I love doing the most.”                                 Raymond.                                                                  series.                                                                                                generation of fans,” said Al      Cingular’s Website.                                       the         Cingular       Wireless          Website        at
  Besides being lucrative, he says, acting gave him emotional          “Hopefully I’ll never be a grown man,” he says. “I want to stay           The new Ninja Turtles series is                                                                    Kahn, chairman and CEO of             The fully-equipped cars have, in addition to the        www.cingular.com/buy/vipersweeps.
release during a trying time.                                        a kid forever.”                                                           scheduled to premiere in the first                                 4Kids Entertainment. “The Ninja Turtles property enjoys               unique, 15-coat paint, a commemorative “Spiderman”          (¿Qué Pasa? International coordinator Emilio
  “I had a few deaths in my family. My grandmother had                                                                                         quarter of 2003 on the Fox Saturday Morning Block                  worldwide popularity and we expect the new Ninja Turtles              hands-free phone, leather bucket seats, a six-speed       Rábago III can be reached at 728-2543 or by e-mail
passed, a best friend of mine died from cancer, my dog died                                                                                    programmed by 4Kids. In addition to producing the television       series to be must see TV for kids around the globe. There has         manual transmission and a CD player.                      at emilior@lmtonline.com)
... It was just a lot of drama in my life,” he says.                                                                                           series, 4Kids will also serve as the exclusive merchandise         always been tremendous interest in the Turtles,” he said.               “The only difference (between the two Vipers) is that

								
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