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Saturday, August 7, 2010


 HSN, a leading multichannel retailer, announced today that its exclusive launch of Mary J. Blige's My Life fragrance on July 31 drove the sale of more than 60,000 units with about 6 hours of air time, shattering fragrance records at HSN for units sold and placing the launch amongst the most successful in the prestige fragrance market.

"I am thrilled with the success of My Life, the experience on HSN with Carol's Daughter and the overwhelming donations to FFAWN," said nine-time Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blige. "I can't wait to share another touch of my heart. Thank you to all my fans - new and old - for being there for me."

The launch of My Life helped support the Foundation of the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN), a non-profit created by Ms. Blige and Chairman & Lead Investor of Carol's Daughter Steve Stoute to assist women in need. For every unit of My Life fragrance sold, HSN Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of HSN, will donate $1 to FFAWN.

"The groundbreaking success of My Life on HSN changes the existing business model for a prestige fragrance launch and reinforces our role as a retail innovator," said HSNi CEO Mindy Grossman. "We were thrilled that Mary's inspiring story, her character, and, ultimately, her fragrance drew such an enthusiastic response."

"The fragrance industry is excited to explore the opportunities of new channels of distribution with supportive, creative and innovative partners like HSN," said Rochelle Bloom, President of The Fragrance Foundation. "The success of Mary J. Blige's fragrance and her personal message proves their power to reach out and entice a vast, broad consumer who loves and wants fragrance. Bravo HSN and Mary J.!"

My Life, which was the first fragrance created by Ms. Blige and the first celebrity fragrance developed by beauty-lifestyle brand Carol's Daughter, attracted nearly 20% new customers to HSN. In addition, as part of HSN's continuity program, almost 10,000 customers signed up to receive shipments of the new fragrance on a regular basis.

"This launch proves that consumers are looking for new ways to engage with a brand. Long gone are the days of traditional marketing that rely only on sampling and advertising. Consumers want to connect, believe and immerse themselves in the experience. They want to see themselves fit into the story," said Steve Stoute, who played a pivotal role in creating the unique partnership between Ms. Blige and HSN. "Mary delivered herself in the purest form outside of her lyrics. We look forward to telling the next chapter of the story on HSN in the near future."

Carol's Daughter, a partner of HSN over the last two years, has experienced great success in telling its universally appealing story. Given this success, Mr. Stoute and Ms. Blige committed to bring their story to HSN. "HSN gave me a unique platform to tell my story. It took time -- I had to find a place that allowed me to be me. I never do something that I don't believe in," continued Ms. Blige. "My Life presented by Carol's Daughter on HSN was the only way to show my fans another labor of love."

My Life was introduced to consumers via the most comprehensive, 360-degree marketing campaign in HSN's history, including television, online, mobile, print advertising, public relations, events and direct mail. Social media efforts drove millions of impressions, key celebrity endorsements, and involved a blogger press trip to HSN headquarters to document the launch. Video segments of Ms. Blige's compelling life story were featured on HSN and online at http://www.hsn.com/, as well as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, HSN distributed 100,000 direct mail brochures and 300,000 targeted inserts to its customers; featured ads in Allure, Glamour and Essence; created a cross-channel spot; and distributed 50,000 snap bracelets embedded with the My Life fragrance at the Essence Music Festival.
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Friday, August 6, 2010


Seekers produce latest multi-generational album in a week, secures distribution with Malaco and strives to make the genre thrive again 

In the same amount of time it took God to create the universe—a week—the Soul Seekers said let there be music and there was music.  

“We started rehearsing with a clean slate.  Just seven days before we didn’t have not [sic] one song,” Warryn Campbell (Luther, Brandy, Kanye) one of the lead singers said about their microwave fast turn-around time.  

That effort, Soul Seekers II, is soon to be released on My Block/Sovereign Music. 
The Soul Seekers are a group of hip, award-winning mainstream LA  music producers  on a mission to spread the good news “and help advance quartet music,” a genre that Campbell says is an often overlooked dying breed.  Many gospel quartet pioneers have passed away in recent years and Campbell, a master bassist, says he feels obligated to continue the music that helped shaped his craft.  

(Sidebar: Technically, with this ensemble,  “quartet” refers to their affinity to that style of music because there are actually eight of them.)
The Soul Seekers’ accelerated creative process comes from symmetry the group developed while playing together at their fathers’ churches (several of their dads are pastors) when they were growing up, but says Campbell, now an ordained preacher, “The main thing is we’re all friends.”
While Campbell  and his colleagues entered this relationship for love not for money, he hopes that their attempts to revitalize quartet music translates into greater recognition and profitability for the genre as a whole.

“I would love to see quartet music reach higher heights.  We’d love to sell 100,000 units. . .”
Currently, the top selling quartet group is Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC's of Mississippi.  Two of their albums have exceeded 250,000 units of sale: "Good Times" released in 2000 got over 250,000 Soundscans according to Malaco music executive D.A. Johnson and "Love WIll Go All the Way" which had the hit "Learn to Lean" sold over 270,000 units.  These results are uncommon Johnson said adding one of the biggest obstacles for quartets is lack of radio airplay on major stations.   
Malaco is doing everything it can to keep gospel quartet music alive, which includes starting an new quartet label and inking a distribution deal with the Soul Seekers.

Individually the Soul Seekers have worked with some of the top names in the business from J Lo and Beyonce to Frankie Beverly and Maze.  Campbell  produced “Can I Take You Out” by Luther Vandross, which was one of the late balladeer’s last hits and also produces one of the hottest acts in Gospel, Mary Mary.

Campbell said all of the gents  co-produced Soul Seekers II, recorded live in 2007 at Love and Unity Church in Compton, CA. The first single, “It’s all God” features one of his  mentors, Marvin Winans. Appealing to all ages, the album offers up-tempo cuts, along with some R&B flavored ballads and even expands their quartet base with the addition of a country number.

I spoke to Campbell about what makes the Soul Seekers click, why working in mainstream and gospel is not a  conflict and overcoming kidney cancer.  To listen to the testimony of Campbell’s supernatural recovery fast forward to 23:00.  The interview concludes with Campbell compelling the unsaved to invite Christ into their hearts.

HEAR THE INTERVIEW: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mona-austin

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Weren't able to attend the tribute to Bishop Walter Hawkins?   
View it here as seen on the Gospel Music Channel.

Oakland, CA: Scores of people who never met Walter Hawkins showed up from every corner of the globe this week and squeezed into the Paramount Theater alongside thousands of Oakland natives to bid farewell to the pioneering gospel legend known for creating classic songs such as “Goin’ Up Yonder,” “Changed,” and “Be Grateful.”

Bishop Walter Hawkins, who cut a string of best-selling “Love Alive” LPs in the 1970s through the 1990s, died July 11th at the Ripon, CA home he shared with his brother Edwin and three sisters, after an almost two year battle with pancreatic cancer. Doctors initially gave him six months to live.

When Hawkins’ funeral arrangements were made public, hundreds camped out in front of the Paramount Theater overnight to get the free tickets the Hawkins family made available to the public the next day. Yolanda Adams and a who’s who of the gospel world showed up for an all-star concert tribute to Hawkins. The event was televised nationally on the GMC channel and featured performances by Hawkins’ former wife, Tramaine Hawkins, Donnie MCClurkin, Ledisi, Mary Mary, and Bebe Winans, among others.

The following morning, Bishop Kenneth Moales officiated the eulogy where he proclaimed Hawkins’ only son, Jamie Hawkins, the successor to the Love Center Church his father founded in 1972.  In attendance at the ceremony, which drew over 4,000 well-wishers was Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop Carlton Pearson, and a host of celebrities. President Barack Obama sent a letter in which he wrote, “Bishop Hawkins touched countless lives, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.”

At the time of his death, Hawkins was working on “Love Alive VI” and had already recorded several demos. Hawkins hand-picked one of his musical mentees, Donald Lawrence, to work with the Hawkins family to finish the CD project. Following the funeral, the family planned to have his remains scattered at sea.
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Deitrick Haddon, Karen Clark Sheard, J Moss, Kierra Sheard, Loren Dean Harper, and Jo’Rel Quinn Are Among the Luminaries Coming Out For The Premiere Screening

Detroit, MI: Gospel star Deitrick Haddon is premiering his debut film “Blessed & Cursed” in his native Detroit on Tuesday, August 3, 2010 @ 7:00 p.m at Lucky’s Southfield, 2533 W. 12 Mile Road, Detroit, MI 48034. Joining Haddon for the red carpet arrival and screening of the movie will be members of the cast such as Karen Clark Sheard, J Moss, Kierra Sheard, Loren Dean Harper, and gospel vocal trio 21:03‘s Jo’Rel Quinn. Haddon will also do an in-store appearance with members of the “Blessed & Cursed” cast earlier in the day. The event takes place from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Walmart Store #4383, located at 5851 Mercury Drive, Dearborn, MI 48126.

A modern twist on the biblical tale of David and Saul, “Blessed & Cursed” (DVD in stores now) is a story of pain, deceit and triumph that depicts Dwight Hawkins' (Deirtick Haddon) struggle to realize his God-given purpose. Dwight must choose between a family obligation and pursuing his own dreams of gospel music superstardom.  Given an incredible opportunity to become a psalmist at the city's largest church, Dwight soon realizes that this new position is too good to be true as he gets caught up in a diabolical scheme of jealousy and betrayal orchestrated by the church's deacon and fueled by the pastor himself. The screenplay is based on a story written by Haddon.

Aside from the aforementioned actors, the cast also includes Sheryl Lee Ralph, Drew Sidora, Damita Haddon, Mali Music, IROCC Williams, Rance Allen, and Dr. Bobby Jones. Haddon’s choir, Voices of Unity, is the star of the movie’s soundtrack. The lead single, “Judah (Let Me Hear You Praise),” has already broken through the Billboard Top 40 Hot Gospel Songs chart, paving the way for the twelve song CD, Blessed & Cursed (Tyscot Records). For more information visit: www.tyscot.com  or  www.blessedandcursedthemovie.com
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BET Gears Up for Season 30 of Bobby Jones Gospel: Get a Sneak Peek of Special Guests

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