AWARDS NEWS: Winnipeg Gets 2005 JUNO Awards

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) awarded Winnipeg as host city for the 2005 JUNO Awards to be held April 1-3, 2005. This marks the first time Winnipeg will host Canada's largest music industry awards show. Edmonton will host this year (April 4), also for the first time.

“We at CARAS are confident that Winnipeg’s enthusiasm for, and dedication to, Canadian music will ensure a stellar event in 2005. As a city that’s historically been a cultural hotspot for arts, entertainment and especially musical vitality, there’s no question Winnipeg will make an excellent host city,” said Melanie Berry, CARAS president.

“Aside from Winnipeg’s rich musical tradition, holding the JUNO Awards here represents yet another step in our overall goal to ensure that Canada’s national music awards program remains truly national in both scope and setting,” said Ross Reynolds, CARAS Chair.

“Manitoba is home to many gifted musicians,” said Premier Gary Doer. “Hosting the 2005 Juno Awards ceremony allows us to highlight their creative talents and showcase Winnipeg to the rest of the country. This is a tremendous opportunity to stage the kind of world-class event that Winnipeg has become known for. I’d like to congratulate everyone on the bid committee, including the True North Centre, for their successful efforts.”

The City of Winnipeg presented a strong bid to CARAS and was awarded the event based on a combination of solid commitments from municipal, provincial and federal governments, excellent host facilities and a long established reputation as a city that embraces Canadian music and culture.

“Winnipeg welcomes the world to this celebration of Canadian musical genius,” said Mayor Glen Murray. “This event will be held in the centre of the continent in our brand-new showcase for sports and entertainment, the True North Centre. We promise you the best three-day arts and culture extravaganza this country has ever seen. Nobody parties like Winnipeggers!”

Winnipeg is the home of many Canadian cultural treasures, including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Winnipeg Symphony, Rainbow Stage and the Winnipeg Folk Festival ­ not to mention Burton Cummings and The Guess Who, Canadian treasure Fred Penner, Grammy nominee Remy Shand and very hot up-and-coming acts such as the Weakerthans and Doc Walker.

"On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to congratulate Winnipeg on this important and exciting announcement. Winnipeg's music history is a rich one and its future is as bright, with the emergence of new artists that are achieving international success. I am very pleased that the Government of Canada is an active partner in this initiative and we look forward to helping make the 2005 Juno Awards in Winnipeg a big success,” said Allan Rock, Minister of Industry.

“It’s a dream come true for our new downtown sports and entertainment centre to be the main stage for the 2005 JUNO Awards just months after our grand opening,” said Jim Ludlow, President and CEO of True North Sports &Entertainment Limited. “Today’s announcement is a clear and affirmative answer to the question ‘if you build it, will they come?’”

Sponsors to-date for the 2005 JUNO Awards include the Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg, FACTOR and the Government of Canada, through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Canada Music Fund.” –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Cuban Grammy Nominees Denied U.S. Visas

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban musicians invited to attend this weekend's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles have been denied U.S. visas needed to attend the ceremony, a Culture Ministry official said Thursday.

"Something as noble as music is being converted into a policy against Cuba," Vice Minister of Culture Abel Acosta told reporters.

Surrounded by some of the Cuban musicians nominated for awards, Acosta showed journalists the letters from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, denying their visa requests.

The letters cited Section 212f of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Law, which states that the American president can deny U.S. entry to foreigners when their coming to the country is deemed "detrimental to the interests of the United States."

Officials at the American mission declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality rules.

Singer Ibrahim Ferrer of the Buena Vista Social Club, a multiple Grammy winner, was among those at the news conference. Other Cuban artists nominated for this year's Grammy awards were percussionist Amadito Valdes, veteran guitarist Manuel Galvan, and singer Barbarito Torres.

Ferrer and pianist Chucho Valdes were among the Cuban artists who missed the Latin Grammy Awards in Miami last fall because their visas didn't arrive in time.

American officials at the time said most of the musicians applied for the visas too late under stricter rules and that several _ including Ferrer and Chucho Valdes _ didn't apply at all.

Because Cuba is classified by the U.S. government as a state sponsor of terrorism, more extensive background checks are required for citizens of the communist island who apply for visas. The process can take from eight to 10 weeks.

50 Cent Earns Best New Artist Nod In VH1 Grammy Awards Poll

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — If adults had their say, hip-hop and R&B artists would sweep the 46th annual Grammy Awards, according to a new poll of adults 18-49 conducted by VH1. The 2nd annual survey found that 50 Cent, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Eminem and Luther Vandross were most likely to take home the Grammy Awards in the marquee categories on February 8.

VH1 commissioned a telephone poll of a random national sample of 536 men and women between the ages of 18-49 and asked who they thought would take home a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist of the Year.

The VH1 poll also found some intriguing differences between the sexes and age groups:

* Justin Timberlake's "Justified" ranked highest in Album of the Year
overall and also among women. But OutKast's "Speakerboxx/The Love Below"
was the top choice among males in the poll;

* Everyone is crazy for Beyonce's "Crazy In Love." The song finished #1
for Record of the Year among men, women and all age groups within the
18-49 category; and

* Eminem's "Lose Yourself" took first place for Song of the Year in the
18-29 age group, and Luther Vandross's "Dance With My Father" took top
prize in the female and 30-49 categories.

"Our 2nd Grammy Awards poll results show that the urban sounds of hip-hop and R&B continue to dominate America's musical preferences," said Rick Krim, executive vice president, music and talent, VH1. "But the music industry and not the public vote on the Grammy Awards, so we'll have to wait and see if the industry goes along with consumers' picks."

The overall poll results for those who had an opinion are:

Album of the Year rankings

1.) "Justified," Justin Timberlake — 26%

2.) "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" OutKast — 19%

3.) "Under Construction," Missy Elliott — 13%

4.) "Fallen," Evanescence — 11%

5.) "Elephant," The White Stripes — 6%

Record of the Year rankings:

1.) "Crazy In Love," Beyonce Featuring Jay-Z — 30%

2.) "Hey Ya!," OutKast — 14%

3.) "Where Is The Love," The Black Eyed Peas & Justin Timberlake — 14%

4.) "Lose Yourself, " Eminem –14%

5.) "Clocks," Coldplay — 7%

Song of the Year ranking:

1.) "Lose Yourself," J. Bass, M. Mathers & L. Resto, songwriters
(Eminem) TIE — 22%

1.) "Dance With My Father," Richard Marx &Luther Vandross, songwriters
(Luther Vandross) TIE — 22%

3.) "Beautiful," Linda Perry, songwriter (Christina Aguilera) — 21%

4.) "I'm With You," Avril Lavigne & The Matrix, songwriters (Avril
Lavigne) — 9%

5.) "Keep Me In Your Heart," Jorge Calderon & Warren Zevon, songwriters
(Warren Zevon) — 4%

Best New Artist of the Year ranking:

1.) 50 Cent — 44%

2.) Evanescence — 14%

3.) Sean Paul — 10%

4.) Heather Headley — 3%

5.) Fountains Of Wayne — 2%

–Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

AP Predicts Grammy Winners

NEW YORK (AP) — The first time OutKast got a Grammy nomination for best album, in 2002, hip-hop's eclectic duo was upstaged by the old-time bluegrass of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Two years later, the rap funksters are nominated for best album once again, and have a leading six nominations for their dazzling double disc, "Speakerboxxx-The Love Below." But also nominated for six Grammys are Beyonce, her beau, Jay-Z, and producer-singer-hipster Pharrell Williams.

Will OutKast end up outcasts at the Feb. 8 ceremony in Los Angeles? The Associated Press predicts the future for the entire Grammy pack:

1. RECORD OF THE YEAR. Nominees: "Crazy in Love," Beyonce featuring Jay-Z; "Where Is the Love?" Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake; "Clocks," Coldplay; "Lose Yourself," Eminem; "Hey Ya!," OutKast.

Moody: It was hard to imagine a more ubiquitous 2003 song than "Crazy in Love" … until "Hey Ya!" Though it's been played to death by now, "Hey Ya!" will win because 1) OutKast are critical darlings and Grammy faves; 2) it won over young and old, black and white, rock and rap; and 3) Grammy voters will be impressed that a rap act could expertly pull off a Beatlesque tune and lime-green fashion.

Bauder: Hard to argue with you, since "Hey Ya!" has crossed the line from hit song to cultural phenomenon. But I will, anyway. No other category better illustrates this year's Grammy takeover by the hip-hop generation. Coldplay is the only choice for voters threatened by this, and it's a good song, too. My hunch is that Beyonce and OutKast will cancel each other out, and Coldplay slips in.

2. ALBUM OF THE YEAR: "Under Construction," Missy Elliott; "Fallen," Evanescence; "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," OutKast; "Justified," Justin Timberlake; "Elephant," The White Stripes.

Bauder: OutKast, easily. Timberlake has some support, and the White Stripes topped most rock publications' year-end polls, but OutKast was a critical and commercial behemoth.

Moody: Except for Evanescence — how did they get in this category? — all are strong contenders. But OutKast's daring album will take them over the top here.

3. SONG OF THE YEAR: "Beautiful," written by Linda Perry (performed by Christina Aguilera); "Dance With My Father," Richard Marx and Luther Vandross (Luther Vandross); "I'm With You," Avril Lavigne and The Matrix (Avril Lavigne); "Keep Me in Your Heart," Jorge Calderon and Warren Zevon (Warren Zevon); "Lose Yourself," J. Bass, M. Mathers and L. Resto (Eminem).

Moody: Eminem can't seem to win in major categories. His bad luck will continue because voters will have two artists pulling at their heartstrings. Zevon recorded his song as he was dying of lung cancer, and Vandross had a bad stroke. Although Zevon's dead, Vandross will win because he's recovering, it's the R&B legend's first major nomination — AND the song is a heart-tugger.

Bauder: Death is a tough career move to beat, and props to Warren Zevon for a terrific song. But not enough people heard it. "Dance With My Father" is the tearjerker du jour.

4. NEW ARTIST. Evanescence; 50 Cent; Fountains of Wayne; Heather Headley; Sean Paul.

Moody: 50 Cent had the year's biggest album, the hottest singles, he made mincemeat of Ja Rule and has been shot nine times — do YOU want to tell him he's not winning?

Bauder: 50 Cent wins. Though they're a hopeless case here, a salute to the terrific Fountains of Wayne.

5. POP VOCAL ALBUM: "Stripped," Christina Aguilera; "Brainwashed," George Harrison; "Bare," Annie Lennox; "Motown," Michael McDonald; "Justified," Justin Timberlake.

Bauder: Going up against a dead Beatle — with a fine posthumous album, no less — may seem awfully tough. But this is the category where Justin Timberlake is saluted for making the transition from teen pop star to respected artist.

Moody: It's a justifiable win for Timberlake, a critical and commercial favorite.

6. ROCK ALBUM: "Audioslave," Audioslave; "Fallen," Evanescence; "One by One," Foo Fighters; "More Than You Think You Are," matchbox twenty; "The Long Road," Nickelback.

Bauder: Call me a cranky old man, but no list of nominees better illustrates rock's decline. Foo Fighters are the best of the lot, but Grammy voters won't be able to ignore Evanescence's breakout success.

Moody: I agree with cranky.

7. RAP ALBUM: "Under Construction," Missy Elliott; "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," 50 Cent; "The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse," Jay-Z; "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," OutKast; "Phrenology," The Roots.

Moody: Despite all the hoopla over OutKast's trippy album, Elliott's disc was the real head trip, but it came out too long ago for anyone to remember it was the better album. OutKast will triumph.

Bauder: I love Missy, but it's hard to believe Grammy voters will choose OutKast as the album of the year — which I believe they will — and not the best rap album.

8. COUNTRY ALBUM: "Cry," Faith Hill; "My Baby Don't Tolerate," Lyle Lovett; "Run That by Me One More Time," Willie Nelson and Ray Price; "Live and Kickin'," Willie Nelson; "Up!," Shania Twain; "Livin', Lovin', Losin': Songs of the Louvin Brothers," Various Artists.

Bauder: You go, Willie! Competing against yourself — usually a sure way to lose. In many ways, "Up!" and "Cry" and hardly country albums, but that just shows how country has changed. A vote here for Lyle Lovett.

Moody: I'll pick a surprise win for "Livin', Lovin', Losin' …" — I reckon the other four name acts will cannibalize each other.

9: CONTEMPORARY R&B ALBUM: "Chapter II," Ashanti; "Dangerously in Love," Beyonce; "Love & Life," Mary J. Blige; "Comin' From Where I'm From," Anthony Hamilton; "Chocolate Factory," R. Kelly.

Moody: Had R. Kelly not been facing Michael Jacksonesque problems, he might have been a favorite to win here, and maybe even gotten a nod in the overall category, where he is most deserving. But his loss is Beyonce's gain — and she'll probably win most of her awards in the R&B categories anyway.

Bauder: Oh, what's a little sex scandal going to mean to Grammy voters? I don't think voters will ignore R. Kelly's work here.

Recording Academy Celebrates Grammy Week

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — The Recording Academy will host a full week of exciting events leading up to the 46th Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast on February 8. These events will take place all over Los Angeles, in celebration of music and the recorded arts.

"This year we decided to take a more direct role in designing and hosting programs surrounding the GRAMMY Awards," said Neil Portnow. "Accordingly, we've added a number of new events to the slate of those already produced by the Academy, which we believe are directly relevant and will resonate with our members and our industry."

Following is a calendar listing of the upcoming slate of events (and a calendar may be found online at www.grammy.com/awards/calendar.aspx):

February 3:

Salute To The Art Of The Grammy's:

The Academy will host a Grammy week art reception spotlighting 3-D pop art master Charles Fazzino's official artwork for the 46th Grammy Awards. The event will take place at The Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. Supermodel Petra Nemcova– Sports Illustrated's 2003 swimsuit edition cover model–and "Ellen" show DJ Tony Okungbowa will join the event.

February 4:

Grammy Salute To Jazz:

The Academy will pay tribute to one of the great American musical forms. Clark Terry and current Grammy nominee Gerald Wilson will be honored at the Knitting Factory Club Hollywood with a special presentation and live performances, including the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy High School Jazz Ensembles.

Grammy Salute To Comedy:

This event will take place at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood and features a night of stand up comedy headlined by Bob Saget, Jon Lovitz, Dom Irrera, and two-time Grammy winner and current Grammy nominee "Weird Al" Yankovic, among others.

February 5:

Grammy Salute To Classical Music:

Irish flautist Sir James Galway will be honored at an event that celebrates the lasting cultural contribution and ongoing vibrancy of classical music. It will take place at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

Soul To Soul: A Grammy Salute To Musical Masters:
This event, presented by The Grammy Foundation, features an inaugural screening of the restored original 1971 music documentary Soul To Soul, which has been heralded as one of the finest concert films of all time. Unseen for 15 years, the film features Carlos Santana, Wilson Pickett, and Ike and Tina
Turner and will be accompanied by live celebrity performances and surprise guests. It takes place at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Actor Blair Underwood will MC while Kirk Whalum and current Grammy nominee Anthony Hamilton are confirmed to perform.

February 6:

Grammy In The Schools:

Top music industry professionals will discuss the realities of the music business and available careers in music with more than 1,500 L.A. area high school students in this Grammy Foundation program. It will be held at USC's Bovard Auditorium and features panel discussions followed by a variety of workshops addressing various fields in the music industry. Artists/Professionals scheduled to appear include Grammy winner and current Grammy nominee Tom Morello (Audioslave), six-time Grammy winners Earth, Wind &Fire, current Grammy nominee MC Lyte, current Grammy nominee Brian McKnight, current Grammy nominee Pharrell Williams, 14-time Grammy winner David Foster, and actor/recording artist Nick Cannon, among many others.

Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI) Luncheon:

This annual event was conceived as a means to recognize and further develop the connection between the legal profession and the recording community with the goal of resolving issues confronting the music industry. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sony Music Entertainment, Andrew Lack will deliver the keynote address at this luncheon at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles.

MusiCares 2004 Person Of The Year:

The signature fundraiser for the MusiCares Foundation will take place at Sony Studios and features a host of notable musical guests, entertainers and VIPs who will honor Grammy-winning recording artist Sting for his artistic and social contributions. Artists scheduled to perform include: Charles Aznavour, Tony Bennett, The Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Elvis Costello, Dido, Elton John, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, Dave Matthews, John Mayer and Rufus Wainwright. Sir Bob Geldof will present the award to Sting. MusiCares is the health and human service charity founded by the Recording Academy to help music people in need.

Some of these exciting events are open to the public, including the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy High School Jazz Ensembles performances during Grammy week. Top high school singers and instrumentalists were selected from across the United States and Canada to perform with special guests as part of these ensembles. Performances will take place on February 3 (with special guest, Grammy nominee Kurt Elling at Catalina Bar &Grill); on February 6 (with special guest GRAMMY-winner Chick Corea at Knitting Factory Club Hollywood); and on February 7 (with special guests Eric Marienthal & Mindi Abair; Endless Dreams Yacht, Rainbow Harbor, Long Beach).

On February 7 the Academy will host the 46th Annual Grammy nominee reception. At this private party, all the Grammy nominees will be celebrated in a night devoted to the commemoration of their recognition as the year's most noteworthy music artists. In addition, special awards will be presented. to Van Cliburn, The Funk Brothers, Ella Jenkins, Sonny Rollins, Artie Shaw and Doc Watson , who will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards. Songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King, jazz producer Orrin Keepnews and pianist/radio host Marian McPartland will be honored with Trustees Awards. Inventor, technologist and mastering engineer Douglas Sax and audio console manufacturer Solid State Logic, Inc. will be honored as recipients of the 2004 Technical Grammy Award.

On February 8, The 46th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast in HDTV and 5.1 Surround Sound on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (EST/PST). The show also will be supported on radio via Westwood One worldwide, and covered online at Grammy.com. Artists slated to perform include Christina Aguilera, The Black Eyed Peas, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Earth, Wind &Fire, Martina McBride, OutKast, Sean Paul, Robert Randolph &The Family Band, Justin Timberlake, Sting, and The White Stripes. Presenters include Norah Jones, John Mayer and Pharrell Williams, and actors Sean Astin and Amber Tamblyn. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

L.A. Mayor Expected To Honor Ray Charles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — At 73, Grammy-winning singer Ray Charles is still humbled by the praise he has received throughout his career, especially from fellow artists.

Charles recently was presented with the President's Merit Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

"Music is my life, professionally, for nearly 60 years. To be recognized by the academy is still the highest honor," Charles said.

This month, Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn is expected to declare Charles the city's "cultural treasure" as part of African-American heritage month.

Charles, an original inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won his first Grammy in 1960 for "Let the Good Times Roll." In 1987, he received the academy's award for lifetime achievement. In all, Charles has won 13 Grammys.

He had hip surgery late last year and plans to begin touring again in March.

Augusta Honors On Hold For James Brown

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The city of Augusta doesn't feel good about James Brown.

Plans to build a statue of the Godfather of Soul and to rename an annual music festival for him are on hold after Brown's arrest on a domestic violence charge Wednesday.

Brown, 70, was released from jail Thursday. A widely circulated mug shot showed him wearing a bathrobe with his hair in a mess.

The singer has denied accusations that he pushed his wife to the floor and threatened her with a chair in their Beech Island, S.C., home. If convicted of the domestic violence charge, he could face a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

Mayor Bob Young said he is awaiting the outcome of the case before deciding whether to erect the statue of Brown, who grew up in Augusta.

"This certainly is not anything anybody could have planned for," Young said. "It's extremely unsettling and disturbing, but we will have to wait and see how this plays itself out."

Brenda Durant, executive director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council, said her organization will meet with the city and James Brown Enterprises to decide whether to rename the May music festival after Brown.

"We are really in limbo," she said.

Teens Favor Evanescence And Coldplay in Harris Interactive Grammy Poll

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – The 46th Annual Grammy Awards race could be a rock n' roll sweep, according to a

new national Harris Interactive survey of teens. This year's results reveal teens' preference for rock music over other music genres, as teens endorse Evanescence and Coldplay for top honors. Their endorsement of rapper Eminem and his nominated song, "Lose Yourself," a rock-influenced tune that includes guitars, drums and piano, also displays this preference — more than a third of teens (35%) voted it "Song of the Year."

The Harris Interactive YouthQuery Omnibus of 642 American teens, ages 13-18, was conducted online from January 14-19. The poll covered the four most popular GRAMMY categories and gave teens an opportunity to pick their favorites. Results include:

* Record of the Year: "Clocks" by Coldplay (27%); "Hey Ya!" by
Outkast (25%); "Lose Yourself" by Eminem (19%); "Where Is the Love?" by
The Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake (16%); and "Crazy in Love" by
Beyonce featuring Jay-Z (12%).

* Album of the Year: "Fallen" by Evanescence (39%); "Speakerboxxx/The
Love Below" by Outkast (23%); "Elephant" by The White Stripes (18%);
"Justified" by Justin Timberlake (12%); and "Under Construction" by
Missy Elliott (7%).

* Song of the Year: "Lose Yourself" by Eminem (35%); "Beautiful" by
Christina Aguilera (29%); "I'm With You" by Avril Lavigne (20%); "Dance
With My Father" by Luther Vandross (12%); and "Keep Me In Your Heart"
by Warren Zevon (5%).

* Best New Artist: Evanescence (41%); 50 Cent (27%); Fountains of
Wayne (18%); Sean Paul (12%); and Heather Headley (2%).

Within the four categories considered, the survey showed that teens' votes were split between several R&B and hip-hop artists, preventing any one of those artists from winning top honors. If Grammy voters end up following a similar pattern, then R&B and hip-hop artists, such as The Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Outkast, and 50 Cent, will be left wondering, "Where is the love?" echoing the sentiment in the song made popular by the Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake.

"It will be interesting to see if Grammy voters reflect teens' current views toward rock music," states Marc Scheer Ph.D., senior research associate, youth research at Harris Interactive. "This is an industry that looks at young people as trendsetters, and, for this year at least, rock and roll is not dead among teenagers."

This year's Grammy nominees are quite different from last year's. No country music artists have been nominated in the four top voting categories this year. In addition, last year's top Grammy categories included nominees, such as Bruce Springsteen and Alan Jackson, who addressed serious world themes. This year, however, pop music and matters of the heart are center-stage once again.

"Although the Grammy awards are voted on by music industry insiders, this survey can be considered the "bubble gum" vote, a snapshot of teen music preferences that could translate into billions of dollars in music sales," concludes Scheer. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

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