Grammy-nominated R&B singer Syleena Johnson has been one of the genre's best kept secrets since her debut in 2001.
Eight years later, the Harvey, Ill.-bred is back with a new CD, 'Chapter 4: Labor Pains' on her very own label, Aneelys Records.
"Its scary and confusing," Johnson said of being a businesswoman. "But it's liberating and rewarding at the same time! I feel powerfully-afraid, if that makes sense."
During her tenure on Jive Records, where the 32-year-old songstress released three albums – 2001's 'Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness,' 2002's 'Chapter 2: The Voice' and 2005's 'Chapter 3: The Flesh' – Johnson seemed to go unnoticed while the record company focused their emphasis on her label mates Britney Spears, N'Sync and Ciara.
Regardless, the daughter of Blues singer Syl Johnson continued to earn a following with hit records like 'I Am Your Woman' featuring R. Kelly, 'Guess What,' 'Another Relationship' and her collaboration with Kanye West, 'All Falls Down.'
In 2007, Johnson got married for a second time to international basketball star Kiwane Garris, who shoots hoops in the Italian league for the Premiata Montegranaro.
On August 2, 2007, Johnson gave birth to a son named Kiwane Garris, Jr., who came after 44-hours of labor pains and inspired the title of her current CD.
It was during this time off from the industry that Johnson was motivated to begin writing songs for her latest release, 'Chapter 4: Labor Pains.'
One track in particular, 'Maury Povich' was written by Johnson after the show became her guilty pleasure.
Unbeknownst to her then, the talk show host himself would fall in love with the song and invite her on the show to sing it live.
"Maury Povich's producer said he played the song over and over again in his office for days when they received it," said Johnson.
She flew to New York City in February to tape her appearance on the show, which aired on Thursday Feb. 12.
"The best part was his face when I sang it and the fact that he was so honored! I was honored that he was honored! It was an awesome experience," she shared, before adding: "I was so proud because I wrote it, all by myself."
The popularity of the tune, which deals with baby momma drama synonymous with topics from the long-running talk show, has folks wondering if it will be the next single from CD.
"I am not sure that it will be the next single but it sure is looking that way," Johnson offered. "We have some things in store that we are working on to support that if that is what we decide so we will just have to see. I don't want to say it and then it doesn't happen."
In the meantime, the proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. is trying to find the balance between professional endeavors and domestic life.
"Balancing is ridiculous! Nonstop movement all day. I don't get a moments rest," she confessed. "It's exhausting 'cause my baby doesn't go into daycare. Only the gym daycare, which is only an hour or so. But he is with me pretty much 16 hours a day, seven days a week unless he is at his grandma's house on the weekend sometimes. He consumes my life, so trying to do everything else is very difficult. But he is worth it and I am trying. I miss my husband all the time. He is the missing link to my life. I get pretty sad at times but God keeps me company. You know the saying, 'You may be by yourself, but you're never alone!"
If you're wondering what Johnson's next installment to her CD series will be called, the singer admitted that it may be a long time before we get a fifth chapter.
"'Chapter 5' won't be around for a while. The next album will veer from chapters. I have the title but it's a secret and it's going to go a whole new direction. But the chapters will pick up later. They won't go until I retire," she concluded.
3/19/09: Rihanna / Chris Brown
Contrary to previous claims that Rihanna and Chris Brown reunited in the studio last month to record a new duet, record producer Polow Da Don recently confirmed that the couple recorded the newly surfaced track last year. "The reports are inaccurate," Polow's publicist, Laura Wright, told US magazine. "The duet was recorded long before the incident." According to People, the track, reportedly titled 'Bad Girl,' was intended to be on the soundtrack for 'Confessions of a Shopaholic,' but the song was eventually recorded by the Pussycat Dolls.
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3/19/09: Kanye West / The Dream
Seven years ago this month, music heavyweights R. Kelly and Jay-Z released their highly anticipated collaborative album 'The Best of Both Worlds.' Now it appears Kanye West and The Dream are vying to work on a similar project. "Everybody is trying to talk us into it," Dream told 'MTV News' of his and West's friends and business associates. "It was first thought of by me. I was in Miami at the time, and I gave Kanye a call and said, 'The best thing would be for me and you to do an album.'... Let's take the best of both worlds and put it on a CD and try to make something we can sell to the consumers. He says he's with it. We're gonna try to make it happen." For now, you can catch Kanye on Dream's potential third single 'Walking on the Moon,' which is featured on his newly released album 'Love vs. Money.'
3/19/09: The Miracles
Legendary Motown group The Miracles is the latest musical act to receive a Hollywood star on the world-renowned Walk of Fame. The 'Ooo Baby, Baby' singers were presented with the 2,381st star on March 20 by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Leron Gubler. Motown founder Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder were also on hand as guest speakers for the ceremony.
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3/19/09: Chester Gregory
After several years of blowing audiences away on the 'Great White Way,' Broadway Star and R&B soul recording artist Chester Gregory is preparing the release of his debut album 'In Search of High Love.' The March 31 release finds the multitalented singer introducing himself as a thoughtful and sensitive songwriter blessed with a voice that captivates and demands attention. "While I've thoroughly enjoyed performing on Broadway -- eight shows a week and telling other people's amazing stories -- now it's time for me to share my own," explained Gregory. Highlights of 'In Search of High Love' include the poetic 'Clouds to the Ground,' the crossover-bound 'Say it's Over' and Jackie Wilson's soaring 1967 chart-topper 'Higher and Higher.'
Jemal Countess, WireImage
3/19/09: Sammy Davis Jr. Altovise Davis, the widow of Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr. , recently died at the age of 65. Two days prior to her death, she was admitted to Los Angeles'Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after suffering a stroke. The couple, who met in 1967 on the set of the musical 'Golden Boy,' married in 1970 and remained together until Davis' untimely death of throat cancer in 1990.
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3/19/09: Earth, Wind & Fire
Iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Earth, Wind & Fire is set to hit the road this summer for a 30-city tour beginning June 5 in Orange Beach, AL. In addition to Maurice White and company gracing the stage will be pop-rock band Chicago, which will perform a full show before joining for a final set together, according to Billboard. The tour will conclude on Aug. 1 in Lake Tahoe, NV.
Santiago Llanquin / AP
3/19/09: Kim Burrell
Gospel vocalist Kim Burrell is on deck to release her first new album in nine years titled 'No Ways Tired.' The project's title is inspired by gospel pioneer James Cleveland's classic of the same name. In addition to covering Cleveland's hit, Burrell also tapped other timeless classics including 'My Faith Looks Up to Thee,' 'What a Friend We Have in Jesus,' 'O Lamb of God,' and 'I Surrender All.' There are also a few originals. 'No Ways Tired' is set to hit stores April 7 via Shanachie Records.
3/19/09: Mike Jones
Despite being on hiatus since the release of his debut album 'Who Is Mike Jones?' Houston's own Mike Jones is ready to make his mark on the charts once again with the release of 'The Voice.' Jones' sophomore effort is packed with some of the industry's most talented artist including, Lil' Wayne, T-Pain, Devin the Dude, Hurricane Chris and Twista. He's had recent success with his latest single 'Next To You,' which is currently number 16 on Radio and Records Rhythmic charts. "For the past four years, I have been doing a lot of restructuring, getting this record right, making sure my business is right and more," Jones said of his hiatus. "Now, I am ready to finish what I started. I'm hoping my fans will feel 'The Voice' was worth the wait." Mike Jones 'The Voice' is due in stores April 28.
Gilbert Carrasquillo, FilmMagic
With the recent announcement that Michael Jackson will return to the stage this summer, another influential artist is also planning to make his return. Beginning March 25, Prince will be performing on the 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno' for three consecutive nights. In addition, the 'Little Red Corvette' singer is also readying the Mar. 29 release of his two new albums 'LOtUSFLOW3R' and 'MPLSoUND.' Prince is the latest artist to promote a release through multiple late-night talk show performances. U2 also recently performed five nights in a row on the 'Late Show with David Letterman' in support of its new album 'No Line on the Horizon.'
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