January 9, Sony Music Group Chairman and CEO Tommy Mottola made the surprise announcement that he's leaving his post to start a new record company. The 52-year-old executive spent the past 14 years with Sony, guiding the careers of his former wife Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, and many others. Reports indicate that Mottola will not take any Sony artists with him, but Sony will handle distribution of the new label. Replacing Mottola is Andrew Lack, who has held the position of President and Chief Operating Officer at NBC for the past 18 months. He formerly worked in the news divisions of NBC and CBS.
Country singer Carlene Carter, daughter of June Carter Cash and stepdaughter of Country legend Johnny Cash, is in trouble with the law again. Carlene was arrested in June 2001 for heroin possession. Last month, she was arrested on two counts of identity theft. She stole a dead man's identity to obtain prescription drugs. Last week, that case was turned over to a grand jury in Tennessee, which will decide whether to indict the 47-year-old singer. Carlene faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
Singer Lee Greenwood, whose patriotic anthem God Bless America was re-popularized following the September 11 attacks, will head to the Pacific Rim this week to entertain U.S. military troops. The 10-day tour begins on January 12. He'll perform in the Philippines, Korea and Japan.
Beginning January 15, New Orleans' historic nightclub Tipitina's will mark its 25th anniversary with a series of special shows. The 10-day celebration will include a Founder's Ball on January 17 to honor the fourteen people who created the club. An all-star group consisting of Dr. John, Cyril and Ivan Neville, George Porter, Jr. and Stanton Moore will perform at the event.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES /JANUARY 14:
January 17, Elton John will be honored at the 2003 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show Concert in Anaheim, California. He'll receive its Lifetime Achievement in Musical Excellence Award. The concert will feature an all-star lineup to include Ray Charles, Jewel, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, John Mayer, and many others. Elton will also perform. The event will benefit three of NAMM's music education charities.
Nominations for the 45th annual Grammy Awards were announced on January 7. Ashanti, Avril Lavigne, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Raphael Saadiq and Nelly lead the contenders with five nominations each. Following closely behind with four nods are the Dixie Chicks, Alan Jackson, Chad Kroeger of Nickelback and Remy Shand. This year, three new categories were added, bringing the total to 104. They include Best Dance Recording, Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Urban/Alternative Performance. The 2003 Grammy ceremony will be held on February 23rd at New York's Madison Square Garden. CBS-TV will carry the show live.
The 29th annual People's Choice Awards was held on January 12 in Pasadena, California. The awards cover 16 categories in film, television and music. Among contenders for Best Male Musical Performer were Eminem, Alan Jackson and Nelly. Up for Best Female Musical Performer were Celine Dion, Faith Hill and Jennifer Lopez. And, Creed, the Dixie Chicks and 'N Sync competed for Best Musical Group. Actor Tony Danza hosted the live ceremony, which aired on CBS-TV.
LOOK WHO'S GOING ON TOUR!
January 16, Country star Kenny Chesney will kick off his 2003 "Margaritas 'N' Senoritas" tour in Tupelo, Mississippi. Chesney's No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems tour was the highest-grossing Country outing of 2002. He says this year's trek will feature more fun, more music, more lights and more video. Chesney hired the same company that provided production support to the Rolling Stones on their "40 Licks Tour."
Country singer George Strait will begin his "Road Less Traveled" tour on January 16 in Greenville, South Carolina. The 21-date outing is scheduled to run through February 28. Newcomer Tammy Cochran will open the shows in support of her album Life Happened.
January 18, Mark Chesnutt, Joe Diffie and Tracy Lawrence will kick off the second leg of their "Rockin' Roadhouse Tour" in San Antonio, Texas. The three Country singers launched their package tour last June, and before breaking for the holidays, performed to 750,000 fans. Shows are booked for the 2003 leg through July, with more dates to be added.