Many celebrities are using their fame to aid victims of the recent Japan earthquake and tsunami. Katy Perry is donating proceeds from sales of tour merchandise to the Red Cross. In only 48 hours, Lady Gaga raised $250,000 by selling “We Pray for Japan” bracelets on her website. Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda is designing T-shirts that will benefit Music for Relief’s support efforts. And, Blink-182 is auctioning some of its rare band memorabilia, including handwritten lyric sheets and clothing the members wore in a music video. The sale is taking place on eBay to benefit the Red Cross.
Swift Lands Animated Film Role
Singer Taylor Swift has signed on to voice a character in the upcoming animated film, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. She’ll play the love interest of Ted, who will be voiced by Zac Efron. Also in the voicecast are Danny Devito, Betty White, Ed Helms and Rob Riggle. The movie is based on the 1971 children’s book, which deals with protecting the environment. It’s expected to hit theaters in March 2012.
Jermaine Jackson Plans Memoir
Reuters reports that Jermaine Jackson is writing a memoir about his family and late brother Michael. “You Are Not Alone: Through a Brother’s Eyes” will reveal what it was like growing up in the famous family and his relationship with his parents Katherine and Joe Jackson. It will also offer details about Michael’s private life. The book is due out later this year.
Janet Jackson Signs Production Deal
In other Jackson family news, Janet Jackson told The Hollywood Reporter that she has signed a production deal with Lionsgate Films. She’ll select, develop and produce feature films for the studio. Janet said, “Many people forget I started out as an actor. I have been fortunate to work in the film industry, though not as much as I would like. I have a passion for storytelling, and have been doing it through my music for some time.”
Country Legend Husky Dies
Country legend Ferlin Husky died at a Nashville hospital on March 17. The 85-year-old had suffered from heart disease for years. Husky was a 2010 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee. His biggest hits included “Wings of a Dove,” “Gone” and “Dear John Letter,” which he recorded as a duet with 2011 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Jean Shepard. He’s credited with being one of the first Country artists to bring the genre to television and also one of the first to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
New US Stamps to Feature Latin Legends
The U.S. Postal Service has issued a “Latin Music Legends (Forever)” series of postage stamps. Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Selena, Carlos Gardel and Carmen Miranda appear on the stamps. They were chosen for their “lasting impact on American music.”
LA Reid Steps Down as Island Def Jam Chief
Billboard reports that Antonio “L.A.” Reid is leaving his chairman position at Island Def Jam Records to be a judge on Simon Cowell’s upcoming singing competition “The X Factor.” Auditions begin on March 27 and the show will premiere on FOX-TV in September. The winner receives a $5-million recording deal with Sony Music. “The X Factor” originated in the United Kingdom in 2004.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES March 22:
“Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia” (12-CD box set) by Aretha Franklin
“The Great American Songbook” (single CD with highlights of the box set) by Aretha Franklin
“Vices & Virtues” by Panic! At The Disco
“I Remember Me” by Jennifer Hudson
“Angles” by The Strokes
“All You Need Is Now” by Duran Duran
“F.A.M.E.” by Chris Brown
“Georgia Clay” by Josh Kelley
“The Most Incredible Thing” by the Pet Shop Boys
“Glam Nation Live” by Adam Lambert
“Forevermore” by Whitesnake
“Losing Sleep” by Edwyn Collins
“The Great Divide” by Tommy Shaw
“Legs & Other Hits” by ZZ Top
Look Who's Going On Tour!
On March 25, Latin pop star Ricky Martin will kick off his “Musica + Alma + Sexo” world tour in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He’ll play three additional shows at the city’s Coliseo de Puerto Rico on March 26, 27 and 28. North American dates begin on April 8 in Orlando, Florida and wrap up in Monterrey, Mexico on May 23. Ricky will reportedly take the tour to Europe and South America before launching another round of U.S. dates later this year.