Soul singer Claudia Lennear has been given a big career boost following her appearance in Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom - David Bowie has offered to write her next project. Lennear joined the likes of Darlene Love and Judith Hill in Morgan Neville's 2013 film, which followed the lives of backing singers to the stars, after previously working with artists including Ike and Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, George Harrison and Leon Russell.
She was also said to have inspired the Rolling Stones' Brown Sugar hit in 1971 and Bowie's Lady Grinning Soul in 1973.
Lennear now reveals she recently reconnected with the legendary Space Oddity star days before Sunday's (02Mar14) Oscars ceremony and received a welcome proposal.
She tells the New York Post's Page Six column, "I got a call from David Bowie out of the blue... He told me he wanted to write my next project. I couldn't believe it when I first heard his voice. We haven't seen each other in 20 years."
She adds, "I am not sure what my next project will be... but I will definitely hold David to his promise."
20 Feet From Stardom was named Best Documentary, Feature at the Academy Awards.
Reality TV star Judge Judy has branded Justin Bieber a "fool" for risking his career with his bad boy behaviour and run-ins with the law. The Baby hitmaker has been mired in numerous legal troubles in recent months, and the television judge, real name Judith Sheindlin, has now warned the pop star he is abusing his celebrity status.
She tells CBS Los Angeles, "Being a celebrity is a gift. You could either treat it reverently or you could make a fool out of yourself. And he's doing a very good job of making a fool out of himself... I think it's sad. And nobody's going to remember that he was a marginal singer. But they're going to remember a young kid who had a chance to have it all and who is blowing it by acting like a fool."
Bieber was arrested in Florida in January (14) on suspicion of driving under the influence, while he is also facing an assault charge in Canada over an alleged attack on a chauffeur. Police also raided the singer's California mansion last month (Jan14) over allegations the singer pelted a neighbour's home with eggs.
Singers Julia Fordham and Judith Owen have teamed up to raise funds for the Philippines typhoon relief effort by releasing a duet of festive classic White Christmas. All proceeds from downloads of the track will benefit the Filipino Red Cross, and to promote the tune the stars have shot a video featuring American Pie star Jennifer Coolidge.
In the promo, which was uploaded to YouTube.com on Tuesday (26Nov13), the comedienne refuses to stay out of shot as her friends film with pianist Grant Mitchell.
Happy Ever After singer Fordham reveals she jumped at the chance to record the track with pal Owen, stating, "The Philippines is a country that has always been so supportive of my voice and songs."
Two of Marvin Gaye's children have officially launched legal action against Robin Thicke amid allegations his summer smash Blurred Lines borrows heavily from the soul icon's Got To Give It Up. Thicke, his producer Pharrell Williams and collaborator T.I. filed a pre-emptive suit in August (13), asking a Los Angeles judge to declare that Blurred Lines does not infringe on Gaye's 1977 song, after the late legend's heirs first expressed copyright concerns.
The trio faced similar claims from Bridgeport Music bosses, who own the rights to George Clinton's band Funkadelic's compositions - they alleged the tune bears striking similarities to Funkadelic's track Sexy Ways.
Thicke recently confessed he was eager to reach a settlement to avoid a drawn out court battle with his idol's relatives, but they reportedly rejected a six-figure sum, and now Nona and Frankie Christian Gaye have lodged a countersuit in a California court to pursue their claims.
In court papers obtained by editors at The Hollywood Reporter, the Gayes point to interviews conducted by both Thicke and Williams, who have openly admitted that the singer used Got To Give It Up as the inspiration for Blurred Lines.
They have also consulted expert musicologist Judith Finell to compare the two songs, and she has stated that she found "at least eight substantially similar compositional features" in the two tracks, "far surpassing the similarities that might result from attempts to evoke an 'era' of music or a shared genre".
The Gayes go on to suggest that Thicke has lifted material from their tragic father for years, listing a second copyright infringement regarding the star's 2011 tune Love After War, which they believe is modelled on the late soul star's After the Dance.
They are demanding damages, including a cut of profits from both songs.
In their new legal papers, filed on Wednesday (30Oct13), the Gayes also argue that Thicke's song Make U Love Me features "a similar bridge and identical lyrics from Marvin Gaye’s I Want You."
Michael Jackson's former backing singer Judith Hill has signed up to join Josh Groban on tour. The new Sony artist will open the show and also join Groban during his set for two songs, The Prayer and Remember When It Rains, after teaming up with the operatic star in the studio.
Hill, who has also backed Stevie Wonder and Sir Elton John, was working with the King of Pop on his This Is It dates when he died in 2009.
Since then, she has performed on U.S. reality TV show The Voice and appeared in director Morgan Neville's acclaimed 20 Feet From Stardom documentary, which shines the spotlight on the untold true story of the back-up singers behind some of music's biggest names.
Her North American dates with Groban begin on Wednesday (02Oct13) in Boise, Idaho.
Australian folk star Judith Durham has assured fans she will be back onstage with her band The Seekers in the New Year (14) following her brain haemorrhage in May (13). The 70-year-old singer was forced to postpone The Seekers' U.K. tour when she was diagnosed with a cerebral haemorrhage after falling ill during a concert on the band's 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee trek.
Durham was discharged from hospital in August (13) following three months of treatment and she is hoping to make a full recovery so she can return to the stage in 2014.
She tells Britain's Daily Express, "I still have some way to go but there's no reason to delay it for the fans any more. We'll treasure it even more now because of what happened. All of us had to put things on hold and none of us had any knowledge of how long that might be for or if we'd ever have the opportunity to perform again. Now we know we can resume the tour we've been so thrilled.
"We're still the only band in their original format from the Sixties. It's so unique. Our voice is fine and we look and sound like we always did."
The Seekers' rescheduled British tour will now kick off on 28 April (14) in Cardiff, Wales, and wrap up in London on 2 June (14).
Australian folk singer Judith Durham gathered friends and family in her hospital room to mark her 70th birthday on Wednesday (03Jul13) as she recovers from a brain haemorrhage. The Seekers star was hospitalised in May (13) after collapsing following a concert in Melbourne, and she remained under doctors' care for her birthday this week (beg01Jul13).
Speaking before her big day, Durham revealed her plans to mark the milestone from her hospital bed, telling the Sydney Daily Telegraph, "I'm still in hospital so I'm looking forward to catching up with family and close friends in my very comfortable room. I'm feeling great and I am committed to (an) intensive rehabilitation program.''
In her first interview since the health scare, the singer goes on to reveal the brain haemorrhage hasn't affected her voice and she can still remember song lyrics, adding, "I was a hair's breadth from never singing again only two months ago and I never take it for granted that I can sing at all. Luckily my voice doesn't seem to have been affected. I can remember lyrics because my long-term memory has been unaffected. But I'm aware of a difference in my short-term memory."
Australian folk stars The Seekers have landed a major music honour in their native country just weeks after singer Judith Durham suffered a brain haemorrhage while on tour. The band will receive the Australasian Performing Right Association's (APRA) Ted Albert Award for outstanding services to Australian music during the annual APRA Music Awards ceremony in Melbourne on 17 June (13).
APRA CEO Brett Cottle says in a statement, "Surely no other Australian act has had such enormous international appeal while retaining its unadorned sense of 'Australianness'. The Seekers really put Australian music on the map... And 50 years later the music sounds every bit as great as it did then."
The musicians axed their 50th anniversary tour Down Under earlier this month (May13) after Durham, 69, was hospitalised following a concert in Melbourne. Doctors subsequently diagnosed her with a cerebral haemorrhage.
Australian folk singer Judith Durham has suffered a brain haemorrhage while on tour with her band The Seekers. The 69 year old was hospitalised after falling ill after a concert in Melbourne on Tuesday night (14May13) and doctors diagnosed a cerebral haemorrhage.
The star is set to undergo further tests in the coming days but is in a "lucid and comfortable" condition, a representative tells The Australian newspaper.
The Seekers' tour, in celebration of the group's 50th anniversary, has now been postponed.
Minor spoilers to follow.
Tyler Perry's Temptation is the kind of over-the-top drama that leaves you speechless as the credits abruptly begin to roll. Perry doesn't bother trying to cloak his morality tale with details like fully developed characters or insightful dialogue or logic. The heartbreaking story of Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) is introduced by her marriage counselor sister as a warning to all young married woman who have their eyes on someone else. Judith was once a happily married woman who was led into temptation by an intense, rich man who promised to appreciate her in all the ways her husband didn't. Sounds fairly standard, right? Well… no.
Judith works as a therapist for a matchmaking service owned by Janice (Vanessa Williams), a glamorous older woman with a French accent who may or may not be running escorts on the side. Her coworker Ava is played by Kim Kardashian, a true feat of stunt casting that's only made all the more impressive by her inability to inject the slightest bit of emotion into her steady stream of insults. Judith has designs on starting her own practice as a marriage counselor but her husband Brice (Lance Gross) wants to wait until they get more settled. Her frustration comes into full flower soon after a young social media exec comes in to the office to strike up a deal with Janice. Harley (Robbie Jones) begins coming on to Judith almost immediately. At first, she finds it easy to resist. Brice is the only man she's ever been with — a detail that Harley finds amazing — and he's a good man, a sensible guy, and it probably doesn't hurt that he looks like a finely chiseled Greek god. But those perfect oblique muscles will only get him so far: after Brice forgets her birthday for the second year in a row and rejects her advances one night when she wants to get frisky in the kitchen, Harley starts looking a whole lot better.
A large chunk of the movie is spent on a somewhat boring back-and-forth between Harley and Judith, with some extraordinarily strange asides tossed in. For instance, singer and actress Brandy plays Brice's coworker Karen, a haunted young woman who's on the run from an abusive ex. (Did I mention Brice is an incredibly handsome pharmacist?) Their other coworker is an older woman who can be counted on to say something crazy about Valium or lesbians at any given time. You could get whiplash from how quickly the tone goes from comedy to high drama, but at some point the drama transmogrifies into sheer absurdity with a very nasty undertone.
RELATED: Can Tyler Perry Break Out of Tyler Perry?
As you'd guess from the title, religion is a strong theme here, which is par for the course in Perry's films. It's very much a tale of good versus evil, and Perry is an Old Testament-style deity raining hellfire and brimstone down on his characters. It's not enough that they might be unhappy or heartbroken or full of regret, but they must pay dearly and cruelly. At the same time, religion is subject to the movie's tonal whims as well. Judith's mother Sarah (Ella Joyce) is a religious woman who raised her daughter in the church, but by the end of the movie, I wouldn't have been totally surprised to see her try to perform a full-on exorcism.
Besides the rather sadistic treatment of its characters, Temptation has an incredibly troubling scene that kicks off the last third of the movie, when things get really dark and mean. Judith and Harley are returning from a business trip to New Orleans on Harley's private jet. Judith got a makeover before she left (with help from Ava, naturally) and has been partaking of the many adult beverages NOLA has to offer. The flirting gets pretty steamy between them, but when Harley goes to touch and kiss her, she tries to stop him. She tells him no repeatedly and loudly and physically tries to defend herself. "Now you can say you resisted," he tells her, and the scene fades into some sort of embrace. Later, Judith is shell-shocked and tells Harley she never wants to see him again. She goes to take a shower but stops to stare into the foggy mirror. She reflects back on the scene on the plane, but it's… a love scene? Really? I don't even know how to untangle this. There are so many ways to interpret this chain of events, and none of them are acceptable. Any sort of goodwill or patience I'd had for Temptation and its bizarro world disappeared with a poof.
Temptation is worth watching in the same way a movie like Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven is worth watching: it's such an audaciously ridiculous movie that you have to see it for yourself.
[Photo Credit: KC Bailey/Lionsgate]
You Might Also Like:15 Oscar-Winning Nude Scenes10 Insane 'Star Wars' Moments You Didn't Notice