Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Donna Summer album coming in May..


I know there's been a lack of updates on here lately, but I figure this was as good a time as any to update everyone on Donna Summer's record deal and upcoming album, which I had first posted about back in August '06..

Aside from the little crumbs of info that have slowly leaked out in the last year or so, firm details regarding her next album, entitled "Crayons," tentatively scheduled for a May 20th release, are finally starting to come out. Promos for one of the songs, "I'm A Fire" have already been released and are circulating among fans and DJ's. The first promo includes remixes by the likes of Craig C, RedTop and Solitaire, which aim straight for the gay clubs, and seem to be getting a positive response so far. Although the mixes by Solitaire and Craig C. are especially good; with it's sleek, sexy sound, the best version is undoubtedly the original mix, her voice sounding as powerful and vital as ever.. It's no "Love To Love You.." or "I Feel Love," or anything extraordinarily cutting-edge for that matter, but with more than a few shades of lounge/deep house, it's a gracefully sensual, uplifting dance track in it's own right. Mature enough to suit her age and not engage in any desperate trend-riding, yet still fresh enough to reintroduce her to a current audience and capture the attention of longtime fans.

For a little background, the alleged producer of this track, Sebastian Arocha Morton AKA ROCAsound was one of the first names to be associated with this project last summer (the other was collaborator Vikter Duplaix). Notably, Morton was also behind Samantha James' Billboard #1 Dance hit, "Rise," and her album of the same name. Can't help but detect elements of the deep house/'electronic soul' style in both this and the Samantha James tracks; in other words, somewhat similar to some of the Jay Denes/Naked Music releases by the likes of Aya, Blue Six etc.. and some of Jody Watley's more recent work. Although "I'm A Fire" seems to be somewhere in between that and a more mainstream style (higher tempo, more assertive vocal); the tracks from the Samantha James album (which can be heard in full on her Myspace) might give a bit of an idea of what Morton's contributions on Donna's record might sound like (that is, if there are any others).

In addition to this first promo, a second set of remixes is also being sent out. In Da Mix Worldwide has some details along with a preview of one of them, called the Soulflower Mix..

Surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly) "I'm A Fire" has already been leaked to YouTube. I could easily envision an Afterlife style chill-out mix on this track. Take a listen:



Donna Summer - I'm A Fire (Sebastian's Original Mix)
Uploaded by iamafire

Despite this bring the first song to be leaked out, it must be noted apparently a different single will be serviced to radio. That first single is reportedly slated to be a song called either "Stamp" or "Stamp Your Feet," promos set to be distributed next month. Judging from the review of that song on the So, and Thus.. blog, it definitely looks like they're making an effort to aim for a more current pop audience on that particular track. Reminds me of what Burgundy did with Chaka Khan album, when they led off with a single - "Disrespectful" (feat. Mary J. Blige), that was clearly meant to appeal to a younger demographic. Anyway, I haven't heard it yet so I'll reserve judgement until I actually do.

As far as the album goes, some of the producers on the record aside from Sebastian Arocha Morton AKA ROCAsound (Jody Watley, Samantha James) reportedly include Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Peaches, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Kylie Minogue - see her latest single, "Wow"), J.R. Rotem and Evan 'Kidd' Bogart (Rihanna, Sean Kingston), son of late Casablanca founder, Neil Bogart, no less. The Freemasons were also reported to be on the album earlier last year, however, it's uncertain whether anything actually came out of that.. Some of the other collaborators that have been reported so far include singer/songwriter/actor Danielle Brisebois, Toby Gad, Fergie, Kandi Burruss and hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari.. Some additional collaborators and song titles reported to be on the album were also posted by a fan on the prince.org forums last November. Granted some of these are unofficially reported, so who knows if all of the collaborators will appear on the record, however the first official press on the upcoming album in Billboard (published on February 25th) and the official press release (published February 26th) confirmed some of these listed here, along with Lester Mendez (Carlos Santana, Shakira, Nelly Furtado) listed in the earlier prince.org posting.

Donna Summer Inks With Burgundy
February 25, 2008, 11:10 AM ET
Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.


Donna Summer will break a 17-year drought of studio albums with all new material thanks to a new deal with Sony BMG's Burgundy Records. Dubbed "Crayons," the project will arrive May 20.

Summer is working with a wide range of collaborators, including Danielle Brisebois, Greg Kurstin, J.R. Rotem, Lester Mendez and Evan Bogart.

"My dream is that when people hear the music it will remind them of their youth, their childhood and the joy and wonderment they felt exploring their first pack of crayons," Summer says. (read full article)

For her first original album since "Mistaken Identity" (1991, Atlantic) all of seventeen years ago, it's definitely encouraging to see her moving forward and working with some current producers and songwriters. If anything, from what I've heard so far, it's certainly preferrable (and I know I've said this already) to the dire trend of veteran artists releasing cover albums. With Burgundy having come off a successful run with their last major release, Chaka Khan's "Funk This," which peaked at #5 on the Billboard R&B charts (her highest charting album since the mid-80s), spawned a #1 Billboard club hit and two Grammy Awards last week, it seems they're gearing up to make this at least equally successful. Either way, after all the bits of new material and all the false starts in the past several years, it's definitely an exciting time to be a Donna Summer fan.

Updates:

  • 2/20/08: The first picture of a possible album cover (now placed at top of the post) has been tracked down on the Croatian site Menart Records, which also lists six of the possible titles on the album... Credit to Cathy, the Donna Tribute webmistress and the Endless Summer Forum for the photo link..
  • 2/25/08: Added names to list of collaborators, added links to first official press and corrected release date. The initial, widely circulated date of May 6th has been corrected to May 20th, which has been confirmed on the first two pieces of official press published in Billboard Magazine and on the website of A&R Consultants Pure Tone Music.
  • 2/29/08: Added link to official press release. Album artwork posted on the 20th now confirmed as the official album cover via the Official Donna Summer Website - added a much clearer album image.

    PREVIOUS RELATED ENTRIES:
    BBC RADIO 2: CLASSIC SINGLES - I FEEL LOVE (SUNDAY DECEMBER 30, 2007)
    TWIGGY DOES DISCO.. (WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM DONNA) (TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 18, 2007)
    NEW DEAL FOR DONNA (THURSDAY AUGUST 3, 2006)
    DONNA SUMMER - I GOT YOUR LOVE (MONDAY JANUARY 16, 2006)

    DISCO DELIVERY #52: STAINLESS STEAL - CAN-CAN (1978, WARNER BROS.) (TUESDAY FEBRUARY 5, 2008)
    DISCO DELIVERY #40: MUNICH MACHINE - A WHITER SHADE OF PALE (1978, CASABLANCA) (SUNDAY APRIL 29, 2007)
    DISCO DELIVERY #14: SUZI LANE - OOH LA LA (1979, ELEKTRA) (SATURDAY APRIL 8, 2006)
    DISCO DELIVERY #5: GIORGIO MORODER - FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1977, OASIS/CASABLANCA) (FRIDAY FEBRUARY 3, 2006)

    LINKS:
    PR NEWSWIRE - OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE (TUESDAY FEBRUARY 26, 2008)
    BILLBOARD - DONNA SUMMER INKS WITH BURGUNDY (BY JONATHAN COHEN) (MONDAY FEBRUARY 25, 2008)
    PURE TONE MUSIC - THE QUEEN IS BACK: DONNA SUMMER MAKES LONG-AWAITED RETURN WITH FIRST STUDIO ALBUM IN 17 YEARS! (MONDAY FEBRUARY 25, 2008)
    SO, AND THUS..: STAMP YOUR FEET - DONNA SUMMER'S NEW SINGLE (FEBRUARY 17. 2008)

    DONNA TRIBUTE - NEWS
    DONNA SUMMER - OFFICIAL WEBSITE
    DONNA SUMMER @ WIKIPEDIA
    DONNA SUMMER @ BURGUNDY RECORDS
    ASCAP - SONGS WRITTEN BY: SUMMER, DONNA A.
    IN DA MIX WORLWIDE - DONNA SUMMER - I'M A FIRE (SOULFLOWER MIX) (WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 20, 2007)
    PRINCE.ORG FORUM - DETAILS ON DONNA SUMMER'S UPCOMING ALBUM (NOVEMBER 8, 2007)
    SEBASTIAN AROCHA MORTON - ROCASOUND
    SEBASTIAN AROCHA MORTON @ DISCOGS
    SEBASTIAN AROCHA MORTON (ROCASOUND) @ DISCOGS (SEPARATE ENTRY)
    GREG KURSTIN @ EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING
    GREG KURSTIN @ DISCOGS
    EVAN 'KIDD' BOGART @ WIKIPEDIA
    EVAN 'KIDD' BOGART @ MYSPACE
    DANIELLE BRISEBOIS @ WIKIPEDIA
    DANIELLE BRISEBOIS @ MYSPACE
    DANIELLE BRISEBOIS OFFICIAL SITE
    TOBY GAD OFFICIAL SITE
    TOBY GAD VIDEO BLOG - WEBISODE 5 FEAT. DONNA SUMMER, BC JEAN
    BURGUNDY RECORDS @ WIKIPEDIA

    CATEGORIES: DISCO NEWS, NUDISCO
  • 14 comments:

    Ray said...

    Can't wait!

    Kristofer D. said...

    Thanks Tommy
    Spread the word my friend...
    What a nice surprise to check up your blog and see Donna's Crayons jacket posted here.
    We have been waiting forver and this time it's for real.

    Hugs
    K

    Anonymous said...

    GREAT! CAN'T WAIT TO GET IT!
    Donna is a long time favorite and her voice is pure magic!
    Welcome back Donna!

    Anonymous said...

    the solitaire and craig c remix are my favorits.
    weren't the freemasons also supposed to work on this track or other tracks of this album
    donna summer is back on track!!!!

    M.E. Grant said...

    I hope she also works with some people who play traditional instruments, given the resurgence of dance music made by bands. I'm so used to her fully staffed vintage productions. Crayons should be...colorful, if the formula is right. I'd like for this and the coming Grace Jones album to do well.

    DungeonDJ said...

    Wow, she still looks, and sounds, great after all these years. I have everything she's ever released on LP or CD. I think I'm gonna have to get a bigger house though (again). I've run out of room to store any additional purchases. No kidding, I love the sound but, may have to pass on this one for logistical purposes. Believe that? :D

    Anonymous said...

    I want a lot of big vocal performances, lots of long high notes. Donna has always been a more impressive live performer than Whitney and Mariah, but she doesn't even get credit for having as good of a voice as theirs, let alone better. Donna should cover "I Will Always Love You" then a direct comparison could be made of both women singing it live. Donna hitting all the notes with relative ease, compared to Whitney's pathetic huffing and puffing. Perhaps Donna could achieve a big comeback through just the force of her exceptional talent.

    soulbrotha said...

    No anonymous, Donna doesn't need to prove anything to anybody. And GOD FORBID she would ever cover "I Will Always Love You"! That dreadful tripe has become a Karaoke nightmare and needs to be hurled to the bottom of Apollo Amateur Night hell with an anvil around it's neck!!

    Anonymous said...

    Donna is one of those artists who transcends commercial success. An astounding voice that I am happy to hear. Who needs sales? Madonna sells...doesn'y she just? Without Donna there would be nod Madonna. I'm a fire is Donna sending us to another place again...just like she has done for more than 30 years. Wait for 17 years? I would wait forever.
    Thank you Ms Gaines.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm surprised that no one has said it yet: the song blows.

    Anonymous said...

    It's a mediocre song, but Donna sounds incredible. Any negative review that fails to acknowledge how delectable she sounds, has no credibility. It doesn't have to be a great song anyway, it's not the lead single from the new album, it's just a teaser for the club crowd. I'm sure the album will spin off many more singles, both pop and dance.

    As the working title of one of the new songs puts it, The Queen Is Back!

    Anonymous said...

    ^I couldn't disagree more. Why should she release anything that isn't worthy of her talents, even album tracks? This one can't stoke interest in anyone besides those with lowered standards. Her voice isn't really getting to shine either.

    Anonymous said...

    It's stoking plenty of interest hon, "I'm a Fire" has entered Billboard's dance chart as the hot shot debut at #28, heading for #1. A new batch of remixes is about to be released too, I've heard the Sunflower mix and it's my favorite so far.

    'Professor' Eddy said...

    I love Donna, so I can't wait! Thanks for the news update.

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