|FRIDAY 19 AUGUST 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The woman who appeared, aged fourteen, in the video that was at the centre of the 2008 R Kelly sexual abuse trial took to the witness stand in the musician's latest court case yesterday. She told the courtroom that she had decided to testify this time - having stayed silent during the 2000s criminal investigation and legal proceedings - because she had become "exhausted" living with Kelly's lies... [READ MORE]|
Key victim testifies in R Kelly's latest trial
Kelly is back in court, this time in Chicago, to face further charges in relation to the allegations of sexual abuse that have been made against him for decades. This time last year he was in court in New York where he was found guilty of running a criminal enterprise in order to access and abuse women and teenagers, a conviction which came with a 30 year jail term.
However, when he was tried over allegations of sexual abuse in the 2000s he was acquitted. That earlier trial was sparked by a leaked video tape, which seemed to show Kelly sexually abusing a fourteen year old girl in the late 1990s. However, the girl who investigators believed to be the victim seen in the recording refused to testify, and in court Kelly's legal team successfully threw doubt on whether it was, in fact, Kelly and the alleged victim who appeared on the tape.
But yesterday that victim, now 37 and referred to as Jane, finally testified against the musician. She first met Kelly via family members, he having signed her aunt to a record deal and hired her father to play guitar in his band. According to the Chicago Tribune, she told the court that she initially formed a friendship with Kelly - despite she being in her early teens and him in his late 20s - because of their shared love of music and basketball.
Once the friendship had been formed, Kelly then started sexually abusing Jane. He made a number of videos documenting that abuse, including the one that instigated the 2000s criminal investigation. Some of those videos will be shown to the jurors during this trial, although yesterday Jane described the incidents that were filmed.
In one video Kelly and Jane are seen having oral sex, with the musician telling her to refer to her genitalia as being "fourteen years old". He then urinates on her. In another he is seen handing Jane money while he is sexually abusing her. Asked why he gave her money, Jane explained: "Because if anybody saw the tape or if it was released for some reason, he wanted it to appear as if I was a prostitute".
The sexual abuse began when Jane was around fourteen years old, and progressed to full sexual intercourse when she was fifteen. After that, she said, they had sex "innumerable times". And on some occasions they would be joined by other teenage girls recruited by Jane at Kelly's request.
Anticipating the line of questioning likely to be pursued by Kelly's defence team, the prosecution asked Jane why she had previously repeatedly denied having a sexual relationship with the musician. She first denied that relationship when Chicago police were investigating allegations of abuse that had been made against Kelly as far back as 2000, and again after the leaking of the video tape, including in front of a grand jury in 2002.
She had lied, she said yesterday, "because I was afraid to expose Robert - I also did not want that person to be me, I was ashamed". Once the video tape had leaked, Kelly stressed it was important that she continue to deny that they had ever had sex, adding that she should insist it was not her on the tape. He did at that point, however, admit to Jane's parents what had happened, in a bid to keep them on his side.
Needless to say, they were initially shocked. "I just remember my dad storming out", she told the court. "He was saying, 'I can't help you, I can't help you' ... he was hysterical". Fearing that Jane's parents couldn't be trusted to stick to the lie if interviewed by investigators or journalists, Kelly and his team sent the family to the Bahamas and Cancun so they couldn't be contacted.
When they returned, Jane said, Kelly's legal team were in full on damage limitation mode. Jane was wearing a distinctive cross necklace in the video and the same necklace could be seen in her then passport photo. Lawyers demanded that she hand over both the necklace and the passport.
Meanwhile, during her time out of the US, Jane had got a tattoo of a heart with Kelly's name on it. Fearing that could be used against him, Kelly arranged for the tattoo to be altered so that his name was obscured.
When the grand jury session came about, Kelly coached Jane on what to say and how to act. And as the musician began preparing for the trial that ultimately went ahead in 2008, he had Jane move into his Chicago mansion, so that she was "under his wing". During this time Kelly became physical abusive, spanking and hitting Jane, especially if she tried to leave his home.
She did finally leave though, when she was around 23 or 24. However, she still remained reliant on Kelly financially. He helped her pay her rent and gave her a car, she said. And in 2014 she received a cheque with the word "settlement" written on it, even though no settlement had been discussed.
Jane is due to return to the witness stand later today to be questioned by Kelly's defence lawyer.
RIAA boss sets out support for restricting use of lyrics in criminal cases in California
Those proposals in California - known as AB 2799 - mirror proposals made elsewhere in the US to deal with concerns that an increasing number of criminal cases in America have used a defendant's creative output as evidence against them.
This tends to disadvantage those who make rap and hip hop, because people are often prone to assume that rap lyrics are more rooted in reality than lyrics written by artists in other genres. Even, though, of course, rappers like any music-makers usually present a partly or entirely fictionalised world in their lyrics.
Ahead of a reading of those proposals in the Californian Senate yesterday, RIAA chief Mitch Glazer wrote to Toni Atkins, the current President Pro Tempore of said Senate, pointing out that "hyperbole and fantastical imagery" are commonplace in lyrics, but that that fact isn't always acknowledged depending on genre.
His letter stated: "Rooted in imagination, creative expression's greatest capacity is to lift us out of the real world and to present us with the unexpected, the unlikely, and the unthinkable. Hyperbole and fantastical imagery are customary, and often necessary, elements of that creative expression".
"Bob Marley and Eric Clapton understood this when they sang about shooting the sheriff", he went on. "Johnny Cash understood it when he claimed to have 'shot a man in Reno just to watch him die'. The Beatles weren't ones to truly subscribe to the notion that 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun'. And no one truly believed that Freddie Mercury 'just killed a man' in Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'".
"Yet, when rap and hip hop artists adhere to this time-honoured tradition of make-believe", he continued, "their lyrics are too often - and unfairly - taken literally, stripped of the poetic licence afforded other genres. While such mischaracterisation may be uneventful in everyday music consumption, its application in criminal proceedings can skew the truth and destroy artists' lives".
"AB 2799 seeks to address this issue and we respectfully request your support", he then noted.
Those proposed new rules wouldn't outright stop lyrics and such like being used as evidence in criminal cases, but - the formal explanation of AB 2799 explains - they would "require a court, in a criminal proceeding where a party seeks to admit as evidence a form of creative expression, to consider specified factors when balancing the probative value of that evidence against the substantial danger of undue prejudice".
In particular, when it comes to assessing whether a defendant's creative expression really proves anything of relevance or importance in relation to a specific case - which is to say, it has 'probative value' - the court would have to assume "that the probative value of the creative expression for its literal truth is minimal unless that expression meets specified conditions".
The proposals before the Californian legislature are similar to those considered by law-makers in New York State earlier this year, and those proposed on a US-wide level in Washington by Hank Johnson and Jamaal Bowman last month.
In New York, the proposed restrictions on using lyrics in criminal cases were passed by the state's Senate in May, but didn't get debated in the state's Assembly before the most recent session of the New York legislature adjourned at the start of last month.
However, in California, where the current legislature session runs until the end of the month, the new rules could go into force. Both Senate and Assembly have now passed the proposals, although the latter still needs to approve the former's amendments.
Post Malone calls for Circles authorship case to be thrown out
Malone is being sued by Tyler Armes - a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and member of Canadian rap-rock outfit Down With Webster - who joined the rapper and producer Frank Dukes for an all-night jamming session in August 2018. He claims that during that session he contributed to the song that become 'Circles'.
However, in a new court filing, Malone's team claim that Armes hid a number of text messages that would have contradicted his claims of co-authorship of that work.
"These critical documents speak volumes as to plaintiff's intent on the night during which he claims to have jointly authored musical material with defendants, and also refute plaintiff's narrative that defendants invited him to work with them to be a co-author", says the new filing, according to Law360.
The text messages in question apparently show that Armes was "desperately" trying to get guestlist spots for two Post Malone shows from his manager Dre London. And while his pleas offer to bring "lots of girls for later", they are "glaringly devoid of any mention of any songwriting with Post, no less a songwriting session".
They also claim that Armes doctored some texts that he did produce during the discovery phase of the case, removing London's side of the conversation in order to hide the fact that the manager was apparently unaware of any co-songwriting.
Malone's side are calling for sanctions on Armes as a result of all this, saying that they believe it is serious enough to throw out the entire case. They argue that Armes and his legal representatives previously told the judge that they had produced all necessary information about the legal dispute, but were "fully aware that it was intentionally false". This, they say, "is tantamount to committing a fraud on this court".
In response, Armes' lawyer Alison S Hart said that there was "zero merit" in the move for sanctions, saying that it was "nothing more than a desperate ploy by Post Malone to avoid having this case decided on the merits since he has no valid defences to Tyler Armes's claims in this case".
In addition to calling for the whole case to be thrown out, Post Malone's side also requested that the upcoming trial be pushed back from October to December.
The case - currently - continues.
Kobalt to launch NFT collection with Dawn Richard and Afroscope
"Dawn and I have a strong mutual respect for each other's work, and there was a synergy between some of our recent, individual visual explorations", says Afroscope. "This NFT [collection] is special for several reasons. Firstly it is based on truly moving lyrics by an extremely gifted and inspiring artist. Plus, it brought together creators from different sides of the globe, epitomising the power of connection and community in Web3."
Richard adds: "This opportunity was akin to how Kobalt has helped me put together sessions with other like-minded artists and songwriters, but this time they helped connect me with a visual artist as they knew my passion here. I believe the artist will be able to create their own ecosystem through spaces like NFTs and the metaverse. I chose Afroscope because I feel his work resonates with my music. Together, we are both pushing for the essence of culture and the power of black excellence through our art".
Meanwhile, Kobalt's VP Global Digital Partnerships, Derek Cournoyer, comments: "After licensing many NFTs for various projects, we wanted to dive deeper into this emerging market and experiment alongside our clients. Afroscope is a world-class visual artist who has already made a name for himself in the NFT community, and in addition to being a brilliant songwriter and recording artist, Dawn Richard has a long history of creating innovative visual content".
"These are among the first NFTs of their kind, inspired by and featuring lyrics from a published song", he adds, "but most importantly, they're powerful, captivating art pieces".
The collection of three NFTs, called 'An Electro Revival', will be offered via Foundation from 25 Aug, with a reserve price of 1ETH (about £1500).
Peter Hook calls for permanent Ian Curtis tribute, following mural controversy
The Curtis mural on Manchester's Port Street, which was unveiled in 2020 to raise mental health awareness, was replaced with an advert for Aitch's debut album, 'Close To Home', earlier this week. Reacting to the outrage directed at him, the Mancunian rapper said that he had been unaware of the plans to replace the mural, and that he would get it "fixed pronto".
But Hook says that it should be unsurprising that the Curtis mural was replaced, as it was never supposed to be permanent.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: "We have to bear in mind that it is an advertising site, it was paid for by Mental Health Day for a certain period. Business moves on and so it's no wonder Aitch didn't know about it, as it was probably done by the company who looks after his advertising. I feel sorry for the guy because he was so hurt by the obvious reaction, it was a terrible situation for him".
However, says Hook, the controversy around the removal of the mural should highlight the need for a permanent tribute. He's been campaigning for years for statues of both Curtis and Wilson to be commissioned by and placed in the city of Manchester.
"That mural did stand for a lot", he said. "I wouldn't have liked to have been the guy painting over Ian knowing that area of Manchester, it is just a sad occurrence. I suppose in a funny way maybe it will spur someone on to celebrate these people in Manchester or Salford".
It's still not clear how or when the original mural will be restored.
Red Hot Chili Peppers release first single from second album of 2022
"We went in search of ourselves as the band that we have somehow always been", they say in a statement. "Just for the fun of it we jammed and learned some old songs. Before long we started the mysterious process of building new songs. A beautiful bit of chemistry meddling that had befriended us hundreds of times along the way. Once we found that slip stream of sound and vision, we just kept mining".
"With time turned into an elastic waist band of oversized underwear, we had no reason to stop writing and rocking", they continue. "It felt like a dream. When all was said and done, our moody love for each other and the magic of music had gifted us with more songs than we knew what to do with. Well we figured it out. Two double albums released back to back. The second of which is easily as meaningful as the first or should that be reversed?"
"'Return Of The Dream Canteen' is everything we are and ever dreamed of being", they conclude. "It's packed. Made with the blood of our hearts".
The band released their last album, 'Unlimited Love', in April. 'Return Of The Dream Canteen' is set to follow on 14 Oct. Watch the video for 'Tippa My Tongue' here.
Sum 41's Deryck Whibley has sold his songs catalogue to HarbourView Equity Partners for an undisclosed amount.
StubHub International - which is the version of the StubHub secondary ticketing outfit not owned by Viagogo - has announced Fabian Pulido Diaz as its new Chief Financial Officer. "I am THRILLED to join the team", he says. "As StubHub International gets ready to celebrate its first anniversary as an independent company, it is great to see the momentum around the company and its success".
BRANDS & MERCH
Susie Lucas - formerly with media firm Global and previously Universal Music - and Simon Michael Carroll - who previously worked with the Soho House Group - have formally launched their new brand partnerships agency, Lucas & Carroll. "We wanted to go into partnership together because we both understood the value of collaboration", they say. "Together we offer a unique and complementary viewpoint on the talent, brand and VIP space. Our relationships are key and it has been really wonderful to feel so supported by our network. We are super excited for the year ahead".
Black Pink have released new single 'Pink Venom'. Their new album, 'Born Pink', is out on 16 Sep.
Maisie Peters has released new single 'Good Enough'. Explaining its relationship to previous single 'Blonde', she says: "'Blonde' and' Good Enough' are sister songs to me - they represent the two different sides of my artistry and in a way, myself. One couldn't exist without the other and I like to think at shows people will scream just as loudly to both".
Self Esteem has released a new version of her song 'Fucking Wizardry'. "Here is my new single 'Fucking Wizardry (Block Them Edit)'", she says. "It's a song about trusting and believing in what you already know. If it feels like someone is taking the piss, they usually are. Not to be all 'you deserve better' about it, but it's very likely you do, indeed, deserve better".
Stefflon Don has released 'Clockwork', a collaboration with Spice and the first single from her upcoming debut album 'Island 54'. "This track is a celebration of my Jamaican heritage and I wanted to make sure that shone through in all its elements", she says. "From the outfits I designed for the video to collaborating with the queen of dancehall herself, Spice. It's a song made for Carnival; to dance to, drink to and party to. I can't wait to hear it around London on the sound systems it was made for".
Greentea Peng has released new single 'Look To Him'. She says of the song: "'Look To Him' explores the idea of originality and the notion of tapping into source energy for creativity and inspiration rather than just searching for it amongst your peers and surroundings. At the same time, it challenges the idea that anything is truly original as nothing is truly our own rather seeped into us from a higher power and thus channelled from God him/herself".
With their new album, 'Profound Mysteries II', out today, Röyksopp have released the video for their latest collaboration with Susanne Sundfør, 'Oh Lover'.
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott have released new single 'Too Much For One (Not Enough For Two)'. "I wanted to write a song about someone who was too over the top to handle. Since I got married, I've realised what a handful I am. I now realise I'm not as mellow as I thought I was and that I'm a pain in the arse. The song is more of a tease than writing someone off. It has serious moments but, even though they've been caught texting and up to no good, the couple are still together".
Cancer Bats have released a new version of 'Friday Night', from their 'Psychic Jailbreak' album, featuring Amy Walpole of Witch Fever. The two bands will be touring the UK together in September.
Tony Wright has released new single 'Cannonball'. He says of the song: "'Cannonball is a sad and lonely song. Full of emotions that wouldn't be wished upon anyone. It's where we end up when we lose confidence and stability. Not what everyone wants to hear perhaps but that's not going to change the way we play it and or the sentiment behind it". The Terrorvision frontman's new solo album, 'The Anti Album', is out on 7 Oct.
The Hu have released new single 'Black Thunder (Part Two)'. Their new album, 'Rumble Of Thunder', is out on 2 Sep.
Felicita has released new single 'Beast', featuring YoungQueenz.
Batts has released new single 'All That I Need'. She explains: "'All That I Need' is about a beautiful trip; whether it be with psychedelics, love or a crazy life experience. It's about being with someone you love, and that being all that you need in that moment in time".
GIGS & TOURS
Yungblud has announced a UK arena tour in February next year, finishing up at Wembley Arena in London on 25 Feb. Tickets go on sale on 25 Aug.
As part of Lewisham's year as London Borough Of Culture, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 will play The Fox & Firkin on 26 Aug. Tickets are on sale now.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
TI "still a fan" of The Chainsmokers, despite punching Drew Taggart in the face
In a video shared on the Chainsmokers' TikTok profile following that altercation, Taggart said: "TI just literally punched me in the face. We're in a vibe and I, like, gave him a kiss on the cheek - it was totally my fault. He was like, 'Don't do that'. And I was like, 'OK'. He pushed me off and I was like, 'Alright, my bad' … TI was fully in the right here. I was feeling the vibes way too hard and I kissed TI on the cheek. And he punched me in the face for it! It's like, fully fine".
He then said that TI had also quickly got over it all, saying: "He punched me in the face. Then he was like, 'Alright cool, we're good'. It was the weirdest interaction ever".
There are two sides to every story though, aren't there? Can that really be all there was to it? Well, er, yes, apparently.
In a video message obtained by The Shade Room, TI said: "I love The Chainsmokers, man - they make great music. There's really not much more to the story. I think the most important thing to take away is afterwards… we had a drink, we took a shot and we moved on, you know?"
"I love The Chainsmokers", he reiterated. "Not to get no sugar though. Love the music. Love the music".
And with that said, the rapper then invited The Chainsmokers on his podcast.
So, er, that's that then. Not really sure what the moral of this story is. Don't kiss people without asking first? Check how homophobic someone is before kissing them? Still, if it gets you invited on a podcast…