Issue:           1/9/01
Page:          n/a

January 23, 2001

Janet Jackson, Creed, Toni Braxton, Faith Hill Speak Out Backstage At American Music Awards

Jan 9, 2001, 2:40 pm PT

American Music Awards hosts Britney Spears and LL Cool J didn't make it to the press room after the show on Monday (Jan. 8) night (see related story, this page), but the creamy crop of talent who did wander back had a lot to say -- about controversies, new albums, upcoming tours, and crossing over to the world of movie-making. Here are the highlights:

Faith Hill and her new shorter, blonder 'do and husband Tim McGraw had a lot to celebrate with four wins between them, but instead of a big bash, the two told reporters that they were opting for a quiet dinner featuring cold, raw fish. "We're gonna go eat sushi," Hill announced at the end of the show. McGraw had a different idea in mind. "I wanted Italian food... but she won more awards, so..." McGraw also said that he's doing well after a bout of appendicitis put him out of commission last month. "I'm fine. I'm all right. I'm healed up. Faith took care of me real good. But I kind of let it hang a little longer than I should have."

Mandy Moore, who says she has "a hole burned" in her new No Doubt CD, talked about shooting her first film, The Princess Diaries, which will be released this summer, as well as working on her next musical effort. "My new album is probably going to be out in April, and it's really cool. It's well under way right now. I would say it's pop music with real instruments, so I can have a real band behind me instead of having to dance onstage." She added that Gwen Stefani has been a big influence as of late, and that we might be able to tell come April. "I think that just all music that you listen to, obviously you take what you like from other artists and put it into your own music."

Jo Dee Messina announced that she's starting rehearsals for her first headlining tour, titled The Burn Tour, and will hit the road Feb. 8 in South Bend, Ind. for 85-plus dates. "We have a set that's being built out here in L.A. Same folks that built sets for Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan. It's the first time I've had a chance to get one and bring it out on the road and I've gotta have fun with it," she said.

The clothing line Kelly Price has been planning to launch has been put on hold, the singer admitted, until she can find a worthy partner. "I still want to start a clothing line and I'm still working on designs, but I have to be honest and tell you the truth, I am not that business-savvy with the fashion end of the world, so I need to partner myself with someone who is. So as soon as I do will be when I can get it out there." Some interesting collaborations might be in the works for Price, who started work on a Christmas album last year and has already recorded with Wynonna Judd. "Outside of the R&B music world, I'd love to do some work with Bette Midler, Celine Dion, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith," Price said.

Speaking of collaborations, Run-DMC discussed its first single off its upcoming album Crown Royal, due Feb. 27, which features Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind. "The record with Stephan Jenkins is hot. It's different from what Third Eye Blind usually does. It's more of a rock-edge record. So you'll be very surprised when you hear Run-DMC and Third Eye Blind together. It's real different and it should be a lot of fun for everybody." When asked whether they feel responsible for reviving the career of Award of Achievement winners Aerosmith back when they collaborated with them on "Walk This Way," the guys gave credit where credit was due. "When people say we helped them come back, I mean we might have set the sparks off but they had to blow up the bomb with that 'Love in an Elevator' and all those other great records they made after the remix of 'Walk this Way' with Run-DMC."

Nelly is planning to shoot the video for "Ride Wit Me," the third single off Country Grammar, in the next month and is also looking forward to the release of his first flick. "The movie Snipes, I think that's due out late spring, early summer. I'm really looking forward to see how people perceive that. It's just something you try, acting. I'm playing the prolific Clarence, a rapper who gets kidnapped the day before his album is released. I don't know the size of the part yet," he said.

After a strong performance during the ceremony, Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist 3 Doors Down said they've been writing new material for the next album but aren't pushing to work on it anytime soon. The band also discussed its latest singles, "Duck and Run" and "Loser." "Duck and Run": "The song is really just about holding your head up high no matter what in the world comes at you -- you've gotta deal with it. I think it's one of the more positive songs on the album." "Loser": "Loser is about an individual we knew back home [in Mississippi] who came from a good family but kind of took the wrong road and got into some things he shouldn't have been in. The song just basically reflects his outlook on life, mainly how he sees the world through the drugs and what he's going through."

Big award winners of late Creed beat out pop supersellers 'NSync and Britney Spears for the Favorite Pop/Rock Album prize. When asked if they ever expected to win out over the bubblegum gang, singer Scott Stapp said the band couldn't believe they were even in the same category as Spears and beau Justin Timberlake. "We never thought we would ever, ever, ever be in a category with 'NSync and Britney Spears. And that's not anything negative towards those artists. It's just that we're a rock band, and it's just our songs have opened so many doors for other up-and-coming rock bands and two years ago, our kind of music never got played on adult contemporary and top 40, those formats, and now they are and other bands are getting a shot so it's amazing, but we never thought. We're just a rock band from Florida."

Award of Merit winner Janet Jackson refused to elaborate on questions about the current controversy between herself and ex-husband Rene Elizondo, who's currently suing the pop star for quite a chunk of change, but did discuss her upcoming album. "I'm close to the end, and it's up, it's happy," she said, adding that her New Year's resolution to be more spiritual will probably be reflected on the album. "I'm always trying to work on myself, to better myself. That's something I don't think I'll ever stop doing. It's really about love." She thought it was a little strange that she was receiving an award usually reserved for artists who are much older, but she admits she did see the point. "I've been in this business a really long time. I started when I was a kid, a baby. I still have more to do, I'm still hungry, and I feel like I'm not finished. I want to do more films, and more tours -- I enjoy that, I enjoy performing, I enjoy writing. I love what I do."

Fans were planning to get their paws on Destiny's Child's new disc featuring the single "Survivor" in February, but the Texas trio dropped the news that the release date has been pushed back to April. In the meantime, the girls just landed their fist endorsement deal, a gig promoting Candie's, and recently shot their first ad campaign for the company.

Multiple-award-winner Toni Braxton, who was limping after a fall during rehearsals, discussed her feelings toward critics who said she'd never make it back on top after bankruptcy a few years ago. "It's a wonderful feeling because for so long, I thought I would never do it. So many people said I could never bounce back. 'Her career's completely over, she might have one song here and there, but its over.' And this just makes me feel validated with all the things I've gone through." After hinting that she'd suffered a miscarriage earlier this year, newly engaged Braxton (whose fiancÚ custom-designed her engagement ring on Kay Jewelers' Web site) said that her theme for 2001 is "Weddings, weddings, weddings! And babies, babies, babies! I'm ready."

Twelve-year-old Billy Gilman, who won for Best New Country Artist is planning his next album and, like many of his peers, considering balancing singing with acting. Of his recent meeting with producer Aaron Spelling, he had this to say: "That was really cool. They asked me to be on 7th Heaven and Touched By an Angel, but it's still in the future so I can't really [say]. I'd like to do a movie -- that would be really fun."

Backstreet Boys poo-pooed the idea of an 'NSync/BSB rivalry, despite beating 'NSync in the Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group category, and blamed the media for the alleged feud. When asked about plans to record more music in Spanish, member Howie D revealed that the group is planning to head back into the studio after their Superbowl performance and tour. "There haven't been any plans right now for definitely recording one of the songs in Spanish, but we're actually talking about getting into the studio and recording really soon for the next album, so maybe we'll do something in Spanish [for that]."

Performer Pink couldn't decide whether or not she wanted to take the heat for her mockery of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Jessica Simpson when she featured air-headed look-alikes during her performance. Her first response when questioned? "That wasn't my idea. I haven't talked to them," she said. When pressed, though, she owned up: "No, it was my idea. It was funny, I felt like joking." Did she mean to insult them? "I think it was pretty obvious." She's working on her first U.S. tour, which she promises will have a carnival theme.

Show creator Dick Clark had two big announcements: First, that the AMAs are teaming up with Coca Cola and CMJ to create a new award that they'll be giving out starting with the 2002 telecast: The Coca Cola New Music Award. The organizations will launch a nationwide talent search for emerging artists in all genres of music, and the winners will gain exposure and possibly a record deal once they appear on next year's show. His second announcement? That his production company is currently developing three more awards shows. Don't we have enough of those already, Dick? "[They'll] be on the air as long as the audience watches them," he said.

-- Kara Semones