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K-Ci and JoJo Get Emotional on New Album

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In the competitive and ever-changing world of urban music, K-Ci & JoJo are a towering anomaly: The platinum singing/songwriting duo is one of the precious few acts on the current music scene able to swagger between hip-hop, soul and pop, melding the genres evenly without leaving the slightest trace of a stitch or juncture at the seams.

K-Ci and JoJo Hailey, as singers, songwriters and producers, have illustrated this time and again with three platinum-plus albums and numerous hit singles. And they do the dance with even more soulful effulgence on their fourth MCA CD, Emotional.
The set boasts a group of both superstar and fresh, up and coming writers/producers that includes Babyface, Mike “Smoove” Bell, Tim Owens, Babyboy, The Underdogs and others. “It’s Me,” the loopy, attitude-laden hip-hop/funk amalgamation that is the take-no-prisoners first single (produced by beat master Rodney Jerkins) is just the beginning. It’s “Special,” an infectious, mid-urban groove with a sweet old school sway. It’s the urgent, rap-infused “Baby, Yeah, Yeah (Movin’ It)” and it’s also the creepin’ soul drama, “I Don’t Mind.” The CD is also “This Very Moment,” a gem of a sentimental ballad and tender tour de force that is a straight up pop/soul smash. But mostly Emotional... is K-Ci and JoJo whose spine-tingling vocal runs and heart-wrenching ad-libs, while evoking memories of a prime time Wonder and Womack, combine classic gospel influences and hip hop soul to forge music that stirs the spirit and bobs the head.
“This CD is so special because we had almost total control over it,” says K-Ci. “When we weren’t writing or producing, we chose who did, and we chose the songs.” According to K-Ci, the pair recorded ninety-five percent of the project in their own recording studio, which they had built at their Los Angeles home in 2002. “We put so much of us into this record,” says JoJo, “it took us six months to do it, which is the longest we’ve ever taken to make a CD. We cut a whole bunch of things and then we decided to cut more stuff. This one had to be right.” Getting it right meant choosing songs that speak of the ever-evolving Halley brothers’ views on life and love -- as opposed to recording a ditty simply because it might be radio-friendly. “We will not sing a song we don’t understand or believe in,” JoJo declares. “It ain’t about the booty.” A pause, then a laugh: “But if you singin’ about booty, feel it!”
K-Ci and JoJo’s unflinching dedication to the music has resonated among fans since 1997 when Love Always, their debut triple platinum CD as a duo, produced the smash ballad, “All My Life” and follow up hits, “You Pick Me Up” and “Don’t Rush.” Not only did “All My Life” reach #1 on the national pop charts and earn the two Grammy nominations (Best R&B Performance, Duo or Group with Vocal and Best R&B Song), the song won the American Music Award for Favorite R&B/Soul Band, Duo, or Group. The tune also became one of the most popular ballads of the decade and the anthem for countless weddings.
Success as a duo has been the crowning achievement for Cedric and Joel Hailey, “two country boys” from Charlotte, North Carolina who honed their vocal chops on uncut, conventional gospel while singing with strict, religious parents in church before joining childhood friends DeVante and Dalvin Swing to form a locally known teenage gospel quartet. Later the fellas adopted the Jodeci moniker and a pop/R&B repertoire with a strain of gumption only found in show biz success stories, journeyed to New York and the now legendary impromptu audition for the MCA-distributed Uptown Entertainment’s Andre Harrell.
Emotional is in stores now.

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