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Queen Latifah to Drop A New Album
August 24, 2004

She has been a hip-hop icon, an entrepreneur and an Oscar-nominated actress. Now Queen Latifah is trying on a new hat: traditional crooner. On her new CD, Queen Latifah belts classics like I Put a Spell on You and Hello Stranger. On Sept. 28, Latifah will release her first CD featuring all-sung vocals. The Dana Owens Album, which reintroduces the 34-year-old Jersey girl by her given name, includes pop, jazz and R&B classics such as Lush Life, I Put a Spell on You, Hard Times and Hello Stranger.

AOL First Listen will premiere two additional tracks today: California Dreamin', made famous by the Mamas and the Papas, and Baby Get Lost, previously a hit for Dinah Washington. "I've always loved to sing, and I've always wanted to do an album like this," Latifah says. "Even on my rap albums, you can hear the influence of jazz and big band and reggae and all forms of music, though I could only sing on the hooks." It was Latifah's movie career rather than any specific musical projects that led to Owens. "I got a lot of requests after Livin' Out Loud," she says, referring to the 1998 film in which she played a lounge singer. Then came Chicago, in which Latifah got more praise for an even flashier singing role, Mama Morton.

The born-again singer is set to perform Sept. 24 on NBC's Today show, and she eventually would like to tour "if the album is successful." In the meantime, Latifah has her plate full with movie outings. On Sept. 3, her production company, Flava Unit, will unveil its first feature, Cookout. "It's the story of an athlete who graduates college and goes into professional basketball, and how everything changes in his life. It culminates at this big barbecue, or cookout, as we call them. I have a cameo as this crazy security guard."



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