NEW YORK — Bobby Brown says it took him a long time to come out with a new album because he's spent so much time trying to get his life on track.
Now on tour with bandmates New Edition, Brown says he's ready to return to his solo career with the album "Masterpiece," due out June 5.
"It's what I've been through throughout my life, and just trying to heal myself through my music," the 43-year-old singer said in a recent interview.
"Masterpiece" is Brown's first album in 14 years. He was a multiplatinum star with New Edition and later developed his solo career. But his well-documented battle with drugs and his legal woes led to his musical decline. His turbulent marriage to Whitney Houston further eroded his image.
In a recent interview with the "Today" show's Matt Lauer, Brown denied that he got his late ex-wife addicted to drugs. Houston's career was derailed by her drug use, which came to the public's attention during her marriage to Brown. The superstar drowned in February in Beverly Hills, California; her death was complicated by heart disease and cocaine use, according to authorities.
"The Matt Lauer interview was just for me to clear the air about what everyone was feeling about my ex-wife's death," Brown said.
Although he was arrested for driving under the influence in March, Brown insists he has been drug-free for more than seven years. He said his attempt to get his life in order is part of the reason why the album took so long to make.
"When you're working on yourself, you have to really concentrate on working on yourself, and it takes a back seat to what you want to do and what I'm gonna do," he said.
Brown says "Masterpiece," which he started working on last year, is "the best album I've done so far.
"But I'm going to do better in the near future," he said. "I just want to get back to what I do, which is entertainment, and this is the start to me getting back to what I want to do."
Brown is engaged to his manager, Alicia Etheridge, with whom he has a young son. He also has older children, including 19-year-old Bobbi Kristina, his only child with Houston.
Brown said he and Etheridge plan a private wedding, and described his life as content.
"I'm happy right now in my life, I'm comfortable with who I am," he said. "It's just better." -- (AP)
When the "Soul Train Awards 2012" air at 8 p.m. on Sunday on BET and Centric, the annual musical celebration, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, will pay tribute to "Soul Train" founder Don Cornelius, who passed away on Feb. 1.
"We're going hard! We're gonna take the whole train and go to Vegas!" Cedric the Entertainer told MadameNoire.com.
In addition to honoring Cornelius, who founded the syndicated version of "Soul Train" in 1971, the 25th awards gala, videotaped at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Nov. 8, will present vocal group New Edition with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
At the 2012 ceremony celebrating the "Soul Train" brand and recognizing the "artists who made a great impact on today's music," multi-talented singer/songwriter R. Kelly becomes the most-nominated artist in "Soul Train Awards" history while R&B superstar Usher leads this year's nominations with a total of five. On a sad note, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, who passed away earlier this year, received posthumous nominations.
The nominees are competing in a number of categories, including Best New Artist, Best Gospel/Inspirational Performance, Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year, Best R&B/Soul Female Artist, Best R&B/Soul Male Artist, Album of the Year and Song of the Year. The "Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award" goes to the songwriter whose influence has been "felt throughout the industry," while "Soul Train" and Centric present the "Centric Award" to an artist whose "essence is a positive reflection of both brands."
The diverse and intriguing list of presenters includes Jamie Foxx, Billy Crystal, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Donny and Marie Osmond, Tom Joyner, Estelle, Melanie Fiona, Kat Graham, Luke James, Jimmy Jam, Jody Watley, Dougie Fresh, Tony Rock, Mike Bivins, Gary Owen, Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones, Kenny Lattimore, Tamar Braxton, Lil Mama, and Julius "Dr. J" Erving, as well as comedian George Wallace, who has been in residence at the Flamingo Las Vegas since 2003.
The star-studded evening includes performances by Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Fantasia, John Legend, Charlie Wilson, Marcus Canty, Leah LaBelle, Elle Varner, 2Chainz, Ne-Yo, Anthony Hamilton, Raphael Saadiq, Eddie Levert and Keyshia Cole.
Highlights of the show include heartfelt words from Don Cornelius' son, Tony Cornelius, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Eddie Levert belting out "Casanova," which was written and recorded by his beloved son Gerald. The joyous closing number was courtesy of Stevie Wonder, who delivered a rousing medley of his hits including "Superstition," as well as "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours," which has become synonymous with President Barack Obama.
"It's always good to be at the 'Soul Train Awards,'" says R&B/hip hop artist Angie Stone. "It's our people and it's great things, and it's Don Cornelius. His legacy is still surpassed, even in his passing."