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2013 R&B/Soul Music Preview

What's New?

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It's almost the first month of a brand new year, so it's time to take a look ahead at the R&B and Soul music releases due out over the course of the next 12 months. And in the 2013 R&B/Soul Music Preview, we have 19 releases that have been either officially confirmed as coming out during the year, like the new releases by Brian McKnight, Ashanti and Avant; semi-confirmed and expected to come out, like Beyonce's and R. Kelly's latest projects; or are unconfirmed, but are likely to drop in 2013, like the comeback album by Anita Baker and the long-awaited latest by Mariah Carey. For projected release dates and other details of 2013's upcoming R&B/Soul music, have a look below.

1. Untitled Album, Beyonce

Projected release date: Second quarter.
Current single: None, but one's expected to be released by the time Bey plays the Super Bowl halftime show in February.
Beyonce's fifth studio album as a solo artist will be the follow-up to her June 2011 release, 4. Few solid details, including a title, have come out so far, but among those she's been confirmed as working with on the project are Kanye West, The-Dream and Miguel.

2. 'Black Panties,' R. Kelly

Projected release date: Third or fourth quarter.
Current single: None.
After releasing two albums of retro R&B/Soul, Love Letter and Write Me Back, R. Kelly has promised a return to his usual risque self with Black Panties, which he calls a "mixture of 12 Play, TP-2.com and a little bit of Happy People." He says the album's title came from when a pair of womens' underwear landed on his arm as he performed during a concert.

3. Untitled Album, Mariah Carey

Projected release: Second half of 2012.
Current single: the R&B/hip-hop ballad "Triumphant (Get 'Em)," feat. Rick Ross and Meek Mill.
Mariah's 14th studio album will be her first since 2009's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. As of right now, she's busy with her gig as a judge on "American Idol," as well as life as a wife and mother. So don't expect to her much new music from her until after the spring, especially since the album's first single, an inspirational ode to her husband, failed to climb the charts in 2012.

4. 'Love in the Future,' John Legend

Projected release: Second quarter.
Current single: None.
In the fall of 2012, Legend announced his fourth studio album would be released later in the year and that he would launch a world tour to coincide with the album's release. Not much later however, the album and tour were both pushed back to 2013. Legend managed to keep in the public's eye in 2012 due to songs on the "Think Like a Man" and "Django Unchained" soundtracks, but the first single from his latest album might not come until sometime in the spring.

5. 'Only Forever,' Anita Baker

Projected release date: First or second quarter.
Current single: "Lately," a remake of the romantic Tyrese Gibson ballad.
In August 2012, Anita Baker announced that her first studio album since 2004's My Everything would be released in late 2012 via Blue Note/EMI. Since then, Only Forever has been pushed back to 2013, but no exact date has been scheduled as of this writing.

6. 'Words,' Brian McKnight

Projected release: February.
Current single: "Sweeter," which debuted in December 2012.
After a long, successful run, Brian McKnight's career has been in decline the past several years, with the low point being an embarrassing highly explicit tune called "If You're Ready to Learn." He'll attempt to resuscitate his fortunes with his latest album, which will be the follow-up to 2011's Just Me.

7. 'Braveheart,' Ashanti

Planned release date: First quarter.
Current single: "That's What We Do," a relationship drama tune feat. R. Kelly. It was released in October 2012.
Ashanti's Braveheart, which was pushed back numerous times over the past year, will be the fifth studio album by the singer-actress. It will be her first album since 2008's The Declaration and marks her debut on her self-owned label, Written Entertainment.

8. 'Face the Music,' Avant

Release date: Feb. 5.
Current single: "You & I," a duet with Keke Wyatt.
Face the Music marks Avant's first release on the Capitol/EMI-distributed independent label Mo-B Entertainment. Avant says that on the album he pulls inspiration from R&B legends such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Luther Vandross and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds.

9. 'One Woman Army,' Ciara

Projected release: First quarter.
Current single: "Got Me Good," which was released in November 2012.
In an October 2012 interview with the website rap-up.com, Ciara described her upcoming album's title as being "the best way to represent what the body of work is," and also said, "On One Woman Army, I talk about where I am and the things that I want as a woman and the things that I need."

10. 'Friends & Lovers,' Marsha Ambrosius

Projected release date: First or second quarter.
Current single: The moody, Diplo-produced "Cold War," which was released in December 2012.
In December 2012, ex-Floetry member Marsha released both a new single and a mixtape as teasers for her upcoming second solo album.

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