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Spring 2012 R&B Preview

What's New?

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Spring is right around the corner, so it's time to take a look at some of the noteworthy R&B and Soul albums expected to be released between late March and late June. Among the familiar names: comeback king Chris Brown, who follows up his F.A.M.E. album with Fortune; Monica, whose upcoming New Life album features a duet with Brandy; and two acts who are trying to rekindle the fire after long layoffs: Ashanti and SWV. Others on the list include heartthrobs Usher, Eric Benet and Tank. For the full details, have a look below.

1. 'Looking For Myself,' Usher

Release date: June 12.
First single: The smoldering break-up song "Climax."
Usher's seventh studio album, which will be his first since 2010's Raymond v. Raymond, is his RCA Records debut. The first single is produced by hot producer Diplo, the man responsible for the Chris Brown hit "Look at Me Now."

2. 'Fortune,' Chris Brown

Release date: May 8.
First single: The high energy club record "Turn Up the Music."
Breezy's fifth studio album, which is the follow-up to his March 20111 release F.A.M.E., Is his first on RCA Records. Among those expected to contribute to it are rapper-producers will.i.am, David Banner and Kevin McCall.

3. 'New Life,' Monica

Release date: April 10.
Singles released: "It All Belongs to Me," a duet with Brandy, and "Until It's Gone."
Monica's seventh studio album will finally be released this spring after having been pushed back from 2011. A who's who of producers worked on the album included Jermaine Dupri, Salaam Remi, Missy Elliott and Bryan-Michael Cox.

4. 'Braveheart,' Ashanti

Release date: June.
First single: "The Woman You Love," feat. Busta Rhymes.
Braveheart will be Ashanti's first studio album since 2008's The Declaration and also her first release since leaving longtime label The Inc. (formerly called Murder Inc.) to start her own label, Written Entertainment.

5. 'I Missed Us,' SWV

Release date: April 17.
First single: "Co-Sign."
Before this year, the most recent album by Sisters With Voices came out way back in 1997. But after a long layoff from performing as a group, the three ladies that make up SWV reunited in 2005 and have been periodically working on new music ever since. The result is their latest album, which is being released via E1 (aka eOne) Music.

6. 'Moving On,' K'Jon

Release date: April 10.
First single: The melancholy "Will You Be There."
K'Jon, the Detroit singer who's best known for the ballad "On the Ocean" from his underappreciated 2009 album, I Get Around, has split with Republic Records and is releasing his next album via Shanachie Entertainment.

7. 'Real Love,' Ryan Shaw

Release date: May 15.
First single: The powerful, Soul-drenched love song "Karina."
Southern crooner Ryan Shaw's latest album will be the follow-up to his 2007 debut, This is Ryan Shaw.

8. 'The One', Eric Benet

Projected release date: June 5.
First single: "Real Love."
Eric Benet's follow-up to his 2010 album, Lost in Time, doesn't have an official release date yet, but it's expected to drop in late spring via Reprise Records.

9. 'Think Like a Man' Soundtrack, Various Artists

Release date: April 10.
Singles released: "Think Like a Man" by Jennifer Hudson and Ne-Yo, feat. Rick Ross; and "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)," by John Legend, feat. Ludacris.
The movie Think Like a Man, which is based on comedian-actor Steve Harvey's book "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," comes out 10 days after the soundtrack. The music in it includes songs by some of the bigger names in contemporary R&B, including the above-mentioned artists, plus Kelly Rowland and Keri Hilson, among others.

10. 'Savior,' Tank

Projected release: Spring.
First single: The highly romantic "Next Breath."
R&B muscleman Tank's album doesn't yet have an official release date attached to it, but since the first single was released in January, it's a safe bet that the album should be out before Spring ends in mid-June.

11. 'Perfectly Imperfect,' Elle Varner

Projected release: Spring.
Debut single: The sunny, upbeat "Only Wanna Give It to You," feat. the rapper J. Cole.
Los Angeles native Elle Varner's debut album is due sometime this Spring via RCA Records. She released a free mixtape, Conversational Lush, in January.

12. 'Hidden Gems,' Luther Vandross

Release date: April 17.
Hidden Gems is a compilation of album tracks, soundtrack offerings and rare live performances by the late, great Luther Vandross, who died in 2005. This is the first time these songs all appear on the same release.

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