BABY TALK Three weeks after announcing that, oh by the way, she got married last summer, Brandy let it slip that she’s also with child. The 23-year-old singer/actress and her husband, 22-year-old producer Robert Smith, are expecting the child in July. ”We’re so happy and excited,” she tells the Electronic Urban Report. ”I’ve always wanted children and look forward to being a mom.” Not that pregnancy is going to slow her down at all; in March, she’s releasing a new album, ”Full Moon,” followed by tours of Japan and Canada. ”Being pregnant doesn’t mean life stops, it means life begins,” she says. ”I will continue to work before and after. As you so well know, I have multi-tasked for years, I’ve learned the art very well.” Not everyone in the family is so sanguine. Smith’s cousin, top R&B producer Rodney Jerkins, tells Vibe magazine, ”I pray that everything works out for the best for them, but I don’t know if they’re truly in love.”
SOUND BITES A spokesman for Russia’s space agency, Rosaviakosmos, blasted Lance Bass’ assertion that he was preparing to fly on the Soyuz space taxi to the Alpha International Space Station this fall. Sergei Gorbunov said that MirCorp, the Dutch company that claimed to be brokering the deal between Rosaviakosmos and Los Angeles-based Destiny Productions (which was going to pony up $20 million to send the ‘N Sync singer into space and document the trip on TV), had no authority to do so and no contract in place with the space agency. Not that the Russians are averse to letting private citizens fly on the Soyuz; two tycoons, American Dennis Tito and South African Mark Shuttleworth, have done so already. Gorbunov says that the leading candidate for this fall’s open seat is a Polish businessman, Leszek Czarnecki. Still, MirCorp and Destiny say Bass still has a shot at traveling ‘n’ space. Said a Destiny spokesman, ”It’s really only a matter of money.”…
Next Wednesday’s ceremony is becoming so overstuffed with performers that CBS is extending the telecast an extra 30 minutes. New additions include Billy Joel and Tony Bennett, who will perform their Grammy-nominated duet of Joel’s ”New York State of Mind,” and Patti LaBelle, who will join Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil’ Kim, and Mya on their cover of her ’70s hit ”Lady Marmalade.” India.Arie, the night’s most nominated artist, has finally been granted a slot, but she has to share it with Brian McKnight, Al Green and Hezekiah Walker, for a presumably gospel-themed medley. They join at least a dozen other previously announced acts, including U2, Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan, and ‘N Sync….
Master P reached a settlement with his contractor to keep his unfinished $10 million Baton Rouge studio complex from being auctioned off to pay the nearly $200,000 the rap mogul still owes the construction company. He agreed to pay Charles Carter construction $137,000 to release the lien on the property. Since moving from New Orleans to the Louisiana capital in 1997, Master P has gone deep into debt. The homeowner’s association in his upscale neighborhood sued him for $14,000 for back dues, a bank won a judgment against him for $739,000 after he defaulted on a $1 million promissory note, and the state department of revenue filed a lien against him and his wife for $1,434,000 in back taxes.