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RnB 16/06/2004

R. Kelly, Outkast, Usher, Anthony Hamilton, Gospel Artists Donnie McClurkin & Vickie Winans collect 16 nominations for BET Awards 2004

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NEW YORK (Jive Records) - With an impressive total of 16 nominations, Zomba Label Group artists Usher (on LaFace Records), R. Kelly (on Jive Records), OutKast (on LaFace Records), Anthony Hamilton (on So So Def Records) and Vickie Winans & Donnie McClurkin (on Verity Records) lead the pack for this year's 3rd annual BET Awards spectacular, which is set to take place June 29th at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

3rd Annual BET Awards 2004 nominations are as follows:
* Best Male R&B Artist: Anthony Hamilton, R. Kelly, Usher.
* Best Group: OutKast.
* Best New Artist: Anthony Hamilton.
* Best Collaboration: OutKast featuring Sleepy Brown - "The Way You Move"; Usher featuring Lil' Jon and Ludacris - "Yeah!"
* Video Of the Year: OutKast - "Hey Ya!"; OutKast featuring Sleepy Brown - "The Way You Move"; Usher featuring Lil' Jon and Ludacris - "Yeah!"
* Viewers Choice: R. Kelly - "Step in the Name Of Love"; OutKast - "Hey Ya!"; OutKast featuring Sleepy Brown - "The Way You Move"; Usher featuring Lil' Jon and Ludacris - "Yeah!"
* Best Gospel Artist: Vickie Winans
* Best Gospel Artist: Donnie McClurkin

With two BET Awards nominations under his belt, Anthony Hamilton's gritty soulful approach to post-modern R&B continues to draw attention to Comin' From Where I'm From, his first album for the So So Def label, executive produced by Jermaine Dupri. Hamilton was the first artist in Grammy history to post nominations - in the same year - in the categories of R&B, Traditional R&B, and Contemporary R&B. The video for the album's second single, "Charlene," was added to playlists across the country last week.

OutKast's six BET Awards nominations underscore the success of their 9-times platinum double-CD Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which debuted at No 1 last October and remains inside the top 15 in its 35th week on the charts.
OutKast also conquered a Beatles chart record in January, when "Hey Ya" and "The Way You Move" hit the No 1 and No 2 spots, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100.
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below went on to win Album Of the Year and Best Rap Album at the Grammy Awards in February (their third consecutive year of wins in the Rap field), while "Hey Ya!" won for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.
The current single "Roses," in its 13th week out, was named Greatest Gainer/Airplay last week as it 'rose' to No1 2-bullet on the Hot 100, No 13-bullet on the R&B side, and No 5-bullet on the Hot Rap Tracks chart.

With two BET nominations, multi-Grammy and Billboard Award winner R. Kelly continues to have all eyes and ears on him and his hotly anticipated double CD, Happy People/U Save Me, scheduled for release on August 24th. The album gets off to a fast start courtesy of "Step in the Name Of Love," the No 1 R&B and top 10 pop crossover hit single and video.

Usher's four BET Awards nominations punctuate a phenomenal year for the 25-year old singer, songwriter, actor, producer, and most recently - video director. His 4-times platinum Confessions album is in its 9th week at No 1 (where it debuted) on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and last week sent three singles simultaneously inside the top 10 on the Hot 100: "Burn" (in its 2nd week at No 1), "Yeah!" at No 4 (it previously spent 12 weeks at No 1), and the album's newest single "Confessions II" at No 9.
This put Usher in "extremely rare territory," wrote Fred Bronson in Billboard, only the third lead artist in pop music history - but the first solo artist - to land three hits inside the top 10 in the same week, matching The Beatles in 1964 and The Bee Gees in 1978.

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