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Hear & Now

This week on the music beat

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— NEXT OF SPIN Now that the Grammys have worked their whammy, what’s next for the winners and losers? In the wake of her stunning sweep, chanteuse Norah Jones plans to keep her nose to the grindstone. ”Norah will be going into the studio in April or May,” says Bruce Lundvall, president of her label, Blue Note. ”We’re hoping to ship her new album in October, but that’s a loose date because her current record may still be a strong seller.” Jesse Harris, who won Song of the Year for writing Jones’ hit, ”Don’t Know Why” (and who just inked a deal with Verve), offers a clue as to Jones’ new direction: ”Based on what I’ve heard, it will lean a little more toward the country side of her jazz-country thing.”

Avril Lavigne, who failed to garner a Grammy, will begin recording this summer, with plans to get a CD out in late 2003/early 2004. Says a rep for her label, Arista: ”Avril’s been promising it will rock even harder than the first.” Britney Spears, who also missed out on a trophy, has been laying down tracks in New York, Miami, and L.A., and her record company, Jive, is eyeing a tentative October release.

Best New Artist nominee Michelle Branch is readying her sophomore CD for June. The following month, the ubiquitous Ashanti hopes to drop her next long player. Will it feature more of her trademark collaborations? ”If another smash comes to mind and it’s a duet-type thing, I’m definitely gonna do it,” she says.

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance winner John Mayer is working up tunes in his New York City home studio. ”I’m wondering as much as everyone else might be as to whether I got lucky with one record,” says Mayer, who’s aiming to get lucky again this fall.

Then there are the slackers. No Doubt and Eminem are on hiatus, as are Foo Fighters, who will begin a U.S. tour on April 10. As for the Dixie Chicks, lead singer Natalie Maines says, ”We don’t know what we’re gonna do. We like to wait until we’re inspired in one direction or another. We think we’ll get with Dr. Dre. Who knows?” — With additional reporting by Brian Hiatt