Lennox wrapping album with Ballard


Grammy-winning songwriter-producer Glen Ballard is putting the final touches on Annie Lennox's first album in four years, which will be released in the fourth quarter.

"It's a very intense record," he says. "It's very personal to her. We spent a lot of time making sure the music was the way she wanted it."

The former Eurythmics vocalist's previous set, "Bare" (J Records), her follow-up to 1995's "Medusa," debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 in June 2003.

Also set for the fall is a solo album from Tony-winning actress Idina Menzel of "Wicked" fame. Ballard co-wrote tracks and produced the disc, which he says "goes way beyond Broadway."

Ballard, best known for his work with Alanis Morissette, is particularly fascinated with the stage at the moment and might just be working on a secret big project.

"Recorded music has become a loss leader. It's terrifying," he says. "You can get music for free, and in a year, movies will be, too. Performers and the live experience may be the future of the business. I'm certainly looking at Broadway as a place to go."