"Because I'm British, I'm emotionally stunted," jokes singer-songwriter James Blunt. "So I couldn't express myself, or capture what was going on in my mind. But through music I found I could say what I was feeling."

James Taylor may be America's most beloved singer-songwriter--in fact, they more or less coined the term just to describe his warm, introspective folk-rock. Over the course of a 40-year career Taylor has sold over 80 million albums, and his Greatest Hits is one of the best-selling discs of all time.

There are many audio engineers in Hollywood, but most specialize in either music or film work. But Steve Tushar is one of those rare birds that soar in both worlds. He's crafted remixes for Korn, Fear Factory, Megadeth, and Puddle of Mudd. Meanwhile, his film credits include Inland Empire, Jimmy Neutron, Lion King 1½, Jungle Book 2, American Wedding, American Pie 3, Kicking and Screaming, and The Hunted.

When guitarist Mike Scaccia heard Al Jourgensen's groundbreaking industrial rock band Ministry in 1986, it was love at first stun. "They blew me away," recalls Scaccia. "I'd come from a punk and metal background, and what Al was doing was like nothing I'd ever heard."

Deryck Whibley, the driving force behind Sum 41's catchy, melodic pop-punk, is taking a break from rehearsals for the band's fourth studio album. "This time, I'm co-producing," he says. "We start recording in about three weeks, so we're finishing the demos right now, just getting everything ready."

Beyonce's new band features a great young drummer.

Beyonce's new band features a great young drummer.

That's no typo. After the R&B diva decided to assemble an all-female band to promote her latest release, B'Day, she opted to recruit two drummers: Nikki Glaspie and Kim Thompson.

"Keith is a country gig, but it's not the standard type of country music," says keyboardist Steve King. "It's pretty progressive, with a lot of different elements. He's got his own creative edge, which works out great for me, because it makes the gig a lot of fun."

"I guess I'm a chameleon of sorts," muses session bassist Marco Mendoza. "I've always been that way. I started in rock and roll and expanded into jazz. Along the way I did lots of Latin, Brazilian, and reggae. It's cool that I get to put on so many different hats."

Donny Osmond is a 43-year music business veteran. He's sold 80 million records, and 33 of his 54 albums have gone gold. In addition to his work as a solo pop artist and member of the Osmonds, he's starred in hit musicals like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Once upon a time--okay, in the early '80s--there was little overlap between punk and hard rock. Swaggering guitar solos and macho vocals were off-limits for anyone following in the footsteps of the Sex Pistols.

Then came the Cult.

John "JR" Robinson doesn't believe in musical categories. "I've just never thought of music that way," he says. "A good downbeat is a good downbeat. And a bad downbeat is--well, something you just don't want to hear."

He's toured with Hilary Duff and performed alongside Kelly Clarkson. He was a finalist on VH1's In Search of the New Partridge Family, and appeared in the CBS music-industry comedy/drama Love Monkey. But 18-year-old singer/songwriter Teddy Geiger isn't just another prefab pop star. Equally comfortable on guitar and piano, he wrote a large percentage of the words and music on his confessional, pop-friendly 2006 Columbia debut, Underage Thinking.

A very special guest appears on contemporary gospel artist Kirk Franklin's most recent CD, Hero.

"This one song, 'Why,' just felt very Stevie Wonder-ish to me," Franklin explains. "I'd met Stevie a while back and we'd swapped numbers, so I called him up and said, 'Man, I got this song I want you to hear.' And he heard it, and liked it, and wanted to do something on it."

Nashville may seem like an odd base of operations for a man who made his name producing or mixing such hard rock and metal acts as Dokken, Extreme, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Metallica, Megadeth and Motley Crue.

Avril Lavigne. Kelly Clarkson. Gwen Stefani. These are just a few of the major-league artists that Canadian songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk has worked with over the past few years.

Is Dafnis Prieto a drummer who composes or a composer who drums?

It's hard to say, since the Cuban-born musician makes the two disciplines seem inseparable. "At this point in my career," he says, "composing on the drums is just as important as playing drums." Perhaps that's why Dafnis has been the drummer of choice for such esteemed jazz composers as Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, and Eddie Palmieri.

Johnny Caswell runs down the list: "The Academy Awards. The Grammy Awards. The American Music Awards. The MTV Video Music Awards. The Billboard Awards. The ESPYs. The Golden Globes. On and on and on--it never stops."

.