June 20, 2002 12:00 PM

R&B singer R. Kelly, facing 21 felony charges of child pornography, has been keeping a low profile since being booked in Chicago earlier this month. But now he’s singing a new tune, notes the Black Voices news service. On Tuesday, Kelly, 35, released a song exclusively to Windy City hip-hop radio station WGCI-FM. Called, “Heaven I Need a Hug,” it addresses the scandal in a full-frontal manner. (It is also set to be included on his new album, slated for release later this year.) In the song, Kelly, in a trembling voice, tells fans (to whom the lyrics are directly addressed): “I’ve given 13 years of my life to this industry/ Hit song or not, I’ve given all of me/ You smile in my face and tell me you love me/ But then before you know the truth you’re so quick to judge me.” Marv Dyson, president of WGCI, told Black Voices that Jive Records, Kelly’s label, brought “Heaven I Need a Hug” directly to the station. “The audience loves the song,” he said, adding, “I think it’s a really great song lyrically.” Tuesday night, “Heaven, I Need a Hug” became WGCI’s most-requested title by listeners. The charges against Kelly stem from a widely distributed 26-minute videotape, showing a man in a sexual liaison with a girl who police say was 14 at the time. Kelly denies that he is the man in the tape and has been ordered to appear in court June 26 for an arraignment.

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