Where Have You Been, Billy Boy?

Billy Gilman will release his next album before Christmas and may tour near the end of the year to promote it. That’s the word from Gilman’s manager, Scott Siman. Gilman, who turned 14 on May 24, has kept a relatively low profile of late, including absenting himself from Fan Fair and electing not to tour this summer. All this has sparked speculation that his changing voice might be undermining his budding musical career. Not so, says Siman. “Yes, his voice is changing, no question about that,” Siman confirms. “But it’s fine, it’s wonderful, sounds great.”

That evolving voice can soon be heard on “Count on Me,” a song Gilman recorded for the soundtrack album for the movie Stuart Little 2. Also on the album, which will be out July 16, are songs by Celine Dion, Shawn Colvin, Nathan Lane, Vitamin C, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Steppenwolf and others.

Gilman was to perform “Count on Me” Friday night (June 28) on the America’s Junior Miss special broadcast on cable channel PAX TV. His duties also included judging the annual pageant in Mobile, Ala.

Siman explains that Gilman did not actually cancel a tour this summer, as some media have reported. “We were never committed to one,” he says. “We never signed any contracts, never did any deals. We put dates on hold and were sort of looking to go, and we were piecing it together as if it might happen. But then this [idea for the album] came together, and we decided that was our priority. We can tour whenever we want.”

While his team works on the basics of the upcoming album, Gilman has been relaxing at home with his family in Rhode Island, Siman says. On May 9, Gilman was one of several artists who performed at the United Nations in New York in support of child protection rights throughout the world. Later that month, he had a brief bout with pneumonia, a spokesman for his label, Epic Records, reports.

Siman says Gilman will have a music video out this fall. To date, the youngster has released three albums for Epic. The first, One Voice, which came out in 2000, has been certified double platinum, for shipments of 2 million copies. Classic Christmas, also a 2000 release, now stands at gold (500,000 copies), as does Dare to Dream, Gilman’s album from last year. No producer has yet been picked for the forthcoming album.