October 28th, 2022

CNN Audio Debuts New Investigative Podcast ‘The James Brown Mystery’

NEW YORK, NY – October 28, 2022 – CNN Audio premieres The James Brown Mystery today – a new 8-episode, limited-series podcast investigating the suspicious death of legendary musician, James Brown.

A strange phone call reveals a question from the grave – was The Godfather of Soul murdered? Almost 40 years ago, a songwriter found herself in musician James Brown’s inner circle. The relationship would nearly destroy her career. Decades later, she’s trying to solve the mystery of James Brown’s death…and her own life. When she makes a call to CNN Reporter Thomas Lake, the two stumble into a world of secrets, intimidation, and suspected foul play.

The James Brown Mystery is the first podcast hosted and reported by Lake, who in 2019 published his exclusive CNN investigative series, Lost in the Woods with James Brown’s Ghost, exploring unanswered questions around the singer’s death and the many people still calling for an autopsy and criminal investigation. The James Brown Mystery expands upon Lake’s reporting and covers Brown’s complicated past, the mysterious death of his third wife, and the biggest questions surrounding his demise.

The first two episodes are available now to listen:

    • Episode 1, The Circus Singer: In 2017, CNN reporter Thomas Lake receives a phone call from a circus singer who tells a wild, hard-to-believe story: James Brown didn’t die of natural causes in 2006; instead the Godfather of Soul was murdered. After months of calls from the circus singer, Lake decides to fly to Chicago to meet Jacque Hollander in person. There Jacque proves her connection to James Brown and shows Lake a videotape of a polygraph test she took in 1995 that was administered by a former FBI agent.
    • Episode 2, Daffodils: Still struggling to wrap his mind around the circus singer’s story, Thomas Lake investigates Jacque Hollander’s role in the Atlanta music scene, learns how she first met James Brown and his third wife Adrienne, and finds out how Jacque became part of Brown’s inner circle. Jacque in turn reveals the events of one harrowing night she spent with James Brown in 1988, the night her life changed forever.

The James Brown Mystery will debut new episodes every Friday and will be available to listen on CNN Audio or wherever you get your podcasts.

Lake is a reporter for CNN and the author of Unprecedented: The Election That Changed Everything. Before covering the 2016 presidential election, he wrote about bourbon thieves, B.B. King’s funeral, and a buzzer-beating shot in a college basketball game that actually saved people from a tornado. His story The Boy They Couldn’t Kill was named one of the 60 best features in the history of Sports Illustrated. His work has been anthologized in Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists, and in four editions of the Best American Sports Writing. After seven years in newspapers, Lake wrote his first magazine story, 2 on 5, which won the Henry Luce Award for most outstanding story of 2008 across all Time Inc. publications. His writing has also appeared in The Guardian, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

CNN Audio is the exclusive producer of audio content and podcasts for CNN Worldwide including All There Is with Anderson Cooper, Downside Up with Chris Cillizza, CNN 5 Things, CNN One Thing, Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, The Axe Files with David Axelrod, Tug of War, Very Scary People, Silence is Not an Option with Don Lemon and more. Listen to all CNN Audio content at www.cnn.com/audio.


About CNN Worldwide
CNN Worldwide is the most honored brand in cable news, reaching more individuals on television and online than any other cable news organization in the United States. Globally, CNN International is the most widely distributed news channel. CNN Digital is the #1 online news destination, with more unique visitors and video viewers than any other news source. CNN’s award-winning portfolio also includes CNN Original Series, which develops non-scripted programming for television via commissioned projects, acquisitions and in-house production. CNN Films produces, commissions and acquires documentary feature and short films for theatrical and festival exhibition, as well as for broadcast and other distribution across CNN’s multiple platforms. Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with over 1,000 local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is a division of Warner Bros. Discovery.

Press Contact
Garrett Cowan