• Biografie komt uit van Bobby Womack

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    Er komt een biografie uit van de op 27 juni overleden soul zanger Bobby Womack.

    Op 7 augustus zal hij uitkomen in boekvorm maar ook voor de Ereader.

    Het was ooit al een keer uitgebracht in 2006 maar deze versie vertelt het verhaal verder. De titel van het boek is

    My Story en vertelt o.a. over zijn moeilijke leven en de lange strijd tegen drugsverslaving.

    Ook zal de laatste studio album The Best Is Yet To Come ook binnenkort verkrijgbaar.

  • Jacksons willen persoonlijke verhalen delen met fans

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    Popgroep The Jacksons wil een extra dimensie aan de aankomende concertreeks toevoegen. "Ik wil bijzondere en persoonlijke verhalen delen die nog nooit iemand gehoord heeft", vertelt Jackie Jackson aan NU.nl.

    The Jacksons kwamen in 2012 weer bij elkaar en traden sindsdien tweemaal in Nederland op. Eerst tijdens Night Of The Proms in Ahoy en vervolgens in de HMH.

    "Toen we voor het eerst weer het podium beklommen, draaide het echte alleen om de muziek", aldus de zanger. "We wilden gewoon alle hits spelen en een eerbetoon aan onze broer brengen."

    "We wilden ervoor zorgen dat mensen een mooie avond hadden. Nu zijn we toe aan een volgende stap." Jackie Jackson vertelde eerder al aan NU.nl dat er voor het overlijden van Michael Jackson aanvankelijk een tournee in de originele samenstelling gepland stond.

    "Ook nu speelt Michael natuurlijk een belangrijke rol. Het is belangrijk dat mensen hem voor altijd blijven herinneren. Met deze shows zorgen we er hopelijk voor dat hij toch nog een beetje blijft leven voor de fans. Voor ons blijft hij dat in ieder geval wel. Daarom heeft hij zo’n prominente plek in onze optredens."

    Postuum

    De overleden broer van The Jacksons verscheen dit jaar zelf weer veelvuldig in de media vanwege het postuum uitgebrachte album Xscape. Binnen de familie werd er op zijn zachtst gezegd twijfelachtig gereageerd op de release, maar Jackie Jackson juicht het uitbrengen van de plaattoe. "Ik vind het heel mooi geworden."

    Hij begrijpt wel zeker intimi kanttekeningen plaatsen bij de plaat. "Het is natuurlijk niet zoals het hoort te zijn. Maar ik denk dat de mensen die meegewerkt hebben aan het project heel goed begrepen waar ze mee bezig waren en veel respect voor de muziek hebben. Ik denk dat ze de essentie van Michael gepakt hebben en dat hoor je."

    Overtreffen

    Woensdag treden The Jacksons op in Paradiso te Amsterdam. Volgens Jackie Jackson mogen de fans zich opmaken voor een concert dat de vorige shows geval gaat overtreffen. "Ik bedoel dit niet vervelend, maar de eerste optredens na de hereniging waren misschien niet heel goed."

    "Of in ieder geval: ze zijn nu een stuk beter. We zijn beter op elkaar ingespeeld, kennen het repertoire beter en weten wat wel en niet werkt. Het is natuurlijk ook moeilijk om te bepalen wat de perfecte setlist is. Er zijn nu eenmaal heel veel liedjes. Maar ik denk dat we er nu wel zijn. Dat maakt het voor ons ook plezierig."

    Studio

    Ondertussen is het de bedoeling dat er een nieuw album van The Jacksons verschijnt. Wanneer is nog onduidelijk. "Het album is nog niet af, maar gaat zeker wel uitkomen. We hebben veel tijd doorgebracht in de studio en ik heb er een goed gevoel bij", aldus de zanger.

    Veel meer wil hij er niet over kwijt. "Wat ik alleen kan zeggen, is dat de muziek voor mij een positieve voortzetting van The Jacksons als popgroep is. Natuurlijk is het gevaarlijk om nu nog met nieuwe muziek te komen, maar ik denk niet dat we hiermee afbreuk doen van onze naam. We hebben veel plezier en dat hoor je terug."

    Door: NU.nl/Harm Groustra
  • Lionel Richie krijgt ‘Legend Of Live’ titel

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    Op 20 november mag Lionel Richie in New York de Billboard titel ‘Legend Of Live’ in ontvangst gaan nemen tijdens de voor de 11e keer gehouden Billboard Touring Awards. Richie zal de titel krijgen in de Edison Ballroom, een hoogtepunt van de tweedaagse Billboard Touring Conference & Awards, die dit jaar voor het eerst gehouden gaan worden in twee lokaties, het Roosevelt Hotel en de Edison Ballroom.

    De titel wordt toegekend aan zowel solo artiesten als bands die significante en lang durende bijdrages hebben geleverd aan live muziek en de muziekindustrie. ‘Legend Of Live’ erkent professionaliteit en standvastige toewijding aan de kunst en ambacht van live optredens en het bereiken van de fans via de concerten.

    Vanaf zijn vroege periode, toen hij in het R&B circuit optrad met de Commodores en zijn doorbraak als solo artiest tot zijn kassucces All The Hits, All Night Long tour, heeft Richie een reputatie opgebouwd als professional en geeft hij fantastische concerten. Richie heeft meer dan 100 miljoen albums verkocht en zorgde hij voor een aantal enorme hits, zijn vakmanschap en charismatische optredens hebben ook een kritieke rol gespeeld in de levensduur van zijn carrière.

    Ookal heeft de zanger al talloze awards in ontvangst mogen nemen voor zijn albums en singles, nog niet eerder werd hij geëerd voor zijn bijdrages aan de live muziek. Eerdere artiesten die de prestigieuze titel kregen zijn onder andere Sir Elton John, the Allman Brothers Band, Ozzy Osbourne, Rush, Journey, en Neil Diamond.

  • Jacksons vast door noodweer

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    Het aangekondigde bezoek van The Jacksons aan Amsterdam gaat dinsdag niet door. De broers zitten vast in Frankrijk door noodweer, maakte de gemeente Amsterdam vandaag bekend. Ze kunnen hierdoor dinsdag niet op tijd in Nederland zijn.

    De gemeente hoopt dat The Jacksons het reisschema kunnen aanpassen, zodat ze woensdag om 12.30 uur alsnog hun overleden broer kunnen eren op het Gustav Mahlerplein aan de Amsterdamse Zuidas.

    De broers van Michael Jackson willen bloemen leggen bij het tijdelijke herdenkingsbillboard voor de overleden popster. The Jacksons treden woensdag op in Paradiso. Fotograaf Claude Vanheye nodigde ze uit om naar het zogeheten Michael Jackson Memorial Billboard op het Gustav Mahlerplein te komen kijken.

    Op het herdenkingsbillboard is een wereldberoemde foto te zien van Michael Jackson, gemaakt door Vanheye. Hij maakte deze in 1977, toen de nog jonge popster een wandeling maakte door de Jordaan.

    Het bord staat sinds 25 juni, de vijfde sterfdag van Jackson, op de Zuidas. Het blijft nog tot half augustus staan.

  • Cors Disco and Soulshow van 27 juli 2014 via Mixcloud

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    Cors Disco en Soulshow van 27 juli 2014 by Cor Shops on Mixcloud

     
  • AMII STEWART JUNE 1979 INTERVIEW

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    B&S talks to the very talented Ms. Amii Stewart

    IF YOU just happen to be superstitious, you could be one of those people who won't walk under a ladder. It's possible you might perhaps, be pleased if a black cat crosses your path. Superstition covers quite a few different beliefs and whether she's superstitious or not, Amii Stewart has good reason to truly knock on wood! Why? Because her version of the Eddie Floyd classic has truly catapulted her into international view.

    This young, talented dancer had no plans to become a singer "although I always wanted to sing but never found the time to really concentrate on it professionally" so the success of "Knock On Wood" has taken her somewhat by surprise. But for more about how it all happened, read on!

    A native of Washington DC, Amii's destiny as a dancer was pretty much set whilst she was still in her teens. "I was working with a dance company in DC and I decided to go to New York to audition for a part in "Bubblin' Brown Sugar" — but for a special show that was appearing in Miami, Florida. Well, I got the gig and then in 1976, a year later, I came back to New York as an understudy in the Broadway version of the musical."

    It just so happened that one of her teachers from DC, Charles Augins was taking "Brown Sugar" to London, England, and chose Amii to come to Europe to appear in one of the lead roles in the musical as Ella, giving the lady the chance to show her vocal ability with "I Got It Bad" and the title tune from the hit musical.

    "We opened in September of 1977," Ammi recalls, "and shortly thereafter, I met Barry Lang who was looking for a black female vocalist to cut a demo on a tune he's written. Well, we did "The Closest Thing To Heaven", that was the first thing and Barry took it to Hansa Productions, who are based in Germany. The principals of the company, Trudi and Peter Meisel, really liked it so they signed us to do some more recording. The funny thing was that I really wasn't even looking for a recording contract."

    Amii's first record release was "You Really Touched My Heart" "and it did pretty well in Europe without actually knocking down all the doors. Somehow, I managed to juggle being in "Brown Sugar" and recording and I even got to use my vacation time to do some promotional things in other European countries outside of London — Italy, Switzerland, France." It was whilst looking for a tune that would be "more marketable" that Amii and co. came across "Knock On Wood".

    "Of course, we already knew the tune from the Sixties and we figured a new version would work. Well, Peter went in and did the track and when I heard it, I just flipped out! In fact, I asked him what I was supposed to sing since the track sounded so good just as it was."

    After three or four days studying the track, Amii went into the studio and put down her vocal — "I'd got into the studio whenever I could — late at night after the show, maybe at weekends if I could" — not really knowing for sure that she's cut a giant international hit. "We completed the sessions with "Light My Fire" but the whole project spanned six months — we weren't under any kind of pressure to come up with an album and that made it a whole lot easier on everyone concerned."

    A few weeks after finishing "Knock On Wood", the record was released in England but notes Amii: "It was out just before Christmas and it simply got lost. It's real hard if you're a new artist to get exposure and that's the worst time of the year to even try because everyone's trying to get those Christmas sales." Fortunately, a copy of the record found its way to the US offices of Ariola (who released it in Europe) and almost upon release in January, the record took off. "I didn't think it would even be a hit in the States and I guess being away for a couple of years, I had no idea how people would react to it. In fact when it started taking off, the company would call from LA to talk with me in London and they'd be all excited because it was just doing so well and I couldn't believe it!"

    The momentum behind the record resulted in Amii's first trip back to the USA since she left in 1977 and she found herself back with a bang. "Sure, it was hard to believe! But I've always known that with hard work, anything is possible — it's just that I didn't expect it to happen quite so fast. Of course, my family and friends have just been beautiful about it — they've always been so supportive anyway. I remember as soon as they heard the record, they called me in London to tell me and it's been real hard to calm them down ever since!"

    Of course, once the record started to show signs of its hit status, Amii asked permission to leave "Bubblin' Brown Sugar" noting that "I was in it up until it just didn't seem feasible, trying to juggle everything. They were real good about it and of course, if I hadn't come over to London, who knows what might have happened?

    "I'm really aware of just how hard it is to make it in the States and I've seen how long some people have had to wait, paying their dues. I didn't wanna wait — but then I didn't figure it would all happen quite as quickly as it has," the lovely lady states.

    For the moment, Amii intends to continue making London her home but she says "with the way things are going, I imagine I'll be travelling back and forth quite a bit and if it seems to make more sense for me to come back here to live, I will. How do I like living in London? It's great because it's not quite as pressured as it is in the States — especially as far as the business goes. The only thing I still don't particularly love is the weather — but I'm getting used ot it now!'' Amii laughs.

    Future plans for the vivacious Ms. Stewart include "more records, more singing, more dancing — and becoming an all-round entertainer. I'm concerned that I don't become stereo-styped as a 'disco artist' because I know I can do a lot more than sing just one form of music."

    Amii does plan to take a show on the road but it's still in preparatory stages "right now I'm performing with the backing tracks from the records". Her next single, "Light My Fire" looks set to replace "Knock On Wood" as a major hit and as Ammi surveys what's happening now, she declares: "I care very much about what I'm doing and I still get nervous about it! I just know it's all about hard work not giving up, being nice to everybody and not being afraid to branch out and do what your heart tells you and above all that, just thanking God for the ability to be able to reach people!"

    All of which sums up the very positive attitude Amii exudes. It's likely that whether Amii had knocked on wood or not, she'd have eventually made it — it's just nice that it's sooner rather than later!

  • PRESTON GLASS 2013 SOULMUSIC.COM INTERVIEW

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    Phone interview recorded March 11, 2013

    Preston Glass has created an amazing legacy of music through his work as a songwriter and producer. His musical resume is literally filled with superstar names and legends from Aretha Franklin to Earth, Wind & Fire. In recent years, he's also been creating his own albums as a recording artist. His latest project is ELEVATOR SPEECH and he shares with David Nathan (with whom he worked on David's second CD, Wistful Elegance) about the inspiration behind the project and more...

    David: In the many years that I’ve been fortunate enough to do interviews with recording artists, producers, songwriters, and musicians, there are occasions when I think to myself, ‘ how are we going to keep this conversation focused and to the point?’ because, inevitably, with certain people, just because of who they are, because of who I am, and because of the kind of association we have, we could talk for a very, very long time and this next gentleman is one of the people who falls into that category. Not only have I been fortunate to know him for a number of years, I’ve also had the privilege and I would say honor to work with him in a recording studio, which is one of the highlights of my career, and certainly in my somewhat limited career as a recording artist, certainly one of the highlights of that time - but also just in my career in genera - has been working with this gentleman who has a really amazing, amazing list of credits. If you type his name into All Music, [Guide], I think it’s like pages and pages and pages and it’s filled with names of some of these superstars, legends of our business: Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Diana Ross, Earth Wind and Fire, I could keep going. He’s distinguished himself as a songwriter, as a producer, and in recent years, he’s begun doing his own albums, and that’s really what a lot of the focus of our conversation’s going to be today, and I’m talking to one of the best guys in the business: Mr. Preston Glass. Hello, Preston!

    Preston: Hey, David! How are you?

    David: I’m good. You’re in 74 degrees and I’m in minus 3.

    Preston: Well, I won’t rub it in, but I’ll try and be empathetic towards you.

    David: Maybe send some sunshine through the interview!

    Preston: There you go.

    David: Okay. Well, what I want to talk to you about initially, Preston is, you have a brand new album called ELEVATOR SPEECH - of course, before we get too deep into it, I have to ask you, what was the inspiration for making an album with that title?

    Preston: Well, I had heard that term before and I assumed that everybody, or at least a large number of people had heard that term before, but after getting deep into making the album I came to find out that no, not everybody knows what that means. I was familiar with the term, meaning that once you step on an elevator, let’s say from the first floor to the penthouse suite, however many floors that might be, the doors are closed. So, whoever’s on the elevator with you, they’re a captive audience. If you wanted to, for instance, talk to Donald Trump about your business pitch, well, he’d have to listen because he can’t get off until the doors open again. So, that’s where the term comes from. I guess there’s another way to say it, elevator pitch. So, then I was able to take that term and use it as a metaphor in life. Life is like an elevator ride. When you look back, especially in your old figures, it’s a short ride, so, it’s important to shoot your best shot, make every moment count, and not waste and words or waste any time. You do your best.

    David: I gotcha. So, was there a specific thing that happened to you in that respect that really would be the inspiration for the song, or was it just a general observation?

    Preston: As far as the song? Well, what I wanted to do is, once I had the concept, is touch on a few different subjects that might be experiences in life, whether it’s my situation or me observing others. Whether it’s a love situation or whether it’s a life- changing situation or things that we encounter, they’re all part of life and each song, - by the way there’s 12 songs, there’s no 13. There’s no 13th floor in apartment buildings or skyscrapers; a lot of times they do that, but every song I tried to touch on a subject that might be an experience in life, or on the elevator ride of life.

    David: Now, I need you to correct me, but am I thinking that this is your third or fourth solo album as an artist?

    Preston: Yes, this is the fourth one. The first three were like guest artist projects, almost compilations, but they all had some kind of concept or method to the madness to them too. In fact, I would say that one of the reasons that I decided to finally do one that didn’t have any guests was the last one that I did, while a lot of people seemed to like it, COLORS OF LIFE, it took a lot to put that together because we’re not only talking about 19 songs, we’re talking about at least 12 guests and then you have guest producers and cowriters. So, when you’re working deals with them, especially on a shoestring budget, you work out, ‘you’ll get this, we’ll get that.’ Then, it was just so time-consuming putting it together, and then some people wanted more than others. Some people were harder to deal with than others. [I said], ‘You know what? The next one, I’m going to do it all by myself.’ Actually, I kind of said it out of, ‘it probably ain’t going to happen, but it sure would be nice.’ Then, it ended up happening.

    David: Wow, and I’ve got to ask you - because I’m sure [it] is challenging to produce, write, play the instruments, and be the artist singing…. Obviously, we know other people do that. We can think of many examples. We can think of Prince. We can think of others who have done the same thing, but how easy is it for you to be objective when you’re doing that?

    Preston: Like you were saying, it’s a challenge, but I think my years of wearing different hats on different projects has helped me. For instance, on some projects, - like when I worked with Earth, Wind and Fire, they’re a great band, so I don’t need to have to play every instrument. I also have Maurice [White] there to bounce off ideas, and so that’s one hat I wear. There might be a whole other project where I’ll play all the instruments, where I’ll write all the songs. Then there might be another project where I’m just a hired session guy to play keyboards. So, I think what I try to do then, is when I was writing songs, I wore that hat, once I finished all 12, I took off that hat and said, ‘okay, now I’ve got to go into arranging and producing mode, and put on that hat,’ and then it came for the vocals, same thing. I will say that I always had some people to bounce things off of, especially on the vocals. Once I did a rough, maybe I might play it for some musicians here and see what they thought and make some adjustments.

    David: Right. Now, in terms of this specific project, did you already have all the songs written or did you write them specifically for this?

    Preston: Actually, I wrote every song on this album specifically for the project. They all came out in a pretty rapid fire amount of time. What I spent the most time [on] was actually cutting the tracks and doing the vocals, and mixing and all that, but the writing of the songs, I’m not even going to say how fast they were written because a lot of times people, when you say a quick time, they don’t understand that sometimes that’s the way it happens. They look at it as if ‘oh, you didn’t spend enough time on it. ‘ Some of my biggest hits were written in like an hour’s time.

    David: Hey, I think that’s great. I think what that really points to is when you master something, when that’s your craft, when you’re really skilled at it, then I can see no reason why you can’t write a song in 10 minutes!

    Preston: Yeah, some of these did come together pretty quick. Like I said, the most time consuming thing was the vocals because I layered the backgrounds. I must have done maybe 20 to 30 tracks of every song.

    David: That’s a lot. And, let’s talk about a few of the songs. I want to talk about a couple in particular. I noticed that you had one of your mentors doing the count off. For those of you who don’t know what a count off is - I can’t believe that anyone who’d be listening to this, or reading it at SoulMusic.com won’t know what a count off is - but it is actually what happens at the beginning of any recording, or at least certainly back in the day of live recording, when the producer or arranger was beginning the track, they would count off. That was a really bad explanation, but I think people understand what I mean. That was pretty good wasn’t it, Preston? Was that accurate?

    Preston: That was excellent. That was great. I was writing it all down.

    David: Fantastic. And you had one of your mentors on the track “Priceless Pearl” doing that. Now, I’ve got to ask you, how did that happen?

    Preston: Well, to be honest with you, and there was a reason why, but I’ll get to that in a second, but [with] Thom Bell [on that track] that was not a new count off. It was taken from a remix of an old Spinner’s track, “Ghetto Child”. Somebody had left his count on the remix. So, I just grabbed it off of there, but the reason I did it because a count off is considered a starting point and he was my starting point in my career, so it was more like a little tribute to Thom. If there’s anybody that would be on this album other than me, I’ll let Thom be on there. So, that’s why I did it.

    David: One of the songs that really resonated with me, and I’m going to be interested to find out if other people had the same reaction, was the song “Same Tears, Different Pillow”. Would you like to share with us a little bit about that song and the inspiration for it? Obviously you want everybody to listen to it, but prior to listening, maybe you could give us a little clue as to what the song’s about and what inspired it?

    Preston: Yeah, I had this title sitting around for a while, but I never wrote anything to it. Those that know me - you know me - a lot of times I’ll have titles or I might get a title from something you say. So, that was a title that I had laying around for a little while, but once I started to think about what it could be within the lyrics, the subject, I wanted to make a song about a person that had a relationship that didn’t work out, and they were heartbroken, but rather than sit around and try and get that person back, they went on the another one, and then went on to another one. Every time they would go onto the next relationship, they would keep looking back to that first one, a longing for that first relationship. So, it would be a new pillow, a new place, a new person, but they would have the same tears that they were crying about that first relationship.

    David: That’s how the song [came about]and that’s a great track, really great track. And then there was a couple more that I would like to ask you about, “Just Because The Camera’s On”. I’m laughing because I’ve heard the song. Can you elaborate?

    Preston: Yeah. In this situation, it’s a love song, but the guy singing the song is saying this lady is just doing him a job, privately she’s treating him bad, but when they’re out in public or in front of his friends, or her friends, it’s like, ‘oh he’s wonderful.’ That whole game. So, camera’s being [on], just because people are watching really. ‘The truth is you don’t really love me. ‘ The side story is, I guess what made me think of it, is because in Hollywood, a lot of people are that way.

    David: Yeah, I know of which you speak!

    Preston: It doesn’t have to be a love situation or whatever, just ‘hey, how are you doing?’ Like at the BMI Awards,’ hey, what a beautiful night! It’s so good to see you! I’ll call you tomorrow. ‘ And then of course, when nobody’s watching. That’s where the inspiration came and I made it into a relationship thing.

    David: So, that’s an LA in particular, or Hollywood-inspired song in some ways.

    Preston: Hollyweird as they call it.

    David: Yes, I could break into a chorus of amen’s, but I won’t. But I do know absolutely what you’re talking about. Those who have never lived in Hollyweird or LA, they probably don’t quite know what we mean, but I think people are aware that many people operate, particularly in the entertainment industry, with that kind of premise that it’s all show and no tell.

    Preston: I think now with the reality show thing being so popular, people can relate. They can maybe even see that. They’re over there acting like their family is so cool, or they might be a little dysfunctional. Of course, then you hear about it in the news, they broke up, or they’re fighting. So, just because the camera’s on.

    David: So, tell me, how do you feel this album measures up against the previous albums that you’ve done? I know there’s MUSIC AS MEDICINE, there’s STREET CORNER PROPHECY, there’s COLORS OF LOVE, I think I got all three.

    Preston: Yeah, those are the three. Well, there’s different kinds of measuring up. In the vocal category, or artist category, some of my favorite people and artists are on those past albums, probably my favorite singers like Ollie Woodson and George Benson, Larry Graham. …you can’t outdo those people as far as vocals, so I’m not trying to measure up on that level….but material-wise and maybe concept [-wise], having a continuity in the flow of the songs, I think it’s been getting a lot of positive response.… and we had a listening party. There were a lot of not only friends and family, but some other noted writers and artists there attending, who all pretty much enjoyed the material and walked away and have since then even told me they really liked the album. So, it seems to be getting off to a good start comparatively speaking to the other albums. So, it’s always hard to say. I know it’s way different. If you had asked me ten years ago if I had ever thought of even doing something like this, I would think, ‘hey no way. ‘

    David: So, what you said there is perfect because it really leads to my next question. Obviously, as I referenced in the introduction, you have built up an amazing legacy of music as a songwriter and as a producer, so I guess you could have continued doing that. So, what prompted you to even think about making albums of your own?

    Preston: A lot of encouragement, believe it or not, from fellow industry people, musicians that I respect, writers that I respect, artists that I respect, even some executives, saying on some of those past albums, there was at least maybe four or five cuts that I would sing. They were more or less fillers to me, but people would comment, ‘man, you should do more. Why don’t you try doing a whole project?’ That was one of the reasons. The other reasons, again, as time goes by, when I first started my career, it was a lot easier to get an artist, especially a new artist, to do a song because they had that respect. They were out there doing what their forte was, which was singing. The producer was respected for producing and also maybe providing the songs. These days, I don’t care if you’re an established artist or even a new artist that ain’t done nothing, it’s increasingly hard to convince these young artists that you have some great material. One, it’s because they don’t understand it. Two, it might be because they’re trying to write and because they’ve learned that publishing is the way to go. So, what I’ve said to myself is, ‘you know what? These little albums that I do, the one opportunity that I get to do whatever I want song- wise.’ What’s interesting is, I might have an idea, and some of the artists that I’m working with on the other projects will hear these songs and go, ‘man, I want that one!’ Because, for instance…. a lot of the ELEVATOR SPEECH album had to be done on, I won’t call it ‘off time’, but time that I wasn’t doing “pay the rent” projects. So, I might be playing or finishing up a mix and the artist that I’m working with will come in a little early and they’ll catch a little bit of the song and say, ‘what’s that? Hey, I like that!’ So, it was hard for me to actually hold on to some of these because my main thing is being a songwriter and getting my songs out there, but it’s funny. Like, I was just explaining, it’s increasingly hard to get the material out there, and now when I’m doing something where I say, ‘I’m going to do anything that I want on these,’ these are the ones that people seem to want.

    David: So, it’s almost like your album, or albums, are almost like a showcase for songs that other people could possibly record….

    Preston: That’s very accurate. In fact, I think when you get down to the heart of it and ask me, ‘why are you doing it?’ I think it’s just another way to keep my songs exposed to the public, to the industry, and let people know that. ‘he’s still doing it. He’s still writing.’ It keeps a steady flow of stuff out. And I’m a little freer as opposed to, you know, let’s say if Usher says ‘okay, I want you to write me something for the new album. It has to be like this.’ You’re a little more constrained. There’s nothing wrong with that because that’s been the focus of my career anyway, but these little CDs give me a little freedom to do something that I maybe wouldn’t do on another artist.

    David: I gotcha. So, in other words, they almost are like a showcase for some of the songs you’ve written, and so I’m assuming therefore, you don’t have any problem when someone hears any of these albums that you’ve done and says, ‘I want to record that song. ‘ You don’t mind people covering them at all.

    Preston: [Not] at all. That’s kind of what they’re there for, but rather than just sending them out as demos, I said, ‘well, let me just put them out as CDs.’

    David: That’s great. They serve a double purpose. Firstly, they’re music that reflects you, and showcases your talents as a songwriter, as a producer, and singer, and musician, and they also are a showcase of songs. I think that’s a pretty brilliant strategy actually.

    Preston: Well, thank you.

    David: Now, actually, I know we don’t have a lot more time left, but I do want to talk to you about something that I became really conscious of. I mentioned in the introduction, and I referenced it again just now, and you said yourself, that many people relate to you as a songwriter even though of course I know, and those who know you, know that you wear many different hats as well. What’s interesting is, as you know, we have Soul Music Records in the UK as our reissue label and it’s quite fascinating how every now and again, I’ll be working on a reissue and I’ll see your name in the songwriting credits. A primary example is an album that will be out by the time this interview’s on SoulMusic.com. It will be about to be out, and that is the Phyllis Hyman album GODDESS OF LOVE, and of course one of the songs on there is “Let Somebody Love You”. So, are you also surprised when you find that songs that you may have even forgotten about come back to life through reissues, through compilations? Does it come as a surprise to you too?

    Preston: These days, no, I’m not really surprised. When, I guess you would say a few years back when that stuff started happening, I might have been surprised because, as a writer or creative person, we’re always in the moment, looking forward, trying to do new stuff. Knowing how there was an era when some of the best soul music or R&B pop, that music that was made in those years, it seemed to be coming back around for all ages, even youngsters that weren’t even born then, seem to like it. So, now, it’s not a surprise anymore. In fact, that’s one of the reasons that I said when I do my new CD, ELEVATOR SPEECH, or maybe I might do a new one, I’m not going to be ashamed of gravitating toward that style. I’m not going to try and be the year 2020 as far as all these sounds. I’ll just write great songs, because people really have the same emotions that they’ve always had. They might be dealing with some new slang, new words, or new situations, but people are still people and they gravitate toward the same things. If you can put it with some cool new rhythms and new melodies, that’s cool too. But, I’m not ashamed when someone says, ‘that song or that album has an old school flavor.’ I go, ‘thank you.’ To me, that’s the best music.

    David: I’m right there with you, of course as you know, so you don’t have to-

    Preston: I’m preaching to the choir.

    David: You are preaching to the choir, indeed. But, I mentioned that particular song, the Phyllis Hyman song, since we were talking about that for a second, do you have any thoughts about that particular song since that kind of came up, and it came up because I was working on that reissue today. So, do you have any memories of that in particular?

    Preston: “Let Somebody Love You” by Phyllis? Yeah, that was co-written with my brother Alan, and we were both staff writers for Thom Bell, Bellboy Music, which at that time, Thom had relocated from Philly to Seattle. So, it was a great time because not only did we get that direction from Thom, but there were a bunch of other talented writers and writing teams, like Bell and James and George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, Frankie Blue, there was a young man named Joe Erikson. So, we all would bounce ideas off each other, listen to each other’s music. It was like a mini- Motown there, and a very creative environment. So, that song, if I remember correctly, was written with The Jones Girls in mind because Thom was I think going to do some things for them and so on the musical side, it was a little more jazzy because I think we were conscious of trying to think of The Jones Girls. Thom chose Phyllis and Phyllis loved it so. The ironic thing was that by that time, I had started working with Narada Michael Walden and doing some session work with him and turned out that Thom had did half of that album and Narada did three cuts. It was through three cuts that Narada did, I was cutting the background vocals on the other half of the album. That’s when I actually got a chance to meet Phyllis and spend some time with her. That was a very cool project.

    David: One thing that did occur to me, and I want to kind of wrap up, but this is one of the things that occurred to me, to ask you, when you first started, in the very beginning of your musical journey, which as I remember did actually begin in Philadelphia and it did begin with Thom Bell, did you have any clue at that point that songwriting and that aspects of songwriting such as publishing, could actually be the way to generate an entire career and actually generate an income? Did you have an idea about that at the very beginning?

    Preston: At the very beginning? No. To be honest with you. It was just something that I knew, I knew very specifically that it was something I wanted to do. I never really had a desire to be an artist back then, and never really wanted to be rich and famous and a big star. I just loved music, and I loved songs, that part of it, that whole thing. My favorite artists seemed to be writer/artists and my favorite music seemed to be songs that were written by those great songwriters of the day. But, I think by kind of relating to the songwriters, a little later on I started finding out that these people make a living and were able to do it on an ongoing basis. Looking at people like Carole King and Jimmy Webb and Burt Bacharach and Gamble and Huff. I was like, ‘well, wow, they’re doing it. Let me see if I can do it.’ Then, that’s when you start learning this is how you do it. But to answer your question, no, I had no idea.

    David: I guess writing songs hasn’t been too bad for you, right?

    Preston: Nope. It hasn’t been too shabby and it’s kept me out of trouble!

    David: Well, that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing, Preston. Well, really, as I said at the beginning of this interview, we could rap and chat for a long time because there’s many things [we could talk about]….I think maybe the next time we do an interview, we’ll really explore in depth a little bit more about some of the aspects of your career. We’ve done that at different times in interviews, but really to track some of the amazing people that you’ve worked with. I referenced some of them at the beginning as an introduction, but really it’s a really amazing list. I mentioned the ones I mentioned, but there are people I left out, like Kenny G and George Benson, and as they say, a truckload of others….. I’m sure you must feel sometimes proud of the fact that you’ve had the opportunity to work with so many great people.

    Preston: Yeah, I’ve been fortunate. It’s been a blessing. At the same time, I look at it like, ‘wow, I’m old!’ I’ll tell you, it’s humbling too. A little story, when I met Berry Gordy, three years ago, it wasn’t because he knew really who I was, but he had heard some music that I did for a Broadway artist that he met overseas, that he is now using in the new Motown Broadway musical. So, he heard some of the stuff and he contacted her and said, ‘well, who wrote these songs?’ She contacted me and said, ‘Mr. Gordy would like to meet with you at [his] house.’ So, I went over to his house. This kind of shows you, anyway, you’ll see what I’m talking about when I get to the final part of the story. So, I met with him under those circumstances. He was just particularly liking two or three of the songs on her album that I did. And, we talked about that and I brought out some new things. We talked about those songs and as we finished up our little two-hour meeting, I handed him my bio, which basically, I handed him at the bottom, and said ‘this is my email and Facebook page and phone numbers if you need to get a hold of me. ‘Then, at the top of the list, of course it has like 60 of those artists. He looks at the list and goes, ‘okay, so that’s your email.’ Then he said, ‘now, what is this? Your wish list? What are these artists up here? What is this? People you want to work with?’ And, I said, ‘no, these are people that I have worked with.’ He kind of looked at me and said, ‘who ARE you? ‘ That’s exactly what he said, and I was laughing. But, it was interesting. I think he probably prides himself on knowing a little bit about everybody. So, there I was in his living room and he’s like, ‘wait a minute.’ Because he saw Brenda Holloway, and he was like, ‘well, I discovered her. ‘

    David: So, I guess in his world, you were one of the best kept secrets.

    Preston: Yeah. And it kind of helped me to see, ‘yeah, who am I?’ Because I forget about that and kind of move on.

    David: Fantastic. That’s a great story, Preston. That was a really great story. Wow. Well. I’m going to complete our interview by just asking you what are some of the other projects. The first thing is to let everybody know that you have a brand new CD out, ELEVATOR SPEECH, which I’m assuming is available now on Amazon and iTunes and everywhere that people buy music these days?

    Preston: Yes, it is. iTunes, Amazon, and then I have a special website for it too, which is PrestonGlassElevatorSpeech.com.

    David: Fantastic, and that’s all one word?

    Preston: Yes. There’s some other interesting things, including videos of the listening party as well as a little video portrait that a few friends of mine participated in, including you.

    David: What we’ll do is we’ll make sure that there’s a link to that that goes along with this article so people can actually just click it on and go there. That’s great. So, to finish off, what are some of the other things that you’re working on right now?

    Preston: Um, actually Dawn Robinson from En Vogue contacted me about doing some things for her solo project. I’m still doing some things with Narada Michael Walden, doing two little projects with a couple new artists. And, actually, I did a tribute album to Thom Bell with Bob Baldwin last year. So, now, we’re going to do another Bob Baldwin project, this time a tribute to Stevie. And, we’re just kind of starting that, but that’s going to prove to be pretty interesting.

    David: Have you already picked all your Stevie songs?

    Preston: Nope, not yet. So, we’re open to ideas.

    David: Okay, well, I’m only going to throw one at you because it’s one of my favorites. I have a particular favorite Stevie Wonder song, which probably other people may have as their favorite, but it’s not the most obvious. It was not a hit; it’s an album track, but it’s always been, always been one of my absolute favorite Stevie Wonder songs. It’s from the album TALKING BOOK, and it’s “Tuesday Heartbreak”.

    Preston: That’s funny; I love that song.

    David: If you want to put that in the pot, that’s fine. Great!

    Preston: You never know. And, I’m actually starting…it’s way early a lot of people would say, but not really…I’m starting a new solo album, as far as writing material.

    David: Well, Preston, it’s always great, as I said at the beginning, on a personal level it’s always great to talk to you. What I really love, and I’ve always admired, even before we worked together, was that you are someone who stayed active. You keep your hand in, you keep working, you keep producing, you keep creating projects and that’s really quite something, especially in the musical environment that we live in now. To be able to continue to work and produce great work is something that everyone doesn’t do. So, I tip my proverbial - but not probably wearing - hat off to you.

    Preston: I love my hats.

    David: I know you wear lots of hats. So, not only musically, but actually in real life. So, we’ll pretend that I took one of your hats. I take my hat off to you for the fact that you do continue and there’s no time that I can remember speaking to you in a long time, many, many years that you haven’t been always doing some project or another, and that really takes something.

    Preston: Well, thank you, and like I said, it keeps me out of trouble, but I could say the same thing about you. I admire you, your ability to keep it going, as I said, keep it moving.

    David: That’s right. Alright, well this is great. The last thing for me to say is everybody go check out ELEVATOR SPEECH. There will be links on this interview to go do that. It’s a really good album. If you like old school music, as you said earlier, this is definitely the record for you. Go check it out. Alright, Preston. Well, thanks for a great conversation, as always. Go back to the lovely 74 degrees while I go back to the minus 3, and we’ll catch up again soon.

    Preston: Okay, thanks so much, David.

    David: Okay, thanks, bye.

  • SLY & THE FAMILY STONE AUGUST 1973 REVIEW

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    "SLY STONE to appear at White City Festival". Alter reading various articles concerning Sly Stone, you imagine the feeling of reading this headline. Alter not appearing at various concerts recently, would he also give this one a miss? More recently there has been his drug reports. Would he be allowed out of America and if he was would he be allowed into England? Not to mention the fact that he was appearing at a Rock Festival.

    However apprehensively, I turned up at the White City on Sunday morning to find that Sly and His Family were in fact due to close the show!

    Unlike most concerts and festivals this one actually started early! But, alas, after only fifteen minutes the heavens opened to treat us to a free downpour, which held things up for ninety minutes while the stage and equipment were dried.

    From 1.30 p.m. through the afternoon and evening, the Rock bands played a lot of loud, unimaginative, and a small amount of good music to please R&B fans. Various old Rock and Roll standards were given numerous heavier renditions.

    9.00 p.m. came round and the Edgar Winter Band (one of the heaviest bands around) left the stage for Sly and The Family Stone. Officially, only one more hour left and still the equipment to be changed.

    I wondered how the audience would react, after eight hours of Rock, to Sly's more sopisticated brand of Soul music. The arena holding perhaps 7000 people half emptied, the remaining people just sat down. However, around 9.30 p.m. with the sign of movement on stage, everyone got to their feet. This in turn brought people running from all direct¬ions until some 10,000 people crammed in front of the stage, leaving the stands virtually empty.

    With only twenty minutes remaining, Sly emerged on stage followed by the remainder of his eleven-piece band. The whole audience got into the rhythm as he started with his own arrangements of a medley of "You're The One", "Thankyou" and then speeding up for "M'lady". The first two songs featured The Little Sister chorus.

    His really infectious bass/percussion, with a funky brass section, continued into "Stand" and "You Can Make It If You Try". So far it was slow moving and already it was after time.

    Next, he played his new single "If You Want Me To Stay" of his fastest selling album to date — "Fresh".

    This version sounded more like the original before the album was re-mixed.

    Next came "Thankfull" and finally after forty minutes of slow moving yet really professional music, he gave the audience what they wanted. He bursted into "Dance To The Music" which hasn't lost anything over the years. This continued info "Music Lover" before he finished his set at 10.30 p.m.

    An encore was definitely required by the audience and it must have been the shortest on record. They reappeared on stage and started "I Wanna Take You Higher" and alter barely sixty seconds the electricity was turned off. The percussion and brass were still audible but after a minute of trying to sing without a microphone he gave up and left the stage.

    It ail finished just as things were beginning to warm up. What a pity other groups had been given an hour to perform and the changing of equipment always took thirty minutes or more.

    As far as the set up, the groups were easily visible on the stage but the music echoed at the back of the stadium from the massive banks of speakers punching it out to an empty shell.

    The lack of people didn't give any atmosphere unless you were cramped in front of the stage. This was unfortunate because if the weather had been line, plenty more people would have turned up.

    Sly certainly kept his old fans happy with his fifty minute set and probably made a lot more besides. Let's hope it's not too long before he's back again.

  • MARY WILSON SEPTEMBER 1979 INTERVIEW

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    "I'D REACHED a point where, in order to maintain the level we had reached with the original Supremes, I'd have to do something myself. I just knew we couldn't have the same magnetism as we had originally."

    With those words, Ms. Mary Wilson, an integral part of the trio who became a true legend in music, was indicating that it was time to forge ahead in a new phase of a career that has spanned twenty years.

    That new phase means that the lady now has a solo album out on Motown, produced by Hal Davis; is in the midst of a three-month overseas tour and, is generally feeling very good about the way everything looks for her.

    "Of course, I had some worries and apprehension about the whole thing!" laughs the vivacious Mary. "After all, aside from doing a few leads onstage, maybe one or two on record, I'd never been out front. Although," she notes, "there's no one who can sing "baby, baby" like I can — that's for sure!"

    Mary states that she'd considered the idea of a solo career as long as five years ago," but it just wasn't time. I wanted to see the Supremes' through to its natural conclusion." Just to assure fans and friends, Mary explains that the actual break-up came in London in 1977. "That was when I made the final decision about what I felt I should do, and agreed with Motown that rather than replace me, we should just disband the group and let Sherrie and Susaye continue with whatever they felt they wanted to do.

    "They're still with Motown so it's possible they might be recording, or maybe forming another group — they have the options open to them." Mary notes that "it would have been quite easy for me to leave the group after Diana (Ross) left, but I just felt we had to go on because there was so much more to do, and I think we made some great records after she left, comparable to some of the real great ones we had with the original line-up, I don't think all of those records got the acknowledgement they should have — but as far as I'm concerned, they are still of a high quality."

    Mary cites "Stoned Love" particularly as "a record that didn't get the kind of reaction it should have, and "Up The Ladder To The Roof" as another. "Sure, we had some big sellers — those, and "Floy Joy" all did very well for us. We certainly maintained a level of consistency that I'm proud of."

    Since Mary had really been entrusted with the whole business and creative decision-making process for The Supremes, she feels she was well equipped to deal with the new solo career that she's embarking on. "My husband, Pedro, who's also my manager, and I, sat down last year and realized it was time. I'd been touring last year with a couple of girls — we were billed as Mary Wilson & The Supremes, and I did leads on all our hits, but we stopped around November and that was when I knew it was about time to start working on the project.

    "Originally, we'd wanted Marvin Gaye to produce, but he was committed to his own project and it would have taken time before he got to me. So we talked about Hal because of his track record with Diana on "Love Hangover"; Thelma Houston on "Don't Leave Me This Way" and things he did with The Jacksons, and we just figured he'd be the right guy for the job, and that's just how it turned out. The marriage was perfect.

    "Hal commissioned a couple of young writers at Motown and the songs they came up with were just perfect — it's almost as if I wrote them myself! In fact, Hal and I both selected exactly the same tunes from the ones that were presented."

    Mary says that she's more than satisfied with the end result. "I really don't mind if it's not a million seller because I know I did my best at the time. Incidentally, I did quite a lot of the background on the album — I guess I just couldn't stay away from it!

    "But I feel that what we've come up with is just right as a debut album. Sure, I'd regarded myself basically as a ballad singer before, because I knew I could do that, and I had my little doubts about how I'd approach the up-tempo material. I knew we had to do some, because of the way the whole disco thing is happening." Indeed, Mary's initial single from the album, "Red Hot" is already gaining play in the discos.

    "I feel that disco music has given the music business a lot of excitement but I'd have to say that a lot of r&b acts may have suffered a little in the process. I'd like to see more of them come back to the fore — people like The Temps, The Tops and so on."

    Mary's immediate plans have resulted in a three-month tour outside of the U.S.A., although she kicked off her act in New York at the famous New York, New York disco as the first live act presented there.

    "My act will of course include some of the hits from The Supremes' days; after all, how could I miss them out? But naturally, I will be showcasing the material on the album. Yes, I do have two background singers working with me and it's a weird sensation to hear girls behind me doing background, after I'm so used to doing it myself."

    As the mother of three children — "Raphael, my youngest, was born only a couple of weeks after the session for the album" — Mary recognizes that she'll have to divide her time now that she has a solo career.

    "The last few months I've been home more than at any time in my career and it was strange. Not at the beginning, because I loved not having a schedule to adhere to. It was a trip though, because I had to decide what to cook each day, and coming up with new ideas was, well, interesting! It was also kinda strange for the kids because they've travelled with me since they were born — they were practically born on the road! Turkesa — she's four — and Pedrito, he's two — have gotten accustomed to eating in hotels and restaurants and behaving themselves whilst they're out! So when they were home with me they just went crazy!"

    So what, we wonder, after all the success Mary has achieved throughout her illustrious career are her goals? "The same as they've always been! I've been studying acting for eight years now and I want to start to utilize all I've learned from that. Then, I want to eventually get involved with children in a teaching capacity — maybe start a school for kids so they can learn more about music, choreography, everything. Just pass on all the things I've learned."

    And does Mary ever anticipate the day when she won't perform anymore? "Diana and I used to joke about this tune that Smokey Robinson wrote which said something about singing tilt you had a cane to walk with and I guess that's how we both feel. After all, I've been onstage for almost half my life now!"

    And finally, for those who may well wonder, Mary wished to set the record straight. "Diana and I are the best of friends. We always have been, and we always will be, no matter what happens. Sure, we're not able to stay in touch all the time because of our schedules, but we've been through so much together that she's really the closest person to me outside of my family." As a token of that, Diana in fact introduced Mary at the opening of her N.Y.N.Y. performance and the two, paid tribute to the twenty years that The Supremes were in existence with a special toast to Florence Ballard.

    And if that ain't friendship, what is? So, Supremes' fans, weep no more, Mary's definitely on target and ready for the world with her own exciting brand of music, and we have no doubt that she's going to make as much impression with her solo career as she has, throughout the years, as one of the magical Supremes.

  • CISSY HOUSTON JANUARY 1978 INTERVIEW

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    Cissy has sung behind countless superstars, from Elvis to Aretha, particularly during her stint as leader of the Sweet Inspirations. She's now out front again and here she brings B&S up-to-date with her current activities.

    ALTHOUGH she may not be totally aware of it herself, Ms. Cissy Houston is many ways a legend in her own time. We've heard the phrase bandied about to describe countless folk but consider the facts: this lady's voice has enhanced the recordings of stars and superstars for over a decade.

    Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, Herbie Mann, Nina Simone, Garnet Mimms, Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, Esther Phillips, The Drifters, Bette Midler, Neil Diamond, Maxine Brown, Chuck Jackson, Paul Simon, Brook Benton, Dusty Springfield — the list is truly endless.

    As the leader of The Sweet Inspirations, Cissy travelled across the world with the likes of Aretha and Elvis as well as enjoying considerable success with the group, with hits like "Sweet Inspiration", "Sweets For My Sweet", "Reach Out For Me" and "Why (Am I Treated So Bad)", all on Atlantic.

    In fact, it was Jerry Wexler — then executive at Atlantic and producer of Aretha — who coined the name "Sweet Inspirations" for the premier group of back-up singers, who included in their ranks two of Cissy's nieces, Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick and Judy Clay when the three ladies were at the very beginning of their careers. With Cissy as one of the true mainstays of the group, the Warwicks and Ms. Clay were also part of the renowned Drinkard Singers, whose gospel sound marked them as one of New Jersey's most prize vocal possessions.

    Cissy has never left gospel, never left her roots and even today, she candidly admits that her first love is working with her own choir in Newark, New Jersey, known as the Radio Choir of the New Hope Baptist Church. But more about that later.

    Cissy has a brand new album out on Private Stock Records but it isn't her first. She recorded for the defunct Commonwealth United Records back in the early Seventies after she split from The Sweet Inspirations and the album is a true classic, containing stunning versions of the old Ronettes' hit, "Be My Baby", "The Long & Winding Road" and a medley of "He — I Believe".

    Cissy's solo recording career took her to Janus Records where she recorded several singles including the original of "Midnight Train To Georgia" but all without any really outstanding success. Consequently, her pacting to Private Stock — in fact, her return to working as a solo artiste period, was not something that she felt compelled to do.

    "My previous experiences with record companies left me discouraged and disappointed. In fact, after the Janus experience, I had decided just to concentrate on doing background sessions and commercials." Indeed, Cissy's voice is one that can be heard frequently on U.S. television and radio and she even did a commercial especially for England several years back for the Texaco oil company.

    "It was part of a master plan on my part to really deal with those avenues because frankly, there is so much hassle attached to being on the road and, all in all, you don't end up making that much money after you've paid your musicians and everyone. And when you do have records out, you do have to go on the road. So I decided to just leave that side of my career for the time being."

    That is until producer Michael Zager approached Cissy about doing an album with him.

    "I'd done several sessions with Michael and in fact we were doing one for an album for Roulette, The Love Child's Afro Cuban Band, when he suggested it I told him that if the terms were right, I might consider it. I needed something stable, something that I knew would work out. Anyway, we met with Larry Uttal at Private Stock and it seemed that all the things I wanted I could get there, so we started picking material."

    Cissy's initial session in 1976 produced the single, "Love Is Something That Leads You" and a subsequent session resulted in another single, "Tomorrow" from the Broadway play, "Annie".

    Cissy explains: "I knew the writer of the song and in fact, we did the original demo for it before the play even came out. And they gave us first preference on it, so we went ahead. When the show came out, it definitely helped spark a lot of interest in the record for me."

    Cissy has very definite views in regard to material and she states: "I will not do any material that I can't feel. And there has never been a time when I've had to. Sure, there are some songs I like better than others, but I've never cut anything I didn't like. Because I have to be true to myself and I must relate to the song and what it means, which is why lyrics are so important to me.

    "And the song has to allow me room to sing it my way, to build with it. You see, I have certain standards and I don't see it necessary to compromise them to make money.

    "Don't get me wrong: I do want success for myself but I'm not willing to compromise or sell out my talent to get it."

    Cissy admits that since she's kept busy with commercials and background work, it has helped her build a financial foundation so that she doesn't have to do just whatever comes along.

    "Yes, it was all planned that way. Of course, doing commercials isn't easy work, either. You have to fit in with what the advertiser wants to say. There are some that I've particularly enjoyed, like one we have here for R.C. Cola. That one really gave me a chance to use my vocal style and it had a good story to it."

    The lady admits to being very satisfied with her new album, stating: "I think it represents me well — the material reflects what I want to say. Take "Make It Easy On Yourself". That's a song that I've been doing in my act for some time and I always thought that we should capture the way I heard it, on record. And we've done it. Plus the company really seems to be behind the album and that naturally makes me feel good."

    Will the album's strong sales mean that Cissy will be spending more time in performance? "Let's put it this way," she laughs, "I'm not a teenager anymore and I do have a family — my husband and three children, my eldest son is at college. So I don't want to be out there for a long time.

    "But I have slowed down for the last couple of years so the way I see things, I will be picking up again and maybe for the immediate future, things will be a bit crazy. But after that, I'll probably slow down even more! But I don't see a day coming when I'll completely quit doing commercials and sessions."

    Meanwhile, in between everything else, Cissy has been steadily working with her choir. "We featured them on one cut on the album — "Your Song" — and there are sixty people in all.

    "Yes, that was the first time I've ever worked with that many people in the studio at the same time! But working with the choir is really fulfilling. It's very gratifying to work with people, to teach them.

    "Originally, we started out with maybe just fourteen or fifteen people. Now, we cover all age groups. It takes a lot of work because you're really cultivating voices — lay voices, people who haven't been in the business, who don't necessarily read or write music. And it's a challenge. I really love it!

    "In fact. I am the Minister of Music at the church in Newark but I have to add that some people have gotten confused — that doesn't mean I'm a preacher or that I've been ordained — it just means that I'm in charge of the music there."

    Yet one more activity that's been keeping Cissy busy of late involves giving private vocal tuition. Now before everyone rushes off letters c/o Blues & Soul, we should explain that Cissy only teaches three or four students in all!

    She explains: "I used to give lessons way back before 1967 when the Sweet Inspirations 'officially' came into being. But then things just got too busy. Since I've been appearing down at Reno Sweeney's here in New York, I've had a lot of people come up to me to ask if I'd give lessons. I had just a little time so I decided to say yes.

    "Basically, what I try and teach are things like breathing — which is extremely important and is something that an amazing number of people don't even think about. Then, delivery and above all, getting people to 'feel' things. It's all about being able to convey what you feel through your voice. And that's the hardest part of it.

    "So far, I've had four students and one of them is now ready for a recording contract and so on."

    For those who may wonder, Cissy indicates that she worked at strengthening her voice to the point where she can reach those truly stratospheric notes.

    "Very early in life, I realized that in order to be able to maintain my voice, I would have to continually practice. After all, your voice is another muscle and if it isn't used properly, it won't work."

    Cissy concludes when reviewing what has been a prestigious career to date that one of the highlights was performing an opera in San Francisco a couple of years back.

    "We did an opera entitled "Gospel Muse" by Carmen Moore, with one of the world's leading conductors. It was something I'd always wanted to do and we did it for four nights. Yes, it was definitely hard work but we're hoping to maybe stage it here in New York for just one night."

    Meanwhile, Cissy is going to continue to be one of the most sought after session singers, one of the most listened to voices anywhere and, the way it looks, a hit recording artiste to boot.

  • Nieuwe album in het najaar van Gladys Knight

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    Zevenvouding Grammy winnaar Gladys Knight zal op 9 september haar nieuwe album uit brengen met de titel Where My Heart Belongs. Het zal gaan om een gospel album waar Gladys niet een onbekende van is, want ooit begon haar carriere door het zingen van gospel.


    Vanaf jonge leeftijd zong ze in het kerkkoor volgens haar moeder was muziek een geschenk van god. Er staan maar liefs elf tracks op haar nieuwe album en ze kan niet wachten dat de album uitkomt.


    De zangeres heeft in het verleden met haar Pips diverse nummer 1 hits gehad en bevind zich in The Hall of Fame en Rock 'n'Roll of Fame.

  • R&b-nummers Jimi Hendrix eindelijk beschikbaar

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    De nummers die Jimi Hendrix schreef toen hij lid was van de rhythm & blues-band Curtis Knight and The Squires worden na decennia van juridisch geruzie uitgebracht. 

    De studio-opnames werden gemaakt van 1965 tot 1967, een periode waarin Hendrix bijkluste.

    De opnames bevatten een liveoptreden in Hackensack in 1965 en tracks van Hendrix met de band nadat zijn eigen debuutplaat van de Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced, uit was gekomen.

    Voor zijn doorbraak in 1966 speelde Hendrix geregeld de tweede gitaar op opnames van artiesten als The Isley Brothers en Little Richard. Met Knight tekende hij een wurgcontract voor drie jaar, waarbij hij een dollar plus royalty's per nummer kreeg. Mede hierdoor was het voor Hendrix lastig om zijn eigen carrière te lanceren.

    Confetti

    Hoe dan ook was Hendrix zelf geen fan van de opnames met Curtis Knight and The Squires. Het album Got That Feeling, met Knight als zanger en Hendrix als backupgitarist, noemde hij 'muzikaal waardeloos, een confetti van haastig bijeengeraapte opnames'.

    Hendrix werd tijdens zijn leven een van de grootste gitaarvirtuozen ooit genoemd. Hij overleed in 1970 op 27-jarige leeftijd aan een overdosis slaaptabletten.

    Door: Novum                
  • MAZE featuring FRANKIE BEVERLY

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    The sound is distinctive -- passionate, creative, original, soulful, honest and powerful. For nearly thirty years Frankie Beverly and Maze have created a unique sound and become one of the most influential groups in modern history.

    "We've made it this far because we love and respect ourselves and our fans. But, most importantly, we believe in what we do," remarks Frankie. The journey began when Frankie relocated from his hometown of Philadelphia to San Francisco and formed Maze. In 1976, he released his first album, Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly which yielded a string of hit singles, including "Lady of Magic" and "Workin' Together."

    The 80's brought the release of the best-selling albums, Golden Time of Day, Inspiration, Joy and Pain, containing a list of chart-topping singles including "Travelin' Man," "Feel That You're Feeling," "Joy and Pain," "Look in Your Eyes" and "Southern Girl," to name a few. The group gained worldwide appeal with its legendary sold-out live appearances, and released the deluxe album Live in New Orleans which captured the energy, excitement and electricity of a Maze stage show and offered a fourth side of new studio material which included the hit single "Running Away".

    In 1983, with the release of We Are One, Frankie Beverly & Maze solidified their international standing with such hits as the title track "Never Let You Down", "I Love You Too Much" and "Love is the Key." As the 80's came to a close, the group released Can't Stop the Love and a second in-concert package, Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly Live in L.A., which served both as a retrospective of the group's remarkable career to date and a fitting close to the first chapter of the Maze legend.

    With a change of record label and shifts in the group's line-up a new era was launched for Frankie Beverly & Maze. "We wanted to emphasize our strengths, bring together the elements that have always been a part of our music and really focus on them," continued Frankie. The band released Silky Soul, one of their most successful albums, which included the smash singles, "I Can't Get Over You" and the title track.

    After a solid year of touring North America and Europe, the group took a break to recharge their creative juices. "When you're trying to do the best you can..to give the people everything you've got, you need to be patient," Frankie emphasized. With anticipation and excitement, the group released Back to Basics which captured the passionate, electrifying essence of the group, and included the hit singles, "Laid Back Girl," "The Morning After" and "What Goes Up."

    In between preparing material for the release of their third Warner Bros. album and a Christmas album the group continues to be one of the most requested at music festivals throughout the world drawing major crowds. As a headlining act, Frankie Beverly and Maze have been instrumental in giving exposure to several new recording artists, before they became household names, including Toni Braxton, Regina Belle and Anita Baker, to name a few.

    Recently Maze released a 20-track double-CD "Anthology" of the most popular and successful songs by Frankie Beverly's smooth soul/R&B group Maze makes an almost self-evident point about the far-too-usual treatment of the deserved in the pop music game. The All Music Guide wrote, "Frankie Beverly and Maze may be the ultimate urban contemporary group, though they're much more soulful and funky than many of their counterparts."

    Although the group has never won any awards they continue to attract sold-out audiences giving them the title "best kept secret in the industry".

  • BILLY OCEAN 2009 SOULMUSIC.COM INTERVIEW

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    A career spanning four decades. Countless hit records, awards, and accolades. How does Billy Ocean do it? With a positive attitude, myriads of talent, and passion.

    He took awhile away from the music business to concentrate on family and other personal pursuits; but now, with Because I Love You, his first album of new material since 1993's Time to Move On, Billy is back in full swing - touring the world and writing classics for the next generation.

    He's worked with so many greats. Keith Diamond, Wayne Brathwaite, Teddy Riley, R. Kelly, Ben Findon, Rick Hall, Jonathan Butler -- from smooth purveyors of R&B and funk to country-inspired pop craftsmen. More importantly, though, he's had his own voice through it all. Both on paper and on record, that is. He's had a hand in writing every one of his hit singles from 1976 on - some 25 of them.

    Billy's personality is just as warm and humane as the glow of his music and performances. To many folks, he seemed to appear out of nowhere in the mid-80's with a long line of smash chart hits. But the road to that success had actually been a quite lengthy, not always gold-paved, one. Growing up in Trinidad, Billy was raised by a Calypso musician dad, who used to take him along "to sing at people's Christenings and weddings. [The attendees] would want me to sing and I would! I don't think I was that good," Billy relates." I think people were just impressed that I was a brave kid."

    At age 10, the family moved to England. "My childhood was very good," he recalls. "There was no great amount of money, but we had a lot of love in the family and my parents encouraged us kids to do our best, and I think we did just that." During his early adulthood, Billy was determined to build a career on the musical talent he had been cultivating while growing up. He worked a variety of day jobs while taking whatever performance and recording work he could obtain. He remembers that during the early 1970's, "I used to do a lot of different sessions for people. A lot of them, in fact, were for free, because I was so excited about going into the studio. It was like a whole different world, to be able to record and hear yourself -- and I love that part of it. Also during that period, I learned to write my songs. It was like my apprenticeship, really."

    The first product to surface on wax was a single entitled "Nashville Rain," which came out on the small Spark label in 1971, under BIlly's birthname, Les Charles. "You can imagine the pure excitement," Billy reminisces. "To be able to go home to my parents and say, 'Look, here's my first record!' ... You're singing all the time, and you say you're interested in singing and all that, and one day you have proof that there's this bit of vinyl with your voice on it. Yeah, it's a great feeling! It wasn't the case of looking for a hit record. In those days, you were just excited to be getting the opportunity to do things, really."

    While "Nashville Rain" and its follow-up single, "Baby You've Got Something," appeared under Billy's real name, he would actually spend a lot of time over the next few years trying out different monikers -- among them, Big Ben, Joshua, and Sam Spade. Interesting choices, eh? "I never gave myself those names," Billy relates. "The only name I got from myself was Billy Ocean. The others were on account of working with other producers. In those days, the independent producers more or less controlled the record industry in that they were the ones who found the talent, gave you the name, and produced you. They did everything. They took the package to the record company and did some sort of licensing deal."

    Following the Les Charles records for Spark, Billy's next notable output came in the form of a 'band' project by the name of Scorched Earth in 1974. "That was really on account of a song that Ben Findon wrote called 'On the Run.' If anything happens, then you build a band around the artist." The song was initially released on the independent Young Blood label run by Miki Dallon. The label licensed it to a number of different record companies across the world, including Bell in the U.S. Most of these 7" single releases bore a picture of just Billy on their respective picture covers. Eventually, though, the bigger Philips label released the single on a wider scale in the UK -- along with bandmates to accompany Billy in the publicity shots.

    Not only did "On the Run" begin to garner interest from record labels in Billy as a solo artist; but it also afforded him his first release on wax of a song that he helped to write. Specifically, this was a song called "Super Woman, Super Lover," found on the B-side of the Philips edition of the single. Thinking back to that time, Billy offers, "Some of the producers used to be favorable and give me the B-side. That's one of the ways I was learning to write. And if you're going to have your song on the B-side of what you think is a potential single, you do your best to try to match it up to the A-side. And most of the time, this B-side would be some sort of old track that didn't work -- and they'd say, 'Go and try something around that.' All I would hear was the backing track, and I would just create my own melody and write a song around it."

    While one subsequent Scorched Earth single was released in Italy, most of the material recorded would not surface until a decade later -- in remixed form -- after Billy had achieved superstardom. But his climb to that level would see a serious escalation in 1975, when he was signed by Laurence Myers' GTO label, at the time boasting acts such as Donna Summer, Heatwave, and The Dooleys. While Billy's first single for the label, "Whose Little Girl Are You," didn't become a chart-topper, it did make a little bit of noise, and paved adequate interest for a follow-up, which started the string of classics Billy is known for. That song was "Love Really Hurts Without You," a feel-good dancer with an arrangement and melodic structure reminiscent of Motown's 60's output with the likes of the Temptations, but sung in Billy's distinctly lovely tenor range, with just the right combination of tenderness and gutsiness.

    "Love Really Hurts Without You" reached #2 on the U.K. singles chart, and quickly found its way to international success in 1976. In the U.S., the single was picked up by Ariola Records, on which it found its way to #22 on the pop chart. The follow-up single, "L.O.D. (Love on Delivery)," reached #19 in the U.K. and crossed over to the lower half ot the U.S. R&B chart.

    Both of these hits, as well as the subsequent "Stop Me (If You've Heard It All Before)," were penned by Billy with Ben Findon, the man behind the Scorched Earth project. The two partnered on penning nine of the 11 cuts that made up Billy's self-titled debut album, which was released throughout Europe, but never came out stateside. "In those days, the record companies really weren't prepared to spend the money on a black artist. They'd take a chance with a single; but with the expense you have to put into an album, you're talking about a difference of economics. I was fortunate in that I had hit singles, which kept the whole thing going."

    One single which unmistakably kept things going was 1977's "Red Light Spells Danger," a fiery dancer which shot to #2 in the U.K. and got picked up by Epic in the US. It also landed Billy his fourth appearance on the famed British TV program of chart hits, 'Top of the Pops.' Around the same time, Billy's label home, GTO, was bought by Epic -- a change that didn't fare so well for Billy as an artist. "I found it very difficult, because here I was with this huge corporation. You couldn't see anybody, didn't know anybody. It wasn't the sort of one-on-one I was dealing with at GTO."

    Not only was it harder for Billy to talk to executives at his new, by-default label home; but it was also harder for him to get product out. Releases became less frequent, with just one single released in 1978 after the big success of "Red Light." 1979 saw two single releases which charted, but it wasn't until 1980 that his second album finally surfaced. While there was certainly a lack of certainty surrounding his status at the label, the situation did, at least, provide Billy with some interesting creative opportunities. The aforementioned 1978 single, for example, was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with producer Rick Hall -- known for his work on classic sides for the likes of Etta James, Wilson Pickett, and Laura Lee, to name a few. Harrison Calloway was arranger on the session. The song was entitled "Everything's Changed," and, indeed, marked a notable change in sound for Billy -- an interesting mixture of soul, disco, and country. "I had a great time down there, but musically, nothing much really happened, because I was nervous. I wasn't confident enough. When I compare it to the time I got the second chance to go to America -- New York, I was more sure of myself then."

    The next interesting opportunity came out of what might have initially appeared to be a dim situation. While the singles "American Hearts" and "Are You Ready" just missed the UK top-40 in 1979, their companion LP, 'City Limit,' appeared to wane quickly, sales-wise. However, it proved to be a treasure trove of quality R&B, pop, and disco gems, which some savvy publisher picked up on. Over the next year, no less than five of the album's songs were covered by a variety of established artists including The Dells, Lenny Williams, The Nolans, and La Toya Jackson. Billy discloses, "I never had any contact to be able to get my songs to them, so I can only imagine that they probably heard my work through the publishers. In any case, It came at a very good time, because it put me in a very good light -- not only as an artist, but also as a songwriter." This happening also put things in a good commercial light for Billy. The Nolans cracked the top 20 in Europe and Asia with their recording of "Who's Gonna Rock You," while La Toya Jackson took "Stay the Night" to the R&B top-40 in the U.S.

    While other artists were achieving chart success with Billy's compositions, he quietly released a single simply entitled "Nights" in late 1980. Epic's U.K. chapter didn't seem to put much promotional muscle into the release; but it found its way to dancefloors in a big way in the U.S. And before long, Billy was experiencing his biggest hit yet in this country, with the retitled "Nights (Feel Like Getting Down)" making major noise on radio stations, propelling it to #5 on the R&B singles chart. He recalls, "All these songs that were hits were really so on their own strength. In comparison to my [later] days with Jive, where people were actually working the records to create hits. But one of the things ['Nights'] did is really help me in the U.S. market. They invited me to Paradise Garage, and I did very well. It wasn't from scratch, because I was over here in Europe doing a lot of club dates. I really wasn't getting a lot of money for them, but it was a great period -- because it was experience. So, when 'Nights' took off in America, I was ready. I was nervous, but I didn't have any rust. I was really at the top of my trade." To this date, the song remains a classic crowd-pleaser as a regular part of Billy's shows.

    It's said that the third time is the charm, and that was arguably the case with many of the same songs from Billy's 'City Limit' LP that were covered by the aforementioned artists. With the sudden success of "Nights," Epic's U.S. division commissioned a full-length album. Pressed to get it out in a timely manner, Billy re-recorded those tunes, which had first been produced by Ken Gold, with producer Nigel Martinez. The result was the nine-cut "Nights (Feel Like Getting Down)" album, released in 1981. "I recorded the whole thing in something like 11 days. If you look at the 'City Limit' album as, 'This is a demo of what it should be like,' then it [didn't seem] like starting from scratch. Nigel had enough to go on to produce and create his own idea of what it should be." Unfortunately, the full-length didn't get all the attention it was entitled to, with Epic throwing out only one further single (the beautifully funky "Another Day Won't Matter") and then dropping the ball. Shortly thereafter, Billy recorded what was to be his last album with Epic: 1982's masterful 'Inner Feelings.' The first single was a sort of take-off on "Nights" with authentic Caribbean influences integrated into the funkiness -- "Calypso Funkin'." Chart positions weren't as lofty this time around, though, and the subsequent single releases ("Inner Feelings" in the U.S., "I Can't Stop" in the U.K.) fizzled without notice.

    But a major turning point was shortly around the corner. Signing with Clive Calder's Jive Records in 1983, Billy finally found a label home where he could work on his craft while being supported by the company's infrastructure to get it out in the marketplace in a far more noticeable, much less nonchalant manner. "What can I say? It's almost as if it was something that I was working towards, and all of a sudden, my time had come. Jive promised they would send me to America. All of the promises that they made, they kept. I was working with people like 'Mutt' Lange, Barry Eastmond, and very talented people. Barry was Lena Horne's musical director when he was 18. Wayne Brathwaite was working with Herbie Hancock as a bass player. And the nice thing about all of these people, except for Mutt Lange, is that they were unknown producers. We found success together. It was a very creative period. I have to say thanks to Clive Calder, who has to be the greatest record man in the world. He really knew how to put teams together. He knew what he wanted for the label, and for the artist. I had a lot of artistic freedom. I was working one-on-one with him, so it was a very good relationship."

    The hit streak that Billy was about to experience was of great proportion. Beginning with "Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)" in early 1984, he scored seven top-10 hits on the pop chart, and nine on the R&B chart, in the U.S. Furthermore, he won a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal in 1985 and two American Music Awards in 1986. He was also invited to perform at the American Live Aid Concert before an audience of 99,000. At this time, he was riding high on the success of his first Jive album, 'Suddenly,' produced by Keith Diamond and featuring now-classic hits like the title ballad, as well as "Loverboy" and "Mystery Lady." By year's end, though, he was nearing completion of his second LP for the label. 'Love Zone' was preceded by the uptempo pop-R&B driver "When the Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going)," which was boosted by an appearance in the movie "Jewel of the Nile." Further big hits from the album included "There'll Be Sad Songs (to Make You Cry)," "Love Is Forever," and the titletrack - a super smooth and sultry midnight groover.

    In between touring and recording, Billy also found time to produce for several other artists in the mid-80's. Notably, he helmed Ruby Turner and Jonathan Butler's cover version of The Staple Singers' "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)" and several cuts on teen singer Warren Mills' debut album. By 1987, though, he was getting ready for his own next album, 'Tear Down These Walls,' which would continue his streak of chart success and packed concerts. The album gave Billy his third #1 pop (and 4th #1 R&B) single in the U.S. via "Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car," and also spawned the popular singles in the top-10 R&B ballad "The Colour of Love" and titletrack single, co-written with Teddy Riley.

    Considering the constant success Billy enjoyed from 1984-1989, many were surprised when he decided to retreat from the limelight for nearly four years. However, the homefront was calling. So, after releasing his "Greatest Hits" album in 1989, he lay low until 1993. As Billy mentioned during an interview on the TV program 'Regis & Kathie Lee' that year, he had stopped to think about the time with his family he had been missing while constantly touring and recording. He also remarked that his mother's death had been a factor in putting his career on hold temporarily.

    When his comeback album, 'Time to Move On,' surfaced, Billy began sporting the hairstyle that he maintains to this day -- dreadlocks -- and began exploring new musical styles. During his hiatus, he had taken up playing steel drums. On the album, he wrote and produced with a diverse cast of players including R. Kelly, Hula and K. Fingers, Steely and Clevie, and Timmy Allen. The result was a potpourri of Caribbean-spiced dance numbers, romantic pop/R&B ballads, new-jack swing, and reggae. Unfortunately, not many people heard the album -- at least in comparison to his mid-80's output. "It was a very interesting period then," he recalls. "Clive Calder was going over to America, and I came across another transitional stage. I had fallen out with my manager, so all of the machinery that went into creating the hits wasn't there anymore. Hence, I didn't record for awhile."

    Indeed, Billy didn't record any further material for nine years. In 2002, Jive released a collection of his ballads entitled "Let's Get Back Together" in Europe. Among the contents were a previously unreleased ballad recorded in the 80's, and two newly recorded songs -- one a cover of Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You," the other a rendition of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds." The long drought of new material wasn't necessarily intended. "After the 'Time to Move On' album, when Clive went to America, it wasn't the same with the people I had to work with over here. Instead of beating my head against a brick wall, I thought, 'Maybe I'll just spend some time with my family. Of course, it sort of drifted into nearly 15 years, because, you know, time flies!" Notably, during this hiatus, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Westminster.

    To the relief of many fans the world over, Billy finally ended his absence from the music business in 2007, when he began embarking on a comeback tour -- mostly in the U.K., but with a few stops in the U.S. Of the latter, a particularly notable engagement was at B.B. King's in New York on October 27. This writer attended the show, and can vouch for the sheer energy and joy that permeated the club that night. Not to mention, it was my first introduction to the warm personality of Mr. Charles, who was very gracious at our backstage "meet-and-greet."

    With the delightful welcome-back response generated from these shows, in 2008, Billy took two more important steps toward making a full-fledged comeback: writing new material and recording it. The first result of this came in the spring, with the song "Chained" being featured on the U.K.-only compilation, 'Wilberforce 200 (A Change Is Gonna Come)' - commemorating the bicentennial anniverary of the abolition of the slave trade.

    Continuing to tour while readying a new full-length album, Billy made one very important decision concerning his new musical ventures: he would release his music independently. Billy notes that he decided, "I'm just gonna try things on my own. I had enough experience. At my age, where am I going to go to a record company and say, 'Hi, I'm Billy Ocean. Sign me.' They'd show me the door! But the truth of the matter is I'm still out there making music, touring, and I still feel I have something to offer."

    In February of this year, Billy put an end to the 16-year absence of a full-length album with the release of 'Because I Love You' on his own Aqua Music. Previously serving as his publishing company, Aqua now acts as his bonafide record label. "Nothing happens without a reason. I've always wanted to know what it would be like to be in charge of my own label and projects. But you don't know how to do it until one day you get the opportunity." 'Because I Love You' brings together Billy's loves of pop, R&B, and reggae in a cohesive sequence that showcases both his mastery of the ballad and his funk savvy.

    Commenting on his continued passion for making music, he notes, "Truly, if you are a writer and musician, and your concentration is on making the music, then that buzz will always be there. I can pick up my guitar and get a buzz from what's coming between myself and the guitar -- whether I'm strumming a John Lennon song, or Marvin Gaye." Those diverse influences are reflected in both the contemplative midtempo selection, "The Question Is" and the titletrack, an emotive, compelling ballad. Meanwhile, Billy takes the vibe back to his 80's groove with "Baby Don't Go," then does some unique sonic experimentation on the percussive, swaying dancer "Tenderness."

    Billy produced 'Because I Love You' with Greg Assing, whom he described as a full-fledged musician with a lot of technological prowess. The two first met while playing in a steel drum band together. The last few years, they've been working in the recording studio that Billy built in Grenada, where some of his family is from. "Every once in awhile we'd have a party at the panyard - where you rehearse and practice the steel drums. I met Greg down there and told him about my studio. He was interested, so we went down to Grenada, just after Hurricane Ivan. It was his first time there. He liked the country, and the whole set-up [of the studio] and said, 'I'm in!' I then got some new equipment. He told me what we needed to bring it up to date. Then, we started writing, and the album was made!"

    While 'Because I Love You' has so far only been released in the UK, that will likely change in 2010, when the album is set for release in America. "There was a plan to do it this year...but at my age, you don't need to rush anything, really. I think it's more important to take time and do it properly, because I don't have the facility of a [major] record company. Jive was a giant with connections all over the world, so they were ready to move whenever. It's not the same this time."

    In fact, many aspects of the industry have changed drastically since Billy's last album; but the reason that he's in the game again is the same one that prompted him to enter it over 30 years ago. "I am really a dinosaur when it comes to technology. Maybe if I knew too much I might find it disheartening. When I started, there was vinyl; then there were CD's; now there's I-Pods. When I started recording, I was doing so on an 8-track machine. Then I moved on to 16, then 24, and 32 -- and now, you can get a million! It's digital now. All of these transitions, I sort of move with -- without really understanding the mechanics of it. My attitude as far as music is concerned, though, hasn't really changed. At the end of the day, if you have a good song and you deliver it to the best of your ability and produce it to the best of your ability, then the rest is up to Joe Public."

    Well, Joe Public has been pretty kind to Mr. Ocean over the decades -- hit records, awards, sellout tours. Reflecting thus far on his accomplishments, Billy says there are a few standout moments. "I've been lucky. I've had some very successful periods in my life. People ask me what my favorite is. As a whole, I like all of them. But I get people saying to me, 'We played Suddenly at our daughter's wedding,' or 'The Colour of Love.'" But I do think "Caribbean Queen" is my favorite in the sense of being mercenary...That's the one that brought me to the attention of the world market." Be sure to listen to soulmusic.com's interview with Billy Ocean to hear additional scoop on specific phases of Billy's career!

  • Stem Whitney Houston niet in film over haar leven

    Pin it! Print 0 comments Categories: 2000 and more, 80's, 90's, Funk, Muziek, Pop, R&B, Soul Permalink

    In de film die over het leven van Whitney Houston wordt gemaakt, zal niet haar eigen stem te horen zijn.

    Volgens E! Online zullen de nummers van de overleden zangeres worden ingezongen door r&b-zangeres Deborah Cox.

    Het Amerikaanse televisienetwerk Lifetime, dat de film gaat produceren, heeft aan de entertainmentsite laten weten dat "er nog nog gewerkt wordt aan de muziekrechten, maar dat Cox de vocalen voor haar rekening neemt".

    Waarschijnlijk neemt Yaya DaCosta, bekend van America's Next Top Model, de rol van Houston voor haar rekening.

    Actrice Angela Bassett gaat de nog titelloze film regisseren. De film zal het regiedebuut worden van Bassett, die zelf in 1993 de rol van Tina Turner speelde in haar biografische film. De film over Whitney Houston zal inzoomen op haar onstuimige huwelijk met Bobby Brown.

    Wie de tegenspeler wordt van DaCosta is nog niet bekend. De film moet in 2015 klaar zijn.

     

    Door: BuzzE