This show features music from Adeva, Brainstorm, Al B. Sure, The Commodores, Crystal Waters, Diana Ross, Donald Byrd & 125th Street, Janet Jackson, Jody Watley, Junior, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Regina Belle, Rufus feat. Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Taana Gardner, Teena Marie and Whitney Houston.
Throwback Thursday Jamz - January 16, 2014!
Here is the debut of my new radio show “Throwback Thursday Jamz” heard exclusively here on The Meyers Music Report.
Today’s show features music from Aretha Franklin, Atlantic Starr, Chaka Khan, Chante Moore, Diana Ross, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Hall & Oates, Heatwave, The Isley Brothers, Kool & The Gang, McFadden & Whitehead, The O’Jays, Smokey Robinson, The Spinners, Stevie Wonder, A Taste of Honey, Tavares, Teddy Pendergrass, and Teena Marie.
In the 20-Minute Spotlight: Glady’s Knight & The Pips.
NEW MUSIC! / “Where Did We Go Wrong” by Toni Braxton & Babyface!
Here’s the second single from Toni Braxton & Babyface’s upcoming cd. ”Where Did We Go Wrong” was written by the pair for their album LOVE, MARRIAGE & DIVORCE, scheduled for release on February 4, 2014.
Happy Birthday Stacy Lattisaw!
The Meyers Music Reports sends Happy Birthday wishes out to our Facebook friend and R&B legend Stacy Lattisaw who turns 47 today.
At the tender age of 13, with one album already under her belt, Stacy made a huge impact on the R&B charts with her second album, 1980’s LET ME BE YOUR ANGEL. The singles “Dynamite” and the title track cracked the Top Ten (R&B), while “Just To The Beat” became a number one dance track.
For the next ten years Stacy would have a string of hits including covers of the classic soul tunes “Love On A Two Way Street” and “Hey There Lonely Boy”.
In 1984 she recorded PERFECT COMBINATION, a duet album with her childhood friend Johnny Gill. The two were enjoying a number one hit, “Where Do We Go From Here” in 1990 when Stacy voluntarily walked away the spotlight.
Since then she has married, become the mother of two and travels around ministering the love of God in word and song.
To learn more about what Stacy is doing today, feel free to visit her website www.stacylattisaw.net or “The Official Stacy Lattisaw Page” on Facebook.
For your pleasure, here is Stacy’s breakthrough hit “Let Me Be Your Angel”.
Olivia Gets “Physical”! (This Day In Music History)
On this day in music history, November 21, 1981 Olivia Newton-John began a 10-week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with her song “Physical” from the album of the same name. ”Physical” was produced by John Farrar whose long list of credits included previous Newton-John hits “Have You Never Been Mellow”, “Please Mr. Please”, as well as her work on the movie soundtracks GREASE and XANADU. Farrar also produced Newton-John’s subsequent hits “Heart Attack” and “Twist Of Fate”.
"Physical" sold two million copies and was also a considerable hit on the R&B charts. Newton-John was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance along with Kim Carnes for "Bette Davis Eyes", Sheena Easton for "For Your Eyes Only" and Juice Newton for "Angel Of The Morning". They would each lose to Lena Horne for the cast album to her one woman Broadway musical, "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music".
For your Thursday Throwback listening pleasure, here is Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”.
Lady Sarahdonna Did It First!
While Madonna and Lady Gaga continue to bicker over who stole whose style game, The Meyers Music Report would like to kindly remind them that Sarah Dash of Labelle did it first.
We hope this settles that debate once and for all. :-)
Talking About Miss Macy - A Never Before Published 2012 Interview with Macy Gray!
by Darnell Meyers-Johnson
(Phone interview recorded on October 26, 2012.)
A year ago we spoke to Macy Gray about her daring move to rerecord Stevie Wonder’s 1972 album TALKING BOOK in its entirety. The album remains one of Stevie’s most successful in his prolific career. It earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”. He would go on to win Grammys for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B song for “Superstition”.
We spoke to Macy earlier in 2012 about her then new album COVERED, a collection of covers of her favorites songs from the modern rock era. However, with the 40th anniversary of Stevie’s TALKING BOOK approaching, Macy’s version was released seven months later on October 30, 2012, four days after this interview was recorded.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to ask Macy all our questions. Our phone connection failed and the interview was never completed. It is being shared publicly for the first time today.
Macy Gray’s TALKING BOOK earned praise from both critics and Stevie Wonder himself. It is still available on iTunes, Amazon and all of the usual places you find great music.
Good Day, this is Darnell Meyers-Johnson for The Meyers Music Report on Tumblr.com. Today I’m speaking with an artist who isn’t afraid to follow the beat of her own drummer. She is creative. She is innovative. She is unique. And she’s been bringing all of that and more to the table since her first album dropped in 1999. We still enjoy one of her early hits, the hugely popular “I Try”. She is back with a project she calls a love letter to Stevie Wonder.
Today I am speaking with Ms. Macy Gray.
DMJ: How are you Macy?
MG: I’m doing great. How are you?
DMJ: I am doing very well and I do appreciate the time you’re taking out to speak with us today.
MG: No problem.
DMJ: You and I spoke earlier this year about your last album COVERED,which came out in March. Before we talk about your new album, first tell me why there is a new album coming out so soon?
MG: We were just in the studio going crazy is all. I just really wanted to do this covers album and this new one is a remake album. I did a remake of Stevie Wonder’s 1972 album TALKING BOOK.
The first album was just something I always wanted to do and this one is like a concept album. Actually, one of the producers came up with it. His name is Hal Willner. It was while we were discussing the covers album and he said, “You know what you really should do is remake an album. People remake movies all the time but I don’t think anybody’s ever remade a whole album.” And that’s when the discussions started. We went back and forth for awhile about which album to do and TALKING BOOK was always one of my favorite albums. Not just one of my favorites but one of the greatest albums ever made in my opinion made by one of the greatest artists of all time. It was definitely scary and a challenge but it was something I wanted to do and it happens to be the 40th anniversary of TALKING BOOK. He released it October 28, 1972, so the record comes out October 30, 2012. It’s not only celebrating him but letting him know how much he meant to me and how much he influenced by career and the music that I make and why I’m even an artist.
DMJ: In the introduction I called you innovative and unique. When you’re preparing to record a new project are you ever concerned about trends and what’s on the radio right now?
MG: What I do is, I don’t listen to anything while I’m making a record because I don’t want to second guess myself. And I don’t want to sound inferior like make a record and then I hear something on the radio and my record don’t sound like that one and then I get nervous. That’s happened before so I really shut out everything when I’m making an album because I realize that I do something different and I’m proud of that. So I just try to do the best with that, that I can, you know?
But I love a lot of that mainstream stuff, that commercial stuff. That music that’s commercial now is really kind of specific and I just don’t do that. And I don’t want to be fake and try to fit in like I’m in high school or something. So I just do my own thing. Sometimes a lot of people like it and sometimes only five people like it but at least I’m doing the things I want to do.
DMJ: Exactly! And you gotta be you. Who else is going to be you if you’re not going to do it, right?
MG: Exactly. That’s a very good point. Ain’t nobody else gonna do it but me.
DMJ: You’ve been in the music game for awhile. I know that you listen to a lot of music. Are there any newbies out there that you feel are going to have some staying power?
MG: Oh yeah!! Let’s see, do you mean like brand new, just coming out?
DMJ: Yeah, like say the last few years or so.
MG: Well, I’d say Chris Brown will be around for a long time because he’s so talented, as long as he doesn’t screw it up. I feel like he’ll be around for a long time because he works so hard and he’s just massively talented.
And who else? There’s that group Odd Future. There’s a bunch of them and I don’t know if they’ll all be around as a group, but I think you’ll hear about them as they get older. And of course, there’s Adele. She’ll be like Ella Fitzgerald. She’ll be 80 and still singing. Some people like that, you know? I think Rihanna’s music will last a while. She has some really, really great songs that I think you’ll be singing for a while. I’m not thinking of everybody I’ve heard of lately, but there’s a lot of good music out there for sure. You never know who it’s gonna be.
DMJ: You talked about Chris Brown and his work ethic. And I was going to ask you about your own work ethic a little later, but do you think that’s a key component to staying relevant in this business? People who stay in their grind?
MG: Oh yeah, it’s very, very hard work and I think people that stick around are just people who want to, who are dedicated to that. They’re the people who will look under very nook and cranny for a great song. It’s all about what you want. If you don’t nurture it, it will be temporary. But that’s like anything in life. It’s like the people you hear about constantly on the radio. It’s not an accident. Whether or not you like them, they work very, very hard to do what they do.
DMJ: As I’ve said before, I know you’re a big fan of music. Not just the creator of music, but a big fan as well. If we were to sneak through and take a look at your music collection or see what’s on your iPod, what would be the most surprising thing we’d find?
MG: Everybody is shocked when they see my Britney Spears collection. I’m a huge Britney Spears fan. Like the BLACKOUT album is one of the greatest albums. I don’t care what anybody says, I love that record. That one that she made when she was all in the press a lot. That album is awesome. It’s the best dance album. But I love “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. That’s one of my favorite songs. The words to that are excellent. ”My loneliness is killing me.” That’s the shit.
DMJ: Are we going to end up hearing a Britney Spears cover on a Macy Gray album?
MG: I know, right? I’m going to remake a Britney Spears album. I don’t now. She used to make some great tunes. As much as people talk about her or however they think about her, she makes great music. I know I sound crazy saying that. But I say it though because it’s not that she has bad taste. She has good songs.
DMJ: You mentioned that 40 years ago this month Stevie Wonder released his classic album TALKING BOOK. It had hits songs like “Superstition”, “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” and of course the wedding favorite, “You And I”. That album earned him three Grammy Awards. You made the very bold decision to record that entire album so of course I need to know, why?
MG: Like I said, I have so much respect for that record. It was such a great album. And of course it’s pointless to say I’m a Stevie Wonder fan. Who isn’t? And that’s one of his best albums. Actually, when we were working through it and learning it, he has all these crazy jazz chords and progressions, so I have a whole new respect for him. He has these things that you only hear on Miles Davis records and stuff. Like weird chord changes. He’s just really, deeply a genius with all these exquisite things in his songwriting. And he really hit it on that particular album. It’s just something I wanted to do. Like I said, my producer came up with the idea and I thought, “Oh that’s pretty cool.” Then we found out no one had ever done it before so I thought, “Let’s do it.” And I was nervous the whole time. It was a huge undertaking. Having to do re-writes on it too. That’s kind of crazy. But we did it anyway.
DMJ: In our last conversation we talked about it a little bit. You said you wanted to Stevie’s “Superstition” for your last project but you had some concern that people who normally cover that song don’t do it as well as he’d done it. So what changed your mind, particularly about song?
MG: I was definitely nervous about that song and I honestly told my band we should make it instrumental, but what we did was totally distanced ourselves from his arrangement of it. It’s completely different. His “Superstition” is in four. Ours is in three. It’s kind of psychedelic, like an acid trip kind of thing on it. That was the best thing we could think of because trying to do it was very difficult without sounding cheesy or karaoke. We just completely did a whole different thing with it. That’s it.
DMJ: As you know, Stevie Wonder has had so many big, landmark albums in his career, so many important albums that were really huge. SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE from ‘76, INNERVISIONS from ‘73, even HOTTER THAN JULY from ‘80. What was it about TALKING BOOK that stood out for you?
MG: Well, “You And I” is on TALKING BOOK and “Sunshine” and “Big Brother”. I’m not going to name the whole album because I love all of them. But there’s like three major classic songs that came off of that record. I really didn’t discover it until college. Everybody knows SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE and INNERVISIONS and all that but I picked up on (TALKING BOOK) in college. One of my friends played it for me and I don’t know, it was always really special to me. I can’t really explain why we did it. We just wanted to do it.
DMJ: You said that this project was your love letter to Stevie Wonder. You started to elaborate on that earlier. Can you explain what that means for you?
MG: Oh, there’s no way of showing Stevie how much I love him and how much his music means to me and how much it influenced my career, so that was the best that I could do.
Happy Birthday Melba Moore!
The Meyers Music Reports sends Happy Birthday love out to Tony Award winning R&B songstress Melba Moore who turns 68 today.
Moore’s entertainment career began as a studio background singer with the likes of Ashford & Simpson, when she was invited by composer Galt McDermot to audition for the musical he was composing entitled “Hair”. Moore won the role of “Dionne” and was a part of the original cast when the show opened on Broadway on April 29, 1968. Two years later she would be accepting a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in “Purlie”.
The success of “Purlie” led to the recording of her first two albums, 1970’s I GOT LOVE and 1971’s LOOK WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO THE MAN. Moore also earned her first Grammy nomination in ‘71 for Best New Artist, with fellow nominees Elton John, Anne Murray and The Partridge Family. They would all lose to The Carpenters.
A decade late Moore signed with Capitol Records and enjoyed perhaps the most prolific period of her recording career.
For your listening pleasure here’s Moore’s all-star version of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice And Sing” featuring Anita Baker, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Bobby Brown, The Clark Sisters, Dionne Warwick, Freddie Jackson, Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Osborne, Stephanie Mills, Stevie Wonder and Take 6. The selection is from her 1990 album SOUL EXPOSED.
Our Deepest Sympathies to The Brantley Family!
The Meyers Music Report extends our deepest sympathies to the family of noted music producer Vincent Brantley, who posted via his Facebook page moments ago that his father passed away this morning.
Brantley has an extensive resume in the music business, but remains well known for writing and producing two of New Edition’s biggest hits, “Cool It Now” and “Count Me Out”. He also spoke to this writer earlier in the year about his work with R&B songstress Angela Bofill, for the liner notes of SoulMusic Records’ reissue of her 1988 album INTUITION.
May the Brantley family find comfort and strength in each other and Our Lord during this difficult time.
We will keep them in prayer.
The Meyers Music Report
A Perfect Day For A Walk!
The Meyers Music Report sends condolences out to the family, friends and fans of rock icon songwriter/guitarist Lou Reed.
Reed died where he grew up, in New York (Long Island) earlier today of an undisclosed cause. In May he underwent a liver transplant. At the time his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson, told The Times of London: “It’s as serious as it gets. He was dying. You don’t get it for fun.”
Reed was 71.
Born Lewis Allan Reed in 1942 in Brooklyn, Reed is known as an early pioneer of rock & roll as one of the founders of the group The Velvet Underground.
The group made their debut in 1967, but by 1972 Reed began his solo career, which saw its greatest mainstream success with the release of “Walk On The Wild Side” from his second album TRANSFORMER.
As a member of The Velvet Underground, Reed was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Of their rising fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame offered this on their website:
"The group—vocalist/guitarist Reed, keyboardist and viola player John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Maureen “Moe” Tucker - played their first show together in 1965. The following year they were taken under the wing of artist Andy Warhol, who saw them perform at Cafe Bizarre in Greenwich Village. The Velvets soon became the house band at Warhol’s studio, the Factory, and the centerpiece of his multimedia extravaganza, the ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable.’ Their debut album, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO, featured a classic Warhol-designed pop-art jacket that depicted a big yellow banana. Inside were 11 songs that radically revised the rock and roll sensibility - especially two songs about drug addiction, one despondent and sobering (‘Heroin’) and another a ribald slice of Harlem street life (‘I’m Waiting for the Man’). Several songs, notably ‘Femme Fatale’ and ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’, featured the heavily accented vocals of cool German chanteuse Nico."
Reed has yet to be inducted into the Hall as a solo artist, despite being nominated twice. We predict that will change very soon.
Contemporary jazz multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson (who plays piano, drums, trombone and bass for anyone keeping count) will return with a re-recording of his debut album in February 2014.
That will mark the 20th anniversary of his first album, LONG NIGHT OUT, which he recorded in his apartment while still a student at DePaul University in Chicago. Most of the instruments on that initial project were programmed because of limited funding.
Fundraising goals were recently surpassed for the new re-recording, to be named ANOTHER LONG NIGHT OUT.
Culberston explained to The Meyers Music Report why he wanted to redo his debut effort and why he went to the fans for funding support: “For many years, I have wanted to remake the first album using real musicians and thought the 20th anniversary would be the perfect time. I turned to crowdsourcing because I saw it as a way for fans to be more involved and get cool opportunities they normally wouldn’t get and I am all about that. ANOTHER LONG NIGHT OUT is a return to my roots as a contemporary jazz player compared to the more commercial instrumental funk and R&B that I’ve been doing lately. I always liked these songs and I even like them more now with real musicians playing them.”
ANOTHER LONG NIGHT OUT will be Culbertson’s 14th release.
Feel Good Song Of The Day! / “Hallelulah Remix” by Twinkie Clark featuring The Clark Sisters!
Today’s Feel Good Song Of The Day comes to us courtesy of Twinkie Clark’s new cd LIVE & UNPLUGGED. ”Hallelujah Remix” was written by Twinkie and features her sisters, gospel legends The Clark Sisters.
The track was produced by Twinkie’s nephew, Larry Clark.
(A special shout out to reader Kenneth Covington for sharing this one with us.)
New Music! / “I Blame You” by Ledisi
Ledisi’s new album won’t be available until the first quarter of 2014, but she’s getting us ready with yesterday’s release of her new single “I Blame You”.
The tune was co-written by Ledisi with Claude Kelly and Charles Harmon. The three of them gave us the title track to Ledisi’s last album, 2011’s PIECES OF ME, which earned them a 2012 Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song. The year before, Kelly and Harmon were nominated in the same category for writing Fantasia’s single “Bittersweet”. And earlier this year Kelly was nominated in the same category for co-writing Tamia’s single “Beautiful Surprise”.