New music!

This morning I woke up to these birds chirping a sweet little melody, and I got all inspired! I pulled out my iPod and composed this little ditty while in bed 🙂 I even took a sample of the birds and used it in the recording. Hope you enjoy it!

 

Black Music History Facts: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis

Hello!

I know it’s been a few days since my last post. I was a bit under the weather, please forgive me. 😔

But I’m back! For today’s post of black music history fun facts, we have the amazing songwriting and music production team, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis! When I think of 80s and 90s R&B, they’re who I think of. They helped to make some of your favorite R&B hits, and if you don’t know about them…it’s time!

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  • James Samual “Jimmy Jam” Harris III and Terry Steven Lewis have been making hit after hit since 1982.
  • Jimmy Jam is the son of famous Minneapolis jazz and blues musician, Cornbread Harris.
  • Harris and Lewis met in high school in Minneapolis and formed a band called, Flyte Tyme, which became The Time.
  • Morris Day joined them in ’81 and they toured with Prince.
  • They produced their first record for the SOS Band.
  • They were known for being one of the few who used the Roland TR-808 drum machine
  • They produced Janet Jackson’s breakthrough album, Control in ’86. (Won a Grammy)
  • In ’89, they hit it again with Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (4 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits)
  • In 1990 Jam And Lewis recorded “Pandemonium” with The Time, which was released on Prince’s Paisley Park Records.
  • In 2005, they opened up their recording studios in Sana Monica, Flyte Tyme West.
  • They have 31 top ten hits on the charts in the US and the UK
  • Acts they’re associated with: The Time, Prince, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, The SOS Band, Boyz II Men, Usher, Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, New Edition, Patti LaBelle, and more!

    Here’s a short interview:

    And a playlist of some of their hits: 

Black Music History Facts: William Grant Still

Hey hey!

It’s day 2 of Black History Month, and I’m back with more black music history fun facts!

William Grant Stills is a classical composer and gas had major orchestras play his compositions. He was a trailblazer for the African Americans in the world of classical music.

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  • Born May 11, 1895 in Woodville, Mississippi
  • He started taking violin lessons at the age of 15. He then taught himself clarinet, saxophone, oboe, double bass, cello, and viola (He was pretty amazing, no?)
  • Still actually went on to Wilberforce University to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree.
  • He conducted the band at his university and started composing and orchestrating…all while teaching himself to play more instruments.
  • Received a scholarship to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
  • He was a student of George Whitefield Chadwick and later Edgard Varèse. (Both were composers/musicians)
  • Worked as an arranger for popular music
  • Played in the pit for various musicals
  • In 1934, we starting writing his first opera. He went on to write 8 operas.
  • In 1949 his opera, Troubled Island, was performed by the New York City Opera. It was the first opera by an African American to be performed by a major company.
  • He went on to conduct the New Orleans Philharmonic in 1955. He was the first African American to conduct a major orchestra in the south.
  • He was also the first African American to have an opera performed on television in the US. A Bayou Legend premiered on PBS in 1981.

Afro-American Symphony – I. Moderato Assai

This symphony was the first one written by an African American and performed in the US by a major orchestra. As you’ll hear, this piece has classical and blues elements. The best of both worlds!

 

 

 

Black Music History Facts: Lena Horne

Happy Black History Month!

I love history, I love music, and I love my fellow black folks 🙂

Every day this month, I’ll be posting black music history fun facts. Today’s feature is the amazing, elegant, and strong, Lena Horne.

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  • Born June 30th, 1917.
  • She was in the Chorus line of the Cotton Club when she was 16.
  • Moved to Hollywood and started playing small roles in films, then moved on to bigger roles in 1943 (Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather)
  • First African-American signed to a long-term studio contract
  • She was one of the first to work on both sides of the “color line”. She sang with both white and black swing and jazz groups.
  • She was blacklisted as a Communist because of her participation in the Civil Rights Movement and her friendship with Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois, who were activists.
  • Received Honorary Doctorate from Howard University in 1980
  • Her career spanned over 70 years
  • More of a random fact….she guest starred on The Cosby Show and A Different World back in the 80s and 90s (two of my favorite shows haha)

– Bri