Tag: Motown

Happy 67th Birthday, Stevie Wonder! Here’s 15 Stories About The Music Legend Worth Reading 

Stevie Wonder (photo via okayplayer.com)

by Kevito via okayplayer.com

What can be said that hasn’t already been shared about Stevland Hardaway Morris? Better known around six galaxies as Stevie Wonder, the man, former child prodigy and one of the most successful musicians of the late 20th century turns 67-years-old today (May 13). For those not old enough to know the story of the “Lil’ Stevie Wonder,” here it goes: Signed to Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11, he performed, wrote, sung and produced records for them all the way into the 2010s.

With iconic singles such as “Sir Duke,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Isn’t She Lovely,” “Superstition,” and albums such as Talking BookInnervisions and Songs in the Key of Life — Stevie has more than 30 U.S. top ten hits, won 25 Grammy Awards, helped to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s birthday into a national holiday. He is an official “Messenger of Peace” for the United Nations and one of the all-time top artists for the Billboard Hot 100.

To us, he is simply a man who has been in touch with the divine spirit of the Creator, and has illuminated our worlds with his songs and legacy. From playing on street corners with his friend back in the days to throwing down at President Barack Obama‘s last White House party — Stevie Wonder’s impact on pop culture, politics, activism and music are the stuff of legends. For that, we celebrate his life and continuing revolution around the sun by championing these 15 stories that you should read to get more familiar with the architect behind so many classic jams.

Brayton Bowman Puts A Valentine’s Day Twist On This Stevie Wonder Classic [Premiere]

Stevie Wonder Talks God, Race + A Nickname From The Temptations On PBS’ ‘Blank On Blank’

Charlie Murphy Claims Stevie Wonder Was A Boxer In A New ‘True Hollywood Story’

“I Encourage You To Choose Love Over Hate” – Stevie Wonder Pleads For #BlackLiveMatter In London

Stevie Wonder: “Prince’s music was so picturesque that even I could see it.”

Watch Outtakes From Stevie Wonder’s Karaoke Session w/ James Corden

Snoop Dogg Tells The Tale Of Collaborating With Stevie Wonder On New LP ‘Bush’

Watch An Animated Peanut Butter Wolf Introduce Stevie Wonder To Madlib

Stevie Wonder Takes Us Behind The Creation Of “Love’s In Need Of Love Today”

Stevie Wonder Lists The Top Ten Advantages Of Being Blind On The Late Show With David Letterman

Throwback Thursday: When Bob Marley Met Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder & Michael Jackson

MLK Day Was 20 Years In The Making And Stevie Wonder Was There Every Step Of The Way

Stevie Wonder Weighs In On Ferguson & Eric Garner’s Death Mid-Show In Seattle

Unreleased Stevie Wonder Track “So Much In Love” Surfaces

Stevie Wonder Boycotts Florida Following Zimmerman Verdict

Source: Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder: Here’s 15 Stories About The Music Icon You Should Read Okayplayer

Music Legend Stevie Wonder Honored With Detroit Street in His Name

Stevie Wonder (photo via blackamericaweb.com)
Stevie Wonder Avenue (photo via blackamericaweb.com)

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit roadway has been renamed for Motown legend Stevie Wonder. The award-winning singer and songwriter attended a Wednesday ceremony to honor him, alongside hundreds of people including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and U.S. Rep. John Conyers.

Applause broke out when the sign for “Stevie Wonder Ave” was unveiled along Milwaukee Avenue, two blocks from the site of Wonder’s first home in the city.

Wonder moved to Detroit from Saginaw, Michigan as a child and signed with Motown Records when he was only 11 years-old.  His first recordings were done under the moniker “Little Stevie Wonder.”

To read original article, go to: Stevie Wonder Honored With Detroit Street In His Name | Black America Web

Jamie Foxx to Produce Limited TV Series on Marvin Gaye with Suzanne de Passe

Jamie Foxx / Marvin Gaye (photo via rollingstone.com)

article by Ryan Reed via rollingstone.com

Jamie Foxx will chronicle Marvin Gaye’s triumphant, tragic life story in a planned limited series about the soul icon. The actor is executive producing the project alongside Passe Jones Entertainment’s Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones, who will shop the series to various linear and digital outlets, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I’ve been a huge fan my whole life. His brilliance in music is unparalleled,” Foxx said in a statement. “Marvin Gaye’s story has always fascinated me.”

Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., who signed Gaye to the legendary Detroit label in 1961, offered his official blessing to the series: “Marvin was the truest artist I have ever known,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I am confident that this is the right team to bring his story to the audience in an authentic and compelling way.”

At Motown, Gaye found success with his romantic musical persona, partnering with duet partners like Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell. But he explored social issues and sexual subject matter on later LPs, including 1971 masterpiece What’s Going On and 1973’s Let’s Get It On, respectively. After a commercial decline later in the decade, he found a resurgence with 1982’s Midnight Love and hit single “Sexual Healing.” But his story ended tragically in 1984, when he was fatally shot at age 44 by his father in Los Angeles.

While numerous actors, musicians and filmmakers have attempted to produce Gaye biopics over the years, Foxx’s is the first authorized by the late singer’s family. “This project will be a powerful and definitive telling of Marvin Gaye’s life story,” said Gaye’s son, Marvin Gaye III, who will also executive produce the project.

To read more, go to: Marvin Gaye’s Family Approves Jamie Foxx-Produced Series – Rolling Stone

Smokey Robinson to Executive Produced Animated Children’s Series Based on Motown Music for Netflix

Smokey Robinson performs at A Capitol Fourth concert at the U.S. Capitol, West Lawn, on July 4, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Smokey Robinson (photo via eurweb.com)

article via eurweb.com

Netflix has picked up an original animated children’s series that will feature contemporary artists performing hit songs from the Motown catalog that will serve as inspiration for each episode.

From writer/director Josh Wakely (“Beat Bugs”), the as-yet-untitled project will feature Motown icon Smokey Robinson as its executive music producer.

The series will include 52 classic Motown hits, including those made famous by all-time greats like Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and many more.

Per Netflix:

The series revolves around a lovable, funny and slightly shy eight-year-old boy named Ben, who discovers he has the extraordinary ability to bring street-art to life. Ben and his family live in the imaginary city of Motown, based on Detroit and its rich musical heritage. Inspired by the words and melodies of Motown’s classic songs, Ben and his friends Angie and Mickey, along with an amazing cast of enchanting street art characters, discover that creativity is magic as they revive vibrancy to their city and learn life lessons.

Marvin Gaye Documentary “Marvin, What’s Going On?” Set to Film This Year

Marvin Gaye Documentary Movie ‘Marvin, What’s
COURTESY OF JIM BRITT/THE MICHAEL ORE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, the life and art of legendary musician Marvin Gaye is being developed int a feature documentary by Noah Media Group and Greenlight called, “Marvin, What’s Going On?” The film will center on Gaye’s creation of his seminal 1971 album “What’s Going On” and marks the first time that his children — Nona Gaye, Marvin Gaye III and Frankie Gaye — along with his former wife, Janis Gaye, have supported and contributed to such a project.

The documentary is slated to go into production this year and is intended to be “the defining portrait of this visionary artist and his impeccable album,” according to a statement from the film’s producers.

The album, which was recorded at the zenith of Detroit’s Motown era, was heavily influenced by the troubling Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Gaye produced an album that “challenged America and the world to self-reflect, going on to inspire a generation of artists and music lovers,” the producers said. “The relevance of [his] masterpiece…is as strong as ever.”

The project will be filmed in Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, and will feature exclusive interviews with several top Motown artists and never-before-seen archive footage unearthed by Gaye’s children and former wife. The film is set to be released in 2017.

In a joint statement, Gaye’s children commented: “We would like to express our excitement about the upcoming documentary feature film about our father and the creation of his amazing ‘What’s Going On’ album. We are proud that his relevance remains intact, and we look forward to being a part of this cinematic journey.

“Our father was complex, but we are confident that with Noah Media Group’s attention to detail and their dedication to the truth, the positive, inspirational and aspirational aspects of his life will be handled and shared with the world in a way never seen before.

“We look forward to participating and sharing what we can through friends, family, photos, footage and priceless stories that only those who knew our father up close and personal would know, as well as his contemporaries, purists and fans who have studied him and his art over decades.

“’What’s Going On?’…something many of us find ourselves asking today, 45 years later. Peace.”

Fan Favorite La’Porsha Renae May Not Have Won “American Idol,” but she Landed a Record Deal

FOX
La’Porsha Renae and Season 15 “Idol” winner Trent Harmon (photo courtesy of Fox)

article via clutchmagonline.com

To much surprise, La’ Porsha Renae did not win last night’s final American Idol season. But don’t fret. Look at the great singers who haven’t won, like Jennifer Hudson.  La’Porsha has landed a record deal, that will no doubt propel her career.

Fox

La’Porsha Renae will be joining the Universal Music Group family, signing with 19/Big Machine/Motown Records, in partnership with Big Machine.

“Because of the overwhelming fan demand and success of the farewell season of American Idol, we have made the decision to sign both the winner, Trent Harmon, and runner-up, La’Porsha Renae, to exclusive recording agreements,” Big Machine Label Group founder and CEO Scott Borchetta tells Billboard. “I can’t think of a better way to bring this American institution to a close. Everyone at the Big Machine Label Group, the Universal Music Group and Motown Records are so thrilled with the outcome and can’t wait to get to work.”

Renae’s album will be overseen by Ethiopia Habtemariam, president of Motown and president of urban music/co-head of creative at Universal Music Publishing Group, who tells Billboard, “We are extremely excited to partner with Big Machine and 19 Entertainment on such an incredible talent as La’Porsha.”

In case you’re not familiar with the power of La’Porsha, check out her stirring performance of “No More Drama” on “Idol” below:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Honors Smokey Robinson at 20th Annual Music Masters Series

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R&B and soul legend William “Smokey” Robinson will be honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Case Western Reserve University during the 20thAnnual Music Masters™ series, presented by Klipsch Audio. Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of the sophomore class of inductees in 1987. The weeklong celebration, Nov. 2-7, 2015, will culminate with the Annual Music Masters concert on Sat., Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. EST at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre.

The tribute concert, presented by Klipsch Audio, on Nov. 7 will feature previously announced Inductees Dennis Edwards, Martha Reeves, and Mary Wilson, as well as the Robert Glasper Experiment.  New guests scheduled to perform include Avant, Avery*Sunshine, Bilal, JoJo, Eric Roberson, and Michelle Williams. Adam Blackstone (who has worked with artists such as Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake) will serve as the tribute concert’s Musical Director.  Robinson will attend the tribute concert to accept the award but is not scheduled to perform.

Tickets to the Nov. 7 concert range from $30 – $100 and are available now at the Playhouse Square box office, by calling (216) 241-6000, or by visiting www.playhousesquare.org. A limited number of premium seating and VIP packages beginning at $300 are available by contacting the Rock Hall’s development office at (216) 515-1201 or development@rockhall.org by Fri., Oct. 30.

To open the tribute concert, Case Western Reserve will bestow an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Smokey Robinson, recognizing his many musical and cultural contributions, which extend from enduring songs to his leadership in the music industry. The university awards honorary degrees to recognize those who exemplify in their work the highest ideals and standards of excellence in any valued aspect of human endeavor, including scholarship, public service and the performing arts.

Additional events include:

JUST ANNOUNCED!  FREE with RSVP – Mon., Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. – “Smokey Robinson and the Sensual Black Avant-Garde” / Author Series with Jason King at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives (2809 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland).  Reservations can be made through the Rock Hall website at https://tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall Box Office.

FREE with RSVP – Wed., Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. – An Evening with Members of the Music Masters tribute band in the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater.  This event will be streamed live at http://rockhall.com.

FREE – Thurs., Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. – Keynote Lecture “You Really Got a Hold On Me” by Dave Marsh at Case Western Reserve University’s Tinkham Veale University Center (11038 Bellflower Road, Cleveland OH).   Marsh, rock critic, historian, anti-censorship activist, talk show host, and “Louie Louie” expert, has written more than 20 books about rock and popular music, and edited that many more.  In this talk, Marsh will explore more than 50 years of listening to Smokey and why, in his opinion, Smokey Robinson is the best singer-songwriter ever.  This event is free and reservations are not required.  Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This event will be streamed live at http://rockhall.com.

Sat., Nov. 7 from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. – Annual Music Masters Conference in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Foster Theater

The conference will celebrate Smokey Robinson’s impact on popular music, including a panel discussion on Smokey moderated by renowned author and Smokey Robinson autobiography co-author, David Ritz. Ritz will be joined by Harry Weinger, Vice President, A&R at Universal Music Enterprises; Jason King, Director of Writing, History & Emergent Media Studies at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music; and Andy Flory, Assistant Professor of Music at Carleton College. There will be a special Motown-inspired performance and master class with the youth of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland as well as interviews with special guests. Tickets are $25 ($10 lunch voucher included) and are available through the Rock Hall website at https://tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall Box Office.  Admission to the Museum is free with the purchase of a conference ticket. 

Sat., Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. – Annual Music Masters Tribute Concert at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre.  Tickets to the November 7 tribute concert range from $30 – $100 and are at the Playhouse Square box office, by calling (216) 241-6000, or by visiting www.playhousesquare.org.  A limited number of premium seating and VIP packages beginning at $300 are available by contacting the Rock Hall’s development office at (216) 515-1201 or development@rockhall.org by Friday, October 30.  

Special programming for teachers and students:

Tues., Nov. 3 – Digital Classroom: Launch of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Education Unit

The Rock Hall’s award-winning education team will launch a special Smokey Robinson and the Miracles teaching unit as part of their Digital Classroom online curriculum on Tuesday, November 3. The Digital Classroom allows teachers and students to learn more about rock and roll history with lesson plans, listening guides, and exclusive content that can be used in classroom. To learn more, visit http://www.rockhall.com/digitalclassroom.

About Smokey Robinson:

Save for founder Berry Gordy, no single figure has been more closely allied with the Detroit-based recording empire known as Motown than William “Smokey” Robinson. In addition to leading the Miracles, Robinson served as a Motown producer, songwriter, talent scout and Gordy’s most trusted confidant and right-hand man.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles scored twenty-seven pop-soul hits at Motown between 1960 and 1971, including the classics “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Shop Around,” “Going to a Go-Go” and “I Second That Emotion.” The Miracles’ brightest moments on record – “Ooo Baby Baby,” “The Tracks of My Tears” and “The Tears of a Clown” foremost among them – still kindle memories for those who came of age in the Sixties. Continue reading “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Honors Smokey Robinson at 20th Annual Music Masters Series”

“Vampire Diaries” Actress Kat Graham To Star in Tammi Terrell Biopic

Kat Graham Tammi Terrell 2-shot
(Getty Images/Motown Records)

 The woman who teamed with Marvin Gaye on a string of 1960s Motown hits before dying of a brain tumor at age 24 is getting her own biopic. Tammi Terrell will be played by The Vampire Diaries star Kat Graham, who also is working her debut album with producer BabyfaceMaryam Myika Day wrote the untitled project, which marks Graham’s feature debut and is being produced by Robert Teitel, Rose Ganguzza and Hilary Shor. Shooting is set for next year.

The film follows the brief but memorable career of Terrell, who started out as a backup singer in the James Brown Revue before scoring a few minor pop hits as a solo act. But she struck gold after being paired with hit-making singer Gaye in early 1967, a teaming that produced such Motown classics as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Your Precious Love” and “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing.” In October 1967, Terrell collapsed onstage while performing with Gaye, and doctors diagnosed her with a brain tumor. She continued to record with Gaye and scored a few more solo hits before dying in 1970.

“I immediately connected to Tammi and her story in many ways and have felt the incredible need to tell it,” Graham said. “Tammi Terrell defined passion and soul itself. … Getting lost in the music enabled her to override life’s punishments — for when she sang, she could use the hurt to create greatness and give the world hope that maybe they could overcome their pain as well.”

article by Erik Pedersen via deadline.com

“The Wiz” Lives on NBC this December as Live Musical Event

b_p_TheWizAccording to Variety.com, NBC has announced it will make its next live musical television event a remake of the 1975 Tony Award-winner “The Wiz.” The remake will air on December 3.

Opening in 1975, “The Wiz” ran for four years on Broadway and won seven Tonys, including best musical. It retells the classic story of “The Wizard of Oz” in an African-American context.

In 1978, the musical was adapted into a movie produced by Motown and starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and original Broadway cast member Ted Ross. NBC’s announcement of the holiday television event comes at a time when broadcast networks are setting more diversified roles and casting more and more actors of color on TV, following the success of Fox’s “Empire” and ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” among other series.

the wiz nbc musical
Cast of the 1978 “The Wiz” Movie (UNIVERSAL)

“The Wiz” marks NBC’s third such production, following the success of “The Sound of Music Live!,” starring Carrie Underwood, and “Peter Pan Live!,” starring Allison Williams as the title character.

“The Wiz” will be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division. After the television event, the musical will make its Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season, also presented by Cirque du Soleil.

Casting for both projects has yet to be announced. Continue reading ““The Wiz” Lives on NBC this December as Live Musical Event”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum to Host FREE Admission Day with Special Events in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 10.11.56 AM

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH is hosting its 14th annual FREE admission day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 19, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Museum will offer a day filled with live performances, education programs and family activities that will highlight how people use music to find their voice and create a sense of community.

Visitors are invited to experience the Rock Hall’s many exhibits that showcase how Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and other artists have used popular music to communicate ideas to a wide audience and bring about social change.  The day of events is sponsored by KeyBank.

In addition to free admission, visitors will be able to enter for a chance to win a Museum membership, as five Family Roller memberships will be raffled off during the day.  For a list of current exhibits and for more information about this and other Rock Hall events, visit http://www.rockhall.com.

Klipsch Audio stage entertainment lineup:

Jason Walker of Sounds of Entertainment will emcee the events.

The Antioch Spiritual Arts Choir, an acclaimed co-ed choir from Antioch Baptist Church who focus on spirituals, folk and gospel music.

West Side Community House’s Summer of Sisterhood program began in 2010 under the leadership of Ali McClain, youth services director.  The program teaches girls ages 10-18 how the power of creative expression can positively change their community and even the world.  The girls work intensively for eight week with professional teaching artists to create original songs, music videos, and live performances of their work.

The Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word, a powerful performance arts and spoken word group comprised of adolescent males (age 12-19) from various inner city Cleveland communities.

Inspire *1* One, a band comprised of former students from Cleveland School of the Arts.

Lake Erie Ink, a writing space for youth is a non-profit that provides creative expression opportunities and academic support to youth in the greater Cleveland community.  LEI works with youth from different socio-economic, cultural and academic backgrounds, using creative writing to increase literacy and social engagement. The organization offers creative expression workshops onsite and off, to youth of all ages, including an after school program, weekly evening workshops for teens, and monthly weekend workshops and open mics.

Foster Theater Programming:

Programming will be taught by the Rock Hall’s award-winning education staff.  Seating is limited. Attendance will be on a first-come first-served basis.

Special Presentation:  “Rock and Roll and the Civil Rights Movement”
This program will explore how a range of artists, from Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke to Berry Gordy at Motown and rock and roll pioneer Fats Domino created a popular music that empowered African Americans to take their rightful place in American society. Young people of all races flocked to their performances and embraced their music, which helped to break down the walls and barriers that the Civil Rights movement was fighting against.

Album Spotlight: Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On
This special presentation will focus on the making and impact of Marvin Gaye’s landmark 1971 album, which still resonates for listeners today. The full album will be played, with no interruption, with discussion to follow. Continue reading “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum to Host FREE Admission Day with Special Events in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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