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  1. More than just a songwriter, it appears, a coach, if you will, somebody who provided successful guidance when it was needed. Who knows where things would have gone if Stevie did not get this direction when he did, who knows? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/arts/music/sylvia-moy-songwriter-who-worked-with-stevie-wonder-dies-at-78.html?_r=0 Sylvia Moy, Songwriter Who Worked With Stevie Wonder, Dies at 78 Sylvia Moy and Stevie Wonder, with, behind from left, James Jamerson, Earl Van Dyke and Robert White of the Funk Brothers, in 1967. Credit Motown Records Archives Sylvia Moy’s arrival at Motown in 1964 coincided with the company’s concerns about the future of Mr. Wonder’s career. A year earlier, “Fingertips Pt. 2,” a mostly instrumental number that showcased the 13-year-old prodigy’s virtuosity on the harmonica, reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and R&B charts. But his subsequent recordings were not as successful, and Motown executives were uncertain what to do with him as he grew into adulthood. “There was an announcement in a meeting that Stevie’s voice had changed, and they didn’t know exactly how to handle that,” Ms. Moy said in an interview after her induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. “They asked for volunteers. None of the guys would volunteer. They were going to have to let him go.” Whether Berry Gordy Jr., Motown’s founder and patriarch, would have released an artist as talented as Mr. Wonder is debatable. But Mr. Gordy did not have to make the decision. After the meeting, Ms. Moy beseeched Mickey Stevenson, the head of artists and repertoire at Motown, to give her a chance to work with Mr. Wonder. “Let this be my assignment,” she said she told Mr. Stevenson. “I don’t believe it’s over for him. Let me have Stevie.” She said that she asked Mr. Wonder to play some of the “ditties” he had been working on, but she heard nothing that sounded like a hit. Then, as she was leaving, he played one final snippet of music for her and sang, “Baby, everything is all right.” There wasn’t much more, she recalled, and she told him that she would take it home and work on the melody and lyrics. With the songwriting help of Henry Cosby, a Motown producer, “Uptight” was completed. In the recording studio, though, there was no transcription of the lyrics into Braille for Mr. Wonder to read from. So Ms. Moy sang the words to him through his earphones. “I would stay a line ahead of him and we didn’t miss a beat,” she said in a video interview in 2014 with Michelle Wilson, an independent producer based in Virginia Beach. “Uptight” topped the R&B chart and rose to No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100. It also led to further work for Ms. Moy with Mr. Wonder and Mr. Cosby on songs like “My Cherie Amour” (1969), “Nothing’s Too Good for My Baby” (1966) and “I Was Made to Love Her” (1967), which included Mr. Wonder’s mother, Lula Mae Hardaway, as a co-writer. Ms. Moy said that Mr. Wonder’s title for “My Cherie Amour” had been “Oh, My Marcia,” but she gave it a French twist.
  2. Hello, I am currently in the process of writing a screenplay about a fictional jazz musician in the mid-1950's and my research has hit a brick wall. I am hoping to find any help I can get in regards to the business side of jazz musicians at this time, namely: What was the role of a manager for a jazz musician in the 1950's? - What role would the manager play in the musicians career? Booking gigs? Handling the financial side? Booking studio time? - How much of an input would the manager have in the career of the musician? It seems like the artist would have a lot, if not all control over who they played with, what musicians they collaborated with, and authority over pretty much all of the artistic decisions. At what point would a jazz musician gain representation? - Was it possible/common for artists to manage themselves or not have representation altogether? Was the role of a manager essential? Would the manager represent just one person or the whole group? - It would seem any business decisions would affect the whole group of musicians in say a quartet, would a manger represent just the leader of the group or would he represent the group as a whole? - Would each musician have different representation or would some not have any representation at all? - If he represented the group as a whole and the band leader were to fire him, would he stop representing every musician in the group? Would the artist(s) have to sign a binding contract to a manager? The character in question is a (locally) well respected musician but has not reached any national level of fame, or recorded any studio albums yet. He is getting work due to his reputation as a musician, but has yet to reach any real level of success. If anyone knew the managerial situations of artists such as Miles, Coltrane or Bill Evans both prior to or during the 50's 60's that would also be very useful. Thank you in advance for any help whatsoever with the above questions, any other useful information regarding the business/management side of jazz in the 50's (/60's) would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks!