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    Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis Interview by Dan Kimpel

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    maxim9691

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    Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis Interview by Dan Kimpel

    Post by maxim9691 on Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:52 am

    ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award
    Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis


    ASCAP is proud to present The Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award to Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis for their outstanding contributions as songwriters, producers and musical innovators whose artistry and humanity continue to influence and inspire the world of music.

    Oscar and Emmy nominations, an NAACP Image Award, an Essence Award, The ASCAP Golden Note and additional ASCAP honors as Rhythm and Soul Songwriters of the Year five consecutive years, 1988 - 1992, and again in 1994 and 1995, plus Pop Songwriters of the Year in 1988 and 1992; even a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As creators of over 100 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums - 16 #1 pop hits, 25 #1 R&B smashes, and winners of three Grammy's with eight nominations - Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are rightfully acknowledged as the most successful songwriting and production team in modern music history.

    Across a span of genres, from pop, soul and dance to rap, gospel, rock and reggae, their genius is distilling the purest essence of artists into luminous productions and equally stunning songs. The Minneapolis, Minnesota natives have written for and/or produced a slate of hit makers including Boyz II Men, Sting, Mary J. Blige, Elton John, Usher, Shaggy, Yolanda Adams, Herb Alpert, Luther Vandross, Rod Stewart, New Edition, Human League, Earth, Wind and Fire, Mariah Carey, Robert Palmer, Gwen Stefani, Kanye West and Sounds of Blackness. They guided perhaps their best-known artist, Janet Jackson, into the stratosphere of superstardom with over 40 million records sold worldwide and over 20 gold and platinum singles.

    They first exploded into international prominence as musicians and members of a band with Prince and Morris Day. "Being in The Time" notes Lewis, "opened the doors to meet top music industry executives." As record and publishing entrepreneurs, their accomplishments with Flyte Tyme Records are well documented. Lesser known, but equally significant, is their commitment to music and arts education as they nurture and inspire the next generations of creators. Their ongoing legacy and hit making destiny will continue to unfold, notes Jam by "Not being afraid of change, and embracing new technology and ideas. You have to keep looking forward and appreciating the new forms of music and the people that are making the music. Technology and talent: We'll be around to have a part in the future."

    Accolades and achievements aside, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' indelible mark on modern music is distinguished by a dignity and a richness that is a blessing to audiences worldwide. They are currently recording new projects with Janet Jackson, Jessica Simpson, and a multi-artist tribute to Luther Vandross.

    WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO SUSTAINING YOUR CREATIVE RELEVANCE?
    Jimmy Jam: I think number one is we don't do anything alone; the partnership aspect has a lot to do with it.

    Terry Lewis: Loving music and working with brilliant artists who inspire and drive the creativity.

    HOW DID YOU COME BY YOUR MUSICAL DIVERSITY?
    Jimmy Jam: To maximize the amount of events we could play as a local band we had to be versatile enough in a club when someone said, 'I need you guys to play an hour of jazz while people are having dinner. Then I need you to play some hits from the radio and requests.' When you play different types of music you appreciate how the arrangements are put together and the lyrics and songs.

    Terry Lewis: Living in Minneapolis and being exposed to very little R&B but a lot of pop and rock and playing for different functions like ski lodges, we had to know standards, ballads, jazz, pop, rock, R&B, etc. in order to get jobs. If you didn't know the music you were forced to learn it.

    AT WHAT POINT DID YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELVES AS SONGWRITERS?
    Jimmy Jam: We met when I was 13 and Terry was 15. We grew up with different influences and we couldn't figure out how to channel them together in a collaborative process. It took us awhile to figure out how to do it together, but it's worked well.

    Terry Lewis: I was always a songwriter even when I didn't know it, writing poetry and my thoughts. I didn't like to talk a lot, so I would write...everything.

    WHAT CUES DO YOU TAKE FROM THE ARTISTS WITH WHOM YOU WRITE IN TERMS OF SONG DIRECTION AND LYRICAL NARRATIVE?
    Jimmy Jam: The inspiration comes from the artist. Someone like Janet is very involved. It varies from artist to artist, but we really like the collaborative process and when the artist brings their vision into it.

    Terry Lewis: The artist always takes the lead because if it's a hit they have to sing the song for the life of their career. It works better when an artist actually feels what they sing instead of putting ideas and concepts into their heads. With Janet, we just hung out with her and did things that she'd never done before, like going to clubs. By doing that, she began to feel comfortable with us and started talking about life. Same thing with Mary J. Blige. Mary's life always has a dramatic setting so a song like 'No More Drama' seemed fitting.

    WHO DOES WHAT IN YOUR SONGWRITING PARTNERSHIP?
    Jimmy Jam: Terry tends to do more of the lyrics. It's simple why: I talk in paragraphs and he talks in sentences. To be a songwriter you have to bring across your idea quickly and efficiently.

    Terry Lewis: We do what needs to be done. I do most of the lyrical work and Jam does most of the tracking, but we can easily change positions depending on the situation.

    THE BUSTS OF DUKE ELLINGTON AND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. ARE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED IN YOUR OFFICES. TALK ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THESE TWO MEN IN YOUR LIVES.
    Jimmy Jam: We never forget where we came from. We had a ceiling in our old studio we're gong to duplicate in our new place, with musical people who watched us from heaven, not that they're all passed away, but they're the people who came before us. You see the Temptations, Paul Robeson and Mahalia Jackson. The visual tells us how fortunate we are, and that we have a responsibility to use music in a responsible way to uplift people.

    AS ACTIVE PRODUCERS AND FAMILY MEN, HOW HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO GIVE BACK TO THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY?
    Jimmy Jam: The creative community is our community. We all serve a lot of communities, but we feel an obligation to give back to music. We're advocates through education and arts funding that seems to go away, unfortunately. We try to give back in little ways, everything from Terry's alma mater, North High, where we've sponsored a Black History program for the past 15 years. It's something we feel is important. At our studio in Minneapolis we'd give tours and let the teachers know they could use a tour as an incentive and maybe meet an artist. Those kinds of things are simple to do, they don't require a lot of fuss or time, but it's inspiring to people and to us, too. I've made a jump to be involved with ASCAP's board and The Recording Academy where I'm Vice-Chairman. That's my way of doing it; we all have our own ways. I can't even imagine what my life would be without music, but I see the possibility of kids not having the opportunities I had to be exposed and learn about it. I don't want that to happen. We all do things in our own little ways to make sure that never occurs.

    AFTER THREE DECADES OF HIT MAKING, WHAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT THE FUTURE OF MUSIC?
    Terry Lewis: The future of music is held within the artist. Real music and talent are going to live on forever.

    - Dan Kimpel



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    purplefunklover

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    Join date : 2010-08-30
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    Re: Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis Interview by Dan Kimpel

    Post by purplefunklover on Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:09 pm

    Thanks for the interview, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are my boyz ... Smile

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