EXCLUSIVE: 15Q for BoyMeetsGirl Music Part 3

Boy Meets Girl is George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam.  Now they are BoyMeetsGirl Music (BMGM) because, according to their website, the original name now brings up so-called dating sites and two other bands on internet searches.  They will always be Boy Meets Girl to me.  They started as an ‘80s singer-songwriter pop duo.  They are most known for writing two of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits, “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” singing back-up on Deniece Williams biggest, “Let’s Hear It For The Boy,” and their own, “Waiting For A Star To Fall.”  Just two weeks ago “WFASTF” was included in a list on the MTV Buzzworthy Blog regarding standout sax solos in reference to Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.”

They were lovers, spouses, and divorcees.  Through all of it they were and still remain friends and will forever be creative collaborators.  Every emotion of every era came out in their music.  Simply put, they are darn good pop writers.  I fell in love with their ode to love, their breakthrough sophomore release, Reel Life.  I saw “WFASTF” on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on TV in middle school, asked my parents to get me the full release, and wore that tape out.  I still have it and have listened to it from time-to-time as the years have passed and I’m listening to it now as I write this. 

There was just something about how sweet their pop sound was and how that combined with the intertwining of the feminine and the masculine voice, their melodies and harmony, and the purity of their love that came through their music.  ‘Nuff said. 

BMGM were gracious enough to provide me a song (plus one) to stream with each part of this interview.  So, today you get two songs and one of them is very special.

First, listen to “Don’t Remind Me” also from their last release, 2003’s The Wonderground, like yesterday’s selection.  George shared via email that it’s “the second to last song” that “gets overlooked” and that it is “one of [his] faves.”  He also thinks that “Shannon sings a great vocal on this one.”

Now, the one I’ve been most excited about sharing with you.  Here’s the demo version of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves) Me” as sung by Shannon.  If you didn’t know, now you know that BMGM wrote it for Whitney Houston and it became one of her biggest, and now classic, hits.  Enjoy!

Click the first pic to go to their official site and second, at the end of Part 3 of the interview, to get to their Twitter Account.

Part 1
Part 2

***

1980

11. What artist was the greatest to work with?   What artist would you like to work with? Individually and as BoyMeetsGirl Music?

Shannon:  We haven’t personally worked with many artists.  Our songs for other artists have been produced by other people.  One of my favorite experiences was co-writing a song with Henry Mancini, writer of “Moon River” and a number of other classic songs from a ways back.  His guest bathroom walls were plastered, literally, with the sheet music from his umpteen hit songs.  And, he was a very kind and humble person, to boot.  As far as who I’d like to work with, all I can say is it’s a shame that John Lennon is dead. For many reasons!

George:  Yipes, a massive question!  Well, there are so many interesting bands and writers – Maroon 5, Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, Rihanna, the Script, just to name a few.  Never met any of ‘em except for Maroon 5, but I’m a big fan of their great music and I’m certain that working with them would be creatively exciting.  Good songwriting is one aspect I appreciate plus I’m learning new ways to record and create sounds to make the best use of the myriad new studio tools available.

12. After working so closely together, being married, and divorcing, how can you still be friends and ocassionally write together?  How do you make it work?

Shannon:  George and I have always been friends and are committed to maintaining our high regard for one another.  It’s just a choice we made.  I love writing songs with George – his music inspires me and we still have fun writing and recording.  Magic still happens.

George:  As it was for us from the beginning, we wrote.  Wrote our way through best times and worst; and so, we still do.  It’s an important part of life, is how I see it.

13. Okay, I’m going to ask the un-PC question, I would say Whitney Houston probably has one of the most soulful voices out there.  And Deniece Williams is pretty soulful, too.  How did two white folks get so much soul?

Shannon:  Here’s my un-PC answer.  Once, at one of the very first music business functions George and I ever attended I was in the ladies room and was somehow introduced to the wife of one of the A&M Records honchos.  She’d apparently heard some of our music and exclaimed in shock, “Oh my God, I thought you were black!”  It actually surprised me, but made me laugh, too.  I grew up listening to the Four Tops, the Spinners, Aretha Franklin, and attended the Alma Mater of Jimi Hendrix.  Not that I sound anything like any of them, but maybe just a little soul soaked in. Plus…nobody has a lock on soul, we all have soul! 

When I was in high school my family went to an Episcopalian church on occasion and when the organ played or the choir sang I couldn’t help moving my whole body in time to the music.  Invariably, my stepmother would reach over and tap my legs and tell me to stand still.  An impossible request.

George:  Ahem, Deniece is incredibly soulful!  When Russell Thompkins of the Stylistics sang “You Are Everything,” I figured out what to do with my scrawny little voice – sing high like he did.  Between that and playing piano at church growing up…it’s a funny blend of influenzas…

14.  What’s next?  Individually and as BoyMeetsGirl Music?

George:  Shannon is writing something outside the realm of pop songs; watch for Ian Hopkinson, Larry Kenneth Potts, Shades of Day, and Heather Ballentine – all new artists with cool new records on which I did various things.

15. What do you want the Boy Meets Girl legacy to be?  What do you think it actually is?

Shannon:  I think we’re known for melodic pop music with great harmonies.   Some might add that our music is a bit saccharine, but I don’t worry about that.  I would love for the Boy Meets Girl legacy to be that our music resonated with those unspoken desires of the heart.  I’m a mushy cornball.

George:  I would add that the intro to “Waiting For A Star To Fall” with John Goux’s bubbly guitar, my synth riff, and Andy Snitzer’s soaring sax line…might be a classic pop moment.  Oh, and the key change (Arif Mardin’s idea) and the vocal break with Susan Boyd singing BVs [background vocals] with us…THAT moment!  We’ll see – too early to tell.

***BONUS***Any advice for up-and-coming songwriters, singers, artists and performers?

Shannon:  Be wildly individualistic and exercise the courage of your convictions.  Pay attention to the business of music.  Have fun!

George:  Work harder than you ever thought possible at something you can’t possibly get enough of.

Thanks for inviting us, Freddie!

2004

THE END.


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