LOTTO Interview: Alison Clancy

Editor’s Note:  Zonisphere Media Group, home of the e-zine, Zubterrain, where my weekly music column, Urb’l (Urban Cool) Remedy, lived, continues to undergo a site overhaul, indefinitely.  So, my column is currently halted.  I finished out my June posts here at THE REAL popolio.

My articles normally went live on Tuesdays. I thought I was done for the meantime, but I have a few outstanding.  Since this was in flux and submitted by the artist, I think it deserves to see the light of day.  This is the last pending LOTTO Interview.  I would have posted this on Tuesday, but there’s been a lot going on in September and I’ve gotten a little behind.  See the other LOTTO Interview that was pending featuring the ATX’s SALVO here.

That said, I normally had a Cause of the Month interview that kicked things off the first week of each month.  Since, I’m not writing the column for the the whole month, I’m just going to choose what would be my COM and link it here.  I choose the Texas Council on Family Violence as the September 2011 Cause of the Month.  Click on the link to find out more about the organization and enjoy the interview.
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Cause of the Month:  Texas Council on Family Violence

Alison Clancy is a Brooklyn artist who fronts two bands.  HUFF THIS! and Electric Child.  She was actually the answer to on of the questions in a previous LOTTO Interview.

The question reads, “Play it Forward: Make a case for an up-and-coming indie artist or act that you’re really into and that you feel more people should be into. Who is it and why should we be into them, too?”  Fifth Nation played her forward.

The idea is simple. I have a list of questions that are a mixed bag of musical, fun, serious, and silly. Alison Clancy chose ten numbers from 1 through 50 without getting to see the questions.  The questions she answered for this interview are the questions that corresponded with the numbers that were chosen.  The list is currently holding steady at 100.

Alison Clancy started as a modern dancer and brings that sensibility to her musical expression.  Especially her videos.  Watch the official video for “Lovin You” by HUFF THIS!  Read Alison’s LOTTO Interview below.

UR:  Why did you get into music?
AC: Because it feeeeeeeeeeeeels GOOD!

UR:  Greatest movie of all-time?
AC:  I probably haven’t seen it.  Or it hasn’t been made, yet.

UR:  What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
AC:  Guilt is never pleasurable.

UR:  Tell me a secret.
AC:  Don’t have many.  I’m a pretty open book.  Maybe too open.  I was kind of in a cult for a while, but that’s not even a secret.  I like crazy people and freaks and sometimes I can follow their logic a little too long even when it doesn’t make any sense.  Or I let people into my life who maybe I shouldn’t trust so quickly.

UR:  What do you hate about the music industry?
AC:  In the music industry there is always the slight chance of a song, person, or band garnering money/fame and sometimes this makes people unnecessarily possessive/jealous/competitive.  For me, the point of playing music is expression/community/catharsis.  Having come from the dance world, where no one is ever expecting fame or glory, it’s all about process and the discipline of training.  This was a very foreign and frustrating dynamic for me at first, but now that I understand it I think I’m getting better at dealing with it.

UR:  If someone were to play you in a movie of your life, who would it be and why?
AC:  I would play me because I’m awesome at being me.

UR:  What would the soundtrack to the story of your life sound like?
AC:  Grass growing, airplanes crashing, lots of classical ballet music, sexy R&B, and Zach Hill bloodying himself on a drum set.

UR:  Does Ghost still make you cry like it does me?
AC:  Hmmm.  Haven’t seen it in ages.  Would probably depend on the context of my life at the moment.

UR:  You can get a song remixed in another genre, which of your songs would you remix and in what style?
AC:  I would get the HUFF THIS! Song, “My Love,” remixed as a dubstep dance anthem.  The cello/synth dance duo, Electric Pussy, might do this.  If so, it will be SICK!

UR:  Favorite part of your body?
AC:  Whatever part is being touched by my lover.

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MY TOP 30: Year 3 Posts of ALL-TIME! 26. Medicine Park pop quiz

MY TOP 30: Year 3 Posts of ALL-TIME!

from popolio pic-olio posted on Tuesday, April 5th

26. Medicine Park pop quiz
ATX folk/pop artist, Medicine Park aka Clay Berkes, takes the Year 3 Number 26 spot with his Friday, January 14, 2011 pop quiz interview.  Not only did he kick off the month, he kicked off the new year.  The second January 2011 pop quiz posted on Friday, January 28, 2011, and featured the Garland/Dallas-area R&B artist, B-May.

Additionally, Medicine Park was the first artist I shot for the very first creative photo shoot for THE REAL popolio pic-olio feature.  I’m not a photog, but I like to dabble.  I’d been wanting to do creative, conceptual photo shoots with artists for awhile.  Like the old Rolling Stone covers by Annie Leibovitz  as well as David LaChapelle’s and Herb Ritts‘ stuff.  On a much smaller scale and with no budget, of course!  I’d tried to work with other artists for a few years off-and-on and it just never came together.

Then, with MP, it just all came together rather nicely and quickly.  I think we had great chemistry and, really, he was justa natural and a pro, so I didn’t have to direct him much.  He got my concepts and it was like he could read my mind.  I also tried to remain true to his vibe with my ideas.  It was fun.

You can see that pic-olio here and BONUS pic-olio featuring outtakes from that shoot here.  Last week, I posted the third (second shot by me) creative pic-olio with Lubbock-based, Austin-loving, acoustic rock duo, Lipstick Letters.  You can see that pic-olio here.

See the original post here — Medicine Park pop quiz interview – ATX.  It includes his song, “Daphne Wilkerson,” and a  The Buggles’ video for “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

See all 28 Year 3 pop quiz interviews here.

Courtesy of Google

10Q for Joey Salinas

Joey Salinas is a pop singer who has a history with THE REAL popolio. We have featured him many a time in our various incarnations.  Speaking of incarnations, his third and latest project is entitled Identity, is actually a series of 3 EPs, and is his most ambitious and conceptual release to-date.  Chapter I was just released on Tuesday.  And, it is just that, an exploration of the different layers of identity as applied to musicality through the lens of the concept of human variability and sameness. 

It’s like the proverbial onion.  Layers can be peeled away to reveal different angles and appearances, but at the core you still have an onion.  Guess I’m fascinated by the concept of identity.  See what Joey Salinas had to say about it all in this EXCLUSIVE 10Q interview!

Listen to the title track from the first part of Joey Salinas’ Identity project!

Click the cover of Identity:  Chapter I to go to Joey Salinas’ official site and second pic, at the end of the interview, to get to his Facebook Page.

***

1. Tell us the concept behind Identity, both creatively and musically.
The Identity project is basically a trek through the evolution of the music that has created what people now know as my sound, beginning with Identity:  Chapter I.   This first chapter is an exploration of the many facets of pop music, from the gritty, dark, and heavy synth bass in the title track to the light, electric, and effervescent melody in a song called “Stomp.”  Creatively, I wanted to break apart my initial concept to be able to provide something new and fresh for my fans to look forward to throughout the year.

2. So, it’s a series.  How many parts?  How will each be different from one another and how will they be connected? When will each be released? Yes, Identity is a series of three (3) chapters that fans can look forward to through this year beginning with Chapter I released earlier this week on Tuesday [August 16th].  Musically, they will each have their own theme that will wrap them into their individual chapters, but each will maintain the overall Identity concept.  Fans can also expect a few nice surprises as each chapter is released.  Fans can expect Chapters II and III toward the end of 2011/early 2012.

3. How is Identity different than your previous works? Identity: Chapter I is a fusion of all the genres that inspire me.  I decided to mix my Pop roots with R&B and Dance, just to name a few, so there is always something for everyone to enjoy!  With my last two albums, the concepts weren’t as elaborate as this latest project has become.  With In The Beginning… it became a compilation of all the songs I had been working on at that time.  They ended up piecing together nicely and I liked how they collectively sounded as an album   With the … [And Then There Was] Alexander album, my focus was more on the songwriting and vocals.

But, the Identity project will encompass everything about me as a performer and an artist.  This project was put together by a concept based on the idea that in life, we’re all chameleons; we can be something different and take on many facets while still holding true to who we are – just showing different sides to ourselves.

4. You’ve released two singles since the beginning of the year, “My Time/Too Much Going On” and the title track, “Identity.”  As you stated, the first set was released on Tuesday, August 16th.  Other than that, what’s next for the project? Well, I’ll be looking forward to promoting the first EP with a few performances and just having fun with this project.  I’ll also be working on the upcoming chapters of the Identity project so fans can look forward to those.  Expect some singles off the upcoming chapters as well and, who knows, maybe even a few remixes.

5. Can we expect any music videos? That is definitely in the realm of possibilities this time around.  This project is going to keep me busy for a while.

6. If you could take on any type of identity, who or what would it be and why? Well, I kinda’ like being an entertainer because that way I don’t have to choose.  Do I?  I love music, I love to sing.  I love to dance.  I love to act.  I love to perform.  I love being able to switch it up whenever I want.  And, with each of those endeavors, there’s an infinite list of options to choose from.  But, in the spirit of the question, if being an entertainer, which gives me that flexibility, wasn’t an option, I’d love to be some type of archeologist or explorer of some kind; searching the world for undiscovered wonders.  I think that would be awesome.  I clearly watch too much Discovery Channel and Nat [ional] Geo [graphic]!!

7. Share one thing about Joey Salinas that you wish people would get that they don’t. That’s a good one.  I’m pretty much an open book, so I guess I’d say that.  If people don’t understand that I’m as upfront as can be, then that’s what I’d want them to know.  Creatively, I write from past and present experiences and the experiences of those around me as I see them through my eyes.  And, personally, I like to put all the cards out on the table.  I don’t like surprises.  I like knowing what’s going on and I like for others to know where I’m coming from and what my direction is.  There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing what’s going on with a situation and feeling lost.

8. Seems to me that people have trouble accepting that we are multi-dimensional and can be more than one thing.  It’s like you can only choose one identifier and that’s it.  Along the lines of identity, why do you think we are like this as a society even though we must realize as individuals that we are more than one thing (gender, sexuality, nationality, citizenship, right-handedness vs. left-handedness, passion, history, background, etc.)? I’ll try to answer this in the best way possible, because that was quite wordy.  LOL.   I think people function fine as the multi-faceted beings that we are.  I think the problem lies when someone starts to pluck out individual characteristics and puts them under a microscope.  It’s when someone makes it an issue that another is mixed or gay or legal or religious or handicapped that we have to educate and help for there to be an understanding and knowledge of each other’s differences; show the beauties of it and share commonalities.   It’s about educating the ignorant. That’s all.

9. You’re working with singer-songwriter, Tom Goss, who I have interviewed for another site.  Didn’t think he’d be one to use choreography and dancers. Tell me about that.  How did that come together? Yes, he’s a dear friend of mine.  I met him at a show another friend of mine was performing at.  He was in the basement office getting ready for his set, tuning his guitar.  I’m drawn to other singers (when I find them).  So, we got to talking and kept in touch and have been friends ever since.

He’s currently promoting his latest album [Turn It Around] and is going to shoot a video for a song off the album.  He had some ideas for it and knew he’d be able to reach out to me.  So, he did and I said, “Of course,” and that was that.  We begin shooting later this month.  It’s going to be fun.  I know I’ve got tons I’m working on with my own projects, but it’s refreshing and healthy at times to get out of your own little bubble and help enhance someone else’s world.

10. Give me one scoop for THE REAL popolio of something upcoming and exciting that your fans will be reading hear for the first time.
Expect [the first] video for the Identity project really soon.

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.


EXCLUSIVE: 15Q for BoyMeetsGirl Music Part 2

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, Part 3 will contain two songs and one of them is very special.  Stay tuned for that.

For now, listen to “This Chronic Pain” from their last release, 2003’s The Wonderground.  George intimated via email that he “loves the guitars on this one.”

Click the first pic to go to their official site and second, at the end of Part 2 of the interview, to get to their Twitter Account.

Part 1
Part 3

***

Breakthrough

6. Tell me about the unreleased RCA album, New Dream, which you released via your website in 2004.  What happened with RCA?  Why did you decide to release it yourselves and why did it take 13 years?

Shannon:  Just before we were to release New Dream, RCA/BMG went through an upper-tier management shake-up in which our champions at the company were let go and, unfortunately, we and about seventy other bands were abruptly cut from the roster in a matter of just a few days.  They called it “getting the axe” and that’s exactly what it felt like to us.  At the time, we were not free to release the album ourselves unless we bought the masters, which we couldn’t afford.  There was no internet to speak of, no digital presence, or independent marketing opportunities like exist today, so New Dream sat in a vault for a very long time.  When the internet began to flourish and we were up and running with our own website, George and I requested that RCA/BMG reissue the album.  They agreed to our request, so we then bought a batch of the reissued CDs to sell from our site.

7. Talk about your last release, 2003’s The Wonderground.  As such a big fan of Reel Life, why should I check it out?

Shannon:  I like this question.  The Wonderground is quite different in tone and tempo than Reel Life and I’ve even read a few Amazon reviews from disgruntled Reel Life fans who didn’t much care for The Wonderground.  I understand that they were hoping for more music in a vein similar to Reel Life and were disappointed with our change in musical direction.  However, The Wonderground represents what we were personally experiencing at the time – divorce – and there is simply no way to put a happy face on such a wrenching life event.  We expressed musically what was closest to our hearts and trusted that the songs would find resonance somewhere, which I think they have. The songs are, for the most part, quieter, more introspective, tender…so, if you’re curious about that aspect of BoyMeetsGirl Music, then by all means, we encourage a listen.

George:  Check it out, just because we are most proud of this album.  We recorded it at my house, invited other musicians in, and I think it was a great experience for us all.   There is a tender and raw quality that I like.

Shannon:  George did a beautiful job of recording and mixing.  I love the sonic qualities he created on The Wonderground.

8. Will there ever be another BoyMeetsGirl Music release?

George:  I really love as yet unrecorded songs that we have compiled in the years since The Wonderground.  Why record?  Because there are some gems that would be so much fun to share with everyone!  Why not record?  Can’t think of a good reason.

9. Career highlight?  Individually and as BoyMeetsGirl Music?

George:  I’ll pick one, but I’m flooded with wonderful pictures.  Ha!  Grocery shopping in Idyllwild, California in 1986 and hearing the New Christy Minstrels sing “How Will I Know” on the overhead sound system, very exciting; oh, singing “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” with Deniece Williams (in way over my head!) at the Greek Theatre Los Angeles.  And, as Boy Meets Girl, I’d say meeting Dick Clark on American Bandstand.

Shannon:  One warm summer day when the windows were open, a car went by outside and as it passed I heard “How Will I Know” with a Doppler effect.  Such a small moment in time, but I felt it happened just for me to celebrate.

10. One thing you’d change or do differently?

Shannon:  I always wish I had been a more savvy marketer of our music.  I see some young artists today who are very much a part of the decision-making process and take a very knowledgeable, active hand in their careers.  This is admirable, even necessary to longevity and success.  Kudos to them and that’s my only real regret.  Other than that, my life has been an interesting ride so far and I’m a wiser person for the many mistakes I’ve made.

George:  Well put, Shannon – much to admire in the all-around talent that’s evident now at the top of the charts.

Latest

To be concluded TOMORROW…

EXCLUSIVE: 15Q for BoyMeetsGirl Music Part 1

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, Part 3 will contain two songs and one of them is very special.  Stay tuned for that.

For now, listen to their 1988 Number 1 hit,  “Waiting For A Star To Fall,” from their breakthrough sophomore release, Reel Life.

Click the first pic to go to their official site and second, at the end of Part 1 of the interview, to get to their Twitter Account.

Part 2
Part 3

***

Then

1. How did you come up with the name Boy Meets Girl?

Shannon:  Long ago, when George and I first moved to Los Angeles from Seattle, we were about to send out a spate of demos to record companies in the hope we’d get a recording contract; we made huge lists of potential names (for example, ‘George & Shannon’ wasn’t very snappy) and eventually settled on Boy Meets Girl, a name that described us and indicated as well, due to its lighter nature, that we made pop music.

It’s difficult to be entirely pleased with a band name forever, given you may be stuck with it for a while, but there you have it.  Man Meets Woman…on and on!

2. You sang back up on, arguably, Deniece Williams’ biggest hit, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” (from the Footloose Soundtrack).  How was it to also be tour back-up singers for her?  What comes to mind when you look back on those times?

Shannon:  Those were heady times.  We were honored to be singing back up for Deniece and were having fun traveling to new places for her concerts. George Duke was the producer for the Footloose Soundtrack or at least for “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.”  When we arrived at his studio to sing the back-up vocals the two writers of the song, Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford, were also present.  They’re both immensely talented songwriters and they hung out in the control booth with George Duke, smiling at the way the track was going.  It was quite evident to all that the song was in the gates to be a big hit.  Deniece’s voice was perfect, the track was upbeat, punchy, and tunefully catchy.

3. Additionally, you wrote two of Whitney Houston’s biggest hits, “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).”  What are your thoughts on these songs today, working with Whitney, and the evolution of this diva, challenges and all?

Shannon:  First of all, Narada Michael Walden did a stellar job producing both tracks.  The first time George and I heard a recording of “How Will I Know” was when a friend who worked with Narada called us up from the studio and played it for us over the phone.  We were simply blown away at the power of the track and amazed at Whitney’s voice.  We’d not yet met her or heard her sing, so the whole thing was a revelation for us.  And, then, Narada and Whitney teamed up on the track for “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” with similar results.  We never guessed both songs would become the pop classics that they have and of course we consider ourselves to be extremely lucky at the fortuitous circumstances in each case.  I think I can speak for George here and say that we’re both very grateful to Narada and Whitney and pleased to have been the writers.

We only met Whitney briefly, on one occasion, backstage at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles after one of her concerts.  She’s certainly enjoyed incredible success as well as a nearly equal amount of difficulty in her career, but in listening to her earlier work, I still regard her as one of the best pop/R&B singers ever to come along.  A born star.

George:   Agreed.  Anyone with doubts can watch those videos of “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and recall her spark.  Intensity unmatched and unique.  We will always be thankful to Whitney and all who helped make those songs shine!

4. How did you hook up with them and do you still keep in touch with Deniece and Whitney?

George:  I met Deniece when she recorded her My Melody album; Thom Bell was co-writing and producing and asked me to fly back to Philly with him for the sessions.  What a team; those two wrote a wonderful album of songs and beautiful arrangements.  Through our publishing company at the time, “How Will I Know” ended up in Clive Davis’ hands, for Whitney Houston, as he was collecting songs for her first album.  Shannon already filled you in on the session for that one, wow!  We no longer have any contact with Whitney.  I ran into Deniece in Chicago a few years back and we’ve been in touch a few times – her voice is strong and she looks happy.

5. Why do you think Reel Life seemed to resonate the most with a larger audience?  Why did so much go “right” with that particular project?

Shannon:  Hmmm…We had an excellent A&R man at RCA/BMG, the late Paul Atkinson, former bass player for the Zombies (Google them).  He encouraged us to keep writing until we had a solid batch of songs to record and regularly weighed in as we brought him demos to listen to.  Then, he lined us up with the also now late, great producer Arif Mardin, who upon first listening of our “Waiting For A Star To Fall” demo, agreed to work with us.  Those two people did their best to ensure that Reel Life was a quality album with at least one potential hit song.  We worked in the studio with a whole slew of fine musicians and engineers to come up with the end product.  All in all, Reel Life was a satisfying experience for me and for George and certain tracks stand up to the test of time.

Now

To be continued TOMORROW…

Music Video: Diamond Rings “Something Else”

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