Wow...the game of life has been so good to me. When I take a look at all the cool offerings the music life I chose gave me so far, it's a kaleidoscope of fun.
WOW!!! We worked with Thom Bell, only the guy responsible for some of my favorite music ever...great songs like "Betcha By Golly Wow"& "You Are Everything" (Stylistics), and "My Melody"& "Silly"(Deniece Williams) to scratch the surface of his talent. Thom signed us to his publishing company Mighty Three Music. We had a writing room in Pioneer Square(Seattle) with a Fender Rhodes and a funky Marantz cassette deck, and we sat in there and wrote songs...I think we were his pop-rock writers, because we weren't very funky. But occasionally we'd come up with a gem. Thom recorded two of our songs with Phyllis Hyman, a fabulous jazz vocalist. I think "Your Move(My Heart)" turned out well, and it was amazing to hear strings and full production on something we wrote.
Thom produced Deniece Williams, and took me back to Philadelphia to sing backing vocals, and play synthesizer. I had two Oberheim synths, two+four-voices, and they were always going out of tune. They sounded cool, but for live sessions with Deniece singing, yikes. But it worked out...Thom was experimenting, and his ideas were...neato! He and I sang BVs on "It's Gonna Take A Miracle", and "Hotline", and "Sweet Surrender" to name a few...what a blast.
Deniece had Shannon & I sing BVs on her big hit "Let's Hear It For The Boy" from the "Footloose" soundtrack, and later we toured the world with her, visiting places like Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. That was a good time, Deniece, thanks!
As mentors go, ours have been responsible for pleasing millions of happy listeners. Take Arif Mardin, who helped us take the demo of "Waiting For A Star To Fall" and make it a hit record, or Tom Werman, who guided us through our first studio album as BoyMeetsGirl...or Phil Ramone, who figured out a way we could do a great sounding record in our garage. Along the way, each one taught us oodles about making music, and enjoying the process.
I've been asked about influences along the way; my brother used to turn me on to his 45s, I remember Eric Burdon+The Animals, and a host of sweet pop lovesongs, Ian + Sylvia...and very early on in my discoveries, it was the Beatles, Stones, Young Rascals, Bread, The Monkees(great songsmiths that wrote those pop songs!), Elton John+Bernie Taupin, a bit of the Beach Boys. Then I started getting hip to the metal bands, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath especially, Slade, and THAT led me to the great rock bands like Steppenwolf, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allmann Brothers, 10 Years After, and eventually my faves Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull, who gave some of the most memorable live shows.......later in high school I started hearing James Taylor and Joni Mitchell and they blew my mind with the depth of lyric and melody...Carol King's "Tapestry" album, Loggins and Messina, Phoebe Snow + Janis Ian, WOW!!! I loved Hall+Oates, and they were part of the 'blue-eyed soul' that I had in me, probably spawned by The Stylistics, The O.J.'s+ Spinners, and Stevie Wonder, who was a huge writing influence, and too, DONNY HATHAWAY...aaiii!!!! Dorothy Moore, Deniece Williams...and then the California influences like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, especially Wendy Waldman, The Eagles, Jackson Browne all kicked in. And I became aware of Danny O'Keefe(being from Seattle) and his 'Breezy Stories' album, wow. Great songs told so well. Oops; did I leave someone out?
Really, all music continues to fascinate me; whether it's the music theory in my head that allows me to hear how a song's constructed, or purely my passion...I love expression, and especially through music.
As far as BoyMeetsGirl history goes, the allmusic.com site knew more about me than I did!!! Shannon and I are most musically known for our songwriting, particularly the two songs we wrote for Whitney Houston, "How Will I Know", and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody(Who Loves Me)". Actually, HWIK was dashed off for Janet Jackson as a commitment to our publishing company, Almo-Irving...we wrote it so we could get back to our own songs and album for Boy Meets Girl. It was there that our musical lives took a turn; Janet passed(she was recording her "Control" album with Jam+ Lewis) and Almo sent the song to Arista Records for a niece of Dionne Warwick, who seemed to be getting a lot of attention. It turned out that Clive Davis liked the song, and asked me to fly back and meet Kashif, who was producing some songs for her...they thought maybe we could work on HWIK together. Well, Kashif was nice, he played some of Whitney's amazing vocals on his Synclavier...but he was swamped with work, and my head was still aimed toward the Boy Meets Girl project...and so I passed as well. As things happen, the right thing did when Clive Davis sent the song to Narada Michael Walden, who produced it with help from Preston + Alan Glass, Randy Jackson, and other great players. And when they called us from San Rafael to play us a rough mix, wow, I knew we were part of something special with Whitney Houston.
Meanwhile, we made our first record for A&M with Tom Werman. The song "Oh Girl" was the chosen single, and it did just crack the TOP 40, we played on American Bandstand, met Dick Clark, made our first video, and generally got a taste of hitting the BIGTIME!!! Wow, heady days. (Sidenote: you can hear Hilary our daughter wailing in the last verse of "Oh Girl"...right after I sing "the left holds it tight"!)
There is so much tell; the "Reel Life" album, the success of "Waiting For A Star To Fall", our "New Dream" album(recorded, but never released by RCA/BMG), and all that led to our new album "The Wonderground.
So please, stay tuned for more updates as the BoyMeetsGirl Music website grows...Shannon and I will check in regularly with recipes, electronica musings, MP3s of unreleased demos, that sort of thing; and maybe we'll figure out a way to post musings from you out there as well. I am the lucky one. It's time to get busy, and there is so much to do!!!