Have any of you ever read Interview magazine? If you haven't, the premise of the monthly magazine let's celebrities interview other celebrities. In the October 2006 issue, Gladys Knight interviews Alicia Keys.
Instead of this interview being a purely promotional piece for Alicia, it morphed into a conversation that expressed how much has changed in the music industry, specifically about how the artists themselves behave. Below is an excerpt:
GK :: What about camaraderie in the business? Do you guys have each otherâ€™s backs?
AK: I donâ€™t know if thereâ€™s as much dialogue between artists as there once was. When you all went on tour, you all shared the same spaces and pains and heartaches, so you grew together and saw each otherâ€™s struggles. Now things are a little more separate. Donâ€™t get me wrong, there are definitely great friendships that develop, where you meet people and you have a connection with them. But I remember one time speaking to Stevie Wonder, he told me about how people would sometimes just gather in someoneâ€™s living room and just talk about what was going on. We donâ€™t do that today.
GK :: We used to do that all the time. We used to swap cars, like, â€œOkay, Iâ€™m going to ride with Smokey [Robinson] for a while.â€ I even beat Stevie up one day. [Keys laughs] We were all around when Stevie was writing a lot of his early stuff. We were on tour together, and he used to make me come and sing every day after the show -- and we were doing six or seven shows a day back then. He would get on the piano, because he ainâ€™t got nothing else to do, and I would say, â€œStevie, we just got done with a show and weâ€™ve got four more to do.â€ But he would be like, 'Oh, come on, Gladys. Just sing this part.' He was writing [sings] 'Iâ€™m gonna rap on your door.'â€
GK :: I mean, this went on forever. Then all of us would gather â€™round and we ended up singing that song. He hadnâ€™t recorded it yet, and then, Iâ€™m listening to the radio one day, and I hear Aretha [Franklin] singing â€œIâ€™m gonna rap on your door. . . â€ I said, â€œYouâ€™ve got to be out of your mind! What happened to my song?â€ Every time I would see Stevie, I would tell him. So at that party Clive Davis threw where we met you, Stevie came by and kissed me, and I said it again, and he told me, â€œIf you say one more word to me about that song. . . Nobody talks about that song.â€ [Keys laughs] But thatâ€™s how we were. We were poor. We lived with each other. We actually broke bread with each other. We even fought the police with each other because there was segregation at that time. We learned so much from each other, and that was what kept us going. We didnâ€™t have to protect our craft in the way that I sometimes feel like you guys might. Do you feel like there is a lot of competition today?
AK: I donâ€™t personally feel it, because I donâ€™t get too deep into that part of things, but thereâ€™s definitely a strong undercurrent of competition --o f wanting to be the best. Because you all were so much in each otherâ€™s worlds, you probably didnâ€™t have to worry so much about someone else being you. You were you.
GK :: And this business can also change you.
AK: Change you, and chew you up, and spit you out, and be rid of you, and on to the next thing. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s so important to know who you are and stand up for something. Iâ€™m still learning about myself. I find out new things every day.
Check out the October 2006 issue of Interview for more on Alicia.
Janet Jackson mania kicks into high gear this week as 20Y.O. is set for official release tomorrow September 26th. Miss Jackson has full schedule, which includes her interview on Oprah today where she will for the first and the last time talk about her 'wardrobe malfunction' at the Superbowl in 2004. Jermaine Dupri will surely be on tap to support his "40 Y.O." beauty.
This Friday (9/29), Janet will be performing live on the "Today" show in New York City. Word on the street is, you should keep your eyes peeled for a special 'SOHH Excited' section of fans who are just wild about Ms. Jackson. Stay tuned...
As well, reviews about the highly anticipated CD are pouring in, including this one from the Sunday's (9/24) NY Post titled, Sorry Miss Jackson, Your Songs are as Dated as that Album Title. Dan Aquilante, the NY Post music critic, gave the album overall two stars and states,
Suffice it to say the success of "20 Y.O." is vital to her continued status as a pop megastar and getting her contract renewed for the usual $60-$80 million by Virgin.
"20 Y.O." isn't the home run. It's a double where she steals third when Nelly steps to bat on the song "Call Me." Mr. Hot in Herre lends the song the contemporary edge that the rest of the album lacks.
Lastly our new joint of the day is not just a song but a whole CD. Click here to download Tyrese's new mixtape. Oh hush up and just click.