One of the questions that I get asked most often is who my biggest musical influence is. That is the hardest question for me to answer because there are so many great musicians in the world, past and present, that it's hard to know what artist that I could consider to be the biggest influence in my music. As a child, I can remember sneaking into my big brother’s room when they were away listening to old 45s of the SOS band and Shalamar and being totally engrossed by the way the vocals floated effortlessly over funky baselines. More than anything I remember needing to place the records back in the same order I found them being careful not to alert them of my rummaging knowing the consequences could be grave, or at least that what I was lead to believe.. We were born to deeply religious parents and we spent countless hours in church services singing and playing hymnals and popular gospel songs of the day by artists like James Cleveland, John P Kee and Walter Hawkins, however on the way home from those services we would listen to the great rock bands of the eighties and early nineties like Van Halen, Aerosmith and countless others that our Father coined the “devil's music.” Yeah its funny now 20 years later but at the time this was the topic of some very heated debates let me tell you! There were those few occasions where I would get to accompany one of my brothers on a date with some young vixen they were courting because they had been stuck babysitting me that evening. I was introduced to R&B greats as they were quick to replace the hard rock or funk album with Luther Vandross, or Teddy Pendergrass. It was occasions like this where I would hear David Sanborn, Candice Dulfer and if they were feeling really lucky that night……..there was Prince. Ahhh Prince, my brothers would spend hours dissecting his lyrics and music in front of me and I would absorb it like a sponge. There was so much lyrical content they would debate over what one verse meant while I was in the backseat and then one of them would look back as if I ,at 9 or 10 years old ,was supposed to understand their philosophical conversation. I suppose in retrospect that's why it is so hard for me to answer the question of what artist has the biggest influence on me because there were so many.
But If you were to ask me what person(s) had the biggest influence well, that's easy, my brothers they showed me that there are many types of music, many different forms of expression, not one more important than the next, and that they were all beautiful in their own way and that in some way they're all a part of me.
Thanks Fellas! I love you both
"It is better to be hated for what you are, than loved for what you are not." Original author: Andre Gide French critic, essayist, & novelist (1869 - 1951)
Also often cited: Kurt Cobain Singer, songwriter, & guitarist (1967 - 1994)
Every musician can remember a moment or in some cases, a series of moments, that made them fall in love with the sound of music. For me, it was the first time I heard David Sanborn's song "The Dream". It was at that moment I fell in love with the sound of the saxophone and I knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It's moments like that one that motivate young men and women to lock themselves away in solitude and begin to hone the skills that will one day define them. For some, the passion fades slowly dwindling with time, giving way to more interesting things that they discover during the transition to adulthood. For others, it becomes a passion only shared with close friends and relatives on holidays and occasional gatherings. But for some, expressing themselves musically becomes as necessary as breathing itself. Those that consider themselves artists understand and appreciate the genius that has come before us, the innovations that were made, the barriers that were broken and the foundations that were laid. We consummate our artistry by striving to refine our expression in hopes that one day our musical legacy will inspire the next generation to fall in love with music. The next time you as a listener chooses to go hear an artist I challenge you to keep this concept in mind, remember that even the familiar songs that you hear represent a unique experience that can only be expressed by that individual artist. If you're willing to listen with an open mind you may just hear something you have never heard before.
Last night during a regular weekly gig, I opened my eyes after a solo to find myself face to face with an elderly gentleman. Due to my experience in the geriatric field, I quickly came to the conclusion that this man had some pretty severe cognitive deficits. Perhaps he was suffering from Alzheimer's or some similar disease process, but he appeared well dressed, well kept and friendly so I kept on playing. Two things were obvious to me, 1 there was someone there that loved this man dearly and 2, that he absolutely loved music. He leaned over and whispered in my ear "I see why you're such an arrogant bastard, you are very good on that thing." I laughed it off and continued to play the song while thinking to myself I hope he doesn't trip over one of the chords on stage as he walked away. The fellas in the band asked if I was okay and if I knew the man. I turned to them and said "No, I don't know him but he seems okay." Moments later as we were starting the next song, I saw the old man walking back towards the stage from the back of the room. One of the guys in the band said “Here it comes again.” I just kept playing indicating that the guy was cool and that it was okay. He waited for me to take a break in the song and leaned over and said "This place is lucky to have you" he introduced himself and said "I used to play keyboards for the Flip Wilson show in New York." Out of the corner of my eye I saw young lady walk closer to him and make eye contract as mothers do when kids are outside playing. She was obviously his daughter she asked me my name and then said "I'm sorry it's just that the music is still in him." She took him by the hand and guided him away. I watched them walk off into the distance hand in hand with the old man still doing a little jig into the elevator. I couldn't help but think to myself, that's what music is, that's the power it has, when everything and everyone else is gone, the music will always be in you. And the band played on…
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So we just finished our first Album, wow what an experience. It was alot like everything else in life that you do. It took longer than it was supposed to, cost more than we had hoped to spend and made us dig deep to get the results we wanted. However 8 months later we are ready to releas our first CD "Nascentum" June 20th in Charlotte, NC we release our Cd and become official recording artits. Thanks to all that gave us support and helped us reach this point. Heres to the music Check us out at www.5thandyork.com