I’m sure many of you would say Amen, if I asked you – has a song made you feel good? Has a song made you cry? Has a song motivated you? Has a song made you beg the question why? I wanted to share with each of you an experience I had last night, where a collection of songs from one of the greatest artists of all time, made me feel proud to be part of the Business of Music.
I was one of the 117 people invited to the White House last night to celebrate my good friend Stevie Wonder’s receipt of the 2008 Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. From the East room of the White House President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed everyone to their home and told personal stories of how Stevie Wonder and his songs were the soundtrack to their youth. All night fellow artists including New Jazz sensations Esperanza Spalding and Diana Krall, R&B/Soul singer/songwriter India.Arie, Hip-Hop artist Will.i.am, Gospel artist Mary Mary and legends Tony Bennett and Paul Simon paid tribute to Mr. Wonderful. Stevie started the night off by singing his 1976 smash “Sir Duke” and ended the festivities with the hits “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” “Isn’t she Lovely” etc…It was truly a night to remember.
Last night prompted me to reflect on the Power of a Song. Remembering how I felt last year when Jay-Z said, “Roc Boys” in the building tonight. Coldplay said, “I used to rule the world…” Musiq Soulchild said, “Teach Me How to Love” and Alicia Keys said, “No One, no one, no one…can get in the way of what I’m feeling.” Or back in the day when Run DMC said “Peter Piper, picked peppers, but Run rocks rhymes.” LL Cool J said, “I need an Around the Way Girl.” Or way back in the day when Sam Cooke said, “It’s been a long, long time coming but I know A Change is Gonna Come…Yes it is.” Well I don’t know about you guys, but Change will continue to come and music will continue to be the soundtrack of my life. I don’t just listen to music, I live it, I’m inspired by it and I’m blessed to be part of it. Sometimes we take things for granted. Sometimes we naturally hate, when it’s really easier to celebrate. Sometimes we neglect the hard work and creativity that goes into the making of a song and the performance of that song by a talented artist. Well, today I want to personally say thank you to every artist, songwriter, musician, record company etc…who have produced, performed or promoted a song for me. Maybe you didn’t write the song or even perform the song for me, but I tell you that each of you has affected my life in ways you can never imagine. So today I celebrate the Power of a Song and more importantly the Power of You.
A special thank you to my good friends Desirée Rogers and especially to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Continue to inspire us to be Presidential. All of whom are shining examples of what it means to be Presidential. Remember, the New Cool is to be Presidential!
P.S…If you feel what I’m feeling, write back and let me know what song has made a difference in your life.