Composer, singer, actor, activist. Sting has won universal acclaim in all these roles, but he defies any easy labeling. He is best described as an adventurer, a risk-taker. As he himself said, "I love to put myself in new situations. Im not afraid to be a beginner." Husband and father…
Since the beginning of their career together over 30 years ago, Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson have become one of the most prolific and versatile musical couples in recording history. Combining skills as performers, songwriters and producers, they have created an unprecedented catalog of chart-topping hit singles and album, collecting…
Michael Jackson's remarkable 30-year career scaled unparalleled musical, commercial and critical heights. His myriad achievements included being responsible for the best-selling album of all time, pioneering the music-video medium, and virtually redefining the concept of the modern pop star. As a songwriter, he penned more than 150 songs, with more…
Since the beginning of their career together over 30 years ago, Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson have become one of the most prolific and versatile musical couples in recording history. Combining skills as performers, songwriters and producers, they have created an unprecedented catalog of chart-topping hit singles and album, collecting 22 gold and platinum records and more than 50 ASCAP Awards.
The couple met in 1964 at the White Rock Baptist Church in New York City. Nick had come to New York to pursue a dance career and Valerie was playing piano and singing with the church's legendary choir. Nick joined the choir and the two began writing pop songs for fun. Word of the talented duo spread quickly and Ashford & Simpson sold their first batch of songs for $64.00. A career was born.
As staff songwriters for Sceptor Records, Nick and Valerie wrote Ray Charles' classic "Let's Go Get Stoned" in 1964 which brought them to the attention of Motown where they wrote their second smash "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Other Gaye/Terrell hits followed including "Your Precious Love," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," and "You're All I Need to Get By."
Ashford & Simpson signed with Warner Brothers in 1973 as recording artists and recorded eight albums, four of which went gold. Their numerous hit singles include "Send It," "Found A Cure," "Don't Cost You Nothing," "It Seems To Hang On," and "Love Don't Make It Right." In addition to their own growing catalog of songs, Ashford & Simpson wrote and produced for Ben E. King, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Quincy Jones and they rewrote a version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" for Diana Ross that became a #1 record. In the 80's, Ashford & Simpson signed with Capitol Records and their hit "Solid as a Rock" continues to be a signature song for the duo.
Ashford & Simpson's music has been used as themes for international events, such as the opening of the Olympic Ceremonies, and the Hands Across America theme "Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand.” 1993 had everybody humming their smast hit “I’m Every Woman” recorded by Whitney Houston for “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.
According to the London Guardian, "It's one thing to write a love song, it's another to convince an audience you inhabit one.” Ashford & Simpson's stage shows still captivate audiences everywhere and their marriage of 28 years has produced two daughters, Nicole and Asia. They reside in New York City and are currently working on a solo album for Valerie, produced by her husband.
Randy Newman, a brilliant songwriter and satirist, is one of the most musically adept and stylistically diverse singer/songwriters in the industry. Born into a family of musicians, he is both a gifted composer and social satirist. Following in the footsteps of his uncles - Alfred, Lionel and Emil Newman, who collectively -scored hundreds of films since the 1930's - Newman has also composed movie scores including Ragtime, The Natural, Parenthood, Awakenings, James and the Giant Peach, Pleasantville, A Bug’s Life, Meet the Parents and Toy Story. His movie soundtrack work has now earned him 16 Oscar nominations including his first win Song for "If I Didn't Have You" from the film Monsters, Inc.
Newman began writing professionally at an early age and by 17 was a staff writer working for publishing companies such as Metric Music and January Music. He had early success with "Just One Mile,” "I Don't Want to Hear it Anymore," "I Think It's Going to Rain Today” and "Simon Smith And His Dancing Bear." He is probably best known for his pop ablums which he began making for Warner Brox. In 1968 with Randy Newman, an impressive debut. Its 1970 follow-up 12 Songs was a collection of demos including Newman’s version of “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” a #1 hit for Three Dog Night in the 1990’s. His next album, Randy Newman was a September 1970 performance at New York's Bitter End and his first charting album.
His next release was 1972's Sail Away, considered by many to be one of his best works. In 1974, he released Good Old Boys, which was his first top-40 album; his next release, 1977's Little Criminals, entered the top ten and went gold. In 1979 he released Born Again. 1983’s “I Love LA” garnered much exposure along with a proclamation and key to the city of Los Angeles.
His growing involvement in film scoring in the late 80's made his pop albums more infrequent as Newman’s focus shifted. 1988’s Land of Dreams, notable for being his first “autobiographical” project, came five years after its predecessor. In 1995, Newman released a “musical adaptation” of Goethe’s Faust featuring a variety of well-known artists including James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt and Elton John.
Randy Newman has won countless awards in addition to his 2002 Oscar. He’s received three Grammy Awards, an Emmy for the song “He’s Guilty” from Cop Rock, the first Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement from ASCAP in 1996, a Golden Satellite Award in January 2000 for "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2, an Annie Award from the International Animated Film Society for his work on Toy Story 2, The Century Award from Billboard Magazine in December 2000, and the Frederick Lowe Achievement Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2001.
Barry Manilow's unparalleled career is made up of virtually every facet of music, including performing, composing, arranging and producing. He has triumphed in every medium of entertainment. He has received Grammy, Emmy and Tony Awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award.
In December 2001, Manilow began his Live 2002! tour after ringing in the New Year at L.A.s newest venue, the Kodak Theatre, He has performed for sold-out audiences across the nation, with three recent appearances including Radio City Music Hall, landing in Billboards top 10 list of Concert Grosses. The tour follows the release of his latest album, Here At The Mayflower, which was released on November 13, 2001.
The universal message of Barrys music has always been to inspireto upliftand to make it through. For so many of us, it has done just that.
Here At The Mayflower is an original addition to Manilows catalog. Twenty years in the making, the Number One Adult Contemporary Artist of All Time (Radio & Records Magazine) wanted to be sure "that it was everything I wanted it to be." Manilow explains, "Its enabled my collaborators and me to write songs about people of all ages and walks of life. This album is all about people, and friendshipsand the cycles in life that we all go through."(Billboard 2001). Here At The Mayflower is Manilows 31st album.
Among his 31 albums are such diverse recordings as Manilow Sings Sinatra (1998), Singin' With The Big Bands (1994), Showstoppers (1991), Swing Street (1987), 2:00 A.M. Paradise Caf” (1984), Because It's Christmas (1990), and many others, including 38 Top 40 Hits. In addition to his own recordings, every album he has produced for other artists has been nominated for Grammy Awards, including Bette Midler, Nancy Wilson and Dionne Warwick.
His film credits include the Oscar-nominated "Ready To Take A Chance Again" (from Foul Play), a song for the soundtrack of Walt Disney's Oliver and Company, and the soundtracks for the animated features Thumbelina and The Pebble and the Penguin.
His television appearances have been well received; in 2000 alone, he taped Manilow Live! for DirecTV, followed by a Manilow Country special on TNN. A two-hour A&E special, Barry Manilow: Live by Request aired in 1996 as the highest rated music show in the network's history. Manilow also appeared on the TV comedy Murphy Brown and most recently on the popular series Ally McBeal.
Manilow's career in the theater ranges from his Tony Award-winning Broadway debut in 1977 to the June 2001 opening of "Could It Be Magic? The Barry Manilow Songbook." Manilow worked with Ken & Mitzi Welch to create a show that has "something for everyone." The music is brought to life by an ensemble of five very talented performers and a six-piece band. "From pop to hip-hop to gospel and rock, the talented cast delivers it all!" (Chicago Sun-Times). The world premiere of his musical, Harmony (with book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman) enjoyed a successful run at the La Jolla Playhouse and is heading to Broadway. The musical is based on the true story of The Comedian Harmonists, a singing group of six young men who attempted to find harmony during the discordant times that led to the rise of Nazi Germany. His collaboration with Sussman also created the debut of Barry Manilow's Copacabana -- The Musical in the U.K. a few years ago. Inspired by his hit single, "Copacabana," the elaborate two-act musical spectacular ran to packed houses on Londons West End for 18 months and a national company toured the U.S.
He made his literary debut in 1987 with the publication of his autobiographical "Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise".
Manilow is involved with worthwhile charities and humanitarian efforts around the world, including The Princes Trust, United Way, the Starlight Foundation, numerous organizations fighting the battle against AIDS, and many others. He is a member of the National Academy of Jazz Board of Governors and the Music Center of Los Angeles.