Being employed in the entertainment industry, “Sing To Me” by L.A. Reid was eye opening. It serves as a story of vision full of failure, success, friendship, and words of wisdom that can guide you through the turmoil of being apart of the performing art world. The last line in the book said, “I always wanted to be surrounded by the people who were cutting-edge, people who were making what I call aspirational music, people who really didn’t care to be regular. They didn’t want to fit in. They always wanted to stand out.”
L.A. Reid created something from nothing. He realized his talents as a producer and a music business professional through his love of the drums. His focus and articulation in a passion that developed as a child and nurtured by his family turned him into some who truly cared about the art of music and the artists he helped bring to the top such as Usher, Meghan Trainer, TLC, Toni Baxton, and Rihanna. I feel connected to him in some weird way. Granted we grew up in different households and families, but something about his path and journey makes me feel that there is hope for anyone who has a dream and is willing to work hard to achieve it. Music business man Dick Griffy once said to Reid, “Yoh can make more money by accident in Los Angeles than you can on purpose in Cincinnati.” People have a tendency to stay with what is familiar. What is safe. Never leaving their hometown. Always contained in a bubble. Reid forced himself to constantly break out of that bubble from moving to Los Angeles to Atlanta to New York. Pushing the boundaries everyday with music and moving to new cities to expand his horizons.
Fear can be a weakness, but it can also be a driving force to succeed. When something bad happens it can paralyze you. It can stop you in your tracks to the point where all you want to do is lay in bed and shut out the world. When Reid’s friend Shakir suffered a tragic death via suicide Reid said, “I had to find the strength to do what I love. I had to pick myself up and get back to work…I knew the road ahead would be much tougher and more complex than anything I’d encounter before.” Finding the strength to move on and not constantly harp on what you could have done differently. Thoughts of what you could have done to change it can be a difficult emotion to fight, but in the end, it’s about letting go of the pain and the anger.
We are all looking to make a difference in this world. To make our actions something of consequence. L.A. Reid continues to produce and support artists – “to make music that is important, to move people for a higher power.” His biography is just the beginning of his story and it is far from over. If you are looking to learn the inner workings of the industry this book isn’t for you, but if you are interested in learning one man’s journey to music business, discovering talent, and finding his way; don’t be afraid to take a peak.
I have been a Charlie Puth fan since 2011 when I first stumbled across his duet cover on YouTube of Adele’s “Someone Like You” with Emily Luther. After this cover I was hooked. He also did a cover of Pink’s “Give Me A Reason” with Daphne Khoo which is one of my favorites. His voice has a unique high quality and range giving him the ability to cover female artist with a twist.
Puth is currently blowing up on the air waves because of his vocals, writing contribution, and production skills on Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again”. His soulful voice and piano playing on the chorus as he sings, “It’s been a long day without you, my friend and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again (I see you again).” Digging deeper into understanding the song, I found in an interview with MTV that Puth’s inspirations behind the song was that he also lost a friend to a tragic car accident and that the song came from a very real place. Puth has a soulful emotion and R&B sound that connects with an audience, and this song in particular I think hits close to home with anyone who has lost someone who was important in their life, which is why it has soared on the charts. When music connects on a personal level it becomes a piece of your life in a way. You connect a person, a memory, or a relationship to that song which can be a powerful thing when you hear it out of the blue.
Last week on May 1, 2015, Puth released his first official EP Some Type of Love. The EP has an R&B and soul type feel. The first single from the EP was a duet with Meghan Trainer titled “Marvin Gaye.” Personally I thought the song was lacking. It had a nice 50s doo-wop feel that Meghan Trainer does so well, but the lyrics didn’t really connect with me. I feel like the lyrical concept had been done in other songs before and the fact that Marvin Gaye has a song “Let’s Get It On” which understand is the basis but really?! The last song on the EP “Suffer” reminds me of Alicia Key’s “Fallin.” The musical styling these two songs seem similar to me, from the start of the piano to the singing of desperation, to the soul and blues inspiration that are engulfed within the music. Next single off the album is “I Won’t Tell A Soul.” I love the simplicity of this song. It begins with a high sultry voice, low snap like sound, and soft electric guitar, and as the next verse comes in drums are added with background vocals in harmony to draw you in.
Charlie Puth is just taking off as an artist, and it has been amazing to see him grow from a young Berklee College student at The Red Room (Cafe 939) in Boston, to reading about him in Billboard magazine. My favorite original song so far has to be “Break Again” with Emily Luther. Granted there are no bells and whistles, but you and Luther had some magic when you sang together and it is what brought me to you from the beginning.
Check out Charlie Puth’s new EP on Spotify here as well as my favorite song “Break Again” below.