Inspired by the October 14 birthdays of Cliff Richard, Usher, The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward, The Chicks’ Natalie Maines, All Saints’ Shaznay Lewis, Boney M’s Marcia Barrett, Thomas Dolby, Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty, Robert Parker, Bill Justis and Karyn White.
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After Empire creator Lee Daniels hired music producer Timbaland to be the television program’s Executive Music Producer, the Grammy Award winner sent the Academy Award nominee music to be used in the pilot episode.
As he recounted to Out.com, Daniels brought a copy of that first episode to Timbaland to show him how his music was used. Daniels was out of the room during the scene where Jamal and his boyfriend kiss. Said Daniels “I knew he was fascinated by seeing his music in the work, but he said, ‘Those guys kissing, man. Wow.’” When the music producer showed his family the pilot, he made his children leave the room during that kissing scene.
That shouldn’t surprise anyone. This was the man who said “Some people listen to a song like ‘SexyBack’ and think, am I queer? Am I funny? If you are that way, you’re just that way. But if you’re a masculine man, embrace it. Have a glass of wine, put the record on and invite your girl over to get sexy.”
He has a point. When I listen to “SexyBack,” I ask “Am I queer?” That’s because Justin Timberlake doesn’t do anything for me. If I were a masculine man who drank, I’d have a girl over and get sexy for the song’s four minutes and three seconds. But I’m funny.
Per Daniels, who is openly-gay, Timbaland is singing a new tune. “[Working on this show has] changed his opinion on how he feels about gays. He said it. And I remember hanging up the phone and being very emotional after talking to him, and after him telling me that. And how he really had this epiphany. It was beautiful, and it deepened our friendship.”
That must have been some conversation. “Hi, Lee? It’s Timbaland. I’ve worked with many gay people in my twenty-five years producing music, and every one of them disgusted me with their talent and work ethic. But after seeing a fictional gay character recite scripted lines and give his, uh, male friend a quick kiss, I’ve had a change of heart. I can handle a gay person for a few scenes one hour a week, provided my kids aren’t in the room. Let’s have dinner soon. Feel free to not bring your boyfriend. Love ya (in a platonic way)!”
Today the man born Timothy Mosley turns 43 years old. There’s still time for him to continue evolving. Here are twenty tracks he produced or co-produced. WARNING: This playlist includes “SexyBack.” Be sure you’re masculine enough to listen! (Before anyone asks, his stellar work with Aaliyah is not available on Spotify.)
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In yesterday’s post I mentioned a negotiation class I took. The teacher gave us many different tactics and approaches, with the overriding goal being for each party to feel they got what they were seeking and were treated fairly. This is commonly referred to as a win-win.
In 2005, the joint venture that produces the Now That’s What I Call Music compilations requested from Warner Music, where I worked, a license to include Missy Elliott’s hit “Lose Control” for the next volume of the series. Until that point, Warner hadn’t licensed to any of the Now albums. Senior management was eager to change that.
Atlantic Records, the Warner label to whom Missy was signed, wanted the song on the album. Missy’s mother, Pat, who handles her daughter’s license requests, approved of its inclusion. However, the song features two guest artists, Ciara and Fatman Scoop, and also contains two samples. The royalty we were to receive from Now wouldn’t cover these expenses; Missy would end up losing money for each unit sold.
I set about to renegotiate everyone’s portion of the royalty pool. The argument I used to convince each party to agree was simple – we can’t afford to license the track at the present rates. If we don’t do the license, then nobody makes any money. However, if everyone agrees to reduce their share of the royalties, then we can proceed with the license. As Now albums routinely sold several million units each back then, the money everyone would receive was a nice chunk of change, especially as all one needed to do to get it was to sign the one-page agreement I sent over.
All parties saw the logic in this argument, and the song made the album. Warner became a part of every Now compilation going forward. Missy’s mom marveled at how I got this done. A couple of years later, a new deal for Missy hit the desk of Atlantic Records’ legal department. Pat Elliott told the attorney “Give this to Glenn Schwartz to handle. He’ll get it done.”
The goal of this post isn’t to brag about myself. Okay, maybe that’s part of it. The other part is to encourage you to look for win-win situations, or, as was in this case, win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win situations. The more happy people there are, the more happiness there is. Seems simple, no?