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J. Ryan Bodiford

[J.Lo ]

(b Bronx, NY, July 24, 1969). American Puerto Rican actress, singer, dancer, producer, and entrepreneur. She is the highest paid Latina actress to date and has attracted similar commercial appeal as a pop, hip hop, and Latin-influenced recording artist, selling over 55 million albums in the first decade of her musical career.

The daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, Lopez participated in minor film and theater productions from an early age. Following high school, she attended numerous auditions before landing her first major gig in 1991 as a “fly girl” dancer on the sketch-comedy program In Living Color. In 1997 she gained attention with her Golden Globe-nominated performance in the film Selena. She has since starred in box office hits such as The Wedding Planner (2001), Maid in Manhattan (2002), and Monster in Law (2005).

Already an established actress, Lopez launched her singing career in ...


Dave Laing

(b Woodbridge, Suffolk, March 25, 1949). English songwriter, singer and record producer. During the 1970s he was a key figure in the development of English pub rock and punk rock. His early career was spent as a member of Brinsley Schwarz, a guitar- and organ-based group which set out to translate the American pop of the Band and the Byrds into an English urban context. Lowe sang, played bass guitar, and composed such songs as Nervous on the Road, Don’t lose your grip on love and What’s so funny (’bout peace, love and understanding), recorded by the group between 1970 and 1975. Next he collaborated with the club-owner and producer Dave Robinson in setting up Stiff Records (1976), which recorded such figures as Elvis Costello and Ian Dury. Lowe produced the first British punk rock album, by the Damned, before resuming his own musical career. In the late 1970s he had hit records with ...


Jonas Westover

[Quiñonez, Enrique Arsenio Lucca ]

(b Ponce, PR, April 10, 1946). Puerto Rican salsa pianist, instrumentalist, producer, and arranger. The son of a prominent Puerto Rican bandleader, he studied at Ponce’s Free School of Music. He also took lessons from pianist Ramon Fernandez and had begun his performing career by the age of 11. He subsequently worked with his father’s group, La Sonora Ponçena, and eventually inherited the band as his own. During the 1950s he played alongside such musical luminaries as Machito and Obdulio Morales Ríos and appeared regularly on television, especially on Ruth Fernández’s variety show. After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, Lucca gained greater prominence through his affiliation with La Sonora Ponçena and his work with other artists. In 1976 he served as performer and producer of La Sonora Ponçena’s Conquista Musical (Fania). He also became the pianist for the Fania All-Stars. One of his notable achievements came with the album ...


Jared Pauley

[Shimura, Tsutomu; (“Tom”)]

Rapper, producer, and songwriter. Shimura was born in Tokyo, Japan to Japanese and Jewish Italian American parents. His delivery is noted for incorporating multiple syllables and an extensive vocabulary. Growing up in Berkeley, California, he was a co-founder of the independent label Quannum Projects, which has released albums by Blackalicious, DJ Shadow, Pigeon John, and others, including his own projects.

Early in his career, Shimura went by the name Asia Born but later changed it to Lyrics Born. His first single, “Send Them,” was released in 1993. The song was produced by DJ Shadow, and it featured the B-Side single “Entropy.” He later formed a group with Lateef the Truthspeaker called Latryx, and they released Latryx (The Album) in 1997.

Lyrics Born’s greatest commercial success as a solo artist occurred in 2003 with the release of his album Later That Day. The album featured the song “Callin’ Out,” which ended up being a surprise hit. The song was licensed by Electronic Arts for use in video games and by the Coca-Cola Company. In addition to his work as a solo artist, Shimura is also active as a voice-over actor, lending his voice to several shows and cartoon programs on Cartoon Network’s ...



Mike Levine

[Jackson, Otis Jr. ]

(b Oxnard, CA, Oct 24, 1973). American DJ and producer of alternative hip hop. He is best known for his unique approach to beatmaking and remixing which includes aggregating diverse material together from far-flung musical traditions. Throughout the course of his career, he has recorded albums that exclusively sample Ethiopian records, Ivory Coast material, and Blue Note recording artists.

Jackson, whose long career includes the use of many aliases, released his first album The Unseen (2000) as Quasimoto. In 2001 he took a turn away from traditional hip-hop music for the release of Yesterdays New Quintet’s Angles Without Edges. The album featured jazz-based, hip-hop and electronic music-influenced remixes “played” by a fictitious group (Yesterdays New Quintet); each of the group’s five members was actually Jackson, listed under a different alias.

Madlib has also worked in many groups. The duo Jaylib, a collaboration with late hip-hop producer J Dilla, released ...



Athena Elafros

[Williams, Wesley Maestro Fresh Wes ]

(b Toronto, ON, March 31, 1968). Canadian rapper, songwriter, and record producer. Maestro (formerly Maestro Fresh Wes) is rightfully known as the “godfather” of Canadian hip hop. His debut album, Symphony in Effect (1989), sold more than a million copies, and the debut single from the album, “Let Your Backbone Slide,” was the first Canadian hip hop track to appear on Billboard’s Top 20 Rap Singles Chart. The single was also the first Canadian hip hop track to achieve gold status in Canada. In part due to his success, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) introduced a rap category at the 1991 Juno Awards; he won the first Juno Award for best rap recording. For most of the 1990s he lived in the United States, releasing several albums, including The Black Tie Affair (1991), Maestro Zone (1992), and ...


Jonas Westover

[Pincus, Barry Alan ]

(b Brooklyn, NY, June 17, 1943). American Singer, composer, pianist, and producer. Manilow’s professional career began while he was a student at the Juilliard School. His first major assignment came in 1964, when he composed the score to a musical adaptation of The Drunkard. He was also a successful composer of advertising jingles, winning two Clio awards in 1976. By the late 1960s Manilow became the music director and conductor for numerous television programs while simultaneously performing a nightclub act in New York. Finding success as a performer and songwriter, he collaborated at this time with Bette Midler and also produced her first two albums. In the early 1970s Manilow started his own record company, Bell Records, which released his first album, Barry Manilow (Bell, 1973). His first successful single, “Mandy,” from Barry Manilow II (Bell, 1974) was followed by “I Write the Songs” (1975...



Jonas Westover

(b Brooklyn, NY, May 23, 1973). American Soul and R&B singer, songwriter, and producer. From a young age he was interested in gospel and soul music, and began composing songs, writing over 200 by the time he was in high school. In 1994 he was signed by Columbia Records. Drawing on classic soul singers such as Sam Cooke and James Brown as models, Maxwell worked closely with producer Leon Ware to create Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite (1996), which has been described as an example of Neo-soul. Featuring his silky voice and sensual accompaniment, singles “Sumthin’, Sumthin’” and “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” helped the record become a multiplatinum seller; it was also nominated for a Grammy award. Maxwell became a major musical presence, making a tremendous impression on MTV’s Unplugged television program in 1997. He released two more albums within the next few years—Embrya (1998) and Now (2001)—and both performed well on the R&B charts, achieved impressive sales, and were lauded by critics. Maxwell took a brief respite from recording, but his next record, ...


Rob Bowman

(b Chicago, June 3, 1942; d Roswell, GA, Dec 26, 1999). American soul and funk singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer. During the 1960s and early 70s he created the sound of Chicago soul. He initially came to prominence performing on and writing a number of hits by the Impressions, the between 1958 and 1970. Beginning in 1960 with Jerry Butler's top ten hit He will break your heart, Mayfield also pursued a career writing, producing and playing on records by a number of other successful Chicago artists, including Major Lance, Gene Chandler and Walter Jackson and, in the 1970s, the Staple Singers and the Detroit-based Aretha Franklin. In 1966 Mayfield became an entrepreneur with first the Windy C and then the Mayfield and Curtom labels. Curtom proved to be the most successful of these ventures, releasing hits by the Impressions, the Natural Four, Five Stairsteps, the Staple Singers, Donny Hathaway and June Conquest, Leroy Hutson, Mystique and Linda Clifford....


Dan Sharp

[Santos ]

(b Niterói, Brazil, Feb 11, 1941). Brazilian pianist, bandleader, arranger, producer and composer, active in the United States. Formally trained in classical music, Mendes turned to jazz, participating in the bossa nova nightclub scene in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mendes and his group, the Sexteto Bossa Rio, performed at the pivotal Bossa Nova festival at Carnegie Hall, which contributed significantly to the popularity of bossa nova beyond Brazil.

In 1962, Mendes and the Sexteto Bossa Rio rode the wave of US interest in the genre, recording Do the Bossa Nova with Herbie Mann and Cannonball’s Bossa Nova with Cannonball Adderley. He moved to the United States soon after, adapting bossa nova to the American and international pop, light jazz, and easy listening markets. Mendes arranged, produced, and performed covers of pop hits by the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Joni Mitchell, as well as Brazilian songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jorge Ben, and others. The signature sound of his group was light and upbeat with two female vocalists singing in unison and a bouncy samba-derived rhythm. His groups were named “Brasil” followed by the year they were launched: ’65, ’66, ’77, ’88, ’99, and ...