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Miles White

[Kenneth Brian ]

(b Indianapolis, IN, April 10, 1958). American Songwriter, singer, performer, producer, and record label owner. He helped reshape the sound of contemporary African American popular music from the 1980s to the end of the 20th century. He began his musical career as a guitarist and toured with the funk bassist Bootsy Collins, who gave him the moniker “Babyface.” He also worked with the group Midnight Star, which released his ballad “Slow Jam,” a mainstay of late night Quiet Storm programming on black radio stations. After Edmonds had worked with L.A. Reid inthe R&B group the Deele, the pair began a new andextremely influential collaboration as songwriter-producers, working first with the Solar artists Shalamar, Pebbles, and the Whispers, and later with Bobby Brown, Sheena Easton, and Paula Abdul. In 1989, with the help of Clive Davis, the two formed the Atlanta-based label LaFace, where they turned out recordings for TLC, Toni Braxton, Outcast, Usher, Ciara, and Pink, among others. They were also key players in producing the New Jack Swing sound of the 1980s and early 1990s. In addition Edmonds established a successful solo career singing lushly produced and unabashedly sentimental love ballads aching with longing and loss, hitting the charts with popular albums such as ...

Article

Ian Whitcomb

(b Hohensalza [now Inowrocław, Poland], Aug 18, 1879; d Los Angeles, CA, Nov 7, 1945). American singer, songwriter, and impresario. His family immigrated to the United States in the 1880s. By the age of 14 Edwards was working as a singer in Tony Pastor’s Music Hall in New York, and he subsequently appeared as a vaudeville performer with four other boys in an act called the Newsboy Quintet. In 1899 he began to write songs with the lyricist Will D. Cobb, beginning a partnership that lasted for several years. Their first hit was “I can’t tell why I love you, but I do” (1900), and they went on to establish their reputation with such songs as “Goodbye little girl, goodbye” (1904) and “School Days” (1907), a melodious waltz ballad with lyrics yearning for the simple days of small-town rural America. This last-named song was written for a revue in which Edwards appeared with a number of young actors; its success was such that he continued to present his “kiddie discovery shows” with new performers and material for the next 20 years. Among the juvenile actors he promoted were Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Walter Winchell, and Ray Bolger. Many of Edwards’s best songs, including “Sunbonnet Sue” (...

Article

Alyssa Woods

[Melissa Arnette]

(b Portsmouth, VA, July 1, 1971). American rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, and music executive. Missy Elliott emerged in the 1990s as a performer, songwriter, and producer, and has gradually become a dominant force in the music industry, a rare feat for a female rapper. After graduating from high school, Elliott formed the girl group Sista, which was discovered by Donald DeGrate, a singer-songwriter and producer who ran the New York-based Swing Mod label. Within days, DeGrate arranged a distribution deal with Elektra Records, but due to business complications, Sista’s debut album was never released. Despite this setback, Elliott gained industry experience, writing and producing for other artists during this time. She and her long-time colleague, Timbaland Timbaland (Timothy Mosley), became known for their song-writing and production talent, rising to prominence with their work on Aaliyah’s hit album, One in a Million (1996).

Elliott’s first solo album, ...

Article

Eminem  

Joseph R. Matson

[Mathers, Marshall Bruce III; Slim Shady]

(b St. Joseph, MO, Oct 17, 1972).

American rapper, record producer, and actor. As a youth, Eminem moved between multiple residences in and around Kansas City and Detroit; he has remained based in the Detroit area since the late 1980s. He was raised by his mother, Debbie (Deborah) Mathers; Ronnie (Ronald) Dean Polkinghorn, an uncle who was only a few months older than Eminem, first introduced him to hip-hop music. Eminem and Kim (Kimberly; Kimberley) Anne Scott, whom he later married and divorced twice, have one daughter, Hailie Jade Scott. During his third attempt to complete the ninth grade, Eminem dropped out of high school permanently to focus on his career as a rapper.

Proof [DeShaun] Holton (1972–2006), Eminem’s closest friend in high school, effectively functioned as his teacher, manager, and back-up band at various times in his early career. Together with four other Detroit rappers, they formed a collective unit called D12. In ...

Article

David Buckley

revised by Cecilia Sun

(Peter George St John Le Baptiste de la Salle )

(b Woodbridge, UK, May 15, 1948). English composer, singer, keyboard player, sound artist, and producer. He attended art school in Ipswich and Winchester, during which time he was inspired by John Cage’s Silence to develop an interest in experimental music. He later joined the Scratch Orchestra and the Portsmouth Sinfonia. He first worked professionally from 1970 to 1973 with the seminal art-rock band Roxy Music, playing keyboard on their first two albums Roxy Music (Island, 1972) and For your Pleasure (Island, 1973). By treating the group’s live sound electronically with a tape recorder and VC5 3 synthesizer, he defined a role for himself as an “aural collagist.” After leaving Roxy Music, Eno developed this interest in the timbral quality of music further with the albums No Pussy Footing (Island, 1973; with Robert Fripp) and Another Green World (Island, 1975), the latter a brilliant combination of quirky songs and pastoral instrumentals. In ...

Article

Mario Rey

(b Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, March 4, 1953). Cuban-American musician, songwriter, bandleader, and producer. Estefan immigrated to the United States in 1968. A central figure in Latin pop, Estefan is the recipient of 19 Grammy Awards. Largely a self-taught accordionist and keyboardist, he formed his own group in Cuba, then continued his career in the United States, performing in various local clubs. In 1975 he founded the all-Spanish Miami Latin Boys, later renamed Miami Sound Machine with the introduction of lead vocalist Gloria Estefan, to whom he has been married since 1978. The group launched its recording career in 1976 with the Spanish-language album Renacer, but subsequently achieved a remarkably successful English-language crossover with the hit “Conga” (1986).

Estefan’s musical creativity engendered a hybrid style known as “the Miami Sound,” a danceable variety of Latin pop that synthesized American electronic music and pop with rock-influenced arrangements of Cuban rhythms. He thus defined the Cuban-American pop sound that would invade the musical mainstream in the 1980s and 1990s, and propel the “Latin Boom” into the international music scene....

Article

John Cline

(Aloysius )

(b Takoma Park, MD, Feb 28, 1939; d Salem, OR, Feb 22, 2001). American guitarist, folklorist, and record producer. As a teenager, Fahey’s early interest in country music was expanded to include bluegrass and country-blues due to a friendship with richard Spottswood , later a noted folk and ethnic music scholar. With Spottswood and famed collector Joe Bussard, Fahey sought out pre-war 78 r.p.m. records. After taking up the guitar, Fahey’s made his first recordings for Bussard’s private Fonotone label on 78 r.p.m. shellac discs, some of which Fahey claimed to have slipped into boxes of more “authentic,” vintage records at flea markets. In 1959 Fahey founded Takoma Records to distribute his own recordings, beginning with the LP Blind Joe Death; his liner notes also frequently mock the language of then-contemporary blues scholars, the very people he had hoped to fool with the Fonotone 78s.

Despite his sense of humor Fahey was a serious student of American vernacular music. He travelled long distances to find Bukka White and Skip James in the Mississippi Delta in the early 1960s; he relates these events in the memoir, ...

Article

Robert B. Winans

[Hatfield, Alfred Griffith ]

(b Lessburg, VA, Nov 7, 1848; d Columbus, OH, April 3, 1921). American minstrel performer and manager. He gave his first minstrel performance as a schoolboy in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, and subsequently appeared in minstrel shows, serious theater, and circuses. In the late 1870s and early 1880s he played with major minstrel troupes, and in 1886 he formed Al G. Field’s Minstrels, a large touring company that functioned until 1928. His show grew in size and splendor until it became one of the most elaborate and expensive. It was especially noted for its lavish costuming and sets. Moreover, Field’s company was the first to carry complete scenic sets and to travel in specially built railroad cars. Field wrote and directed all of his own productions and also performed in them as endman, monologist, or companion to the main comedian; he was also one of the few minstrels to become wealthy....

Article

S. Timothy Maloney

(Walter )

(b Victoria, Canada, Nov 1, 1949). Canadian record producer, songwriter, arranger, and pianist. After playing keyboards with Chuck Berry and Ronnie Hawkins in his teens, he went to Los Angeles, where he became a studio musician recording in the mid-1970s with Michael Jackson, John Lennon, and other major artists. By the early 1980s, Foster had become a leading record producer, collaborating with musicians ranging from Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey, Chicago, and Alice Cooper to Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, and Andrea Bocelli. Three of his biggest commercial and critical successes were Natalie Cole’s recording of “Unforgettable,” Céline Dion’s “Because You Loved Me,” and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” In 1997 he launched his own label, 143 Records, for which he produced highly acclaimed debut albums by Michael Bublé, The Corrs, and Josh Groban.

Foster has written songs for Bocelli, Dion, Streisand, Nicole Kidman, and fellow Canadians Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray, among others, and his film soundtrack credits include ...

Article

Maya Gibson

(b Fort Worth, TX, Jan 26, 1970). American gospel music singer, producer, and songwriter. Franklin showed prodigious talent early, learning to play the piano at age four. At age 11 he became leader of the Mount Rose Baptist Church choir in his hometown of Fort Worth and also began to write and record his compositions. As a teenager Franklin attended a performing arts high school on the Texas Wesleyan University campus while also heading the music programs at a number of Fort Worth churches. His breakthrough in the gospel scene came when gospel music executive Milton Biggham heard a tape of Franklin’s songs and invited him to perform the song “Everyday with Jesus” with the Dallas/Fort Worth Mass Choir. That performance led to further opportunities, and eventually Franklin recorded the piece with the Georgia Mass Choir, which was included on the soundtrack for the 1996 movie The Preacher’s Wife...