So a couple of years ago Daryl Bean asked us to participate in his Year of Living Stevie podcast. We were one of several artists he asked to perform their own take on a couple of Stevie Wonder tunes and to talk about how Stevie has influenced their music.
Now as any real musician knows, taking on a Stevie song is always a challenge. He has an uncanny knack for writing compositions that seem simple, but are deceptively difficult. But it’s Stevie. You have to accept the challenge, and his catalog is so deep, you can’t take on one of the more well known classics. So you dig deep into the Book of Stevie, and you dig deep into yourself.
We chose one of my favorite songs that I’ve always wanted to cover that few people ever do, “That Girl”, one of the new songs he wrote for his 1982 greatest hits compilation Original Musiquarium.
We quickly learned why people don’t do this tune. It kicked our behinds from jump. Luckily we had the professor, Philip Whitfield, on hand to help us navigate the changes. Steve Caldwell and I then turned up the dirt on top of the funky, nasty groove laid down by the dynamic duo of Christopher Spooner and Lauren Johnson. And yes, if you know the original, you’ll hear that I took it upon myself to learn how to play Stevie’s harmonica solo on guitar.
This was a really fun project, and I’m so glad Daryl shared it today to celebrate the Master Blaster. Hope you enjoy! #HappyBirthdayStevieWonder
An AMAZING public library! That’s just one of the perks my family enjoys living here in Ferndale, Michigan, right across the street from Detroit. They are a forward thinking bunch over there on 9 Mile Road. Forward thinking enough to have funk music in the courtyard in the summer, and forward thinking enough to have a podcast! This was a fun and informative conversation. Check it out!
We’re chatting with singer/songwriter/producer Nadir Omowale, an award-winning musician and the leader of a formidable funk-rock ensemble. Nadir Omowale gave a memorable performance at one of our Summer Concert Series showcases, and it was with his advice and encouragement that we wound up substantially enhancing our gear game at the library, particularly when it comes to sound systems for live events. We spoke with Omowale about his love of music, but especially about the influence of not only icons like Prince, but his mother, who was a dedicated volunteer to community causes, including serving on her local library board.
You have the power to create the life that YOU want to live. You know this, right? Students of the Law of Attraction call this, the Law of Deliberate Creation. It essentially means you get what you focus on, whether you want it or not, so it’s best to focus on the positive changes and developments that you want to create in your life. Seek and ye shall find. Ask and ye shall receive. Knock, and doors will be opened unto you.
Nashville emcee JusBam (Kyna Ealy) had a vision to create a project that could be a blueprint for anyone who wants to create the life of their dreams. She came to Detroit in 2019, and enlisted Nadir Omowale to help her bring her vision to light. Nadir worked on the track, an updated version of the Bill Withers classic “Use Me”. Nadir sang and plays most of the instruments here, along with Windsor/Detroit phenomenon Phil Whitfield, who injects some tasty organ, and Rashida Johnson and Ben Will who add spirit-filled gospel vocal flourishes.
In the end, JusBam manifested a funky track that provides a blueprint for you to attract and create all that you desire for yourself. Bam says, follow the steps she outlines here, just like she did – AND DOES – in all aspects of life, and you to can create the life you want to live for yourself. Bam just dropped the EP called Workin’ Contradiction, which she bills as “a preview of her next” full-length album project, and her dream is manifest right before your very eyes.
Listen to the track above, and purchase it from your favorite online retailer immediately, for a reminder on how to make the Law of Deliberation can work in your life.
Each year on Labor Day weekend, Royal Oak throws a huge block party that’s a treat for the eyes, taste buds and especially the ears. During the four days of Arts, Beats & Eats, which kicks off Friday, more than 200 musical performances will unfold on nine stages situated throughout downtown.
Though big-name acts like Third Eye Blind and the All-American Rejects will occupy the Michigan Lottery National Stage, much of the music at AB&E comes courtesy of made-in-Michigan acts like Stone Clover, Escaping Pavement and Jennifer Westwood & the Handsome Devils. Here’s a look at a terrific 10 local acts worthy of your time and consideration this weekend.
“Nadir Omowale is a songwriter, guitarist, producer (and more), who leads a high-energy ensemble that channels the unhinged party vibe of Funkadelic, samples the showmanship and virtuosity of Prince and then accelerates it all with a rock ‘n’ roll engine. The artist and his band, winners of multiple Detroit Music Awards, have garnered reviews that name-check Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone as comparative reference points.”
Friday, August 30, 2019 Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats 5:30 p.m., Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Rock Stage
On The Next Room, Jane Asher takes you on a soulful journey to explore and embrace the bigger picture surrounding life on earth…and what follows. She speaks with authors, friends, transition specialists and other experts about death, dying, grieving, beliefs and cultural traditions surrounding this journey we all must ultimately take. So, what is next, after life on this plane?
Jane has Nadir Omowale on the Next Room to talk about the legacy we leave behind. How do we honor our loved ones principles once they transition? How do we uphold their memory at the same time do justice to the lessons they taught us? These topics and more with a man that doesn’t have time to stand still while we explore the Next Room!
“The Year of Living Stevie” is host Daryl Bean’s biweekly podcast about life, creativity, and the music of Stevie Wonder. In each episode, musicians explore Stevie’s influence, and the affect his music has had on them.
In this episode, musician/vocalist/songwriter/producer Nadir Omowale and his band (Steve Caldwell, guitar; Phil Whitfield, keyboards; Chris Spooner, bass; Lauren Johnson, drums) talk about political activism through music, their deep well of experience in the industry, and what made Nadir want to throw his bass at a drummer (not Lauren). Plus they perform two deep Stevie tracks, “That Girl”, from Original Musiquarium, and “Let’s Get Serious” (a hit for Jermaine Jackson, but written and produced by Stevie).
Purged, a multi-faceted multimedia exhibit, is all about the art of metamorphosis. Detroit artist Nancy J. Rodwan requested that people she knows give her items they’d been meaning to dispose of but for some reason had stored away in their closets, attics, basements, or garages. Everyone she asked enthusiastically offered her a variety of things ranging from old electronics and clothing to books and kitchen utensils – all of which she completely transformed into art.
Examples of the paintings, sculptures, assemblages, collages, and fiber art Rodwan created from cast-off detritus include: A bold doll-like figure called “The Deity of Funk Stitched Together from Jive Ass Slippers” made from the leather baby shoes donated by musician Nadir Omowale; A majestic horse head-shaped wooden sculpture called “Gizo’s Great Horse” carved from a piece of molding from an old Detroit building given to her by Olyami Dabls, the artist and founder of Dabls African Bead Museum; A sculpture suggesting a robotic hand crafted from pieces of a typewriter salvaged frthe former headquarters of the Detroit Free Press by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and talk show host Stephen Henderson.
“How Cool is That” was inspired by a pair of Wonder Woman dolls donated by Detroit radio legend Ann Delisi. Nancy Rodwan explains:
“I am a big fan of Ann Delisi’s show Essential Music on Detroit’s WDET and listen to it in my studio regularly. The deep thought, research and pure fun she puts into her program inspires me. Ann can often be heard saying – how cool is that? – when something strikes her fancy. It makes me smile every time she says it. I wanted to create something fun with the dolls. I asked Nadir Omowale to write a funky love song titled “How Cool Is That?” and I created a stop-motion film featuring the lovebird dolls.