With the news of Earth, Wind & Fire co-founder Maurice White‘s passing today, Billboard has quickly released a brand new interview, one of his last, which they conducted with him via e-mail last month surrounding the announcement of the groups Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
White was unable to grant a full interview due to his Parkinson’s, but he did answer a few questions about the founding of the group, commercial breakthrough, winning his first Grammy Award, if he hears his influence in contemporary R&B and more.
Check out some excerpts below.
ON FOUNDING THE GROUP: “I started EWF because I had a vision and music was playing in my head that I wanted to bring through. What I had in mind was exactly what Earth, Wind & Fire became.”
THE EVOLUTION OF THE GROUPS SOUND: “There was an evolution and as time went on, the sound was developed by the musicians I brought into the group.”
FINDING LARGE COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: “Strong, driving rhythm and easily remembered hooks. Plus a new way of combining a lot of diverse elements so everyone found something they could relate to.”
WINNING HIS FIRST GRAMMY: “I was so excited. The validation by the industry was gratifying. It felt like my position in the chain of musical history was being acknowledged.”
INFLUENCE ON CONTEMPORARY R&B: “I don’t really listen to contemporary R&B with an ear for hearing my influence. Music is a spirit unto itself and all of us musicians influence each other all along the chain.”
READ THE FULL STORY HERE