The Backdrop Of The First Motown Heritage Club Meeting
I walked up to the line that was outside of Detroit's
Fellowship Chapel on the eve of the first Motown Heritage Club
Meeting. It was five minutes to the end of the public viewing
of the Detroit area rap superstar, Deshaun Holton, better know
as "Proof.." The loss of a driving force in Detroit Hip Hop
music, the untimely death of the founder of the
D-12 "rap collective" that launched Emenem, was a tragedy and
just viewing his lifeless body was exhausting. I knew the club
meeting wouldn't come off as originally planned with 25
"registered members" and with the Detroit songwriter/producer
McKinley Jackson being a featured speaker.
McKinley was Proof's father.
The day before I had left a message on McKinley's phone that I
understood that he would be unable to speak at the meeting on
the day they laid his son to rest. In conversations with
fellow Motown Heritage Club founders Bob Bateman and Harold
Bowles I suggested that I hold down the fort at the first
meeting because I knew they would attend Proof's funeral and
knew the chilling effect it would have on them. Bob insisted
that he would be there anyway, but I knew it was more of a
desire of his rather than something that would actually occur.
At 7:15 PM I called the Motown Heritage Club meeting to order
for the 8 members that did attend and introduced Mr.Tom
Gelardi to the group. Tom is a still-active 40 year veteran in
the field with nearly a dozen gold and platinum awards lining
his office in recognition of his promotional and marketing
contributions to the Detroit area music scene over this
period. He had three parts to his message.
1. Detroit is, and has been for decades, the most important
breakout market in the national music scene.
2. Music industry success comes from teamwork rather than
individual effort and talent. Although Tom didn't specifically
mention this, the history of Proof and the rap group D-12 is a
prime example of what he was talking about. Statistically,
it's well over 10 million units sold and the successful launch
of almost a dozen music careers occurring in less than a
decade because of the D-12 "collective" (read "team").
3. If we want to keep Detroit a "Hit Factory" we have to get
back to making music together rather than the violent fighting
that can occur when we lose sight of the music.
I introduced the members to
recent Developing Artist Production articles (Production
The Production's Sales Potential) and discussed the
changes in the industry over the last 40 years and what it
takes to get a string of hit records today. The purpose
of the meeting was to get acquainted and find out what the
members felt would be the best areas to work on though the
club. Members had good suggestions and comments during
the meeting, during one-on-one in the short "intermission" we
took, and on the feedback forms that the attendees submitted
at the end of the meeting. Each attending member
received a free interactive study disc on basic audio theory.
Where We Go From Here
Meeting Schedule and
Location: The Motown Heritage Club will be meeting the
third Wednesday of each month, intially in the classroom
facilities of the Recording Institute of Detroit from 7:00 -
9:00 PM. A recording technique Q&A session will
immediately follow each meeting. The next meeting will be May
17, 2006. I expect that within a few short months we
will have well over 100 members, and when we outgrow the RID
facilities, co-founder Harold Bowles has arranged for larger
The official site for The Motown Heritage Club has been
www.produceahit.com. The website will be updated by
Tuesday evening following each meeting. Membership application
survey forms, membership feedback forms and links to articles
we discussed at the first meeting will be up by this coming
May, 2006 Meeting Topics:
have asked members to bring copies of their past and/or
current productions to the next meeting and, as a group, we
are going to evaluate the products per the guidelines in the
linked articles and get members' comments and suggestions.
This may well be a regular reoccurring feature at future
meetings. We will additionally be discussing member
suggestions for club activities that were received on the
meeting feedback forms.
We received written feedback
on the meeting from the majority of the attending members.
When asked to rate the meeting on a 0-10 scale, all members
gave it a perfect "10." All members stated that they would be
attending the next meeting. Its seems as though we are
off to a good start, despite the negative backdrop for this