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Where Are They Now? What’s Going On with Bobby McFerrin, Wendy & Lisa and Chuck D

Black America Web - Dallas, Tx, USA - Perhaps best known for his infectious 1989 Grammy Award-winning hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy," the first a capella song ever to reach No. 1 on the U.S. pop singles chart, Bobby McFerrin has appeared around the world as a jazz vocalist, composer and orchestral conductor.

Known for his unorthodox singing techniques, McFerrin uses his unusually large vocal range of four octaves; in many performances he switches rapidly fluidly between normal and falsetto registers to create polyphonic effects, effectively performing both the main melody and the accompanying parts of songs. He makes use of vocal percussion created both with his mouth and by tapping on his chest. McFerrin is also capable of throat singing -- a practice common in central Asian countries such as Tuva and Tibet -- in which the singer excites the natural overtones from the fundamental vocal pitch, producing a two-or three-part chord of notes from one voice.

Since his biggest hit record, McFerrin has collaborated on recordings with musical legends Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and cellist Yo-Yo Ma and has served as conductor/creative chair of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra since 1994. He has scored several films and is the recipient of numerous vocal jazz performance awards.

McFerrin was born into a musical family. His father, late operatic baritone Robert McFerrin, was the first black to be a regular with New York's Metropolitan Opera and also provided the vocals for Sidney Poitier in the motion picture version of "Porgy and Bess."

Throughout McFerrin's innovative career as a solo vocalist, audiences have been captivated. With a comedian's sense of timing, an unrestrained zany streak and an infectious love of every genre of music, McFerrin created a new kind of concert -- not a "performance," but a communal sharing and celebration of music. As a conductor, McFerrin is able to convey his innate musicality in an entirely different context. He has worked with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic. Those familiar with McFerrin's shows, whether as a conductor or a vocalist, know that each one is a unique event that resonates with the unexpected.

"What I perform is up for grabs," said McFerrin from his Philadelphia home in a 2005 interview with the Denver Post. "I just walk onstage and see what happens. A lot of it depends on the vibe I get from the audience. The audience is like my instrument. It's not just me up there, it's collaborative."

While McFerrin's crossover appeal helped sell over 20 million records and garnered him 10 Grammy Awards, he was not very happy with all the acclaim. McFerrin is an intensely private artist who treasures time with his family. That was the basis of his year-plus sabbatical in 2005. "When I started doing solo concerts, I was 30, 31," explained McFerrin to Reuters upon his return to performing last year. "Now I'll be 57 in March. I just got off a sabbatical. I was off the road for 17 months. My very first gig was a conducting gig, and I threw my back out."

McFerrin is universally recognized as that rare artist who has the ability to reach beyond musical genres and stereotypes for a sound that is entirely his own. As one of the foremost guardians of music's rich heritage, he remains at the vanguard with his beautiful, organic and timeless music that transcends all borders and embraces all cultures.

"I'm more into working, longevity," said McFerrin. "I'm just grateful to have, you know, gigs, to be working constantly. The other stuff, it's not something that I actually feed into. If it happens, it's not intentional. Like 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' was not intentional. I didn't go out and write something that I thought would be a hit. My focus has never been about that. It's always been about the music."

When Prince's "Planet Earth" CD was released last summer, longtime fans not only rejoiced over the reunification of his Purple Rain proteges Wendy and Lisa, they also pondered the long-awaited reunion of the Revolution. The two, Wendy and Lisa, wrote and recorded with Prince and the Revolution on "Purple Rain" and in 1985 shared their first Grammy Award in the category Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

Wendy and Lisa (last names Melvoin and Coleman, respectively) would go on to work with Prince on several more projects, including "Around the World in a Day," "Parade" and "Sign O' the Times." The pair share a history that extends to their childhood: Both Melvoin and Coleman's respective fathers, Michael Melvoin and Gary Coleman. are renowned L.A. studio musicians who have played with a
"who's who" of the music world.
Source : Originally Published Black America Web - Dallas, Tx, USA, Jun 4, 2008
Celebrities : Bobby McFerrin
Categories : Where Are They Now, Musician News
Posted 6/4/2008 12:06:27 AM | Permalink
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