NewsOne’s Smokey Fontaine recently interviewed musician, songwriter, record producer and music executive Antonio “L.A.” Reid to talk about the music industry, Black music and who he sees leading the way.
“I could say a lot of things, some of them would not be politically correct. Like the state of urban music, I really have a problem with,” Reid said.
“I want to share with people,” he continued. “I want to share with young people who may have their finger closer to the pulse than I may and people who may have a lot more talent that can make a tremendous contribution to the state of music.”
I just wanna tell these kids, like, increase your vocabulary, give me some new words, give old words new meaning, give me some melodies, give me some music that absolutely will last the next 100 years.
Reid told Fontaine he believes today’s artists are going after the “low-hanging fruit” and many of these acts are not wiling to climb the “taller mountain to greatness.”
“I really want kids–particularly young Black kids–to take the challenge,” Reid said.
The chairman and CEO of Epic Records continued to express his displeasure with the lyrics many artists are writing saying, “There are some cool words out there that’s not b*tch. There’re some cool words that are not hoe. There’re some cool things that are not a gun, there’s some cool stuff in the world.”
Reid went on to explain that many years ago Black music was “the model that music was built on.” He went on to name the Rolling Stones being influenced by Little Richard and at one time Roland Isley having Elton John as his piano player.
Reid said, “The root of Black music was always so important,” but in this day and age it does not seem to meet the standard it once did. Despite his views on Black music, Reid acknowledged there are still some great singers out there, “they just look different today.”
“They look like Adele. They look more like Sam Smith and they look more like Amy Winehouse and they look less like Marvin Gaye.” Reid added, “They look less like Stevie Wonder, they look less like Donnie Hathaway.”
Reid told Fontaine, “I can’t help but notice that the best Black music over the last couple of years happen to be ‘Blurred Lines’ from Robin Thicke. And it happened to be Ariana Grande, and it happened to be Adele. And, today, it happens to be Sam Smith.”
Reid said there is no “thread of racism” in what he is saying, but his issue is with African-American singers and songwriters are not being the leaders of Black music.
When it comes to Black music, Reid said somberly, “I feel as though there is a hole in it.”