*On a chilly evening in the San Fernando Valley, the pianist, keyboard wizard and songwriter invited a journalist to his home, in a cul-de-sac hidden from the bustle of traffic on the surrounding streets.
The creativity and craftsmanship of his dwelling began to hint at the tremendous creativity and talent of this amazing keyboardist, Stafford Floyd, one member of a duo of brothers, “J.S. Floyd.“
Proud of his home, he gave the journalist a tour, pointing out his contribution to the ceiling of the home and how he helped the contractor steady the ceiling and the roof, while the beams were being placed.
However, there is no ceiling to the talent of this duo of men, who have created a library of music for the masses.
“The thing about creating music, when you anticipate selling it, is that you have to have your creative energy geared to the masses,” said Stafford Floyd, “Every idea is a good idea, it just has to be carried out.”
Stafford and Jonathan Floyd would happen to know a lot about carrying out and creating music for the masses. They have completed two CD’s, “ForeCast featuring J. S. Floyd” and “ForeCast 2020.”
They were also the founders of VAP Records. Their first composition was a popular tune entitled “No Limit.” The B Side of “No Limit,” “I Can Do It Any Way You Want It” became a big hit. It got picked up and re-mixed by DJ Armand Van Helden and has garnered over 8 million hits on YouTube.
Stafford, a keyboardist, songwriter and instrumentalist, worked for almost 20 years as a songwriter, helping to pen music with the legendary songwriters, Brian and Edward Holland. He also secured a Billboard Music Award for work with the legendary group, The Supremes and has toured with Madonna, Anita Baker and Earth, Wind and Fire among several other artists. In demand as a composer and sound designer, he has scored productions at the Mark Taper Forum, The Pasadena Playhouse and the El Portal Theater among many, many others.
His brother Jonathan, a sensational guitarist, also has had an impact on the music industry. You’ve likely heard his amazing guitar work on the remix of Al B. Sure’s hit, “Right Now.” A graduate of the University of Albuquerque, Jonathan was one of the original members of the New York Rock Coalition and has toured with the mega-rock group Living Color. He also made his mark as a technician at the Sherman Oaks Guitar Center.
“I was the pro audio guy,” said Jonathan Floyd. “I was the godfather over there, I assisted musicians that needed equipment involved with “new” technology. It was amazing the people you touch.” As an audio guy, he got called to work at The Skirball Center, for an awards show. “A lady that had come into The Guitar Center got the first award,” he reflected. “You never know who you’re going to touch.”
The duo, from Amityville, Long Island, started with their roots steeped in the sound of New York, their music containing elements of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B. Although they’re a year apart in age, as kids, sometimes their family didn’t see it that way.
“For a long time, they treated us like twins,” said Jonathan, about growing up in Long Island. “We would go to our grandmother’s house during the summer, in White Plains actually, we lived there before we moved to Long Island, but we’d always go back to grandmother’s, where there was a piano in the basement.”
A series of musicians, many who lived in their neighborhood, inspired them to want to play music. Two guys, Barry and Craig, their across the street neighbors, were particularly influential.
“They were beasts,” laughed Stafford. “Beasts as they could be at 10,11, and 12,” said Jonathan, finishing his brother’s thought, “watching them be able to play songs and keep rhythm. That encouraged us, so we would go down to the basement and play Grandma’s piano.” They also mention their parents tolerated their ever-changing priorities of playing music. “They encouraged us,” said Stafford. Well, most of the time. “A piano?” “What do you mean a piano?” laughed Stafford, recalling memories of his dad. “I need an electric piano.” My dad would be, “Okay, let’s go to Sam Ash.” And Jonathan started out the same way.”
They were also influenced by some of the best New York bands, right in their own neighborhood, including a legendary New York band.
“Mandrill rehearsed around the corner from us,” said Stafford, “and ‘Cameo’ was around the other corner.” As with many up and coming musicians in the Big Apple, they played in a series of cover bands. “We had bands when we were back in New York, when we were kids, playing top 40, Kool and the Gang and that kind of stuff,” said Stafford, whose band frequented famous nightclubs like Studio 54, Music City, the Cheetah and other popular New York music venues. “But we played original music, too, and after working with Holland all these years, I realized there was no point in playing anyone else’s music, if I could play my music.” As a matter of fact, they call their music “Hot Funk Cool Jazz. They add, “Music is the universal force connecting all people.”
As the journalist marveled at their studio, they gave him a treat, an impromptu performance of a couple of their compositions. Their music is a sophisticated mix of funk, jazz and R&B, with some of the bells and whistles of gospel.
“Our music is not scribble, scrabble,” said Jonathan. “They’re songs that when listened to, you hear melodies, melodies, because we learned how to write songs,” said Jonathan and continued Stafford, not missing a beat, “from Holland, Dozier, Holland, the #2 songwriting team in the history of modern music.”
Yes, the craftsmanship of the home of Stafford Floyd and their studio is almost like a metaphor- an analogy to the craftsmanship of the music of this incredible duo of musicians. But one thing’s for sure- they are mega-talented, and, unlike the roof in Stafford’s home, there’s no ceiling, no limit to where their music will go.
Visit their website at https://www.forecastaudio-andlighting.com