*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
The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.
The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.
“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”
Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”
The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.
“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”
Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”
In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.
“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”
Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.
“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”
Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”
New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’
*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.
“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).
It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.
EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.
Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars. As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.
This year has been a year like no other. “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead. Radio Programmers click here for adds.
“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA. Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita. The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture. “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms. Click here to listen on Spotify.
Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH
*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!
Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai
SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer
STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.
Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
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