@skopemag Q&A Featuring Producer/Composer GWC

When did you start listening to music?

I am a product of immigrants from the Caribbean, so in my household there was always music playing. My older sisters played everything on the record player from Carol King, Santana, Crosby Stills Nash, to James Taylor. My parents loved the Calypso music of Trinidad and Tobago, but my mother introduced me to so many styles of music and artists like Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, Gospel, King Curtis, and my father played classical music usually on Sundays after church, especially a lot of organ classical music. Everything was playing in our home; Pop, R&B, Soul, Rock, Symphonic.

When did you pick up your first instrument?

I loved rhythm. I always loved the drums. I would hit pots and pans on the floor, pencils on shoe boxes, anything I could make a beat with. I started out learning marching band music on the drums, practicing rudiments for hours until my father purchased my first drum kit in grade 6 and that changed my life! I played for hours in our basement so I was too busy to get into trouble. I put records on and learned all of the styles of the Jazz, Pop, Rock and R&B Greats (Max Roach, Bernard Purdie, Alex Acuna, Dave Garibaldi, Narada Michael Walden, Steve Gadd, Harvey Mason, Jeff Porcaro, Grady Tate). I listened to these cats all day all the time and practiced for hours. I wanted to be the best and I was really young, just 12 years old, but I started playing with a single snare at just 9.

What style of music did you start to gravitate to?

It was the 70’s. A plethora of styles were permeating around me at home and on the radio. In those days you could hear on the radio The Jackson 5, Kenny Rogers, Parliament, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Kiss, The Eagles, all within an hour, it was a great time in music. The DJ’s had more power and autonomy in those days when it came to what they could do. The spontaneity of just throwing on a new or local artist was exhilarating. You would then go out and buy the 45 (Single Record) and dance it up with your friends in the basement. Radio had less boundaries including the age of the artists. Even the 80’s gave DJ’s better opportunities to experiment, especially with extended remixes. I was a lover of the work that Quincy Jones did as a producer and how he included in his productions some of the greatest R&B, Soul, and Funk artists from past and present. His productions were and still are stellar!. I grew up in a very white community, a sort of lunch-pale-kickin’-town labor oriented community, so in order to survive as a young drummer looking to get noticed, I had to learn how to play all styles. I listened to the meticulous productions of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of CHIC, they were a big influence on my appreciation of how one can blend jazz and funk and make it work. I loved the studio session players of the 70’s and 80’s, like Steve Lukather, David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, Jay Graydon, Jerry Hey, Greg Phillinganes, Louis Johnson, Nathan East, The Waters Family, Patti Austin, Tawatha Agee, Stephanie Spruill, these were the hot smokin players/artists behind the hits!

Tell me about your connection with ConFunkShun

I started listening to ConFunkShun in my late teens and then in University. I loved their compositions and how they were able to incorporate stylish harmonies and arrangements to their music which was not only an urban sound, but leaned also on Pop music. Songs like “Ffun” “Ms. Got The Body” and “Love’s Train” are classic songs. I was very fortunate to start working with Grammy-Award-Winner, Felton Pilate, who was a name I zoned in on during my younger years as one of the main ingredients of ConFunkShun as a composer. Felton and I had done some projects together and then last year the guys signed a deal with JEG Multimedia Group, distributed by SRG-ILS Group LLC (UMG, Virgin, Capitol). Felton introduced me to Michael Cooper, his co-founder of the band as they were getting ready to release a Christmas album. “Love’s Train” ended up being re-recorded by Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak’s group, “Silk Sonic” and stood at the #1 position on the Billboard Charts for twenty weeks. The band hit the road and ended up doing a 40-plus-city successful U.S. tour. Everyone was playing “Love’s Train” . Young and middle-aged people were enjoying the vibe and it resonated even with college marching bands, it was a runaway hit for a second time. The band has a timeless sound. Many groups and artists today sample their music including the late Prince, who has used their horn riff’s in his live concerts. “Text Me Tomorrow” drops on all major Digital Platforms on April 21, 2023 and I know it’s supposed to hit radio in the coming weeks.

What do you like or dislike about the music industry today?

Wow, that is an interesting question! I would say this first and foremost, it is basically “not” the music industry it was 15 years ago let alone 35 years ago. There is a heavy social media aspect to it and I get that, the world of streaming is here, social media influencers are a big part of the industry, and songs are produced and composed in minutes. It is more of a “riffing” type culture of music. It takes adapting and moving and grooving with the ebbs and flows of how things are now. My only concern is that most of these young cats believe that all you need is “talent”. That is SO very far from the truth. You need to have a solid demo, a media kit, strong goals, and a TON of tenacity and faith as you WILL be rejected many, many times. Talent is just a small part of making it in this industry. It is a DIY industry and one has to stand out and that is the challenge. I am an organic type of Composer/Producer. I do not cut and paste. I’m the type of guy who’d rather sit in a room with a piano, an acoustic guitar and some blueberry tea and hammer out some songs with some cats I dig. Don’t get me wrong, the technology of today is cool, it saves time, but I want to compose songs that are timeless, not a sugar high for two weeks on some chart. I want to surround myself with those that are meticulous and want to build music that will make people “feel” and add to a playlist and play it again and again.

How did “Text Me Tomorrow” come about?

That is a great question! I had an idea of a song for ConFunkShun after the guys had the massive success with Silk Sonic re-recording the song. I wanted to create “Love’s Train” part 2, but something that didn’t sound anything like it. The problem was you DO NOT compose a song for ConFunkShun, you don’t dare! These guys are music royalty. They have gold records, ya dig? I knew they rarely entertained outside composers as their sound is very distinctive and has been for a long time. I had an idea that I passed on to Felton and he said, “Brother, we don’t really take outside music but you can submit it”. I did and he got back to me and said, “That’s nice, but you need to also get the blessing of Michael Cooper as we are partners”. Before Michael heard the song he wanted to know more about the title and the concept and was intrigued. I sent it to him and it sparked an interest. I asked Michael and Felton to “ConFunkShun-IZE” the song and Voila, “Text Me Tomorrow” was born! Felton and Michael added ConFunkShun stardust to it and it’s the first Single from their summer album “Smooth Jukebox”. Smooth Jukebox is definitely a must on anyone’s playlist this summer. It’s got something for everyone, an explosion of pure energy, groove, romance and heated R&B/URBAN chemistry. I am very blessed and thankful for these guys allowing me to be a part of this album! Myself and my business partner Sea L. Low are Executive Producers on “Text Me Tomorrow”. I’ve got to give some big props to one of the co-writers and arrangers on the original demo, Liz Gaylord, in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a new and very gifted young talent!

What is on the horizon for you?

I am a firm believer in meditation, prayer and listening to the Universe. I’ve been starting my mornings with fitness, yoga, stretching, candles, incense, prayer and meditation for over 30 years. I rely on this for my own mental and physical health. I am just an antennae and I am always listening, composing and learning. I am looking to work with new and open-minded talents and have some new works coming out this summer. I’ve worked behind and in front of the camera in film and television and want to roll where the Universe guides me. I am of great gratitude to the many who have brought me here to where I am today. Having songs being played in over thirty countries, charting in Canada, the U.S. and Europe is nothing I take for granted, and having a great business partner and co-pilot, Sea L. Low is a blessing also. My horizon is open. We prefer to stay behind the scenes and let the music and their productions speak for us. We don’t do the “Bling Bling” thing. We are all about the music”.