LeGrand Whitt on The Future of Rhythm & Blues “A lot of babies come from R&B music” (Part 1)

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LeGrand Whitt: I was inspired by my favorite aunt LaVern Stewart who sang in the church choir at Union Baptist Church to sing in church. “Rest in paradise.” I started singing in the church youth choir. And one day my amazing dad Willie L. Whitt heard me sing and he took me down to the basement and introduced me to R&B and jazz. “Rest in Heaven”, I loved every minute of it. My ears were changing on how to listen to music and instruments. I started studying classical voice at the Peabody Conservatory for 3 years and in local bands and talent shows all over town. I would continue to work with famed producer Skip Scarborough. He mentored me for 3 years in Baltimore before I moved to California.
Mistah Wilson: What are your main R&B influences and why?
LeGrand Whitt: My main influences are Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and Sam Cooke to name a few. I like Marvin Gaye because of his beautiful tone. And her writing would paint a picture of what’s going on in this world of love and real happenings. Donny Hathaway was another genius that I follow because I love his songs and the way he treats his tone when he sings. His voice was like glass. Stevie Wonder was amazing with his songs about black consciousness. And always kept a ribbon in the sky on love. And Sam Cooke was great too and I like how he controlled his publishing and his label.
Mistah Wilson: In today’s music industry, would you say the future of R&B is bright? Why or why not?
LeGrand Whitt: The future of R&B is bright because R&B is spiritual and emotional. It’s almost close to gospel. R&B songs have substance and they last forever. A lot of babies come from R&B music. And people are looking for that moving feeling in music to fill that spiritual void in their lives and hearts. Removing R&B from the world is like painting a black and white picture without color. And R&B is the basis of a lot of music today. Where do you think the samples come from?

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