Talking with a famous songwriter
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B. Seed : Thanks for being on Brightseedblog Tony. A lyricist, songwriter, poet, music publisher, producer & author. One can’t help but view your life as a really special journey that takes you through decades of some of the greatest music of our time, a trip that has allowed you to meet and work with legends of r&b, jazz, and rock. Are their times when you look back on your career and say “wow”?
T. Haynes : When I sit at home, sometimes and look around my living room at all the records, albums, pictures, etc… I say ‘wow.’ Then afterward, I tell myself to get up and get out there and make some new “stuff” happen. The past is the past and it’s a nice place to dwell for a moment. Then I have to move forward to the present. We learn from ‘what was’ so that we can modify our ‘what is’ in sync with our ‘what we will be-come’. But yes indeed I most definitely say wow.
B. Seed : You clearly have a gift for communication whether it be poetry, songwriting, spoken word, or whatever. Is this something you developed as a kid growing up? Did you have friends who were into the same things?
T. Haynes : I’ve always been able to make up stories and play with words. Over time, I have painstakingly worked on developing that talent into something that presents itself as U-Neek. (I didn’t want to just type the word unique for creative reasons.)
B. Seed : Is Los Angeles your home town? Did any particular school play a role in your development as an artist?
T. Haynes : I grew up in Compton. – Enterprise Jr. High and Compton High are where I got my experience and, was introduced to my ongoing quest to masterfully articulate the wonders of word-whimsy.
B. Seed : Creativity In An Instant. Your website bio page says “Give him the title of what you’d like to call your poem, or song and he will create it for you on the spot”. Is this true?
T. Haynes : Yes it is, but to really show you something in an instant, we’ll have to do that over the phone, or live, so that you can verify that it was authentic.
B. Seed : You hooked up with songwriter David Paul Bryant, and former Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist and five time Grammy winner Al McKay back in 1981 i believe, in a co-publishing deal with Steelchest Music that produced songs for “A Taste of Honey” and the “Spinners”. Was this your first professional songwriting gig?
T. Haynes : Wow, you did some homework. Yes that was the beginning for me. With Al and David, 1981 – I was 21 years young.
B. Seed : The 1980’s produced a lot of music that seemed to be a mix of r&b and disco and many of your songs at that time, such as “Runnin”, recorded by The Temptations on their album Truly for You, and “Danger Zone”, recorded by Gospel great Beau Williams, i think, fit that style/fusion, or is this just my imagination?
T. Haynes : In the 80’s, my goal was to co-write with as many people as I could and work on as many projects as possible. You are most definitely correct. Also, in this period, it was before Beau was officially doing gospel. He has one of the most amazing voices and spirits ever. Beau Williams is angelic.
B. Seed : Speaking of fusion, Jazz greats also recorded your songs. Grammy winners Jeff Lorber (Don’t Say Yes), and George Duke(R.I.P.),(We’re Supposed To Have Fun) and bass player Stanley Clark(Psychedelic); how did it feel to hear these greats playing your songs?
T. Haynes : Let me start off with George Duke. He was one of my mentors and heroes. He passed away on my birthday. Duke is amazing. I’ve also worked on 101 North with him as well as a project with him and Sheila E for television. And oh yes, he produced Philip Bailey’s first solo record. I worked with him and Robert Brookins on that as well. A lot of emotions, I’m still dealing with the passing on Duke. I’m very much overwhelmed. Jeff Lorber is great. We first met in 82, or 83 in Malibu at a studio. We worked together there for several days working on songs. And Stanley Clarke, I met him through George Duke and Robert Brookins. He has a brilliant mind. I feel amazed to have worked with talented individuals.
B. Seed : I watched Bobby Brown’s Youtube video of your song “seventeen”, Do you think Brown went solo too early seeing as New Edition seemed to be just getting started?
T. Haynes : With Regards to Bobby B, he did what we had to do and he had a magnificent solo career. But as you know, in the music business, things change and move quickly. I’m grateful to have co-written and/or co-published several songs recorded by him, which also include “Get Away” and publishing on the “Don’t Be Cruel” album.
B. Seed : Fastforwarding to now and your Youtube video. The Tony Haynes Show Promo. Besides a TV show are you open to acting for film?
T. Haynes : I am actually writing television pilots and executive producing, and producing television series; one hour dramas and comedies. This is what I’m doing now. I’m not really into being an actor. However, the show “Captain Tony, The Pirate of Love” is a half hour comedy series about my life when I was 40… (think semi-Charlie Sheen, 2 & ½ Men)
B. Seed : Songs, for the TV shows Fame, Guys Next Door, and Baywatch; “Make It My Night”, for the film Fatal Beauty, “Be The One”, for the movie “My Stepmother Is an Alien”, “Never Let Them See You Sweat”, featured in the film “White men can’t Jump”, and even Sony Playstation are on your resume. Have you done any songs for live stage?
T. Haynes : Great question; I have written songs for plays and musicals over the years, but they are sitting in my file cabinet. I’ve been asked to co-produce a new musical in development. I’m actually meeting with the team on Tuesday. As for my big musical aspiration, I’ve written a musical based on 32 Stevie Wonder songs, and I will in fact, one day convince him to let me produce it. (so help me God.)
B. Seed : You also worked with David Foster on “My Sweet Delight” by Jennifer Holiday from her album “Feel My Soul”, and wrote “Tender Blue” for Durell Coleman. Are/Were you a fan of American Idol and Star Search?
T. Haynes : Yes I am a fan of American Idol, X Factor, etc… they open up a world of possibility for talent that would not have found the spotlight otherwise.
B. Seed : Hanna Barbera & Motown’s collaboration A Flintstone’s Motown Christmas. You were an executive producer on that. You’ve written childrens books for Warner Bros and others. Do you have children?
T. Haynes : Having children is what got me into the whole Kid’s arena. I’ve written 24 children’s books for Warner Bros, and produced 12 kids audio projects for them. I also have 65 children’s books that I have to do something with, as well as 17 animated series that I also have to get out there and start peddling. The Motown/Hanna Barbera project was fun. Thank you Clarence Avant, Charlie Gilreath, Fred Seibert, Jheryl Busby, Steve McKeever and Ted Turner.
B. Seed : So what’s next for Tony Haynes in 2014?
T. Haynes : What’s next? Good question; I am finishing up my Novel “The Reincarnation of Douglas Kavanaugh” and working on packaging the television series as well as the new record called “The Pianist and The Poet” with Stephane D’Esposito. He’s a French composer, very talented.
B. Seed : Thanks for being here. Anything you would like to say to our viewers?
T. Haynes : Thank you bright seed for the opportunity to share and chat. Very groovy to be here.
Well that’s Tony Haynes, music publisher, author, super-duper producer, poet, and you know it, songwriter for the stars; stars like Kool & The Gang, The Isley Brothers, Angela Bofill, Jeffrey Osborne, The Pointer Sisters, Evelyn Champagne King, The Whispers, Peabo Bryson, Tony Toni Tone, Tyrese, Freda Payne, Regina Belle, Al Jarreau, Patrice Rushen, Brothers Johnson member Louis Johnson .. i could go on and on, but you get the picture.