Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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South Music: 33rd Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards

Mother's Finest: Moses Mo, Glenn Murdock, John Hayes, Joyce
Mother's Finest: Moses Mo, Glenn Murdock, John Hayes, Joyce Mother's Finest: Moses Mo, Glenn Murdock, John Hayes, Joyce Joyce Samual Jackson at the South Music: 33rd Georgia Music Hall Of Fame Awards Samual Jackson at the South Music: 33rd Georgia Music Hall Of Fame Awards Toni Braxton at the South Music: 33rd Georgia Music Hall Of Fame Awards Jan Smith & Gang - South Music: 33rd Georgia Music Hall Of Fame Awards Phillip Tan (Engineer) - South Music: 33rd Georgia Music Hall Of Fame Awards Toni Braxton and B&S' Christopher Daniel: 33rd Georgia Music Hall Of Fame Awards

The 33rd Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards returns to Atlanta... Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell, Ray Charles and Willie Nelson are not the only ones with Georgia on their mindsâ¦especially when it comes to music!

The Georgia Music Hall of Fame hosted its 33rd annual induction ceremony at Atlantaâs Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Sat., Sept. 17, 2011. Among this yearâs class of honorees include vocalist Toni Braxton (Performer), funk/rock band Motherâs Finest (Group), artist manager/publisher/music industry veteran Paul âOld Manâ Cochran (Pioneer), film and stage director Kenny Leon (Non-Performer) and vocal extraordinaire Jan Smith (Chairmanâs Award) with posthumous inductions for jazz/cabaret vocalist Judy Argo, Negro Spiritual composer/arranger Hall Johnson and blues harmonica legend Sonny Terry.

Considering Georgiaâs musical economy can technically rival that of a small nation â to the tune of $3.7 billion with about 19,555 jobs in 2010 â some incredible talent came out to support. Hosted by local media personalities Justin Gray, Monica Pearson and Ryan Cameron, Motherâs Finest opened the show with their 1977 classic âBaby Love:â an incredible performance according to Pearson. âThat was simply fantastic,â she says. âThey were amazing!â Lead singer Joyce Kennedy says the induction allows her and her musical partners to feel famous. âWeâve been a part of the great Utopian feel in Atlanta than it has now. We brought black, white, redâ¦together. We gotta keep rockinâ and keep goinâ. This is what we do. Itâs not about the last hit or the hit you hope to have. Itâs about gettinâ up there every night and makinâ it feel like itâs the first time.â

When asked about being musical legends, Kennedy says Motherâs Finest are far from the title. âA legend is somebody that spans time and brings people along. Weâre not legends; a legend is somebody that has an effect on the community, the world and the universe spiritually and physically. People tend to follow things that they do over time. That makes a legend: something that spans time, has no time or not affected by time.â

Actress/choreographer Jasmine Guy performed a medley of Broadway classics in celebration of Leonâs induction. Samuel L. Jackson, currently on Broadway under Leonâs direction for a production of The Mountaintop, presented the Tony Award-winning, Drama Desk Award-nominated director with his honor. A non-musical act, Leon â famous for his revivals of A Raisin in the Sun (for Broadway and network television); Gem in the Ocean and Fences, directing productions in Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago and the United Kingdom and co-founder of the Atlanta/Washington, D.C.-based True Colors Theatre Company â was honored to stand in the ranks of musical icons such as Gladys Knight and James Brown in the state he calls home. âItâs good to be here tonight,â he says. âIâm not a musician, but for them to say that youâre an artist worthy, to work all over the world and to come home where folks close to you say âWell doneâ means a lot.â

Billy Joe Royal and the Johnny Martini Band performed an incredible medley of âDown in the Boondocks,â âCherry Hill Parkâ and Dobie Grayâs 1973 hit âDrift Away.â Buddy Buie, a 1984 Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee, presented Cochran â his former business partner behind their management company (Blue Cochran), publishing company (Low-Sal) and a recording studio (Studio One) â with his honor. Working with a variety of recording artists such as the Atlanta Rhythm Section; Charlie Daniels Band; Marshall Tucker Band; Del Shannon; Frankie Valli; Ben E. King; James Brown; Brenda Lee; Beach Boys; Roy Orbison; Lynyrd Skynyrd; .38 Special; Alice Cooper, Gary âU.S.â Bonds; The Everly Brothers; Ray Stevens; B.J. Thomas; Bobby Vee; Neil Sedaka and Jerry Lee Lewis, Cochran had to grow comfortable with receiving his accolade. âIâm not used to microphones,â he says. âI spent my whole career backstage.â

Amidst the euphoria from an audience of screaming teenage girls, teen sensation Justin Bieber appeared: performing an acoustic medley including Usherâs hit âU Got It Badâ and his signature âBaby.â Alongside R&B artist Usher and artist Scooter Braun, Bieber presented Smith â who Usher calls âa true treasure to Atlanta, GAâ -- with her induction. With an impressive client list that includes Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20; Monica; Young Jeezy; Keyshia Cole; Terrence Howard; Trey Songz; Keri Hilson; Sean âThe Penâ Garrett; Omarion; TLC; Edwin McCain; Kandi Burruss; Jill Scott; Collective Soul; Sugarland; India.Arie; Ciara; Drake and The Band Perry among countless others, Smith â known by her clients as âMama Jâ -- is a distinguished 20-year, go-to vocal coach and consultant. Behind the millions of records sold and the Grammy Award wins, Smith â an impressive vocalist and songwriter herself -- is noted for her honest interactions, vocal maintenance exercises, record label consulting and artist development counseling. Bieber himself calls Smith a âpositive role model,â but Smith says music and voice is a spiritual experience.

âTonightâs a really great honor for me. Iâm very humbled by people recognizing what I do. Iâm honored to be able to work with the artists that Iâve worked with and to have them shine that light back is quite special to me. Iâm just a girl doing what I do, but I like the fact that weâre able to honor our own, and Iâm happy to be one of those. Music is the only thing that can enter your heart and your mind without your permission. The voice is really what does that. To me, itâs everything. Singing is the closest thing I know to God.â

Gov. Nathan Deal presented Braxton with her award. With over 60 million records sold from seven albums; a string of massively successful hit singles; seven American Music Awards; six Grammy Awards; a critically-acclaimed acting career (Broadway, film and television); becoming the first African American female to headline a Vegas spectacle and a spokesperson for various causes (Autism Speaks and the American Heart Association), the Baltimore, MD native knows sheâs an intricate part of Georgiaâs dynamic music scene. The contralto-styled vocalist even sang âGeorgia On My Mindâ during her acceptance. âI still consider myself a Peach, and Iâm blessed to be here.â

Photos: DJ Blak Magic
Words Christopher Daniel

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