Inspiration Of A Composer: Marvin Hamlisch

Inspiration Of A Composer: Marvin Hamlisch

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Dying to Give Life: The Paradox of Childbirth in the Motherland

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Dying to Give Life: The Paradox of Childbirth in the Motherland

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Mariah Carey

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Mariah Carey

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey was born March 27, 1970, in Long Island, New York, and began taking voice lessons at age four. At 18 she signed with Columbia records, and her first album had four number-one singles, including “Vision of Love” and “I Don’t Wanna Cry.” She went on to produce several more albums (later with other studios) and top singles, and is one of the best-selling female artists of all time.

Overview

Singer. Mariah Carey was born March 27, 1970, in Long Island, New York to Alfred Roy Carey, a Venezuelan aeronautical engineer; and Patricia Carey, a voice coach and opera singer. Has two older siblings: a brother, Morgan, and a sister, Alison. Carey is known as one of the top “pop divas” of the 1990s, having sold more than eighty million albums worldwide. Her voice spans more than five octaves and she writes most of her own music.

Carey’s parents divorced when she was three. She stunned her mother by imitating her operatic singing as early as age two, and was given singing lessons starting at age four. After graduating in 1987 from Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, New York, Carey moved to Manhattan where she worked as a waitress, coat check girl, and studied cosmetology while writing songs and actively pursuing a music career at night.

 

Early Music Career

When she was eighteen, Carey and her friend, singer Brenda K. Starr, went to a party hosted by CBS Records. Starr convinced Carey to bring along one of her demo tapes. She intended to give the tape to Columbia’s Jerry Greenberg, but Tommy Mottola, the president of Columbia Records (later Sony), intercepted it before she could hand it to Greenberg. After listening to the tape on the way home from the party, Mottola signed Carey immediately and set her to work on her first album, Mariah Carey (1990) which included four No. 1 singles: “Vision of Love,” “Love Takes Time,” “Some Day,” and “I Don’t Wanna Cry.” Her second albumEmotions was released in 1992; the title track became her fifth No. 1 single, and included hits “Can’t Let Go” and “Make it Happen.”

 

Success on the Pop Charts

In March 1992, Carey appeared on MTV’s Unplugged. This performance was released as an album and a home video, resulting in another No. 1 single (a cover of The Jacksons’ “I’ll Be There”). Her next album Music Box (1993) cut back a bit on the lavish studio production techniques heard in her previous albums, and included the No. 1 singles, “Dreamlover” and “Hero.” Her November 1994 release Merry Christmas combined traditional Christian hymns with new songs. In 1995 she released Daydream; the first single “Fantasy” debuted at No. 1. It also included collaborations with R&B and hip-hop artists, such as Wu-Tang Clan and Boyz II Men (“One Sweet Day”).

Her 1997 album Butterfly included eleven compositions written by Carey, and demonstrated her continued interest in hip-hop and R&B, including the Sean “Puffy” Combs produced “Honey,” her twelfth No. 1 hit. #1’s (1998) featured her thirteen previous chart-topping singles as well as the Academy Award-nominated “The Prince of Egypt (When You Believe),” a duet with fellow pop diva, Whitney Houston. Carey is also rumored to be pursuing an acting career.

In June 1993, Carey married Mottola in a spectacular ceremony at Manhattan’s St. Thomas Episcopal Church. The couple divorced in 1998. Carey then dated Latin singer Luis Miguel for three years, but their relationship reportedly ended in the summer of 2001. She married rapper-actor Nick Cannon on April 30, 2008, in a secret ceremony in the Bahamas. The couple had been dating for less than two months, their romance having blossomed after he appeared in her music video Bye Bye.

Carey is active in fundraising for The Fresh Air Fund, an independent non-profit agency that has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.6 million disadvantaged New York City children since 1877.

Overcoming Obstacles

In July 2001, Carey was admitted into a New York-area hospital and put under psychiatric care after suffering what her publicists called a “physical and emotional collapse.” Carey had been preparing to promote her upcoming feature film debut, Glitter, and its accompanying soundtrack album, but cancelled all public appearances. The release of Glitter was subsequently pushed back from late August to late September 2001. Carey was released from the hospital after two weeks.

In January 2002, Carey and EMI (the corporate owner of Virgin Records, with whom Carey had signed a reported $80 million contract in April 2001) severed their relationship. Though the film and soundtrack for Glitter failed to generate the desired box office and sales totals, Carey reportedly walked away from Virgin with nearly $50 million as part of her severance agreement. In May of 2002, she signed a deal with Universal Music Group’s Island/Def Jam Records. In December 2002, Carey staged a comeback with her eighth album, Charmbracelet, which debuted in third place on the

charts. The record’s accompanying tour, her first in more than three years, launched in June 2003.

Carey has sold around 160 million albums worldwide. She is the third best-selling female artist of all time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. With 2008’s Touch My Body (from her eleventh studio album E=MC²),

Carey passed Elvis Presley to become second only to The Beatles for the most number one hit singles in the U.S.

Carey married actor Nick Cannon in 2008, with whom she has twins Moroccan and Monroe (Born 2011). In 2012 she was chosen as the new judge for season 12 of Fox’s American Idol.

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Dying to Give Life: The Paradox of Childbirth in the Motherland

By Akoshia Yoba

Co-author, ‘Please Return My Phone Call: Preventing the Demise of Personal and Professional Relationships’

I recently met with Dr. Teguest Guerma, the Director General of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) at the national launch of AMREF USA’s Global Campaign: Stand Up for African Mothers. The Campaign which has been initiated in countries around the world including the United Kingdom and France, seeks to mobilize global citizens to support AMREF’s basic position that: childbirth should be a joyful experience and “no child should be left an orphan and no mother should have to die to give life.”

A little over 100 years ago, childbirth was one of the leading causes of death for women in the United States. Since then, we have drastically reduced the numbers of maternal mortality, so I find it unconscionable that in today’s modern world, one in every sixteen African women is at risk for dying in childbirth. Each year in sub-Saharan Africa, 200,000 women die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth (World Health Organization) and 950,000 children were orphaned due to maternal mortality in 2010 alone (AMREF).

The Stand Up For African Mother’s Campaign seeks to stem the tide of these dismal statistics in two ways:

    • By training 15,000 midwives by 2015, to deliver adequate medical care to women living in Africa. One skilled midwife is able to provide care for 500 mothers every year and safely deliver 100 babies. 15,000 additional midwives by 2015 will ultimately help over 7 million African women each year during delivery and with prenatal and postnatal care.

 

  • Through the symbolic nomination of AMREF trained Ugandan midwife, Esther Madudu for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. AMREF’s goal is to collect one million signatures from around the world to proclaim support for African mothers and to give both mothers and midwives a voice with governments and international organizations.

 

While the Campaign welcomes support from everyone, Dr. Guerma makes a special appeal to African Americans, African immigrants and other members of the African Diaspora community to contribute to their own health welfare by supporting the Campaign. Here’s how you can you help:

    1. Make a donation. No amount is too small. This is your opportunity to practice what I call ‘Everyday Philanthropy‘ and to give from your heart to a worthy cause and support those in need, be it at the one dollar level or one million dollar level, it is all significant.

 

    1. Sign the online petition at http://www.standupforafricanmothers.com to stand up for Esther Madudu’s candidacy for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Every signature brings the Campaign closer to its goal of one million supporters who recognize the vital work of midwives in preventing maternal mortality.

 

 

  1. Create an event or start a club to raise money within your community or place of work.

 

For the last eight straight years AMREF has received the highest rating from Charity Navigator (America’s largest independent charity evaluator). With 55 years experience, the organization’s strength lies in its practice of transforming communities from within. AMREF is the largest African-led health development organization in Africa providing health services to over 30 countries on the continent. It has one million community health workers on the ground and is comprised of 97% Africans who are serving fellow Africans. Founded in 1957 as the Flying Doctors of East Africa to provide critical health care to remote communities, AMREF now focuses on preventative, community based health care.

The following is an interview segment with AMREF General Director, Dr. Teguest Guerma.

Why has AMREF decided to focus on training midwives for this Campaign?

Dr. Guerma: This Campaign is something global which unites all the AMREF offices around the issue of maternal mortality. Our contribution is to train midwifes since we have obstetrics care experience. African’s need more skilled midwives and help to change the behavior of the women in the community to seek health services. The community worker is the bridge between the women and the health services. They inform and encourage them to get prenatal care.

How long does it take to train a midwife?

Dr. Guerma: Midwife training depends on the country. Some countries like a registered midwife, which takes 2 years training. Others would like a community midwife which takes less time, so midwife training is adapted to the needs of each country.

When will the trainings start?

Dr. Guerma: The trainings started in 2012. We will soon have a midwife meter on our website that will allow you to see where we are with the midwife trainings.

Other than donating money and signing the petition, how else would you ask us in the U.S. to support the Campaign?

Dr. Guerma: Spread the word! There are so many things you can do. Someone may say, ” I will organize a big fundraiser for Stand Up For African Mothers,” others may say, “our organization needs to work with yours and leverage our expertise to do something better.” There can be a list of things that can be done. We want you to be the champion of this Campaign. If people know about it many ideas can come up.

For example we have this partnership with the private sector in France, this group of private companies created a club to support the Campaign. They are going to have a fund. We can have a Stand Up For the African Mother Fund in the U.S. The ideas are so many, we need to want to do something and then it comes. Many things can be done!

Is this a woman’s issue?

It takes two to make a baby. I want to see the men get involved. [To the men I say] You have a mother and a sister and an aunt and you want them to deliver safely. So you need to be committed to this. This is very important. We need to get men involved in everything we do because it’s only together we can change the world. I believe very much in this.

How is AMREF different from other organizations in Africa?

Dr. Guerma: AMREF is there where no one else is working…in the very rural places and remote areas were very few organizations will go. Wherever we are working we have to drive kilometers and kilometers on non-paved roads because this is where all of the problems are. The controversy in all of this is Africa is the richest continent. We have everything to prosper yet still we have all of these problems.

How does AMREF work in African communities?

Dr. Guerma: We try a new intervention and when we see it works, we take it to the Minister of Health of the country and it influences policy because our practices are evidence-based and they work and also because AMREF is very much trusted in that country. We are the only organization that takes the experiences from the community level to a national level to change policy. This is very important. Some examples include our HIV Testing Model in Tanzania and a Personal Hygiene and Health Model in Kenya.

To learn more visit http://www.standupforafricanmothers.com and http://www.amrefusa.org.

 Follow Akoshia Yoba on Twitter: www.twitter.com/yobagirl

A Message From The Creator

Inspiration Of A Composer: Marvin Hamlisch

I just want to take a moment and pay tribute famed composer Marvin Hamlisch. RIP, Mr Hamlisch.

Marvin Hamlisch, the classically trained pianist who composed the music for shows including “A Chorus Line” and movies including “The Way We Were,” winning show business’s most sought-after awards by the armloads, has died. He was 68.

Hamlisch died yesterday in Los Angeles after a brief illness, the Associated Press reported, citing a family spokesman, Jason Lee.

The recipient of three Academy Awards, four Grammys, four Emmys, two Golden Globes and one Tony, Hamlisch provided the music for Barbra Streisand’s 1994 concert tour, the Neil Simon show “The Goodbye Girl” and more than 40 movies that also included “Sophie’s Choice,” “Ordinary People,” and Woody Allen’s “Bananas.”

Only Hamlisch and Richard Rodgers, the American composer who died in 1979, won at least one Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, Tony and a Pulitzer Prize. Hamlisch shared in the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “A Chorus Line”; Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II shared a piece of the 1950 award for “South Pacific.”

“From the time I could play the piano, I remember trying to write tunes,” Hamlisch wrote in “The Way I Was,” his 1992 memoir, written with Gerald Gardner. “They were in my head, and I would just sit down and start noodling. Next thing I knew, I had written a melody.”

Conducting Career

Known for his tireless drive, Hamlisch was principal pops conductor for symphony orchestras in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego and Pasadena, California, and previously spent 11 years as pops conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington. According to his website, he was working on a new musical, “Gotta Dance” and planning to write the music for a Steven Soderbergh film about Liberace, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

In 2007, he joined Rod Stewart and Patti LaBelle among the performers in New York City at the 60th birthday party of Stephen Schwarzman, the founder of Blackstone Group LP, an event that fueled the movement in Congress to raise taxes on executives at private-equity and venture-capital firms.

In an interview with the New York Times in 1975, a year after winning three Academy Awards for his contributions to “The Sting” (1973) and “The Way We Were” (1973), Hamlisch discussed the challenges of writing music for film.

“Let’s say music is needed for only 43 seconds of film,” he said. “You have to score it so it is an entity, so it won’t bother anyone when it ends so quickly. Or if a song runs 2 minutes and 45 seconds, but the titles run a minute longer, you have to arrange that song so it doesn’t get repetitious. It means being like a tailor with a piece of cloth, lengthening it a bit here, taking a tuck there, and adding a button when needed.”

Austrian Parents

Marvin Frederick Hamlisch was born on June 2, 1944, in New York City, the second of two children born to musically inclined immigrants from Vienna, Max Hamlisch and the former Lilly Schachter. As Hamlisch told it in his memoir, his father sensed in the mid-1930s that it was time for Jews to leave Europe and arranged for him and his wife to escape Austria by way of Liechtenstein and Switzerland, arriving in the U.S. in 1937.

A professional accordionist, Hamlisch’s father saw musical promise in his only son and sent him to the Juilliard School in Manhattan shortly before he turned 7 for piano training.

Hamlisch said he realized early on, after one year at Juilliard, that he wasn’t cut out to be a concert pianist, not least because he felt sick to his stomach before every performance.

‘Sunshine, Lollipops’

For junior high school, Hamlisch attended Professional Children’s School, where his classmates included Christopher Walken and Leslie Uggams and the boyfriend of a young Liza Minnelli, for whom Hamlisch wrote some songs.

With Marvin Liebling, who would become his brother-in-law, he wrote his first hit, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,” for Lesley Gore. Hamlisch and Liebling followed with a second hit for Gore, “California Nights.”

Hamlisch was hired by Buster Davis to be assistant vocal arranger and rehearsal pianist for “Funny Girl,” which introduced Hamlisch to Streisand. Playing piano at a private party held by producer Sam Spiegel, Hamlisch landed the job of scoring “The Swimmer” (1968), starring Burt Lancaster. He then scored Allen’s “Take the Money and Run” (1969).

With lyricist Johnny Mercer, he won his first Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for the original song “Life Is What You Make It,” from “Kotch” (1971).

Along the way, he found time to earn a bachelor of arts degree from Queens College in New York.

Oscars Feat

Sweeping the music categories at the 46th Academy Awards in 1974 made Hamlisch, at 29, the first person to walk away with three Oscars in one night. He won for best original dramatic score for “The Way We Were,” best scoring for the ragtime accompaniment of “The Sting” and best song for the title number of “The Way We Were,” with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and performed by Streisand, the movie’s co-star.

Arriving at the microphone for his third acceptance speech of the night, Hamlisch began: “I think we can talk to each other as friends.”

Hamlisch’s roll continued with “A Chorus Line,” the Broadway smash that ran for 6,137 performances from 1975 to 1990. Hired by director Michael Bennett, scoring the lyrics of Edward Kleban, he composed songs including “What I Did for Love” and “One (Singular Sensation).” In addition to the 1976 Pulitzer, the show won nine Tony Awards, including one for the Hamlisch and Kleban score.

Collaborative Partner

Back in Hollywood, Hamlisch took on the music for the James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me” and, with lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, came up with “Nobody Does It Better,” the Carly Simon hit that was nominated for the Academy Award for best song.

Hamlisch and Sager became a couple while continuing as collaborators, their relationship inspiring Neil Simon to write “They’re Playing Our Song,” which ran on Broadway from 1979 to 1981.

Two professional flops followed. Poor reviews and weak attendance spelled an early end to the 1983-1984 London bow of “Jean Seberg,” a musical based on the American actress and political lightning rod who took her own life at 40. “Smile,” a Broadway musical spoofing beauty pageants, lasted just 41 performances in 1986-1987.

In 1989, Hamlisch married Terre Blair, a television interviewer. In a 1992 interview with People magazine, he credited her with “bringing out all the good things in me. I found myself quieting down, becoming more understanding of what life means.”

To the Tony, Grammys and Oscars he won in the 1970s, Hamlisch added his two Emmys in 1995 for “Barbra Streisand: The Concert,” another in 1999 for “AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies” and a fourth in 2001 for his musical direction of Streisand’s “Timeless: Live in Concert.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurence Arnold in Washington at larnold4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Charles W. Stevens at cstevens@bloomberg.net

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