When you consider yourself to be unsung you learn to be grateful for every honor you receive. For The Legendary Intruders, one of those moments of appreciation occurred at last week’s Motown to Def Jam: Love Train gallery talk where two of their songs (“I’ll Always Love My Mama” and “Save the Children”) have served as inspiration for the works of visual artists, Beau McCall and Gregory Saint Amand. The Legendary Intruders which now consists of three members handpicked by the last performing original and founding member of the group, the late Fred Daugherty were in attendance to view the works and share their story before an intimate gathering of fans.
During the event member LJ Waiters revealed just how difficult it is for the group to get exposure and gigs in today’s market, even though their music is credited as helping to lay the foundation of Philly Soul. “It’s slow for us but that new stuff flies. We are not getting exposure and its politics and racist because we had so many hits,” he says. “The Beach Boys and Rolling Stones are still working and getting lots of money but we get jobs every now and then. We are not exposed to the young people.”
Another legend in Philly soul music, Billy Paul also has two songs serving as inspiration in the exhibition including “War of the Gods” and “I’m Just a Prisoner.” Paul who has a new song “Do Ya” that will be released soon on his website feels differently than Waiters when it comes to being unsung. Instead of letting the lack of support he receives in the U.S. affect him he focuses on the overseas market, which he finds, still appreciates his music. “I travel all over the world and I’m a big international star,” he says. “If I had to depend upon America maybe I would have starved to death but I have a following all over in Europe and South America so I don’t feel unsung. I feel like Billy Paul.” For those who still want to catch Paul in the U.S. he will be on the upcoming Soul Train Cruise here.
Dan Cathcart, co-star of Bravo’s hit TV show, “Chef Roblé & Co.” is pursuing music whether she ends up unsung or not. When she is not serving as Roblé's assistant, Cathcart is crafting her sound of pop, soul and folk that is steadily building a following. While juggling a day job and a music career comes with its challenges, no obstacle has been as difficult to overcome as fear in her quest for success. “I could easily say money, support, and resources but even with all of those factors, if I wasn't mentally and emotionally strong and fearless I wouldn't have accomplished anything, “ she says. “Overcoming fear is a daily battle that is becoming easier over time. I learned that being uncomfortable for a phase is better than being miserable for an eternity.” To follow her journey click here.
It’s going to take a lot of determination for swim star Cullen Jones to make waves in the fashion world. The two-time Olympian is now part of Speedo’s athlete advisory group where he will be an integral part of the brand’s research and development center, while also sharing his thoughts on the creative elements of the line. “A lot of people don’t realize Speedo makes other things besides trunks. They do shorts, shirts, jackets and hoodies,” he says. “A lot of it will be my thoughts on the materials and how it is cut. I’ll also have lots of creative exposure to what’s going on and possibly my own line.”
Jones who describes his personal style as “James Bond meets Usher” credits his father and mother with instilling in him an eye for style. “My parents said at a young age ‘Whenever you leave the house you’re representing the family and make sure you look good and look correct.’ My parents were advocates for that.”
Maybe one of his designs will end up on the stage worn by The Legendary Intruders or Paul.
The Harlem Arts Alliance is a not for profit arts service organization celebrating 10 years of service to a prestigious list of members such as the Apollo Theater, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Columbia University, Harlem Stage (Aaron Davis Hall) and over 850 more cultural/arts institutions and individuals. The weekly column, Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment scene in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production