Sometimes it sounds better in your head, then you realize that ain’t it. Case and point, the story was supposed to begin like this: Upon the first listen of the new EP “Legacy” I was truly at a “Lost for Words.” STOP!! Crumble the paper and reset. While that was an attempt to be clever it ended up being formulaic, elementary, and corny for lack of a better word. Those are a few of the same adjectives used to describe R&B music, henceforth over here, if we want the music to be seen in a different light, all aspects, including how we cover it, should be of a higher standard. With that, rewind and come again.
On an episode of “American Bandstand” aired in 1964, the host Dick Clark engaged in a brief interview with one of the biggest artists at that time, Sam Cooke. At that juncture of his career Cooke had expressed an interest in taking more of an executive, entrepreneurial, behind the scenes role in the industry. The question was posed by Clark, what would be the greatest thing that can happen in that capacity to which Cooke responded, “The greatest thing that could happen to me would be if all the singers connected to me would have hits.” Due to extreme circumstances the foundational pieces of his grandiose plans—record label, management and publishing companies—have been dissolved and/or no longer in the possession of the estate (more on that at a later date), rendering those that were connected to him to literal terms.
Enter BG, Zemani and Kucha. These three sisters are not three sisters paired to coalesce for a recording or two, but rather actual siblings with music in their DNA on the precipice of establishing their own career, known professionally as The Womack Sisters, a generation removed from Sam Cooke, who happens to be their grandfather. Each member glowingly spoke of what his impact was, starting with Kucha who offered, “Our grandfather was so much more than just a great singer. He was like Noah in a sense that he wanted to lead artists and our people to where we needed to be. He wanted to instill a degree of confidence and self-worth so that we can demand a seat at the table and get our proper share.”
Adds Zemani, “The bookshelves in the house where my mom grew up was lined with books about US that wasn’t taught in school so that knowledge. That REAL knowledge and he was sure to spread to everyone he came in contact with.” BG concludes, “He knew who he was, not just in this life but in a past life.”
Having Sam Cooke as your sole ancestor would for most be enough, but for these girls it gets deeper. Their parents are the famed singer/songwriter/production duo Cecil and Linda Womack (of Womack & Womack,) and their uncle is the iconic singer-songwriter Bobby Womack. For added flavor their father was introduced to the business as part of a gospel group the Womack Brothers, later called the Valentinos.
With such an esteemed lineage, having divine talent is not unexpected. Along with the talent however, lofty expectations may also enter the equation. These thoughts have no bearing on the journey to forge their own path on which the group is currently embarked. Riding coattails is not in the equation. Neither is shying away from your family’s storied accomplishments. BG said with pride, “I was in the group Womack and Womack. I wrote, sang, and produced on some of those records. Our parents taught us that the next generation was supposed to be a collection of who we are and more. Our uncle Bob, who we sang background for said to us, ‘You’re Sam, you’re me, you are your father and mother. KNOW that!!!’” Kucha reminisced and shared, “Our Uncle June, he’s the last remaining uncle, [Friendly Womack Jr.] tells us all the time how proud he is of what we’re doing. He says, ‘When I hear y’all sing, I hear us!’”
This leads to the here and now. The Womack Sisters have something to say and now, they feel, is the time. BG says, “We now are in a place where we can full on authentically present the kind of music that we want to give.”
On Sept. 9, they unveiled their debut EP “Legacy” (Ingrooves). Producers Balistic Beats, HighVolume, Tracksion, Jkits, Mr. Kooman, Jpdidthis1, Chemist, and HARRIX provide the sound beds to the primarily self-written 6 song project. Sharing their thoughts and feelings are part of the way in which the group wants to acquaint themselves to the public. “Artists need to make sure that people are being recognized in the art that we are sharing. We are sharing music, so we will be sure to include the inspiration, journey, and destination of our songs so people can fully relate,” concludes BG. For “Legacy” she continues, “It’s about the ins and outs of falling in love, becoming an adult, the different pressures of life and figuring out who you are. This is only an introduction. We have so many more songs we want to get out.”
So, looks like some new recruits are added to the R&B Warriors. Hope you stay a while.
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.