Motown Records – Spotify for artists

The name Motown, on its own, has multiple. The label has been home to several legends, e.g. Smoky Robinson, The temptation, Marvin Guy, Diana Ross & The Supreme… The list goes on and on. To many, Motown’s words evoke sweet memories of childhood, classic moments that move to the smooth strain of the classic soul and discover the power of an endless song. Just look at Michelle Obama: “Every story needs a soundtrack, and Motown has given me so much rhythm in my life,” she wrote for him. Motown is becoming The word playlist classic motown has no doubt left a huge impression on music, culture and society as a whole, but it often overshadows the continued relevance of iconic labels.

This year, Motown Records, led by President Ethiopian Habtemarium, is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Here, he shares inspirational stories from Motown Records and from his humble days in Detroit, Michigan, how he managed to capture the zeitgeist of any decade, working from a two-story house in Hitsville, USA

In the beginning

In 1959, the lyricist Berry Gordy He had a dream, a vision and a $ 800 loan from his family. He worked on the assembly line at the Ford Motor Plant in Detroit and imagined that similar record labels were running. Lyricists, producers, and musicians went from writing and making records directly to developing artists, which included learning to dance, coordinating live performances, and even taking etiquette classes.

Gordy already had some success as a lyricist Jackie Wilson And the Matadors, and was ready to strike at his own. So he set up Tamla Records from a small home in Detroit where there was a studio, rehearsal hall and office where all business, promos and record distribution were conducted. Soon after, he officially started Motown Records and had his first million sales record with his colleague Smoky Robinson. MiraclesShop nearby. At that point, Gordy kicks everything in full gear.

Courtesy of Stephanie Mailing, President of Motown Ethiopia Habtemarium

Courtesy of Stephanie Mailing, President of Motown Ethiopia Habtemarium

“Berry had a vision, and he had a fearless mindset,” Habtemarium says. “At that time in the sixties, the country was still divided by race. He was so tactful that they didn’t let the radio know they were black artists, but just playing songs. But then he had a bigger goal and dream, to make it on television, which was unheard of before it came to black artists. What he was able to do then was truly remarkable. He became a bridge to bring together people of all backgrounds and ages.

Music became a significant representation of youth culture, but as Motown matured in the 60s, so did its social impact and influence. This was accompanied by the release of Marvin Gay’s Game-Changing 1971 album What’s going on. “Mr. Marvin will talk about how Gordy was scared of him before he released that record, because he didn’t want to create controversy,” Habtemariam said. Instead, he took on the role of helping artists and their perspectives, if they made it clear what they wanted to say and what they wanted to express to the world. “From that point of view, talent keeps coming – as with artists Lionel Richie And Commodore, Rick James, Tina Marie, Deburge, And Boys are second men– and so influential music, e.g. Enemy of the people Released “War of energyIn 1989 in Motown.

Ericah Badu, courtesy of Motown Records

Ericah Badu, courtesy of Motown Records

The challenge

In the twenty-first century, Motown is still churning out successful talent and working with established stars. Brian McNight And Ericah Badu, But it was going through an identity crisis. After the label was absorbed into the Universal Music Group, it became known as Universal Motown. Habtamarium acknowledges that the label is also struggling to maintain its own legacy in line with current culture.

“I don’t think people understand the dimensions and potential of brand motown worldwide,” he said. “Over the years, people have seen Motown in a box. They sometimes just look at how they can discover Motown, whether they are kids or adults. But they don’t recognize the impact Motown has had every decade. These include Supremes and Jackson 5 In the sixties, Marvin Guy and Stevie Wonder In the 70s, Lionel Richie and Tina Marie in the 80s, and in the 90s Boys II men and women.

Habtemariam says he also took over as president in 2014 and still needs to prove that black music was relevant – decades after the first chart rule of Motown. But instead of looking back at the golden age of the label, he is now focused on the way people are taking music. “Truly, streaming and Spotify helped our industry realize that there was an interest and love for R&B and hip-hop around the world and that it changed literally everything কেবল not just for black music, but especially for Motown,” he says. “Streaming allows us to reintroduce people to our history and catalogs throughout each decade.” It also helped the label’s youngest artists, such as the 14-year-old Matt Ox And pop standouts Enzomza, Rich. After all, Motown has always prided itself on being “The Sound of Young America.”

Enjomza, courtesy of Motown Records

Enjomza, courtesy of Motown Records

The future

Although the music industry has undergone tremendous changes since Gordy began his empire six decades ago, Habtamarium still thinks it is possible for the label to have the same massive impact as Motown itself did in the 60s, in its modern incarnation. “If you can honor a legacy – don’t run away from it – respect and honor it and tell its stories, it gives you a platform to move into the future,” he says. “Mr. Gordy is very proud of what is happening today because it reflects people and time and where youth culture now reflects,” he added. Adopted words and style. Migos, Young rappers Lil Yachi And Lil Baby, And established with veterinarians Ne-yo And Cream.

The habtemarium looks at the ethics, discipline, and resilience of Gordy’s work, while trying to push the envelope in its own way. “I’m more artists, more hits, and finding new ways to tell their stories through different parts of the world. That’s exciting to me,” she says. “It’s a really, really great time in music. I think we’re all in a place to learn because everything It’s changing in real time. But that’s the funny part. There are no more rules. “

– Stephanie Garr

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