Workshop Offers Students a Chance to Work with Motown Legends on “Song of Hope” for Detroit
During this time of social change, young people in Southeastern Michigan are getting the help of some Motown legends, and getting a one time opportunity to write their own lyrics and create their own music. Kris Johnson says “Everybody, no matter how successful they are, had to start with their very first songs at some point." That’s what Kris wants the young people to remember when they sign up for the Motown Museum Lyric project. We’re putting on a free two week Motown Museum online workshop. They are welcoming students at any skill level, so they have a means of self expression, to have a medium and platform, an opportunity to say the things that are on their mind and be able to cultivate their ideas.
Kris, who has worked on 5 Grammy nominated albums, and is an accomplished artist himself, is the lead instructor. He believes during this period of social change young people really need to learn how to express their ideas. These kids are looking at the way our world is being shaped, and it’s something they will be responsible for, so at this time this is a great opportunity to really start to tell their story.
Motown has always been about encouraging and empowering social change, and making voices being heard of the people and perspectives that need to be heard. Barry Gordy the founder of Motown Records helped during the Civil Rights movement by supporting Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. They want young people to know they can make a difference.
“If our youth have an opportunity to be part of the conversations that are helping to shape our collective futures, then it inspires something inside themselves and then will continue to inspire them as leaders,” she said. That’s why at the end of the workshop, some students will create a Song of Hope about these social issues for the City of Detroit -- collaborating with legendary Motown record producer and songwriter Brian Holland. “They actually will be creating a hit song for the City of Detroit,” Harper said. That song will be arranged by Motown Funk Brother and music arranger Paul Riser Sr. -- who worked on hits like My Girl by The Temptations -- then professionally recorded by award-winning music director Kern Brantley. “They have access to people that know how to do it. They can really start to understand the culture and the process,” Kris said.
This Motown Museum Lyric Project is part of Hitsville’s first phase of their expansion, the project is called Hitsville Next. Their plan is an entire campus which will be dedicated to bring innovative, educational, community and entrepreneurial programs. Support for this program is being provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.
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