Ep 72: Jimmy Jam, Legendary Music Producer, on Talent, Work Ethic & Relationships

Jimmy Jam, along with his producing partner Terry Lewis, is a legend.  His work has led to too many accolades and awards to mention here (see links in show notes below), but the highlights include 5 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award nomination, the most nominations for Producer of the Year, a star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame, and several Billboard 200 No. 1 albums.  

The duo was famously fired by Prince, early on in their career but, as with all 10,000 "No"s guests, this "failure" became an opportunity, setting them on the path to glory with a stronger bond and more clearly defined purpose.  Sitting down with Jimmy, I was shocked by his candid generosity in sharing stories about legends like Prince, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, among others.  Our conversation was raw and intimate, ebbing and flowing between these tales and incredible lessons on work ethic, the power of a positive attitude, the value of relationships and the ability to serve the story or project above one's own ego.

SHOW NOTES:

Receiving advice from Clarence Avant, (5:03). Shutting down for a minute, (7:15). “The advice we give is only as good as the people we are giving it to.”, (8:43). Unteachable lessons with experience, (11:26). Filling your toolbelt, (14:36). Exposure to the world with the music industry, (17:06). The ultimate language of music, (17:41). Getting fired by Prince, (22:15). Meeting Clarence Avant for the first time, (27:44). “Mentor is too small of a word for what Clarence was to us and still is.”, (34:14). Working with Michael and Janet Jackson, (37:25). “As soon as the beat hits, he starts dancing around the room.”, (45:04). Growing up with parents in the music industry, (51:00). Competing with Terry in different bands, (57:51). Mutual companionship with Terry, (59:10). “We each have the freedom to do what we want to do and what we are passionate about.”, (1:09:09). Prince as the greatest musician of all time, (1:12:54). “We thought we could contribute more if we knew more.”, (1:23:26). Outworking anybody no matter the talent level, (1:24:32) Doing what you love is not work, (1:26:04). Terry receiving a phone call to rejoin Prince’s band, (1:30:31). “We get told ‘No’ to this day.”, (1:31:32). Influencing his children with his music, (1:32:17) “Apply the hours to something you really love.”, (1:39:34). Significance around interning, (1:45:11). Listening and absorbing what is around you, (1:51:25). “I always say Terry and I have never had an argument.”,(1:53:54). Contrasting an argument from a disagreement, (1:54:05). Divinity of music, (2:07:03). 

SHOW LINKS:

IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005047/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/flytetymejam/?hl=en

Rolling Stone Article: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/jimmy-jam-and-terry-lewis-our-life-in-15-songs-163941/

Billboard Article: 

https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7348342/jimmy-jam-remembers-prince

Soundness of Blackness – Optimism:

 https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/optimistic/35504?i=35482

RELATED PAST 10,000 “NO”s CONVERSATIONS:

Chip Taylor:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/creating-music-from-instinct-hall-fame-songwriter-chip/id1260829558?i=1000422622350&mt=2

Mark Duplass:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mark-duplass-building-empire-outside-hollywood-system/id1260829558?i=1000411160418&mt=2

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Matthew Del Negro