Singing with emotion and writing songs that are relate-able, inspirational and down right groovy/ hit makers is what sets this impeccable artist/song-writer apart from the rest. Gordon Chambers catalog of songs is an perfect example of his talents as a song-writer and his albums are perfect examples of his singing talents. Sit back, take a listen and be amazed of this well rounded artist who can sing, write and play a tune. SayWhatNews had the pleasure to get to know the man behind such hits like Whitney Houston’s “My Love” and Brownstone’s “If You Love Me”:
SayWhatNews: Good Morning Gordon Chambers. Thanks for sitting down and speaking with SayWhatNews. First I have to stand-up and applaud you for your songwriting skills; all these years I have been singing and dancing to many of the hits you have written for other major artists.
So tell us who is Gordon Chambers?
Gordon: I am a man who lives, loves and breathes music. I live in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, but was born in the Bronx, and raised in Teaneck, NJ. I am single and living life like it’s golden, golden.
SayWhatNews: Is it true that you were a Journalist turned Artist?
Gordon: Yes, after graduating from Brown University in 1990, I went to work at ESSENCE as the Entertainment Editor until 1997.
SayWhatNews: You started writing songs at the age of 7. So how did you end up becoming a Journalist? And what made you decide to follow your gift of song and writing?
Gordon: I always loved to read as a kid. Toni Morrisson, James Baldwin, Nikki Giavonni, etc. In college I wrote lots of poems, and essays, and began editing a literary journal called UWEZO. So I pursued journalism when I graduated, and ended not only working for ESSENCE, but writing about music for the New York Times, VIBE and Rolling Stone. When my first hits hit the charts I was still working my “day jobs.” I finally left to do music full time in 1997.
SayWhatNews: Your song-writing/ composing skills are impeccable. Have you ever had any professional training to fine tune your craft?
Gordon: I’ve always had mentors, collaborators and producers who helped me hone my craft as a lyricist. My first songwriting mentor was jazz drummer and producer Lenny White. Over the years, I’ve had songs I co-written produced by some of the best in the business—from David Foster, Babyface, Diddy, Barry Eastmond, Stevie J, Troy Taylor, Corey Rooney. You learn a lot about writing from producers.
SayWhatNews: Those are some of the best in the industry. Do you play any musical instruments?
Gordon: Yes, piano. I played trumpet from age 7 to 22. I stopped. I’d be veeeery rusty now, but I will pick it sometimes.
SayWhatNews: Your musically inclined all around- singer, song-writer and can play a couple of instruments. Who were your musical influences growing up?
Gordon: My Dad played lots of Bob Marley (we’re Jamaican), but also lots of soul music: Otis Redding, The Staples, The Temptations, The Manhattans, Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie, Teddy Pendergrass. I also loooved listening to jazz and LITE-FM ballad stations.
SayWhatNews: Old-school music at its best. Tell us how a former Journalist started working for L.A. Reid’s (who is one of the major players in the music industry) publishing company Hitco Music?
Gordon: When L.A. was starting a new publishing company, he asked me to be the first writer singed to HITCO. His vision was an elite boutique camp of R&B songwriters. I was proud that he asked me. I had just left my ESSENCE job two months before, and my deal with Warner Chappell had ended.
SayWhatNews: Wow, that opportunity came right on time and led to some great hit making. So, Gordon you have written and arranged for over 60 recording artists like Anita Baker, the Isley Brothers, Yolanda Adams, Whitney Houston, Brandy and many more. How surreal is it for you as a song writer to work with so many talented artists?
Gordon: There’s nothing like hearing a great singer interpret your songs and put emotions in them that you never knew were there. Especially when they’re idols of yours! I’ve had Gladys, Eddie Levert and Whitney Houston make surprise calls to my parents. They got a big kick out of that.
SayWhatNews: So cool, I’m sure they got a kick out of that. Now, I just have to provide the readers with a snippet of the mega-hits you have written:
Catalog of credits:
Whitney Houston - “My Love”; Brownstone - “If You Love Me”; Yolanda Adams - “Someone Watching Over Me”, Brandy - “One Voice”; Brandy, Tamia, Gladys Knight - “Missing You” and one of the best wedding songs (featured in the movie Best Man) Beyonce & Marc Nelson - “After All Is Said and Done”.
You have written such an array of songs. Tell us about your writing technique. Some artist sit down and write when it comes to them and some just sing off the top of their head while they are in the studio.
Gordon: Melodies, titles and concepts are always bouncing in my head. I believe in living life. Experience joy and pain, heartache and hope. Those are all fodder for songs. Mostly I write to tracks producers present me. But sometimes I write “solo” at the piano.
SayWhatNews: Gordon you have been quoted to saying that song-writing is not a job, its “a labor of love and a dream come true.” What is your inspiration?
Gordon: I do greatly believe in love and longevity in relationships. My parents have been together for over 40 years, and my grandparents were married over 60 years. Plus, I think music is a great healing force for people. Music can get points across even smoother than presidents can!
SayWhatNews: I totally agree. Is there any artist out there you would love to write and arrange for? And why?
Gordon: Stevie Wonder, Prince, Celine, Rihanna, Alicia, Mary J. I love their voices, and think they’re all superstars.
SayWhatNews: So true, each and everyone of them are power houses in their own right. Lets talk about your amazing voice. You have been compared to sounding like a mixture of Joe, Eric Benet and Gerald Levert. These are some of the best male vocalist. So how does that feel being compared to such a talented pool of artists?
Gordon: It feels great. I am honored. Those are three of the greatest young singers, and Gerald and Joe are buddies of mine. (Gerald is not dead to me, very much alive!) I just try to sing from the heart, and approach what I do my own way. I think my voice is jazzy and soothing. I’m glad people are enjoying my contributions to the male soul buffet.
SayWhatNews: Yes indeed, Levert’s music and memory will live on. Speaking of Eric Benet. Gordon you co-composed with Eric Benet on the song “Stay Together”. Tell us how this came about and how amazing was it working with Eric Benet?
Gordon: We were never in the studio together actually. He co-wrote the song with some producers in Nashville, who sent me the files, and I sang it on my own in a studio in Harlem. Hopefully, one day, we’ll get in a room together face-to-face and make some more magic.
SayWhatNews: Its amazing how some songs come to be even when those involve never get together in one room and collaborate. Now, your sophomore album “Love Stories” lyrically has provided a vision of all the elements of love. What was your inspiration for this album?
Gordon: Remembering all the beautiful soul music my parents played in the basement at parties, and how it brought three generations together.
SayWhatNews: “Love Stories” has been getting wonderful reviews since its release. And I must say its one of those rare albums that you can listen to all the way thru without skipping around to find a song you like. How does it make you feel when you learn that people love the album?
Gordon: There’s nothing like knowing that folks find and enjoy your work--especially being an independent artist, with less exposure than a Ne-yo or a Mario. I am very, very grateful for the audience I’ve developed.
SayWhatNews: Now I do have some favorites on the album: “Unfair”, “To Love Again” ft Ledisi, and the most moving/inspirational song, “Still Blessing Me” ft Melonie Daniels. Gordon do you have a favorite song on the album?
Gordon: Those are actually my three favorites as well. But I also love “Wish I Was In Love.” It’s very personal. And I love performing the remake of “If You Love Me” by Brownstone life. It takes folks back down 90’s R&B memory lane.
SayWhatNews: On the album you have featured 2 really talented female vocalist Melonie Daniels and Ledisi. Is there anyone you would love to collaborate with in the future?
Gordon: Absolutely, I loooove Tweets voice, and Lalah Hathaway. Would love to do a gospel song with Yolanda Adams. And, singing with Whitney would be beyond a dream come true!
SayWhatNews: Ooh yes, each of those ladies voices would be a perfect blend with yours. Hopefully those collaborations will happen. With that said, Gordon you are such a busy man. How did you find the time to do a sophomore album when you are writing hits for others?
Gordon: You make time in life for what’s most important to you!
SayWhatNews: Ok, I feel that. When can Gordon Chambers fans see you on tour?
Gordon: If they log on and join my website announcement list at www.gordonchambers.com they’ll be very “in the loop.”
SayWhatNews: What’s in the future for Gordon Chambers?
Gordon: More songs, more shows, more living, laughing and love stories! God is good. All the time!
Gordon Chambers Website