Gordon Chambers Steps Into His Own Music Spotlight
Submitted by John Calloway J... on January 31, 2006
Not many people get to follow their dreams and see where they lead. But, this is exactly what Gordon Chambers has been doing since he wrote his very first song at the age 7.
Today, Chambers is a celebrity songwriter who is signed to the prestigious Hitco Music Publishing. Over a 10-year span, he has written for more than 60 recording artists, including Gladys Knight, Beyonce, Queen Latifah and Whitney Houston.
But music is more than hit songs for the Teaneck, N.J. native. It has a much deeper and passionate meaning.
"Music is a media forum just like any other form of media, a form of inspiration," says Chambers. "Music hallmarks different events in people's lives. Music is where you turn to in your most intimate moments and to detonate the chapters of your life."
It was this love of music and songwriting that took Chambers through his college years at Brown University, where he earned a dual degree in Journalism and American Studies, and eventually led him to the post of entertainment editor at Essence magazine, a job he landed directly out of college. While there, Chambers interviewed Queen Latifah, who gave him his first professional songwriting credit, "Winki's Theme," a song he co-wrote and contributed to her 1994 "Black Reign" album.
In the mid 1990s, "I Apologize," a signature tune co-written for Anita Baker, earned him a Grammy award and jumpstarted his career as a writer and producer.
The creative process comes in many ways he says.
"I usually start from a melody," explains Chambers, "...a catch phrase or a title verse. Sometimes I collaborate in various different ways."
Realizing songwriting was a perfect form of expression, Chambers also had a desire to perform his material live, something he began doing during his college years at Brown.
"I performed all through college, and when I got out of college I had a band," he recalls. "I just became busier and busier [performing]."
He admits that he hid behind songwriting and producing for many years because he never felt that his voice was good enough. But he got the courage to move forward as a singer while he was at a Whitney Houston session that he was producing a couple years ago. It was then that Houston told him to "go for it" after hearing Chambers sing some of the song "One Wish" as a guide for her.
In December 2004, Chambers decided it was time to put his songs and tenor voice on wax, so he released his first-ever independent record, "Introducing Gordon Chambers," an eclectic collection of pop, jazz, R&B and soul-influenced compositions. The record has been enjoying airplay in major cities around the nation, and Chambers has performed in more than 70 standing-room only shows annually since 2004.
For those wanting to release an independent album, says Chambers, get ready to "role up your sleeves and really work."
"A lot of people put their energy into the making of the record, but you also have to deal with the marketing of the record and the selling of the record," he says. "It's the same as child birth. People say I just want to have a baby — then the baby needs diapers, childcare, school clothes. [Music], it's truly a labor of love."
Chambers' hard work has definitely paid off. Last November, "Introducing Gordon Chambers" was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Independent Male Soul Artist of 2005 by Soultracks.com.
The 12-track CD was produced with Chambers and Troy Taylor (B2K, Barry Eastmond (Anita Baker) and Brian Bacchus (Norah Jones). The album is classic soul with hints of his first love: jazz.
Looking into the future of soul Chambers says: "A lot of independent music is going to start coming more into people's consciousness. There are just so many independent artists making music. The independent R&B scene is really going to rise, just how the grunge scene did."
Chambers knows that every dream has risks.
"Living as a full-time musician is living a life at risk," he admits. "But if your love for the music is so great and profound, you'll do whatever you have to do.
"I think everybody's a superstar. When you're letting the light of God shine, you're a superstar. Superstars are people who are being themselves and are letting their light shine."
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