( ENSPIRE NEWS ) A Conversation with Timbaland on his New Memoir “The Emperor of Sound” at the Schomburg Center
Photo Credit: Terrence Jennings
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture hosts a series of conversations called “Between The Lines.” It falls into the categories of a discussion with authors and creatives about their creative process and sources of inspiration. This past Monday an avid readers and fans participated in an inside look at “The Emperor of Sound,” a memoir on the life and career of legendary music producer Timbaland. This would be his first conversation regarding his new book using such a discussion platform as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
The Emperor of Sound is the long-anticipated inside look at the extraordinary career of the legendary producer Timbaland. Born Timothy Z. Mosley, Timbaland has played many creative roles throughout his career. He was a member of DeVante Swing’s Da Bassment crew and is one half of the hip-hop duo Timbaland & Magoo. Considered one of the most successful producers in music history, he is the executive music producer of Fox’s runaway-hit television show Empire and the CEO of his own label, Mosley Music Group. A world-renowned producer, Timbaland has been a fixture on the pop charts, with more top-ten hits than Elvis or the Beatles. An artist whose fans are multi-racial and multi-generational, Timbaland works with the hottest artists, from Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott to Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, Madonna, and his childhood friend, Pharrell Williams.
Timbaland has a message that others can relate to and wanted to share that with everyone. He mentioned the influence Missy Elliot had on the birth of his career. She believed in him from the very beginning and that is something he will never forget. Also something Timbaland will never forget is the spirit of Aaliyah. He spoke about how he has just been able to speak about her comfortably and not feel down but be able to smile about her. We learned how devastating the loss for him was and how he managed to overcome that feeling and start again.
Within moments of the conversation you got a vibe of such a humble spirit appreciative of the knowledge he has gained and blessings he has received. It was very encouraging to hear how down to earth he is when speaking about his relationship with his kids and how he relates to them. You couldn’t help but feel the honesty in the conversation that ranged in a variety of topics of his life that fans never knew before. You were able to take him serious, laugh and understand where he was coming from.What also stood out was his passion to educate and continue to nurture the minds of our youth. Educational institutions that can focus on adding more creativity to those special children is of importance to Timbaland. He was once one of those kids that just had an eclectic imagination that needed to be supported. Timbaland is also a strong supporter of music in schools. Giving back to the youth is an action of importance to Timbaland and that was very clear. He feels no matter how we feel about the music of the young generation now, they are still apart of culture. Each decade has its music trends and not each one will agree with the previous one. The times of music keeps repeating itself just in different ways he explained.
He spoke candidly about emotions and situations he has encountered throughout his life. His honesty during this discussion made you feel as if you knew him better. Fans have participated in years of Timbaland’s exceptional imprint in hip hop and music; this book takes you further into the life that created this exceptional person, Timbaland.
Book Excerpt: ‘The Emperor Of Sound’
By Timbaland with Veronica Chambers
Prelude: A Catalog of Sound
Bob Marley once said, “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” I would paraphrase that to say, “Some people just hear noise, but for me the world is a catalog of sound.” Rain, in particular, has been a constant for me. I was three years old when Ann Peebles recorded her classic R & B hit “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” But that song has always been a cornerstone for me. As the story goes, it was 1973 and a stormy day in Memphis. Ann, who was then twenty-six, was on her way to a concert with her producing partner Don Bryant. Ann spat out, “I can’t stand the rain,” and Bryant, who was at the time a staff writer at Hi Records, knew immediately that the simple words—uttered with such force and frustration—could be a powerful metaphor about love gone wrong. The two musicians skipped the concert and went back to the studio to work on the song. They were joined there by a DJ named Bernie Miller and by midnight, the trio had written what they felt in their bones to be a hit song:
I can’t stand the rain against my window
Bringing back sweet memories
I can’t stand the rain against my window ’
Cause he ain’t here with me
Hey, window pane, tell me, do you remember
How sweet it used to be?
When we were together
Everything was so grand
Now that we’ve parted
There’s just a one sound that I just can’t stand
I can’t stand the rain . . .
Sound familiar? That means you know your Timbaland music. Overall the conversation was honest and genuine coming from someone looking to share his experiences. After hearing this candid conversation, you’ll be eager to get the book if your not already a fan of his work!
You can watch the live stream here.