Artistic Breakthroughs: Smokey Robinson (NAMM Show 2014)
Surprise guest Smokey Robinson joins NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond during Breakfast of Champions at the 2014 NAMM Show. What follows is an up-close discussion about Robinson’s early musical life, the importance of music in the schools and why he still performs live. Robinson, a legendary singer, songwriter and producer, also received the music products industry’s highest honor, the Music for Life Award.
Highlights from the video:
“I grew up in Detroit,” Robinson said. “And I grew up in the hood. I grew up where it was hard-core. For me to be sitting here today with you and talking like this—and you’re giving me this wonderful award—and to be talking about my music and stuff like that is just an incredible, wild, unbelievable dream come true for me.
“Out of all the work that I do—as far as earning my living, doing my work, being in the studio and writing—performing is my favorite part. That’s why I still do this because no where else do I get that energy, do I get that feeling of going to see the fans. They think they’re coming to see me, but I’m coming to see them.
“I feel really badly about the fact that they cut the arts programs [in schools] because the arts programs are voluntary. When the kids are in the arts programs, whatever they’re pursuing—dancing, acting, music, whatever it is in the arts programs—it’s voluntary on their part. Nobody comes to them and says, ‘OK, you have to go to this class, and you’re going to be graded in this class.’ That’s voluntary. So it gives them a connection to school ... Those programs are so very, very, very important to our young people. Give up something else. Really. They’re so important. And they’re important to the world because we’re going to need those people to bring joy.”
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