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Honoring Danny Woods

Father-In-Law Rocking the crowd of thousands of beach goers

 

Honoring Danny Woods

While the Grammys did not mention our beloved Danny Woods, I call upon Rolling Stone, Billboard Music Awards,  Billboard , Soultrain, NAACP and American Music Awards to do so!

I would like to thank a few of my friends in the music industry who are voting Grammy members that advocated on our behalf.  We the family would also like to thank the millions of Danny Woods fans around the world who are helping us get his name mentioned during award ceremonies and are taking action to fulfill our request for him to have his own Danny Woods day in Atlanta, Myrtle Beach and North Carolina.

A huge thank you to The National RnB Society Inc. for honoring him!

 

Photo courtesy of The National R&B Society Inc

 

 

History in the making! 

Danny began his amazing journey in Atlanta, GA on March 27, 1942, the son of Daniel Woods, Sr. and Julia Dukes Woods. During his formative years, he strengthened his amazing voice and set the foundation for his faith while singing in the church choir.  Along the way, he caught the eye of Gladys Knight and developed a friendship that resulted in taking his first step onto a stage and performing during one of her shows.

Possessing a strong desire to share his talents with the world, Danny left Atlanta and headed to Detroit.  In Detroit, Danny befriended David Ruffin, later of the Temptations, Clyde Wilson, and Melvin Davis. With the talent this quartet possessed, forming a group was the only logical course.  They toured throughout Michigan, earning accolades from all who saw them.  It was during this time that Danny also performed with Rare Earth and Aretha Franklin.  Danny and David took the next step and moved to New York to find fame. There Danny met his hero, the great Jackie Wilson. While in New York, Danny’s talent wasn’t lost on the greats of the time. Danny performed many times at the Apollo Theater with the likes of The O’Jays, The Spinners, The Stylistics, Manhattans, Wilson Picket, Jackie Wilson, and numerous other entertainers.

 

 

As word of his talent spread, his exposure increased and the number of fans skyrocketed!  Riding on the tide of stardom, the members of Chairmen of the Board went on to do solo work with great success.  During this time, the Chairmen of the Board not only hit the airwaves but the charts as well.  With such hits as “Pay to the Piper” and “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” the Chairmen of the Board were featured on Don Cornelius’ “Soul Train.

 

In 1967, when Holland/Dozier/Holland left Motown and established Invictus/Hot Wax record labels, they needed a flagship act with talent to spare and charisma like no other.

 

 

Getty Image

 

Pops on the left of this Getty image photo

That’s when they turned to Danny, General Norman Johnson, and Harrison Kennedy to be their premier talent as Chairmen of The Board.  It was during this time that Danny appeared on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” and “The Johnny Carson Show.”

 

The rare and highly coveted Aries Album

 

Riding on the tide of stardom, the members of Chairmen of the Board went on to do solo work with great success.  During this time, the Chairmen of the Board not only hit the airwaves but the charts as well.  With such hits as “Pay to the Piper” and “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” the Chairmen of the Board were featured on Don Cornelius’ “Soul Train.

 

1983 at The second annual Beach Music Awards pops on the far right

 

In the late 1970’s General Norman Johnson and Danny Woods made the decision to bring their dynamic energy and untouchable talent back to the Chairmen of the Board, and the legions of fans, awards, hits, and successes were boundless.  As one of the top entertainers in the Beach Music genre he helped to create, Danny Woods has been inducted into the North Carolina and the South Carolina Music Halls of Fame, both as a member of Chairmen of the Board and as a solo artist.  He received awards, accolades and recognition that went far beyond the dreams of the young boy in Atlanta, singing in the church choir.

 

 

 

Astoundingly, through all of the successes Danny enjoyed, he remained as he was in his youth.  Above all in his life was his devotion to his Heavenly Father and his faith.  He praised his Father for all that he had received in his life and recognized that his talent was a gift from God, a gift he loved to share with others.  When not performing or visiting with others, Danny could be found wetting a hook, either on a river bank or on a pier; it never mattered to him as long as he was fishing. He never outgrew his roots.   Offstage, he enjoyed the farm life, meeting people, making them smile, and leaving them with the love he had for all, spreading his love of Christ. His stage presence was larger than life, his energy infectious, and his personality endearing.  Many called him friend and reached to share a bit of his light.”  Elaine Woods

*Photos provided by Danny Woods Facebook page by his fans and sourced from Getty Images.

Music Royalty Vivian Sessoms

Vivian Sessoms is an accomplished recording artist, song writer and music producer who worked with everyone’s favorite artists including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Patti Austin, Cher and Whitney Houston to name a few.

I was very lucky to have an opportunity to personally meet her and talk about music, fashion and life lessons.  This Interview was conducted while Vivian Sessoms was overseas on her European tour.  Her highly acclaimed album Life will be available this fall.

Natalie: Congratulations on your tour!  I had a seat at the table when I met you!  My husband and I arrived from Boston  to New York City on a Friday night  which happened to be the opening night for Vincent Gardner’s performance with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  Belinda Munro-Gardner planned a lovely dinner at Cafeteria and I can still remember the decadent mac and cheese trio and rosè that I had. 

Vivian Sessoms: I know, it was a great night wasn’t it?  That mac & cheese trio at cafeteria is deadly!

Natalie: What goes into preparing for a world tour?

Vivian Sessoms: Quite a lot actually, it takes months and months of planning and sourcing.  There are a few people who help me pull it all together, publicist, booking agents, club owners, musicians, my hubby who is also the musical director.  It is a ton of work, but in the end it usually ends up being a lot of fun and very rewarding which is the reason why I think people do it, although I can really only speak for myself.  But it allows you to get in touch with the people who love music and support you and you able to connect with new friends and supporters in such an incredible way.  When all goes well it’s a real high, being able to get your music and message to people.

 

 

Vivian and Mali Music

 

Natalie: I see the love that your fans give you, they are eager to post videos of your performance.  A lot of work goes into to keep the worldwide buzz going. How do you do it?

Vivian Sessoms: To be honest I’m still kind of figuring that part out, lol! Every day, I have a list of things I plan to do which is to post videos of the previous nights performance or post a live video of me just singing in my hotel room or videos of past shows, but sadly I’m not always successful in my plan!  As an indie artist, you wind up doing a lot of things yourself, and actually, I am lucky because I have a small team of people who help me get the word out about things what’s going on with me and keeping things moving.  Sometimes,  just getting info to them is a job in itself.   It’s a constant juggling act trying to keep all the things you need to have happening,  going all at once.

 

Alliance Française de Melbourne in Australia. Photo by Georga Byrne

 

Natalie: What habits do you practice or prepare your mind, body and soul for while on tour.

Vivian Sessoms: I try to work out consistently, not every day but a few times a week. I also  try to really watch what I eat because I realize that eating badly, makes me feel bad.  I don’t really drink a lot and I don’t smoke.  I try to just take it easy and stay peaceful, and you know, do things that make me happy and that make me feel good.  I try to see friends often in other countries, or visit places of interest.

Natalie: You love fashion and beauty and have a great sense of style. Who are your favorite designers and what looks do you like to wear on stage?

Vivian Sessoms: Right now I’m into a lot of African designers.  There are some really fabulous young designers out of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and several other African countries.  As for my favorite American designers that’s kind of a long list, although I’m very into mixing pieces from stores like COS and Zara and Top Shop with high end stuff, or combined with thrift store finds.  I would say my personal style is a hodgepodge of things.  I like a lot of color, and texture. I really love deconstructed pieces. 
On stage I might go from jeans and sneakers with the funky T-shirt to a tailored suit and heels to a pretty or a flow-y type of dress.  Lately I seem to be opting more for real comfort.

 

 

Smiths Alternative Cafe in Canberra Australia. Photo by Andrea Hutch

 

 

Natalie: “Trying to work through shit we go through sometimes losing my way I’m walking through clouds looking for my sunny”.  This is something that everyone goes through weather it be work, personal relationships, friendships, developing your personal business.  What were you going through when you wrote those words?

Vivian Sessoms: I wrote that song with two really good friends Wondress Hutchinson and Jenny Douglas Foote and at the time I had just lost my mom, but I think that each of us were dealing with life situations and, I don’t know, I just remembered that my heart was really broken and so.  That’s what came out..

I can say that I really love collaborating with people for the different colors and ideas that it brings out of you as an artist.  Collaborating always seems to spark new ways to create, interesting ways that you might not think of when you’re writing or creating alone.
Natalie: I wanted to throw something on my floor like a towel when I listened to your angelic voice on Both Sides Now.  Your voice reminded me of the Ocean waves.  While I was creating these questions I was sitting in my living room with a 7 minute walk to my beach on the Atlantic Ocean and all that I could see during that moment was blue!  Do you see how music, creates and aligns things for some of us? 

Vivian Sessoms: Absolutely and positively!  I asked an audience during the show in Melbourne if they could see the aura that we had created at the end of a show. I was saying to them that coming out to see a show, even though you may feel like you’re not doing much besides  listening and watching, is a form of active participation and what the audience gives to you definitely feeds you as an artist, and in some instances can inform or drive you or what have you.  So I was saying to them that they had participated so much and so beautifully that the energy swirling back-and-forth between us was colorful and bright and had a lot of love it.  I really mean it when I say that music is healing, and that it can change the world.

Natalie: I recently visited the Past is Present exhibit at the MFA Boston.  Knowing that the past is present please tell the Luxhop4u audience who you shared the stage with including writing credits, producing credits and what you have in store for them this year. 

Vivian Sessoms: I’ve shared the stage with Joe Cocker,  Patti Austin, Cher, P!nk and numerous others.  I’ve had a wonderful journey before deciding to strike out on my own.  This year I’ll be releasing my third studio recording entitled Life which I’m really excited about.

 

Sinbad, Vivian Sessoms and Scooter.

 

Vivian Sessoms, Joe Cocker, Jenny Douglas Foote and Stacey Campbell.

 

Sara Levine, Sherri Shepard, Chaka Khan, Vivian Sessoms, Marvel Allen and Whoppi Goldberg on the set of the view

 

Vivian Sessoms and Mali Music.

 

Vivian and Lalah Hathaway

 

Kimberly Davis, Jenny Douglas Foote, Patti Austin, Nancy Wilson and Vivian Sessoms.

 

Vivian and Bruno Mars

Cossandra Cella, Cheryl Pepsii Riley, Shondra Rhimes and Vivian.

 

Vivian performing with Patti Austin for the Inaugural Ball of Governor Duvall Patrick and his wife Diane

 

Vivian on stage with P!nk

 

Vivian on the P!nk Funhouse Tour

 

Vivian and Andre Leon Talley

 

Vivian and Roberta Flack

 

 

Natalie: I have a lot of friends in the entertainment industry that work on major projects and do not receive credit/publishing for their work.  What should  artists do to ensure that they receive credit for their work?

Vivian Sessoms: Try as best you can to get everything in writing, contracts are important.  Then get a good lawyer. 

Natalie: I want to thank you for your personal advice and mentorship!

Vivian Sessoms: I adore you!

To purchase Vivian’s music on her website  click the following link Vivian Sessoms.

Follow Vivian on Instagram @VivianSessoms

* Update Luxshop4u will be in NYC for the Life album release party working behind the scenes. This website will be updated with playlist details from the Life album.  A release date for Vivian’s Life album will be announced in 2018.

Photos were provided by Vivian Sessoms.

Soul and Beach Music Icon Danny Woods

 

 

 

Danny Woods music career spans over 50 years he is one of the founding members of the legendary music group Chairmen of the Board.  Chairmen of the Board has sold over a million of copies with their chart topping hits “Give me just a little more time” the song was sampled by Kylie Minogue.  Chairmen of the Boards song “Patches” was later re-made by Clarence Carter and it received a Grammy Award.  The group shared the stage with many music legends and  was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 1999.

 

 

*Questions for this Q and A was written by Natalie the interview was conducted by Natalie and her husband one of Danny Woods son’s.

Natalie: Congratulations on your successful music career. What is your key to longevity?

Danny Woods: God, keep God first!

Natalie: Your fans do an amazing job of posting your music dating all the way back from the 1960’s! How many records did you release and how many music groups were you in?

Danny Woods: They asked me to be in the Spinners, but I turned it down because I was making money on my own. I would say that I am on about 50 records.

 

 

 

 

 

Natalie: How old were you when you signed your first record deal?

Danny Woods: I was about 19.

Natalie: Maintaining a healthy voice is a full time job. What’s your best practice to exercising and keeping your 6 octave vocal range healthy?

Danny Woods: The more you sing the better you can sing.

Natalie: What was the feeling that you pulled to hit that high register during the song “Danny Boy?”

Danny Woods: I was singing that song for my son Danny that’s why I sing it so good I was singing to my son Danny. 

 

 

Original Chairmen of the Board members General Johnson, Danny Woods, Hendricks Kennedy and Eddie Custis

Natalie: What was it like being in a premier group for Holland Dozier Holland?

Danny Woods: It was tough, I did not get paid.

Give me just a little more time was released in 1970 from the album “The Chairmen of The Board”

Natalie: How did you celebrate being number 3 on the Billboard Charts and selling over 1 Million copies for “Give me just a little more time?”

Danny Woods: I did not celebrate because I did not have any money.  I was on the Johnny Carson show and Soul Train several times.

 

 

1983 Beach Music Awards

 

Natalie: What emotion did you experience when the R.I.A.A presented Chairmen of The Board with a certified gold record?

Danny Woods: Well, London was an exciting time for me at ABC’s 50th anniversary everyone in the industry was on that show, Rock N’ Roll Super stars!

A special thank you to my father-in-law Mr. Danny Woods for affording us the opportunity to interview him for an exclusive Q and A.

Download music by General Johnson and the Chairmen of the Board on iTunes.

Download Danny Woods music on iTunes

*Please give credit and provide a link to this website when sourcing!