A highlight of my day last week was interviewing Ray Chew for his upcoming concert at Carnegie Hall entitled A Tribute to Motown. Ray first worked with Carnegie Hall in 2008–2009, producing two concerts in our HONOR! festival, curated by Jessye Norman. The following year, he presented A Night of Inspiration, in partnership with Carnegie Hall. Besides being a gifted musician, producer, and composer—who landed the music director position on American Idol last year—Ray is a wonderful guy with a great sense of humor who always puts everyone at ease.
Ray Chew's A Night of Inspiration, 2010. Photo by Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos.
The programming team has been having a great time working with Ray, exploring all of the musical possibilities for this tribute to Motown. We can't wait to confirm which of the endless Motown hits will be programmed that evening! My personal favorites are "Dancing in the Street," "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," and "I Want You Back." When we recently sat down with Ray to talk about the concert and Motown in general, we learned that he grew up listening to Motown in his grandfather's record store during the time of the Civil Rights Movement. When I asked Ray how he thought Motown might have had an impact beyond the music industry, he had a very simple yet powerful reply: "Who doesn't like 'My Girl'!?"
Related: February 9, A Tribute to Motown