This week on My Classic Soul Podcast, SoulMusic.com founder David Nathan is joined this week by powerhouse producer and songwriter Preston Glass to discuss his work with the legendary Maurice White and Earth, Wind & Fire. They’re joined by Jeff Vasishta, Variety magazine contributor for a lively discussion about Maurice’s work and global impact on the world of music. Tune in below!
ON PRESTON GLASS' FIRST COLLABORATION WITH EARTH, WIND & FIRE'S MAURICE WHITE:
GLASS: I, like many of us all, love Maurice White and we love Earth, Wind, and Fire. So I never thought I would ever work with them. I just was always craving the next time they would come out with an album and then all of a sudden I get a call from my publisher, Brenda Andrews at Almo / Irving Music."
"And she says that Maurice White is interested in taking a meeting with me and possibly working with me. I said, 'What?' Of course, I fell out my chair. I was 24-years-old at the time. And, you know, I'm a songwriter-producer. I'm thinking, what could he possibly want to work with me for? He's one of the greatest songwriter-producer, and he does it all himself."
"We had a meeting and I had prepared some music for him, just in case he wanted to hear something. But I figured, well, he must have heard something that he liked and sure enough, we had a nice meeting. Then he said, you know, he's working on a new project and he wants some young blood. So I played him a little bit of music I had worked on for him, and he looked at Philip Bailey."
"They both had come together and they both said, 'Yes, we want to work with you. We want to do a couple songs with you.' So, I found out later that he was not familiar with my music at all, but because of two things, Brenda Andrew's recommendation and.the amount of letters in my name."
GLASS: My name had a certain amount of letters. I guess he's into numerology and liquor, but of course, once we started working together, the spiritual connection and the vibe and the music and the love for classic music and everything, that forged a 40 year relationship. We ended up writing close to 50 songs together over the years, but that was the genesis of my meeting with Maurice."
ON WORKING ON THE TOUCH THE WORLD ALBUM:
GLASS: "I had spent quite a few years working, my start was with Tom Bell, the first producer to ever win a Grammy for Producer of the Year. You know, of the Philly sound. And I worked with him for about six years, and also with Narada Michael Walden. So, had quite a bit of success with Narada Michael Walden."
"So to be fair to Maurice, I'm sure that's one of the things that he knew about me is that I wasn't just a new spring chicken. At the same time, I was somewhat of a new producer. And it was something for him to sort of take a chance with this young kid. And we had good results. We had a number one hit with 'System of Survival.'"
VASISHTA: "I mean, what I found fascinating with that Touch The World album and with 'System of Survival,' there is a completely different sound for Earth, Wind and Fire. I mean, the horns were gone and it was a very technologically current sound for them. What was it like working on that album with them?
GLASS: "We could probably talk for an hour about this song. This song, which I didn't write..."
VASISHTA: "Skylark wrote that."
GLASS: "Yeah. Skylark wrote it and, and what happened was, they, being out of their neck of the woods, they rented a condo, so they had to have rental cars. So they rented a car. Now meantime, Skylark had come to my office studio to try and show me a song for Maurice that day. And apparently my secretary told him while we were in the other studio that we were not looking for material, which was not true, but, he being persistent, waited in the parking lot until Maurice got in his rental car and went to their condo, followed them. And then once they got in, he put the cassette tape, taped it on the car window."
"So the next morning they found it on there and they listened to it on the way to my studio. And the first thing that they said that next day was,'We want something we didn't play for you yesterday. We want to see what you think of it.' They didn't tell me it wasn't their song. I assumed it was one of their songs. And they played it. And I said, 'Wow, this is great.' And it sounded to me like an Earth, Wind & Fire song...They said, 'We found it on our car this morning.'"
Listen to the rest of the podcast here.