In case you missed it… Here’s the joint that we did for last night’s John Legend and Family: A Bigger Love Father’s Day Special… I haven’t obtained an official copy yet, so you’ll just have to settle for the video I recorded off of my TV. I hope nobody forgot Father’s Day on y’all…!!
“They Forgot Father’s Day” John Legend feat. Ne-Yo, Travis Barker & Snoop Dogg Produced by Zo! & Phonte All instruments by Zo!
Meet Sherman introduces Sherman McDaniels, host of Sherman’s Showcase. John Legend walks us through a history of The Showcase – from Sherman’s parentage, to the origin of the show, with highlights throughout the show’s run from 1972-present day.
Host, Nigel Lythgoe introduces the dancers of Sherman’s Showcase and shares significant moments in the series, including marriages between dancers, dancer-based controversies, and the show’s only robotic dancer, the Funk-A-Tron 2000.
Sherman reflects on his many haters over the decades as we dig into the rivalries and feuds of The Showcase. Turns out, genuine friendship is a rare commodity in showbiz, especially if you’re talking about frenemies John Legend and Common.
Host Mary J. Blige introduces just some of the female artists who used Sherman’s Showcase as a launchpad for their careers. Performances include an unusual rap battle, a black girl magic act, and a performance by Mary herself.
A very ’90s episode of “Sherman’s Showcase from July 8, 1995. Sherman’s producer called it “the single best episode in the history of the show.” Performers include Big Freddy Payne, a go-go band and a trailer for a movie about Montell Jordan.
An aging punk singer explores the many different white artists who have performed on “Sherman’s Showcase.” Sherman used his show as a platform to try and bridge the racial gap. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it was awkward.
In the season finale, Sherman is shocked to find himself in a world turned upside down, where Ray J is the host of his Showcase. Sherman races to uncover what triggered this alternate universe and finds himself face-to-face with an unexpected foe.
Celebrate Black History Month as only Sherman can. Sherman and his dancers are back to shine a light on Black icons in a way that will make the annual February observance of Black History Month all his own… in June.
Man. It’s here… It’s HERE!! The Making SkyBreak Documentary is now available. A personal album deserves a very personal film, right? I LOVE the way Digifé was able to capture behind-the-scenes work for #SkyBreak, accurately depict the personalities of my folks who contributed to the album… We even got Momma Zo! and my sister (Sister Zo!? lol) to sit down for interviews. I really can’t begin to go into how extremely PROUD I am of this project. I’m absolutely appreciative of the work put in by Donnie, Eric, Raphael and Avery… I’m even MORE excited that everyone now has an opportunity to watch the finished product.
Making SkyBreak includes appearances from Phonte, Carmen Rodgers, Sy Smith, Joi, Waajeed, Shana Tucker, Tamisha Waden, Duane Powell, LaDarrel “Saxappeal” Johnson, Kristopher Crosby, Kamau Inaede,Aaron Abernathy,RoddyRod and Zana Smith (of Spectacles Detroit)
In the summer of 2017 while in California hosting screenings for our recently completed documentary (Making SkyBreak) on the creation of my album, SkyBreak… Digifé (then Digital Café) approached me about a brand new project they had just been commissioned by Northwestern University to do… They wanted to know if I would be willing to score it. To be honest, I don’t even remember if I even knew what the doc was gonna be about when I first interrupted Donnie Seals (of Digifé) to blurt out, “Maaaaan, HELL yeah!!” Fast forward to Sept 2018, here we are with a helluva finished product that I’m super proud to be a part of.
“What was most impressive was the speed and depth this dude works. One day he’d send some funk that sounded like James Brown, the next day epic music like John Williams.” – Donnie Seals of Digifé
The Takeover (2018)
Film by Digifé
Score by Zo!
Check the film’s OFFICIAL trailer…
Quick picture with The Takeover’s narrator, NU alum, Harry Lennix.
Got to chat briefly with Harris Lennix
Film Credit – “Original Score: Zo!”
With the Digifé crew: Eric Seals, Donnie Seals, Brittany Applegate & Cassandra Papillon-Page
With Tim and Daphne Maxwell-Reid who as Northwestern’s first Black Homecoming Queen in 1968, told her story in The Takeover
With the first three episodes of Black Dynamite Season 2 in the bag, there has been some talk about the parody work that we have done for the show. Music Supervisor Fatin “10” Horton decided to go ahead and post the full versions of some of the songs that have been featured so far (not including the various background music that I’ve also played throughout). Listen, share, download, laugh and enjoy them all…
All Instruments by Zo!
Vocals by Phonte
Mixed/Mastered by Chris Boerner Music Supervisor Fatin “10” Horton
Back in November 2011, while on the road with The Foreign Exchange, we were in Nashville and I was sitting in one of the vans waiting to drive some of the crew to the venue for our show at BB King’s that night. I received a call from a friend of mine who I consider family, Fatin Horton. He reached out to me to see if I had the time and would be interested in playing/recording music for the new, upcoming season of Black Dynamite – The Animated Series……. As a huge fan of the movie already (and later the first season of the animated series), I probably looked at my phone with an expression similar to Russell Westbrook…
HELL YEAH I was interested!!
Now of course, this wouldn’t be music that you would find on any of my releases… For example, you’re not gonna hear “Count To Five” during a fight scene between Black Dynamite and some sinister villain where they try to kill each other. We were set to work on all new compositions that fit the show’s theme – 70’s Black films. Once again, as a fan of all of those movies whether they were good, terrible, or good and terrible, the idea of making that type of music while putting my own spin on it only sweetened the deal. I knew that creating the music would be challenging… not because I would be playing all of the instruments on it, but because once we started working on pieces that were to be scene-specific to the episodes I knew I was gonna be kept on my toes… and I WAS. I have always been the first one to admit that guitar is my weakest instrument, but after working on this batch of music, I have become a lot more confident in my guitar playing as the majority of the work required heavy amounts of the instrument – Chords, lines, rhythm, wah-wah, etc. Come to think of it, working on Black Dynamite music is quietly what inspired me to do “Show Me The Way” from the ManMade album.
When Fatin and I first got together in the studio back in June of 2012, we set up what was to become a series of “studio marathons.” The plan = Basically, he would come up to the studio to create for three days straight. Typically from about 10a – 6p and again from 9p until. The first time around we knocked out about 7 “cues” or 30-90 second pieces to be used within an episode as background music to set or emphasize a mood or current theme. The second time we got up we finished 13 cues, almost double the total from the first studio session. To me, that was a clear cut sign that a working groove had been established. The first couple of sessions were dope because I was told to work strictly off of inspiration. Fatin would set up shop in the studio, pull out old records, chop um up and say something like, “I need it to match this mood of this record…,” “Make the organ a little darker…” or, “Add a higher octave string line to this part…” It was crazy to be creating “70’s Black film” pieces in 2012/2013, but I felt honored because hell, in a lot of those movies the MUSIC was the highlight and played just as large of a role as the film’s leading actor. So the pride I took in the work was through the roof.
Now, the reality of it all didn’t really hit me until I started hearing drafts of some of the show’s cast singing over my music. To hear Tommy Davidson and Kym Whitley do their thing on some stuff I had just sent in was kinda bugged out and a nice “WELP, this is real” moment for me, to say the least. Then, once we got really heavy into episode and scene-specific music, that’s when my brother Phonte came in crushing the vocal work. Guitarist/engineer and The Hot @ Nights member, Chris Boerner would receive the final products for mixing and mastering purposes…. 150+ cues and eight episodes later, we have our contribution to Black Dynamite, Season 2. And I know that I have been telling a few of you about this for over two years now… Well, today is the day!!! You can catch the show tonight at 10:30p ET/PT. I’ll actually be live tweeting and pointing out my contributions because… 1. I’m hyped as shit about it, 2. This is a first for me, and 3. See #1.
Tonight… Black Dynamite – Season Two
premieres on Adult Swim @ 10:30p ET/PT
I’m honored to have been selected to score a new documentary that is currently in production entitled Undeniable – The Story of The Independent Soul Music Movement. The film’s director and producer, John Jointer contacted me a few months ago to ask me about being a part of the project, to which I was completely down to do. He said that he would be at our Indianapolis show (back in October) to sit down with Carmen Rodgers and I for interviews and to get some show footage. He then asked me if I would be interested in scoring the film as well. Hell YEAH I’d be interested! So there you have it… Between the Vegas Documentary, doing the music for the second season of Black Dynamite – The Animated Series and now this project, I’m really happy with the expansion to television and film. The new year has gotten off to a pretty wonderful start…