Join the Grammy Award winners and nominees responsible for hit songs from artists who include Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Kelly Clarkson, and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds for a session that will illustrate the day-to-day skills necessary to be successful as a songwriter/producer. From conception to revision to recording and production, these industry greats are hired for their ability to shepherd a song from a germ of an idea to a finished product.
2. Creating Hit Songs as a Songwriter/Producer
Daryl Simmons, Grammy Award Winning R&B songwriter, musician, record producer and music consultant who is best known for his association with the LaFace Records production duo of L.A. Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.
Simmons attended North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana together with future Pop and R&B producer-songwriter-singer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. The duo would write songs at each other's homes on a consistent basis. As teenagers, Simmons and Edmonds formed a band called, "Tarnished Silver", which also included Rayford Griffin and Tom Borton. The group performed at many colleges, proms and high school parties. In the late 70's, Simmons and Edmonds were both members of an Indianapolis R&B group, "Manchild". The group released two albums before breaking up and while the outfit never quite took off, Simmons' and Edmonds' relationship as songwriters/producers had already been cemented. The two would go on to collaborate for year.
After Manchild’s breakup, Edmonds joined L.A. Reid’s band, The Deele, in the early 1980s. Simmons soon followed Edmonds to work with The Deele, as a writer and a musician. Simmons co-wrote on two albums for The Deele, as well as played as a musician
The most successful of the two albums co-written by Simmons was “Eyes of a Stranger”, which went gold with the hit song, “Two Occasions”. With the success of “Two Occasions”, the trio began working with outside artists such as Pebbles, Sheena Easton, The Whispers, Paula Abdul, Karyn White, Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown.
Reid and Edmonds relocated to Atlanta in 1989, to form their own company, LaFace Records. The duo was joined by Simmons and together they discovered, signed and produced their own artists such as Toni Braxton, TLC, Usher, Damian Dame and OutKast.
In 1991, Simmons co-wrote and co-produced Boyz II Men's most successful song to date, “End of the Road”, from the Eddie Murphy movie, Boomerang. The song garnered a Grammy Award in 1992 for “Best R&B Song”. “End of the Road” topped the charts from August 15 through November 7, 1992, setting a record for most weeks at number one with 13 weeks, beating Elvis Presley's 11-week hold with "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel". Presley's record had stood 36 years.
Simmons, Edmonds and Reid collaborated again with Whitney Houston on The Bodyguard soundtrack (since 1990's album "I'm Your Baby Tonight"), which went on to sell more than 45 million albums worldwide. The trio also worked with Michael Jackson on his Dangerous album. Although the trio’s songs didn’t make it into the album's final cut, Simmons enjoyed working with Jackson and deems it an “amazing experience”.
In 1994, Edmonds released the solo album, “For the Cool in You”. Simmons was a major contributor to this triple platinum album. Edmonds collaborated with Simmons on Aretha Franklin's, "Willing to Forgive" which reached no. 5 on the R&B charts, and Mariah Carey's “Never Forget You” which peaked at number 7. Simmons and Edmonds also penned Tevin Campbell’s smash hit, “Can We Talk”.
In the mid ‘90s as the trio’s collaborative efforts began to slow, Simmons formed his own company, “Silent Partner Productions”. Simmons built a state-of-the-art recording studio and began working on solo projects. He wrote and produced a Top 10 Pop hit for Monica with “Why I Love You So Much” (#3 R&B). Simmons also produced and co-wrote Dru Hill’s “In My Bed”. "In My Bed" was a number-one platinum-selling R&B single by R&B group Dru Hill. It is the second single from their eponymous debut album. The single spent three weeks at number-one on the US R&B chart and peaked at number four on the US pop chart. Simmons followed this hit with a ballad from the same Dru Hill album, “Never Make a Promise”. The single spent four weeks at number one on the US R&B chart and peaked at number seven on the US pop chart.
Other notable productions include songs and production for Elton John, Destiny's Child, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Mýa, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Dru Hill, Kevon Edmonds and 98 Degrees.
In 1997, Simmons collaborated with Edmonds again on songs for Dru Hill for the Soul Food soundtrack, ”We're Not Making Love No More”, (#2 R&B). In 1999, Simmons collaborated with Babyface and “L.A.” Reid on TLC’s 3rd album, “FanMail”, and also gave new life to the Dell’s "The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind)" which he produced for Dru Hill’s second album, “Enter the Dru”. Despite not being released as a single, the song made it into the R&B top 50 on radio airplay alone.
In 2005, Simmons co-wrote with Edmonds songs for the album “Grown and Sexy”. Notable songs include: "Tonite It's Goin' Down", "Grown & Sexy", "Goin' Outta Bizness", and "Sorry For the Stupid Things", of which the last one made the R&B Charts.
Simmons most recent projects include songs co-written for Toni Braxton and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds duet album, “Love, Marriage & Divorce”, available now on iTunes and "Slave to the Rhythm" from the posthumous Michael Jackson album; XSCAPE. Simmons is now embracing the business-side of the music, by launching his consultant firm offering his invaluable expertise for up and coming artists.
Charles T. Harmon, better known as Chuck Harmony, was born and raised in East St. Louis, Illinois. He is an American music producer, musician, songwriter and entrepreneur, based in Nashville, Tennessee and is a three- time Grammy Award nominee and winner of the 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Song for Fantasia’s “Bittersweet". Growing up performing in church, he learned to play the drums at the early age of four, which quickly led to Harmony playing the trombone, tuba, and piano, in addition to singing in the church choir. He studied music at Alabama State University, taking up piano lessons with the goal of becoming a jazz pianist.
After college, Harmony relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where he garnered his first major songwriting credit as a co-writer alongside with Ne-Yo on Celine Dion's "I Got Nothin' Left" from her 2007 album Taking Chances. Since then he’s earned production, composition, and songwriting credits on songs by artists including Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Toni Braxton, Jesse J, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Olly Murs, Kanye West, Janet Jackson, John Legend, NAS, Kelly Rowland, Johnny Gill, Keyshia Cole, Keri Hilson, K'naan, Bono and Corinne Bailey Rae.
In 2015, Harmony partnered with longtime collaborator Claude Kelly forming the progressive band Louis York releasing their debut EP, Masterpiece Theater – Act I, released through their independent record label and creative collective Weirdo Workshop and distributed by The Orchard/Sony Music. In 2017 Kelly and Harmony partnered again to form the educational and community building initiative Tiny Book Club which has held events in Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, and New Jersey. Chuck Harmony’s main objective is to continue to promote excellence in music through first class musicianship, empathetic business practices, and pure inspiration.
Shea Rose has possessed numerous titles throughout her career: singer, songwriter, style icon, and music curator are just a few. Her music, influenced by soul, hip-hop, rock, and folk, speaks to identity, self-acceptance, and transformation. She has received numerous honors for her musical talents, including multiple Boston Music Awards and a SESAC National Performance Activity Award, and she is the recipient of the Abe Olman Scholarship from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Rose is a featured songwriter and performer on two Grammy Award–winning jazz albums, The Mosaic Project (2011) and Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (2012), both produced by legendary drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.
Before her current releases, Rose put out two independent albums, the Little Warrior mixtape (2011) and the Rock 'n Rose EP (2010). Rose released the D.T.M.A. (Dance This Mess Around) EP in 2017. She recorded and produced the album independently with funding from Kickstarter before being offered a contract by Virgin Records, which she turned down. The songs describe a struggle with identity and the conformity that often accompanies mainstream success. In advance of releasing D.T.M.A., Rose recorded a cover of Sinéad O’Connor’s “Black Boys on Mopeds,” a striking commentary on police brutality in black communities.
Rose has performed in Cuba, Jamaica, Italy, Greece, and Romania as well as at Boston’s Symphony Hall and South by Southwest. When she is not on stage, Rose curates music events like the RISE Music Series at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She is a student of yoga and meditation, and she writes a poem every day.