Philip Bailey On Braving The Elements Of Earth, Wind And Fire [Interview]

Philip Bailey, lead singer of Earth, Wind and Fire, has penned an autobiography – Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind and Fire.  When we get a big name entertainer calling into the Jack studios, we put it out to our listeners via Twitter and Facebook to get in on the interview with their questions.

Listen to our sweet chat here or read the highlights below.

First up: The Dumb yet Cute Question (from Olivia) – Philip, do you remember that 21st day in September?

Well, I don’t know what the heck happened that day, but we made a song about it.

Matt wants to know, how did you end up working with Phil Collins?

The Phoenix Horns, who were part of our entourage, were working with him on their off-season, so they introduced me to him (Phil), and I happened to be entertaining my second solo record, and I asked Phil for some suggestions on some songs because I wanted to cover some of Phil’s songs. So one thing led to the other, Phil produced my record, then we wrote Easy Lover together, with Nathan East, and the rest is history. We had a number 2 record in the country, and number 1 in many parts of the world.

From me: How did you get picked up by Maurice White for EWF?

A friend, Perry Jones, introduced us, because the first band (early EWF) were about 10 years older than myself, so when EWF came to Denver for a promotional tour, Perry Jones asked my band, with EWF members-to-be, to open the show.  That’s how I met Maurice, in an elevator, and he had on this big cowboy hat – very city slick – smelled like coconuts!

Maurice’s brother, Verdine (Bassist for EWF) heard me singing at a club in Denver called 21st Street East. And later when I moved out to LA, I was singing with a band called the Stovall Sisters at Maverick Flats. When EWF began to reform, Verdine told Maurice I’d be good to help reform the band.

From Steve, what do you consider yourself? Earth, Wind or Fire?

I consider myself Earth, because it was the astrological chart of Maurice that actually named the group. He didn’t have any water in his chart. But since we’re talking about astrology, I’m an Earth sign, so I would be the Earth.

How did you and Maurice get along?

We got along fabulously, because he was very intentional and purposeful, always very positive, had a serious work ethic, very truthful. We just got along really well.

How did it feel when your two voices collided so beautifully?

We were actually the sound of the band. We remolded the sound. We both sung up and we both sang down.  We didn’t know we were actually creating the sound with us two doing the vocals ourselves. But later on it became obvious that this was the sound so that’s the way we always did it.  This was prior to cut and paste, so you had to sing every chorus of every line of every song. That’s a lot of singing.

Philip Bailey performs with Ramsey Lewis at Jazz Alley starting on May 22nd.

Philip and Earth, Wind and Fire come to Chateau Ste Michelle Winery on August 23rd.

Lee Callahan, Jack Seattle






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