Spectacular live show, retired Motown stars, NPR, and Tavis Smily in an afro

All around it was a very good SEPTEMBER week here at Willis Wonderland LA as well as Willis W in Detroit.

Yes I know there is a Willis Street in almost every major city in the country. But this particular one is not only the exact spot my parents first met when they lived kitty corner from each in Detroit oh so may years ago, but it’s also the street that was taken over to make way for this intersection below, in a housing complex started by retired Motown singers and where we sang one of the sing-alongs for “The D” record and videos.

As the reliably magic day – the 21st of September – approached, NPR did a great story on the timelessness of my very first hit, “September”, co-written with Al McKay and Maurice White. Professors of Musicology even broke it down for analysis as to why it is so eternally happy and a song that will literally never end.

0It’s been decades now that every weekend I receive at least 5 videos of the song played at someone’s wedding or drunken karaoke spree or there’s a bar mitzvah boy spinning around his blond dream girl, anywhere and everywhere happiness is the intention. And indeed THAT makes me very happy!

Then I had literally one if the greatest days of my life in Detroit on THE BaDeYa 21st of September when I performed my very sold out “BaDeYa, Detroit!” show, featuring a 15 piece band put together from musicians and singers we discovered at the sing-alongs and while filming the feature-length-exceedingly-hybrid-documentary, Allee Willis Loves Detroit.

The show/party also included dancers from Mosaic Youth Theatre Of Detroit, one of “The D”/ Allee Willis Loves Detroit’s beneficiaries, spinning car tires over their heads, choreographed videographers leaping over drums on cymbal crashes and organ sweeps, as well as the obligatory obsessive amount of junk food I subsist on.

And then how much better does it get when you get Tavis Smily in an Afro (attempting to) shake his booty to ’September”’s sister, “Boogie Wonderland”, on Dancing With The Stars, all in the same week?!  Though he sported one of those chopped down naturals when a good footlong Billy Preston was called for.

I have been blessed with a wonderful (albeit challenging) life and am living my creative (albeit money challenged) dream right now and I thank all of you who made it possible! Remember to throw some gas money in the tank please.

BaDeYa!

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Categories: "The D", Afro, Allee Live Performance, Allee Willis Loves Detroit, Allee Willis' Ba-de-ya, Allee's live performances, Art, Badeya, Baby!, Boogie Wonderland, Comedy, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, Disco, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, LPs, Mumford high school, Neutron Dance, Party, People, Self expression, September, Songwriting, Theater, video

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BaDeYa, Detroit! – Allee LIVE in The D, FINALLY……

For the past few few years now on the “BaDeYa, say do you remember 21st night of September”, my blessed and magic day because it’s the first line in the first hit record I ever had, I’ve made a tradition of performing live, something that took me over three decades to get together. Other than last year when I was in Detroit conducting one of the 50 sing-alongs for ”The D”, the unofficial official theme song I cowrote for Detroit, in a laundromat with people essentially spinning around in dryers while singing.


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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Afro, Allee Live Performance, Allee Willis Loves Detroit, Allee Willis' Ba-de-ya, Allee's live performances, Art, Badeya, Baby!, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, Disco, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, empowerment, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Neutron Dance, Party, People, Self expression, September, Songwriting, Standup, Theater

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Allee Willis’ “The 365 Days Of September” – Day 16

sept15-http-www.youtube.comwatch-v=CDc625oki3A&feature=related

All I can say is “And now, Mr. Robert Anton, up close and personal”.

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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Kitsch, Music, September, Songwriting

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1964 Band Directors Guide Book

isband-directors-book_2557

As I’ve never learned how to read music, even that which I’ve written and somehow managed to plunk out on a keyboard note by note until I build a full record, it’s going to be quite a kitsch adventure conducting the Marching Band at my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, when I go there this weekend for the Homecoming football game where they’ll be featuring my songs at the tailgate party and pregame show. If watching the hundreds of marching bands I’ve seen on YouTube is any indication, marching band versions differ greatly from the records. So I will just have to bounce around up there on the 20 foot high conductor’s platform and follow as best I can as I attempt to lead, taking advantage of the fact that I’m very good at reacting spontaneously when curves are thrown at me.

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Categories: Dance, Fashion, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Self expression

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Allee Willis’ “The 365 Days Of September” – Day 3

How happy am I that neither rain, sleet nor snow could keep the Kennett High School Marching Band from playing my song, “September” back in January of 2007?! I’ve been especially aggressive tracking down marching bands playing “September” as in a couple of weeks I have the great honor of conducting the University of Wisconsin marching band at the Homecoming halftime game when they play three of my hits, “September”, “In The Stone”, an Earth, Wind & Fire song that has grown to mythical proportions in marching band repertoires, and ” I’ll Be There for You (the theme from Friends)”, which I have no idea as to why it’s on the program when “Boogie Wonderland” or even “Neutron Dance” would seem more appropriate to drum the spirits up for the big game.

http-www.youtube.comwatch-v=_4EqFuZbu1M&feature=related-sept

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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Dance, Educational, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Musical Instruments, September, Songwriting

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The 21st Of September Jubilee!

september-sheet-music1

Because the opening line of my very first hit song, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, is “Do you remember the 21st night of September?” I constantly get asked the significance of that date, the very day it is TODAY.  People are always looking for some great meaning, especially those whose birthdays are today and to whom the song has held a special place. Sad to say, the only real significance is that that it felt so perfect to sing. Those three syllables – twen-ty-first -  hugged those notes tighter than an angora sweater and once that happens any good songwriter knows they need to just leave it alone because it works. What I’m most proud of achieving with my co-writers, Maurice White and Al McKay, is the transformative effect the song seems to have on people. I could be at a funeral and if “September” even came on as a ringtone most people’s lips would curl into a smile and their toes would automatically start to tap.  Beyoncé and Jay-Z even chose it to dance their first song to at their wedding. And that makes me very happy.

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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Creativity, Earth Wind & Fire, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, People, Pomplamoose, Self expression, September, Songwriting, video

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Allee Willis’ Soul O’ Day – Earth Wind & Fire At the Hollywood Bowl with a Seventy Piece Orchestra and Fireworks!

ewf_5421

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t go to concerts. I don’t like the crowds, I don’t like the walking, I don’t like someone singing next to me or standing up in front of me dancing. I understand this is the nature of concerts and I’m not out to change that so I was always happier sinking my head under a set of headphones and listening to the intricacies of the music rather than the  idiosyncrasies of the crowd. This includes concerts where my own music is being performed. Of the hundreds and hundreds of songs of mine that have been cut I’ve seen maybe ten of them performed live. One of the most memorable nights ever for me was in 1979 at the Los Angeles Forum when half of the songs performed by Earth Wind & Fire were mine, including “September”, “Boogie Wonderland” and “In the Stone”.  Although I’m blessed to have some of my tunes among their most popular I never saw the band perform live again. Until last Friday night when I saw a performance that blew my head off my shoulders and still has me skipping along the sidewalks of Los Angeles, a very happy girl.

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Categories: Afro, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Creativity, Dance, Disco, Earth Wind & Fire, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, Party, People, September, TV/Radio, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1970′s Disco Suitcase Set & Pomplamoose

disco-suitcases_2234

I’m supposed to be traveling today but won’t know if I’m going until a couple hours before the flight due to complications on my collaborator’s side. I’m not the world’s most eager traveler to begin with but having a suitcase that makes me smile every time I look at it sure helps if one is of the nature that their traveling psyche can be affected by aesthetics.

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Categories: Accessories, Disco, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Musical Instruments, Pomplamoose, Self expression, September, Songwriting, The Color Purple, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Abilene High’s Pure Gold 2006 Performance of “September”

Sept.-Abilene-High

This starts out looking like a performance in a dinner theater and quickly spirals into something out of “Hair”. Between ’costumes’ from much earlier in the  ’70s than when my song came out and the exceedingly Caucasian phrasing of the lyrics and choreography this is, in a Kitsch lovers universe, a stupendous rendition of “September”.

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Categories: bad art, Clothes, Dance, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Fashion, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, September, Songwriting

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