Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – James Brown, Me & How To Write for Money



Here I am with James Brown in my studio in 1984 as we peruse one of my favorite Kitsch books, How To Sing For Money. The Godfather and I used to joke that it should have been called ‘How To Write For Money’ as there were so many ways songwriters got screwed out of royalties and credit, a situation that befell both of us numerous times.

I thought this would be an appropriate Kitsch O’ The Day post in view of my post yesterday on behalf of jilted songwriters everywhere. The book, only the top quarter of which is visible in this photo from Billboard magazine, was published in 1945. Maybe the advice worked back then but it’s irrelevant given the oil slick music industry of the last thirty years.


I was, thank God, Reality TV before Reality TV existed as I filmed almost every significant moment of my life since I owned my first video cam in 1978. Here we are seconds after we read the book, writing an ode to my dog Orbit, a plain brown baked potato who Mr. Brown loved and let sleep on his mink coat whenever he came over.


Categories: Afro, Celebrity, Discography, empowerment, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Reality tv, Songwriting, video

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  • windupkitty says:

    oH sweet,sweet, sweet, baby jesus……i always figured you for the godmother of soul…..but i need to go pass out now….please, please,please write the updated version of “how to sing for money” !!!!!!!!! (and then set it to music)

  • Kathy Cunningham says:’s all up in Orbit now! And I bet he didn’t have to sing for his supper or beg!
    I see a golden cape…

  • Abby Levine says:

    James Brown! James Brown! James Brown!

  • I am completely loving the fact that the concept of “singing for money” has always been elusive – “we can tell you how to do it” but really, it is a labor of love for most…fantastic!

    • Allee says:

      Ain’t that the truth?! Singing for money versus singing for love and passion are two totally different animals and make for two totally different sounding records or performances.

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