June is African American Music Month, and since everyone on Team Givelify is a music fan we decided to pick our favorite African American musicians of all time. On any given day most of us can be found with earbuds in, working away. We just might be listening to these artists.
Matt – John Coltrane
Coltrane’s style and approach progressed dramatically throughout his career, but his sound remained unmistakeable. He was always reaching for something through music, trying to attain a new level of awareness. He believed there is a universal musical structure and language that transcends ethnicity, and through his playing he sought to understand the underlying meaning to sound.
In 1957 he overcame his addictions to heroin and alcohol. “I believe in all religions. I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.”
This video documents the only time Coltrane ever played “A Love Supreme” live. Do yourself a favor: go out and find the reissue on vinyl, sit down by yourself, and listen to it through headphones. It’s the only way to do this masterpiece justice.
Ahmad – Yolanda Adams
Yolanda Adams’ music is so inspiring to me. When I hear her music it lifts me up, I get inspired. She does gospel music, she’s an inspirational singer, and everything she puts out is really positive.
She talks about health issues, encouragement for day-to-day living, she talks about things I can identify with. I started listening to her for about 13 years, and her music really got me through some things.
Allison – Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston has one of the best voices of any artist of all time. Musically she’s just flawless, the cream of the crop of everybody.
I used to hear her music on the radio growing up. And I loved “The Bodyguard,” the best-selling soundtrack of all time.
Samuel – Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson was born dirt poor in Mississippi, and no blues musician and hardly a rock guitarist or any kind of musician exists today who is not affected by what he did almost 100 years ago.
I took a class in college on finger-style blues guitar. A lot of it was about this blues man who died really young, I think he was 26 years old when he died.
For a time it helped me get through a really rough patch in my life. I was going through a depression, and if you’re depressed there’s nothing better than shouting at random people but getting away with it because it’s music.