by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)
City College Center for the Arts, on the campus of City College of New York, is honoring the 60-year history of Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy® Award-winning Otis Williams of The Temptations, on Monday, November 1 at 7:30pm ET with a special live, virtual event.
Williams, who is a founding member of the legendary musical group and the sole surviving member of the original Temptations, will have a live conversation with distinguished musician, composer and entrepreneur K. Sparks.
Williams will be sharing memories on the “Evolution of The Temptations’ Music, 1961 – 2021”, and the conversation will be simulcast from CCCA’s Aaron Davis Hall, in the renowned Marian Anderson Theatre. It will also feature other special guests.
Audience members can join the free, virtual event by registering for tickets at the CCCA website, citycollegecenterforthearts.org. The special conversation is also being held in honor of the 80th birthday of Mr. Williams, who turned 80 on October 30.
CCCA’s Managing Director Greg Shanck said, “For more than four decades, Aaron Davis Hall has been Harlem’s performing arts center. World scholars, artistic giants and academic geniuses like Nelson Mandela, Alicia Keys, President Barack Obama and Ella Fitzgerald, just to name a few, have blessed these stages through the years. The City College of New York is so proud of the contributions The Temptations have made, and continue to make, to the American cultural landscape and we are honored to add their name to that distinguished list.”
Williams himself said, “I am thrilled to be celebrating the group’s 60th Anniversary and my 80th birthday with our extended Tempts’ family from across the City College campus in Harlem, and throughout New York and the rest of the country. The Temptations had some of its most memorable performances in Harlem and other parts of New York during our career. To mark these capstones with an online discussion about my career at the prestigious and diverse City College of New York, a college known for its commitment to the Performing Arts, and for recognizing one of the greatest trailblazers in American music history, Marian Anderson, is an incredible honor for me and The Temptations.”
Williams reunited with Smokey Robinson earlier this year to co-write and co-produce the recently released single “Is It Gonna Be Yes Or No” from the new Temptations 60 album due in 2022.
“A friend of mine, Derek Porter, him and I were riding down the freeways of L.A. and we’re talking about the 60th anniversary album and Smokey’s name came about. And I said, ‘Smokey. Let me call Smokey, I’d love to have him on the album,’” Williams shared in a phone interview about his historic reunion with friend and writer of classic Temptations hits such as “Get Ready,” “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” and their signature song, “My Girl.”
“So I called him and I say, ‘Smoke, I would love for you to produce a song for us, write it, and not only stop there, I would like for you to perform with us on it.’ And he calls me ‘Oak’. And he says, ‘Oak, anytime just let me know,’” Williams continued. “Here it is now, it’s out and I hear tell it’s doing very good, and that’s fine.”
Other celebratory events of the Temptations includes recent re-opening at the Imperial Theatre in NY of the Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, based on Williams’ personal journey.
The Temptations’ presence across multi-media platforms has never been more vivid. Their hit “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” was used as the foundation of the Migos smash “Avalanche.”
Additionally, Williams’ autobiography, Temptations, was recently released as an audiobook edition for the first time, with a new introduction by Williams.
When asked what current artists he likes, Williams offered, “Bruno Mars… He’s a heck of a showman. And he can sing. I look at that, also. And the reason I love them [Mars and Anderson.Paak as Silk Sonic] is because they’re singing what the Tempts is all about. They’re singing what Marvin Gaye is all about.”
“They’re singing great songs, great melodies. Lyric content is good, structured, right… See we were taught all those things at Motown. You know, how to be able to tell a great song. That song [“Leave The Door Open“] when I first heard it, I said, ‘They got another one, they got another one.’ And so I love listening as they come out with that kind of songs that have those elements.”
To learn more about Williams, the Temptations, and the group’s touring schedule, check out their social:
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