Times have changed since cassette tapes and boomboxes. Now we have iPods and Smartphones that carry digital music files and stream consumer’s favorite artists from Pandora or Spotify. Thus, the music industry has had to adjust their way of delivering their music to consumers making companies, such as SoundExchange, beef up their representation for artists. In an attempt to close the divide between the music industry and the Digital Age, SoundExchange has enlisted legends of the trade to form a sort of mentorship with newcomers to educate and guide them through their music collaboration The SoundExchange Influencers Series. BeBe Winans and Jonathan McReynolds came aboard to support their efforts. Midday May 27, BeBe and Jonathan spoke about their involvement with the music series.
The CEO of SoundExchange, Michael Huppe, focuses his vision on solidifying the connection of the artists with consumers, but not at the expense of downgrading the artist’s ability to gain monetary and legal benefits due them via mentorship and education. Huppe stated, “The SoundExchange Influencers Series pays homage to the music’s past, present and future. We bring together established artists, artists in the middle of their career and artists who are just starting out, for a conversation about influence. Who influenced their music, who they influence and how we should celebrate the VALUE of music. All music has value and all artists deserve to be paid fairly every time their work is used, on EVERY platform.”
Benjamin “BeBe” Winans has claimed his stake in the music industry with his silky smooth vocals, being one of the Gospel music famed Winans’ clan and half the dynamic duo with his sister CeCe Winans. BeBe and his sister are among the few Gospel artists who have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, they both have garnered multiple awards from Grammys to Stellar Awards and just recently they were inducted in to the GMA Hall of Fame.
BeBe has managed to pack an extraordinary amount of accomplishments into his 52 years. Besides his solo career and singing with his sister, he has joined with two of his brothers, Marvin and Carvin, to form the group 3 Winans Brothers (3WB). Towards the end of 2015 and early 2016, a musical chronically BeBe and CeCe Winans’ music career will debut. BeBe life’s journey is far from over because he continues to reinvent himself.
Establishing a partnership with SoundExchange is one of the ways BeBe gives back and furthers his ability to reach beyond what he has already accomplished. His commitment to the next generation of artists is commendable with his efforts to help them navigate the music business. The collaboration enables him to work with new artists, such as Jonathan McReynolds, whom he states he has never met, but Jonathan amused said they had previously. Despite the lapse of memory or generational difference, BeBe has become well acquainted with Jonathan’s music and looks forward to sharing the stage with him.
Jonathan McReynolds’ days of recording in his college dormitory are long gone. He has burst onto the Gospel music scene with phenomenal vocal ability, musicianship and lyrical content catching the eye of many in the music industry. Performing on stages small and great with iconic artists, such as India Arie. Jonathan continues to keep his feet grounded working with his church’s music ministry, teaching at Columbia College Chicago and recently graduating from Moody Bible Institute with a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies. Jonathan sees the connection between being rooted in his spirituality and advancing his music career. They both go hand and hand.
BeBe reminisced about what his Dad would say to those who questioned artists being paid for using their gifts referencing the scripture, “…for the laborer is worthy of his hire.” (Luke 10:7) Jonathan echoed the sentiments stating that artists have responsibilities, light bills, etc. Traveling the country, and abroad, to spread God’s word through song puts a lot of physical demands on artists.
The life of an artist is no cake walk. It requires a commitment beyond what the eye sees. Once the lights and cameras are off, there is an everyday life to live. Doing the necessary things to refresh the body and spirit are crucial. Gaining the proper knowledge of the music industry and surrounding yourself with those who not only believe in your craft, but are able to foster your growth are key. Visit the SoundExchange website to get updates on the Influencers Series at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Check out BeBe Winans and Jonathan McReynolds on their respective musical journeys via their websites.