O'JAYS TELL IT LIKE IT IS
By Ashley G. Woodson and Mocha "The Big Body Benz"
and Urban Mortgage presented The O'Jays and Grammy Award
winner Deniece Williams at the Benedum Center April 6th,
2007. The concert took everyone back to a time where music
was music and singing was singing. Both The O'Jays and Deniece
Williams sound just as good now as they did years ago. After
the show, "The O'Jays" sat down for a one on one
to let us know how they feel about their fans, supporting
shows and the love they have for music. The O'Jays originally
consisted of Walter Williams, Bill Isles, Bobby Massey,
William Powell, and Eddie Levert. The O'Jays were inducted
into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004 and The Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. The O'Jays now consist of Eddie
Levert, Walter Williams and the newest member Eric Nolan
KEEPS "THE O'JAYS TOGETHER AFTER ALL OF THESE YEARS?
Walter: MONEY, MONEY, MONEY - MONEY - He shouts out
Levert: We still have a passion for what we do. We
still want to please the people. We still want to do a great
show. We want to be considered as one of the premier groups
in the history of R&B (Rhythm & Blues). We still
feel like we have the tools and wear-with-all to make it
DOES IT FEEL TO BE A PART OF THIS LEGENDARY GROUP?
Eric Nolan Grant: It's truly a blessing. You don't
even understand. I am so blessed to be with two of the greatest
entertainers period. You know what I'm saying. You've got
the original voices. We don't have replacement voices and
so that's a blessing in itself. We can do all the original
songs and not miss a beat. All I have to do is just do my
job and I can stay in the group a little longer. (He jokes)
THE NAME OF YOUR LATEST CD?
Walter: That's the one we did on Matthew Knowles
label, Sanctuary Urban Records Group called "Imagination".
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis did a couple of songs on there.
Currently we are not in a recording situation or a deal.
We are looking and if something comes along that is for
"The O'Jays" we will do something with it.
DOES IT FEEL FOR PEOPLE TO GROW UP LISTENING TO YOUR MUSIC?
Levert: Going from generation to generation is the
most amazing part about apart of this. We've been able to
sing to the parents, children and grandchildren. We've almost
spanned three decades. I think that's truly a blessing.
I think that it's God's Act. God put it into the equation
and where he puts a period, you cannot put a question mark.
You just go through and we pray that he will take us through
the night and make it so that we can be as good as we possibly
can be without flubbing a lot. We do flub sometimes, Levert
laughs. I stay in Las Vegas and we don't get a lot of white
faces in the audience. We get like 90% black and 10% white
or 75% black and 25% white. If we are doing an all white
show, that would be the exception. I was in a shopping mall
in Las Vegas and there was a bunch of white kids there.
They didn't know who I was and they told the storeowner
that they would like to buy something, but it's going to
cost a lot of money. One of the white kids in the group
shouted, "Money, Money, Money" and I just freaked
out. It just knocked me out that I happened to be walking
past and they didn't have a clue who I was. Whether they
come to the show or not, they know our songs.
DO FEEL ABOUT COMING TO THE STEEL CITY?
Levert: People like Groove Productions will not be
in business long if you do not support. You must support
them by coming to their events. You have to start by saying
to yourself that Groove Productions is a part of our city
and livelihood and keep them in business. The deeper they
get in business, the more acts they will bring to Pittsburgh.
When Groove Productions prospers, that means the city of
Pittsburgh will prosper.
Walter: It also means that our Black people will
prosper as well.
Levert: I hate to sound like I'm on a soap box for
Groove Productions, but how do you think that black organizations
who promote shows are going to survive if we don't support
them. You hear people complain that nobody ever comes to
the city. When Groove Productions does bring acts to the
city and you don't support them, they are going to lose.
You have to keep on supporting so it can be a "win-win"
situation for the people and for Groove Productions.