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Claytoven PhotoWhat's New...

OMG everybody!

February is already gone. It went by so quickly. Oh yeah, there's only 28 days in February. But even with the shortened month there were all kinds of things that transpired in February. Obama announced his long awaited exit plan for the Iraq War, Kobe Bryant scored a record breaking 61 points at Madison Square Garden, and the biggest news of all...I discovered Facebook. In all seriousness, this truly has been a very eventful month with a lot of wonderful things having transpired; however, our countries financial woes shines the biggest spotlight. It definitely has been showing its effects on me and my family. I do believe that soon there are going to be better days built from better ways that we all do things. So here's to those better days arriving soon for us all.

My first bit of news... I have added a new feature to my web site called, Claytoven News Photo Gallery. This new feature, which by the way is powered by, will be used as a part of the About Claytoven, The News, and Student Lounge pages. There you will find links to photos from different events that transpire during the year. Please give it a look through when you can.

As always, if you have any questions or comments please refer to the Request Form. If you'd like to receive update emails please sign up for my Newsletter.

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Blessings to you and yours. Talk with you later,

March 2, 2009
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Authormates Photo

For Old Times Sake

It was in 1983 that long time friends Larry Batiste, William Kennedy, and Claytoven teamed up to form the group Private Eye. After having worked with Bill Withers, Coke Escovedo, the Whispers, Idris Muhammad, and Bill Summers, this trio made their self-titled Fantasy Records debut. "We described ourselves as a keyboard band", comments William Kennedy, "and fashioned lean, stripped-down arrangements to showcase our original songs."

Well with the help of Nick Philips (VP Jazz and Catalog A&R), Concord Music Group is making this bit of nostalgia available on iTunes. Though the album is considered a re-release it has been digitally re-mastered by mastering great, Joe Tarantino. The iTunes download includes a Digital Booklet which contains original bios, pictures and other intriguing tidbits of information.

To give it a listen please go to iTunes/Private Eye.


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GRAMMY® Awards Update - February 11, 2009

Just got back from the Grammy® Awards and it was a blast. Larry Batiste (Musical Director for the Pre-Telecast Show) did a great job with the band. They sounded incredible, and man, what a dream come true it was to hear the music arrangements that I did played so well.

There were also some stellar performances that were done by Tia Carrere, Wayne Brady, Gerald Albright, Hilary Hahn, Heavy D, and Lila Downs. If you haven't done so already, please check out the Pre-Telecast Show when you get a moment. It is available online until March 9th at: There are also photos of one of the Pre-Telecast rehearsals that you can checkout by going to 2009 Grammy® Pre-Telecast Rehearsal.

Grammy 2009 - Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho - He Aloha Mele

Photos of the pre-telecast rehearsal can be found at 2009 Grammy® Pre-Telecast Rehearsal... Gold Diamond


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CBS 5 Celebrates Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month CBS 5 and CW 44/cable 12 did a series of special interviews which reflected and celebrated the significant roles that African Americans have played in the shaping of U.S. history. There were four :30 PSA's that aired through the month of February on both CBS 5 and CW 44/cable 12. Channel 5's own Tracy Humphrey hosted the spots, which were produced by Cesar Chavez. The spots feature former ship welder Margaret Archie; Dr. Clayborne Carson, Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute; Keith “K-Dub” Williams, an Oakland visual artist/educator; and, Andrea President, a graduate of Oakland’s Youth Movement Records (YMR) program.

The actual PSAs, along with the raw footage of all of the interviews were shown throughout the entire month of February and are still available for viewing for a small part of March at CBS CW Logos and Also below are direct links to interviews of some of the folks that are involved with an incredible Bay Area outreach program, Youth Movement Records (YMR):

Gold Diamond


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Magazine CoverPictured backstage with Ledisi from L to R are: Cameryn (my daughter), me, Merl Saunders (Sr Exec. Director of The Recording Academy-SF Chapter), and Larry Batiste.

More Than a Concert

For the holidays I took my family to see the fabulous songstress, Ledisi at Yoshi's in San Francisco, California. The venue is incredibly beautiful and the food... Well let's just say I will be going back.

The band came out jammin' with a groove that immediately got the crowd going. It wasn't until I later talked to other Ledisi fans that I found out she started the set with what I now know to be her signature song, Been Here. What a tremendous performer! From the effortless control over her voice to the cute little dances she did whenever the music took her to a transcendental euphoria, Ledisi hit the stage and proceeded to work the audience the likes I have only seen done by 40 year music veterans. She took us to church with "shout" inspiring songs like, Children, Go Where I Send Thee. Even a jaded guy like me broke down and cried when Ledisi poured her heart and soul into the song, Someday, a song that expresses her want to make her parents proud. The show ended with her singing one of my personal favorites, Alright from her GRAMMY® Nominated CD Lost and Found.

Her concert was, in an old school phrase, "Off the hook!!!" For those of you that have yet to experience the awesome talent and showmanship of this vocal virtuoso I encourage you to go see her when next she is in your town. And by the way, "Ledisi, I'm hella proud of you, my friend.

More backstage pictures can be found at Ledisi Concert... Gold Diamond


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West Coast Songwriters – Women In The Music World

Magazine CoverDestiny Muhammad gets busy during a jam session that proceeded the panel workshop.

There I was at the renown Emeryville Food Court on a typical California Sunday afternoon, just an hour and a half from the start of the West Coast Songwriters Women In The Music World music industry panel at the neighboring Borders Books and Music. While in culinary bliss over one of my favorite indulgence, Curried Chicken Masala, I couldn’t help but wonder what to expect during the impending seminar. There were extra concerns on my part considering this was the first seminar that I would be an actual co-sponsor. Also, that it was taking place near my hometown of Oakland. Would folks show up?

Well the Bay Area showed that they still wanted to support industry events, and that they wanted to learn a little somethin’, somethin’. The turn out made me proud to be from the Bay Area, and the panel was incredible.

Of course I had a few things to say, but spent a great deal of the event in awe over the years of experience and care that poured from this illustrious group of professionals. I kept my pen to paper throughout. A plethora of insightful information was shared with a very attentive audience such as: the ins and outs of collaborating, being an independent artist, how to cope with being a woman in this business, along with many other great topics.

For those of you that missed this truly wonderful event stay tuned. West Coast Songwriters Sacramento Regional Manager, Kathlene Rollins says, "There is more to come."

More photos of the event can be found at Women In The Music World... Gold Diamond


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Magazine CoverBackstage Magazine Interview

Recently, I was blessed to be interviewed by John Henny for Backstage Magazine. He asked some very probing questions about being a studio vocalist that I think I answered well (LOL). Please check the article out when you can.

I also have had the honor of working with John at the Seth Riggs Speech Level Singing Voice Camps for the last couple Summers. John is an accomplished vocalist and vocal coach. Check out his web site at Gold Diamond


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Inspiring The Youth

A big part of my career has been to help young, aspiring artists find there way through the quagmire that is often times present in the music industry. It is through those efforts that I ran across a great organization that is based in Oakland, California. Youth Movement Records (YMR), founded by its director, Chris Wiltsee, was the first organization to use the model of a recording company to engage youth in leadership, artistic development and community involvement. YMR engages more than 400 Andrea Photoyoung people annually with project-based workshops and hands-on opportunities to produce original music, events and media. (for more on YMR...)

I am proud to say that with the help of Larry Batiste (my business partner in the company Pure Delite Music) and in partnership with Youth Movement Records, we are forging ahead with a program called, The Musical Mentoring Project. Larry and I take one YMR participant that has excelled in the program and we produce a song on that individual. The finished song will be a part of the YMR Compilation CD they do every year. We have recently started on the second of five students we plan on producing during the next 4-6 months.

Our first production project was with the talented Andrea President. Andrea is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, originally born in Houston, Texas. However, through a series a moves she has become an Oaklander. YMR recognized her talent and introduced her to Larry and me. It was truly an honor to work with such a talented young musician/singer. Here is a sneak preview of the song we produced, which was written by Andrea. Gold Diamond



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RAab Stevenson PhotoRAab Stevenson

This past summer while teaching at the Seth Riggs Speech Level Singing Summer Vocal Camp, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the talented singer, RAab Stevenson. After having a chance to sing with him at the camp it is easy to hear why he has been one of Justin Timberlake's main touring background vocalists.

RAab (pronounced, "rob") was recently interviewed by journalist, John Henny for the Backstage Magazine, where he honored me with mentioning my book. Please checkout the interview of this incredibly talented vocalist.Gold Diamond


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