Single Of The Week: Louie Vega feat. Josh Milan – The World Is A Family (Roots NYC Mix) (RMVK Records LLC)
‘The World Is A Family’… A song which has all the ingredients to go down in history…
Who better than this reunion between Louie Vega and Josh Milan could better emboby the spirit of Ray Chew‘s ‘Two Beats One Soul’ album concept?
Two Beats (and even more…) One Soul intrinsincally reflects what makes the NYC culture so unique and fascinating. Itself takin’ its essence from the blend of countless influences. Be they Latin, African. Or inherited from the past. From Soul to Jazz, not to mention Gospel. Therefore finding its translation in the local music production. On such circumstances, how to not think The World Is A Family. At least musically speaking?!? With its protagonists finding there the ideal ground to express themselves together as one despite their differences.
Mind you and like it or not, richeness most oftenly comes from the diversity. Eventually givin’ birth to unsuspected results. With history most likely speakin’ for itself. Should this have to be reminded once again.
‘Let’s Keep Hope Alive’, ‘We Are One’, ‘Love Each Other’. But also ‘Love Is On The Way’, ‘Brand New Day’ or ‘Children Of The World’… As many messages of love and compassion which have paved our way over the last years. With the notorious contribution of Louie Vega and Josh Milan either together or separately. ‘The World Is A Family’ takin’ on where they left…
Delivered under different mixes being as many different moods, our preference definitely goes to the ‘Roots NYC Mix’. With its instantly sounding familiar atmosphere most likely resonating as an echo to Lamont Dozier‘s classic ‘Going Back To My Roots’. Certainly not a coincidence as a matter of fact.
The world is a family… I would most likely tend to think it is for those recognizing themselves when comin’ to speak about quality music.
Download from Traxsource.
Josh Milan is one of those rare artists in this business whose music is truly timeless. You can play his remix (along with co-producer Kevin Hedge) of Coldcut featuring Lisa Stansfield’s ‘People Hold On’ today and it still sounds as fresh as it did back in 1989. Be you listening to Blaze‘s ‘Can’t Win for Losing’ and you’ll find lyrics that are forever relevant. His catalog totals over two-hundred published works, making it the largest one produced by any single entity in the genre. As artist and businessman, he has been involved in almost every facet of the music business.
Blaze (Josh Milan, Kevin Hedge and Chris Herbert) started writing music together in 1984. The three decided to form a production team after Chris introduced Josh and Kevin. In the beginning, they would meet in Kevin’s bedroom for writing sessions. That is where they laid the foundation for what they became most respected for: great spiritually uplifting songs…
“Songs have always been our main production focus”, Josh explains. “It’s the lyrics and melodies of our musical heroes that have influenced us the most”, thinking of Stevie Wonder and James Taylor. But it’s the combination of deeply soulful melodies, his blend of Afro, Jazz, Soul and Gospel. Not to mention the positive world views in their lyrics that makes most people compare his music to the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire.
Josh started to develop demo recordings in the style of the day’s popular club music. With “DJ” Kevin Hedge at the controls, they turned out song after song for other artists and producers to record. Some included ‘This Time’ by Colonel Abrams, ‘One Man’ by Chanelle and ‘Reachin” by Phase II.
The three ultimately signed their first record deal with the newly formed Quark records in 1985, producing three major club hits of the time… ‘Whatcha Gonna Do’, ‘If You Should Need A Friend’ and ‘Can’t Win For Losing’. The Blaze sound caught the ear of then Motown Vice-president of A&R, Timmy Regisford, who immediately put them to work on numerous Motown projects.
“These guys were making productions that were raw enough to move the club, but always kept the integrity of the songs“, said Regisford on Blaze. By now, the Blaze sound was capturing the spirit of dancers in the clubs and the hearts of radio listeners in New York. As a remixer, Josh (along with Kevin Hedge) has worked on projects for Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Jamiroquai, Lisa Stansfield and countless others. As overdub musicians, they have collaborated with David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, Timmy Regisford and Masters At Work among others.
In 1995, Josh scored his biggest co-writing success with a song called ‘Hideaway’ performed by De’lacy. He also co-wrote charts hits for Amira (‘Desire’) and himself with the #1 dance hit, ‘Breathe’. This helped him to become one of the most sought after writers, producers and remixers in the business, along with his partner Kevin. Musically, Josh has collaborated with super DJ/Producer Louie Vega (one half of the production team Masters At Work) to assist him with producing his first solo album, ‘Elements Of Life’.
Finally, after 25 years on the scene, Josh Milan is just as current as he was then, producing relevant hits today as he did back in 1985. “I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.” Josh further explains: “Music is Gods voice and my ears are pressed against his lips. I believe that music is an extension of a man’s inner self…”
He grew up in a religious household, and learned to play the organ in the church. Co-writing and producing many artists, along with Hedge, became the primary focus. As his career blossomed, Josh learned to arrange vocal harmony, and vocal performance. “Donny Hathaway is my main vocal influence. He has touched my musicality in such a way that I find myself listening, and learning from him even today.”
After 20 years of writing, arranging, and performing music, Josh has released his debut-album. “There is a lot of live instrumentation that the industry has gotten away from. That’s the main reason I’ve started Honeycomb Music. I wanted to be in full control of the music that comes out. Labels like to have a hand in your music. The industry has a way of dictating what some producers feel they should produce. I’ve chosen to march to my own BEAT!”
“I will wait”, he sings on the first offshot of the aforementioned. And the wait is now over to get more of his music, this time as a solo artist. Even though he remains open to jam along with some of his alter egos. Such as this long liaison he established with Louie Vega back in the early 2000’s on ‘Elements Of Life’. A track which would mark the start of regular collaborations between them. With ‘Brand New Day’ comin’ up in 2002. But also ‘Love Is On The Way’ and ‘Sunshine’ along with Raúl Midón. Then ‘Love Remains The Same’ with Luisito Quintero in 2007 on Vega Records. Kevin Hedge sharing the duties with Vega at their Roots NYC weekly party. And Josh Milan becoming a member of Louie‘s Elements Of Life band after Blaze decided to split in the second half of the 2000’s.
‘The World Is A Family’ being the last component of their common repertoire to date…