Video: Earth, Wind & Fire members share what their legacy means and offer advice for new, young artists

The band brought magic to  “Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music SuperFest.” TheGrio spoke with three of the original members.

For more than 50 years, Earth, Wind & Fire has been bringing the funk, the soul, the pop, and other genres with its versatile vocal and instrumental musicianship. Recently the band brought its always-relevant brand of entertainment to  “Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music SuperFest.” Afterward, Allen Media Group’s John Kelley caught up with three of the group’s original members, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson and Philip Bailey. The following is a transcript of that conversation.

John Kelley [00:00:00] Ladies and gentlemen, I can tell you from inside the building we can feel the magic resonating through the entire place here. How’d it feel up on stage, you guys? Again, just magic.

Verdine White [00:00:09] It was great. It went by fast. It always goes by fast with these guys.

Ralph Johnson [00:00:14] Once you get in, it goes. It just goes. You know? So it felt good.

John Kelley [00:00:18] Well you gentlemen are iconic. I want to know, what’s the magic? What do you guys drink and what kind of what are you taking? Because you guys sound as good from back in the days when I used to buy the records in the ’70s.

Phillip Bailey [00:00:26] You know, we just love what we do and we’ve been really blessed to have good health and to still be trotting around the world like we do at our age. And we probably pinch ourselves now to just say, “Man, when, you know, we started, you know, 50 years ago, we could have never imagined that we would still be in the game like, like we are,” You know, it’s a lot of fun.

Kelley [00:00:53] What does it mean to you to still have that connection with this crowd the way you do?

Bailey [00:00:57] Well, this industry is hard. It’s not to be taken for granted. And, you know, for us to still be vibrant and relevant, you know, 50 years later, you know, is a… It’s an amazing thing.

Johnson [00:01:15] And you have to go, you know, hats off to Maurice White, who started this whole thing. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us, but we carry it on around the world. And, you know, Earth, Wind & Fire was the right idea at the right time.

Kelley [00:01:28] Right.

White [00:01:29] And it’s a privilege. Like Philip said, we’re pinching ourselves now because you hear our music on the airplanes. You hear it on radio, you hear it on the Internet, you hear it on elevators, you hear it in people’s cars. And now people come and thank us for just making the music. They just thank us now.

Kelley [00:01:43] I’m one of those. I do thank you because it is it’s still as relevant as it was from day one. What does that mean to you to know that these fans are still digging it and want to be a part of it?

Bailey [00:01:53] You know, it really means that Maurice always wanted to make music that was for people and not just for ourselves. So it really means that, you know, his vision was one that, you know, really made the difference. It really made the difference, to have a reason to do what you were doing that was bigger than yourself.

Kelley [00:02:15] Talk about the connection you three have up there on stage. I watched it during rehearsal. I see it during the live performance. You guys have something that just, I don’t know if you can even describe it. How do you put it into words?

Johnson [00:02:24] Well, you know, the three of us have been together since we were in our 20s. And it’s just it’s a very automatic kind of chemistry that we have. You know, we love each other and, you know, we understand the mission. And when we hit the stage, we go after it.

Kelley [00:02:39] With everything you’ve done, again, since I got you guys. I’m going to squeeze this for all I can. What kind of tools would you share or experiences with these young kids out there trying to find their path in this game?

Johnson [00:02:51] Believe in your dreams. Don’t let anyone take your dreams away from you. Believe in them. Commit to your art. Study. Listen to, you know, those that have gone before you and, you know, keep the negativity away from your particular dream.

Bailey [00:03:12] Exactly.

 “Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music SuperFest” is available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku and other platforms.

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