Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Discover the Pioneering Influence of Disco Singer Sylvester With Our New Podcast Series, Sound Barrier'

22/06/2022

When Jason King was a kid, his family had a compilation full of disco hits from K-tel records in their music collection. On that tape was the song You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) from the singer Sylvester. Jason-who is a musician, a nationally recognized journalist, and the Chair of NYU's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music-didn't know much about Sylvester at the time. In fact, he wasn't even sure if Sylvester's signature falsetto belonged to a man or a woman. But he knew it was his favorite song on the tape.

Sound Barrier host Jason King.

As an adult, Jason's love of this song led him to learn more about Sylvester, an openly gay Black man living in 1970s America who dressed in drag and challenged gender conventions with a fervor few other musicians possessed. Though he wasn't a household name, Sylvester's innovative sound and persona paved the way for countless artists-particularly LGBTQ artists-to express themselves freely. And this is a big reason why Jason's appreciation for Sylvester has made its way into his journalistic and academic work.

This has set the stage for the launch of Sound Barrier, our new documentary podcast hosted by Jason that aims to explore artists who have made pioneering contributions to music and culture. Fittingly, he has turned his focus to Sylvester for season one-exploring not only the singer's life, but also the influence Sylvester has continued to have on BIPOC and LGBTQ artists after his death.

In celebration of Black Music Month and Pride Month, For the Record caught up with Jason to talk about his journey creating Sound Barrier, Sylvester's one-of-a-kind music career, and why Sylvester is more relevant today than ever before.

The description for Sound Barrier labels Sylvester as a musician who is perhaps even more relevant today than in the '70s and '80s. In your eyes, what makes him so relevant right now? Sylvester is someone who was an intersectional figure before intersectionality was a buzzword. He's somebody who was operating at the nexus of being Black and being gay and being femme when those things were still considered stigmas-they still are to some degree. But they were certainly considered stigmas at that time.

He was just unapologetically himself despite incredible pressure from his record label to be more straight and more normative. Every time he met that pressure, he pushed back and he became more himself. And so I think he's instructive to contemporary generations of how to be yourself at all costs.

Are there any particular eras or aspects of Sylvester's life that you've focused on over the course of the season? It covers him chronologically in every aspect, but one thing we take a close look at is his musicianship. I feel like Sylvester is often celebrated for being a cultural icon, which he was, and for being a pioneer around issues of identity. But he did it through the lens of music, and he was a phenomenal musician.

I really wanted to talk about the way his career evolved over the years and to push back against the narrative that Sylvester's best work was in the '70s and everything that came after that was an afterthought. I think his '80s work is some of his most creative work, particularly given that he had an AIDS diagnosis in the late '80s and was still continuing to make really important music.

Sound Barrier features many notable LGBTQ artists who span multiple generations. How did you decide on these featured guests? Well, we knew that we wanted to have scholars who really studied and thought about Sylvester's life. So that includes Joshua Gamson, who wrote the biography of Sylvester, The Fabulous Sylvester.

We knew that we wanted to have his collaborators, his friends, and people who knew him at that time who could testify about who he was: singers like Jeanie Tracy and Martha Wash, as well as Patrick Cowley, who was an innovator with synthesizers. And then we knew that we wanted to also have the younger artists who may not have known Sylvester, who may not be vested connoisseurs necessarily, but who have been touched in some way by Sylvester's music or his spirit.

So I reached out to people whom I felt were in Sylvester's musical genealogy. That included Alex Newell, famous for their work on Broadway and Glee; that included Billy Porter, who I think is very outspoken about how much of a role Sylvester played in Billy's own self-acceptance-before and after he won his Tony award for Kinky Boots; that included the vocalist and rapper Mykki Blanco, who's maybe not directly in Sylvester's vocal tradition but is very much influenced by Sylvester in other ways.

In reporting out season one of Sound Barrier, the team managed to unearth some never-before-heard demos and interviews from Sylvester. How were you able to discover these, and what do they reveal about him? I thought I knew a lot about Sylvester, but I learned a lot through this series about what made him tick, his musical choices, his aesthetic, and the pressures that he faced.

And having heard Sylvester's unreleased early 1970s demos before, I felt like one of the things I could bring to this series was to connect our team to Universal Music Group executive Harry Weinger, who has been in possession of these unheard recordings. They were produced by Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, and they're fascinating because they capture Sylvester as a work in progress who was really figuring out who he was and how to be his most authentic self. And he did that in these first recordings.

In one of the demos, he's singing Superstar, which is a song that's incredibly famous because it's a Leon Russell song that was performed by the Carpenters and later by Luther Vandross. Sylvester is doing maybe the first cover of it, but it's ast
LINK: https://newsroom.spotify.com/2022-06-22/discover-the-pioneering-influe...
See more stories from spotify

Most recent headlines

04/11/2022

Game better with DTS Headphone:X

The best gamers know DTS Headphone:X technology ups their play. Now major magazines have caught on, too. DTS Headphone:X technology creates immersive soundsc...

01/07/2022

L3Harris Infrared Space Technology to Enhance Battlefield Imagery and Missile Defense Detection

MELBOURNE, Fla. - A L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) infrared instrument set to ...

01/07/2022

Nominations Open for Best of Show Awards at IBC 2022

IBC is back for its first in-person gathering in three years, and so too is Future's annual IBC Best of Show awards program which celebrates the innovation ...

01/07/2022

Gray Television Names Brad Moses New GM of WTVG

ATLANTA Gray Television Inc. appointed Brad Moses the general manager of WTVG-TV (ABC) in Toledo, Ohio, effective July 25....

01/07/2022

National Geographic Names Karen Greenfield Senior VP Diversity & Inclusion

National Geographic has tapped Karen Greenfield to fill the newly created position of senior VP of content, diversity and inclusion....

01/07/2022

LPTVBA Taps Peter Saad as Association's Executive Director

STAMFORD CONN. The LPTV Broadcasters Association has appointed Peter Saad as the organization's new executive director. He is a seasoned attorney who has be...

01/07/2022

PlayBox Neo HD Playout with eMAM Go Live at TV5HD Thailand

PlayBox Neo HD Playout with eMAM Go Live at TV5HD Thailand Brie Clayton July 1, 2022 0 Comments Accompanying diagram shows the MAM and playout workflow...

01/07/2022

Quidich Innovates Game-Changing Camera Solutions for Live Sports Broadcasts with AJA FS-HDR

Quidich Innovates Game-Changing Camera Solutions for Live Sports Broadcasts with...

01/07/2022

Phil Harrelson to Lead DI and New Dailies Services at Nice Shoes

Phil Harrelson to Lead DI and New Dailies Services at Nice Shoes Brie Clayton July 1, 2022 0 Comments Nice Shoes has hired post-production veteran Phil...

01/07/2022

Center for Music Therapy to Partner with Underserved Communities in Berklees Backyard

Center for Music Therapy to Partner with Underserved Communities in Berklees Bac...

01/07/2022

Berklee's Two Track Series Celebrates Pride' to Kick off Summer

Berklee's Two Track Series Celebrates Pride' to Kick off Summer The popular YouTube series features students performing original music and exploring ...

01/07/2022

Esin Aydingoz Named Assistant Chair of Berklees Film Scoring Department

Esin Aydingoz Named Assistant Chair of Berklees Film Scoring Department An acclaimed TV, film, and video game composer from Istanbul, Turkey, Aydingoz starts ...

01/07/2022

Diana Horowitz Named to VP Sales Post at Imagine Communications

DENVER Imagine Communications has appointed Diana Horowitz the company's vice president, strategic sales, advertising technology. In the newly created posit...

01/07/2022

New NEXTGEN TV Logo Certification Test Suite Released

Eurofins Digital Testing (EDT), in partnership with the Consumer Technology Association and National Association of Broadcasters, has announced the release of t...

01/07/2022

SES Launches Broadcast Satellite via SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. SES announced the successful launch of its SES-22 satellite onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX's Space Launch Complex 40 at C...

01/07/2022

L.A. Public Health Officials Tell TV, Film Crews to Mask While Indoors

LOS ANGELES TV and film production personnel in Los Angeles have been told by public health authorities to wear masks while indoors due to rising Covid cases....

01/07/2022

The new challenges in OTT

iWedias J r me Vial takes a look at the OTT landscape By Contributor Published: July 1, 2022 iWedia's J r me Vial takes a look at the OTT landscape t...

01/07/2022

Amazon to share Champions League rights with BT Sport

Amazon has won the rights to Tuesday night games, with BT Sport airing Champions League matches on Wednesday By Jenny Priestley Published: June 30, 2022 Upd...

01/07/2022

EBU's DG Noel Curran to serve further six years in office

Organisation also appoints two new members to its executive board By Jenny Priestley Published: July 1, 2022 Organisation also appoints two new members to ...

01/07/2022

Thum + Mahr acquired by Broadcast Solutions

Co-founders Peter Thum and Hanno Mahr will become advisors to the company, which will remain in Monheim an Rhein By Jenny Priestley Published: July 1, 2022 ...

01/07/2022

Best of Show at IBC 2022 nominations open

Awards celebrate the innovation and craft of the industry's R&D teams by recognising some of the standout products and solutions on display in Amsterdam By...

01/07/2022

SBE Wraps Up Another Successful Membership Recruitment Drive

The Society of Broadcast Engineers has announced the wrapup of another successful membership recruitment drive, adding 68 new members to the professional societ...

01/07/2022

TelevisaUnivision to Launch ViX+ SVOD Tier on July 21

MIAMI In news that will dramatically expand Spanish-language SVOD streaming content in the Americas, TelevisaUnivision has announced that its ViX+ service will ...

01/07/2022

Maxon Releases Update For One Toolset

BAD HOMBURG, Germany Maxon has released an update of its Maxon One Toolset, including new features, enhanced performance and various fixes....

01/07/2022

KASA-TV Launches Spanish-Language App for Local News, Weather

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Five months after debuting the only locally-produced Spanish-language newscasts in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe market, Telemundo Nuevo M xico / K...

01/07/2022

Report: Nexstar Close to Deal for CW Network

IRVING, Texas Nexstar Media Group is close to acquiring a majority stake in the CW broadcast network, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal (opens in...

01/07/2022

Comcasts Xfinity Stream App Launches On Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD

PHILADELPHIA Comcast has launched the Xfinity Stream app on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, giving Xfinity TV customers another way to access their pay TV subscrip...

01/07/2022

Disney+s America the Beautiful' uses Top Gun' Style Camera Techniques

As Top Gun Maverick dazzles audiences worldwide this summer, with its advanced camera work displaying dizzying hypersonic flying visuals, a new Disney+ series...

01/07/2022

CBC News Plans Fall Launch of Free Streaming News Channel

OTTAWA, Canada As part of a new strategic plan to better serve audiences across Canada on both television and digital platforms, CBC News has announced plans to...

01/07/2022

Horowitz Named to VP Sales Post at Imagine Communications

DENVER Imagine Communications has appointed Diana Horowitz the company's vice president, strategic sales, advertising technology. In the newly created posit...

01/07/2022

iFIT Energizes Interactive Health and Fitness with Ikegami HDK-99 Cameras

iFIT Energizes Interactive Health and Fitness with Ikegami HDK-99 Cameras Brie Clayton June 30, 2022 0 Comments 6.4 million member subscriber base expe...

01/07/2022

Ikegami Europe Announces Unicam UHK-X750 4K-UHD HDR Studio Camera

Ikegami Europe Announces Unicam UHK-X750 4K-UHD HDR Studio Camera Brie Clayton June 30, 2022 0 Comments Accompanying image shows a perspective view of ...

01/07/2022

Crystal Vision and Singular Become Technology Partners

Crystal Vision and Singular Become Technology Partners Brie Clayton June 30, 2022 0 Comments Crystal Vision has become an official member of the Singul...

01/07/2022

HMS Networks AB acquires Global M2M Pty Ltd

HMS Industrial Networks AB, a wholly owned subsidiary of HMS Networks AB (publ), has today acquired all shares in Global M2M Pty Ltd, located in Melbourne, Aust...

01/07/2022

Fujifilm announces price increase for select Fujifilm-manufactured LTO Ultrium data tape products

Fujifilm announces price increase for select Fujifilm-manufactured LTO Ultrium d...

01/07/2022

UNSTOPPABLE ENTERTAINMENT WITH OVER 135 CHANNELS FOR ONLY RM99.99*

01 July 2022 UNSTOPPABLE ENTERTAINMENT WITH OVER 135 CHANNELS FOR ONLY RM99.99* KUALA LUMPUR, 1 July 2022 Stream endless entertainment with over 135 channe...

01/07/2022

Bloke and his American Bantu' hits State Theatre with stellar cast

Bloke and his American Bantu' hits State Theatre with stellar cast Bloke and his American Bantu' is directed by local actor and writer Sello Maake kaNcu...

01/07/2022

All-inclusive AEW celebrates Pride month in style

All-inclusive AEW celebrates Pride month in styleAs a company All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has embraced the notion of making space for people from all walks of lif...

01/07/2022

Jumped for joy': #HouseofZwide celebrates Funani stealing Ona's DNA

Jumped for joy': #HouseofZwide celebrates Funani stealing Ona's DNA House of Zwide' viewers are applauding Funani's investigative skills and loo...

01/07/2022

WATCH: Muvhango - Tonight's teaser E389 S22

WATCH: Muvhango - Tonight's teaser E389 S22Don't miss out on the latest drama in Muvhango! by SA TV and Soapies 01-07-2022 16:02 in Muvhango Frida...

01/07/2022

WATCH: Scandal - Tonight's teaser E66 S14

WATCH: Scandal - Tonight's teaser E66 S14Get to know what's happening on tonight's episode! by SA TV and Soapies 01-07-2022 16:04 in Scandal F...

01/07/2022

WATCH: Uzalo- Tonight's teaser E85 S8

WATCH: Uzalo- Tonight's teaser E85 S8Don't get left behind, catch up on Uzalo now! by SA TV and Soapies 01-07-2022 16:06 in Soapies Friday's E...

01/07/2022

WATCH: The River - Tonight's teaser E105 S5

WATCH: The River - Tonight's teaser E105 S5Watch tonight's episode of The River and catch the latest episode every weekday at 20:00 on 1 Magic, don'...

01/07/2022

WATCH: Gomora - Tonight's teaser E50 S3

WATCH: Gomora - Tonight's teaser E50 S3Don't miss out on what's happening on tonight's episode of Gomora, and watch the latest episode every wee...

01/07/2022

WATCH: Generations - The Legacy, tonight's teaser E160 S8

WATCH: Generations - The Legacy, tonight's teaser E160 S8Keen to know what's happening on the latest episode of Generations: The Legacy? by SA TV and ...

01/07/2022

WATCH: Skeem Saam - Tonight's teaser E259 S10

WATCH: Skeem Saam - Tonight's teaser E259 S10Find out what's going on tonight on Skeem Saam! by SA TV and Soapies 01-07-2022 16:14 in SkeemSaam Fr...

01/07/2022

How EBU Members rallied to help keep Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC on air

How EBU Members rallied to help keep Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC on air...

01/07/2022

Soapie teasers: What's happening in 7de Laan in July 2022?

Soapie teasers: What's happening in 7de Laan in July 2022?Another great month ahead. by SA TV and Soapies 01-07-2022 08:03 in Soapies 7de Laan Soapie ...

01/07/2022

Soapie teasers: What's happening in The River this July 2022?

Soapie teasers: What's happening in The River this July 2022?This month is dramatic in The River. by SA TV and Soapies 01-07-2022 08:15 in Soapies The...