Masterpiece Sound Studios Cover Song Contest
We all sing; whether it be in the shower, our car, professionally or even karaoke and many of us have probably had a thought such as, “Yes! I nailed that one!” Well, here is your chance to “Nail” one as Sylvia Moy’s Masterpiece Sound Studios Detroit in partnership with Sony Music Publishing launches a “Cover Song Contest” open to any, “Amateur individual, independent singer, musician, singing group or band from any of the 50 United States, The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico” and what’s at stake in this competition is cash, representation by Sony Music Publishing and more.
Sylvia Moy was the first female songwriter and producer for the legendary Motown empire. Hired by Barry Gordy, Sylvia penned 150 songs for artists such as Stevie Wonder and countless others who graced the label and this contest is as much to honor her legacy as it is to re-introduce some of the Motown catalog to the masses and younger generations.
Recently, Sylvia’s sister Celeste Moy spoke about the contest and that very legacy her sister has left behind.
“Well, our company is The Estate of Sylvia Moy, LLC and Masterpiece Studios was built by Sylvia in 1973 but she passed in 2017 and in 2018 her eight heirs who are her siblings, inherited Masterpiece Sound Studios as well as her catalog and her copyrighted songs that she wrote while she was a songwriter and producer at Motown; 150 different songs but even after Motown she wrote another 200 really beautiful songs. So, we are committed, as I indicated, to preserving her memory which isn’t just a focus on her songs but all the songs written by great songwriters that need to be remembered and celebrated that can be re-produced. Sylvia was not really an R & B Motown artist to begin with, she was a performing artist herself and her first genre was really jazz; she was a jazz performer and she performed at all the great jazz clubs in and around Detroit and in Canada because you know Detroit is pretty close to Canada and her favorite artist was the incomparable Sarah Vaughn. So, she was performing at a jazz club and some of the Motown folks happen to be in the audience and introduced her; liked her performance, her sound and she was an absolutely beautiful person as well and they introduced her to Barry Gordy and she became a part of Motown; not as an artist but she was really brought in to be a songwriter because Motown always had and even Barry Gordy had said this; they always had great artists and groups and performers of all kinds but they were always limited with their writers. So, Sylvia had come from a different perspective than the other writers and she started writing differently than some of the other Motown writers and that’s where it all started.”
“So, we’re trying to open up this music to new generations but not just the generations because here’s the deal,” she continued; “My sister was a Motown songwriter and was one of the first female songwriters and producers for Motown and she wrote “Uptight,” “My Cheri Amour” and “This Old Heart of Mine” and whenever you hear her name associated with Motown songs, it’s going to be not only those three great standards; she wrote 150 songs when she was a songwriter for Motown and all of them are really phenomenal. All of them are great and there are so many other writers and you know about the top four or five songs that recording artists made into the huge hits and we are so grateful for that but my sister’s legacy, which we are committed to preserving and promoting is to recognize that good songs by really talented writers can be done so many different ways and in so many different genres and so with our commitment to that legacy we came up with this cover song contest to prove that you can do “I Was Made To Love Her,” which was first done by Stevie Wonder as an R&B or a country and western song; OK? You can do, “This Old Heart Of Mine” or “You Make Me So Very Happy” as an R&B song or a country song or a Middle Eastern rhythm song. There’s even one by The Miracles called “Whole Lot Of Shaking In My Heart” that you could do as a rap; have you heard the words to that? That’s easily done for that song. So, that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to re-introduce songs written by songwriters that are really great songs while encouraging aspiring, up to date artists to do those songs in new genres and differently to re-introduce them and Motown into new markets.”
So, with the goal firmly in place and the commitment there; how does this contest work?
“Well, it’s a cover song contest but we’re not focused just on great singers with great talent who can re-make basically the same songs the way they were originally done; we’re really more interested in great singers, bands and other types of performing artists. Our goal is to get different genres updated and these songs re-introduced into different communities. Therefore, we’ve identified 10 selected songs to begin with and more importantly, we’re asking for the contestants to create covers for any one of these songs but in any one of 10 specific genres that we’ve identified. So, yes, we are celebrating the songs and the songwriters who wrote them and we want the contestants to create great covers of these songs written by these great songwriters.”
The 10 songs that Celeste and her partners have selected are: “My Baby Loves Me,” “Nothing’s Too Good For My Baby,” “I Was Made To Love Her,” “Ain’t That Askin’ For Trouble,” “It’s Got To Be A Miracle,” “Heaven Sent You (I Know),” “I’m Still Lovin’ You,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ In My Heart,” and “Which Way Is The Sky” and they can be covered in any one of these 10 genres: Classic Motown, R&B, Country, Latin Rhythm, Native American, Middle Eastern Rhythmic, Hip-Hop/Rap, Jazz, J-pop/K-pop, and Reggae/Dance/Afrobeats.
To prove her point, Celeste did a litmus test of sorts, “My son is 34 years old and very familiar with the fact that my sister was an award winning Motown songwriter and many of the titles of many of her songs but when we actually posted the song in the cover song contest on our website and he started listening to them; it was like he had heard them for the first time because whenever you hear a Motown song it’s the usual suspects; The Temps, The Four Tops, by Smokey, by The Jackson 5 and that’s fine but basically it’s the same songs over and over. So, we’ve pulled out other songs that are also great; Motown songs by very talented writers and those are the songs that we’re trying to get people to enter in our contest and in any one of our selected genres.”
With such a vast catalog; how did they arrive at the chosen material?
“It was not easy,” she began with a laugh, “Because we are hoping that our first commercial contest will do well so that we will continue to do them, you know, next year and the next years after that and we’ll just add new songs every time. We may not just limit it to Motown songs, we’re starting with Motown because that’s our world; we’re Motown, we’re in Detroit, we have a studio that was built by our sister Sylvia in 1973 and she was one of the first women to build her own recording studio; so, that’s where we’re starting but our commitment is to really celebrate the song and the songwriters who wrote them. We think that they could be done in so many different genres and the Motown songs, like many others, are perfect for that because they’re multi-generational. Anybody can listen to them; they’re basically love songs. There is no profanity; they’re just great songs.”
To find out more or to enter the contest, please visit www.masterpiecesoundstudios.com/coversongcontest.