|Birth name Mervyn Edwin Warren|
Education Oakwood University
Role Film composer
|Name Mervyn Warren|
Years active 1973-present
|Born February 29, 1964 (age 51) (1964-02-29) |
Genres Film score, Jazz, Vocal jazz, Soul, R&B, Pop, Traditional pop, Big band, Gospel, Contemporary Christian music
Associated acts Take 6, Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, Barbra Streisand, Boyz II Men, The Manhattan Transfer, BeBe & CeCe Winans
Movies A Walk to Remember, Hot Guys with Guns
Albums So Much 2 Say, He Is Christmas, A Raisin In The Sun (Music from the Original Television Movie), Take 6
Parents Barbara J. Warren, Mervyn A. Warren
Similar People Sue Ann, Mark Kibble, Claude V McKnight III, Patti Austin, Quincy Jones
Plan on forever dana glover mervyn warren lyrics on screen
Mervyn Edwin Warren (born February 29, 1964) is an American film composer, record producer, music conductor, music arranger, lyricist, songwriter, pianist, and vocalist. Warren is a five-time Grammy Award winner and a 10-time Grammy Award nominee. Warren has written the underscore and songs for many feature and television films and has written countless arrangements in a variety of musical styles for producers Quincy Jones, David Foster, Arif Mardin, and dozens of popular recording artists, including extensive work on Jones' Back on the Block, Q's Jook Joint, and Q: Soul Bossa Nostra.
- Plan on forever dana glover mervyn warren lyrics on screen
- Mervyn warren a walk to remember score
- Early life and education
- Early musical career
- A Special Blend
- Take 6
- Music career Nashville
- Handels Messiah A Soulful Celebration
- Film and music career Los Angeles
- Alabama Hall Of Fame
Warren has also produced numerous jazz, pop, R&B, contemporary Christian, and gospel artists, typically arranging those recordings, often performing on them (on piano, keyboards, or vocals), and often writing or co-writing the melodies and lyrics. Warren is best known as an original member of the a cappella vocal group Take 6, for having composed the underscore to the number-1 film The Wedding Planner (2001), for producing and arranging songs for the hit film Sister Act 2 (1993), and for producing and arranging most of the soundtrack to the 1996 Whitney Houston film The Preacher's Wife—the best-selling Gospel album of all time.
Mervyn warren a walk to remember score
Early life and education
Warren was born on a leap day (February 29) in Huntsville, Alabama, the son of Dr. Mervyn A. Warren, a university administrator, professor and author, and Barbara J. Warren, a university professor who specialized in early childhood education. Warren's mother taught him to read and to do basic math when he was three years old, which enabled him later to complete the first and second grades in one year. Upon beginning the third grade, Warren's classmates, thinking he had been "skipped" a grade, taunted and ostracized him for the next several years. During that time, he immersed himself in playing the piano, which he had begun under his mother's tutelage at the age of five.
Warren briefly took formal, piano lessons at the ages of six and 10. In each case, he soon lost interest in the strict memorization and regurgitation of the required pieces, preferring instead to create musical variations on the pieces or to improvise upon them. As a result, each stint of weekly, formal lessons was short-lived. Still, he spent hours at the piano daily, playing by ear.
As a child and teenager, Warren, whose parents are Seventh-day Adventists, was not allowed to listen to pop music or rhythm and blues. Instead, he grew up on a steady diet of easy-listening, contemporary Christian, classical, and choral music—from the Mantovani Orchestra to Edwin Hawkins to The Swingle Singers. Warren's family's home was adjacent to the campus of Oakwood University, which has a long and rich history of vocal and choral groups, many of which performed a cappella. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Warren heard such ensembles rehearse and perform frequently. Each of these elements would later combine to inform his unique musical palette.
In 1976, at the age of 12, Warren was grounded (punished) for having purchased the Earth, Wind & Fire album Gratitude. But in 2006—exactly 30 years later—he was asked to produce an Earth, Wind & Fire Christmas album. Although the project was postponed, the irony remains.
At the age of 15, Warren enrolled in a special, summer program at Alabama A&M University for high-school students with advanced proficiency in the sciences and mathematics. As a result of his performance in the program, the university offered him a scholarship that would cover all studies required to earn a Ph.D. in physics. However, lacking sufficient interest in the subject, Warren declined the offer. In 1981 he was the valedictorian of his senior class at Oakwood Adventist Academy. In the fall of the same year, he became president of the freshman class at Oakwood University.
Intending to attend medical school, Warren majored briefly in biology and mathematics. Though he excelled at both, he dropped both, having decided to pursue his true passion, music. Disappointed by Warren's decision, a professor of biology told him, "You're wasting your mind on music."
Undeterred, Warren graduated summa cum laude in 1985 from Oakwood University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music with an emphasis in piano performance. At the graduation ceremony, Warren conducted members of the senior class, performing a song he had written for the occasion, entitled "A Moment Like This."
In 1987, Warren received a Master of Music degree in Arranging from the University of Alabama, under the tutelage of noted jazz educator Steve Sample, Sr.
Early musical career
At the age of five, Warren began playing the piano by ear, after being taught a few songs by his mother. For many years thereafter, he immersed himself at the piano—learning to play various styles by ear and creating new arrangements of existing pieces. As early as the age of seven, he was accompanying vocalists at the piano, for their performances at school or church. He soon became sought after as an accompanist in the community and continued to do so, frequently, throughout college and graduate school.
At the age of 10, Warren became the regular accompanist for a vocal group, composed of five of his female classmates, and they performed regularly at school and community events. Within weeks of becoming their accompanist, Warren began creating original arrangements for the group.
When he was 12, he was asked by a classmate if he had ever considered composing an original song. Though Warren had not previously considered doing so, always having created arrangements of preexisting songs, the suggestion prompted him to begin composing original songs and lyrics, which he taught to the aforementioned vocal group and which they began to perform publicly.
Warren had an innate inclination toward jazz and complex harmony, which was evident in both his original songs and arrangements of existing songs. This inclination was met with disdain by some of the more conservative, Christian members of the Oakwood community, resulting in an ongoing struggle between figures of authority and Warren, as he attempted to express his musical ideas. At the age of 13, Warren expanded the five-voice, female vocal group to a nine-voice, mixed vocal group. This group, now called The Symbolic Sounds, sang his arrangements and compositions exclusively, and remained popular in the school and community through 1981.
Warren's first, professional recording session was for a new version of "The Lord's Prayer", set to an original melody, which Warren co-wrote with his friend Eric Todd. It was recorded by Blessed Peace, a popular gospel choir at Oakwood University, at Sound Cell Recording Studio in Huntsville, Alabama. Warren created the vocal arrangement, played keyboards, and assisted Todd with the overall production. During that session, studio-owner Doug Jansen Smith took note of Warren's abilities. Soon thereafter, Warren became a regular session-performer at Sound Cell, contributing arrangements, playing keyboards, and singing on various radio and TV jingles, as well as pop, rock, country, and contemporary Christian recordings.
Many of those sessions included Warren's friend Mark Kibble, also an accomplished arranger, pianist, and vocalist (and future member of Take 6). As early as the age of 13, Warren and Kibble, who were born five weeks apart, had performed concerts together, singing solos and duets, while taking turns providing accompaniment at the piano. One of the duets began with Warren singing and Kibble at the piano; then, halfway through the song, Warren would leave the stage and take over at the piano, seamlessly, at which point Kibble would take the stage to sing.
In 1980, while both juniors in high school, Warren and Kibble joined a preexisting, male, a cappella vocal quartet at Oakwood University, and the resulting sextet became known as Alliance. Alliance became known for its highly unique and complex vocal arrangements, primarily of well-known negro spirituals, but of some newer songs, as well. Most of Alliance's dazzling arrangements were created by Mark Kibble, but later, Warren contributed a few, as well. Alliance was very popular and performed not only on the campus of Oakwood University, but in various cities across the United States. In 1983, Alliance recorded an album at Sound Cell Recording Studio, entitled Something Within for Legacy Records, a custom label founded by Henry Mosley, then-professor at Oakwood University. Mosley also served as the group's manager. Later, an unmarked, cassette copy of Something Within was given by recording artist Michael Martin Murphey to Jim Ed Norman at Warner Bros. Records in Nashville, Tennessee. Norman loved the recording but neither he nor Murphey knew the identity of the performers. In 1987, Norman finally discovered the group's identity and promptly signed Alliance to a recording contract with Reprise Records, a division of Warner Bros. Records. Upon discovering that a rock music band had already recorded under the name "Alliance," the vocal group Alliance was renamed Take 6, released the album Take 6, and went on to earn worldwide acclaim.
In 1981, Warren enrolled at Oakwood University and joined the highly regarded touring choir The Aeolians, under the direction of Professor Alma Blackmon. Warren remained a member of The Aeolians throughout his four-year matriculation, later becoming the ensemble's stage director, assistant conductor, and alternate accompanist. With The Aeolians, Warren toured extensively throughout the United States, Bermuda, The Bahamas, The Virgin Islands, England, Scotland, and Wales.
In 1985, Warren composed an upbeat choral piece entitled "I Ain't Got Long To Be Here" in the style of a negro spiritual. Blackmon allowed Warren to teach the piece to The Aeolians, and it became part of their standard repertoire. Whenever they performed it, Blackmon introduced Warren, who would then conduct the piece. "I Ain't Got Long To Be Here" is believed to be the first student composition ever to have been performed by The Aeolians.
Blackmon was a pivotal figure in Warren's musical development. With her he studied music theory, piano performance, and techniques of choral conducting. By coincidence, as a teenager Warren lived in his parents' home, directly across the street from the home of Blackmon and her daughter Brenda, now Brenda Wood. As of 2010, Wood is an NBC news anchor at WXIA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia.
A Special Blend
Many members of The Aeolians also sang in other vocal groups and choirs at Oakwood University. However, because of The Aeolians' rigorous rehearsal and touring schedule, conductor Alma Blackmon had instituted a rule that no members of the ensemble could participate in extracurricular groups larger than a quartet. This was intended to limit the number of students who might collectively miss any given Aeolian performance. As such, Warren's nine-voice vocal group, The Symbolic Sounds, was disallowed.
In response, in 1981 Warren disbanded The Symbolic Sounds and formed the vocal group A Special Blend, consisting of two women and two men, accompanied by Warren on piano or sometimes by a full rhythm section. He created innovative vocal arrangements for A Special Blend, whose repertoire consisted of new arrangements of familiar songs, as well as original compositions by Warren. The group's core members were Joya Foster, Lori Bryan, Mark Kibble, and Claude V. McKnight, III. Like Alliance, A Special Blend became well-known and popular for its unique style, combining vocal jazz with contemporary Christian lyrics. A Special Blend performed many concerts throughout the United States, primarily on weekends, during the school year. Warren, Kibble, and McKnight were members of both A Special Blend and Alliance. The groups' respective takes on vocal jazz complimented each other, and in fact they frequently concertized in tandem.
At different points during A Special Blend's six-year continuance, vocalists Andraetta Huff, Sheryl Bihm, and Michelle Mayne each briefly served as members or alternate members.
In reality, neither A Special Blend nor Alliance complied with Blackmon's "Rule of Four." However, she granted an exception for A Special Blend, since they were technically a quartet that Warren accompanied at the piano. Alliance, on the other hand, was in clear violation, but Warren, along with Mark Kibble and Claude V. McKnight, III, continued to perform with Alliance stealthily. Although Kibble and McKnight also sang with The Aeolians, they each did so for only one year or less. Warren remained a member of The Aeolians throughout his four-year matriculation.
In 1982, A Special Blend won the first-place trophy at the Alabama State Fair's talent competition.
In 1983, A Special Blend recorded a collection of several songs at Sound Cell Studio, to serve as a demo to help the group acquire a recording contract. Like Alliance, A Special Blend caught the attention of Henry Mosley, who became the group's manager.
In 1984 A Special Blend recorded an album entitled Nowhere But Up, which Warren produced. The album was recorded at a studio in Nashville, Tennessee, for release on Moseley's Legacy Records. To attend sessions, Warren and the group and band members made the 100-mile trip many times—often departing for Nashville after the day's classes, recording for a few hours, then returning to Huntsville after midnight, in time for the next morning's classes. Despite Oakwood University's rich tradition of vocal groups, which had spanned decades, Nowhere But Up was the first student album to feature a full rhythm section plus orchestration, including a string ensemble, a big band, a pop horn section, synthesizers, and exotic percussion, all of which Warren arranged, though at the time he had received no formal training in orchestral writing. Upon its release, Nowhere But Up caused quite a stir within Oakwood University's rather conservative community. While a small number of the most conservative faculty members expressed discontent with the album's decidedly jazzy style, the project was highly celebrated by students, other faculty, and enthusiasts, both within the Oakwood community and around the United States. Only a few thousand copies of Nowhere But Up were pressed, and it is today considered a collector's item. As of 2010, there are discussions of a possible re-release of the album on the iTunes Store in 2011, the 30th anniversary of the group's formation.
A Special Blend often joined Warren at Sound Cell Studio to sing on jingles or commercials or to provide background vocals for other artists' recordings. These recordings ran the gamut from country and pop to "easy listening" and contemporary Christian music. The group also performed background vocals on stage for recording artist Bob Bailey, during his live concert at Oakwood.
In 1985, during a trip to California, A Special Blend performed at gospel-music legend Walter Hawkins' Love Center in Oakland. Aside from Hawkins and his brother, the equally celebrated Edwin Hawkins, the concert was attended by gospel-music legend Danniebelle Hall, who had been very influential upon Warren. In fact, A Special Blend's repertoire included a unique arrangement of a Danniebelle Hall New Orleans jazz-styled piece entitled "Theme On The Thirty-Seventh", which A Special Blend performed, to Hall's delight. After the group's performance, Walter Hawkins took the stage and playfully expressed that he had not noticed A Special Blend performing any Walter Hawkins songs. From the audience, Hall replied—tongue firmly in cheek—"Well, if you'd write something decent, they would."
In 1986, Warren traveled to Toronto, to see The Manhattan Transfer in concert. Afterward, he waited at the backstage door, and upon the group's exit presented them with copies of Nowhere But Up. Over the years, A Special Blend had in fact been compared to The Manhattan Transfer. Some months later, while completing his master's degree at the University of Alabama, Warren received a surprise phone call from Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer, asking if he had heard from the Recording Academy. Siegel explained that members of The Manhattan Transfer had submitted Nowhere But Up for a Grammy Award nomination. Because the album was a small, independent release, it had not reached enough members of the Recording Academy to earn a Grammy nomination. However, Warren and A Special Blend would remain forever grateful for The Transfer's magnanimous gesture. Years later, Warren would write several arrangements for The Manhattan Transfer.
In 1980, Warren became a member of the a cappella sextet Alliance, which in 1987 signed with Warner Bros. Records, moved to Nashville, Tennessee, changed its name to Take 6, and achieved worldwide fame in 1988. Warren produced or co-produced most of their first two albums, Take 6 and So Much 2 Say; arranged and co-wrote many of the included songs; and with the group won his first of four Grammy Awards.
Warren's years with Take 6 were characterized by a flurry of appearances, performances, recordings, and travel. Take 6 performed many concerts and embarked upon several concert tours, typically to sold-out audiences, both in the United States and abroad. In 1988, Take 6 toured approximately 12 U.S. cities, opening for singer Andy Williams. In 1989, Take 6 toured 40 U.S. cities, opening for jazz legend Al Jarreau. In subsequent years, Take 6 headlined their own concerts and tours throughout the United States, the UK, Europe, and Japan. Take 6 also performed at a number of well-known events, venues, and jazz festivals, including Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, The Special Olympics, The Monterey Jazz Festival, and The Playboy Jazz Festival. Occasionally Take 6 shared billing with other, popular contemporary-Christian recording artists, such as BeBe & CeCe Winans, The Winans, and Commissioned.
The popularity of Take 6 led to collaborations with many, established artists. In fact, it was through Take 6 that Warren first met Quincy Jones, establishing a musical friendship that would last for decades. Take 6 performed on several songs and interludes on Jones' album Back on the Block. In addition to performing with the group and contributing to their vocal arrangements, Warren is the featured voice on "Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song)", and he penned the lyrics for "The Verb To Be (Introduction to Wee B. Dooinit)." Jones also invited Warren to be a featured vocalist on the song "The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)." At the time, for personal reasons, Warren respectfully declined the invitation. Since then, Warren has characterized it as "one of the very few decisions in my life that I truly regret." In the years since, Warren has arranged, produced, or co-produced numerous songs for various Jones projects.
In 1989, Take 6 recorded the song "Don't Shoot Me," for the Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing. Warren produced the recording and co-wrote "Don't Shoot Me" with Lee and with group-members Claude V. McKnight, III and David Thomas.
That same year, Take 6 recorded background vocals on the Don Henley album The End of the Innocence (album). The collaboration had been requested, as a personal favor, by Jim Ed Norman, then-president of Warner Bros. Records in Nashville. Norman and Henley were longtime friends, Norman having previously produced many recordings by Henley's band The Eagles.
Other notable Take 6 collaborations during that period include recordings with k.d. lang, Johnny Mathis, Stephanie Mills, Melba Moore, Joe Sample, Dino Kartsonakis, and composer Steve Dorff.
During Warren's tenure, Take 6 recorded music videos for three songs: "Spread Love," "I L-O-V-E U," and "Ridin' The Rails," their collaboration with k.d. lang, for the 1990 film Dick Tracy. During the same period, Take 6 also recorded theme music for the television show Murphy Brown, Oprah Winfrey's television miniseries The Women of Brewster Place, and commercials for Burger King and Mitsubishi.
During this period, Take 6 performed live on numerous television shows, including the 31st Grammy Awards, Good Morning America, The Today Show, David Sanborn's Good Evening, The Arsenio Hall Show, The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, and Late Show with David Letterman. Take 6 also performed The National Anthem at the 1988 World Series.
In 1991 Warren left Take 6 to become a full-time record producer, songwriter, arranger and film composer.
Music career: Nashville
In the sporadic downtime between recording sessions and tours with Take 6, Warren pursued his interest in producing and writing songs and arrangements for other artists. As the hub of the contemporary Christian music industry, with artists recording everything from pop, rock and country to jazz, R and B, and hip-hop, Nashville provided fertile ground.
Warren also attracted the attention of producers Greg Nelson and Keith Thomas, each of whom would, over the years, hire Warren to write a number of instrumental and/or vocal arrangements for various artists they were producing. Nelson became a mentor for Warren, and, for about a year, Nelson's personal assistant concurrently worked for Warren.
After leaving Take 6 in 1991, Warren remained in Nashville and focused on writing, arranging, and producing.
While in Nashville, both before and after leaving Take 6, Warren contributed to recordings by many artists, including Sandi Patty, James Ingram, Larnelle Harris, Bebe & Cece Winans, First Call, Thomas Whitfield, The Richard Smallwood Singers, Yolanda Adams, Babbie Mason, Cindy Morgan, and Margaret Bell.
In 1990, Warren produced two tracks on the Donna McElroy project Bigger World. The instrumental arrangement for one of the tracks, "Come Sunday," was a collaboration between Warren and Take 6 member Cedric Dent. Warren and Dent eventually received a Grammy Award nomination for the arrangement. The other Warren-produced track, "Take It Away," features background vocals by Amy Grant, with whom McElroy had toured as a backup singer for a number of years.
Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration
In 1991, Warren was asked to arrange and produce a bold reinterpretation of the 1741 oratorio Messiah by George Frideric Handel. The assignment was to enlist various artists to record new arrangements of pieces from Messiah, incorporating multiple genres of historically African-American music.
The result was Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, featuring a literal "who's who" of recording artists performing pieces arranged in various styles, including spirituals, blues, ragtime, big-band, jazz fusion, rhythm and blues, gospel, and hip-hop. Although Warren had been asked to produce the entire project, the projected release date did not allow for that. As such, Warren produced and arranged seven of the 16 tracks and delegated the remaining production duties to other producers.
The album was released to critical acclaim in 1992 on the Warner Alliance label. Executive produced by Norman Miller, Gail Hamilton, and Mervyn Warren, the artist roster included Dwayne Adell, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Patti Austin, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Tevin Campbell, The Clark Sisters, Daryl Coley, Commissioned, Andraé Crouch, Sandra Crouch, Clifton Davis, Cedric Dent, Charles S. Dutton, Mike E., Janice Chandler Eteme, Kim Fields, Larnelle Harris, Edwin Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins, Howard Hewett, Joe Hogue, Linda Hopkins, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, Bernie K., Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Leaders of the New School, Lizz Lee, Dawnn Lewis, Babbie Mason, Johnny Mathis, Marilyn McCoo, Stephanie Mills, Jeffrey Osborne, David Pack, Phylicia Rashad, Dianne Reeves, The Richard Smallwood Singers, Joe Sample, Sounds of Blackness, Take 6, Darryl Tookes, Mervyn Warren, Thomas Whitfield, Vanessa Williams, Chris Willis, Stevie Wonder, and Yellowjackets.
Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration received the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album (Warren's 5th Grammy Award), as well as the 1992 Dove Award for Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year. In 1993, the various artists on the project were collectively nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Gospel Artist.
A music video was filmed for "Hallelujah!," incorporating footage from the rehearsal and recording session. In the video, both Warren and Quincy Jones are seen conducting the all-star choir. "Hallelujah!" was recorded and filmed at Henson Recording Studios (formerly A&M Studios) -- where the original "We Are The World" was recorded and where, nearly 20 years later, Jones would produce and Warren (and others) would co-produce "We Are The World 25 for Haiti."
Despite quiet criticism from purists who believe classical music should never be reinterpreted (such as Wynton Marsalis, who declined to be a part of the project), Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration has been officially and publicly recognized by Handel House, the official George F. Handel museum in London, England.
Film and music career: Los Angeles
In 1993, after seeing Warren's performance on the 35th Grammy Awards (and winning his fifth Grammy Award), Warren was invited by The Walt Disney Company, composer Marc Shaiman, and director Bill Duke to produce and arrange songs for the film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Warren accepted and traveled to Los Angeles to work on the film. During post-production, upon being invited by score composer Miles Goodman to co-compose portions of the film's underscore, Warren extended his stay in Los Angeles. Though intending to return to Nashville after completing the film, additional offers Warren received for both film and artist-related projects convinced him to remain permanently in Los Angeles without returning to Nashville for his belongings.
As of 2010, Warren remains in Los Angeles, where he has "straddled the fence" between the film and music industries for nearly two decades. During this time Warren has spent his time composing and conducting orchestral scores for feature and television films; producing, arranging, and writing songs (music and lyrics) for numerous films and recording artists across many genres; writing orchestral, rhythm, and vocal arrangements for other composers and producers, such as Quincy Jones, Ron Fair, and David Foster; performing live or on the soundtracks of various films and television shows, as either a keyboardist, solo vocalist, or ensemble vocalist; and occasionally serving as pianist/accompanist to other vocalists in live performance.
Warren collaborated with Jeff Marx on a song called "You Have More Friends Than You Know" for the It Gets Better organization. The song is featured on the television program Glee on April 18, 2013.
Alabama Hall Of Fame
Warren is listed twice among the Alabama Music Hall of Fame's Achievers: once as "Mervyn Warren" and again as a member of Take 6.