Everyday Adventures

What I Learned Working with Earth Wind & Fire

It’s not everyday the legendary Earth Wind & Fire drops a new album, full of new hits in classic EWF fashion.

And it’s not everyday they debut this new album, Now Then and Forever, on a live television special for HSN in Las Vegas.

But it may only be one day in my lifetime when I somehow managed to land a gig as the talent wrangler for that show.

EWF & Hilary

I mean, it’s not my ‘normal’ job (I know- let’s all laugh at my choice of words) but how could I say no to EARTH WIND & FIRE?

Quite possibly the most nerve-wracking and exciting twelve hours of my life, I spent last Friday hanging with the lead band members and their special guest, 16 time Grammy award winner, David Foster.

I’d expected to walk away from this experience exhausted and exhilarated. And the concert was every bit as memorable as anticipated. They brought the house DOWN.

EWF Backstage

But I didn’t expect to walk away with pieces of advice hand delivered from the legends themselves. And since I thought it was just THE COOLEST THING EVER to get advice from guys who’ve sold over 90 million records, I thought I’d share that advice with you. After all, can’t we all learn something from guys who’ve been together for over 40 years? :)

Verdine White- Always Dress For The Occasion

Walking Verdine White back to the press red carpet event, I commented on his slick red suede loafers. The security guard then asked if that’s what he planned on wearing them for the show. Verdine looked at him like he was crazy. “No man,” he said in his articulate manner. “These are my red carpet clothes. Earlier I had on my rehearsal clothes and tonight I will have my performance clothes.” As we got in the elevator, he turned to me and said pointedly, “You always have to dress for the occasion.”

I wouldn’t normally take my fashion advice from a bassist. But you’ve seen how he dresses. So dress for the occasion shall I.

Verdine White

Ralph Johnson- Take the Time to Let the Energy Build 

Ralph asked me if I’d ever seen them perform live before. When I hesitantly said no, he smiled. “Well you’ll like it. We’re just building now. As the day goes on, with each rehearsal, we’ll get more energy. Just wait for show time.”

“Well, if it’s going to be anything like the dress rehearsal, you guys are going to kill it.” I said.

“It will be better.” He promised. “But you’ve got to let the energy build.”

Ralph Johnson

David Foster- Good is The Enemy of Great

After his phenomenal guest performance and accompaniment to After The Love is Gone, I walked David and his wife out to their car with the fellow talent wrangler. As we were about to leave, he stopped us. “Girls, you’ve both been really great. And since you both seem so driven, I just have a piece of advice I want to share with you.” He paused for a moment, then continued. “Always remember that ‘good’ is the enemy of ‘great’. Nothing phenomenal was ever accomplished when the goal was to be ‘good’. Please never forget that. Good is the enemy of great. Go for great.”

Coming from a SIXTEEN TIME Grammy award winner, I feel he should know about greatness. Also, I feel like if I don’t remember this, he will somehow know.

David Foster

And as if THAT wasn’t enough, the next day I get this:

EWF Tweet

I believe I’M the one who should be thanking them. I mean, it’s not everyday you get advice from musical geniuses. And I will not soon forget it.

Thank you, Earth Wind & Fire and David Foster.

But now I have to go frame this Earth Wind & Fire tweet. That’s considered acceptable, right?

12 Comments

  • Reply

    Brittany

    September 7, 2013

    I’m soo happy for you and jealous! I wish I could meet Earth Wind and Fire omg!! I love them!!

    • Reply

      Hilary

      November 29, 2013

      Haha! Thanks, Brittany! It was a pretty amazing experience for sure :)

      What’s your favorite EWF song?

  • Reply

    Gene3067

    September 9, 2013

    That was amazing! Holy cow! How did you end up getting that gig? (I know, I know. Magic.) They gave you some great advice. I like every one of them, but that last one is so key. It is so easy to do a G.E. job (good enough) that doing a great job takes real push. Glad to see you pushing yourself.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      September 14, 2013

      David Foster is pretty much a genius. You can tell he’s one of those people who enjoys life but has also spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do that. He’s incredibly driven to help bring others up and I find that incredibly inspiring. Maybe one day I’ll do something great. And I hope I get to tell him about it. :)

      Thanks so much for commenting! What band would you meet if given the chance?

  • Reply

    Traveling Mo

    September 9, 2013

    As a bassist, I feel you should always take fashion advice from us. Because we know how to cool chill on the sideline, secretly knowing we are infinitely more awesome than the lead guitarist. . .

    In all seriousness, what a mind-blowing experience and what great advice! Verdine White used to come into the toy store where I worked in Beverly Hills. Not only did he ALWAYS dress for the occasion, but he exuded coolness.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      September 14, 2013

      Haha! I stand corrected. Thank you for the insight. I would never have known otherwise. And I didn’t know you played bass! That’s awesome! How long have you been playing?

      And did he really? That’s too funny! But I know what you mean. Always cool and collected… and donning some dapper attire!

  • Reply

    Les Petits Pas de Juls

    September 12, 2013

    So much fun!!!! Life is incredible and bring loads of happy surprises. This one is just one of the coolest!

    • Reply

      Hilary

      September 14, 2013

      Thank you, Juls! It was a pretty unbelievable experience. Sometimes you just have to let life take you on a ride, right?

      If you could meet any band in the world, which would it be?

  • Reply

    Chaz

    September 17, 2013

    That’s so exciting! The band is legendary. And in case you haven’t seen already, you can stream their album on Yahoo for free. #bestgifteverrr http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/stop-the-presses/exclusive-first-listen-earth-wind-fire-brand-album-130632630.html

    • Reply

      Hilary

      September 18, 2013

      They ARE! And they’re also incredibly nice people. I loved what a family production it was. Such a great group.

      And thanks for the tip! Isn’t it a great new record? I think they’ve got another forty years left in them together :).

  • Reply

    Mark

    January 28, 2015

    They were my favorite growing up in the 70’s. Had seeing them live on my bucket list and got the chance to last summer (took my 25 year old son and his fiancee). As great as I thought they would be, they were infinitely better and my son and his now wife still comment on how fabulous the show was. I can only wish that I enjoyed my job as much as they seem to enjoy their’s.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      February 9, 2015

      That’s so incredible that you finally got to see them live! Aren’t they incredible in person?

      What do you do, Mark? What would you like to do if you had another option?

      Thanks for commenting!

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About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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