11-28-2016

Inside Broadway with Ray Chew and Vivian Scott Chew

*Celebrating nearly 20 years of marriage, Ray Chew and Vivian Scott Chew are both recognized leaders and trailblazers in music and entertainment.

Ray, an award-winning and acclaimed musical director, composer, producer and conductor has charted a successful career spanning over four decades. His wife, Vivian is a celebrated music executive and global entrepreneur with an illustrious career and many significant achievements equally as stellar as her husband.


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Just off the heels of the highly-rated Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, now in its 88th year, Ray was handed the baton three years ago as the new music director with the blessing of Milton DeLugg, who previously held the position for 50 years. Ray has worked with a Who’s Who’s in popular music and beyond including Aretha Franklin, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, Pharrell Williams, Justin Beiber, Lenny Kravitz, Queen Latifah, Pitbull, Quincy Jones, Jennifer Hudson, just to name a very few. Currently in his sixth season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Ray also served as the music director for Showtime at the Apollo, where he got his television start. As his star rose, he brought his talent to various Viacom annual award shows and specials including the BET Awards, BET Honors, Celebration of Gospel, and Sunday Best. Before Dancing with the Stars, Ray enjoyed a successful three-year run as music director of FOX’s American Idol. During his tenure at Idol, Ray also produced over 300 iTunes downloads for the show’s contestants. Ray has served as a music consultant for other television specials including the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, the 2015 Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony, and many other historic televised events.


As the co-owner of Chew Entertainment and the founder of TimeZone International, a global music marketing and promotions and entertainment company, Vivian’s reputation in the industry is well documented around the globe. Highly respected for her innovation, Vivian is a groundbreaker. As a former executive at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, she created ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul Awards which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017. Vivian is probably best-known in the music circles for her discovery of various sub-genres of world music when she served as a young A&R executive at Epic Records. She signed Shabba Ranks in America and ushered in the dancehall movement globally. TimeZone was the first and only African-American owned U.S. company that provided marketing, touring, licensing and distribution services for U.S. artists in foreign territories.

In this edition of Inside Broadway, Gwendolyn Quinn talks with Ray and Vivian about their third installment of the Night of Inspiration at Carnegie Hall. This year’s event features Shirley Caesar, Richard Smallwood, Dionne Warwick, Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Kurt Carr, Lawrence Brownlee, Cantor Azi Schwartz, the 64-piece Ray Chew Orchestra and others on Tuesday, December 6th. The happy couple also share their plans for upcoming projects and new ventures, as well as their secret to a successful marriage and business partnership.

Inside Broadway: Tell us about The Night of Inspiration. How was it conceived?

Ray Chew: It started in 2009 when I was approached by Carnegie Hall to work with the great opera singer Jessye Norman on her “Honor” show that Carnegie Hall curated at the Apollo Theater. From there, Vivian and I were invited to bring our production, our first Night of Inspiration to Carnegie Hall in 2010, which sold out. We have also produced two Carnegie Hall in-house productions: The Music of Motown and The Gospel Sing A Long, which featured Donnie McClurkin and Kim Burrell.


A Night of Inspiration came about after Vivian and I discussed what we wanted to present at Carnegie Hall. It was such a huge honor to be invited to this great stage. We knew we had to create something that was special and had never been done before and more importantly would be inspiring to the human spirit.

IB: After working at almost every major venue in the world, what is the feeling and experience like working at Carnegie Hall? 
RC: Carnegie Hall is not a venue. It is an institution, an incredible acoustic hall that has presented the greatest of the greats and to be a part of that legacy is beyond words.

IB: After Showtime at the Apollo, BET Awards, Celebration of Gospel, BET Honors, American Idol, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and now Dancing with the Stars, what do you love best about working in television?

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RC: I love the work I do in television. It provides an opportunity for a live experience and we get to entertain people beyond the immediate audience. For example, the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade had three million people in attendance, but the production was watched by over 25.2 million people around the world.

IB: What do you love about working with your wife and partner, Vivian? What are the pros and cons? 

RC: I love that we get the opportunity to be creative together and work out our ideas without having to get on a conference call. I can catch her before breakfast and work it out. We assign each other tasks and have gotten into a rhythm on how we can deliver things. We don’t always agree, but we have the art of agreeing to disagree down.

IB: As you celebrate nearly 20 years of marriage, how do you keep the fire burning? What advice to you have for young couples?
RC: I like to surprise Vivian with the unexpected. That could be as elaborate as a trip somewhere or something as simple as planting a single rose on her pillow. I don’t ever take our relationship for granted. My advice for young couples is to never be predictable.


IB: What’s next for you?

RC: I am so excited to be a part of the upcoming FOX-TV special “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” featuring Steve Harvey. I’m bringing Ray Chew and the Crew back for that one.

Inside Broadway with Vivian Scott Chew 

IB: What is your role as the producer of The Night of Inspiration?               


VSC: I wear several hats in this production. Whereas Ray is the music director, conductor and creative force behind the show, as co-executive producer, I work alongside him to make sure the show flows creatively, and the pacing of the show is correct so that the audience gets the best experience possible. Logistically, I book the talent, work with Carnegie Hall on the marketing and publicity of the show, create the budgets and oversee all the team members that we assemble.

IB: As one of the first African American music industry executives to work and create opportunities for recording artists in the international market, how are you expanding your services for TimeZone International? What are some of your new projects?

VSC: After 19 years in business, I am still very excited to be able to introduce new and developing talent from America to the world. We have two new major label artists that we are in negotiation with to begin rolling out their international marketing and promotion plans in the first quarter of 2017. Additionally, we are partnering with a major U.S.-based branding company to begin breaking artists from abroad in the U.S. It’s exciting times.

IB: Tell us about the new recording studio and entertainment facility you have in New Jersey?

VSC: Our studio, RVMK in Hackensack, NJ is Ray’s brainchild. We both have a deep passion to identify and nurture aspiring and talented singers, songwriters, musicians, and producers. Our studio will be open to young people who demonstrate to us that they are serious about their gift and want to take it to the next level. There is so much talent just in the New York City Tri-state area; we intend to find it.

IB: What do you love about working with your husband and partner, Ray? What are the pros and cons?

VSC: We have truly identified each other’s strengths and weaknesses and are honest enough to let the other do what they do best. It takes work to be in business mode and not necessarily agree on every one of the other’s viewpoint and then take off those professional hats and go into husband and wife mode. But we’ve got it down to a science now. We truly respect each other.

IB:  As you celebrate nearly 20 years of marriage, how do you keep the fire burning? What advice to you have for young couples?

VSC: Hard to believe we are rolling up on 20 years. We work just as diligently on our personal relationship as we do our business partnership. Because we live on both coasts and sometimes not at the same time, we have to work extra hard. This approach keeps things fresh and new for us because after a few weeks apart, we are truly excited to see each other again. And thank God for FaceTime. My advice to young married couples is this: Guys, always treat her like she’s still your girlfriend and ladies keep treating him like he’s your boyfriend. Keep doing the same things you did when you were both “in pursuit.” Simply put…keep it hot!

IB: What’s next for you?

VSC: In addition to the new projects for TimeZone and Chew Entertainment, Ray and I have started a foundation, Power2Inspire. The foundation will assist young people both on the creative and business sides of the music industry with their desire to be a part of an industry that we love and have been so blessed to be a part of for so many years. We are partnering with music schools and institutions to create different and exciting programs. Our end goal is to offer scholarships and internships to hard working and deserving individuals.

Tickets for the Night of Inspiration are still available; please visit: https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2016/12/6/0800/PM/A-Night-of-Inspiration/

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Gwendolyn Quinn

Gwendolyn Quinn is an award-winning media specialist with a career spanning over 25 years. She is the founder of the African American Public Relations Collective (AAPRC) and the publisher of Global Communicator. Her weekly columns, “Inside Broadway,” “The Living Legends Series,” and “My Person of the Week” are published with EURweb.com. Quinn is also a contributor to Souls Revealed and Handle Your Entertainment Business.  She is the curator of The Living Legends Foundation’s “The State of Black Music and Beyond” essay series. Contact her at [email protected].

 

Category: Apple News, EURweb Original Content, Music, Theater, TV/Radio/Film/Theater


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