John Blackwell has achieved a remarkable range of accomplishments as a musician during a career which includes thirteen years with Prince. In his poignant and powerful interview responses, he talks about some of these accomplishments as well as his upcoming album.
W.E. Which aspect of your current projects would you most like to share your thoughts on with readers?
J.B. The John Blackwell Project is real music by real musicians. I want to bring some feel good music to the people of the world, music from several styles like funk, jazz, hip hop, R&B, and Latin. That is why The John Blackwell Project albums are a musical journey and adventure. The new album coming soon is titled Drum Test and it's going to be funky.
The first JBP album was dedicated to my 2 year old daughter who died in a drowning accident in 2004 - Jia Kennie Blackwell (R.I.P.). The album was titled 4ever Jia (2009). It was something I had to get out. I was hearing so much music, which was something I needed at such a tough period of my life after the loss of Jia. It was as if she was telling me to keep going and don't stop playing the drums and making music, which was something I was thinking of doing.
W.E. You've accomplished so much in music - what is your favorite musical experience to date?
J.B.Yes I've accomplished a lot in my music journey, but my favorite musical experience is everything I've done from 1995-present, everything from my time with groups like Cameo, Patti LaBelle, Justin Timberlake and my thirteen years with Prince, and special appearances with Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, and George Clinton. Everything came to me like a puzzle.
W.E. Who is your biggest musical influence or inspiration?
J.B. My biggest musical influence and inspiration is my father, the late John Blackwell Sr. My father was a well accomplished drummer in his time playing with groups like The Spinners, J.J. Jackson, Mary Wells, Joe Tex, Joe Simon, and Cornelious Crawford. When I was three up until the age of eighteen, my father took me to see Groups like The Barkays, Marvin Gaye, Maze Feat. Frankie Beverly, Luther Vandross, The Jacksons (Victory Tour), Cameo, The Commodores, MTume and so many others that came through my hometown of Columbia, SC. Some of these groups I had the opportunity years later to play drums for them.
W.E. Where can readers go to find more info on your music?