INDIE LABEL SPOTLIGHT
by Mark E. Waterbury
Don Turner Jr.
MUSICAL GENRE: :
GOSPEL with jazz influences
MM: Give us a synopsis of your personal musical background.
DT: Music was always around me. When I was a kid I decided to play drums briefly, and from then on music always seemed to be part of my life. I played drums again in junior high school, and later I became a dancer. Then I got married and I became involved with my wives' musical talents...it's just been music, music, music.
MM: Were you always into Gospel music?
DT: No, I was into R&B and what they call secular music. Gospel wasn't really my forte until more recently, about six years ago when I decided to do only Gospel.
MM: What made you decide to do that?
DT: In a project I had back in Ô86, I found a Gospel music lady and did an R&B tune with her. I promised her I would do a Gospel release later, but that never transpired, so we released a forty-five instead. It took until 1994, but that's when my heart just wanted me to go full into Gospel.
MM: Have you always been involved in the production side of music?
DT: Yes, mainly because I've always been the executive producer on all of the projects. That means payin' out the money. (Laughs) Of course they also get my creative input.
MM: How did I-Am-Unlimited Records form?
DT: It was conceived by a previous wife back in Ô94. It was really a new beginning for me. And I'm the owner, the producer and everything, I wear all of the hats. I'm working primarily with Mary Williams who was from the Shirelles, and other than that, it's more like a compilation that I put under the umbrella of I-Am-Unlimited Records.
MM: How did the "Nothing But the Blood" compilation begin?
DT: There was actually a gentleman named Ernest V. Machado at the job I was working at who was singing one day. And I really liked the music and it inspired me to do an album. He started working on the song, and I needed other artists, so God had brought a person into my life, and that had been Mary Williams. I needed a producer so I got a friend of mine named Mel Alexander to do it, and he knew this lady who turned out to be Mary. I originally wanted a younger girl on the record, but we ended up contacting her through Mel, M. R. Studios and Mitchell Rhodes. Mitchell actually wrote the song "Nothing But the Blood". So we met with Mary and with Mel, and from that point on, Mary sang all of the songs on the compilation that Mitchell had written. Then Don Siler and Dexter Kilpatrick, who wrote the song "Rise Above" contacted me because I was looking for some people to promote. They presented me with quite a few people to work with, including the Comers; Pastor Bradley and Mary Love Comer. I was familiar with some of their past work and liked what they had done, so I asked them about collaborating and if I could put a couple of their songs on the compilation. They thought that would be wonderful. Mary Williams then went back in the studio and began singing the songs. She was just elated because she wanted to do a Gospel recording since her life changed around. I still needed a few more tracks, so I prayed the day I went back into the studio, and that prayer brought me the Hairstons. They just happened to be in the studio doing a recording, and I listened to their music and liked what I heard. So I asked them if they would like to be on the compilation as well, and they agreed. It all just worked out real well.
MM: What was your reaction to the finished project after you heard it for the first time?
DT: We very much liked the sound and the whole project. We were all very excited about it.
MM: What has been your marketing plan for the CD?
DT: I have done primarily internet distribution though Amazon.com,. CDBaby and CDStreet. Sheheshe Music Services is doing my radio promotion and they are doing a great job with it. We have also been getting a lot of press on the album, mostly due to the presence of the Comers and Mary Williams on it and what Mary had done in her days with Motown. I am sending out one-sheets to distributors to get me some response in retail marketing. That's the only real missing link right now.
MM: Do you feel people are getting more into Gospel and other types of Christian music right now, particularly after the events of last year?
DT: Oh yes. Between September 11th and the current time a lot of people's lives have changed. They were thanking God from the standpoint of being alive and for their families, and there was more turning back to God and saying that things need to be done here. So Gospel music has taken it to another level, not just with the Word but with the music that is more in the mainstream of what people are listening to.
MM: What else does I-Am-Unlimited Records have coming up?
DT: Right now, I'm in the studio with two gentlemen named Fred Stamps and Leonard Mackereth, who are going to be known as the FM Brothers. Fred is going to be on a Sheheshe CD compilation in September, and I'm working to get the song "Shelter From the Storm" over to them. These are gentlemen I worked with at my job as well. It seems like all these people I work with are very talented, so watch for the FM brothers to be coming out.