LOS ANGELES (Motown/ www.movementorchestra.com) - The vocal production work of accomplished producer, writer, music director, musician and arranger Rob Lewis helped Herbie Hancock
Aguilera's 'A Song For You' earn a nod for the 48th Annual Grammy Awards. Lewis produced Aguilera's vocals for the tune, which is nominated in the prestigious 'Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals' category. Currently, Lewis is in the studio working with Christina
Aguilera, Diddy and Babyface
on their new albums, and his arranging work is featured on Jamie Foxx's platinum-plus UNPREDICTABLE album.
After being musical director for Aguilera on her tours, the singer wanted Lewis to help her work with jazz legend Hancock. 'She knew that I would know how to get her around some of these weird chords that Herbie was playing,' says Lewis, who studied at the exclusive Berklee College of Music in Boston. 'We spent four days on that one record because Christina is a perfectionist, and a genius of vocals. But, she brought me in because I'm someone that can keep it real with her and still give her fresh ideas. Then she called me for the Diddy album.'
Aguilera enlisted Lewis' production savvy for her guest vocal work on Diddy's album. Once Diddy realized Lewis was also a skilled arranger, he told Lewis to have a horn section ready that evening. 'I had horns there that night and arranged horns for this track for his album,' Lewis explains. 'Diddy told me he wanted to bring these beats to life with live instrumentation. As a veteran producer, Diddy always knows how to take a record to the next level.'
Lewis' upcoming work includes songwriting and scoring on 'The Seat Filler,' a romantic comedy starring Kelly Rowland and Duane Martin scheduled for a February 21 release. Lewis is also working on material with Eric Clapton, Black Eyed Peas and Rowland, is putting together the live show for Toni Braxton's March tour, serves as Patti LaBelle's music director and will have a role on Diddy's 'Making The Band.' Lewis is also finishing up an album for his own The Movement Orchestra, a 20-piece band that has opened for and served as the backing band for Babyface, Eric Benet and others.
'When Motown used to cut records, they never cut records without live strings, live horns, drums, live bass,' says Lewis, who got his big break as Brian McKnight's musical director when he was just 18. 'Now, it's extra for record labels to have live strings on the records. We're doing something that has been done, but has been forgotten. We're bringing live music and real musicianship back to the forefront of the music industry.'