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And certainly the music has changed as well. Hip-hop has become the top genre in Black music and in many ways has contributed to the downfall of modern R&B.

“The music is terrible,” Wills says. “That’s why Pharrell is in trouble because they have to sample music from the past. They’re not creative. Now everything is electronic. It’s a generational thing but they always creep back and take things from the past.”

Though Williams likes Pharell’s music as well as that of current artists Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys and Sam Smith and she says she was one of the early promoters willing to work with hip-hop artists, she believes its contemporary incarnation has just gone too far.

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“I believe it’s the devil’s workshop,” she says. “There is a message in every song. There is a message and there is a story. Your subliminal mind takes in what it hears and people act upon what they hear. We are programmed by the things we eat, touch, hear and taste, whether we think we are or not.”

Wills, who continues her career as a personal manager for several gospel artists, says that her 40-year history in the record business should be a heads up for others who want to follow her lead. She says it’s a great business in some respects, but it does have a down side.

“The biggest surprise was the drug abuse, [and] all the women. I thought everything was just glamorous but there’s a dark side. You put these artists on a pedestal because you can relate to one of their songs, but you find out that a lot of them are not what they actually sing about. A lot of them are not happy people. A lot of them are not educated. They just have a gift to be able to sing.

A lot of them let people come into their space. They get influenced by the wrong people. They wind up being in trouble. They are like children in a candy store. They want everything and a lot of what they want are just not good for them.”

For more information on Linda Willis and her book The Great Record Promoter click HERE. 

(All photos courtesy of Linda Willis)

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Record Promoter Linda Willis Shares Music History In New Book  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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