Allee Willis' Love Song To Detroit-THE D
WHAT IT IS:
Welcome to the continued financing for "The D", the official unofficial theme song of Detroit - a record, video, and documentary about the human spirit as exemplified in the people of Detroit. A joyous citywide singalong tribute written by Detroit-born Grammy winner Allee Willis with Andrae Alexander in the same uplifting spirit as Willis' first hit, "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire, "The D" began recording and filming in September with thousands of Detroiters singing, playing, dancing, clapping, whistling, juggling hubcaps and showing their spirit for their city via a series of 50 sing-alongs led by Willis, truly making this is a "Made in Detroit" musical theme for the Motor City's renaissance. Willis and her 15 person crew is returning to Detroit to lead a giant sing-along in the televised Thanksgiving Day Parade as well as to record and film more sing-alongs. (Hear a demo of the song by hitting the "gallery" tab above the video on this page.)
WHO AM I?:
Allee Willis - Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webby award-winning and nominated songwriter, artist, director, producer, collector, party thrower.
Being born in Detroit influences everything I do. I never learned how to play an instrument, but Motown guided me to write songs that have sold over 50,000,000 records - like Earth Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland," the musical The Color Purple, The Pointer Sisters "Neutron Dance," and "I'll Be There For You" (the Friends theme), all known for their upbeat positivity. Spending every Saturday at my dad's scrapyard, just miles from the Big Three automakers, influenced my art, sets and graphic design. I also have a reputation as one of the best party throwers in the world, and for decades have prided myself on throwing kick-ass, large scale, musically-pumped social events. In 1992 I conceived of the world's first social network, a community in cyberspace called willisville, when most people still had never even heard of the Internet. "The D" is the logical conclusion of what I've been doing my whole career to create one new giant piece of social art with the entire city of Detroit as my collaborators.
WHY I'M DOING THIS:
Because I LOVE Detroit. One person's spirit can energize thousands. Music and creativity can transform a city. And the energy and success of a city can transform the world. Some hear nightmare stories about this town and may shake their heads in dismay. But time has shown that as Detroit goes, so goes the nation. Detroit is bubbling from the bottom up and "The D" celebrates the spirit that fuels the population as they pull together to build a bright future.
As we film and record we will also generate revenue for the local economy, working with Detroit-based artists and local businesses. In addition, all profits go to two local crown artistic jewels, The Heidleberg Project and the Mosaic Youth Theatre.
WHAT YOUR COIN COVERS:
Pre-production expenses, travel, preliminary technical costs, location scouting, and research. I've already spent a lot my own money producing a demo and YouTube video of "The D" (which you can see on the "gallery" page here) so everyone can learn the song, as well as built a website and funded four trips to Detroit with my team laying groundwork.
WHY IS SOMEONE LIKE ME ASKING YOU FOR MONEY:
I've never asked for money before. People think I'm loaded, given that I've written so many hit songs, but I've been a self-funded artist for the past 20+ years, rarely funded by others. I've always used every dime I've made to constantly reinvent myself, much like Detroit is faced with doing now. I'm not asking this for myself, I'm asking it for Detroit. So please, pretty please, help me help the city that has kept the world rolling and bouncing to the beat all these years.
First, an incredible array of fantastic locations in Detroit have signed on to let us record and film there. They go from iconic outdoor locations both on land and water to inside museums, restaurants, schools, churches, synagogs, laundromats, car washes, radio stations, pawn shops, hat shops, hotels, recording studios, yoga studios, weave salons, and more. From the largest business enterprise in the city to the smallest hole-in-the-wall restaurant "The D" is representing the most vibrant spots and folks in the city. Not to mention a slew of famous singers and musicians who hail from the Motor City and will be coming to my studio in LA to participate.
I arrive in Detroit with a 12 person crew on September 9. We will be there through the end of the month in order to have enough material for the song, video and documentary. Most of us live in Los Angeles and New York and share a deep love of and belief in Detroit. We will also be picking up many local crew members, interns and volunteers once we're there.
I was in Detroit earlier this month hosting two fundraisers generously thrown for us by two amazing restaurants, The Whitney, and Vinsetta Garage. The Whitney was a 150 person event featuring sing-alongs and a great live 60s/70s funk band whereas the dinner at Vinsetta was a higher ticket, more intimate evening of just 25 people and about four hours of constant (incredible and mind blowing) food. I was most excited when Mary Wilson of the original Supremes walked into that one!
My third night in Detroit was spent at the Detroit Historical Museum where my portrait and some personal artifacts were on display as part of an exhibit featuring 50 iconic Detroiters in Jenny Risher's beautiful Heart Soul Detroit book. A truly incredible moment for me, whose only music education was worshiping Motown, was when I walked in to see myself featured as part of the Motown section of the exhibit.
I want to especially thank the Detroit Historical Museum and the Detroit Historical Society for the great interest and support they have shown to "The D" ever since this most wonderful evening.
At the end of this coming week, I'm hosting a week-long production confab at my house in LA where the director, producer and other principals will be flying in to plan the actual production schedule and figure out the logistics of such an ambitious project. We are incredibly well organized for something of this scale on the somewhat limited budget we have (and why the search for funding will continue until the very last frame of the documentary is cut). Every single person on the team now is beyond enthusiastic and ready to roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes to get this done, my personality MO since the beginning of my career. I can't tell you how great and inspiring it is to work inside of an energy force like this and I hope as "The D' is realized and these updates get more consistent that that energy will uplift you as well. Once again, I want to thank everyone who so astutely and boldly donated to "The D". I also want to thank people receiving this because you've signed up to participate as well as those who came to the parties at The Whitney and Vinsetta Garage. It's that spirit that has kept Detroit going through the decades of glut and gluttony and it's certainly the primary force in re-imagining the city now.