For Stephen Bray, one of the film’s executive music producers, the right music – both tone and appearance – was key to the nearly two and a half hours respect believable.
“Right from the start,” said Bray poster, “the agreement read: ‘Let’s travel back in time as much as possible to recreate these iconic sessions for songs like’ I Never Loved a Man ‘and’ Respect ‘and’ Ain’t No Way ‘.’ Let’s do our best to make it look and sound like it could have been 1967 or ’68. Super music nerd that I am, I’ve had the best time of my life, I would have done it for free. I’m happy that I was hired to do this. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had to work. “
Bray – a Grammy Award winner who worked on Madonna’s early hits and the stage adaptation of. worked The colour purple – Grew up in Detroit but admits to being “more of a Motown kid” than a Franklin fan. But that did his enthusiasm for respect After being recruited by co-producer Harvey Mason Jr., Bray spent months “digging in a serious rabbit hole,” what guitar is this playing? What pickups are on them? What kind of amplifier was that? What kind of microphones were they? “Use ?, ‘all that.” He worked with the art department of the film to acquire it all and bring Fame Studios and Atlantic Studios to life in Atlanta, where respect was filmed.
According to Bray, the Holy Grail included old Neumann U-48 and U-47 microphones and special drum kits. Meanwhile, director Tommy said these efforts were essential to realizing her vision. “One of my favorite things to do in the movie was looking at creating things,” she said. “We are artists. We understand how to rehearse. We understand how to create and you learn that in this film. It’s not like everyone goes in and starts playing and ‘Ooh, yeah!’ and that’s all you get on that front. It’s a lot more complicated than that. It’s a process. “
Bray and Co. also had help getting the details right by consulting Muscle Shoals musicians like Dewey “Spooner” Oldham and David Hood about their sessions with Franklin.
“It was amazing to have the original guys with us,” said Bray. “When we were doing the ‘I Never Loved a Man’ scene, I went over to speak to Spooner, which was amazing. I said, ‘How about you?’ and he said, ‘I used to face Aretha,’ so we immediately went out and moved (Oldhams) Wurlitzer so that (actor David Simpson) faced (Hudson). That was right. ” Bassist Hood, meanwhile, helped identify the guitars used and which guitarist played which instrument.
Oldham who saw respect at a pre-screening in Nashville, also made some contributions to National Geographics Genius: Aretha Documentation. But he said poster that he felt respect provided a more truthful representation of the recording sessions. “I was happy with the way I was presented (in respect) as opposed to the TV show, “said Oldham.” (respect) did it truthfully. There weren’t any photos (of Fame Studios) but I remember playing there, all the players where everyone was – it’s still a vivid memory after 50 years. I think I could help them a little there. “
Oldham added that looking respect brought back fond memories of working with Franklin between 1967-69. “I found her to be such a creative force,” he recalls. “She wasn’t that well known the first time, but I could see her talent radiate, how good she was musically. She was always nice and pleasant to me (but) didn’t talk much. I don’t think she was shy about it, she just presented himself that way. “
Bray and his record producer Jason Michael Webb got Oldham for versions of “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” and “Respect” for the respect Soundtrack due out August 13th on Epic Records. They also tracked down frequent Franklin saxophonist Charles Chalmers for the soundtrack version of “Respect”. Some of the instrumentalists were recorded remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic began, but Bray – who played drums in some of the film’s church scenes – says all of the singing was done by Hudson as well as Audra McDonald, Mary J. Blige, Saycon Sengbloh and Hailey Kilgore recorded live on set. “Liesl has made it her business to bring people along who can really sing live,” he said. “That helped us a lot with post-production. We didn’t have to worry about all of the vocals that you see in a lot of these types of films.”
And director Tommy, the first woman of color to ever be nominated for a Tony Award for best director in a play (for 2016 darkness), it couldn’t have been otherwise. “Since I came from the theater and had Jennifer, I knew everyone had to sing live,” she said. “This wasn’t a film that was shot in a studio.”