Archive for Behind the Scenes
Mateo’s upcoming project, Suite 823 is a real evolution for him. He invited me to Raphael Saadiq’s studio in LA (where he recorded a lot of it) and he played me 6 new amazing songs.
Mateo actually released one of the songs from Suite 823 this week. It’s called ‘Carry On‘ which you can download for free just below.
“I came up with the song while literally walking through the streets of NYC,” Mateo explains, “The song is about those situations when you are talking to a girl who is still tied to a bad relationship and you are telling her that you can take her from that situation. It’s the idea that if you are happier when you’re around me then lets ‘carry on’ to a happier life.”
YouTube is moving beyond cat videos and short clips to content that will compete with TV. They’re partnering with people like Amy Poehler, Ashton Kutcher and Ben Silverman’s Electus Media to make that content. With the backing of Electus, their YouTube channel LOUD and the freedom of complete creative control- I’m now just weeks away from launching the show I’ve envisioned for years! THE Q SiDE!!!
It’s amazing when you put your heart and soul into something that amounts to an experience like hosting Duets. When I got that call from my manager saying the executive team at ABC wanted me to host this show it felt like everything I did in my life- even the things I thought were failures- added up to this moment. Suddenly it all made sense- like my friend Common’s album title suggested “One Day It’ll All Make Sense” and that day has arrived.
When I stepped into my dressing room for the first time and found a basket of flowers along with an incredible note from the network- I knew I was in the company of a team that didn’t take anything for granted. After working in the biz for 12 years I can tell you that doesn’t happen a lot. Having worked with the Duets crew for over a month now, I’m happy to say that wasn’t a floral front. I’ve never worked with a group of people who were so thoughtful and so good at what they do. I loved hosting TRL on MTV but there’s something even more special happening here at Duets.
Stepping onto the set for the first time was an equally affirming experience. When I looked up at that stage and saw those four superstars rehearsing- I literally got goosebumps. The kind of goosebumps you get when you do something you’ll never forget. Even the last minute addition to the cast- John Legend- had a huge smile on his face that actually reminded me of the last time I saw a kid in a candy store. The vibe on this set has been on fire from Day 1. When it’s right it’s right. There’s no denying that feeling. Even our producer meetings are filled with the good vibes usually reserved for holidays.
The scene backstage before we did the premiere episode was electric. I found myself jumping up and down to deal with all the energy I had flowing through me. The cast huddled up in a spontaneous prayer circle and now I know what preachers say they experience when they refer to the holy ghost taking over. The words that flew out of my mouth were of sheer gratitude for the opportunity to do a show like this with these kind of people. Everything you’ll see on that screen couldn’t come from a more genuine place. Duets bursts with a love of music and a love of the moments it manifests that will fill you up like nothing else. It’s an honor to be your host for it all.
Glamour.com‘s Jessica Radloff got Quddus and crew going with a pretty comical debate.
It’s one thing to do Coachella- it’s another thing to do Coachella with an awesome crew. Jodie Smith, Preston Davis, Maiara Walsh and Ana Ayora. What a blessing rocking with you.
Even some of the garbage bins are fly at Coachella.
The lighting is so epic you wonder how you’re ever going to enjoy a regular concert again.
It’s the kind of event where suddenly getting into the lotus position is pretty standard stuff.
An event where the girls don’t just lay on their backs to pass out.
It’s where artists like Frank Ocean get excited to debut new music like the way he did here.
Simply put, Coachella is like heaven on earth for me.
The question was how to create sustainable change in Haiti. This was our answer. In February of 2012 I went on a life changing trip to Haiti with Soleil Global on their mission to distribute solar generated lights to those in needs. We connected with local politicians, business leaders, grassroots activists and more. The Shine A Light campaign was in full effect and I documented it in the video you can see above. Just below is a video captured on our flip cam with an inspiring young man who we met in a rural village around the Central Plateau of Hinche on the way to a waterfall. My father is from Haiti so it was powerful to revisit my roots and see how resilient and beautiful my people are.
Filmmakers Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson with a great look at Theophilus.
Since I came into NYC to host Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day the good folks at Hess and the USTA set up a chance for me to visit these kids at a Boys & Girls Club in Newark. I actually worked at a Boys & Girls Club before I got into showbiz so it was awesomely nostalgic for me. We talked about their career goals and how they could achieve them. One of them said he wants to be a vegetarian…without a hint of sarcasm. Hilarious and an extremely attainable goal. Another said he wants to be the President. Part of me wanted to ask him if he’s sure about that considering how many grey hairs have popped up on Barack recently but obviously I refrained from saying that since that’s really an incredible goal. The best part is: it’s possible too.