As the holidays approach, music and entertainment industry mogul Vassal Benford is feeling grateful.
The R&B/jazz keyboardist wrote and produced a new single, “Dedication Song,” that captures his feelings of appreciation. The Benford Jazz Label release mixed by Billboard hitmaker Greg Manning is the most added new single on Billboard’s Mediabase chart two weeks running.
Benford has played a role in the creation of more than 58 platinum-selling records as a Grammy nominated producer, songwriter, musician and record executive in pop, R&B, hip hop, rock and dance music. He’s worked with a veritable who’s who list of superstars, yet jazz remains his humble muse and he’s determined to put his distinctive imprint on the genre. Playing piano to foster feelings of intimacy and emotional connection, “Dedication Song” plays like a danceable and sensual R&B groove. Steamy undertones provide contrast to the poetic notes emoted eloquently from Benford’s melodic and agile piano. At its essence, the single is an offering of love reflecting thankfulness.
In the accompanying “Dedication Song” video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmO-4Dbwenc that already has nearly 700,000 views in four days, Benford dedicates the song in loving memory to one of his mentors, the “Godfather of Black Music” Clarence Avant, along with an extended list of family members, friends and several of his longtime clients.
“‘Dedication Song’ is a heartfelt song for all occasions, but this year we’re bringing it out for the holiday season. While composing and tracking it in the studio, it filled me with immense feelings of gratitude, especially for my family and my loved ones. We are in strange times and every moment of love counts. Every act of love counts. I now find myself noticing every smile and recognize that each moment of peace is a blessing. The world needs love, so I dedicate this song to everyone with love,” said Benford about the second single from his forthcoming album, “Melody Man,” which is due to arrive in April.
Benford is a prolific producer of music, film, television, concert events, revolutionary technology and sporting projects that have generated billions of dollars and billions of spins, streams, downloads and views. He got his start as a teenager in Detroit writing songs for jazz legends Ramsey Lewis, Stanley Clarke and Nancy Wilson. His discography now boasts collaborations with DJ Diplo, Toni Braxton, NAS, Flo Rida, Queen Latifah, Mariah Carey, Rick Ross, Deborah Cox, Sheryl Crow, U2, Jade, Bobby Brown, New Edition, Lil’ Kim, Patti LaBelle, Faith Evans, Chanté Moore, Oleta Adams, Lisa Stansfield, Tramaine Hawkins, and The Fine Young Cannibals among others.
The Benford Company manages boxing champ Manny Pacquiao and Benford serves as the chairman of The B.B. King Estate. He is executive producing a documentary film about King and is assembling the accompanying soundtrack that features rapper Quavo of Migos. In movies, Benford is partnered with former studio head and blockbuster producer Mark Canton (“300”) on the “After” film trilogy (“After,” “After We Collided” and “After We Fell”), which has generated over $300 million at the box office, and created the television series “Power.” They currently have two Marvel films in the pipeline.
While making Hollywood megadeals is an everyday occurrence for Benford, at his core, his passion remains jazz and instrumental R&B music. Last year, he tested the waters by releasing the title track to “Melody Man,” which sounds totally unique and unlike anything in the contemporary jazz space. “Dedication Song” provides a second glimpse into what’s to come from what bodes to be an innovative collection that features Benford collaborating with Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown, eight-time Grammy nominated saxophonist Gerald Albright, and singer-songwriters Aloe Blacc and Moore.
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