April 6th, 2011 11:14 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Norwood Young, Musician and Author of 'Getting Back to My Me'
Born in Ewing Township, New Jersey, Norwood Berry Young began singing at age six. Like so many successful singers, Norwood got his start singing in his local church choir. He later performed locally in nightclubs, weddings, and various events in the surrounding cities of Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Maryland, and New York City. He later won a local radio sponsored talent show that landed him a spot on Philadelphia`s local evening entertainment news show, "City Lights."
At the age of 16, Norwood attended Notre Dame High School (a catholic school) in Lawrenceville N.J. He attended school with an upperclassman by the name of Star Jones! That same year, Norwood was offered a record deal with Philly World Records. He begged his father, (recently deceased) to allow him to transfer to the public school system, because it offered a "work-study" program. This program allowed students with high academic levels to report to school each morning, and then be allowed to leave for the day, to "work, "study," and train in their field. Norwood`s father, and then manager, allowed Norwood to attend the new school, Ewing High. Each day he would catch the local train from New Jersey in route to Philly World Records in Philadelphia. This is where Norwood says "I know I paid my dues!"
He spent the year recording under the name "Norwood B." This was the period when it was hip for an artist lasts name to be an initial! Norwood recorded his first dance single "You`re on the one, "You`re On The Money." Norwood soon after signed his first album deal with major label, MCA/Magnolia records, where he recorded an album titled "I Can`t Let You Go!"
This album garnered major critical acclaim and was quite successful in the UK. Songs like the remake of , "Time Be My Lover,"( a classic by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes) and "Shoulda Been US Together," turned Norwood into a UK celebrity, and are considered R&B classics! This album toured Norwood all over Europe, Japan, and even Lima Peru where fans loved the music of "Norwood B."
When Norwood returned to the states, his father took him to an audition for the leading role of James Thunder Early in the off Broadway production of "Dreamgirls." Norwood got the part!
Shortly thereafter, Norwood got the role opposite as the "pony-tailed preacher" in the off Broadway smash hit musical "Momma I want to Sing, Part.2", next Norwood landed a part in the chorus of Broadway`s, "Don`t Get God Started". In this production, Norwood`s fellow chorus members were, Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond" fame, who is now also Norwood`s neighbor in Los Angeles. Also in the chorus was Grammy award winning gospel singer Donny Mcklurkin. The stars of the show were gospel legends, B.B. Winans and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. Soon after the show closed, Norwood received an offer to tour Germany, starring in a rock version of Bizet`s "Carmen." While in Germany, Norwood "sat in" and performed at the very famous "China Club". He was invited to stay for a few months, and performed nightly at the renowned "hot spot!"
Norwood loved Germany and the people so much, that he decided to open a nightclub of his own! "Club Collage." This would prove to be a smart and lucrative investment for the young singer. The club was a success ,with standing room only ! However, after a year, Norwood could was unable to obtain a German visa, nor could he find a German sponsor who met the qualifications of obtaining a German concession, (liquor license) Therefore, Norwood was forced to close the club.
He then decided to move to New York.
He received a phone call from an executive at EMI records. He informed Norwood that he was in need of someone to replace the lead singer for the legendary jazz group "Pieces of a Dream," however, there was a catch! The album had to be completed in just nine days! Based on a formidable solo contract with EMI records, Norwood agreed, and became the lead singer of the group "Pieces of a Dream, featuring, Norwood" They recorded the album "Bout Dat Time," where Norwood received his first gold record for the hit "What Can I Do?" Norwood later went on to record "Young Man, Older Woman" with Grammy nominee Millie Jackson. The song became the premise of the touring musical of the same name.
Later that year, Norwood was offered a role and starred in a musical called "A Good Man is Hard to Find." The show closed in Los Angeles, where Norwood decided to make his home! He purchased a home in ritzy Hancock Park. Controversy plagued the historic home decorated with seventeen naked David Statues on his the front lawn. Norwood would spend the next thirteen years fighting for his freedom of expression as uptight neighbors tried to get him to get him to take the statues down or better yet move out! During all the drama surrounding the house, Norwood recorded a song and directed a video called "Stand up For Something", which visually and lyrically re-enacts the whole encounter! See video at www.myspace.com/norwoodyoung
Today the infamous Youngwood Court Estate is both a landmark and tourist attraction. As of November 2008 , change has come. Norwood Young was inducted King of Hancock Park by the prestigious "La City Beat" publication . Where he received proclamations by Tom Labonge, and Bernard Parks both city councilman for his strength and refusal to be neglected his rights to freedom of speech and self expression. www.metacafe.com/watch/2019077/norwood_young_king_of_hancock_park/ -
With a heart for the less fortunate, in 2005 Norwood founded "Feed His People." a non-profit organization to feed the hungry visit www.wefeedhispeople.org, The "Feed his People" anthem was recorded by Norwood and American idol runner up, "Trynce, " and is the final track on the "Just Norwood" CD. Norwood has appeared weekly on television, starring in E! Network Televisions hit reality series "High Maintenance 90210". Currently Norwood can be seen in a new, exciting and thought provoking reality series appropriately entitled, "JUST NORWOOD".
For additional "Norwood" information, go to www.justnorwoodmusic.com