AYA 019 Never let the lyric get in the way of the groove with ALLEE WILLIS

Allee Willis - Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webby award-winning and nominated songwriter, performer, visual artist, multimediaist, director, collector, social artist, & party thrower

“I don’t believe in being a tortured artist. There are times where you will be in the middle of it and it will feel torturous It’s up to you to decide how you’re going to get through it.”

I could sit and listen to Allee tell stories about her life for hours. She was generous enough to give me 45 min of her time and tell me about how she went from a journalism student to a Grammy, Emmy, and Tony award winning songwriter and much much more. This interview is so full of amazing material on how Allee works, thinks, and approaches projects that it’s worth listening to multiple times.


ALLEE WILLIS is a one-woman creative think-tank and multi-disciplinary artist. She’s a Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webby award-winning and nominated songwriter, performer, visual artist, multimediaist, director, collector, social artist, party thrower. Willis’s songs have sold over 60,000,000 records, including Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” and “Boogie Wonderland,” The Pointer Sisters’ “Neutron Dance,” Patti LaBelle’s “Stir It Up,” Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield’s “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”, Maxine Nightengale’s “Lead Me On”, and the Tony-winning Broadway musical, The Color Purple. Willis won a Grammy for Best Soundtrack for Beverly Hills Cop and was nominated for an Emmy for “I’ll Be There for You,” the Friends theme. Willis developed a social network as early as 1992, with Mark Cuban joining as CEO in 1993. She also addressed the U.S. House of Representatives on artists’ rights in cyberspace as early as 1997. Willis is presently working on a massive project for her hometown, Detroit, where she recorded and filmed a song she wrote for the city, “The D”, with more people in history, 5000, than have ever been on a record before. As a collector, she has one of the largest collections of 1950’s-1970’s Soul, Kitsch and Pop Culture collections in the world. Willis also appears on the hit TV series, Storage Wars.






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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

About the author, Yuri

Yuri Cataldo is the founder of the multiple international award winning bottled water company IndigoH2O, and an award-winning set/costume designer. He has worked on Broadway, in Film, Dance, Theatre, and Opera. In 2011, he founded & bootstrapped IndigoH2O bottled alkaline mineral water, which has won multiple international awards and was named the 2015 best tasting water in the world. IndigoH2O has been sold all over the world, been featured at the Oscars, Golden Globes, the Emmy’s, the MTV VMA’s, and in 75+ articles & news stories in the last 2 years. (CNN, BuzzFeed, INC, Playboy, Huffington Post, PBS, Indy Star, Boston Globe, etc.). He is also the host of the Advance your Art podcast which is focused on the journey from artist to entrepreneur and back again.

Yuri holds a BA from Indiana University in Drama, an MFA in design from Yale School of Drama, an independent study at The Juilliard School, and in 2013 was named one of the 40 under 40 business leaders in Indiana

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