I was a registration manager for the New Music Seminar in New York City. Long before American Idol and The Voice, The New Music Seminar was the premiere showcase convention where up and coming musicians, songwriters, and various artists would be given a huge platform to showcase their stuff and possibly get themselves a recording deal. Many artists got their break showcasing at one of several famous venues around the city. The year; 1993.
On the second day of the show, I was greeted by a very nice gentleman who introduced himself as Attrell. Not realizing whom I was speaking to at the moment, I answered a few questions for him as he was making his way through the registration process for the show helping a friend of his. I knew I had seen him before, but I just couldn’t place him. I excused myself for a second and made my way to the show manager, Julie.
“I know him, Julie. Tell me, because I feel so stupid right now.” I whispered.
“That’s Attrell Cordes. You know, Prince Be, from PM Dawn. Duh,” she replied.
“Shit! Of course, it is!” I said humiliated.
I was embarrassed that I didn’t put that together in my head, but I made my way back to him where we continued our conversation. We began talking about how he bought the rights to well-known songs and how he recorded them with his own lyrics and updated beats. You know, the songs that made PM Dawn a household name in the early 90s. If you didn’t hear these songs, it was because you were unconscious for several years.
PM Dawn was responsible for some incredible songs like, “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”, which utilized the music bed from Spandau Ballet’s, “True”. “I’d Die Without You” featured in the Eddie Murphy movie, Boomerang, “Looking Through Patient Eyes”, which, utilized the music bed from George Michael’s Father Figure, “Paper Doll”, and “More Than Likely” featuring Boy George.
The more I spoke with him, the more fascinated I was with his songwriting style and stories. We would end up spending a couple of hours that afternoon talking about songwriting and recording technique. At one point he broke into lyric. His voice was so smooth. He asked if I wanted to join his group for an informal dinner later. But as it turned out, I already had dinner plans with someone else that was up and coming that night. I had dinner plans with a former MTV Video Jockey that just landed his first talk show; Mr. Jon Stewart. But that’s another story…
My memories of Attrell that day are so very fond and there is no question, his personality filled me with inspiration. Attrell Cordes; Prince Be died on June 17, 2016 from Diabetes. Please support Diabetes research (American Diabetes Foundation).