Minor Miracle in Music Direction Emmy Category

"Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America"

With seven career nominations Rickey Minor won his first Emmy, for Outstanding Music Direction for ABC’s Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

Rickey Minor has won the Emmy for music direction for the epic ABC special Taking The Stage: African American Music And Stories That Changed America, with rapper Common taking the trophy for music and lyrics for the song “Letter to the Free” at the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Saturday night.

In an extremely competitive category, Minor beat himself and four others in the music direction category in which was also nominated for Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees for CBS, a rarity that could have diminished his chance of winning for either show as a result of a split vote. “The last time it happened, in 2014 with Bill Ross for The Oscars and Barbara Streisand: Back to Brooklyn, he lost,” Minor told MaxTheTrax.

“Not to take anything away from the Bee Gees, but I was also one of the producers on Taking the Stage, and was so involved in every detail of it, and was so proud of the music on it. It has to be one of the best things I’ve ever done on television,” Minor said.

A Television Academy governor for the music branch, as well as the music director for the 69th Emmy Awards telecast on Sunday, Minor was delighted to collect his first Emmy trophy in seven nominations. Common, on the other hand, scored an Emmy — shared with co-writers Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins — in his first at-bat for the moving song “Letter to the Free” for the Netflix prison system documentary 13th.

Common and Robert Glasper mug for the camera.

Common (left) and Robert Glasper backstage at the 2017 Creative Arts Emmys. (Photo: Richard Shotwell, Invision/AP)

“You just never know,” Minor said. “At this level, everyone is doing great work. Anyone who does this work understands that especially in the music field, where we can only get one nomination, generally, a year, yeah, it’s hard to win!” Minor is a beloved figure in the entertainment community, where he is well-known for his educational efforts and advocacy on behalf of musicians rights.

“I’m on a personal best journey. I’m going to constantly push myself to do more, to be more inclusive in the types of jobs I do, and the type of people I hire, and to just keep trying to be the best version of myself, and if that warrants awards, that’s great,” he said.  “I consider myself more a journeyman than a quote-unquote ‘expert.’ My goal is outreach. I’m co-chair of diversity for the Television Academy and on the executive committee, and did the same thing for the Grammys for about seven years, being on the board of governors and all that. Everybody talks about change, but it takes work. The landscape is changing, and because of technology if music is going to survive as a formidable form of entertainment, then we must address all the changes as they’re happening, not after the fact.” 

Minor was a math-computer science major at UCLA who started playing music when he was 14, “because I loved the way it made me feel, never thinking that it would be my career.” His first credit as music director was for HBO’s 1991 Gulf War special Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston. He was the music director for American Idol from 2005-2010 and for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 2011 to 2013, and has directed music for specials ranging from the Grammy Awards to the Billboard Music Awards.

Common won an Oscar in 2015 for the song “Glory,” written for the film Selma. He won a Grammy for the same song, leading to speculation as to when he will do his first Broadway show to be in the elite category of achievers to claim EGOT status — Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. “Yes, it’s on my mind,” Common told reporters backstage at the Microsoft Theater, admitting “I wanted to go to Broadway before I won any awards. I would love to do theater.” Of EGOT he said “It would be a blessing, but I start with quality and where it can have impact. One reason I’m proud to be part of the arts is to be part of change. That’s the most fulfilling.”

These first two music Emmy awards, handed out Sept. 9 at the Microsoft Theater, where the Creative Arts Emmys takes place over two nights, with four more music trophies will be awarded this evening.  A highlights telecast of the Creative Arts Emmys will air on FXX  at 9 p.m. Sept. 16, on the eve of the 69th Emmy Awards on Sept. 17, airing live starting at 5 p.m. PT on CBS.

Rickey Minor and Rachel Montez Minor.

Rickey Minor and wife Rachel Montez Minor arrive at the Creative Arts Emmys. (Photo: AP/Invision)

Outstanding Music Direction

Rickey Minor  Taking The Stage: African American Music And Stories That Changed America, ABC  (Don Mischer Productions)

Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics

“Letter To The Free,” 13th
Music & Lyrics by Common, Music by Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins, Netflix (Forward Movement, LLC and Kandoo Films)

One Response to "Minor Miracle in Music Direction Emmy Category"

  1. Pingback: ‘Stranger’ Theme, Russo, Beal Emmy Winners | MaxTheTrax

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