Johnny "Guitar" Watson (February 3, 1935 – May 17, 1996) is a Hall of Fame singer, songwriter, arranger, piano player, guitarist, pioneer,innovator, and influencer of American jazz, blues, rhythm & blues, funk, rock, soul music, and rap. Whew!
A stalwart of style with a flashiness deep-rooted in the struggle of the everyday-man, Watson’s influence and pizazz is as undeniable now as it ever was. Watson’s legacy is a multi-faceted phenomenon. With a career spanning over four decades, Watson’s most notable hits include "A Real Mother For Ya”, "I Need It,” “Gangsta of Love,” and "Superman Lover”... just to name a few.
Johnny Guitar Watson’s musical legacy notably influenced future greats. After the success of the 1980 smash “Telephone Bill,” when the word wizard was asked if he influenced rap, Watson, with typical humility responded, “...hell, I invented it.”
Johnny’s beloved daughter, Virginia Watson, carries his torch with the development of the Johnny Guitar Watson Heart for Music Foundation (JGWHMF). The mission of the 501c3 foundation is to benefit inner city youth via instrument donations and enrichment from music industry professionals.
The JGWHMF is a firm believer in the notion that it takes a village to raise a child. It’s backbone is founded in community support from financing to participation.
Through educational grants, public sector earmarks, corporate sponsorships and private donations, the foundation executes community work with music- related components.
Historically music has been an agent of inspiration. From gospel to blues to hip hop, its used as a motivational tool to persevere.
The JGWHF gives students the tools to play a role in the crescendo of their lives.
With a mission statement of restoring instruments in inner city schools one instrument at a time, the foundation’s inaugural Johnny Guitar Watson’s Heart for Music Conference (JGWHMC) serves as an opportunity to introduce Watson’s work to a millennial audience and teach the role music can play in their lives.
Studies have proven the positive correlation between musicality and academic achievements in school.
JGWHMC is a Los Angeles-based cause that brings music enrichment to minority schools.
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