The Legendary Otis Williams talks with Kyle McMahon about The Temptations, A Capitol Fourth, The Temps Legacy & What's to Come for their 60th Anniversary
There's a reason Otis Williams is in his 59th year in The Temptations. The founding and sole surviving member of the legendary group sat down to talk with me about his appearance with this group for PBS A Capitol Fourth 2020. and the Temps legacy. On time and well prepared, the music icon was friendly, quick witted and business savvy.
For the latest episode of Pop Culture Weekly, I spoke with Mr. Williams about the annual PBS special, A Capitol Fourth: "It was a wonderful event for us to be at....We did a three song medley. It was smooth...I just thank God for the experience to be able to make it happen the way the way it happened because this was a different kind of endeavor. We're used to performing in front of a crowd, but this is what is because of the crisis...the pandemic... But it was wonderful and the producers and everybody connected seemed to be happy with what we did. So, there it is."
I was lucky enough to be able to witness Otis and The Temptations perform for the 2018 edition of A Capitol Fourth. To see The Temps live is a gift everyone should experience. The incredible harmonies, the effortless dance moves, the swagger. When you couple that with their incredible catalogue of hits, you know you're witnessing history before your eyes. As I watched them, I couldn't help but think of some other huge performers who have clearly been influenced by The Temps.
Not only is the legend whip smart and professional, he is as gracious as could be. When I mentioned their influence on so many performers today, one that stuck out for me in particular, is the incredible Bruno Mars. I asked Mr. Williams how it felt to be a trailblazer who continues to inspire and influence artists to this day.
He responded,: "It feels good. When I saw Bruno Mars and his guys do... the Super Bowl a couple years ago. I saw them doing something and I said 'Awww yeah that's a Temptations move they just did right there.' It really feels good when you can see someone that's happening now, but they're still reaching back in time bringing forth moments in the past up to today. I'm very impressed that we've been able to touch so many wonderful and talented people to help carry the Temptations on by taking little tidbits...and implanting that into their show."
Speaking of today, Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations will not only reopen once Broadway lights up again, but will spin off a touring show. The Tony Award winning musical isn't just about the Temptations music, but their story. The hit show has been a rousing success, telling the life of the legendary group through their songs and bringing them to not just fans throughout the decades, but a whole new generation of people.
Additionally, The Temptations will be celebrating their 60th anniversary next year, and Mr. Williams says there will be a new album coming out to commemorate the historic moment. He says that the album will be worthy of The Temptations mantle and will give the fans the music they deserve.
Gracious, talented, determined, wise and kind. It all just oozes from Mr. Williams pores. When you've been in the business for nearly 60 years, one might be able to forgive a moment or two of cockiness. That cockiness isn't to be found anywhere with Mr. Williams - which is exactly why, 60 years into his career, we're speaking for this interview. Just like their music and live show, Mr. Williams, with class, professionalism and showmanship, just makes you feel good.
A Capitol Fourth 2020 on PBS aired Saturday July 4th. You can watch it on demand through your cable provider or watch the replay on YouTube and Facebook.
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