L.A. Sentinel interviews Howard Hewett about his newest role.
Most of us remember L.A.’s Howard Hewett as the lead singer of the group, Shalimar, and as a gifted vocalist. Now that it’s 2022, Howard Hewett has taken on the new role of music supervisor and composer.
Hewett will direct and produce the score for HoneyPeach Productions upcoming docufilm, “The Golden Heart of California,” which traces the life of retired Congresswoman Diane E. Watson.
While visiting Watson, the L.A. Sentinel recently spoke with Hewett via Zoom about his upcoming role.
L.A. Sentinel: How did you get involved in this project, and what caused you to say yes?
Howard Hewett: The film’s producer, Millena Gay, and I have known each other for quite a while, and we’ve been wanting to do a project together, but it never happened. When she called me about this project, I immediately said yes. What made me say yes was of course the subject, former Congresswoman Diane E. Watson.
LAS: How long have you known Congresswoman Watson?
HH: I’ve known about her ever since I first came to Los Angeles in 1976. I would always see her active in the community. Then finally, when I got a chance to meet her personally, I found out what an amazing woman she is. We’ve known each other for a long time; over 40 years plus.
LAS: In addition to Watson being an amazing person, what else caused you to say yes?
HH: This is a story that I feel has to be told. People need to see, hear, and understand the struggles of Black America from back in the day, and they especially need to know of the struggles that Black Americans had to fight through.
People should know how hard it was to be a Black woman in politics, and what an amazing job she did for our community and in Congress. Our stories need to be told, and not just stay in the background, where no one ever hears about them again.
LAS: As the musical director, what do you have in mind as far as the score?
HH: I’m going to be doing the score with my son, Christopher. He’s multi-talented, he’s done a lot of scoring in the past, and we’ve done some projects together. The way that we do it is basically, we’ll see what is together visually, and then we come in and put the audio part together. That’s a whole process by itself. The score is going to take a minute, but my son has all the equipment set up at his home studio.
LAS: Have you done a musical composition for a movie before?
HH: My son has involved me in some documentaries that he’s done, but the story about Diane will be the first one that I will come in on the ground floor of.
LAS: The song “Say Amen,” is so inspirational, will that be in the film?
HH: (looking at Watson, he began speaking the lyrics) I want to thank you God for giving me one more chance, to raise my voice and to sing your praise.
That’s what we thank God for; we thank God for you, Diane. So many times, you’ve stood up for the people in this country, and we need that.
In response, Watson smiled as she said: “What goes up, must come down, He’s gifted, forward ever, backward never. We keep going, going, going until we get to the top.