Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Delightful Airplane Seatmate --Luis Resto! Eminem's musical collaborator

Luis Resto and Restaurant's World "Just So You Don't Die Alone"

Pardon the name on this video format! Luis is the fellow playing the keyboard and singing --his brother is the guitarist and they look a bit alike I think.

Luis Resto (cut and paste this into address bar --as it is a streaming site --and changes continually.)
• has performed, written & recorded with Patti Smith (reference: "Don't Smoke In Bed", "My Madrigal" and "Pastime Paradise"); backed Ms. Smith in her American Songbook performance at Lincoln Center and at the Bowery Ballroom concerts in New York commemorating the release of Smith’s Twelve album.

• won an Oscar and a Grammy as co-writer of "Lose Yourself", Eminem's smash worldwide hit and the most successful single of his career, spending 12 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 & is now widely regarded as one of the most important songs of the decade.

• co-wrote the title track and six other songs on the 8 Mile soundtrack album (released on October 29 in advance of the film) which quickly became the fifth best-selling album of 2002 with US sales of 3.2 million in it’s first two months of release.

• a veteran and in-demand musician, Luis has recorded with Stevie Nicks, Iggy Pop, Jay Z, Mel Torme, Anita Baker, the Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson) and many others.

• one of the most creative and diversely accomplished musicians currently working in Detroit. He has amassed a voluminous list of credits with relatively little fanfare; as part of the Shady camp, he played/produced/written songs for some twenty-five Top 5 album releases in the first decade of this new century, some fifteen of which reached the coveted Number 1 position.

• most recently Luis has been credited for co-writing Eminem's smash "Not Afraid" and Lil' Wayne's platinum single "Drop the World".
Luis saw rotund me coming down the aisle toward my window seat on the plane from Detroit to Charlotte, W. Va., for my uncle's funeral in Savannah last Tuesday--but didn't scowl or blanch!
I was worried about narrow seats and not wanting to overlap anyone literally --forced intimacy of these planes but we couldn't get our tickets together for our party of 6. Fortunately for both of us, Luis was trim and fit and didn't take up much space himself, so we were both comfortable! So it wasn't a problem and he was as polite and solicitous as anyone could be! offered to share the drop-down shelf without me mentioning that mine would not sit level having to sit on my front just slightly. But, just so you know, I didn't need any extender to my seatbelt! He stuck my purse under the seat for me --didn't ask. Just a quick-thinking, helpful, energetic gentleman. I'd say "young man" --except for his gray hair --but otherwise, a young man in my book.

And the conversation was --as he said --"thoroughly enjoyable." He used his I-phone to pound out a melody on a keyboard app--and with a composition app he demonstrated layering acc't onto a melody. The young father in front of Luis often turned around to look at me between the seats with a big grin --as he listened to our conversation.

Right away, I learned he was a professional pianist. "O really! I play, too!" (heh heh but not professionally!) though my daughters' professions are music teaching/singing/playing and I've done a lot of church music over the years. And then I said, "Who do you play for?"

He is the keyboardist, arranger, accompaniest, and a composer-- mostly famous for work with rapper Eminem these days! Got an Oscar and Grammy for the best movie song, Lose Yourself, in Eminem's 8 Mile) --which was used on the impressive Super Bowl Chrysler commercial this year. Nominated for a Grammy for Not Afraid. And the above is one of his own songs --which I do prefer to the rap music. I haven't deciphered all the lyrics yet, but it sounds philosophical and I hear Jesus' name as Lord (not cursing) in there somewhere! I understand there is a lot of cursing and bad language and unholy themes in Eminem rap songs --and in most rap. Luis says all that angst comes quite honestly out of Eminem's earlier life experiences.

Luis said it is a challenge for him to set a good example for his 2 kids, one a young teen girl whom he was taking with her girlfriend for a birthday beach trip during spring break. His other --a son --is a college music tech/engineer? grad. He said it's a challenge, making money with Eminem as he does --on music which I will say is not the favorite of concerned parents--which Luis understands. Luis said he does sometimes wonder if what he does for a living is of "any good in the universe." Well, it's certainly good to make a living for one's family.

So I gave him an idea that maybe he and Eminem could do a song like, maybe, "Man Up!" for "all the Baby Daddies" --whose 29% white and 83% black children are being raised without the dads in the homes --"outside marriage" (whatever that means --never married or just single parented by any means?) according to the newsmag article and the 2009 census. Luis loves his 2 kids --and he says Eminem is a dedicated dad also with 2 daughters (one a step daughter) whom he parents with high priority and love.

Luis says Marshal Mathers (Eminem) is a prince among professional musicians --a truly "nice guy" -contrary to his image --and so very nice and good to work with. And that's good to hear. Maybe, being financially secure, I suggested, they might take a shift in message and consider using their fame as a bully pulpit for marriage and parenting for the sake of the children --for whom single parenting/unwed parenting, usually results in gov't dependency and poverty. Luis, himself, has been married 25 years. He is a Catholic by upbringing who occasionally helps in a couple of Detroit area churches with their music. Says their tech/engineer is a believer and a good influence.

Otherwise, we mused about the mysteries of flight --says he marvels that such a heavy piece of metal can stay up in the air -- and I told him I am always comforted and less scared on take-off and landing-- to realize that God gave the secret of flight to the Wright brothers --2 minister's sons --sons of a bishop in the United Brethren in Christ Church. He didn't know that --as most people don't but I do, being raised in that church myself. I said that tells me that flying isn't some vain Tower of Babel exercise on the part of humanity --but as our minister said last Sunday (and I alluded to you, Pastor!) our creativity as humans is a result of our being created in the Image of the Creator. We create --because we are like Him in that aspect. The challenge is to use our creativity for Him --and not for the worship of ourselves --as in humanism or idolatry.

Even though Luis told me his accomplishments --he did so because I asked and really wanted to know. I didn't detect egotism in him at all --but just a man who is comfortable in his own skin --and not feeling any need to impress anyone--certainly not me.

We were just 2 strangers who "hit it off" conversationally --and made the most of our time in flight. I gave him my blog address --and he gave me his email. And he said as he offered his hand upon departure, "Let's keep in touch!" I'd like that.

I hope he doesn't mind me boasting about meeting him and putting his video here --which is one of many. Luis even has a Wikipedia page.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Anonymous said...

Hi Barb,
I believe this is how I'd say hello on your blog.
and it was a thoroughly enjoyable conversation with you.
We will keep in touch.

Barb said...

Hello again!

Jeanette said...

What a nice story! And condolences on the physical loss of your uncle, but happiness he is now in heaven.

Barb said...

Hi, Jeanette!

I posted this link to our French blog and got a welcome from Philippe and Kristina. So I updated them about life here.

Barb said...

I want to put my uncle's obituary here next --he was a wonderful man and a loved uncle. Looked like Paul Newman all his life --always youthful --and his pretty wife, too. Pillars in the Skidaway Island United Methodist Church near Savannah.