Ai LIVE: Dr. Mathew Knowles Talks New Project, Evolution of Music
In this episode of AiLive, host E. Vincent Martinez speaks with music executive Dr. Mathew Knowles about a class he taught during the fall of 2020. “The Emancipation of Slaves Through Music” took students on a journey that started with slavery, then followed the power and influence of African music to its current level of importance in the entertainment industry. Knowles also co-wrote a book by the same name.
Knowles is known for collaborating alongside some of the biggest names in R&B, gospel, dance, and country under his brand Music World Entertainment. He’s worked on soundtracks for major movies including Dreamgirls, Cadillac Records and Charlie’s Angels—and is Beyonce’s father.
An author, lecturer, and instructor, Knowles led his class at The Art Institutes through an exploration of the ways in which millions of African, Caribbean, and South American slaves—who were transported to America via boat during 2.5 year trips—learned to communicate through music. Because the slaves had different languages, music united them. He explains that they used chanting and moaning as a form of communication, which eventually evolved to become melodic in nature.
Today, these sounds are a part of what makes up musical history—from the chanting and response calls of rap music to drums and vibrancy of jazz. Knowles adds that musical instruments including guitars, banjos, flutes, and drums are products of slaves who were brought to America. This musical progression eventually led to the creation of rock and hip hop.
Knowles also discusses his current project, “Destiny’s Child: The Untold Story,” which follows the popular music group, starting in the 1990s. He mentions that he took thousands of hours of footage that will be included in the documentary, which is set for completion in 2022.
Interested in learning more about the audio and music industry? Watch the interview with Dr. Knowles then check out The Art Institutes’ audio production programs—featuring practical coursework, hands-on learning, and professional-grade audio technology. Click here to learn more.
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