Don Was, a musician, Grammy-winning producer, composer and president of the legendary jazz label Blue Note Records, will present Skidmore College's annual Carr Distinguished Interdisciplinary Lecture at 8 p.m. Monday, April 1, in Gannett Auditorium.
Was will discuss the past, present and future of the music business, including career opportunities, in a lecture titled "From Walking Dinosaurs to Rolling Stones: A Conversation with Don Was." Joel Brown, chair of Skidmore's Department of Music, will moderate. An audience Q&A session will follow.
A native of Detroit, Was grew up listening to jazz, blues, and the Rolling Stones. Starting out as a professional musician, he is now recognized as a major record producer, having worked with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer, Ziggy Marley, the B-52s, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Ringo Starr, the Black Crowes, Brian Wilson, Barenaked Ladies, Aaron Neville, and others. He has earned multiple Grammy awards, including Producer of the Year in 1995.
He also served as musical director or consultant on several motion pictures, including Thelma and Louise, Hope Floats, Honeymoon in Vegas, 8 Seconds, The Freshman, Days of Thunder, Boys on the Side and Toy Story. His compositions for the film Backbeat earned a British Academy Award (BAFTA) for Best Original Score. In 1997 Was directed and produced the documentary I Just Wasn't Made for These Times about former Beach Boy Brian Wilson.
Was has been president of Blue Note Records since January 2012.
The Carr Distinguished Interdisciplinary Lecture Series allows students and faculty to interact with influential leaders and professionals on the cutting edge of social issues, nonprofit and public-service innovations, and social responsibility, with a specific emphasis on helping Skidmore students think about the transition from college to the working world or to further studies. In addition to the public presentation, Was's Carr residency will include visits to select classes and meetings with students.
Admission is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Class of 1967 Lobby of Palamountain/Dana halls.