Singing in “The D” with Allee Willis

“I am so impressed with your employees. I never had to ask them to smile!”

That’s what Grammy winning songwriter Allee Willis said to me Thursday while shooting the  music video for her new song “The D: A Love Song to Detroit” with a group of our employees at Henry Ford Hospital. Here’s a sneak-peak of our employees rehearsing with Allee (click the upper left-hand corner of the video screen to turn on the audio):

Allee’s a Detroit native, born and raised. Like so many of us, she’s driven to help make the city succeed. And that is the inspiration behind her latest song.

Even if Allee’s name doesn’t sound familiar, you’ll certainly recognize some of the top hits she’s written: “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters, and “I’ll Be There for You,” the theme from Friends.

allee pix

Allee Willis (in yellow) with a group of talented Henry Ford Hospital employees.

For the next several days, she’ll be touring “The D” and shooting scenes for the music video with thousands of people at several Detroit landmarks, including the House of Soul on Heidelberg Street.

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We’re very proud to have Henry Ford Hospital among that group and to an opportunity to participate in this song.

“The D” is a great representation of our city. Just read the lyrics:

THE D
Allee Willis/ Andrae Alexander

Some folks live on the mountaintop.
Some at the end of a broom.
Some hang down by the riverside.
Some suck on a silver spoon.

Spirit’s somethin that lives inside.
Ain’t nothin money can buy.
Hope rise up from these city streets
that once were burning with pride.

Buildings may be crumblin’ down.
They can heal with a can of paint.
Shiny canvases to an artist’s eyes
with passion of a saint.

Pray on it.
Stay on it.
Plant a kiss
and remember
life’s a gift.
So play with it.
Stay with it.
Bit by bit
all the pieces
make The D
a perfect fit.

Nowhere else in the whole world
has gotten people to move.
Music, motors and Coney Dogs…
We always been in the groove.

Soul’s our version of pedigree.
You learn it good when you’re down.
If you got any sense you keep holdin on
’cause one day it comes back around.

Right now is the time to be
optimistic, baby, full of dreams.
From the ashes come the miracles
If you stay strong and believe.

Pray on it.
Stay on it.
Plant a kiss
and remember
life’s a gift.
So play with it.
Stay with it.
Bit by bit
all the pieces
make The D
a perfect fit.

DEtroit City!
DEtroit City!
DEtroit City!
DEtroit City!

Pray on it.
Stay on it.
Plant a kiss
and remember
life’s a gift.
So play with it.
Stay with it.
Bit by bit
all the pieces
make The D
a perfect fit.

Pray on it.
Stay on it.
Plant a kiss
and remember
life’s a gift.
So play with it.
Stay with it.
Bit by bit
all the pieces
make The D
a perfect fit.

Hear Allee sing the song in this demo video.

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One thought on “Singing in “The D” with Allee Willis

  1. Thanks so much for what you have written. As pleasurable an experience to read as we had with your employees. Great spirit (not to mention singing and Soul Train line) and that’s what “The D”, both song and city, are about!

    I’ll be posting tons of photos once I get back to LA so please check http://www.alleewillis.com/WeSingTheD/ for photos, updates and lots more.

    Thanks again to everyone at Heanry Ford!

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