Writer-producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis got their big musical break in producing because of a blizzard.
The Minneapolis-based duo, who met in high school, were in a band called Flyte Tyme that was later renamed and reshaped by Prince as the Time. While in Atlanta producing a song for the S.O.S. Band, Jam and Lewis were snowed in and missed a performance with Prince. The duo was fired, but their careers were just taking off as the song they produced, "Just Be Good to Me," became a hit. Soon, they met Janet Jackson and helped produce most of her hits, including the "Control" and "Rhythm Nation" albums.
For more than a decade they were among the hottest producers, producing or writing 22 Top 10 pop songs (including seven No. 1 records) and Top 10 R&B hits (including 18 chart-toppers). By the time Jackson's "Doesn't Really Matter" hit No. 1 in 2000, the duo was ranked No. 3 all-time at producing No. 1 hit records. Although they worked with other artists such as Yolanda Adams, Usher, Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey, New Edition, Boyz II Men, Mary J. Blige and Rod Stewart, it was their collaborations with Jackson that pushed them to the forefront.
"All we ever try to do is bring out the personality," Jam told Elle magazine. "Janet was like a stick of dynamite. We lit the fuse."
The two were also Grammy staples, winning for producer of the year in 1987, and were named songwriters of the year by ASCAP. Their record label, Perspective, did well, and the duo was tapped to produce a song for the 1996 Olympic Games. They opened a Santa Monica studio, and in 2010 reunited with members of the Time for a one-shot concert tour.
|1993||Best Original Song||"Again" from Poetic Justice||Nomination*|