No matter how much fun you're having, how busy you are or how important your job is, family should always come first. That's why hotshot producer and songwriter Damon Elliott is taking time between working with Mya, Beyoncé and Solange Knowles and Jessica Simpson to put together a tribute box set with his mother, soulful '60s pop singer Dionne Warwick.
"I'm a mamma's boy," proclaimed Elliott. "She's the one that wiped my a-- when I messed up and the first to congratulate me when I have had success."
Elliott hopes for a September 2003 release for the three-volume set, which will feature 40 of Warwick's songs performed by her and a cavalcade of stars, including Mya (see "Mya Gets Real With Missy, Timbaland And Damon
Elliott"), Destiny's Child, Faith Evans, Pink, Elton John and Gladys Knight.
The box will celebrate Warwick's 40 years in the business and was partially inspired by a similar duet album released by Frank Sinatra that included U2's Bono, Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin and others.
"That Sinatra record was crazy," Elliott said. "So I want to do something like that. My mom is a living legend, so I said, 'Mom, let's go. I'm in the position where I can get any artist. Let me make a couple of phone calls and let's make this happen.' "
So far, Elliott has locked in Knight for "I Never Felt This Way," Mya for "Close to You," and new artist Keisha Cole for "I'll Never Love This Way Again." The other acts are still deciding on their tracks and Elliott is still looking for others to contribute.
Regardless of how successful the set winds up being, for Elliott it's a labor of love and a way to give back to the woman who inspired him to reach the heights he's scaled.
"I credit her with everything," he said. "She had me in the studio with Quincy Jones when I was a kid. She had me in the studio with Burt Bacharach and Clive Davis, all these producers and engineers. Of course, if I wasn't around those influences I probably would be doing the same thing, but probably not on the same level."