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Bruce Hornsby Talks Scoring Spike Lee Movies, The Post-Hit Life Of “The Way It Is” In Hip Hop

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Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

kearthevents Britt Bickel
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GRAMMY Award-winning artist Bruce Hornsby joined Gary Bryan to talk about his concert tonight (Oct. 18th) with Ricky SKaggs at Royce Hall on UCLA campus.

Bruce tells us that he’s been keeping busy in recent years by hooking up with iconic director Spike Lee as a film composer, plus working on his newest bluegrass project with Ricky called Cluck Ol’ Hen.

“It’s always something new on the horizon. Always getting a great call from someone who I’ve really respect to work with, and these days it’s Spike Lee and Ricky Skaggs,” he said.

“Spike and I have worked together for 21 years now, but more intensely in the last six years than ever before,” he added. “I did the end-title song with Chaka Khan – we wrote a song together for his movie Clockers in ’95. Then in 2001, I wrote the end-title song myself for his movie Bamboozled, then I started scoring movies for him.”

Many fans know Bruce by his timeless hit “The Way It Is” off his 1986 album of the same name, which he said was inspired by the civil rights movement. Having grown up in a small Southern town in Williamsburg, Va. he says was “enlightened than some” cities thanks to a great university.

“It was a little more forward-thinking than a lot of places, but those narrow-minded attitudes were pretty common,” he explained. “So I wrote it inspired by that – my growing up in this town. What’s been great about it is that it’s had such an amazing post-hit life as a rap/hip hop tune. Tupac Shakur most notably had a big hit with it, way bigger than mine, actually, with his song ‘Changes.'”

Other versions have included E40, Mase, Snoop and most recently as this year by Akon called “Change Has Come.” Bruce loves that the song has continued to inspire and also “likes the checks,” he quipped.

Bruce Hornsby promises a show that mixes both a nostalgia of hits spanning his career, plus new hits from his bluegrass project with Ricky Skaggs. For tickets and more information on the show, click here.

Listen to our complete interview with Bruce Hornsby in the clip below.

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