Variety: Clive Davis Discusses ‘Gripping’ Documentary ‘Soundtrack of Our Lives,’ Prince and Working With Geniuses

By Jem Aswad

“It’s not sugar-coated — this is very real and gripping,” the legendary record man says

There have been many great “record men” since the advent of what we now know as popular music, but there’s only one Clive Davis.

His story has been told many times, not least in the documentary, “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” which was directed by Chris Perkel and premieres at Radio City Music Hall as part of the Tribeca Film Festival Wednesday night. Davis, now 85, began his career as an attorney and was hired by Columbia Records, a client of the firm for which he worked, in 1960. He rose through the ranks and was appointed president of the label in 1967, and shortly afterward experienced an epiphany at the Monterey Pop Festival (the 50th anniversary of which is coming up in June), coming away with not just a vision of the burgeoning rock revolution, but also a contract for Janis Joplin. In the half century since then — at Columbia, the two labels he founded, Arista and J, and his current role as chief creative officer for Sony Music — he’s directed or had a strong hand in the careers of Sly and the Family Stone, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Alicia Keys, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, The Kinks, Lou Reed, Dionne Warwick, Carly Simon, and many others; via deals with L.A. Reid and Babyface’s LaFace Records and Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy, he’s also been connected with Outkast, TLC, Usher, Pink, and The Notorious B.I.G.

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NY Times: After a Half-Century in Music, Clive Davis Is Still in Love

By Ben Sisario

In the Manhattan office of Clive Davis, there are reminders everywhere of his work with superstar musicians: on the wall, photos of Mr. Davis with Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin, and, on a table, a large amethyst crystal given to him by his closest protégée: “Clive,” reads an inscription, “Peace and Love. Whitney.”

Mr. Davis, 85, has been one of the dons of the music business for half a century, and is now the chief creative officer of Sony Music. His career is the subject of a documentary, “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” directed by Chris Perkel, which will open the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday, with a screening and a concert at Radio City Music Hall. The names on the bill, all artists Mr. Davis has worked with over his career, show some of his breadth, and his pull: Ms. Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, Dionne Warwick, Carly Simon, Barry Manilow and the band Earth, Wind & Fire.

In a recent interview, Mr. Davis discussed his improbable entry into the record business; why he never stops worrying; and how he dealt with some of the setbacks in his career, like being fired from Columbia Records and implicated in a payola scandal that he says unfairly smeared him. Here are edited excerpts from that conversation.

You started as a lawyer, and early in the film you say, “I knew nothing about music.” How do you account for the career you’ve had?

Through both luck and fate, I discovered on the job that I had a natural gift that I never knew I had.

The gift is to determine who could be a long-lasting, major star. And from a repertoire point of view, those songs that are capable of becoming first a hit record — how they could be arranged, sung, performed — and hopefully be one of those very few hit records that become standards.

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Billboard Magazine: Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Patti Smith, More to Appear in Clive Davis Documentary


5/5/2016 by and

IM Global, Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods. and director Chris Perkel are partnering for the feature-length project is based on the industry legend’s 2013 memoir.

Clive Davis’ colorful life is getting the documentary treatment.

IM Global, Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods. and director Chris Perkel are partnering on Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, which is based on the music mogul’s revelatory New York Times-bestselling memoir, The Soundtrack of My Life.

Indie entertainment studio IM Global is fully financing the project and handling worldwide sales while WME Global is overseeing domestic distribution rights. IM Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford and IM global music president David Schulhof announced the full details of the project today.

Davis, however, beat them to it on April 16 at New York’s Cutting Room during a first-ever Arista Records reunion party. The 200 guests of the now defunct label got a sneak peek courtesy of a 10-minute sizzle reel of very early footage (some photos still contained watermarks). Included were interviews with big-name acts he was involved with during his unmatched career, among them: Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Patti Smith and the Grateful Dead‘s Bob Weir. “It’s very special to see because I didn’t know who [would participate],” Davis, 84, said at the event.


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Hollywood Reporter: Clive Davis Doc in the Works at Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods.


I am excited to share the news via The Hollywood Reporter: “Clive Davis’ colorful life is getting the documentary treatment. IM Global, Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions and director Chris Perkel are partnering on Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, which is based on the music mogul’s revelatory New York Times best-selling memoir “The Soundtrack of My Life”- Clive Davis


IM Global is financing and handling worldwide sales for the feature-length project based on the industry legend’s 2013 memoir.

 By Shirley Halperin and Chris Gardner

Clive Davis’ colorful life is getting the documentary treatment.

IM Global, Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods. and director Chris Perkel are partnering on Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, which is based on the music mogul’s revelatory New York Times best-selling memoir The Soundtrack of My Life.


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Prince was peerless as a musician, performer and songwriter. He was clearly one of the all-time greats, always mesmerizing, magical and cutting edge. He was one-of-a-kind in every respect. To know Prince personally was to know someone kind and gentle, phenomenally brilliant and intellectually curious, with every bone in his body loving music. The world of music has tragically lost one of its greatest defining members. – Clive





Exploring Clive Davis: The School With the Next Big Hit

Washington Square News – NYU’s Independent Student Newspaper

Diamond Naga Siu, Deputy News Editor

Since its 2003 founding, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music has boasted students and alumni responsible for multiple Billboard Top 40 songs, receiving acclaim from publications like Rolling Stone and Billboard. WSN spoke with Jeff Rabhan, Nicholas Sansano, Jason King and Bob Power — the faculty of one of NYU’s most selective programs with roughly 60 students per graduating class — to learn more about what goes into this prestigious arts program.

WSN: What is the importance and appeal of the program among students?

Jeff Rabhan: It’s a contemporary music industry broad-based program, and it’s holistic. So you will leave here understanding all the components of the business, regardless of what you want to do.

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Billboard Magazine: Clive Davis Reflects on 40 Year Friendship & Creative Partnership with Aretha Franklin


Clive Davis Reflects on 40-Year Friendship & Creative Partnership With Aretha Franklin

Since Aretha Franklin left Atlantic Records in 1979, many of her most successful records have been executive-produced by Clive Davis, first as founder/president of Arista Records and more recently in his role as chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment. He offers reflections on a four-decade creative process.

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Hollywood Reporter: Fetty Wap, Tori Kelly and Dave Grohl in Clive Davis’ Grammy Party Class Photo (Exclusive)

Exclusive to Hollywood Reporter:

thr_grammy_party_class_photo_9886_12_03332/17/2016 by Shirley Halperin

Clive Davis’ Grammy Party Class Photo by Joe Pugliese

On the eve of music’s big night, Sony Music’s chief creative officer, for the 42nd year, brought together industry titans and top talent — including Elle King, Beck and more — at the Beverly Hilton. Says Carly Simon of the V-Day bash: “He’s a national treasure, so in a way, it’s a national holiday.”

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Entertainment Weekly: Inside Clive Davis’ Pre-Grammys bash


by Leah Greenblatt

Grammy week in Los Angeles is a wild, strange piñata of parties, but there’s really only one soirée where you can see the likes of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and “Trap Queen” rapper Fetty Wap nibble on roast chicken at adjacent banquet tables while Courtney Love, Sylvester Stallone, Chris Rock, and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson socialize in the aisles, Gwen Stefani perches giggling on Blake Shelton’s lap, and estranged bandmates Harry Styles and Zayn Malik pose separately for photos but do not (sorry, One Direction dreamers) take the stage.

The man who has brought this annual event together for four decades now is Clive Davis, the legendary 83-year-old record mogul and raconteur. And he did, as he does every year, take care to point out the many friends and artists in the room – a black-tie tangle of EGOTs, industry icons, and tech billionaires – and describe their accomplishments. Those introductions can make for a very extended evening, but they’re actually just interstitials for the performances, which this year included Beck and the surviving members of Nirvana paying tribute to David Bowie with a standout “Man Who Sold the World”; Earth, Wind and Fire running down funk classics like “September” and “Shining Star” in honor of late leader Maurice White; Carly Simon cooing “You’re So Vain”; Melissa Etheridge honoring the Eagles’ Glenn Frey with a husky “Take It to the Limit”; and a grinning Barry Manilow, recently recovered from an undisclosed health scare, singing duet with the videotaped ghost of Judy Garland on “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart.” Before the end of the evening, the crowd would get Fetty’s “Trap Queen” too, plus performances from Best New Artist nominee Tori Kelly and Andra Day, who is up tonight for Best R&B Album, and a reprise Bowie finale with Adam Lambert and Jack Antonoff strutting through “Let’s Dance.”

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