Willie Clarke, Miami Independent Music Pioneer, Talks Growing Up in Overtown

Miami independent music pioneer Willie Clarke is a Grammy winner whose music has been sampled by Beyonce.

In the mid 1960s, he and a college buddy named Johnny Pearsall started a label called Deep City, based out of Johnny's Records in Liberty City. It was the first independent, black-owned record label in Florida, and today, its output is revered by both vinyl record collectors and digital re-issue soul heads.

Clarke grew up in Overtown, surrounded by nightclubs and jukeboxes in a golden era of entertainment and entrepreneurialism. His lyrical style was shaped by years of radio cartoons, rhythm and blues, and Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five's "Saturday Night Fish Fry."

Here are some of his memories of growing up in Overtown.

See Also:

-"Deep City Records Documentary: A Behind the Scenes Look"

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Jacob Katel
Contact: Jacob Katel