Sometimes we all just need a little break. We all must navigate through a world where we face multiple problems and/or serious decisions almost daily. Our lives seem to be an ongoing saga of paying bills, taking medications, shopping for food and other necessities, and always working hard in order to survive. There are times when I crave someone or something to make me laugh. I just want that diversion to take my mind off the daily grind of life. Yes, we all seek comic relief from time to time, and we tend to develop a list of favorites. I know everyone reading out there has preferences dependent upon your mood at the time. Many of you may prefer the romantic comedy, while some might look for a favorite sitcom. Others may go for the animated comedies films or stand-up comedy. Whatever we crave at the time, we can easily find it, and perhaps all from the same entertainer.
In my search to understand the job of an entertainer, I was lead to the dictionary for a proper definition. Entertainer – somebody who performs: a provider of entertainment, especially a professional one. That definition is broad as we are entertained by a variety of people and activities. Is the entertainer limited to only one way of entertaining? Not at all! In fact, so many of today‘s musical artists have followed the examples of entertainers of yesterday and after a successful start in music made a career in motion pictures or television. Think about Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Barbara Streisand, Elvis Presley just to name a few who took on the additional entertainment career of acting. Comedic entertainers have also successfully found their way to television and film and yes, even music. For this reason, we are lead to feature one of the best this week: Eddie Murphy.
The fifty-two year old all around entertainer first gained notoriety as a regular actor on Saturday Night Live (SNL) in the early 1980’s. Very soon after his start on SNL, Murphy made his big screen debut in the film 48 Hrs with Nick Nolte. 48 Hrs proved to be a hit when it was released in the Christmas season of 1982. The following year Murphy starred in Trading Places with fellow SNL alumnus Dan Aykroyd. The movie marked the first of Murphy’s collaborations with director John Landis and proved to be an even greater box office success than 48 Hrs. In 1984, Murphy starred in the successful action comedy film Beverly Hills Cop. Since his start in the early 1980’s, Murphy brought us some very memorable movie performances. The Nutty Professor, Coming to America and of course Shrek all found critical and financial success. However, Murphy’s portrayal of Donkey in the animated Shrek series of films and James “Thunder” Early in Dreamgirls gave him the opportunity to flex his singing muscles.
Eddie Murphy is more than just the accidental singer who uses music as a tool to get laughs. He has a history in the music industry having frequently provided background vocals to songs released by The Bus Boys. As a solo artist, Murphy had two hit singles, “Party All the Time” (which was produced by Rick James) and “Put Your Mouth on Me” in the mid-1980s. “Party All the Time” was featured on Murphy’s 1985 debut album How Could It Be, which included a minor follow-up R&B hit in the title track, a duet with vocalist Crystal Blake. Murphy recorded the album Love’s Alright in the early 1990s. He performed in a music video of the single “Whatzupwitu”, featuring Michael Jackson. He recorded a duet with Shabba Ranks called “I Was a King”. In 1992, Murphy appeared in Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” alongside Magic Johnson and Iman. Now, Eddie Murphy has released his first single in over twenty years titled “Red Light”, a reggae song featuring Snoop Lion, and he is working on a new album titled 9.
Although he has not released an album for twenty years, Murphy never quit writing and recording songs — he just stopped releasing them. But now that he’s “semi-retired” as an actor (as he mentioned in his 2011 Rolling Stone cover story), Murphy installed a recording studio in his Beverly Hills mansion and got to work. It seems that Eddie Murphy is going to release more music and possibly give us some live performances. We can only wait and see the outcome. Get ready folks, here comes Eddie Murphy!