Victoria Monét & D’Mile Return to the Classroom in ‘Save the Music’ Amazon Documentary: Exclusive

Victoria Monét & D’Mile Return to the Classroom in ‘Save the Music’ Amazon Documentary: Exclusive

After delighting fans with her flashy new Michael and Janet Jackson-nodding “Alright” music video, Victoria Monét is keeping the Black Music Month celebrations going with an appearance in Amazon Music’s new Save The Music: Inspiring Music’s Next Generation documentary (June 18) alongside frequent collaborator D’Mile.

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The latest in a string of programming in honor of Black Music Month, Save the Music follows Monét and D’Mile as they visit public school students at Brooklyn’s Transit Tech High School, gifting them valuable insight on the music industry and providing them musical equipment and a D’Mile production masterclass.

The Transit Tech students are undoubtedly learning from the best. D’Mile’s work with R&B stars such as H.E.R. and Lucky Daye have earned him several Grammys and an Academy Award for best original song, while Monét picked up her first three Grammys earlier this year thank to her acclaimed Jaguar II album. D’Mile produced every track on Jaguar II — save the Kaytranada-helmed “Alright” — earning him and Monét a shared victory for best R&B album.

The journey back to the classroom was also a trip down memory lane for D’Mile, who recently re-teamed with Monét for “Power of Two,” a new original song for Disney+’s The Acolyte. “I used to cut class just to stay in band class or my school gospel choir almost all day,” he muses. “I met my now wife at jazz choir class. My favorite memories are the friends I made there, they were all like-minded and talented. I’m still great friends with and still playing or working with [them] professionally in some way. It’s a bond you can’t replace.”

Firmly rooted in R&B, Jaguar II finds the two musicians exploring the vast expanse of Black music, dabbling in reggae, house, hip-hop and soul. Save the Music: Inspiring Music’s Next Generation grants both D’Mile and Monét the space to reflect on the importance of Black Music Month and take part in the sacred traditions of educating younger generations on their cultural history.

“So many genres stemmed from Black artists and musicians: rock and roll, country, disco, house, R&B, soul, techno, rap … the list goes on,” notes Monét. “I love that there’s a month dedicated to educating others on and celebrating Black music, but my hope is that in general, music by Black artists is celebrated in all genres one day. Motown was a breeding ground for so many incredible Black musicians and icons (from The Jacksons to Diana Ross to Stevie Wonder to Smokey Robinson) who truly made quality, POPular music.”

Fittingly, Monét and D’Mile chose to record a new version of “Hollywood,” the penultimate Jaguar II track, for Save the Music. Earning a Grammy nod for best traditional R&B performance, “Hollywood” is a prime showcase of the cross-generational appeal of Black music. The track features the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as Monét’s adorable two-year-old daughter Hazel Monét Gaines. The new acoustic version of “Hollywood” strips away the grandiosity of the original’s cinematic drum-heavy arrangement, making for a much more intimate and introspective affair.

“I knew I wanted to keep in all the organic elements from the original,” reveals D’Mile. “Which was interesting because about 90% of the song already was organic. But sometimes when you do something as simple as just taking drums out, you start hearing things that you want to be heard more. You get to focus more on some of the string work or even background vocals on the song. It was as simple as taking the groove out and just holding down the chords and letting everything else shine.”

Just as she does on “Hollywood,” Monét’s music is both a love letter to Black music history and a way for her to expose her fans to styles and influences from decades past. The music video for her breakout hit “On My Mama” exalts ’00s Southern Black culture, while Jaguar II standout “How Does It Make You Feel” recalls the classic soul of The Isley Brothers. “Some of my first memories are of the music my mom would play around the house and that helped shape me as I grew older,” she says. “‘My Girl’ by The Temptations is already my daughter Hazel’s favorite song – I’ve played it since I was pregnant with her. Great music really can stand the test of time.” 

The reimagined version of “Hollywood,” whose creation is documented in Save the Music, can be streamed in full exclusively on Amazon Music, where the mini-documentary can also be viewed starting Tuesday (June 18).