Common Interview: ‘Marshall’ songwriter
During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), Common reveals that he became involved with the movie “Marshall” through a chance encounter on his way to the Sundance Film Festival. He explains, “I ran into Diane Warren” waiting for a flight and ended up sitting behind her on the plane. The legendary songwriter was penning an original tune entitled “Stand Up for Something” for the Thurgood Marshall biopic, and wanted the rapper to contribute to it. When he listened to the demo, “I was like ‘Wow, this is a powerful song, very powerful,’ and I just called her and told her I wanted to write on it.”
The tunesmith was equally excited about working on an important project. “Thurgood Marshall was always somebody who I knew about in history,” he divulges. “I learned about [Marshall] in black history, and learned about [him] as one of our heroes who was a person of color, because he was the first supreme court justice that was black. I always knew his story, so I just wrote it for him, and the film, and just for humanity.” Performing the song with Andra Day, he hoped to “take it to the highest level.”
Common won an Oscar alongside John Legend for their original song “Glory” from Ava DuVernay‘s “Selma” (2014). He picked up an Emmy earlier this year for penning “Letter to the Free” from DuVernay’s documentary “13th.” Additionally, he has three Grammys on his shelf (Best R&B Song for “Love of My Life (an Ode to Hip Hop)” with Erykah Badu in 2003; Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “Southside” with Kanye West is 2008; and Best Song Written for Visual Media for “Glory” with Legend in 2016. Should he win a Tony, he’ll join the elite EGOT group.