Roy Ayers at the AURN studios


Renowned vibraphone player Roy Ayers recently performed at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, the headquarters of the news division of American Urban Radio Networks (AURN). He delighted the crowd with his blend of jazz, funk and soul. Ayers played and sang a number of his hits, including “Everybody Loves the Sunshine.”

Before the show he stopped by the studios of AURN and talked to DeSaundra Harris about a wide range of topics. He shared with her how he got his start: “My mother is my great inspiration. Lionel Hampton, the great musician, is my inspiration as well. Lionel Hampton gave me my first set of vibraphone mallets. When I was five years old I went to his show. My mom and dad took me to see him. So, for a long time, and I never told my folks about it, I thought I was going to be Lionel Hampton.”

Ayers just turned 70 years old. And, he, understandably, likes to brag about his music that has spanned decades starting from the 1960s to the present: “I have more sampled hits than anyone else. I’m more sampled by the rap artist and the hip hop artist than anyone else. It’s wonderful and I’m excited bout that. The only person who has more samples than me is James Brown. But, I had more sampled hits.”