'Otis' Has Special Meaning for SAG Winner

Actress Viola Davis recently won top honors at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for her role in the film, "The Help." She spoke with Tell Me More back when her movie was released. As part of the series, "In Your Ear," she offers up her personal playlist, including "Otis" by Kanye West and Jay-Z, plus "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Tank.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We'd like to end the program today with a feature we call In Your Ear. That's where we ask some of our guests to tell us about the music that keeps them going.

Today, we get the personal playlist of Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis. She joined us back in the summer to talk about her role in the film "The Help." Davis has already won top actress honors at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for that performance. Now we'll hear about the musical performers who inspire her.

VIOLA DAVIS: My name is Viola Davis and I'm starring in "The Help." And I'm currently listening to Mary J. Blige's song that she wrote especially for the movie "The Help" called "The Living Proof."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE LIVING PROOF")

MARY J. BLIGE: (Singing) It's gonna be a long, long journey. It's gonna be an uphill climb.

DAVIS: I personally love this song because it's a song of inspiration and it's empowering. It was a song especially written for my character in "The Help."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE LIVING PROOF")

BLIGE: (Singing) I'm so glad the worst is over because it almost took me out. I can start living now, ooh. I feel like I can do anything...

DAVIS: And I'm also listening to "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Tank.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I CAN'T MAKE YOU LOVE ME")

TANK: (Singing) Turn down the lights, turn down the bed. Turn down these voices inside my head.

DAVIS: It's kind of rendition of the Bonnie Raitt song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I CAN'T MAKE YOU LOVE ME")

TANK: (Singing) ...tell me no lies. Just hold me close...

DAVIS: And I just love it because it's a different version of a song that I loved when Bonnie Raitt sang it and I love when he sings it and gives it that kind of male energy that kind of transforms it into something else.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I CAN'T MAKE YOU LOVE ME")

TANK: (Singing) And I will give up this fight. 'Cause I can't make you love me if you don't. You can make your heart feel something it won't. Here in...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OTIS")

OTIS REDDING: (Singing) Squeeze her. Squeeze her.

JAY-Z: (Rapping) Sounds so soulful don't you agree?

DAVIS: And I'm also listening to "Otis" by Kanye West and Jay-Z.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OTIS")

REDDING: (Singing) Got to...

KANYE WEST: (Rapping) I invented swag. Poppin' bottles, puttin' supermodels in the cab, proof. I guess I got my swagger back, truth. New watch alert, Hublot's...

DAVIS: It's a hip-hop song dedicated to Otis Redding, so it's a mixture of R&B and hip-hop. I love it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OTIS")

WEST: (Rapping) Where the hell you been? (bleep) talkin' real reckless, stuntmen. I adopted these (bleep), Philip Drummond 'em. Now I'm bout to make them tuck they whole summer in.

MARTIN: That was Oscar nominee Viola Davis telling us what's playing in her ear. And to hear our previous conversation with her, please go to our website. Go to NPR.org. Click on the Programs tab and then on TELL ME MORE.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OTIS")

JAY-Z: (Rapping) I'm 'bout to call the paparazzi on myself. Uh, live from the Mercer. Run up on Yeezy the wrong way, I might murk ya. Flee in the G450, I might surface. Political refugee, asylum can be purchased. Uh, everything's for sale...

MARTIN: And that's our program for today.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.