The Ashford & Simpson Effect


Like many R&B fans the world over, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Nicholas Ashford recently.   After reading an article about it, I reminisced about the soulful and inspiring music written, sung and produced by Mr. Ashford and his beautiful wife Valerie Simpson.  I spoke to family and friends about him, and everyone shared pleasant memories of where they were when they first heard tunes like “Solid” and “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing.”

When I remembered that the duo also wrote “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” it struck me that their music has been deeply embedded not only in Hollywood and history, but in our memories and hearts.  Given that, I was astounded to read that initially, the duo recorded songs as “Valerie and Nicholas,” without much success.  I was also surprised to learn that they originally sold their songs for $75 a piece.  My first reaction to reading that was to think to myself: “What?  They sold their songs for only &75?  Didn’t people know that they would become THE Ashford & Simpson?”  And then it hit me: they didn’t.

As “Valerie and Nicholas,” people placed value on them and on their songs based on what they PERCEIVED of their talents.  Without hit records already in place, people simply couldn’t SEE the “Ashford & Simpson” in them.  I’ve never met them, but I would imagine that the only way they survived such a dog-eat-dog world as the music business was to know their own intrinsic value, to remember that they were doing what they were PURPOSED to do, and that the value of their songs were NEVER subject to the perceptions of others.  By staying true to their values, they wrote the music that was right for them, and the value of the songs soon became obvious…and priceless….

They never let other’s lack of knowledge about them determine the value of “Valerie and Nicholas.”  By remembering their true value, and by letting their God-given talents shine under a $75 light, they transformed Valerie and Nicholas into Ashford & Simpson.  They transformed $75 into millions.

And guess what?  ALL of us have value WAY beyond the ignorance of people’s perceptions of us.  And more importantly, ALL of us have value WAY beyond even our own ignorance of who we are or where we come from.

If you’ve never truly given thought to your value, EXPLORE it.  If you’re not completely clear about who you are or where you come from, IDENTIFY it.  And if those around you don’t really know you or your value, BROADCAST it.  It’s up to YOU to transform the “Valerie and Nicholas” that everyone sees in you into the “Ashford & Simpson” that you truly are.  You can turn $75 experiences into a million-dollar life.

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2 Responses to "The Ashford & Simpson Effect"

  • renee Harding says:

    Great blog on the Ashford + Simpson Effect! It’s an inspirational way to view how much our emphasis on others’ perception of us can block us from blessings that could come from focusing on God’s perception of us.

  • Michelle King says:

    Valerie Simpson of Ashford and Simpson singing “Silly” to my father Kenneth Walker on his birthday in October who is her best friend at the Sugarbar…

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