Charles Fox and Paul Williams have tremendous credits on their own. Fox won the Grammy for Song of the Year writing “Killing Me Softly” for Roberta Flack, and is a 2-time Oscar nominee. Williams is Oscar winner for writing “Evergreen” with Barbra Streisand for 1976’s A Star is Born. In addition to his other Oscar nominations, he also won Grammy’s Album of the Year with Daft Punk (“Random Access Memories”). These two men have been staples of the music industry for many years, and while I have singled out their individual accomplishments, their work together shines.
These two men have collaborated on many different projects over the years, and this year their collaboration may take them to the Oscars. This year they worked together on the song that opened the HBO Documentary Films project The Bronx, USA entitled “Da Bronx.” Their experience in the burrough and with friendship translated to this piece of music and kicks off a fascinating film about a special place in New York City.
Awards Daily: You both have history with the Oscars. How does it feel to make the shortlist for this song?
Paul Williams: It is a wonderful indication of what the songwriting community can be. We are members of ASCAP and feel honored to be recognized by our peers to make this list.
Charlie and I have written off and on. It’s so wonderful. It’s family. I also got a call from Diane Warren. It might sound like a cliche, when you get a nod from your colleagues, it means so much. This is the music community voting for the music community. We know so many of the song writers in the community, and this means so much at this stage.
Charlie Fox: These are sweet little blips, like eating a caramel turtle. I can’t eat them every day, but getting that sweet taste of recognition that means so much. There were sixty songs on the initial list, many were written by amazing people who put their heart and soul in contributing to their films. We are excited that our song which means so much made the short list.
AD: What would it mean to score a nomination since it’s been around 40 years since you both were nominated here?
CF: We are still doing this after many years. We wrote Love Boat together. A nomination would be fantastic, but what means the most at this stage in the game is getting to work with my buddy Paul. I love getting to work with him.
PW: The feeling is beyond mutual friend. I go back to earlier nominations and celebrations. I am very grateful for this career journey. When I was nominated in the first 40 years, I thought I hope I win. What means the most is that I am trusted by my buddy Charlie Fox to continue working with him, and that we continue making an impact. It’s all extra innings, and a huge gift. I will remember how this feels. This is a moment I will remember.
CF: It’s about being recognized by our community. The thrill of working in motion picture for over 50 years has meant so much. The movie is about the Bronx, and many friendships. Danny Gold (director) asked me to write a song. It’s about the Bronx and friendship, and both of these things mean the world to me.
PW: There are words so clear in Charlie’s music. There is something that speaks to me. There is something that feels at home in Charlie’s music. My favorite line is the opening line to this song from Richard Klein: “The Bronx where friends will always be friends from diaper-hood to Depends from thick and thin we will stick together “There is a playfulness in this and worked and allowed to set the tone for everything. This was my first chance to write a rap and getting actor singer Donald Webber Jr. in the mix really was special.
CF: It’s not about your background, and this song helped shine a light on this. I grew up in the Bronx, and I have a street near Yankee stadium named after me. Being a part of this song with a special writing partner about the Bronx for this film meant a great deal to me.
AD: The Bronx, USA as a film is about celebrating the dynamic diversity, friendship and other unique aspects of this burough. How did you capture this in your song?
CF: I had the best time with Donald and Paul on this experience, and I was able to convey what the Bronx meant to me. The lyrics in the song really say it all: the Bronx is an accepting place, a place where everyone feels at home regardless of race, or religion. We wanted to convey this in our work.
PW: Working with Richard was so much fun too, working with him and Donald to sing and rap the song helped bridge what is so special about the Bronx and helped convey the special meaning of this song for the film
AD: Your music has had a tremendous impact on film, television, and so many other aspects of the industry. It was an honor and a privilege to hear you share your experiences.
PW: Our music played around the world, and it is meaningful to hear it played in films over the years. “Driftaway” was written by my brother. He passed away a few years ago, and every time I hear that song I get to experience a piece of him. Charlie and I get to relive that experience every time we hear one of our songs played in a film, and it means so much.
The Bronx, USA is available to stream on HBO.