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Reel To Reel: Harlem to Hollywood

Featuring a post-screening Q&A with Billy Vera and director Alan Swyer

Often called "the most famous person most people have never heard of," Billy Vera is a singer/songwriter who has been said "to have a hit every 20 years whether he needs one or not." The first white male to play Harlem's famed Apollo as part of a duet with a black woman (Judy Clay), Vera has penned hits for artists as varied as Dolly Parton, Ricky Nelson, the Remains, and Lou Rawls, and had a No. 1 song called "At This Moment," whose journey is one of the miracles of the music business. Director Alan Swyer’s documentary Harlem To Hollywood gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to succeed in the music industry and build a career that stands the test of time. It is the story of a man who pursued his dream, faced struggles, had downfalls and victories, reached success and through it all stayed true to himself.

The film takes viewers from Vera’s early career in New York, performing at venues ranging from the Peppermint Lounge to Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, and onto his reinvention in Hollywood as leader of Billy Vera & the Beaters with his No. 1 hit, “At This Moment,” made famous on the TV sitcom “Family Ties.” The GRAMMY Museum will present a special screening of this film, followed by an intimate conversation moderated by GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Scott Goldman featuring Billy Vera and Alan Swyer.