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Late Songwriter Allee Willis Explains How She Sold 60 Million Records

Allee Willis

Before she died, the woman who adapted The Color Purple as a musical gave an interview about her unique creative process.

Allee Willis had an unconventional process in creating music, to say the least.

The late songwriter, in the exclusive clip from the new documentary The Mystery of the Pink Flamingo below, said she threw microphones into pools and broke coffee cups in order to achieve the perfect sound.

Willis revealed that she did not know how to play the piano -- but always worked with collaborators who did. "Between their precision and my just wanting it to feel good, somewhere in there, there's going to be an interesting mix," Willis said.

"Find sounds that make you happy ... To me, arranging sounds is exactly the same as arranging things on the table. They're just objects in space."

"This is not how a normal musician thinks," she added. "They would say she's nuts. But ha ha, I've sold 60 million records!"

Willis died in December 2019; she is survived by her longtime partner, Prudence Fenton. In her lifetime, the Grammy-winning artist cowrote a slew of hits for groups like Earth, Wind & Fire and the Pet Shop Boys. She also co-penned the book for the musical version of The Color Purple and the Rembrandts' "I'll Be There for You," which became the theme song for Friends.

Directed by Javier Polo, The Mystery of the Pink Flamingo features interviews with Willis alongside John Waters, Eduardo Casanova, and Rigo Pex in order to examine the cultural impact of flamingos.

The Mystery of the Pink Flamingo premiered today on VOD and all digital platforms. Watch the clip below.

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