Grammy-winning artist Take 6 filed a lawsuit this week in connection with the song “Could’ve Been” featuring Bryson Tiller. The multi-count lawsuit named David A. Harris, David A. Harris d/b/a Progressive 86, Jeff Robinson d/b/a SLIH Songs, Sony ATV Sounds, LLC, and Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
“It is most unfortunate that after months of trying to resolve this, Take 6 is left with no other alternative than to file this serious lawsuit,” said Attorney James L. Walker, Jr., lead counsel on the case.
“This is one of the most iconic groups in the history of music,” said Walker.
The lawsuit comes less than a year after H.E.R., Justin Love and Darhyl “DJ” Camper, settled a lawsuit with Andre Sims over the song “Focus”.
Once again, the H.E.R. debut album is in the news, as Grammy winning artist Take 6 is challenging whether the songwriter-producer sampled their music on a song featured on the same “Focus” album.
The song at issue is the H.E.R. hit song, “Could’ve Been”, featuring Bryson Tiller. According to legal representative, James L. Walker, Jr., Esq., “If you listen to the two songs, you can clearly hear that it appears that a sample was taken from Take 6’s “Come Unto Me.”
“If this is true, we demand that the album be pulled down and the label freeze any royalties in connection with this album, as we now have yet another claim of infringement on the same “Focus” album we discussed prior,” said Walker.
A link provided does seem to show the sample is clearly used. (See https://vimeo.com/440443677. ) In the link, you see and hear Take 6’s song is played first and it rolls effortlessly into the H.E.R.- Bryson Tiller collaboration.
Heralded by Quincy Jones as the “baddest vocal cats on the planet!’ Take 6, (Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Joel Kibble, Dave Thomas, Alvin Chea and Khristian Dentley, as well as original members Mervyn Warren and Cedric Dent) has performed with and won praise from such luminaries as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald and Whitney Houston, among many more.
With ten (10) Grammy Awards, ten (10) Dove Awards, a Soul Train Award and a Gospel Music Hall of Fame induction, among other countless accomplishments, Take 6 has headlined the greatest concert stages and festivals in the world from Japan, Australia, South America, Europe, to Canada and all across the U.S.
Musicologist and super producer Kevin Bond reviewed the two songs and concluded, “It appears very clear to me that the two songs are very similar. It is obvious that someone lifted the Take 6 sample and must be held accountable.”
Ed Keane, a manager for Take 6 echoed the sentiments. “We are very concerned with the seemingly alleged use of our clients’ song “Come Unto Me” in the H.E.R. song “Could’ve Been” featuring Bryson Tiller.”
The songwriters listed for “Could’ve Been” include Dernst “Dmile” Emile II, Hue Strother and David “Swagg” Harris amongst others.
“We have been forced to prepare a complaint and file suit, as we cannot get substantive answers and documents to show this was approved,” said Attorney Walker.
Ironically, the story comes not even a year after the settlement of a copyright infringement case brought by the well-known songwriter and piano maestro Andre Sims (@andresimspiano) who sued for copyright infringement after DJ Camper went on social media acknowledging that he saw Sims playing his own song “Endless Minds” on YouTube and took it for H.E.R.’s smash hit song “Focus”.
“I am saddened to see they allegedly used Take 6’s song and similar to me, no one sought approval or gave proper credit,” said Mr. Sims in a statement. “We have to stop taking each other’s intellectual property and give credit where credit is due...”
Added Walker, “we salute the success of artist H.E.R. and only time will tell what she knew or didn’t know as we get further into discovery, however, now that you do know, you have to do the right thing or you lose your own credibility as a young upcoming artist.”
The song “Could’ve Been” was recorded by artist H.E.R. aka Gabriella Wilson and released by Sony Entertainment. The song went 2x Platinum. The song also was nominated for Best Collaboration at the BET Awards 2019 and for the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. Wilson has won countless awards with the song and the song has been downloaded millions of times and is still very popular.
A copy of the complaint is posted on the Walker & Associates website at walkerandassoc.com to obtain a copy.