Sidelined by Parkinson's disease since being diagnosed during the late '80s, Earth, Wind & Fire cofounder Maurice White -- who died at 74 on Thursday, Feb. 4 -- still kept his finger on the pulse of the group and maintained a kind of "executive" oversight of the group's career. Though no longer able to grant full-scale interviews, he did answer a few questions via email for Billboard when the group's Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award was announced in mid-January -- one of the final media exchanges of his life.
What led you to form Earth, Wind & Fire? What did you have in mind as far as a musical/creative vision?
I started EWF because I had a vision and music was playing in my head that I wanted to bring through. What I had in mind was exactly what Earth, Wind & Fire became.