Tell Yo Mama Brings the Funk to EL Concert Series

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Friday, July 27, 2018, 9:26 am
By: 
Christopher A. Wardell

While the members of Lansing’s funk, neo-soul band Tell Yo Mama aren’t quite ready to quit their day jobs and become full-time musicians, they’re slowly getting there.

The group is just finishing a six show tour which includes a stop in East Lansing tonight for the East Lansing Concert Series at the Ann Street Plaza.

The show is set to start at 7:00 p.m.

“We all have day jobs and, or other responsibilities,” Drummer Raymond Crane said. “Sometimes we are just trying to squeeze in music around everyday life. After Luke was on The Voice, our social media presence skyrocketed. We gained a lot more attention nationally and internationally, as opposed to just our home turf and places we have played at before.”

“We are on tour and busy living the dream!” Crane said. “I feel like I can actually say that with some confidence.”

Thanks to a little luck, the band quickly found itself at the center of attention after lead singer Lucas Holliday was a contestant on the popular reality television show The Voice on NBC. During Season 13 in 2017, Holliday sang before pop music stars Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Jennifer Hudson and Miley Cyrus, who all served as judges for the contestants.

Holliday auditioned for the show after a video of him singing at his day job as a cashier at a Dollar Store went viral. Although the singer fell short of the title, Holliday is using the experience to his advantage as Tell Yo Mama’s stock continues to rise.

“Auditioning for the show turned out to be the next best decision I've made musically, aside from joining Tell Yo Mama,” Holliday said. “The producers, the production crew, and my peers on the show treated me like family, and together, we were able to form lasting bonds across many states. If I learned anything from my time on Season 13, it would be to always take time to appreciate what you have, to take your fortunes and use them. To this day, with every new gig, I strive to dwell in the present.”

The band formed in 2014 with Crane, guitarist Mike Loomis, and bassist Adrian Bryant, who after a few jam sessions, decided to make the band official. Soon after, Holliday joined the fold, followed by fellow singer and percussionist, Jacque Baldori. Keyboardist Eric Kloeckner, and saxophonist Marty McLean round out the group’s current line-up.

Tell Yo Mama has a cache of originals the group regularly performs live, as well as a diverse range of covers that runs the spectrum of the band members’ various influences. These includes the Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Brown, Snarky Puppy, and George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic.

Keeping it funky and finding the groove seems to be working as the group is regularly cited as one of the best rock bands in the mid-Michigan area.

“The groove is essential,” Crane said. “You can call it funk, soul, R&B, rock, jazz - but having that heavy groove is very important to us. We like to think of ourselves as an upbeat party band.”

After the band’s current tour, the group intends to hit the studio with the hopes of releasing new music in the near future.

"We are in the middle of recording a six song EP,” Crane said. “This newer material is much more in line with the sound and image we want to create. Our first album was a bit more of an experiment as we were trying to lock down a genre. All of us have a lot of musical influences, so this naturally plays into what we put out. That being said, we've always wanted to be a funk, dance type of band and this new material helps to solidify that.”

With Holliday’s success on The Voice, and the band’s sound starting to come together, Crane is looking forward to bringing the funk to East Lansing.

“We want to see people get down and have a good time,” Crane said. “Music is a passion, but we also can make money doing it. That being said, sometimes the best scenario might not involve much money, or much exposure, but just a great crowd who gives back positive energy. If people are dancing and getting down, you can bet your ass the band is going to play better!”

More information about Tell Yo Mama is available here, and more information on the East Lansing Summer Concert Series may be found here

 

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