• Carolyn Griffey – The daughter of Music Mogul “DICK GRIFFEY” and Dance Diva, “CARRIE LUCAS”

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    Carolyn Griffey is an American female soul vocalist, and member of the soul funk group Shalamar. She is the daughter of Carrie Lucas and Solar Records boss Dick Griffey, who worked with Don Cornelius in the television programSoul Train.

    Griffey grew up around The WhispersShalamarMidnight StarDynastyMichael JacksonMarvin Gaye and James Brown, who all appeared on Soul Train or who were signed to Solar Records.

    In 1990, she was signed to SOLAR Records as part of the dance-pop duo called ‘Absolute’. This group released one album, For All Seasons, in 1990. Their singles included “Cheap Shot” and “Gotta Lambada” and “This Moment In Time” both (from the movie soundtrack of Lambada.)

    She has been the lead female vocalist of Shalamar since 2001. She appeared on ITV’s Hit Me, Baby, One More Time in 2005, and has been touring the world with Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniels.

    She also sings with the Andraé Crouch and his Gospel Choir, who are known for their work on Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror“.

    In October 2009, Griffey performed with Hewett and Daniels in Shalamar at London‘s O2 Arena. This prompted a return for a tour in the UK in April 2010. They have been an annual feature at London’s O2 Arena every December since 2010. In 2014 Griffey appeared with Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniels for two Shalamar concerts at the Manchester Ritz and London O2.

    As of July 2018, the European Intellectual Property Office certified ownership of the Shalamar Trademark back to the ownership of the Griffey family. Carolyn Griffey and Carrie Lucas officially control all licensing across the 28 countries of Europe.

    Q&A with S&S
    S&S We understand you come from music royalty, can you explain? Being the daughter of Music Mogul “DICK GRIFFEY” and Dance Diva, “CARRIE LUCAS” put me smack in the center of the entertainment industry at a time when Black Music was at an all-time high. I didn’t realize that so many groundbreaking experiences would be written at this time in life and by my father’s hands.  His legacy is still feeding black excellence and this industry til this day. There aren’t too many things that you can hear or see that weren’t given birth to from his footprint, whether it’s from LA & FACE, JIMMY JAM, AND TERRY LEWIS, TEDDY RILEY, PHARRELL, ETC… You’re probably wondering why I’ve named people that weren’t on the label, well these are names that have either been influenced by or derived from the SOLAR family via LEON SYLVERS III.   DIGITAL AGGRAVATION (Jhun Moon first black digital aggregator for Amazon), The term “AFRICAN AMERICAN” (Phrase coined by him in his 1984 speech when he was Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Presidential campaign financer) The first AFRICAN AMERICAN ALL STAR-STUDDED TELEVISED TELETHON FOR APARTHEID. Being the first African American Concert Promoter to ever take an R&B act overseas (STEVIE WONDER).. later to hand the promotions business over to AL HAYMON who is now one of the worlds biggest BOXING PROMOTERS still at the top of the game in concert promotions as well (AIG).  It almost seems like I’m bragging because of all of the amazing things that dad was a part of, but he really was a hard-working miraculous man.  These few things that I named aren’t even the tip of the iceberg but It’s an honor to be associated with a legacy as amazing as this one.  To go from booking acts like IKE AND TINA TURNER, JAMES BROWN, ARETHA FRANKLIN all the way to one of the original 50% owners of DEATH ROW RECORDS.. That’s a pretty long stint in the Entertainment Industry.
    S&S: How did you connect with Shannon “DJ Skip” Syas, Steve “Silk” Hurley & S&S Records? I was introduced to Shannon “DJ Skip” Syas by my father (Dick Griffey).  My father wanted DJ Skip to do a remix/remake of THE SECOND TIME AROUND of course with my vocal and put that sound on it that only he and Steve “Silk” Hurley can. We became great friends ever since.  The funny thing is Even though I met Steve through Skip, We had so many common acquaintances at the time so it was inevitable that we would all connect at some point.   What was really wild, upon meeting Skip, my father quickly relinquished his trust to him by giving him the MASTERS at that time… Over the years we have talked about doing many things together but the timing was never right..  I even wrote a song that we were supposed to do back in 2013 with a track from Maurice “Mo” Joshua that is STILL BANGIN (btw) but as we see now.. it’s all about timing .. Skip was a real driving force to me for many years. He really stayed on me about getting on my musical grind.. I’m very grateful for this connection we all have.
    S&S: Can you tell us about your involvement with the legendary group Shalamar? LOL.  That’s a long story, let me see how I can keep this under 500 pages (ha).  SHALAMAR has ALWAYS been my favorite group since I was a little girl.  I was with them every step of the way.  Growing up had the opportunity to be close to all of the members.  It was nothing for Jeffrey to come over the house or go rollerskating, Jody’s younger sister and I had sleepovers all the time and are still close to this day and of course, Howard used to come riding with me since we had horses and he loved them. Plus I babysat his two girls when they were babies so I had a very close tie with them. I was DEVASTATED when they broke up I literally locked myself in my room in depression.  Eventually, I came out of it, and then here comes MICKI FREE (LAWD HAVE MERCY) This man was and still is the funniest and FUNKIEST man around. I became close to him and (then female lead) Delisa Davis and once again regained closeness and love for the group.   But after the group disbanded, years later Howard and Jeffrey were asked to do shows overseas.  They toured as Shalamar for a while before there came a demand for a female.  Jody was approached by them and myself and she showed NO INTEREST, SOOOOoooo   I was asked by Howard and Jeffrey to join them in a show in London back in 2001.  With reservation, I accepted and was scared to DEATHHHHH.  Nobody could replace the CLASSIC THREE in my mind.  Long story short, my father sealed the deal-making it official also later bequeathing the TRADEMARK to me. And we’ve been together ever since continuing a string of very successful tours up until this PANDEMIC.  But we are still behind the scenes making it happen to be ready to hit the ground running when the world opens back up.
    S&S: What’s your style of music? How do you describe it? My answer is so embarrassing because I don’t really know.  I have worked with so many and have quite a few UNFINISHED PROJECTS that I haven’t really found my sound.  I know what I like and my taste in music is so ECLECTIC so it’s hard because I love so many genres. I’m a BOSSA NOVA FREAK, so naturally, that sound with those beautifully augmented chord progressions just raises my skin and haunts my soul. I’m a SUCKER FOR Acoustic and Great melodic content.  But Stevie, Laylah, LEON SYLVERS HARMONIES ect. really snatch me… I always wanted to take a melodically haunting and beautiful slow song and SLAP A BEAT ON IT and see what it sounds like.. Hmmm
    STEVE AND SKIP?? 😌  I also have been in the music ministry so being blessed to have sung with the late Pastor Andrea’ Crouch gave me a whole nother vibe.  So I CAN SING pretty much anything.. but I’m melting now into my own groove just now in my life…

     

    S&S: Who or what was most instrumental to you when it came to music? Yikes.. I think I spilled some of that in the previous question, but I had so many..  Of COURSE MY BEAUTIFUL MOTHER “CARRIE LUCAS” was my first love. Her sweet lullabies were always so calming and soothing to my soul that til this day when I hear her voice (SINGING ) LOL It just moves me, especially since our voices are so different.  She has such a soft sweet resin in her voice where I’m so raspy and powerful.  I HATED my voice for years.. singing was fine.. listening back to my own voice even till this day is hard for me.  I’ve only heard a couple of things where I was happy with my vocal quality ( I can ALWAYS PICK APART VOCAL IMPERFECTIONS..  ) I’m praying about that …hahah… But growing up in the SOLAR RECORDS LEGACY FAMILY was HUGE!  To be a part of so much GREATNESS was amazing.  I spent countless hours in the studio with Babyface and LA day after day (planted) I didn’t realize that I was witnessing history in the making.  They LIVEEED  IN our studio GALAXY SOUND STUDIOS.
    S&S: What drives you creatively? CHORDS…..  I’m a sucker for an augmented chord change… a track that gives me goosebumps… Energy.  It all depends.  To be honest, I haven’t been in much of a creative space because the hustle has been so real that I have to have a certain amount of relaxation to be able to flow freely. Being around someone else whose creative helps me.  scenery… a feeling. I’m SUPER SENSORY… and CRAZZEE CORNY..  I can see a sunset on the beach and see a video in my head and that will bring a song AFTER.. loL. I really am ready to get back to the space when I can spend that time with God and allow my spirit that freedom to let go….  to CREATE again…..

     

    S&S: How much does your audience influence you and your music selection? Your audience chooses for you..  I’ve learned by being in SHALAMAR…  We do that majority of our touring in the EU.   And our fans/FRIENDS (we hate referring to them as FANS.  They drive us…  knowing your territory is important, knowing the songs that were hits in that region dictates what your show is based off of.  We
    learned the hard way when we finally got an opportunity to do a show in the Bay Area and kept the same SET LIST and (skiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrt) slid right into a wall..  We had been touring so long we didn’t realize that it would take some adjusting to know what order would grab the attention of the crowd..  It’s very important to stay connected with your public to keep them engaged.

     

    S&S: What artists or genres do you listen to when you’re not working? I always feel so foolished when I’m asked this question because the guys are HUGE music connoisseurs and I spend so much time in the gym, doing the mom thing and working on our SOLAR RECORDS UK and SOUL TRAIN RECORDS LEGACIES, that I don’t really pay attention to what’s new so I stick to my usual basics..  I have very eclectic selection of things that I like..  I know it sounds crazy.. but i’m a HUGE BRANDY FAN… I love her.. as i stated.. LOVEEEE LAYLAH …  Classically ALWAYS Stevie Wonder, My daughter pretty much is the DJ so i’m listening to lots of BOSSA NOVA, HER, JHENE’ AIKO, DANIEL CAESAR, MAC AYRES just to name a few..  I’m weird tho.. I may switch off to some Pat Metheney Group then flip to some Steely Dan…  I’m all over the place…. Typical industry kid.

     

    S&S: Do you have any favorite memories of growing up with your family? Geez, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  We did so much together, traveled together, something as simple as every time I hear the ISLEY BROTHERS, I just remember swimming..  Every time we swam during the summer, Music was always blasting over the pool and throughout the house, but for some reason my mother’s album SIMPLY CARRIE and THE ISLEY BROTHERS always till this day remind me of being by the pool with the family and friends..  Funny Fact.  Jan (Aunty Jan) the wife of Walter Scott of THE WHISPERS taught me how to swim because my dad would mess with me threatening to throw me in the middle of the pool and make me swim back.  She saved me .. because he told me, if i didn’t learn to swim, that’s what was gonna happen..  THANK YOU AUNTIE JAN lol.  Let’ see … Getting to go on tour with my mom and with THE WHOLE SOLAR GALAXY OF STARS TOUR.  Getting to tour with my mother even when she would tour with other acts like: Evelyn Champagne King ,  Lenny Williams, Marvin Gaye to name a few was exciting.  Hanging out with my dad when he would go for soundchecks when he put on concerts ie: THE O’JAYS (I have a real funny Gerald Levert Story, I’ll save that for next time) THE JACKSONS my goodness there’s so many memories.  Spending lots of time at Don Cornelius’ home playing basketball on his court, all of those things didn’t seem like a big deal to me then, but as I reflect.. they are AMAZING memories… My father flew us as a family all over the world together, I think those were the most memorable times because those are the only times besides birthdays and holidays that it wasn’t about work.. We could just enjoy being a family…  Remember My Grandmother JUANITA ‘GRIFFEY” HINES ,  was an established Gospel Artist, of course My mother CARRIE LUCAS, FIRST LADY OF SOUL TRAIN AND SOLAR RECORDS and me an aspiring musician not to mention my big sister REGINA worked with my father at the Record company as did I during that time so you can imagine..  It was nice to turn the music off for a little while.

     

     

    S&S: Is there anything you would like people to know about you? I LOVE MY GOD, I LOVE MY FAMILY, I’m far from perfect, I am in ministry… I don’t aim to be a role model, however, It blesses me to inspire and motivate others. I love fitness and wellness, I AM  a CERTIFIED FITNESS TRAINER. I LOVE CHILDREN AND ANIMALS. I’m an avid horseman, I love anything outdoors: camping, fishing, water sports, motorcycles, I used to want to be a stunt woman,  I would love to ACT IN A MOVIE or ON A TV Series 😋 I think I’m funny… I’ve learned to laugh at myself even. I LOVE HARD I’M SILLY even at my seasoned age.. I LOVE TO LAUGH……HARD! I desire to be married again someday, partnership is important to me especially in a business such as ours.  I appreciate the spirit of balance and boundries…(unlike most musicians) I’M A SUPER FAN OF S&S RECORDS AND I’VE BEEN BEGGING THESE GUYS TO LET ME CARRY BAGS OR SOMETHING ON ONE OF THEIR EXCURSIONS.

     

    S&S: Are there any questions that you wish people would ask you? Hmm…🤔  YES!  Since i’m always on some kind of meal prep…   I would appreciate someone asking me if they can get me
    a piece of cake………………..HAHHAH   (I warned you that I was silly)
    S&S: And on the flip side of that, are there any questions or references you wish people would stop asking or using? UGHHHHH..  If I had a nickel every time someone said when watching one of our videos:  THAT’S NOT JODY ! In the HISTORY of music…  What singing group do you know that has ALL ORIGINAL MEMBERS STILL intact?  I never tried to pass myself off as her, I just picked up the mantle that had been laid down by DELISA DAVIS (second SHALAMAR female lead singer) Who BTW is an AMAAAAAZING LADY AND STYLIST.. I have so much respect and love for her…  I worked so hard to create a strong and healthy image for myself, it’s not in my makeup to try and fit into someone else’s mold.  I now take pride in the role that I stepped into because it is an awesome legacy birthed from my FAMILY’S SOLAR LEGACY and there’s no other story out there like mine.  I feel God just put me where I was supposed to be and no matter what has transpired… Bless the rest!

     

    S&S: What artist(s) have you been the most excited to work with? My MOMMMYYYYYYY ..  Out of all of the people that I could think of in the industry that I am honored to work with, It’s my mother.  I’ve been her BIGGEST FAN since day one.  We actually did a remake of her dance hit, “I GOTTA KEEP DANCIN” that hasn’t been released yet and are working on others.  It’s surreal even still to look over and see the LEGENDARY HOWARD HEWETT and JEFFREY DANIEL standing on either side of me.  Don’t forget… I was THE BIGGEST, MOST ANNOYING SHALAMAR FAN… SO YES…  SOMETIMES I STILL   “FANGIRL!” …  I have learned to not take any blessing for granted!”

     

    S&S: Are there any artists that you dream of working with on a collaboration? Yes,  I have this crazy dream of working with my (twin) as we call each other “JULIE MCKNIGHT”  I guess because we have always been like sisters, we raised our boys up at a time where we had to learn to cling to family.  We both travel all over the world most times missing each other in our tour time and I have always wanted to do a SISTER SONG with her because her our energy together is amazing and I think our sisterhood could be a ministry for women not to mention I’ve just wanted to find that time to have our chicken and margarita’s somewhere in the world together…  As you know we’ve actually written a song together,  just hoping the stars align just right so we can make that happen. *JOHNNY GILL *FAITH EVANS maybe… can’t really think of any right now… Excited to work with my brother CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS.

     

    S&S: What can we look forward to next from you? As much as the Universe is willing to offer me because I’m so ready!  I’m very excited about our second venture together with this NEW COLLAB
    we’re doing.  SHALAMAR is working on some new surprises for the new year, Excited that our WHOLE TOUR has been carried over to 2021. I’m excited about working on my own brand, the Global market is such an amazing vehicle that I am thankful for and I’m excited about exploring this next level.  Working on several different projects with SOLAR RECORDS UK as well as SOUL TRAIN RECORDS and all of the MERCH that we are excited to share in the coming weeks. The LEGACY OF DICK GRIFFEY is highest on my list of priorities because there is so much to be told.  I also have a couple of secrets up my sleeve that I’m not ready to expose until we are closer to launching but I PROMISE IT WILL BE EXCITING…SO GET READY!

    Q&A By:Shannon “Skip” Syas – S&S Chicago

    Follow: Carolyn Griffey [Instagram] [Twitter][Facebook]

    S&S Records, Inc. (and S&S Chicago, Inc.) was established in 2005 by 4-time GRAMMY® nominated producer Steve “Silk” Hurley and global DJ/Producer Shannon “DJ Skip” Syas. Merging Hurley’s worldwide commercial success and Syas’ strong global following, the dance label has become home to numerous musical greats and one of the most respected blogs on the internet.

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