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Foundation of Funk with Valerie Barrymore is a topnotch, vintage R & B Funk and Blues Band. Now, because of Valerie being often called the Queen of Funk, the Band now has an added dimension; thus, the name `Foundation of Funk’ was born.
The Band has successfully entertained audiences from major festivals to private parties. The Band has the ability to perform for both listening and dancing audiences with the ability to tailor its performances to meet the demands of the crowd. Be it strictly blues, up-tempo R & B, Motown dance music or riveting funk and rap, this band is ready to put on a show!
The band is very strongly involved with the promotion of all their appearances. Some of these promotional devices include an extensive mailing list, flyers, newspaper listings and word of mouth. The band has developed a strong following all over Michigan. Their first CD, FOUNDATION OF FUNK, received six 2001Detroit Music Award nominations. The band has been nominated several times for Best Urban Band.
The band is extremely experienced. They have appeared in the `Ribs & Soul’ festival and the Afro American festival . The band has appeared in the Pontiac Jambalaya and the ARTS, BEATS & EATS, The Detroit Fireworks, The Heritage Festival, Troy Daze, Detroit Winter Blast, Ann Arbor Summer Festival/Top Of The Park. They have appeared with Motown’s Betty Lavette, Midnight Star, and the Contours. In 2000 they appeared with The Ojays at the Michigan State Fair, in December 2000 they appeared with Morris Day and The Time at the Royal Oak Theater, and one of their most rewarding appearances was opening for Gladys Knight at the 2001 Common Ground festival in Lansing, Michigan. Valerie and the core of the band occasionally serve as members of the Jr Walker All-Star Band, on national tours.
VALERIE BARRYMORE 2011 Detroit Black Music Award Winner of Best Funk Artist, Valerie Barrymore was born and raised in Detroit. She attended Michigan Christian College, where she was chosen as a lead vocalist for the school’s annual program `Celebration in Song’. After college she toured Italy,Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, the Eastern United States and the Southern United States. In Japan she appeared at Club PePelomoco and Club ViVi. In the early 1990’s Valerie came back to Detroit and did some recording with one of Detroit’s Techno Geniuses, Mr. Blake Baxter, soon after she started working with The Steve Somers Band, she fronts the band and impresses audiences with her dynamic stage presence and high-energy. Also a talented writer, she penned the tracks `Desire’, ‘Love Me Now’ and several others. In 1999 she formed Foundation of Funk and started Barrymore Publishing and B. Rox Records. She has been nominated for several Detroit Music Awards Best R&B & Funk vocalist in 2005 she won the award!
Valerie has appeared on the very same stage with some of the top of the line entertainers; she appeared at the Afro-American Festival w/ Betty Levette, the Michigan State Fair w/ The Ojays, the Royal Oak Theater w/Morris Day and the Time and the Common Ground Festival w/ Ms Gladys Knight. In 2006 Valerie surprised even herself by taking a role in the play “WE ARE NOT GOOD GIRLS” which received great reviews. Valerie’s popularity is growing extremely fast with her work with Motorcity Women [formerly known as The Detroit Women].
Valerie has had international airplay with her song I Believe and believes some of the same success will come with her new single “Let Love Take Over You” Valerie is putting the finishing touches on her latest CD L O V E.
Steve Somers was born in New York City and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. He has lived in Michigan since 1980. During the seventies he formed his own band and toured the Pacific North-West several times. Upon moving to Michigan, he stopped touring to attend Eastern Michigan University, where he received a Master’s degree in 1986. He has been active as a composer as well as an arranger for the Steve Somers Band and Foundation of Funk with Valerie Barrymore. Hough has also performed solos in classical and jazz guitar concerts. He also taught music at Washtenaw Community College.
After forming originally was also known as the Steve Somers Band in 1990 and adding a horn section in 1991, he has been very busy performing locally and touring throughout Michigan.
Billy Wilson is from Ypsilanti, Michigan. He supplies the vital, forceful bass guitar and soulful lead and back up vocals for the band.
His career extends back some twenty-five years. He has worked with a variety of artists, including Joe Williams, James Cleveland and Martha Reeves. He also sang briefly with the Platters and the MCA recording group `Imagination.’ Billy is President and Founder of the Motown Alumni Association.
Jesse Godfrey is from Detroit, Michigan. He has been playing drums professionally for more than twenty years. He was one of the original founders and the drummer for the Sins of Satan and Roundtrip. He is a member of the Perks Music Association. He has worked with some of the top names in show business including the Bar-Kays and Parliament. His energetic style and riveting solos take Foundation of Funk over the cutting edge.
Sabrina LaMar is the newest member of the group. She is a former member of Detroit’s well known jazz group Straight Ahead. Sabrina plays saxophone and sings with the group. She also plays eleven other instruments. Sabrina has performed with many national acts including Les McCann, Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Harris, Betty LaVette and Roy Ayers. She has toured throughout the world.
Elena Papillo Elena's award winning background already includes 13 theatrical productions and international performances. She is the featured artist for the Diabetes Association and was the winner of Apollo Night, The Kiwanis Music Festival, The Canadian and the Composers Trophy. Ms. Papillo has received scholarships in theater and music. In addition, she has been featured singing the National Anthem for various sports events. Elena was nominated in 2005 for Outstanding R&B Vocalist of the year in the Detroit Music Awards. She is currently busy penning her own compositions for future albums by the MotorCity Women and a solo release as well.
LEAH HARRIS a 23-year-old singer, pianist and songwriter from Windsor, Ontario. She loves to play the blues, as well as soul, country and jazz. Leah's idol is Ray Charles, whose soulful style has inspired me so much through the years. Leah performs both as a solo act, with the Leah Harris Trio in Windsor as well as with the Foundation of Funk band in Detroit. My current gigs include weekly performances at the City Grill downtown Windsor, on Ouellette Ave. and Park St.
Foundation of Funk is a dynamic, multifaceted, energetic group that will make Detroit rock!