The Sound of Motown - Artists - Singers

Frank Riley - MC

Born in St. Louis, Frank’s career began when he was just ten years old, singing in the US Southern Mission Gospel Choir. He came to Germany with the US Army, where, following his musical successes in his home country, he soon got his European career break.

Performing in various groups such as Cameo, The Wright Thing, Mo’Soul, T.O.M. Band, Golden Gospel Pearls, Soulkitchen, Soul-Sista, Heatwave, Soul2One and many more, he cemented his reputation as a versatile singer, drummer and entertainer. While his musical range is vast, stretching from R&B and funk to rock and country, soul and gospel are his true passion. Shows such as Oh No Not My Baby and Disco Inferno have shown him to be a talented producer and songwriter, too. On top of this he produces his own records (“Never Gonna Fall In Love Again”, “Love Love Love” among others) and is successful in TV commercials.

Ron Williams - MC

The Sound of Classic Motown is proud to present its MC, the multitalented actor, presenter and singer Ron Williams.

Born in Oakland, California, Ron first came to Germany with the US military. He began his career at the American radio station AFN, where he became the first US comedian to be based in Germany. In the following decades he developed his range of artistic talents and worked professionally as a stage performer, singer, film and TV actor, presenter, dubbing artist etc.

Despite many other engagements (among others in the productions “Free at Last – The Nelson Mandela Story” and “The Harry Belafonte Story”), he immediately and enthusiastically agreed to join The Sound of Classic Motown as MC and singer.

Derrick Alexander - Lead Vocal

Born in the birthplace of Motown – Detroit, Michigan – Derrick Alexander began to sing and dance in night clubs aged 17, winning over audiences with his command of genres ranging from R&B and jazz to funk, soul and gospel. Over the course of his career he would share the stage with The Temptations, Tank, Public Announcement and Kim McFarland.

During his time in the US military he sang in the United States Army Europe Soldiers Chorus and toured to more than 40 countries. After 22 years in the army he decided to pursue a singing career in Germany. Since 2008 he has been lead vocal in his own group Premier Soul, as well as in the successful Sweet Soul Music Revue.

Derrick is famous for seducing audiences with his velvety voice, no matter what genre.

Jimmy James - Lead Vocal

Jimmy James is the “grandseigneur” of The Sound of Classic Motown. He came to Heidelberg in 1962 with the US Army. In the 1960s he met Klaus Gassmann. The legendary Wilson Pickett concert in February 1968 in the Jahrhunderthalle Frankfurt then gave the jump start to their future projects: Gassmann, former SAP manager, caught the soul bug and couldn’t imagine a life without soul. From then on, Jimmy became his indispensable partner in soul music; together they served the “Sweet Soul Music”, first with Back On Stage and later with Soulfinger.

Decades later Jimmy has lost nothing of his aura, on the contrary. This “Soul Brother No. 1” (the nickname given to him by Ron Williams, with reference to James Brown) came to soul via gospel. He is heavily influenced by Sam Cooke. But whether singing James Brown or Otis Redding – Jimmy always radiates true authentic “old school” soul.

Klyive - Lead Vocal

Born and raised in the beautiful Caribbean island state of Trinidad and Tobago, Klyive moved to New York at 17 and later to Germany.

He has worked with a wide range of bands all over Germany, including Midnight Mover, Soul Family, Cozmic Soul, Shebeen, the show Sweet Soul Music Review, That Way, as well as many more. With the group 2-4 Family he even made it into the German charts. He has since formed his own band Entourage, with whom he performs live.

Klyive loves to mix up different musical styles, from R&B to rock all the way to pop.

Edward Wade - Lead Vocal

Edward Wade, born in Nashville, Tennessee, began his career as a professional soul singer when he was 17 years old, performing in different venues, at weddings, in hotels, at corporate gigs and festivals.

In the 1980s he worked as a studio artist for the Buena Vista record label and then performed as support act for, among others, The Temptations and Cameo and the Chi-lites, followed by engagements  as lead singer for Waldo Weather & the Mix, Tony Coleman and the BB Kings House Rockers, The Drifters and the Four Tops. He performed on stage for the tribute show Sonomar in Majorca and also pursues a successful career as a solo artist.

James Brown - Lead Vocal

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, James started his music career at the tender age of 12 as the lead singer for a boy band in his local community. That experience and others, along with singing in his church choir throughout his youth lead him to the US Air Force Band.

He has opened for jazz artists such as George Dukes, Stanley Clark and the late Lou Rawls. He has shared the stage with saxophonist Gary Bias of Earth, Wind and Fire, jazz piano artist Kevin Toney, guitarist Norman Brown, Country artist Crystal Gale and the legendary Clint Black as well as many others.
From 1999 to 2002, he toured throughout Europe with the Air Force Band and performed on a regular basis on the R&B scene with Midnight Movers in Kaiserslautern, the K-Town Connection at the King Kamehameha Club in Frankfurt, and The Wright Thing out of Stuttgart.

Now after 11 years James has returned to once again be part of the music scene here in Europe.

Laeh Jones - Lead Vocal

Another artist from Motown’s home Detroit, Laeh Jones was steeped in soul from birth. Her father Warren Harris was a singer in the Motown group The Monitors, famous for their hits Greetings This Is Uncle Sam and Say You. Her mother, too, was a singer. Laeh herself is a former member of the gospel group Witness, winner of the Stellar Award and nominee of many others, among them a Grammy. With this group she toured the US for more than 14 years. In addition to this, she performed in many shows and musical theatre productions, as well as with artists such as Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Ann Nesby and many more.

Today Laeh lives in Kaiserslautern and has been with the Sweet Soul Music Revue since 2010. She is also a member of the group NE Kombination, working in the genres of jazz, R&B, classic soul, pop and gospel.

Caroline Mhlanga - Lead Vocal

A singer of true passion, Caroline grew up in a very musical family. The kick-start to her professional career was an appearance with an American gospel choir when she was just 15 years old – since then, music has been her life.

What followed were several performances at music festivals in Europe, where she discovered jazz and found her place in the music industry. She made a name for herself and today performs regularly at renowned jazz festivals and concerts in Europe and internationally. Audiences love her for her warm, expressive voice, commanding soul timbre, her powerful songs and soulful ballads.

She has been living in and around Offenbach since 2009.

Esther Stevens - Lead Vocal

As far back as Esther can remember she has had a passionate desire to sing. Esther cut her early professional teeth by singing in the Awaking Choir, led by the renowned vocalist Joan Faulkner. Esther rapidly expanded her talents in a number of music venues. She shared the public performance forum with Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, Mavis Staples, Coolio und Jennifer Rush. Esther was a member of the Jazz Hip-Hop group Razzle Dazzle and performs with the Pleasure Unlimited Barry White Tribute band, led by Music Director James Allen Simpson.

Esther also has a number of studio productions credited to her name. She has recorded with La Bouche, Star, Christian Wunderlich, Masterboy, and studio recording, role appearance on the Obama Musical HOPE – Yes We Can, and Frank Farian’s Daddy Cool. The more she sings, the more she loves it! What is life without music?

Janet Taylor - Lead Vocal

Janet has been singing all her life, starting in a gospel choir at the age of 3 years. In her high school years she was part of musicals such as Grease, Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof and The Wiz. After high school she was working for the Staatstheater Mainz in Showboat. In the mid 90’s Janet had the opportunity to take her career to another level working with artists as Joan Faulkner, Randall Taylor, Pamela O’Neal, Tom Woll,...

Working in the German club scene doing house music, techno, rock and pop with artists such as B.G. the Prince of Rap, DJ Taucher, DJ Sakin and Friends, Toni Cottura, DJ Mind-X, working with producers such as Stefan Benz, Heinz Felber, Joe Jam, Torsten Stenzel and Jam Elmar... eventually being awarded with Gold record in Germany, Silver in England and Platinum and Gold in Denmark! Janet has traveled most of the world singing and sharing her talent. Today you can find her living in Germany singing for Celebration, Jackson Singers and many more.