*As a young girl growing up in Southern California, Carolyn Griffey recalled spending many hours and days watching a multiplicity of artists, either recording in the studio or performing in concert. These were no ordinary run-of-the-mill artists; they were bona fide solo artists, singing groups and self-contained bands, all of which were signed to her father’s storied record label, Sound of Los Angeles Records (SOLAR). Her father was the incomparable music pioneer and mogul Dick Griffey, who created SOLAR Records in 1977.
Carolyn Griffey’s father, along with Don Cornelius of Soul Train, first created Soul Train Records in 1975, which featured “Shalamar,” “The Whispers” and Carrie Lucas (Carolyn’s mother, Dick Griffey’s wife). Dick Griffey also booked much of the talent that was seen week-after-week on the popular television show Soul Train.
READ RELATED STORY: Carolyn Griffey: The Name ‘Shalamar’ Belongs to Me!!! (EUR Exclusive)
The aforementioned artists were brought over from Soul Train Records to SOLAR, and were eventually joined by such artists as “Lakeside,” “Dynasty,” “Midnight Star,” “Klymaxx,” “Collage,” and “The Deele,” the latter of which introduced Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Antonio “L.A.”Reid to a wider world of music.
For Carolyn Griffey, watching so many talented artists up close and personal was awesome. However, it was extra special being so close to “Shalamar,” where she would dream of being a member of the group one day. Yes…dreams can and do come true!
Around 2001, Howard Hewett asked Carolyn to join ‘Shalamar.” Jody Watley had left the group long before to establish what has become a major solo career. Watley’s replacement, Delisa Davis, also left the group for other opportunities.
“When I was first asked to join ‘Shalamar’ I didn’t want to join the group,” Griffey told EURweb.com’s Lee Bailey. “But I changed my mind because ‘Shalamar’ was and is my all-time favorite group. And I’m not just saying this because my father created ‘Shalamar.”
Griffey accepted Hewett’s invitation and began performing with him and Jeffrey Daniel. She continues to be an intricate part of the group, known as “Shalamar,” featuring Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Daniel, and Carolyn Griffey. She gives a lot of credit to her mother (Carrie Lucas) for not only being an example of a true vocalist and recording artist, but for also being a true and good mother.
“My mother was this disco diva, who is still amazing and still looks beautiful,” said Griffey, the mother of two sons, 24 and 21 respectively, and a 10-year-old daughter. “My mother gave up her career for her family. I thank God for learning how to be a mother through the amazing way in which she exemplified motherhood.”
With “Shalamar” already in the midst of a month-long tour that will take the group to the United Kingdom including England, Ireland, and Scotland, Carolyn reflected on the impact that being away from home has on her young daughter.
“My daughter is dealing with what I dealt with when I was a child of the industry, and when my mother would go out on tour,” said Griffey. “This will be the longest that I’ve ever been away from my daughter. It’s hard for her. When my mother would go away to perform, I would stay with my grandmother. Sometimes I would get sick with the thought of being without my mom.”
Griffey also reflected on her father’s frequent road trips when she was growing up.
“My father was gone at lot,” she said. “He wasn’t just someone sitting in an office at SOLAR giving orders to his artists; he was out on the road. He was in the studio. He was producing. He was writing. He was hands on. He was doing it all.”
Griffey admitted that her father, who passed in 2010, was shrewd, and he could be hard, gruff and difficult.
“I grew up hearing that my dad was so hard, so tough, so this and so that,” Griffey said. “I’ve heard people talk about what they didn’t like about what he did. I like to look at what he did do, because without the opportunities that he created, many people wouldn’t be in certain positions today. Whether people thought he was fair or not, he did a lot for our people, and for this industry. He was a pioneer. He broke down a lot of barriers.”
READ RELATED STORY: Steven Ivory: Dick Griffey–The SOLAR System has Lost its Biggest Star
Although SOLAR Records is now defunct, in 2017, it will be 40 years since the company’s inception. Such a milestone is not something that Carolyn will shy away from.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure that the legacy of Sound of Los Angeles Records is kept alive,” said Griffey, who is also a fitness coach through I-Care Fitness. “SOLAR was the only record company that represented the sound of Los Angeles and West Coast. My mom is also spearheading some things as it relates to preserving their legacies. I see the lack of memory that the industry has. If somebody doesn’t keep SOLAR and my father’s legacies alive, they will die. And I won’t let that happen!”
EUR Bonus Coverage …
As we said up top, Carolyn Griffey, along with her Shalamar cohorts, Jeffrey Daniel and Howard Hewett, are on tour in the UK. Sunday night (04-10-16) via Facebook Live she gave fans a glimpse of the backstage happenings before they took to the stage in Ipswitch, England:
Bout to hit it
Posted by Carolyn Griffey on Sunday, April 10, 2016