Dezaray Dawn is an exciting new artist on the future soul scene, possessing a voice which resonates with the depth of both emotion and experience. This German-born, Southern-raised Army brat is a self-described gypsy, having lived in 2 countries, 4 states, and 6 US cities by the time she was 16. She attended 16 schools in 12 years, and Dezaray states: “When nothing else was solid in my life, there was always music. Whether listening to what my parent’s were playing or composing tunes in my head, music was my solace, my friend, my release, my comfort.” Born to two military parents, and raised in an environment where the only constant was change, the one firm foundation was music. Dezaray’s mother was a part-time nightclub singer, and her father’s family includes several highly successful recording artists (neo-soul artist Anthony David is a cousin, as are Sean Stockman of Boys II Men fame, and Tiny from Xscape), so it was only natural that their home was always filled with music. “Soul,

pop, funk — you name it. Everything except rap and hip-hop. My mom wouldn’t allow it,” Dezaray says with a laugh. But even this genre came to influence her own musical choices later on, as she grew to appreciate the tribal beats and syncopation of what she was spinning during her time spent as a highly regarded DJ at a progressive club in Nashville.

In addition to the sounds of Chaka, Aretha and Natalie from her mother’s collection, Dezaray Dawn’s early life was spent emulating artists she came to know on MTV. She wanted to “sing like Prince, dance like Michael, and be a showman like Madonna.” As her life became more turbulent following her parents’ divorce and the moves became more frequent due to her mother’s alcoholism, music was her escape. And more than anything, Dezaray came to understand the universality of soul music. Whether on the streets, in a shelter, or in the relative comfort of a stable home, soul music encompassed all she was experiencing and the feelings which ensued from being the victim of circumstances. Immediately following graduation, Dezaray struck out on her own, and, after a lifetime spent on the move, decided to settle right where she was: Nashville, otherwise known as Music City.

Dezaray held a variety of jobs, but it was her gig as a DJ in one of Nashville’s more progressive clubs that further enriched her already diverse musical tastes. Before spinning at this now-defunct Nashville hotspot, this avid music junkie had truly appreciated all styles of music, but it was Dezaray’s time in the booth which helped her re-discover electronica and the wide variety it encompasses, from house music to facets that include elements of soul and tribal. This led to horizon-broadening discoveries of artists such as Groove Armada, Armand Van Helden, D’Nell, Silhouette Brown, 4Hero, J*Davey, Muhsinah, Vikter Duplaix, Lisa Shaw, Georgia Ann Muldrow… the list goes on and on. Not only did Dezaray expose club-goers to an amazing array of artists many had never heard before, but each of these artists would later come to influence Dezaray’s style in her own music.

In addition to her time spent as a DJ, Dezaray studied music technology but came to realize that her heart was geared more to the artistic side of the industry. Having composed poetry throughout her life as a way of coping with all she was living through, she first ventured into the spotlight as a performing poet at various open mike events around Nashville. This is where she honed her reputation as a wordsmith, but given her love of music in all its forms, it was only a matter of time before she set her poetry to music.

Dezaray’s wealth of experiences in her young life, along with her total immersion in all types of music, has informed her musical choices as a composer and performer. Instead of being limited by genres and labels, Dezaray has pulled elements from many different styles and fused them together to form her own unique sound. From the driving rhythms and bass lines of hip-hop, to the futuristic sounds of electronica, to the far-flung elements of soul from around the world, all play a part in making Dezaray Dawn’s music what it so distinctly is today.

Dezaray has put together an EP that gives listeners a taste of what this young artist with the old soul is all about. The disc is titled “Chameleon,” which is quite apropos, given the widely divergent influences, which can be heard on the tracks Dezaray composed and offers for listeners’ enjoyment.

Dezaray, now based in Atlanta, has performed at several open-mike events, and is building a following in Atlanta’s future soul scene. In addition to her EP, Dezaray can be heard on several pod casts of up-and-coming independent artists, and she has been featured on Atlanta’s 89.3. She has also performed at Cenci in Atlanta to much acclaim.

Dezaray Dawn’s music is soul music at it’s finest — occasionally raw, often sweet, but always emotional and from the heart. Combine that with the solid rhythms of bass and percussion and the futuristic sounds of electronica, and you have one the most talented young artists of future soul.

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Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on December 1, 2009 at 1:18pm
WOW.....I love this pic too, yeah she is awesome and a Tennessean....LOL
Comment by Edie Antoinette on November 30, 2009 at 11:43pm
I just discovered her today Baby...ain't she something???? And from Nashville too...LOL!!!!

I should'a known...smh. Thanks for the feedback my 7nator
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on November 30, 2009 at 11:13pm
Mama Edie, this is niceeeeeeeee and i just love that pic, she has all that musical blood running through her veins, she has a great sound and in due time, the whole world will know it

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  1. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  2. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  3. play Norman Brown — Still
  4. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  5. play miles 2
  6. play miles 3
  7. play miles 4
  8. play miles 5
  9. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  10. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  11. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  12. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue

The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me"). 

As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even 
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.


The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created. 

The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon). 

If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available. 

Enjoy.  "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967) 
 "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
 "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
 "If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)

Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.

Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay." 
 While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).

The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪



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