December 16, 2021

LAWT News Service


In the summer of 1993, André Cymone (Prince’s original bassist, producer of Jody Watley’s “Looking for a New Love”), Mic Murphy (of synthesized R&B duo, The System, which hit the Pop Top 10 with “Don’t Disturb This Groove” in 1987), St. Paul Peterson (of Prince’s groups, The Time, and The Family), and Gardner Cole (who’s penned songs for Cher, and Madonna) got together for weeks of recording sessions that almost no one knew existed until now. “We were there for kind of a fantasy music summer camp at Cole’s house,” Murphy recalls.  “We had all worked together in the past, in some form or another, so everyone was excited to see what we could create together.” As The Mighty Soulmates, 14 of those tracks are finally revealed on the new album, VOL. 1 (Mod Squad), that is now available on all digital music platforms.  Listen:

Silk Sonic has sparked a global retro soul revival, so the Mighty Soulmates have surfaced at the right time. The set is a balance of musical moods reflecting their eclectic influences. While “Hollywood” and “Tied to Your Pocket” are reminiscent of the `80s Minneapolis Sound, “Get Down” is a nod to James Brown and “Get Up Get Off” is a wink at Stevie Wonder. The Soulmates share leads on the New Jack Swinger, “Gonna Love You Right” while Peterson croons the infectious Pop groove, “I Wanna Be the One.” Members of the group wrote all of the songs with the exception of their funky cover of The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion,” a 1970 classic. “It only took us a few weeks,” Cymone recalls. “We just kind of jammed and eventually came up with a song, pretty much finishing it on the spot, and then moved on to the next song.”

The sessions ended when Cole’s Southern California home was damaged during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Although, there was enough material for two albums, none of it was ever released. “I’m honestly not sure what happened,” Cymone sighs. 

“I think with all those talented artists, they probably got busy and drifted back into their commitments. I know my life at that time was insanely crazy.” Peterson adds that, “I believe we shopped it, and nothing really happened with it. We all led busy lives and it just sat there, marinating like a fine funk masterpiece.  Everything has its right time and now might just be the time.”

Tony Prendatt, a GRAMMY® Award winning engineer (Lauryn Hill, Carlos Santana), who has released the project through his Mod Squad label, thinks so too. “Mic Murphy and I are old friends,” he says. “I heard the project for the first time a couple of months ago. The gentlemen, their talents and achievements are self-explanatory.  As a collective, The Mighty Soulmates is an inspiring musical work for the planet. But, most importantly, they are good, personable individuals on the verge of a resurgence.” 

ANDRÉ CYMONE – The original bass player for Prince’s band, The Revolution. He went solo in 1981. He had a string of R&B chart showings with “Livin’ in the New Wave,” “Lipstick Lover,” and his Top Ten hit, “The Dance Electric.” Aside from producing and writing for a variety of acts, he’s co-written and produced Jody Watley’s biggest hits such as “Still A Thrill,” “Some Kind of Lover,” “Real Love,” and “Lookin’ for A New Love.” Current residence: Los Angeles.

GARDNER COLE - A multi-instrumentalist, Cole launched his career in the 1980s playing on recording sessions, as well as, touring with bands such as ABC, and a-ha. As a songwriter, he’s written or co-written songs that have been recorded by Pop music icons such as Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, Chaka Khan, Amy Grant, Michael McDonald, and Madonna. He’s served as composer for films such as Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America” and Tom Cruise’s “Days of Thunder.” As a recording artist, he was signed to Warner Bros. where he earned his own Billboard Hot 100 hit with, “Live It Up,” in 1988. Current residence: Phoenix, AZ.

MIC MURPHY – Singer Mic Murphy teamed up with keyboardist David Frank in the early 1980s to form the Synthetic Pop duo, The System. They earned nine Billboard chart hits. Five of them were Top Ten R&B radio singles such as “You Are in My System,” “This is For You,” and their 1987 No. 1 hit “Don’t Disturb this Groove” which also peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Pop chart. Aside from their own recordings, they became in-demand as tunesmiths and a production team. They contributed to projects by Christina Aguilera, Angela Bofill, Jeff Lorber, Phillip Bailey, Jason Derulo, Chaka Khan, Masters at Work, and Phil Collins. Current residence: New York City.

ST. PAUL PETERSON - The Minneapolis native was discovered by Prince at the age of 17 when he was tapped as the superstar’s keyboard player for the group The Time’s appearance in the film, “Purple Rain.” From there, he became the lead vocalist for Prince’s group, The Family (which now performs as fDeluxe). He then launched a solo career, recording albums for MCA and Atlantic Records. He went on to play on sessions by artists as diverse as Sheena Easton and Joe Sample.  He’s written songs that have been recorded by Jazz greats such as George Benson, Al Jarreau, and Brian Culbertson who scored a 1 Smooth Jazz hit with his track, “Been Around the World.” Current residence: Minneapolis, MN.

Category: Arts & Culture