*Mention the name “Shalamar” these days and two schools of thought in the music industry seem to prevail about this legendary R&B/dance-pop/post-disco group.
One thought marvels over the Grammy-winning group’s many hit singles in the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s that dominated the top spots of music charts in America, as well as in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and several other international locales.
Some of “Shalamar’s” hits have included, but not limited to, “Friends,” “The Second Time Around,” “Make That Move,” “This is for the Lover in You,” “A Night to Remember,” “I Can Make You Feel Good,” and many more.
The second school of thought these days centers on the dual existence of “Shalamar.” In other words, there’s two groups performing and recording under the “Shalamar” banner. There’s “Shalamar,” featuring Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Daniel, and Carolyn Griffey. Additionally, there’s “Shalamar Reloaded,” featuring Jody Watley, with Nate Allen Smith and Rosero McCoy.
So with two “Shalamars” around, what’s a fan to do? Thus, a battle over who legally owns the group and its right to record and tour as “Shalamar” is set to give fans a night to really remember. Yet, when the legal system makes that move, Griffey believes the name “Shalamar” will rightfully be hers – again.
“The point is, the name (Shalamar) was left to me,” said Griffey, who has performed with the group since about 2001. “I have all the documentations. I was given the right to continue to use the name by my father.”
Griffey’s father is the late Dick Griffey, who in 1975, formed Soul Train Records with Don Cornelius. “Shalamar” was the centerpiece of the record company that featured two Soul Train dancers: Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel. The third spot was filled by Gary Mumford, followed by Gerald Brown, and ultimately Howard Hewett. In 1977, Dick Griffey started Sound of Los Angeles Records (SOLAR) and signed songstress Carrie Lucas (Carolyn’s mother), The Whispers, Lakeside, The Deele (with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Antonio “L.A.” Reid), and many other artists.
READ RELATED STORY: Exclusive Jody Watley Statement Re: Shalamar Controversy
READ RELATED STORY: Steven Ivory: Dick Griffey–The SOLAR System has Lost its Biggest Star
“Shalamar” took a hit of sorts when Watley and Daniel left to pursue solo careers. Hewett later exited to establish his own solo career. However, the thirst and hunger for “Shalamar” never left the hearts of loyal fans, especially those in the UK and other European locales.
Therefore, in the late 1990s, Hewett and Daniel performed under the auspices of “Shalamar” which, according to Carolyn Griffey, had her father’s approval and blessings. Soon after, Hewett asked Carolyn to join the group for a UK engagement, which she accepted. She has been a member of the trio since.
Griffey acknowledges that Watley rendered valuable contributions to the visual and musical aspects of “Shalamar”…back in the day. However, said Griffey, Watley wanted out and never wanted to permanently reunite with Howard and Daniel. Griffey also said that in 2014, Watley did something that she didn’t like.
“What happened was Jody filed for the trademark rights to ‘Shalamar’ after my father passed, unbeknownst to us.” Griffey recalled. “We didn’t catch it, or find out about it until after it had gone through. Now we are in dispute, because I’m challenging it so I can get the name back to where it belongs.”
“I believe everybody should be able to capitalize off of their work,” Griffey told EURweb’s Lee Bailey. “But just because you were employed at a company, doesn’t give you the right to leave, come back and claim ownership of the company.”
While legal matters are being sorted out, for “Shalamar,” featuring Griffey, Hewett, and Daniel, the beat goes on. Griffey said the trio is set to embark on a month-long (April – May) tour that will take them to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Scotland. The group returns to play KBLX Stone Soul Picnic on May 29 in Concord, Calif. It will be the group’s first American performance that will include Jeffrey Daniel in a decade.
And just in case there’s some future confusion about which “Shalamar” will be performing for fans at venues around the globe, Griffey said…
“Audiences know exactly what lineup that they are getting,” she said. “We specify who’s in ‘Shalamar,’ so there’s never any deception with people. When we go out, we make it clear that it’s ‘Shalamar,’ featuring Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Daniel and Carolyn Griffey.”
Griffey also said there’s new music on the way from “Shalamar.” With veteran producer, songwriter, and former SOLAR stellar, Leon Sylvers, partially in the mix, the group is in great musical hands. Yet, according to Griffey, there’s a delicate balance between performing the group’s classic songs, along with adding new music.
“What people need to understand is that we are preserving memories and feelings and nostalgia,” she said. “I’m not saying that people don’t want to hear new music, but they want to capture the feelings and memories of what they had back when these songs came out. We want to continue in that fashion.”
For more information on “Shalamar” featuring Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Daniel, and Carolyn Griffey, log on to www.shalamar.info.
Be on the lookout for part 2 of our interview with Carolyn Griffey when she talks about growing up in the Griffey household and being surrounded by the SOLAR records galaxy of stars.