Tuesday, 26 November 2013 14:58

RC & The Gritz

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It isn’t often that artists experience success on their first commercial venture, and when they do, it’s even less often that they stay humble and accessible. But RC Williams, of RC and the Gritz, has managed to do both.

At the age of 19, RC was part of God’s Property, the backup band for Kirk Franklin, best known for their rousing hit “Stomp.” That song led to a “BET” video, a performance on Jay Leno, the Soul Train Awards, and meeting stars like Puff Daddy, Snoop, and Whitney Houston.

Fast forward almost 20 years, and RC has become an established artist of his own.

He and the Gritz are Erykah Badu’s backup band, and his work on her album, “Worldwide Underground,” resulted in a Grammy nomination.

He has toured with Snoop Lion, written for Raheem Devaughn, and worked with artists from Prince to Jill Scott. Each month his star power brings artists such as Bilal, Stokely, and Eric Roberson to the funky Deep Ellum joint on Elm Street called “The Prophet Bar.”

With those accomplishments and that influence under his belt, some might expect RC to be trippin’ over his own ego. Rest assured, he is not. For all his talent in writing, producing, and playing, for all his travels – Europe, Asia, and coast to coast – RC remains humble.

Perhaps it’s due to his beginnings. RC is a Dallas native. Born and raised. Like many musicians, his roots are in Gospel, and he will readily adds that, at one point, his mother’s spirituality was so strong that she didn’t want him playing secular music.

But as they both journeyed down the path he was destined to travel, they learned that music is music. And, more importantly, that music calls RC to play.

As you sit back and talk to RC, you can’t help but wonder how he has continued to maintain success in an industry where success can be fleeting. He credits it to “creating relationships.” RC believes that creating relationships and then building on them is fundamental to success.

“You don’t have to get out of Dallas to succeed. Relationships … making good relationships is the key.” Build good strong relationships and be willing to help each other out. Do “friendship trades.” Appreciate the talent that surrounds you.

Those relationships, that talent, and those friendship trades have all culminated in what’s next for RC and the Gritz: the release of their first album entitled “Pay Your Tab.”

The title is inspired by a Prophet Bar waiter requesting that RC tell the patrons to “close their tab,” and RC describes the album as “groovy, emotional, and catchy.” The funky disc features performances from Raheem, Snoop, and, of course, Erykah Badu.

Interestingly, the Gritz weren’t formed to create an album; they were formed to play some gigs around Dallas in their downtime. But somewhere along the way, something organic happened: People asked, the songs came, the writing began, and it was a natural process.

This isn’t to say the album came easy. RC admits that “doing it the first time was a real learning experience.” But when you love your work, it rarely seems like work at all. What’s clear is that RC loves his work.

So with Grammy nominations, TV performances, and worldwide tours under his belt, is there much left for RC and his Gritz?

According to RC, the answer is yes.

“I feel like this is a beginning. My plan is to build an empire down here and to take the initiative to build artists from the city of Dallas. I’m blessed to be where I am. But I’m not stopping here.”

RC and the Gritz are blessed to be here and Dallas is blessed to have him as a native son.

RC and the Gritz is composed of RC Williams, Braylon Lacy, Cleon Edwards, Claudia Melton, Jah Born, Taron Lockett, and Evan Knight.

“Pay Your Tab” by RC and The Gritz is available via iTunes, CDBaby, and other digital outlets. It should be available at retail stores the first week in December.

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