Meet the Artists of A Tribute to Motown

By DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

[About a 6 MIN read]

Motown Blog Feature Image
Motown Blog Feature Image

Meet the Artists of A Tribute to Motown

By DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

[About a 6 MIN read]

A Tribute to Motown pays homage to one of the most influential creations in Black culture — the iconic music of the timeless Motown era. Motown was more than just a record label, it was a dream turned into a musical revolution. Born in Detroit, it gave rise to some of the music legends who broke barriers and united audiences across racial and geographical lines.

Get to know some of the artists performing in A Tribute to Motown this February, and learn how they’re keeping the Motown spirit alive through their work. Their unique sounds bring a fresh perspective to the Motown legacy. Through their voices, we’ll explore the timeless influence of Motown’s greatest hits, and how these classic tunes continue to resonate in today’s music scene.

Meet the Artist: Janet Gunn

Gladys Knight because of her soulfulness.

Diana Ross and the Supremes because of their style, harmony, and glamour.

Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder because of their unique and captivating voices. 

I prepare first by listening to the music over and over, and I prepare myself mentally and physically. 

I also prepare by asking myself what type of an event it is in order to present to the audience my best performance.

Although performing at the first Motown Event was very memorable, I would have to say that my favorite event in 2015, was when I performed and won at the National AARP singing competition.

I enjoy when the music begins to come together and when it is presented, that it can bless people and allow them to feel a part of it and special. At the same time, I am challenged when working with so many different, but talented musicians.

In my free time, I enjoy time with my husband, traveling, going to the gym, jogging, family time, and reading. 

I would love for the audience to experience the joy, excitement, have a good time, and once it is over, to leave with the feeling that they were glad that they came. 

Meet the Artist: Darryl Buchanan former Motown touring bassist, guitarist (1980-2007)

The music of Motown has been a staple of my 42 year music career. Being involved and touring with Motown recording artists on stage and behind the scenes helped me understand the dedication and determination to achieve excellence! Even though many i worked with are no longer here, their professionalism and approach to their craft is always instilled in me!

The era of Motown music, for me, was the era of authentic musical vision and human struggle to be heard from those, who at the time, were facing many obstacles dealing with racism in America. I witnessed this first hand while touring across America in the ’80s! Through it all, the world found tremendous joy in the musical sounds that were coming from Detroit, and many became unconcerned with who was making the music! The music took control of millions, of all races, on the dance floor. As I performed across the globe, I soon found out that not many countries had produced a unique sound that could be heard around the world! Motown was a gifted company of voices and musicians meant to be heard forever. It was like a cake that was baked at just the right temperature! 

I have many favorites after decades of live performances, but I could say The Paridiso in Amsterdam, Holland, and the Glam Slam in Minneapolis (at the time it was owned by Prince). I knew Prince had also performed on the same stage at both venues, and having the pleasure to meet him at the Glam Slam was great! He was one of my biggest musical inspirations. 

The best part of work in the entertainment industry is meeting and seeing so many people from all walks of life enjoy themselves and me being a part of their enjoyment through performing. The most challenging part is knowing you need to be at the top of your game each time. That’s the difference between doing what you love and wishing you were doing it! Faith, work ethic, and knowing how to switch gears when the times comes! 

I’ve always listened to all styles of music, starting with blues and soul R&B when I was 12 from my parents. These days, I listen to a lot of old school soul R&B and lots of today’s smooth jazz. I don’t listen to a lot of today’s music. Computers fix, but they don’t

I used to be 100% consumed with the music industry when I was younger. These days, I get into many other things, from watching documentaries, sports, performing, and giving my musical blessings to my church, and hitting the golf courses when weather permits. Hurry up spring!

I hope to see many friends, people from all over, and music lovers come together for a heartfelt event of music from the past! Who can imagine our world without live music, I can’t.

Meet the Artist: Makeda Grier

You’re All I Need to Get By – Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

Tammi Terrell
Diana Ross

I’d say I started taking it seriously in high school.

Alone time, practice, and meditation.

Playing the role of Celie in The Color Purple for over ten years.

February 10 at 7:30 p.m.

A Tribute to Motown

It’s the sound of a generation. Back for one memorable night, experience the magic of Motown in a show jam-packed with some of the biggest hits, stunning vocals, and a band driving it all the Motor City way. The teams at A Gammage Solutions and Bishop’s House Productions have curated another trip down memory lane with the lyrics, melodies, and moves authentic to the label from artists such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, The Temptations, and many more!

This event is part of the Presenting Series’ Cultural Collective, new programming supporting equitable artistic development in our community.

Categories: Meet The Artist, News + Announcements