Serita’s Black Rose

seritas1For over a decade, in some form or fashion, Serita’s Black Rose has been delivering their own blend of funk and soul to the eager fans of West Michigan. With the new year brings new opportunities. Recoil sat down and enjoyed a beer over some delicious crack fries and get some insight into what drives this duo to create.
Lyrics such as “Living off my paycheck from week to week/Rolling up my pennies so I can eat,” from the song “Something Somebody Said” come from a place of truth, a theme that seems to run throughout the band’s work. Serita Crowley explains: “[My music] does have a lot to do with struggles and hardships that I have been through with people and relationships that we can all relate to. Another line says, ‘Stole my words, made them absurd/It’s all good because I knew that you would/Now it’s time for me to say/What’s been up in my mind all of the time.’ It explains how people try to run their game on other people and take advantage of those that are just trying to eat like they are. Regardless of the struggles we all face, many people have the choice to maintain integrity as a human being, without taking advantage of those less fortunate than they are.”
As with all artists, inspiration also comes from relationships. Serita’s thoughts are clear: “It is not easy to be in a long-lasting relationship with someone… But deep down I believe that everyone wants someone to share the rest of their lives with. Someone who can be their best friend more than anything else.”
Coincidentally, the pair that make up Serita’s Black Rose, Serita Crowley and Jon Hayes, have been just that as they’ve written music. It’s clear from the way that they bounce ideas and sentences back and forth from one another that there is a deep and strong connection, made even more powerful by being able to create and perform beautiful music together.
“We are working on a full record for 2013,” Crowley offers. “We are using more acoustic instrumentation to produce a more organic sound. It will be a collaboration of many musicians from different backgrounds.”
The passion and love translates, and this year Serita’s Black Rose is a WYCE Jammie Award nominee. It’s a validation of their hard work and proof that the community is taking notice. “The Jammie nominations mean a lot to us, more than what people realize because WYCE has contributed to our community tremendously. It gives people the opportunity to gain exposure while bringing the community together,” gushes Crowley. “I have talked to previous Jammie winners and I feel that some may not realize how significant this honor is to them. We feel very blessed to be able to contribute our talents to the community. We have worked with so many musicians throughout West Michigan over the years and it is nice to get recognized for all of our hard work.”
Serita’s voice may be intimidating but her spirit is not. Although she may have heard the term diva thrown around a couple times, Crowley has perspective. “I have a strong personality and enormous stage presence,” said Crowley. “Some musicians that I know personally may perceive me as being a diva because they have told me that they are intimidated by me. I am not the legendary Chaka khan, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight or Aretha Franklin, who have paid their dues and have earned their suggested titles as divas.  I am a down-to-earth person with a love for music, a big heart and I’m very good at what I do. I’m not a diva. I have not paid enough dues to earn that title yet. I’m simply Serita L. Crowley, AKA Black Rose.”
Serita’s Black Rose will be play at The Taste Of Soul Event at Grand Rapids Public Library’s Main Branch Feb. 17 at 1:30 p.m. with Karisa Wilson. Admission is free and so is the soul food. The WYCE Jammies Award Ceremony is Feb. 22 at the Intersection at 7 p.m.–Naomi Goedert  February 2013

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