Genre: Funk, Jazz, Soul/R&B
Hometown: New York, NY

BluSyde is one of the hottest bands on the New York music scene. They create music that is magical, fresh, and innovative; a true reflection of their collective souls and the times they live in. BluSyde is a five piece self-contained R&B band flavored with hip-hop, funk, and jazz. This New York City based band has built a loyal following in the New York area performing at such venues as the Iridium, Soul Cafe, Downtime, The Baggot Inn, La Bar Bat and CBGB's, to name a few. In 1998 they toured Zimbabwe, Africa as the opening act and back-up band for the R&B group Soul For Real. BluSyde recently performed for Isaac Hayes' 4th Annual Celebrity Birthday Bash held at the Copacabana (MTV announcement of the event).

BluSyde released their first CD single in February, 2000 titled "Over There". The single features three cuts and has been selling very well to loyal fans, as well as music lovers who are experiencing the BluSyde sound for the first time. The band is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on the LIVE CD project which will be ready by Spring/Summer 2001.

BluSyde is ready to make its mark on the music industry. Armed with a hot CD, an exciting live show and an ever-growing following, BluSyde is primed to take their music to the masses. BluSyde is comprised of five talented young men of diverse backgrounds and experience. These melodic and beautiful spirits create music with thoughtful observations about life, celebrating God's presence through sound. BluSyde accomplishes this with creativity, harmony, warmth, humor, honesty, humility, and strength.

You can currently check out BluSyde as the backing band for Antra/Artemis recordings artist, The Spooks. They are featured in the video for "Sweet Revenge" enjoying heavy rotation on BET and MTV2. The band is preparing for a 3 week European tour with the Spooks.

Look out for BluSyde coming to a venue near you this summer.

Band Members

Danon Johnson - Bass, Background Vocals

Danon was born in Brooklyn and raised in Long Island. He has studied Bass, acoustic and electric guitar for nineteen years and piano for eigtheen years. Danon studied Classical, Jazz, R&B, Funk and Rock on a musical scholarship from L.I.U./C.W. Post University. Danon has played and performed with such greats as Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and Sandra St. Victor. He has also played with R&B artist Tony Terry. Influences: Donny Hathaway, Herbie Hancock, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Ohio Players, and Stevie Wonder. "My inspiration for starting BluSyde was originality. To have a band that is creative, original, and play music that evolves around the hip-hop and R&B scenes as well as pay homage to our jazz roots."

Rakiem Walker - Saxophone, Lead Vocals

Born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx, he started playing saxophone in the 10th grade. Rakiem enjoys such hobbies as biking and photography. He attended Jazz Mobile Workshop winter sessions for six years. He received tutelage from such jazz greats as: Frank Foster, Donald Byrd, Charles Davis, Patience Higgins, Bill Saxton, and Kenny Rogers. He also studied with Milt Hinton for three years. Rakiem has done several projects as a studio musician for WU-Tang 36 Chambers Studios including the Ghostface Killah "Supreme Clientele" album, The "Ghostdog" Movie Soundtrack, and the Red Hot Project for 2000. Influences: Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, and Stevie Wonder. "I love working with children. Showing them a blue-print and a better option for what they can be in the future."

James Preston - Keyboards, Lead & Background Vocals

Born and raised in Gordon Heights, Long Island, James started playing drums and percussions at age four. At age six he began playing piano. He enjoys a good workout, physical fitness, and optimum health. He enjoys the company of others as well as solitude. James has worked as a studio musician, playing on the works of various artists such as: Madonna, Patra, Me'Shell NdegeOcello, D'Angelo, Barrington Levy, The B - 52's, Babyface, Brand Nubian, Joi Cardwell, Too Deep, Incognito, and Michael Jackson. Influences: Max Roach, Les McCann, Gene Ammons, Miles Davis, Earl "Fatha" Hines, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Ramsey Lewis, Patrice Rushen, George Benson, Marvin Gaye, Chick Corea, George Duke, Bootsy Collins, and Stevie Wonder. "Writing songs is an excellent way to express one's self. I think a lot of people feel the same things but may not know how to say it sometimes. As a songwriter, I can help people find the words to express what they feeling."

Jermaine McQueen - Drums

Born in Queens and raised in Brooklyn, Jermaine embarked on playing the Drums at the age of five. He is a self-taught drummer who posseses the natural born ability and talent to play. He is sometimes referred to as a "soul drummer", because everything he plays comes straight from the heart. He has played with such artists and musicians as: Al B. Sure!, Vickie Winans, Mike Phillips-Sax (Solo Artist, Blackstreet), Jared Brooks-bass (Chico Debarge), Mike Campbell-lead guitar (Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan), Timothy Wright, Dorothy Norwood and Stanley Brown (producer). Influences: Dennis Chambers, Billy Cobham, Virgil Dannati, Carter Breuford, DJ Premier, Mint Condition, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Pete Rock, and Stevie Wonder. "I want to continue to do positive things and first and foremost gives thanks and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is my personal savior."

Michael Lewis - Trumpet, Flugal Horn, Background Vocals

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Michael graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Michael has toured the U.S., Europe, and Japan performing in such venues as: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The North Sea Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festival, The Apollo Theatre, and the Blue Note. He has performed with the likes of Patti Labelle, Alex Bugnon, Wilson Pickett, Hank Crawford, George Benson, Natalie Merchant, and Pharoah Sanders. Not only is Michael a phenomenal trumpet player, but he is also an accomplished actor. Influences: Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Nat King Cole, Sly & The Family Stone, Michael Henderson, Larry Graham, Marvin Gaye, The Crusaders, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Stevie Wonder, and John Coltrane. "I thank God for the opportunity to use my life and the talents he blessed me with to be a blessing and a shining light to others."


Posted on 1/21/01