By Anjulie Van Sickle
Even before they were teenagers, Kevin “K.J.” Gray and his younger brother Kwinton knew they wanted to become a part of the music industry.
By 11, Kwinton had started to play piano and sing. By 13, K.J. had learned to play the acoustic guitar and was on his way to learning the bass.
Together, the duo grew up playing their own music around the house as well as church.
Now, however, they have moved out of their house and into the local music scene as part of a pop/soul group called Friday’s Foolery.
One of their biggest fans is Dr. Oscar Passley, who heads up the college’s music program and has had the brothers in his classes for a few years now. He predicts that the brothers will make it big thanks to their hard work and dedication.
“They’re very talented,” Passley said. “I could literally see them at the Grammys. It’s my job to give them the tools to be successful.”
He described the brothers’ relationship as like peanut butter and jelly: when one is seen, the other isn’t too far behind.
The band is made up of K.J. and Kwinton, as well as Brandon Price and JaQuay Morgan. They were all born and raised in the Dallas area and have plans to further their careers in the music industry and are currently working on releasing their first EP.
K.J. plays bass, Kwinton plays keyboard, Price plays drums, and Morgan is the bands lead singer. Friday’s Foolery was formed a little over a year ago after a Friday night music practice at church.
“We were having a little jam session, and we started playing the theme song from “Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers’ Kwinton said. “That’s how we came up with the name Friday’s Foolery.”
Kwinton said there is a certain feeling of accomplishment in recording the band’s original music that he doesn’t get from practicing or performing covers.
“It gave me a feeling that all the time I put into it turned into something better than I could have ever imagined,” K.J. said.
After the EP is released this summer, they plan on performing locally and working toward a record deal.
The band’s highlight thus far was performing live for the first time at the GreenHouse restaurant in Denton.
“The crowd’s response was really warm, and they really enjoyed what we were doing,” Kwinton said. “There were about 40-50 [people there], but it was a small room, so it was a cool vibe.”
The band’s influences include Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis and several other jazz and gospel singers.
“We try to be as relative as possible [with our music],” Morgan said. “We sing about love, current situations and things that people can relate to and be touched by. We try to include a message in each song.”
All of the music they perform and record is original and is representative of their efforts to stay creative and true to themselves.
“We don’t want to sell out on our morals or do something just because it’s popular,” Kwinton said. “We just want to be our own band and not copy anybody else.”
The band’s motto has developed into “Creativity through Diversity.”
“We have four different minds and four different opinions, and we all have to put them into one to get one product,” Kwinton said. “It’s really about patience and practice because it’s going to take time. You have to commit to the process of becoming what you want to be and not rushing it.”
Like most musicians, there tend to be disagreements between band members. However, those arguments usually bring them closer and strengthen their ties.
“If you have a band and you’re just going in there and butting heads the whole time, you’re not going to get anything accomplished,” K.J. said. “There has to be cooperation.”
The members credit their determination, patience and practice for their success but also say they’ve gotten a lots of help from others, particularly their family.
“Even at the very beginning, [our families] always encouraged and supported us,” Kwinton said. “I am extremely grateful for them.”
K.J. said when there were slow points in rehearsals, his family would encourage the band to start practicing again.
Eventually, the band members hope to leave their hometown and tour the world.
They want to make their music available to anyone who will listen.
“The reason why I wanted to start the band was because I wanted more people to hear my music,” Kwinton said. “I want my music to be something more, something to be remembered by whoever will listen to it. I want them to be able to feel the words.”