Published on December 31st, 2021 | by MuzikScribe


The Mighty SoulMates: A Timeless Portrait



Please introduce for me the members of The Mighty SoulMates…

St. Paul Peterson (keyboardist in The Time and lead singer in Prince’s group The Family): I had the pleasure of recording with some of my musical heroes; Mic Murphy (he and David Frank were producing a Jeff Lorber record in New York City that I co-wrote. It was my first trip to NYC and I was GREEEEEN! He took good care of me). Andre Cymone, my fellow Prince alum…great producer, Minneapolis  legend, overall badass…and Gardner Cole, soulful singer, writer and the instigator of most of this.

Mic Murphy (co-creator / member of The System and The Jack Sass Band): I first met Andre Cymone while on the road as a tour manager for the band Kleeer on the Rick James / Prince Tour a.k.a. Funk Rock Tour of the Century! At the time I was just a guy with a briefcase backstage so no one in the Prince entourage gave me a second look, but for some unknown reason AC a.k.a. Andre Cymone carrying trumpet case offstage threw me a pound. Little did I know at the time that one day I would have the distinct honor of making music, and making a friendship with my ‘most flavorful brother.” Gardner Cole and I met when we were both writing tunes in L.A. for the late great Tony LeMans, and I was a fan of his writing and solo records. We hung out a few times and definitely made an early connection St. Paul and I first met – as he stated – while working on Jeff Lorber’s album; the song “Groovacious”…and then again on a writing trip for his solo record, we wrote another couple tunes.

First things first, how did the four of you even come together to form this supergroup?

SPP: If memory serves me correctly – which 30 years later is questionable – Gardner pulled us all in.

MM: GC rang me up and asked me out to summer camp at his Woodland Hills crib. I was in NYC bored out of my bird! I was mid breakup with my ex, and definitely God threw me a musical life preserver.

André Cymone (artist, singer, songwriter, producer and original bass player with the artist known as Prince): A timeless portrait of life’s musical soundtrack, or a soundtrack in the key of life.

That being said, how would you all describe and / or define the style of music that you all create and perform? 

SPP: I think this was a transition period for a lot of us; I know it was for me. I was just coming off my last major label deal, and I was searching for what was “next.” That was a very vulnerable time for me, and this invitation couldn’t have come at a better time. I think we all brought our influences, which ranged from Funk to Pop to Rock to indie Punk…and we just brought what we had with no reservations, and it all worked.

MM: Four Funk Soul brothers doin’ what comes naturally. It seemed so natural and easy to incorporate our styles like we were born to it. It is of course the music of our roots sweating in sets in nightclubs. The vocal harmonies, the jams, the beats and rhythms; we painless & smooth and ain’t got nothing to prove!

AC: It’s hard to say, we all bring so much to the table. We all bring the Funk, we all bring an eclectic aura of sophistication. I guess I’m the blender, but again I could say that of all of us so…great question.

Now from individual standpoints, what do each of you bring to the table both personality wise and creatively?

SPP: For this particular project, I remember playing a bunch of instruments and having fun doing arrangements for strings. I was in a room full of incredibly successful producers, but they made me feel right at home.

MM: Not a dud in the box; AC, GC, PP giving a master funk class, and I just get in the gaps where I fit in and drink the ice cold Kool-Aid.

Where’s does the group’s moniker originally derive from?

SPP: In my opinion, this name came easily. It’s really what we were…friends who love soul music; therefore Soulmates…changed 30 years later to The Mighty SoulMates)!

MM: GC and AC came with the name, and if you know Gardner a.k.a. God’s Gardener a.k.a. Noah of the Ark, The Shaman Healer…the name fits right in his spiritual vision. Those two guys alone have a very rich successful history together.

Your debut project is simply titled Vol. 1 — For someone who has yet to hear the album in its entirety, what would you all tell that person can be expected from it?

SPP: If you like Vol 1, you’ll love the rest of the record. The common thread is good songwriting, and a soulful band approach.

MM: The record is a trip through our musical influences from ‘60’s Motown, The Beatles and Memphis Soul, right through Minneapolis and Parliament Funk with harmonic and chord chemistry of groups like Ambrosia “Biggest Part of Me,” Player “Baby Come Back.”

Longevity, what do you all attribute yours to?

SPP: Tenacity, and my advice to any up and coming musician is to NEVER GIVE UP!

MM: Work with people who have the same passion as you do, and keep creating everyday.

AC: Personally for me, remembering that music is a form of art, and that art is subjective. The piano, guitar, drums, bass and the rest of the instruments you use are your paint brushes…your imagination, the colors and your tape recorder, computer or what have you, is your canvas. Also I would say, keeping an open mind and in the darkest moments, looking for the light. Seeing what’s possible in the world and writing about it. Family and a relentless push to continue to be a better artist, songwriter and musician.

In having said that, how then have things changed and / or evolved since y’all’s whole inception into music?

SPP: When we recorded this record, we were under the old school model of the music business; no MP3’s or streaming services. Now, I think people are even more hungry for real music from real musicians, and this record delivers that. There is a LOT of “noise” out there, because anyone and everyone can become an artist. Hopefully this will be a diamond in the rough, and utilizing the new music model we will get this record into the hands of a LOT of people who love old school R&B and Funk.

AC: I think it’s become more of an algorithmic form of entertainment. Every artist is trying to sound like the last artists with the biggest hit or the most clicks. That’s not art. I always thought music was spiritual and should be exalted. Those who have the gift to create something from nothing that touches or speaks to the soul should be coveted. The idea that there seems to be a “sell by” date on musicians and artists is criminal. Just as you’re reaching your peak in wisdom and experience, they want to silence you in exchange for some new squeaky toy for less.

What do you all want people to get from y’all’s music?

SPP: I think it’s a snapshot in time. I hope they get as much joy listening to it as we did making it.

MM: Every time I listen to this music, I am smiling. Sometimes when you record, you go in to blow the listeners mind; this project has me dancing in the kitchen with my shoes off, and really feeling it in my soul. I am finally able to listen to our music like its somebody else’s record that I am just enjoying.

AC: Fun, love and the joy of four guys from completely different backgrounds – each at the top of their game – setting their egos aside and creating a collection of songs for people to enjoy.

On a more serious note, are you all happy with the current state of music?

SPP: All I can say is that I’m always happy with MY state of the music business. As long as I’m contributing and doing what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m good!

MM: I think there are some truly amazing records being made now, as there has been at any time in history. I just wish so much of it didn’t sound the same.

AC: Of course not, who is? It’s algorithmic  entertainment, but for a few exceptions. It’s heartless, soulless, cold and calculated. It’s like fast food if you like that sort of thing; McDonald’s music.

Do you all have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?

SPP: I love flying small planes…I would have totally been a commercial pilot if I wasn’t a musician.

MM: I love the visual arts, painting, architecture, landscapes and dark slow moving films.

AC: I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker and a TV repairman.

To date, what has been y’all’s greatest career achievement(s), at least thus far anyway?

SPP: There are many…but probably being able to play music with my talented family – brothers, sisters, mother, nephews, nieces, cousins and my kids.

MM: Having been able to survive and flourish all these years creating music, and still being excited about making it.

AC: There’s so much division in the world right now and I believe music can help heal and speak in a language that can perhaps cut through and bring people together. The death of Trayvon Martin is a large part of why I decided to get back into making music. In 2014 I wrote a song for Trayvon Martin and donated the proceeds to his family.

One track of y’all’s that you all think defines you all and why?

SPP: I love “Blue Tuesday”; it’s musical, soulful and truly a band effort.

MM: “Gonna Love You Right” – All four of us on this on Paul’s voice on the lead into the B-section and that groove.

AC: “Tied To Your Rocket.” It captures the magic, imagination, wonder and spirit that I think we all had when we first wanted to become musicians.

Finally, what’s next for The Mighty SoulMates?

SPP: Good question! Lol – I think we make another record, and release it when we’re 85.

MM: I hope something like The Mighty SoulMates Live!

AC: Well, speaking for myself…I would love to do some shows both here in the states and in Europe.

Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention? And, lastly, any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?

SPP: I just want to thank them for the support they’ve given to us individually and collectively over the years. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t get to do what we love.

MM: Yes, thank you for keeping Soul, R&B and Funk alive…and “like us” on our social media pages!!!

AC: I just want to give love to so many friends; I really don’t look at them as fans. I feel like through the years I’ve gotten to know so many people from around the world who have given me support and have shown me love throughout my musical career and especially after the loss of my dear friend and original band-mate. For that I can never thank them enough.


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