Fatty Koo Biography
Five of Fatty Koo's young stars--Eddie B, Gabrielle, Marya, Ron, and Valure--met in Columbus, Ohio, on board the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, where they wrote and recorded several songs and discovered their mutual and uncanny musical chemistry. The group's sixth member, Josh, joined the group in 2005, adding his own soulful blend of gospel, R&B and hip-hop to the Fatty Koo sonic mix.
They are six real people--facing the genuine pressures of school, family, love, religion, money and sex--who fight and argue about everything except the group's music.
Working together as one, Fatty Koo created a unique fusion of R&B, hip-hop, Latin, jazz and pop that led them to a record deal with Sony Urban/DAS/Columbia Records.
The groundbreaking urban television network BET caught the Fatty Koo vibe and worked with the group to create a Fatty Koo television series which debuted on April 21, 2005.
The group's first single, "Bounce (Theme Song)," was co-written by Fatty Koo members Eddie B, Gabrielle, Valure, Ron, and Marya. "You got to have the funk," says Eddie when describing the song. "Get your groove on, dance, enjoy life and be yourself baby."
Meet Fatty Koo:
Eddie B, age 20. Eddie was born in Detroit, raised in San Antonio, Texas, and moved to Columbus, Ohio, in November 2002. A born performer and songwriter, Eddie was a member of his high school choir and learned his stage craft in groups like Tone Deep, Syncere, Project Soul and Woodgrain. His list of influences draw from all quarters of American musical history: old school jazz, country, rock, pop, hip-hop, and R&B with particular props to Michael Jackson, 112, Boyz II Men, New Edition, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Donny Hathaway, and the Temptations. "I love to dance," Eddie admits, "and do a little acting. I'm also into sports and love meeting new people."
Gabrielle, age 17, counts her sisters, Hanah and Grace, as her main musical influences. She grew up listening to a wide range of artists including Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Brandy, Sarah McLachlan, Christina Aguilera, Shakira and Jaci Velasquez. "I am a writer and poet at heart," she confesses. "My other interests are drawing and painting. What I can't explain vocally, I write down or sketch out. Aside from music, I would be a clothes designer or an art director."
Marya, age 18. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Marya moved to Columbus, Ohio, in August 2002. A classically trained cellist, Marya brings a Latin sensibility to Fatty Koo. Marya credits her mom and dad and her cello teacher, Luis Biava, for nurturing her talents. Among her myriad musical influences, Marya names classical cellist Yo Yo Ma, avant-garde performance artist Laurie Anderson, the legendary Latin music diva Celia Cruz and pioneering all-female-cellist pop group Rasputina. Prior to joining Fatty Koo, Marya played in different orchestras, alternative rock groups and classical musical ensembles. "I love dancing," Marya says, "and composing electronic music."
Ron, age 21. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Ron discovered his love of music, and his burgeoning vocal talent, singing in his local church choir. He went on to join his high school concert choir, sing in the gospel group, Dynasty, and become a featured member of the Independence Show Choir. Shappelle's influences run the range from old school crooning and hip-hop--Nat "King" Cole, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and LL Cool J--to the new street pulse of Kanye West, Jay-Z, OutKast and Black Eyed Peas to the smooth contemporary soul sounds of Usher and labelmate John Legend. "I love playing basketball. But look for me on the links as golf is my new passion."
Valure, age 20, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, and moved to Columbus, Ohio, in May 1999. While living in Jersey, Valure became a member of the Advanced Choir at Malcolm X Shabazz, where she also excelled in the Speech and Debate Team. Valure's mom introduced her to the music of Manhattan Transfer, Basia, Phoebe Snow, Vinyx, Steveland Morris and the Original Savannah Band. More recently, she grooves to the sounds of Mary J. Blige, Kim Burrell, Tank, Tweet, Rachael Pherrell, and labelmate Beyoncé, among many others. "I would love to be a teacher," Valure offers, "and an evangelist one day."
The group's latest member, Joshua, age 15, is the second son born to an artistically gifted family. A natural entertainer, Joshua draws his musical, and funky dancing influences from the archetypal greats: James Brown, Fred Astaire, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye while his current favorites include Usher, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West. Joshua's many talents include a soaring soulful vocal range, smooth and swift dance moves, sophisticated songwriting and a keen ear for music production. He also tears things up with his sizzling saxophone prowess. "I don't want to just sell records," he says with characteristic humility. "I want to change lives. I'm blessed to be around talent I can learn from and grow with!"
House of Fatty Koo, the group's full-length debut album and one of the most eagerly-awaited releases of 2005, was, according to Eddie B, "recorded in the three seasons room of the House of Fatty Koo. We made our living room our studio control setup and the three seasons room our booth. We just used a laptop Mac computer, two keyboards, Logic Pro 7, a mic and each other to make the album."
The result pulses with the group's fresh harmonies, irresistible beats, signature melodies, and deep connections to the possibilities of music. "Our cultural differences and musical influences bring five separate elements to the table," says Gabrielle. "We have no boundaries or limitations on what we're capable of doing."
"I think the album is amazing," Eddie owns up. "We were given the opportunity to write and make our own album and the end result reflects our lives and our different talents. Each one of us brings something special, our own unique style: Valure is a soul singer. Ron does hip-hop and R&B. Marya has a classical background and brings a Latin vibe. Gabrielle is into pop and rock. Me, I'm into hip-hop and R&B. And Josh brings the heat and that mad saxophone. Mix that together, put it on vinyl and you got yourself some Fatty Koo."
And what, exactly, IS Fatty Koo?
"Fatty Koo," Gabrielle offers, "is the 'mojo' or the Zen…the special element that makes us, and anybody, unique…and…Oh-So-Hot!"
House Of Fatty Koo was released on Tuesday, July 12.
Blowin' UP: Fatty Koo – The Television Series:
Blowin' UP: Fatty Koo is an unscripted drama that follows the lives of five kids - a group with obvious talent and families that support them. For 13 episodes, Fatty Koo will have to write, rehearse and record back home in Columbus, OH and in New York, with the lure of success shimmering on the horizon, and without tearing each other apart. Fatty Koo is a group not created in the halls of a record label, but organically and authentically. No mega studio, no penthouse, no bling-bling. They are a talented ensemble of young artists who experience the highs and lows of making an album and establishing relationships.
Blowin' UP: Fatty Koo debuted on the groundbreaking urban television network BET, April 21st at 9:30pm.