Saun and Starr

saundra_starr_Kyle Dean Reinford
Though Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan Lowe  grew up mere blocks from each other in New York City’s northern most borough, The Bronx, it wasn’t until a Thursday in 1986 that the two actually crossed paths at an open mic night at a club called Carl’s Off the Corner in Harlem.  With a mutual respect for each other’s talent as singers along with a shared musical aesthetic, the two became fast friends. Shortly after, they began performing with a local singer whose frequent gigs at the Apollo kept them busy for the next few years.  Both were living in New Jersey sometime after that gig had ended when Saundra went to audition for a successful wedding band whose lead singer happened to be none other than Miss Sharon Jones. Unbeknownst to Saundra, her old friend Starr was also vying for the position. The chemistry between the three singers was instant and undeniable and after a brief meeting with the band, both Saundra and Starr were hired to sing lead alongside Sharon. The ladies performed with the group under the apt moniker The Good ‘N Plenty Girls (though within the group they were given the nickname “Triple S Threat”) for much of the 1990’s.

The girls kept in touch in some form or another throughout the 2000’s but it wasn’t until the release of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ 2008 album I Learned the Hard Way that the three joined vocal forces again.  Now performing as Sharon’s backup singers, Saun and Starr quickly acclimated to the group and were soon re-christened as The Dapettes.  Over the next few years of extensive touring, the band began opening sets with a couple cover songs showcasing Saun and Starr’s respective talents. 2013 brought the release of SJDK’s fifth long player and cover songs soon gave way to original compositions with the duo now being billed as Saun & Starr.  Before long, S&S and The Dap-Kings set up shop at Daptone Records’ House of Soul to begin recording an album of their own material. The first single from this session, “Hot Shot,” penned by Daptone’s head honcho and producer extraordinaire Gabe Roth, was an instant success, selling over 2,000 45rpm singles within 6 months of the release.  With 2014 quickly approaching, Saun and Starr along with rest of the Daptone Family eagerly await their debut LP, due this spring. Stay tuned.