By Journalist Ms. Jones
POUGHKEEPSIE – “I’m every woman. It’s all in me. Anything you want done, Baby. I’ll do it naturally,” sang the crowd along with Funksway. The soul band celebrated their one-year anniversary on Friday, November 18 at Club Maroon in Poughkeepsie.
“Club Maroon has been like home for us,” said Williams who manages Funksway and owns WayBack Entertainment, a promotional company that brings a high level of exclusive entertainment to mature adults from parties to comedy shows to boat rides. “The vision for the group [was] to introduce them to the Hudson Valley area this past year… Phase two, which we’ll be entering into, is to take the band on the road… and to get the band out across the country… We’ll be performing in Rochester… I know people in Atlanta, Charlotte, Virginia… Baltimore, DC. So, I want to take the band to the various places to have them perform… The long term [goal] is to get us to the point where we’ll be able to play on a casino set and on a cruise line.”
Funksway has had much success. It has gained a lot of exposure. They have performed in many venues. However, it has not come without obstacles.
“It has its ups and downs… dealing with members and their personal issues…Drafting people… it’s very hard. A lot of the band members are making sacrifices because we’re not at that level yet making the money we would like to be making,” said Bryan Minter who plays the bass, drums, keyboard, and sings.
Funksway has lost band members due to personal issues and wanting to go solo. They even lost one, unfortunately, due to death.
“It feels great [to be celebrating our one-year anniversary]…For us to be here so long after losing [William] Cotton… You would think that the band would slow down after losing a band member, but we held on after his death,” said Tiffany Zachary Williams who sings in Funksway and has been singing in a band since her childhood. “He was the person that got me into a band at 14 years old. We happened to be coming down the street one day, and he asked my uncle if he thought my grandmother would let me join a band. That was the first band I was ever in. If it wasn’t for Cotton, I wouldn’t know [anything] about a band, other than church.”
Minter founded Funksway with fellow group member Quincy Branch who plays the drums. Minter named the band.
“I heard [of] Feng shui… I think it’s Chinese… means good vibes… Everybody vibing, on one accord. So, I said, ‘Why don’t we call ourselves Funksway because the people with the band, everybody’s vibing, everybody’s happy,’” said Minter.
Minter and Branch started Funksway because there aren’t a lot of bands around in the area. Branch drafted the band members which include singer Tiffany Zachary Williams, singer Earnest Grady Jr. (Juney), singer Tyniesha Hill, guitarist Ray Massagili, keyboardist/organist Dale Davenport, keyboardist Solomon Phifer, and saxophonist Corey McRae. Even former band member Robin Holland came back to join in and sing at the anniversary celebration.
“If you don’t love what you do, it’s not going to be successful… I love Funksway. I love my band… [Singing is] my heart and soul…. Me singing and using the gifts and talents that God has placed upon me, that’s what I love to do. And I know that it’s pleasing in God’s sight for me to do it…because I do love songs,” said Tiffany Zachary Williams.