As a child, McGruder discovered a natural ability to sing. Taught by her stepmother, she joined a female trio called "New Dawn" which performed at nightclubs and one Black Panthers rally. During her schooling, McGruder played violin with Earl Klugh in a group called the Electrifying Strings. Occasional performances at United Sound Studios for Motown Records earned McGruder $20 apiece. McGruder opted against pursuing a career as a violinist, and instead majored in voice at Michigan State University.
Early life and career
Jeanette McGruder was born in Detroit, Michigan (1954). At any early age, she had a passion for music and began studying the violin. She became a professional violinist at age 15 as well as played in her high school orchestra (Cass Technical High School). Jeanette also played in various orchestras and bands in and around the city of Detroit, including "The Electrifying Strings", a jazz string group with Earl Klugh (guitar), Cecil "Van" Cephus (keyboards), and Ralph Armstrong (bass), and in studio sessions on recordings for local Detroit artists.
Jeanette also sang in her junior high choir and was part of a three-girl group called "New Dawn". They would sneak into nightclubs and Black Panther rallies to sing, wearing the cast-off gowns of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. (Martha Reeves' youngest sister was one of the girls in "New Dawn".)
Education and later musical career
In 1972, upon entering the music department of Michigan State University, Jeanette decided to focus on voice and retired her violin. In 1974, Jeanette was invited to an event honoring Mrs. Coretta Scott King; when Mrs. King heard her rendition of "We Shall Overcome", she made a special point of telling Jeanette that she had been moved by her voice.
In 1978, after four years of studying at MSU and two years of singing in local bands, Jeanette moved to New York City and began auditioning for Broadway. Later in 1978, a phone call from a good friend, and now famous artist, Overton (a.k.a. Joe) Loyd, informed her about an audition for The Brides of Funkenstein, a new group created by George Clinton. Jeanette flew back to Detroit and got a job singing backup for Parliament, Funkadelic, and the original Brides of Funkenstein, Dawn Silva and Lynn Mabry, whose album Funk the Walk (1978) was rising on the charts called. Mabry left the group in less than a year, leaving Dawn Silva and a second album to record. George Clinton decided to bring Jeanette and Sheila Horne from the background to the foreground, and the Brides of Funkenstein became a three-girl group, recording the second album, Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy (1979). It was voted into Billboard 's "Top 50 albums" of all time in 2002. The single, "Didn't Mean To Fall In Love", from the album earned the Brides of Funkenstein a rhythm and blues award in 1981 for "Best New Female Group".
The Brides of Funkenstein disbanded in 1981. Some time afterward, the original Brides of Funkenstein (Silva and Mabry) reunited briefly, and Sheila Horne went on to sing with Rick James. Jeanette became the lyricist and lead singer in a Detroit rock band, called "Cherubim". The group recorded one album and played in Japan.
In 1982, McGruder had a son, Noah Shakoor. In 2002, he and his wife, Fonda Hollowell, had a daughter, Olivia Washington. She inherited her fathers talents and now is singing and acting. She also plays the trumpet and piano,and wishes to play the violin like her grandmother.
Name change and stage career
In 1983, Jeanette changed her name to Satori Shakoor and is now an accomplished actress, writer, singer and standup comedienne.
- "Satori Shakoor". TheMoth.org. The Moth. Retrieved September 1, 2014.