Something about the Motor City…its struggle, its evolution, its emotion, its culture…fuels and inspires its artists like no other place in the world.
Detroit Women – a seven-woman, energy-infused rockin’ blues group – embody the gritty determination, the kinetic force that drives the Motor City. These women – white, black, young to “it’s not polite to ask,” wild, willful, sweet, curvaceous and petite – are led by four-time Grammy-nominee Kate Hart, who created the group in 2003 after returning to her native Detroit from the West Coast.
Hart tapped the crème de le crème of the area’s female vocalists from a wide-range of genres – blues, R&B, folk, funk, country, rock, swing, hip-hop and even a tinge of gospel to create a sound as diverse as the region the Women represent.
Detroit Women Milestones:
- Winners of the 2004, 2005 & 2006 Detroit Music Awards for Best Rhythm and Blues Band, Best Rhythm and Blues Recording and Outstanding Live Performance.
- Nominated for a collective 42 Detroit Music Awards! Recipients of 23.
- 2006 Canadian Tour is filmed for upcoming documentary with an Emmy-Award-winning director.
- Featured on America’s Thanksgiving Parade viewed by 100 million households.
- Performed at the Super Bowl for the NFL owners and players!
- Perform National Anthem on Fan Appreciation Day for the Detroit Tigers.
- Were included as one of the influential musical groups in the Metro times 100 year musical genealogy chart of Detroit music.
- Featured in national publications such as Living Blues Magazine, Blues Revue Magazine, Blues Wax and Blues Beat.
- Featured on one-hour television show with Olympic Figure skating and Christmas Tree Lighting in Detroit.
- Take part in national women’s charity event and are included in upcoming women’s feature film.
- Collectively, have been nominated or became recipients for more than 100 regional/international awards.
- Star in play, We Are Not Good Girls, penned by Kate Hart, which ran in a major Detroit Theatre.
- Featured on Nationally Syndicated Radio Shows and receiving airplay all over the world.
- Endorsement deal with “Dancing Dingo” all-natural beauty products, where each girl has a personalized name/flavor lip balm – i.e. Strawberry Stacia, Raspberry Rhonda, Vanilla Val.
- Launch “Detroit Women” clothing line along with national merchandising campaign mentored by NGI who also handle Dolly Parton, Wynonna, Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks.
- Added to the Detroit Public Library’s catalogue of music.
- Detroit Women sign with national booking agency, Aspen Talent.
Past Members of The Detroit Women
Kate Hart (Founder and Bandleader)
Winner! Outstanding R&B Songwriter 2005, 2006 Detroit Music Awards
In 1990 Kate signed with the prestigious label, Biograph Records, and released her first album. She has been nominated for over fifteen awards, including the GRAMMY award for “Best Blues Recording”, two NAMA awards, recipient of four Washington State Blues Awards and nominated the last three years for ten Detroit Music Awards. Kate is the recent recipient of a 2005 and 2006 Detroit Music Award for Best R&B Songwriter. In 1995 Kate received the King County Women’s Leadership Award. In addition to creating and producing Seattle Women/Detroit Women in R&B she has appeared with Roy Orbison, B.B. King, Leon Russell, Bo Diddley, Koko Taylor, Charlie Musselwhite, Mary Wells, and Booker T and the MG’s.
Karen Vesprini (Vocals)
Karen Vesprini is a Detroit-based singer, songwriter, dancer and actress who is both a lead and background vocalist for the multi-award winning Black Bottom Collective, which is a Bud True Music Band.
She has opened for national recording artists such as Genuwine, Ronnie Laws, Nappy Roots, Dwele, Kem, and Will Downing. Karen’s vocal talents helped BBC win several Detroit Music Awards, including the 2006 awards for Outstanding Urban/Funk Group and Recording.
As a dancer, Karen toured with the Harambee Performance Ensemble, for which she choreographed. She made her film debut in Tomorrow We Rule, appeared in The Gamesman and in the comedy short a New Tradition.
Cheryl Lescom (Vocals)
For years Cheryl has performed on the blues festival circuit/Canadian music scene since beginning her career in Kitchener, Ontario in 1975. Recruited by Rock N’ Roll legend Ronnie Hawkins she joined him as a back-up singer, only to later tour with Long John Baldry before beginning solo career in 1983.
She has also recorded 3 solo albums between 1986 and 2004 and is just released her 4th – High Heeled Blues – with celebrated guitarist and producer, Jack De Keyzer.
Cheryl has performed with Dutch Mason, Matt Minglewood, Downchild Blues Band, Del Shannon, David Wilcox, Mel Brown, Jack De Keyzer, Ronnie Hawkins, Long John Baldry, Paul James and Jeff Healy. She currently works with her own band and the all-star group, Detroit Women.
Lady T (Vocals)
Winner: Best R&B Vocalist 2005 Detroit Music Awards!
Hailing from Helena, Arkansas the home of the King Biscuit Blues Festival, Lady T (alias Dirty Old Woman, Bo Hawk Grind Lady, Detroit Lady Cobra of the Blues) began her career singing in the First Baptist Church.
Lady T has performed at the African American Festival and at the Montreaux Jazz Festival.
She has performed with Bobby Blue Bland, Robert Penn Blues Band, Willie D. Warren, Danny Blue, Motown greats Joe Hunter, Rudy Robinson, her godmother Alberta Adams, Pricilla Price, The Pocket Band, The Hasting Street Blues Band and the Curtis Sumpter Project.
Rhonda Bantsimba (Vocals)
Nominated: Outstanding R&B Vocalist 2005 & 2006 Detroit Music Awards!
Rhonda’s career has spanned across storytelling, acting, public speaking, dance and singing.
She has been featured in “For Colored Girls”, “The Wiz”, “The Colored Museum”, “Zoo Man and the Sign”, “Inhlanzi Ishelwe Amanzi”, “Avenue X: The a cappella”, and “River Dreams”. Her emphasis has been to combine music with other art forms creating new and exciting projects.
Rhonda has appeared in the blues musical “We Are Not Good Girls” and has been the recipient of several Detroit Music Awards.
Stacia Petrie (Vocals)
Winner: Outstanding Acoustic/Folk Songwriter
Outstanding Acoustic/Folk Vocalist
2005 Detroit Music Awards
Stacia is a respected folk and acoustic singer whose song writing and vocals have earned her local and international acclaim. Her roots-style music translates well to the blues performed by Detroit Women.
Stacia was a finalist in the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival. She has been featured on Pam Rossi’s “Over Easy”. Stacia has won numerous awards in song writing, which include top honors in the 1996 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, as well as honors in numerous national competitions.
Valerie Barrymore (Vocals)
Winner: Outstanding Urban/Funk Vocalist 2005 Detroit Music Awards
The “Queen of Funk” received six Detroit Music Awards while fronting the Foundation of Funk & Steve Somers, earning additional nominations in 2006 for her funk performances.
She has appeared with Betty Lavette, Midnight Star, The Contours, The Ojays, Morris Day & the Time and Gladys Knight.
Susie Woodman (Keyboards)
Nominated: Outstanding R&B Instrumentalist, Outstanding Country Instrumentalist 2005, 2006 & 2007 Detroit Music Awards!
Susie has been the keyboardist for both Meatloaf and Grammy Award winner Richard Wagner of Alice Cooper and Lou Reed fame and Road Manager for Question Mark and the Mysterians.
She has worked with a number of prominent Michigan artists: Phil Esser, Charlie Latimer, Barbara Bredius, Ted Lucas and was the musical director of the Detroit’s record-setting dinner theater production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.
She collaborated with Tony Award Winner Michael Perter Smith — Grapes of Wrath — on his very first musical theater production in Detroit – Personals.
Steve Kohn (Drums)
Nominated: Outstanding Live Sound Technician 2005, 2006 and 2007 Detroit Music Awards!
Steve may often wear a bandana on stage, but he actually wears many hats for Detroit Women, drummer, sound technician, producer. Steve is co-producer of the groups upcoming CD release Sassitude.
Along with his duties as a producer he has recorded with Nikki James, Pete “Big Dog” Fetters, CD projects – “Love Blues in the Night” and “Live at Lou’s Volume 1”. He has toured and/or appeared with the following: Nikki James and the Flamethrowers, Randy Volin’s Sonic Blues, Pete “Big Dog” Fetters, Code Blue, Rattlesnakes/Detroit, The Vidiotz, Midnight Run, Robert Noll’s Blues Mission, The Authorities, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Brian Setzer Band, Lonnie Brooks, Rick Derringer, Pat Traverse, Humble Pie, Larry McCray and Triumph.
In addition to playing drums, Steve runs a successful sound and light company. He currently is playing with Kate Hart, Detroit Women and The Mean Street All-Stars (All-Star revue of Detroit musicians).
Wayne Schomaker (Guitar)
Motor City guitar, keyboardist and vocal talent. Wayne’s career spans over thirty years touring extensively across the United States playing keyboards and guitar. Wayne’s work can be remembered as he appeared with the following: Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Chris Campbell (Silver Bullet Band), Ricki Meyer (Blackfoot) and Motor City Greats; Dr. Pocket, Rob Noll, Jocyln B, Rattle Snake and Mojo Rattle. His guitar and vocals can be found on jingles, ads, films, television and in many recording sessions.
Rick Zeldes (Bass)
Nominated: Outstanding Country Instrumentalist 2005 & 2006 Detroit Music Awards!
Rick has provided bass for numerous bands, sessions and commercials in the Detroit Area for over 25 years. He has recorded and performed with Dick Wagner, SlyFox, Maxeen Volunteer and Cover Story. While in Sacremento and San Francisco, Rick recorded and performed with The Difference.
In addition, Rick has appeared with Sammy Kershaw and Trace Atkins.