Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Still Singing and Spreading Sunshine: Life After Touring with KC by LaShawn Sithole

Spotlight: Charlotte McKinnon, Singer/Performer 

Charlotte McKinnon is a dear friend from Miami, Florida. Any picture you have seen in the last 12 years of KC and the Sunshine Band with two singers beside him features my humble and talented friend. 

Charlotte began belting out tunes with a lead in her school play at age seven and first lead a song in church at age12. At fifteen she’d added beauty contestant winner to her resume and by age 18 had recorded three songs: “Distant Lover,” “Jam on Me,” and performed lead vocals on “Fascinated” with Company B.

Company B’s first single, “Fascinated” was released in 1986 on independent label The Summer. The song created so much buzz in clubs around Miami that it soon made its way to local radio stations. This in turn led it to be picked up and re-released by Atlantic Records.

With a much wider distribution (by Atlantic) “Fascinated” received significant radio and club airplay in all major US cities resulting in a number one spot on the US Hot Dance Club Play Chart and reached 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Source: Wikipedia)

Little did Charlotte know it but this was just the beginning. Hard work, time, perseverance and divine positioning afforded her the blessings of performing with in addition to Company B, Jon Secada, Cheyenne, El Puma, Azucar Moreno, Jennifer Lopez and the Legendary KC and The Sunshine Band.

Please enjoy this wonderful video where Ms. McKinnon can be heard and seen performing back up with Jennifer Lopez on "Love Don't Cost a Thing."

 





It was after the time Charlotte joined KC and I worked for a Dallas based jamming oldies radio station that we met. That was about eleven years ago at a radio sponsored event called "A Taste of Addison" where the band headlined and I first met Ralph, the drummer for her band. We became friends and kept in contact for many years.

What impressed me the most about Charlotte was how she kept in contact with me after our mutual friend, Ralph, passed away.

Our Mutual Friend, Ralph Hunter on drums

I would discover years later that it was Ralph who introduced Charlotte to the band.

Enjoy this little clip...of Charlotte singing with KC.




Whenever the group was headed to Texas, Charlotte would call me and understanding the vastness of my state, she’d say the same thing, “Hey Girl. Sorry for calling so late but we’re coming to Texas again. How far is (fill in the blank) from you?”

If it wasn’t too far or I didn’t have another commitment, I’d go and have a blast!

I don’t think I even know how many times I have seen the show, but I always enjoy it like it was the first time! For a while there, I could even do some of the high energy routine, well at least my version of it. Spending so much time with them has helped me love them like family. The impromptu jam sessions after a show were inexplicably wonderful to say the least.



CHARLOTTE in COMPANY B...


~~~~~~~


Here's one of my favorite clips of of KC introducing Charlotte to the audience. 



The last trip to Texas when were were able to hang out was for a really fun gig at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin. I had forgotten how cool that place is! It was one of those rare occasions where there was delicious food at the venue and I was blessed to dine with all of the Band plus KC!

Who knew that they could put away those delicious fried green tomatoes, bbq brisket, cobbler and other southern delights and still manage to put on a fabulous show not too long after doing so? Well, they surely did just that!

This is a picture taken between that particular meal and the show.

CHARLOTTE'S EARLY ALBUM





Please enjoy the following song clip and mini interview I did with Charlotte to give you a glimpse of what’s to come.



LS:  What is your favorite type of music to perform?

CM:  My favorite music to perform is high energy dance music and R & B.



LS:  How did the opportunity to perform with KC and the Sunshine Band come about?

CM: Ralph Hunter, a drummer with whom I worked in a local band, referred me to substitute for background singer Beverly Champion who had become ill.  Those four shows turned into 12 years!

LS:  What does a typical one to two days look like for you when you are on tour?

CM:  Well…stay up all night with anxiety and pack. Leave home at the crack of (day) for the airport. Take connecting flight, sometimes up to a 1 1/2 hour drive...

Check into the hotel; go to the gym; get a bite to eat; iron my costumes.

Go to sound check; return to hotel and prepare for show.

Back to venue do the show and return to hotel.

Bubble bath, bed!


2nd day wake up and leave for next city.

But, if we’re playing in the same city,  I'll wake up and take a power walk to do a little sightseeing and get breakfast.

Return to the hotel get online and do some networking; then yoga, nap,

Sound check, show, bed.

Wake up and fly home :D




LS:  Of all the places you’ve traveled, which are your three favorites and why?


CM: Hawaii, Australia, and Italy...

I'd say Hawaii because I love the islands and it's the 1st island I visited that wasn't in the Caribbean. The similarities were astounding! Australia because it was the furthest place I have ever visited. I was just in awe. I also enjoyed Italy because of its history, architecture and culture.



LS: Well, congratulations on 12 years spreading sunshine! What’s next for you?


CM: I am working on a solo project at this time. It’s time for a Dance Revolution!


Getting those steps together..5- 6- 7- 8-



BOYZ R HOTT 2NITE is her NEW (soon to be released) single. Stay tuned! 
Charlotte's music and may be found on iTunes, YouTube, MySpace and www.Last.fm.

Fierce New Single



LS: Nice! Last question: So, if someone wanted to book your high energy, R&B, dance music loving self, how would they do that?

CM: (Laughter) 
Please contact
McKinnon Management
12550 Biscayne Blvd
Suite 800-40
Miami, Fl 33181
ph 305-416-0045



Thanks so much for Reading and Sharing the Love!
Photo Credits: Google Images/Personal Photos

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