Started as a family musical ensemble in Boyle, the Harmony Quartet has evolved into something much bigger, with some members moving on to work with well-known recording artists to the group itself preparing to sign with a major label.
Family patriarch Larry Williams said Harmony Quartet started out with his wife, Barbara, and all of their children some twenty-five years ago performing their trademark gospel music. “Barbara had to bow out of our group due to health reasons, so right now the band consists of me, my son Jermel and my daughter Zynpthia plus our other musicians–we’re a full band. We also take turns singing lead but Jermel is our main lead singer,” said Williams.This is not just some casual family singing group getting together to perform for fun, though–not by any stretch.
“We’ve performed in Spain, Milan, Italy, Las Vegas, Chicago, Detroit and are in talks right now with two record companies to discuss a deal after we finish our album that we’re recording in Memphis. That’s where my oldest son, Larry, Jr., lives now, records and runs a studio with a friend. He has played bass with The Jacksons, Toni Braxton and has been–and still is–Christine Aguliera’s main, permanent bassist,” said Williams. A percussionist and background singer himself, as well as manager of the group–Williams has another son who once played drums with the B.B. King All-Star Band. It’s truly a family affair when it comes to the Harmony Quartet.
“It’s really a funny story how all of this started getting big for us–it’s like a mystery. We started getting royalty checks one day in the mail from Spain. Just out of the blue. Come to find out, our videos were being played on television stations in Europe and each time something was played it got logged and we would get paid. Nine months after that first check arrived we were in Spain performing live! I discovered that there was a company in New Orleans that sends out music videos like ours all over the world and that’s how we ended up getting noticed in Europe–we ended up touring there for over a month straight,” Williams explains.
Performing both cover and original gospel songs, Williams says that every show the group played in Europe was packed.
The current music Harmony Quarter is recording in Memphis for their album, at Williams’ son’s studio, features the guitar player from Eric Benet’s band as well as other professional, well-established musicians.
“Right now, I’m planning on shopping for a deal when we finish. But I truly feel, in my soul, that whatever we release is going to be a big success. A lot of artists try to go it on their own these days, but I believe that the best way to do it is to sign with a label and take the old-fashioned, established route–let them promote the record and do what they do; that’s their business and they know how to go about it the right way. It’s a learning process for groups like us. We have put out three self-made albums, which are available on CD Baby and were produced by David Huff from the well-known gospel group David and The Giants; but the material we’re recording now is, I think, going to go much bigger and we’ll need a label behind us,” said Williams.
In March, the group won First Place at a gospel showcase competition, the Ecclesia Competition, held in Memphis.
“We were so very proud of that and, truly, did not expect to win first place,” said Williams. The owner of a cleaning service by day (“to pay the bills while we do our music!” he said), Williams is excited about the future of his family and the Harmony Quartet and what lies ahead. As well he should be
“We’re on a mission and we love to perform, sing and spread the good word,” he says.
Sweet sounds: Top, Kenny Smith, Zynpthia White, Larry Williams, and Jermel Williams.