About the Band

About Motor City Soul

 

Motor City Soul performs a special repertoire enjoyed by diverse audiences of all ages.  We deliver our performances with  energy and audience engagement that leave your guests amazed and talking about MCS and their experience for days, weeks, even months after!  Our unique mix of Motown, Soul, R&B, Funk, Oldies, modern Pop and Rock includes songs recognized by most, loved by all, and chosen to keep the dance floor full all event long.  MCS can put 5 generations on the dance floor at the same time with the same song. 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

Kelley Rawls

Lead Vocals

 

 
Kelley has been singing and acting all her life. She studied musical theater and dance at Point Park University Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA and attended Circle In The Square Theatre School on Broadway in NY, NY. Kelley has performed with The Micheal Chekhov Theatre Company in lower Manhattan, and with Inmates of the Theatre Asylum Company in Los Angeles, CA.  She has fronted classic and R&B bands as well as a jazz trio. While living in L.A. she wrote and produced her original pop album Heroine
 
She is currently a member of Stagecrafters at the Baldwin Theatre, where she performs in live and virtual productions. She is also a member of the 2nd Stage Committee at the Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak, MI.

 

 

 

John Nikolich
Drums


 

 

John drives the Motor City Soul "bus", powering the band and the audience through the music in a way that demands your attention.  Raised in the Detroit Metro area, John picked up his first set of drums from the curb on trash day when he was 6 years old.  He has played professionally since age 15.  His musical experience includes playing in blues, rock, top 40, Christian and orchestra bands.  John has an energetic style and has played with members of Rare Earth and the George Duke band.

     

 



James Browneagle Niemi
Lead Guitar

 

 

DMA winning musician James is a veteran of many local and touring cover, dance and original bands. From the Midwest to SoCal and back to his native Michigan with decades on lead guitar influences include: The Beatles, Motown, Zeppelin, Hendrix, the British Invasion, funk/R n’ B/soul, Johnny Winter, Clapton, Jeff Beck, FM underground and AM pop radio.

Venues: many Detroit and metro area clubs/bars, all Detroit casinos to The Fillmore, Royal Oak Theater, Harpos, The Ark, performing live in studio on all the local TV stations morning shows, many festivals around MI and OH including stints in Vegas. He has also opened for a national acts Leon Russell, Eddie Money, Starship, America, Mitch Ryder to name a few.

A rock guitarist at heart, and gifted with “big ears”, he has the ability to cover many diverse styles and genres and brings that energy along for the musical ride!

 

 

 

 

Kenny Foster
Lead Vocals

 

 

 

Kenny’s unique style mixes the original Motor City sound along with his very own musical talents, is one that can’t be compared. His vocal excellence has performed with the great legends as Rev. James Cleveland, The Temptations, Four Tops and with local groups, The Domino’s and The Players. Kenny’s versatile, local blend of Gospel, Blues and Rock can be called the“Motown Sound” along with his charisma, will keep a crowd on the edge of their seats, tapping their feet.

 

Mike Harrold
Lead Vocals

 

 

 

Mike, born in Alabama, home in Detroit, MI. Mike started singing professionally at age 17 as the lead singer with The Shades of Blue, a local R&B group. Mike has 13 years experience in musical theater to add to his repetoir. You may remember Mike in For Your Ears Only (R&B) as lead and backround; or as lead and backround in The Dynamics (R&B). Mike's Gospel experience as lead & backround includes Spiritual Parader's, Mighty Men of Valore, and Testify.
 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Lee
Keyboard

 

 

Steve brings over 30 years of live performing to Motor City Soul. He started taking piano lessons at the age of 7 and music has been his passion ever since. A native of Detroit, his musical influences include the Beatles and Billy Joel to name a few. He’s played at venues such at Motor City Casino, the Detroit Zoo, and many corporate events and weddings. In his spare time, he enjoys music collecting and spending time with family. 

 

 

John Morgan
Bass Guitar/ Vocals

 

  John says his parents had him singing with his brothers before he could talk. He started playing musical instruments at a very young age, but he always had an ear for bass. When he auditioned as a lead guitarist for an original rock band, he took a bass along and instead became the bassist. He’s never looked back and has played bass with 3-piece to 17-piece bands and everything in between playing all kinds of music from folk to big band to rock and R&B doing live performances of just about every kind and some commercial studio work.

 

 

Michael Whitehead
Lead Vocals

 

 

 

Singing just seems to come naturally for Michael.  As former lead vocalist for Serpentine Fire, an Earth, Wind, and Fire tribute band, Michael further developed his first tenor voice as well as a very strong falsetto that will rival anyone in the business. Michael has performed with several other groups in the Metro Detroit area including D Tour, Hidden Agenda, The Saints of Soul, Larry Lee and Back in the Day as well as performing as front man for his own project, The Michael Whitehead Band.

Rick Bartos
Audio Engineer

  Rick has immersed himself in music and sound since he worked at his college local radio station.  Later, when it became clear that his young son was just as interested in music, Rick started a family owned and operated DJ company. The two continued to run the family business, taking off in a new direction with live stage sound and lighting. Rick ended up growing the audio portion of the business working with many local venues and bands, even after his son graduated college. Today, he brings a wide variety of talent and ears to the sound of Motor City Soul; working digital based equipment to ensure quality audio to compliment the band.