By Monique Gooch
Everyone will be dancing in the aisles at the upcoming Motown extravaganza featuring smash hits made famous by Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and others. Songs include “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “My Girl,” “Superstition” — and, of course, “Dancing in the Street.”
Shayna Steele is one of the vocalists performing at the Dancing in the Street Music of Motown with the Nashville Symphony. Steele, who is NewYork based, has appeared as a soloist and guest artist with over 100 symphony orchestras throughout North America. This is Steele’s first time performing in Nashville, even though she is visits often because her husband often works in Nashville. Steele is most looking forward to seeing her husband, who has been working in Nashville for five weeks. Her daughter will also see her perform with the symphony. “I’m ecstatic about that,” she said.
Steele is a big fan of Motown. “I grew up on that. My dad was a huge Temptations and Four Tops fan and that was the soundtrack of my childhood.” Her favorite Motown song in general is anything the Jackson Five did, but that’s not all. “Because the Temptations and the Four Tops were such a big part of me, I really like Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” From the performance with the Nashville Symphony her favorite song she’s going to sing comes from the disco era. It’s Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way.”
Steele has an incredible resume and has sung background for some other artists such as Stevie Wonder, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson and Bette Milder. She’s also appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show and in movies and on TV. She is a very sought after background vocalist.
“Right now, my sole thing is performing with my band. I tour all over the world with my band and make records. And obviously performing with the symphony is part of my monthly travels,” she said. Her band is called Shayna Steele and she will release a new record April 21.
Steele said people should come see this show because the Motown catalog is one of the most iconic in all of music. “I feel like it’s such a representation to what music is today. If you’re listening to Beyonce or Rihanna, or any kind of solo R&B music, it’s all going to be reminiscent of what we heard back in the ’50s and ’60s Motown era. We know that Motown is what put Black music on the map and on the mainstream map of radio.”
When asked if this show is something the younger generation should come to Steele answered with a resounding “yes. Without a doubt. They’re going to recognize the songs because their parents or grandparents probably played it, but they’re also going to recognize some songs that have been sampled over and over again in hip-hop.”
Steele said she doesn’t want anyone sitting down during the show. She wants to see people up out of their seats. “The show is electric! Let’s Party!”
There are three opportunities to see the show:
Thursday February 9, 2023, at 7pm Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Friday February 10, 2023, at 8pm Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Saturday February 11, 2023, at 8pm Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Tickets start at $35. You can visit Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown to for tickets.