For many artists, the last two years during the pandemic has been transformative. Some have had to reinvent themselves to continue creating and engaging with their audiences in new virtual and/or social-distancing environments. Others had to reassess what was important to them in terms of creativity and the practicalities of sustaining a livelihood. Whatever the situation may be, it’s no surprise that as the world moves from pandemic to epidemic regarding the coronavirus, many artists will be re-emerge on stages with new personas.
Such is the case for bassist, singer and composer Ben Williams and singer, songwriter and playwright Syndee Winters, who have joined forced to create Butterfly Black, an exciting new duo that delivers bubbly, boogie-centric, and upscale R&B. Butterfly Black draws upon the legacy of iconic male-female soul duos, such as Ike & Tina Turner, Ashford & Simpson, René & Angela, Peaches & Herb, and Yarborough & Peoples.
“I don’t see a lot of those duos existing nowadays,” Williams says. “Having a true duo group, I think will be something special to present to people now.” This year, Butterfly Black released its first infectious single, “I Just Want To Love You” a summery mid-tempo jam that recalls Leon Sylvers’ legendary production and songwriting work at SOLAR Records in the early-’80s. Later this year, Butterfly Black releases its five-song debut EP.
Butterfly Black’s strength lies not only in the couple’s intoxicating musical chemistry that is evident both in the studio and onstage; it comes from their divergent individual artistic pasts. Williams is among the upper echelon of his contemporaries in the jazz scene. After winning the 2009 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition, he has released a handful of critical-acclaimed solo albums and recorded and/or performed with numerous heavyweights such as Pat Metheny, Robert Glasper, George Benson, Jazzmeia Horn, Carmen Lundy, and Regina Carter, among others. Winters is a commanding Broadway stage singer, dancer and actor, who has performed in such defining productions as Hamilton, The Lion King, Pippin, Motown The Musical, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Before working on Broadway, she was a dancer for the New York Knicks basketball team and a hip-hop and soul singer, who worked with Grandmaster Flash on his 2009 album, The Bridge.