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Jody Hill: Making harmony with an ensemble of exquisite musicians

caines | 6/20/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Bandleaders Deep Fried Funk to take center stage at annual Overtown festival David Jody Hill has been playing the drums since he can remember probably about the same time that he first learned to walk. In fact, this Miami native was considered a child prodigy and bears the distinction of being one of the youngest drummers in the music industry to play for such gospel legends like Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, The Clark Sisters, Ron and BeBe Winans and James Cleveland. But these days, the three-time Grammy nominee and former drummer with Miamis own Betty Wright and the R&B multi-hit group KC and the Sunshine Band has been working on making music with his own ensemble of super-talented musicians a band called Deep Fried Funk. Formed in 2005, the band has gained a huge following in South Florida, becoming one of the most requested groups on the circuit. Hill says his goal was to assemble a group of top-notch musicians that could play any kind of music but add a fresh, extraordinary, funkier style. I founded the group with our guitarist, Dave Talkbox Karmiol, but we were still looking for a name, Hill said. We were performing at a poetry event and someone from the audience made the suggestion of Deep Fried Funk. We loved it and it stuck. Its hard to put us in one specific genre because we are so versatile we do hip-hop, gospel, reggae, jazz, latin. Thats why I wanted the best musicians possible so we could meet the requirements of anyone and play all kinds of music.

Proud roots begin with Miami

Hill attended Miami Central High School and then went on to Bethune-Cookman University on a full music scholarship. But the desire to pursue his career was too overwhelming and he left school after two years to go on the road and turn professional. Now married and the father of three, he remains active in his church and in the Homestead - Perrine communities. The band continues to receive accolades and is currently in the studio working on their first CD. Ive been in the industry for close to 40 years now and have had some amazing opportunities, he said. Because Im from Miami Im well known and feels good when people say good things about the band. That tells me that our work and our commitment to excellence have not been in vain. I guess thats why Im so strict with the band members in terms of rehearsing and arriving to gigs on time. We are professionals and we have to be top quality pros. We recently played for First lady Michelle Obama when she was at the Knight Center. That was one of the crowing experiences for me. Now Im working on a marketing campaign so that Jody Hill and the Deep Fried Funk Band become a household name. One day Id like to start a school that will prepare youth for the industry. I mentor a lot of kids and many have great talent but need proper guidance. The key is you have to love what youre doing and be willing to sacrifice. I couldnt do anything else. Jody Hill and the Deep Fried Funk Band will be the house band for the Third Annual Overtown Rhythm & Arts Festival on June 22nd from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. [NE 3rd Ave. between 9th and 11th Streets]. The bands other members include: Todrick Groove Playa Hunter, bass; Jai Rose, vocals; Corey Irvin, keyboards and the co-founders, Hill and Karmiol. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com