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Master of the stage, performer for the soul, Eric “EQ” Young is known for his ability to fire up concert crowds with his high-energy passionate vocals and funky bass beats. This consummate musician has a long history of opening for, playing with, and being signed by established names in the business. Today, EQ confirms his place among the constellation of great Bay Area funk stars with the early release of six songs from his upcoming CD, “Just 4 You.”
Getting his hands on his first guitar at the age of 8—a gift from his grandfather, that had only three strings, Eric Young taught himself to play by ear. Imitating Sly Stone’s mixture of sound and tight arrangements on that misfit instrument ended up opening a life path to world stages.
Other radio stars of the period had a strong influence on his style, including Larry Graham, leading Young to switch to learning bass and studying music composition. Growing up in the Northern California Bay Area gave Young easy access to live performances of Tower of Power, Sly Stone, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Whispers, The Escovedos, Santana, Pointer Sisters. Their example put pressure on the aspiring star to master his instrument and showmanship, solidifying his vision of becoming a complete entertainer. While bands he auditioned for continued to turn him down, their rejections only fueled his ambition. So deep was his desire to be a performer, only at the request—and belt—of his mother did he finish high school.
Finally, his unflagging devotion to his craft paid off: He was asked to join a band called Radiance, who subsequently developed a huge local fan base in the Bay Area, and was signed by Quincy Jones.
Sadly, after two great years, the band broke up. Disappointed but not broken, Young continued to perform with local groups based in the Bay Area. In 1993, Young appeared on “Soul Train” with another one of Quincy Jones’ signed groups, Force One Network.
Don Cornelius saw the show and was so impressed with Eric’s smooth performance he dubbed Eric, “EQ,” which instantly became Young’s stage name.
“EQ” continued getting gigs with funk bands. In the early 1990s, Michael Cooper, manager of Billboard Chart veterans Con Funk Shun, approached EQ with an offer to play guitar for him during his solo career. Within one year, Con Funk Shun had reunited which then moved “EQ” to the bass—and relationship with Con Funk Shun has continued now for two decades.
This level of industry recognition, Billboard-standard professionalism, and worldwide performing experience provided EQ additional tools and experiences that have set the standard for the new compositions he creates.
EQ’s band is rooted in cultural diversity. He has three keys from Pop, Jazz, and Gospel backgrounds; his guitar player is rooted in rock; his percussionist has the Latin music influence; his vocalists are rooted in soul and R&B; his drummer is grounded in funk. All contribute powerful accents to EQ’s compositions. The result, “Just 4 You,” is sweet, emotional, soulful, rhythmic, funky, bass-and-drums, accented by rock guitar, Latin percussion, Gospel, Pop, and Jazz keys, and R&B vocals.
Mastering the funk rhythms of his childhood and blending musical influences from growing up in the Northern California Bay Area, EQ’s sound is a unique amalgamation, with more than a nod to the percussion beats of the Escovedos, the funk of Larry Graham, the soul of the Whispers, the psychedelic sounds of Journey. All flavors come together in EQ’s new CD.
EQ’s decision to create songs from his life and soul is a welcome addition to world music.