17513.jpeg

Billy Harrell - Vocals

Billy Harrell, native of Tyler Texas was raised in a home filled with the sounds of gospel music. From sun up till sun down, gospel is what he listened to.  Early influences were the late Prince of gospel music,  Rev. James Cleveland.

 

In Junior High, he started his first singing group along with 4 of his best friends and was later recruited by a local Acapella group "The Mellow 5". “I can't remember a time in my life that I didn't dance and sing. I always knew music would always be a part of my life and singing performing is what I wanted to do.”

 

In 1970 he went to Stax Records in Memphis, TN along with The Mellow 5 looking for a break into show business. Met David Porter, Isaac Haye’s writing partner who took them in the studio where the group recorded some of their own material. Things didn't pan out so he returned to Tyler and stayed for about 6 months rehearsing and decided to go west to Los Angeles. He left the “Mellow 5” a year later and joined Randy Caine who was one of the original "Del Phonics“ popular singing groups out of Philly. The group formed "The New Experience", which was the house band at the famous night club on the Crenshaw strip called the Total Experience, opening for such acts as: The Spinners, The Whispers, The Stylistics, Blue Magic, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, B. B. King, Billy Paul, The Main Ingredient, and Tower of Power. “The New Experience” also opened for Richard Pryor at the world famous "Coconut Grove“, recorded on RCA label, Ariola America. During the mid-70's, the group sang background and studio demo work with Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, and Bill Champlain. They also recorded with The Memphis Horns, Herbie Hancock, and The Pointer Sisters…..opened for Natalie Cole and DJ Rogers.

 

During the early 80's recorded with his best friend and former member of " The New Experience", Howard Huntsberry, on MCA label. Left the business in late 90's and returned to Tyler in 2010,  joining George Faber & Friends Band ……Loving every minute of it.