Groove – Episode #19: Rhonda Smith
In 1996, bass player Rhonda Smith did something that few musicians can ever lay claim to. She joined Prince’s astounding backing band, The New Power Generation. The years, miles, and practice that brought her to this moment cannot be underestimated. Getting on Prince’s radar is tough enough. Getting a place in this ferocious musical tsunami of funk is a whole other league.
What’s most amazing is that Rhonda and I ran in similar circles – just different timing. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she spent her formative years in my hometown of Montreal, Quebec. With three musical siblings, it’s no surprise that she has become the gifted musician that she is. Having made the rounds in the French Canadian scene, playing for some of this province’s biggest acts, a chance meeting with Sheila E. in Germany led to an audition at Paisley Park for Prince, then playing on the Emancipation album, and then a long tenure with The NPG.
From there, she has done everything from solo efforts to being a member of a band to playing for the likes of Beyonce, Chaka Khan, Lee Ritenour, Little Richard, George Clinton, and the list goes on and on. A true musical talent, Rhonda is currently playing in Jeff Beck’s band and working on more unique solo music.
Check out more about Rhonda on her website.
Enjoy the conversation…