Featured / January / Music / March 8, 2014

ROXY ROCA is a nine piece powerhouse band that arouses the fire senses. Immediately you feel the spirit as if your soul was being saved. With a combination of sheer vulnerability and power, frontman Taye Cannon’s big, deep soulful voice comes straight at you. Unrivaled in his ability to move effortlessly between Funk, Soul and Gospel, Taye makes you believe what he is saying, earning him the name Pastor T.

It is hard to separate the singer from the person but it is evident here and soon you realize that there is more going on here than just a great band with a retro sixties jive. ROXY ROCA actually has respect for a time when music was pure. A time when a country may have been separated by racial tension but brought together by music. With an acute awareness of our tumultuous time in history, Taye wears his heart on his sleeve.
ROXY ROCA’s message is simple. It’s all about love, forgiveness and that only we can make ourselves happy as heard on their dynamic signature song Happiness is a Choice.

In our interview, Taye Cannon gives us a little insight on how ROXY ROCA came to be and what makes for such expressivity and inspiring vision.

Where did the dream that is ROXY ROCA come from?

The band was formed in the summer of 2010 but the dream started years ago when I was a child in Alabama and teenager in Mississippi.  Laying on the floor with my Daddy’s records scattered all around me. Listening and taking in all the photos: sky blue suits, french cuffs, gold rings, fresh fades, it all called for me. You can never go back to when that music was new, but you can take people there. It’s like when you go to a live ballpark: the green outfield, the crack of the bat, the smell of concessions. It takes you to a place, ya know. That’s what I like to think we are doing through feel good music. We write new original songs but the overall feel can really take you back. The sweat, the suits, the groove. It’s all there. It’s American, it’s soul.

What about the name itself?

The band is named after Roxie Roker. Roxie was best known for her role on the 70s sitcom The Jeffersons.  As a kid in the eighties it was my favorite show to watch. The most memorable character on the show for me was Helen Willis. As a kid in the deep south I remember thinking it was so cool that she was married to one of the only white guys on the show. I always thought it was so admirable how The Willises just let all the name calling and ridicule roll off their backs. They saw no color; they saw each other for who they were, and that was that. I later found out that the character was loosely based on the actress’s real life marriage and experiences. Years later in school I was really into what Lenny Kravitz was preaching with Let Love Rule, only to find out that his mother was none other than Roxie Roker, the very same woman that gave me my first lesson in civil rights through comedy television. Synchronicity brought her up a few more times in my life, and in my world you had better pay attention to that. ROXY ROCA is a play on her name.


Love seems be the most predominant theme in ROXY ROCA, can you elaborate?

Love is everything: the tie that binds, the voice in the night, and what we are all looking for and receiving at all times. That’s the great irony of life. It isn’t until we make things of love and with love, that we realize that we are love. So we’re bringing it back!  Not to say that it’s been gone, or that we are the only ones. We are just shouting it from the rooftop.


Shouting from the rooftop huh, sounds a little like evangelism. Is that where you got the nickname Pastor T?

Well, you can’t grow up in the bible belt of the deep south without a little gospel rubbing off on you. It’s everywhere, an unavoidable nurturer and giver of wisdom. My thing, personally, has less to do with religion and more to do with love. Life is spiritual. In fact the oldest origin of the word spirit is breath. That’s good for me to remember, that just by breathing I am actually on a spiritual journey. It grounds me and sets me free all at the same time. I think that comes through in our music and our live show.


So a ROXY ROCA show is a spiritual experience. Tell me about that.

That’s what it’s all about for me. It’s what Rev. Al Green referred to on one of his gospel records as “The Pleasant Tide” and I have adopted that as my mission: to bring as many people as I can to a Pleasant Tide of Life. We are gonna hit you with all of our musical influences: The Blues, Soul, and Funk. We are gonna get real with ya, let you know we are all on the same page. We feel your pain, and that’s the blues. Then we are gonna reach down deep inside of you and stir up all of your hopes and dreams, and that’s soul. And then we are gonna get plum nasty on ya! Fill your body with sexually charged energy that is gonna make you wanna dance like you do at home when nobody is watching, and that’s funk! We are gonna set you free of whatever has been weighing heavily on your mind and remind you that happiness is a choice!

Do you feel that that energy was captured on the upcoming debut album?

No doubt about it. That was our goal when we went into the studio with producer Lars Gorransson over in east Austin at EAR studios.  We tracked the band live, all nine of us together in one room. I think we brought that same energy, vibe, and chemistry into the sessions. We are really proud of what we came out with and are looking forward to touring the record and sharing it with the world.


So what is next for ROXY ROCA?
This past year has been fantastic and we have been very lucky to have so many great opportunities to get our music heard. Our video for “Try My Love” has been really well-received, getting over 25,000 views and coverage in blogs all over the world. Our follow-up videos for “Back from the Dead” and “It Ain’t Christmas Without You,” with the latter being featured as the lead track on the 2013 holiday album from Converse, have helped continue that success. Of course, our live show is a big part of who we are as a band, and we were thrilled to have so many opportunities to play in front of great audiences in clubs all over the south to festivals like SXSW in Austin, TX and BayFest in Mobile, AL. As for 2014, we are focused on getting our new record out and hitting the road more than ever, all over the US and Europe. The mission is the same as when we started: share our music and carry this message to as many people as we can.



If ever a band that could reach into your soul and make you believe, it’s ROXY ROCA.


Written by Anne Herrera

Anne Herrera

Anne Herrera is the founder of MUZE COLLECTIVE, a dedicated movement using writing to generate special interest in the Arts, Sciences and Social Justice.

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Anne Herrera
Anne Herrera is the founder of MUZE COLLECTIVE, a dedicated movement using writing to generate special interest in the Arts, Sciences and Social Justice.

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