By Raven Jordan
Sibling trio band The Grays is playing an intimate show at the South Dallas Cultural Center as part of the center’s Music Lounge series.
Music Lounge is part of South Dallas Cultural Center’s partnership with Swan Strings, a nonprofit music education program founded by Jess Garland. The series brings in artists and performers spanning across musical genres, whether it’s hip hop, zydeco, gospel or anything in-between.
“There were some members of South Dallas Cultural Center that didn’t know who The Grays were, but now they do,” Garland says. “That’s kind of the beauty of it, because some people in our music and art community just kind of stay within their own communities and don’t really cross over to see different types of genres.”
The Grays fit more into that in-between category, known for their funk and jazz renditions of songs from Disney movies and shows, like The Lion King, Pocahontas and Kim Possible. Kierra provides the lead vocals, Kwinton is on keyboard and KJ is on bass.
The audience can expect a mix of the band’s Disney covers, original songs and holiday songs.
“We’ve got a bunch of holiday covers and some Disney holiday themed songs from Nightmare Before Christmas, musical theater and anything Disney that’s got some holiday twang to it,” Kierra says.
This is the third event of this year’s Music Lounge Series. The first one, which was in October, featured performances from singers Amari Amore and Maya Piata.
“I did a Music Lounge a couple of years back, because they normally had it open, like you could apply to be a part of it. But as I kind of started to build a relationship with [the center], they wanted someone that was more connected to the music community,” Garland says.
Music Lounge took on the form of a Tiny Desk-like concert in 2020, showing artists in their studios, when people were still staying inside. The series was also featured in SoFar Sounds at one point once the music scene made a return.
According to Garland, who has known the Gray siblings for the past 10 years, she noticed they were also good with kids. They met during a show at the now closed Harp and Crown in Deep Ellum. Two of the three siblings— Kierra and KJ— also teach music to children at Swan Strings.
Each of The Gray siblings have performed at stages across the city, and even gone on national and international tours with recording artists. Kwinton is touring in Europe right now, just days ahead of their December performance at the center.
“It’s always nice to get to play holiday music all together. We’ve been traveling, different pieces of the band, it’ll be nice to have both my brothers in town. It’s really fun,” Kierra says.
Bites for the night will also be provided by Sunny South Dallas Food Park, formerly MLK Food Park, which also has a partnership with the South Dallas Cultural Center that provides food at Fair Park weekly.
“We wanted to be more family-oriented, and it’s an earlier show, so it’s not going past midnight. We want it to be open to families and our students that participate in our programming because they’re not going to always have access to be able to see these performers in those settings. So it’s just bringing something directly to the community,” Garland said.
Seating for the event is free but limited. Reservations can be made on Eventbrite.