Something About Mary....The Bio

Mary Cross The Mother of Cool Smoke Singer. Songwriter. Stylista. Wife. Mother. Humanitarian

Mary…dubbed the Mother of Cool Smoke for her rich vocal tonalities that are reminiscent of the late Phyllis Linda Hyman.  An instantly identifiable honey-toned mezzo-contralto sound with great range and an undeniably brilliant and magnetic stage presence, Mary’s alluring vocals, candor, honesty, humor and purity as an artist make her a rarity in this business.

Frontrunner wrote: “Mary is the kind of singer who takes hold of a song and enraptures her audience in the palm of her hands, as she delivers lyrics, phrases, melodies and harmonies in a way that only she can”.

Founded in September of 2016 by recording artist Mary Cross, 2NspireU is a NJ-based project known for their signature performance of multi-genres of music (Jazz, Classic Soul, R&B, Soft Rock, Gospel and more). 

Mary, dubbed the Mother of Cool Smoke, has immediately identifiable contralto vocals described as sultry, smooth, and timeless in both presentation and delivery.  Expect to hear the great music of Nina Simone, Phyllis Hyman, Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Burt Bacharach, Captain and Tenielle, Tony Bennett, Oleta Adams, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, H.E.R., Lalah Hathaway, Ledisi, Lizz Wright, Norah Jones, CeCe Winans, and more during the band’s performance.

 

The group has provided entertainment for various events nationwide, including weddings, corporate, cocktail hours, charity galas, retirement parties, and graced the stages of The Kennedy Center, SOUTH Jazz Kitchen, Doubletree and Hilton Hotels, Wiggins Park, Berks Jazz Fest, Willingboro Jazz Fest Juneteenth events,  Nicetown Festival, IDEA Performing Arts, Camden Aquarium and more.

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Mary has shared the stage with renowned Jazz Pianist Marcus Johnson and Gerald Veasley, Danny Clay (Luther Vandross), Eban Brown (The Stylistics), William Wardlaw (Luther Relives) and a host of other well-known artists.

 

Recipient of many awards including the 2021 Creative Media Black History award for her work with nonprofits including universities, healthcare, mental health, youth and senior centers.

She was also a 2021 Soultracks nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year for her 3rd release titled “PROMISE”….”a 2021 Soultracks Top 100 Soul single.

 

 

Mary has released three collaborations with Grammy Nominated producer Donald Robinson (Vanessa Williams) and has an upcoming project with Tim Hutson (Maysa).  Saxophone great Carl Cox (Maysa) was featured on her latest single titled ‘Promise’ which she wrote.  Here debut album is targeted for release in late Fall, 2022.

Her monthly residency at Wilson’s Live Music continues to yield SOLD OUT performances.

Whether you’re hosting a gala, fundraiser, community, senior, speakeasy or intimate party…or maybe you want to set the mood for romance with elegance, class and style, Mary Cross 2NspireU has you covered!

Mary Cross 2NspireU can perform with either a duo (vocals/guitar and keys), trio (vocals, keys, and bass), quartet (vocals, keys, bass, and drums) or full band (vocals, guitar, keys, bass, drums, horns), depending on the event.
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2NspireU -  Daille, Dane, Mary, Kismet, Dave & Scoodie

2NspireU - Daille, Dane, Mary, Kismet, Dave & Scoodie

2 INspire U

Mary Cross 2NspireU consists of 6 musicians (guitar, keys, drums, bass, sax, trumpet) and 2 vocalists.  Music genres include Classic Soul, R&B, Jazz, Soft Rock. 

The combined experience of these talented creatives exceed 80 years.  In addition to performing for Jazz fests, they opened for the great Eban Brown (former voice of the Stylistics); Chris Thomas (The Mayor) Comedy Showcases; and  ‘Luther Relives’ and many more community, private and public events. 

Stay tuned for the debut album targeted for release in 2022 with a number of collaborations!         

For more information send an email to marycrossmusic@gmail.com.

Mary Cross 2NspireU

Mary Cross 2NspireU

Musicians ....2NspireU!

Guitarist MUSICAL DIRECTOR

Dane Clarke

Dane Clark was born in the small town of Carenage in Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies.  He grew up to the sound of steel drums and the “Quatro” a ukulele-like instrument in a rich ethnic environment.  His father, James, passed on his love of the guitar.  He played and composed songs for the local church and several small groups.  After migrating to the US, he studied classical guitar for two years at Rutgers University in Camden, NJ. He went on to play for Bethany Baptist Church and co-founded Rapture Jazz/Rapture Fusion

keyboards / VOCALS

Daille Kettrell

Daille Kettrell (pianist, vocalist, songwriter, educator), a Camden, NJ native, has been performing professionally for over two decades.  She was a keyboardist with the late Lionel Hampton, vibraphone/percussion legend, Bobbi Humphrey, jazz recording artist/flutist, the late Vesta Williams, R &B Artist/vocalist, and Gordon James, smooth jazz trumpeter.  She has been a musician in bands that have opened for Patti LaBelle, George Benson, and Alex Bugnon.’s piano stylings.  Her  voice can be heard in area venues playing her original works, blues, jazz, and R&B/Pop.  As a composer, she received an honorable mention for her composition, “The Next Plateau” in the 2003 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. 

Daille is known for her versatility and has the ability to compose various styles of music equally as well.  Daille's new indie release single, “For All” is available on various music platforms including Spotify and iTunes.  Besides working as a freelance musician, Kettrell led her own band, Rites of Passage, and Daille Kettrell & Kharemelion.  She was also a core member of the band, Pristine Raeign since 2014.  Her debut CD Release for The Rite Time, The Rite Moment was in 2008.  She has performed at the COX 2009 Omaha Riverfront Jazz & Blues Festival in Omaha, NE, The 2008 Long Branch Jazz & Blues Festival in Long Branch, NJ and WBGO Jazz-FM 88 Newark Radio Children’s Concerts and Gallery Receptions I Newark, NJ.  Currently, she works with established international vocal artists Jackie Greggs and Mary Cross.  Her future projects include new original recording and film/TV music work.  When not writing or performing, she is an elementary music teacher in the Camden City School District.

Drums / Percussion / VOCALS

David Williams

David Williams, has been playing drums for about 40 years.

He has a  strong background in R&B and a deep love for gospel.  He has played with several gospel artists including but not limited to the Clark sisters, Daryl Coley, and James Bingham.

Seventeen years ago, David started the G2 R&B band with Lamar Nixon whom he played with for many years.

David has also had the honor of being a part of Philadelphia international and the founding legends: Mr. Kenney  Gamble and Mr. Leon Huff.

He has toured with Kevin Michael in five cities opening up for John legend and Patty Labelle.

Obvious to any in his presence, is David's  strong passion for music.

His commitment to the craft is an attestation to the passion and joy that playing music provides.

He enjoys being part of a team and creating great music.

David's humility and gratitude are refreshing to witness.

He is very thankful for the gift of music and sharing creative artistry...evident by his readiness to perform at every opportunity! 

He understands the assignment as drummer to keep the time and  drive towards the destination intended.

2NspireU family is honored to have David  as a member of the  family!

PERCUSSIONIST / VOCALS/ DRUMS

Carey S Muse aka Doktor Akono Bey

Carey S Muse aka Doktor Akono Bey 

Akono is an amazing percussionist with experience that spans decades. He has worked with many amazing artists including the world renowned doo wop crooners Pookie Hudson and The Spaniels, The Executive Suites and The Ebony’s.

He was also the tour drummer for Sister Sledge and sang backing vocals on Kool and the Gang’s Open Sesame album.  Favorite quote: 

 “Success is… hard work meeting up with opportunity.”
-Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson 

VOCALIST LEAD/BACKGROUND

Kismet Henderson

Kismet Jemini

IG: @KissyNonfiction 

 

The Vocalist

The Songwriter

The Playwright 

The Producer

The Stage Manager

The Philadelphia Native with over 30 years of Live band performance. Former background vocalist of Philadelphia’s own Bilal and Christopher Williams

For over 13 years Kismet has worked and worn many hats behind the scenes on various theatre productions throughout Philadelphia, also in Dc, Virginia, Alabama and Arizona . 

Kismet also has her own Stage Productions, which she has written, directed, produced also she wrote,  performed and co produced the sound tracks. 

These Productions include  

The Sold Out Interactive Dinner Theatre Production Serendipity Dot Com 

The Sold Out Stage Play You are what you see

A funny Kind of love story

Carpe Diem

And 

Black Man trapped

Bassist / VOCALS

Joe 'Scoodie' Fisher

Bassist with a colorful life having played alongside fellow great musicians!  

Scoodie has worked with a number of artists throughout his musical career including Larry Huggins  (R&B and Gospel Rock music).  The show subsequently left the televised airways.  The group went on tour in Canada and Entertained extensively throughout Delaware Valley.  Danny Montez Band,

Ann Byers Review (Gladys Knight Impersonator);

Mr. Melody Band;  Corban Family: (R&B and Casino Circuit style music); Urban Quadra Jazz Band: (Jazz and R&B music).  He entertained at private affairs such as; Doctor Conventions, Bah mitvahs and Jazz festivals.  He also performed with Lowdown, an R&B and Rock & Roll group.  Jazzmyn Ferrell & lasavant Image; Ajodah and the Marquee players; MD Concept Blues Band; Best of Friends (vocal group);  Wilson Lambert (bBue Magic Tribute);  James Lee former member of Fat larry’s Band and Mary Cross 2Nspire you Band (Phyllis Hyman/ Tribute/R&B/ Jazz and Classic Soul from  2018-to-Present.

 

The Original Blue Magic group from 2019 till present.

Vocalist

Martina Grant

Born and raised in Camden, NJ. Martina began performing with the choir of five Spruillettes at the age of 6!  This multifaceted songstress is known for her ability to harmonically compliment any vocalist she accompanies – with great ease.

Modeling professionally since age 8, Martina is also an accomplished actress who, under producer / director Stephen Stahl has worked in Trading Places.  She also worked as a stage manager for Sugermouth Sam Don’t Dance No More, and with playwriter Don Evans.  She performed in Dream Girls with the Emmy Award winner Joseph A Walker who wrote The River Niger performing behind the scene vocals.  She has been cast in behind the scenes videos, singing solos and background with Dr. James Edwards.

She continues to write - and for the past several years, has worked in the studio on music compilations penned by her late mother.  Best known for her performances at various venues under the stage name MarJean, she is excited to perform alongside the incomparable Mary Cross 2NspireU Project.

This quick study with a keen ear loves all genres of music and has been holding Mary down since the early stages of the 2NspireU project over 3 years ago!

Mary Cross 2NspireU Performances