If you have spent any time checking out live music throughout the area’s club scene, chances are you have seen bass player Zuri Appleby perform. I first worked with Zuri maybe 6 years ago, and since then we have worked together countless of times, and many have watched her perform another countless amount of times. From the beginning, there was no mistake she was going somewhere. Putting in the work will always be rewarded in some form.
She was on the road with David Michael Miller when she received a message on Instagram to check her email. It was from former Jonas Brother, Nick Jonas’s musical director, Chase Foster. “I opened it and saw a picture with thousands of people – it said we have a gig opportunity if you’re interested,” Zuri tells me. “It was so random. I looked at how many followers they had. I knew it was authentic, especially the way they found me.”
She was on the road and couldn’t do anything about it. Then the drummer Ced Mitchell contacted her, and said they’ve seen all her videos and felt she could do the gig. It was really beginning to intensify. They stayed in touch over the weekend, and the Jonas people knew what was going on. They had an open audition in LA, but it wasn’t working out. They wanted a female player, but the person they originally were targeting didn’t have her paperwork ready.
They spent time watching her videos and website. Mitchell and Foster both wanted to submit videos of Zuri to Jonas’s management in Australia. So they told her to put together videos performing Jonas’s songs. “You’re the one that we want, but you have to get the video done now,” they both insisted. She did it between gigs, sleep, and learning the material. She sent stuff out Sunday. “Everything was boom, boom, boom,” she said. “’You’re our number one choice’ they told me.” But a couple of redos were necessary before the video was submitted to the management. So the process continued, makeup, recording, etc. Sent it. “You’re a beast,”… “U killin’ girl,” were some of the responses. The final redo was at 12:45 am Monday morning. Management wanted more smile – having fun – and they got it.
At 3:17 am, she received a message, “So how soon can you get to LA?” They planned to fly her out tomorrow night, but they called back this afternoon at 2pm. We have a flight booked, flying out at 7:18 tonight, “We want to meet you today!”
I’ve been in communication with her mom Linda all weekend regarding this. It was not an easy decision, but a no brainer. She’s been doing road gigs with David Michael Miller, who has a blossoming career all his own, but this was the big one. Talking with Linda this afternoon, she was so proud and humbled by what was happening. “She’s so understated,” she says of Zuri. “She doesn’t put herself out there. Her Instagram is full of all kinds of things other than herself.” We discussed this as the overwhelming feeling that brought out tears of joy in this proud mom.
Dreaming is the easy part. I’m sure anyone who has ever picked up a musical instrument at some point had rock star dreams. Doing is not so easy. It involves years of preparation, gigs, travel, sleepless nights, broken strings (maybe even dreams), and a whole bunch of unglamorous, non-rock star type of things. For Zuri, this is the payoff. “I really believed for a long time I can be a part of this, playing in this tier of musicians,” Zuri says. “I’m bringing all of Buffalo to this gig. It’s not just about me, it’s about all of us.”
The dream is now a reality. The two month tour starts with rehearsals in LA, and 20,000 seat arenas are merely a couple of weeks away. Knock ‘em dead, little sister.
Follow the tour here:
Photo by Darron L Whitset, and makeup by Neisha Mua