Soul music is at the core of the sound and style of Grand Rapids based duo Frederic and Ronza (Keith and Leslie Bean). Like the soul music of the past that was born out of a return to roots, honesty, emotion and expressiveness, Frederic and Ronza’s music was born from those same characteristics. Married in 2014, this soul duo writes and delivers music that is relatable, passionate and authentic, writing about the joys and sorrows of life. Powerful vocals and strong harmonies accompanied by electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums are at the heart of the compelling musical arrangements.
The Music Journey
But, the journey to become singer songwriters has not been easy. Both Keith and Leslie enjoyed music at an early age, but neither really began the song writing journey until they met each other. On a whim, Keith posted an ad for a female vocalist to join him on his music journey and Leslie answered. She used an alias when they agreed to meet at TGIF in Kalamazoo, because she was afraid Keith might be a serial killer. (true story) But four hours after meeting, they both knew they wanted to work on music together.
Starting in open mics and small venues, Keith and Leslie began by singing covers. The duo performed with only an acoustic guitar and sometimes Leslie played the shaker. Within a few months, Keith had written 2 songs, one of which made the top 10 of a music writing competition.
Journey toward Love
The journey toward love and marriage was even harder. As their working relationship began to grow, so did their feelings for one another. Both were “falling in love.” The intensity of their feelings for one another was something neither of them had experienced before. The love and care they both felt was refreshing and exciting, but scary. This was especially hard for Leslie as she had to work through issues of being in love with someone from another race. It was difficult as she considered her own expectations and what others might think. But Keith’s love and devotion was strong. He patiently pursued her with love and care. Songs were born from this battle in the mind. The song, “Anyway” refers to the thoughts and feelings that can occur when considering loving someone from a different culture. Leslie began writing the lyrics and up to this point, she had never written a song.
Passion for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues
While Keith and Leslie’s love was growing, enjoying the best times of their lives, some of their family members were going through difficult times. Seeing family members overwhelmed with depression, anxiety and substance abuse, Keith and Leslie were concerned for their well-being. This caused them to dig even deeper into song writing. The song “In the Middle” was born as they contemplated how they could help a family member battling depression. The sometimes dissonant sound reflects the emotional message of the song; it’s ok, not to be ok. Later, they partnered with and performed a benefit concert at the Wealthy Theater for an organization that serves those struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse. They wrote five original songs in response to their passion for this organization and in general about mental health and substance abuse. The passion for these topics continues to burn strong as they write new music.
While the duo comes from different upbringings, their backgrounds of faith, family, music and service are similar. Their parents instilled in them that their gifts were given to help others. They have donated their time and talent to benefit several organizations including Family Outreach Center, Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center and Relay for Life. They want their music to bring joy and hope to others.
Frederic and Ronza have played at numerous venues including the Wealthy Theater, Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts, the Griswold Theater, Allegan, MI, The Box Factory for the Arts and John E.N. Howard Bandshell, St. Joseph, MI, New Holland Brewery, Grand Rapids, The Boykin Theater in North Carolina and many more.
They have received press coverage from WYCE Home @ the B.O.B., WWMT Kalamazoo, 104.9 Grand Rapids, The Herald Palladium in St. Joseph, MI and the Wilson Times in North Carolina.
The band features guitarist/vocalist Keith Bean, vocalist Leslie Bean, background vocalist Ann Senge, bassist Sam Avila Sr., keyboardist Grayson Barton and drummer Tim Ross.
In the fall of 2018 they released their first full album, Heart & Soul, which will deliver powerful performances in great venues.