Ken Leighton 7 a.m., May 5
Genre: Covers | Standards
Sound description: A cappella doo-wop from the 1950s and 1960s.
Upcoming Local Shows
Inception: San Diego, 2005
Influences: Jay Siegel & the Tokens, the Impressions, Barbara Harris, Gene Chandler, Shirley Alston Reeves, Jerry Butler, Charlie Thomas' Drifters, the Fleetwoods, the Crystals, the Pentagons, Kathy Young, the Olympics, Little Caesar & the Romans, the Contours, Kenny Vance & the Planotones, Larry Chance & the Earls, the Duprees, Jay & the Americans, Lou Christie, the Reflections, Earl Lewis & the Channels, Dave Somerville, Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge, Jimmy Beaumont & the Skyliners, the Original Vogues, the Shades of Blue, Terry Johnson's Flamingos, Little Anthony & the Imperials
Formed in 2005, the Royals (formerly known as the Royals of San Diego) say they’re committed to the recreation of the East Coast street corner sound of the late 1950s and early 1960s. They refer to themselves as an “East Meets West” group, because members hail from both the east and west coast. While the group performs mainly in the west, their recordings have earned them a global fan base, thanks to online oldies radio.
Originally from Boston, Peter King (baritone) began studying classical piano at the age of seven. Over the course of the next four years he was “corrupted” by the evils of early rock ‘n’ roll and started playing the guitar in 1964. His vocal debut at the age of fifteen was a highly acclaimed rendition of “Honestly Sincere” from the musical Bye Bye Birdie in the summer of 1968.
After getting a bit tired of acid rock, doo-wop became his specialty in the early 1970s. His conversion to the bass guitar was influenced by Johnny Maestro. For a time, he returned to classical music and studied voice for nine years. In the early 1980s, he sang with several opera companies in the New England area, including the Opera Company of Boston and the Providence Opera Theater in Rhode Island.
In 1991, he relocated to San Diego and has continued to work with numerous groups both singing and playing bass guitar.
Kevin Jones (baritone, second tenor) hails from Hillsdale, NJ. He began singing in his church’s choir at the age of seven, though the passion was with him long before that. While never studying voice professionally, Kevin was able to train his voice in the high school choir. In May 2004, Kevin moved to San Diego due to his involvement in the Marine Corps. Since that time, he has had the privilege of singing the National Anthem for the San Diego Surf Dawgs, the Sea-to-Shining Sea Festival, and for former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Kevin left the Marines in 2007.
Jim Carkagis (bass) is a multi-faceted musician, both vocally and instrumentally, with many ties to the San Diego music and theatre scene. Since 1992, he has been singing with a number of a cappella groups ranging in styles from doo-wop, jazz, and swing. As a solo artist, he has ten years of experience as his church's bass section leader and soloist.
David Silva (baritone, tenor) has been involved in singing since he can remember and instrumental music since the age of ten. Early collaborations include the groups Toosoul, Angstrom Maxis, Jerry and the Backups, and Uncle Fungus. Jonny Benavidez (baritone, tenor) grew up listening to oldies of the 1950s and 1960s. He got his start singing lead and had developed a good ear for singing harmony with
the Sun Harbor Chorus that was a San Diego Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Carolyn Gannett (tenor, contralto) is a product of the Midwest, born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. After Carolyn studied violin and piano (and ballet and tap), she discovered voice was her musical
passion (equal to her other great passion: equestrianism). She was a member of the San Diego a cappella group Singchronicity, and has spent many years singing in a cappella caroling quartets, in addition to various other a cappella ensembles.
In late 2010, vintage doo-wop stars the Safaris, featuring original singer Jim Stephens, recruited Peter King and Kevin Jones from the Royals, to perform with them at several shows.
They have also provided their vocal talents for the sets of doo-wop legends Kathy Young (“A Thousand Stars”), original Pentagons lead singer Joe Jones (“To Be Loved”), and Diamond David Somerville, original lead singer of the Diamonds (“Little Darlin’”).