R&B band Klymaxx to play EC

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Klymaxx is scheduled to perform at The Arena at 400 E. Colonial Avenue on May 6


Cindy Beamon
Albemarle Life Editor

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A long-time radio personality in Elizabeth City said music history is coming to town this month.

Wilbert Simmons, a local radio announcer and disc jockey for 20 years, has paired with a Sony record label company in Memphis, Tenn., to bring Klymaxx to The Arena at 400 E. Colonial Avenue on May 6.

The all-female R&B band peaked in popularity in the 1980s and is preparing for a comeback tour that includes Elizabeth City. Promoter Anthony Quinn with Multi Platinum Record Entertainment set up the concert in hopes of bringing more major performers to the area.

Quinn began his career as a DJ before starting his company in 1999, mostly to assist independent artists with promoting their work to radio stations.

Quinn said his one-stop shop for everything in entertainment has broadened since he came under the Sony record label. Now major artists. like Klymaxx and the Ohio Players, have signed with his company and he's hoping Elizabeth City will become one of their entertainment venues.

In a recent telephone interview, Quinn said his entertainment booking company has the potential to "pretty much bring major label entertainment in Elizabeth City on a regular basis."

Simmons said bringing superstars like Klymaxx to Elizabeth City will open doors for the music scene locally.

Klymaxx's first hit "The Men All Pause" in the early 80s marked the beginning of the group's success. The long-standing ranking of "I Miss You" on Billboard's Hot 100 made the song the third best selling song in 1986. Other hit singles followed, even after some members left the group to pursue solo careers. The original six performers began performing together again in 2009 after the release of a documentary on the group's history.

"The public is going to really love it because it gives them an opportunity to come out and see something that's not been here before. It's like making history," Simmons said in a recent interview.

Simmons said he met Quinn online and they've been working together over the past year to arrange the concert. Simmons said he now works as the company's chief operating officer over local transactions and keeps up with the industry through worldwide Internet contacts.

Simmons grew up in Camden where at age 11 he was acting as disc jockey after football games at The Community Building. He got his break in the radio business from his cousin William Bailey who worked for what used to be WCNC- Elizabeth City, WGAI and Love 100 Gospel.

Simmons worked as a radio announcer, doing commercials and taking live phone requests. In recent years, , he worked for a maintenance contractor at Elizabeth City State University and then at Mid-Atlantic Christian University.

A recent fundraiser at Gospel 89.9 at Elizabeth City State University gave him the chance to return to the work he loves.

"I haven't done that in 10 years or more. It was real fun," he said.

He's hoping that the Multi Platinum Record Entertainment will not only bring talent to the area, but also offer an outlet for local talent to advance their careers.

"I want to try to open doors in Elizabeth City because we have some real talent here," he said.

He said the company can help point groups with marketable potential in the right direction, although he was not specific about how that may work.

Quinn said he had no immediate plans to conduct a talent search in the area, but he looks for serious artists across all musical genres.

"I am particular about artists. I feel if you are not serious, it's a waste of time," he said.