MEET THE BAND

 
El Ray

Lead Vocals / Bandleader

ORIGIN: Los Angeles, CA

El Ray

El RAY was a world-ranked tennis pro in his youth, he is a Mexican-American, a native of Santa Ana, California, he grew up in a Catholic household with strong Hispanic roots. He is a drummer and has been playing since he was 13. Not only is EL RAY a fantastic musician and tennis pro, he has been instrumental, along with his long-time business partner, Charles Smith – who lives at Shanghai Centre, in bringing the sport of tennis to China in a big way. They achieved this first through the Heineken Open, and the Tennis Masters Cup a few years back and then more recently through the Rolex Masters. It is the same story for the Chinese F1 Grand Prix.

EL RAY is a promotion and marketing firestorm in Shanghai and has been for almost twenty years. If there is a major sporting event in the city then he’s most likely involved. And it’s not just sporting events he promotes and manages, through his role as Executive Director of JUSS Events Management, but musical acts as well. He had a hand in bringing Elton John in 2004 and the Rolling Stones to town in 2003 & 2005.
With passion for everything he does, you can hear his drive and conviction when he performs with Studio 188 and feel the positive energy in the events he promotes and manages.


Hazel

Lead Vocals

ORIGIN: Manchester, UK

 
 
GK

Drums / Lead Vocals

ORIGIN: Mauritius

Shun

Bass

 

ORIGIN: Dalian, China

 
 
Manny

Saxophone

 

ORIGIN San Onofre, Sucre, Colombia

 
Jason 1.jpg

Keyboards / BVs

 

ORIGIN Dalian, China

 
 
Matt

Baritone / Alto Sax / Flute

 

ORIGIN Shanghai, China

Bobby

Trumpet

 

ORIGIN: Shanghai, China

 
Neil

Guitar / Lead Vocals

ORIGIN: Liverpool, UK

HAZEL GOULD - "Bunny"

Studio 188’s female starlet is from England, UK. Hazel began her professional career and was touring in Europe at just 19 years old! For 5 years, Hazel managed and performed in her own 6-piece showband, Makerfield, a mini-Studio 188, if you will.

Hazel arrived on Shanghai’s music scene in 2013. She made the move here in 2012 to finish her Music Management Masters degree, an addition to her Music Bachelors degree. She began making waves immediately after showcasing at some of the cities biggest venues (JZ Club) and shortly after, was hired as the lead vocalist at Shanghai’s biggest R&B/Soul venue, Brown Sugar. Hazel’s live performance experience ranges from stadium shows to intimate performances accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. Such boundless versatility has rewarded her with performances alongside some of her favorite artistes including Incognito plus various other UK names, and has taken her to places such as Germany, Cyprus, The Dominican Republic and Israel to name a few.


GILBERT KUPPUSAMI - “GK”

His motivation for joining Studio 188…”love that big band sound man.”

Gilbert has been part of Studio 188′s family of musicians since 2011. An import from the island of Mauritius, Gilbert has become one of Shanghai most respected, and admired male vocalists. He matches his vocal expertise with a incendiary skill on the drums and percussion instruments. He has jammed with music royalty, such as Eric Clapton, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins and David Gilmore. He also fronts Noukilla, Shanghai’s Favorite Band…next to Studio 188 of course! Gilbert recorded and released his own reggae album, entitled “Music Virus” in 2007 and most recently has toured with China's own Tan Wei Wei and actively drums with Andy Summer's of the Police on his Shanghai shows.


SHUN ZI - “Z”

Shunzi, or “Shun”, originally never contemplated going into music for a career, since in China, it’s very difficult to tell one’s parents that you are going to bypass the whole corporate thingie and go hang out with disreputable musicians, playing music in a smoky, decadent bar in Shanghai. But personal ambitions do have their imperatives.
After completing middle school, Shun enrolled in university to study HVAC systems. It was not too long thereafter that he surmised “I don’t like this stuff.” As he relates “There was no Soul, no Life in this for me. I wanted to do something different – with Energy.” While in university he was exposed to a wide variety of both western and eastern music, and picked up the bass on his own and studied it with the passion that he couldn’t muster for HVAC technology.
Shun looks forward to playing with Studio 188 and with other ad hoc bands that arise to do some specialized function. He is a sponge for learning different types of musical genres and attacks each new style with the energy and passion that we always hope to keep when we call ourselves musicians.


MANUEL TAPIAS BERRIO – “MANNY”

Manuel, or Manny to the 188′ers, joined Studio 188 in 2009 and has rapidly immersed himself in the Classic Rock genre. Manuel was born in San Onofre, Sucre in Colombia on September 15, 1968, where Cumbia, Salsa and Bayoneta music reign supreme and where the people are passionate about their music. Manny studied music in high school, and became a standout talent on the saxophone. During his studies he had the opportunity to join groups like Guiro Band where he was able to play saxophone at a professional level.

Manny was first known to Studio 188 members by his performances at JZ club and Muralbar, when Latin musicians and audiences get together to hear the authentic music traditions of the various regions of South America. His bold and innovative saxophone riffs were thought to be excellent additions to the 188 sound as Studio 188 morphed to encompass more Blues, Disco, Pop and Motown sounds requiring a horn section.


JASON YAN PENG

Although joining in 2012, Studio 188′s keyboardist Jason “keys” Yan Peng is no stranger to the band. He played in the line up from July 2007 to February 2008. He rejoins the band at a great period and his impact has already been felt. He also oversees the musical arrangements, and scoring for the band.

Jason was born in Dalian, China in 1973, Jason began playing keyboards at the age of 15, rather late for a Chinese piano player! However, he played his first show at 20 and has since been playing professionally for the last 16 years. He is happily married.
His command of English made him a favorite among international bands playing in Shanghai. He was a member of the resident band at Park 97’ and the Big Bamboo. He was a recording artist and member of the award winning “Lions of Puxi”.

His commitment to recreating the soul and BIG sound of Studio 188 songs is second to none. He adds to the bands vocal harmonies with his sharp and accurate voice. He loves to play with Studio 188 as he says, “ It’s great music, and the band is like a big family and I love this family.”


MATTHEW CHEN

Matthew Chen is one of Studio 188′s infamous “Brass Monkeys.” This funky, fun-filled Shanghai horn player plays the Baritone and Alto sax with fearless regard. “Playing and having the biggest instrument in the band is a tremendous responsibility says Matt.” Ha ha! yes we get it. Originally a jazz musician, Matthew has been playing sax since he was 15.

He credits artists such as Tower of Power, Incognito, and Earth Wind & Fire to switching to the funk and R/B styles of Studio 188. He started with the band in 2010 and says, “this is more than a band, it’s my family!”

 

BOB ZHANG – “BOBBY”

Bob “Bobby” Zhang joins Studio 188 on trumpet with the passion and lungs to match! In his own words. “I started learning trumpet when I was 8 years old from my daddy, and 4 years later I studied classic trumpet from professor Mr. Yuan Qi Lin for 2 years.
In 2009 I had an opportunity to enter Shanghai Jazz band to play trumpet for 1 year. Since that I thought I like playing trumpet.
I’ve been in the band Studio 188 since May 18th, 2011.
The most important point is I get passion when I play with Studio 188 on the stage. That’s my first time I think I really enjoy the music!”
“Every one is good, I feel good” Well said Bobby!

 

 

NEIL JONES – “NIZZA”

Born and raised in Liverpool, England; Neil is an accomplished guitarist and vocalist with more than 15 years of experience. 

Since performing as a Finalist in 'Guitarist' Magazine’s 'Young Guitarist of the Year' competition at Wembley Exhibition Center in 1999, Neil has been pleasing audiences, recording and touring around the world. He performed alongside Elvis’s original band members, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of Elvis’s “That’s Alright Mama”, in 2004. The next year he rocked out on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury Festival with his original band, BOA, which gained some acclaim in the United States. He also spent 3 years entertaining dancers and music lovers with more than 500 live performances, from Sydney to Miami, aboard Princess Cruise Lines as well as performing with British pop bands 'Atomic Kitten' and '5ive'.