Zuri Elise Appleby is the daughter of Rodney and Linda Appleby. At the age of 5, Zuri began her love of music by singing in the church choir. She picked up the guitar at the age of 7, and was smitten by her love of music from that time forward. She was active in all of the performing groups that her middle, junior, and high schools had to offer,playing the violin, French Horn, guitar and bass, and by the age of 15 she was recruited to play for various musicals, and performance groups in and around the Western New York area. At the age of 16, Zuri was playing weekly gigs as bassist with numerous well known musicians at copius venues, while continuing to sing every Sunday in her church choir. Zuri’s combined talents of music and athletics garnished the attention of the United States Marine Corps, and at age of 16 was one of a very elite group of young adults who was asked to audition for the prestigious USMC Band where she became the youngest, first and ONLY female bassist of color to ever play in the Marine Band. She was enthusiastically accepted upon completion of her audition, and just 3 days after her graduation from Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts School, she was escorted to begin her service in the Marine Corps.
From that point, Zuri graduated from boot camp from Recruit Depot South Carolina, the Marine Combat Training Course from Camp Geiger in North Carolina. Following her combat training, Zuri attended and graduated from the Little Creek Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. She continued on to be stationed in New Orleans where she served Active Duty for 4 years as an electric bassist and percussionist, as she toured the country providing music to thousands.
Upon her honorable discharge as a Sergeant in 2009, Zuri pursued higher education at Buffalo State College, and diligently and consistently followed her heart to become a musician in high demand. Zuri’s versatility has enabled her to open for national recording artists such as PJ Morton, Sisqo. Anthony Hamilton, Orgone, Alan Evans Trio, Grammy Award Snarky Puppy, Bernard Purdie, Avery Sunshine and has also played for national recording artists consisting of Ginuiwine, Silk, Grammy nominated Maysa, Soulive, Christopher Williams, Marvin Sapp, Martha Munizzi and Steve Miller’s own keyboardist,and 3 time Grammy nominated artist, Mr. Joseph Wooten. Zuri currently is a bassist and vocalist for numerous bands around her hometown of Buffalo New York for groups such as her original group Forealists, Verse, Breakerbox, Critts Juke Joint, ReBop, Vitamin D, Micheal King and Dan Ross Band,and Drea D’Nur, to name a few. She accompanied every Sunday for Ephesus Ministries Church with Musical Director and co-founder of Buffalo’s award winning band, Gruvology, Mr. Walter Kemp from 2009-2015, and was the featured bassist for the David M.Miller “Miller and the Other Sinners Band’, who opened for The Steve Miller Band in August of 2015 at Artpark.
When not engaged in her traditional gig work, Zuri had taught with Young Audiences of Western New York, where she worked with children in junior and senior high schools.
In August of 2015, Zuri was handpicked to be Nick Jonas’ bassist until February 2016. As his bassist, Zuri performed for the Made in America Tour in September in Philadelphia, Was featured on the Seth Meyers Late Night Show, The Ellen DeGeneres show, The American Music Awards of 2015, the BBC Teen Awards in London, England, opened for Justin Bieber, The Weekend, DNC, DeLaSol, Demi Lovato, and was featured on the Victoria Secrets Swim Suit Special on CBS which aired in March, 2016 from St. Barth’s Island.
Zuri was chosen by Music Supervisor James Schwantz to lead an Artist in Residency Program for the Buffalo Public Schools in February 2016, and led a Music Symposium for Administrators of Western New York at Kelinhan’s Music Hall.
Zuri was awarded Best Jazz Bassist of 2016 in the City of Buffalo, will be featured in June at Rockwell Hall for the “30 Under 30 Changemakers Award,” and is up for the highly coveted Sparks Award in May as presented by the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York.
Additionally, upon request, Zuri shares her knowledge of music and skills through workshops, and seminars and private bass and vocal instruction throughout the city.
Zuri’s natural beauty, grace, and genuine spirit of love and life has also afforded the doors of opportunity to be opened for her in the area of modeling as well. For the past few years when not entertaining the multitudes with her articulate level of musical mastery and ability, Zuri can be seen on the runwways. She has modeled for the Mass Appeal of Buffalo numerous times, as well as for Runway 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, Banana Republic, New Era, Fashion Maniac, Second Chic, Daft Minerva, Katie Gariepy, Sai One, Waste Kase, Sickamatci Royal-T Krew, Ellicott Lofts, Ms. Eye Candy and Fashions.
“The complete package. That’s what professional music directors, producers and contractors are looking for today in the music business. Zuri Appleby falls into this category. I’ve always said that women make the best bass players. Just like most women can out-dance men, they can also feel the deeper pocket in my opinion. Also Zuri doesn’t just take the easy road and play a 4 string electric bass, she jumped right onto a 5 string and handles the bigger instrument with ease. This is really what the arrangements and material of the 21st century call for today. Being able to rock contemporary tracks down into the sub-bass range of which new sound systems today can handle. Oh and did I say she could sing? Being blessed as a mixed race universal child her beautiful contralto range blends all the soulful trimmings both as lead or background vocalist. Her songwriting is compelling and hip for today’s market and combined with the looks of a pop star, I would say that Zuri Appleby IS the complete package.”Kenny Lee Lewis [Bassist for The Steve Miller Band]
“Looks like a million dollars and plays bass like five million. I have had the luxury of playing music with Zuri Appleby on a few occasions. She is a very good musician, and by musician I do not mean that she is just a good soloist. She is, but she is more than that. Zuri makes the music feel good. As a songwriter it is always a joy when a musician comes prepared. Zuri ALWAYS knows the music beforehand. You can tell she has listened to it and prepared. That speaks volumes. She can read music. She can play by ear. She understands her music theory. She is a great listener. She knows what the other musicians are doing and she is adaptable. She can take a suggestion. Zuri is a musician in all senses of the word, and she can SING! Bonus points there! She has a striking presence onstage. Poise, beauty, grace….stage presence. I have never seen her rattled (and I HAVE thrown her some curve balls!) She has confidence with zero arrogance. Zuri COULD be successful with just her looks alone, but in this case her looks are the back line and not the headline. Zuri is a MUSICIAN and Like I said before… Zuri Appleby looks like a million dollars and plays bass like five million…maybe ten…”Joseph Wooten [Keyboardist for The Steve Miller Band & Victor Wooten]