A Dream Come True
Middletown Resident Montre Davis Finds Success With Linkin’ Bridge
For as long as he can remember, Montre Davis has loved to sing. Growing up, he listened to Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Beatles and Sam Cooke – the father of soul. The first time he saw a video of Elvis Presley performing, he was mesmerized and said, “I want to do that!”
Though he adored music, he also pursued another passion – cooking.
“I started cooking when I was 10 years old,” Davis says. “My grandmother taught me how. I became a cook, and I thought that if I could make it in the music business, I could buy myself a restaurant and fund it with the music money. If I didn’t make it with the music, I could start a restaurant and fund my music with my restaurant money.”
Fast forward to 2015, when a man named Darius Towns contacted Davis to inform him of an audition opportunity to create a prank video called “Brothers Bring the Hood to the ‘Burbs at Christmas.” In the video, Davis and his friends, dressed in hoodies, knock on doors in the suburbs, and proceed to beautifully belt out Christmas carols.
“The video was all about crushing stereotypes – the whole ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ type of message,” says Davis, a Middletown resident.
When the video scored half a billion views, the guys realized they needed to form a band.
Davis, a baritone soul singer, paired with his cousin Shon “China” Lacy, a rhythmic, gritty tenor, along with Ralph “Big Rome” Kimbrough, a vocal powerhouse who sings first tenor, and Ekoe Alexanda. In November of 2018, Elliott “The Kid” Nichols, an energetic and versatile vocalist, joined the group, and in December of 2019 they added Louisville-based beatboxer Raul “Rayul” Lopez.
When choosing a name for their band, the men thought back to all the people who reached out to them following their prank video to say how much they appreciated the message about not judging others. Some even called them heroes for doing their part to crush stereotypes.
“That’s what we wanted to always do – be the bridge that brings people together by way of music, no matter the color of skin or background,” Davis says. “Like a linking bridge but without the ‘g’ in it. We all loved it.”
Davis says forming a band is not an easy process. Not only do members have to make sure all voices harmonize beautifully, but there is also the mixing of personalities.
“Everyone has a different attitude and opinion,” Davis says. “Inevitably, you’ve got two guys who want to do something and two guys who don’t, or three who do and one who doesn’t. We just take a vote and it works out.”
When determining the type of music the band would create, the men longed to be different.
“We wanted to do music that was not always in our wheelhouse and not always what people would expect from us,” Davis says. “We sang soul and hip-hop when we first started out, but we were an instant crossover success when people realized that we could do anything.”
The band writes their own songs. In fact, it’s not uncommon for music or lyrics to materialize in their subconscious.
“Sometimes I’ll wake up and write down words that have popped into my head,” Davis says. “I’ll get my voice recorder out and sing.”
Davis’s bandmates also contribute to the creation of music and lyrics.
In 2016, the band auditioned for NBC’s America’s Got Talent (AGT) and landed in the show’s finals.
“Simon Cowell stood up on AGT when we performed,” Davis says. “We felt love from all around the world.”
Actress Jennifer Lawrence saw the group on AGT and extended an invitation for them to come to New York City to perform at the premiere of her movie “Mother!”. Soon after, Lawrence, a Louisville native, guest hosted “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and invited Linkin’ Bridge to perform on the show.
“That was amazing,” Davis says. “She gave us a lot of love in her introduction. She said, ‘Tonight is the night that Louisville takes over Hollywood.’”
Linkin’ Bridge recently released their debut album, “Expressions”. Davis’s favorite song on the album is called “Superman” due to its personal associations.
“I left the studio crying and while I was driving, I heard the song in my head and I pictured me as Superman going to save my mom and flying her through a storm,” Davis says.
Sadly, his mother didn’t survive, but every time he hears that tune, he thinks of her.
As Davis, 44, looks to the future, he hopes to leave a legacy for his wife and children.
“I want Linkin’ Bridge to be remembered not just as guys who could write and sing songs, but as music legends,” Davis says.
Davis would also like to become financially successful, but not for self-serving reasons. He has all sorts of altruistic plans he’d like to set in motion once he has the finances to do so, such as helping the homeless population.
“I’d like to clean up the streets and buy homes that could be fixed up so people no longer have to sleep outside,” he says.
Davis would also like to open a chain of restaurants that can offer employment opportunities. He envisions opening seven or eight diners with different types of menus including homemade pizza, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, seafood, fish, shrimp and chicken.
“I specialize in sauces so I vow to name my restaurant Sauces,” Davis says.
For now, however, Davis remains focused on the songs floating around in his head. He says music is important to him for the same reasons as many other people – it serves to soothe, uplift, inspire and heal. That’s why he listens to music when he’s happy, sad, angry or frustrated.
“It’s important that music is heard around the world,” Davis says. “I think without music, our world would be in turmoil.”
For more information on Linkin’ Bridge, visit wearelinkinbridge.com.