As a child, McGruder discovered a natural ability to sing. Taught by her stepmother, she joined a female trio called “New Dawn” which would perform at nightclubs, and one black panther rally. During her schooling, McGruder played violin with Earl Klugh in a group called the “Electrifying Strings”. Occasional performances at United Sound Studios for Motown Records earned McGruder $20 a piece. McGruder opted against pursuing a career as a violinist, instead majoring in voice at Michigan State University. McGruder performed with P-Funk, Brides Of Funkenstein, Lynn Mabry & Dawn Silva. In 1979 she recorded with Silva and Sheila Horne on “Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy”.
McGruder changed her professional name to Satori Shakoor in mid-1980s and became a comedian and sketch actress on Canadian show “Thick and Thin.”
Jeanette McGruder aka Satori Shakoor was born in Detroit, Michigan (1954). At any early age, Jeanette had a passion for music and began studying the violin. She became a professional violinist at age 15. She played in her high school orchestra (Cass Technical High School). Jeanette also played in various orchestras in and around the city of Detroit. She played with “The Electrifying Strings”, a jazz string group with Earl Klugh (guitar), Cecil “Van” Cephus (keyboards), Ralph Armstrong (bass), and in studio sessions on recordings for local Detroit artists.
Jeanette sang in her junior high choir and was part of a three-girl group called “New Dawn.” They would sneak into nightclubs and black panther rallies to sing, wearing the cast off gowns of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Martha Reeves youngest sister was one of the girls in “New Dawn.” Upon entry into the music department of Michigan State University in 1972, Jeanette decided to focus on voice and retired her violin. In 1974, Jeanette was invited to an event honoring Mrs. Coretta Scott King, when Mrs. King heard her rendition of “We Shall Overcome”, she made a special point of telling Jeanette that she had been moved by her voice. In 1978, after four years of study at MSU, and two years of singing in local bands, Jeanette moved to New York City and began auditioning for broadway. Later in 1978, a phone call from a good friend, and now famous artist, Overton (a.k.a. Joe) Loyd, informed her about an audition for The Brides of Funkenstein a new group created by George Clinton. Jeanette flew back to Detroit and got a job singing backup for Parliament/Funkadelic and the original Brides of Funkenstein, Dawn Silva and Lynn Mabry who had an album that was rising on the charts called, “Funk or Walk” 1978. Mabry left the group in less than a year, leaving Dawn Silva and a second album to record. George Clinton decided to bring Jeanette and Sheila Horne from the background to the front ground and the Brides of Funkenstein became a three-girl group, recording the second album, “Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy” (1979). It was voted Billboard’s “Top 50 albums” of all time in 2002. The single, “Didn’t Mean To Fall In Love” from the album led to a Rhythm and Blues in 1981 for “Best New Female Group.” The Brides of Funkenstein disbanded in 1981. Some time after, original The Brides of Funkenstein, (Dawn Silva and Lynn Mabry) got back together briefly and Sheila Horne went on to sing with Rick James. Jeanette became the lyricist and lead singer in a Detroit rock band, called “Cherubim.” The group recorded one album and played in Japan.
In 1983, Jeanette McGruder changed her name to Satori Shakoor and is now an accomplished actress, writer, singer and standup comedienne.