Up until 2019, Rochara Knight knew she enjoyed songwriting and performing, but felt she had no time to start a band. However, after a bit of what she affectionately called “peer pressuring” from now-bandmate Audra Sergel, she eventually relented. She remembers thinking, “I love this too much. I enjoy singing too much and performing too much to not continue, so yeah, let’s do it. Let’s start a band.”
Knight is the group’s lead singer and Sergel, a seasoned pianist, plays piano. Their first recruit was bassist Nancy Dietz. Kelli Neale, on drums, came next. And thus, Rochara Knight and the Honey Doves was born. During 2021, Caleb Alexander joined the group on guitar. Knight said, “For all of them, it was just like, ‘What took you so long? Yeah, I’m in, let’s go, I want to be in a band with you.’”
Ever since, they’ve enjoyed creating what Knight calls an “eclectic” sound. “I think we’ve finally settled on ‘neo-soul,’” she said. She likes to sing a bit of everything and she and her songwriting partner, Sergel, pull inspiration from doo-wop to funk to southern rock.
The band gave their first performance shortly before the pandemic hit, but stayed in touch during lockdown via Zoom and were finally able to put on another show in November of last year. An EP recorded during that live show is currently being mixed and mastered and will soon be available for the public to hear.
Like many of the musicians we’ve featured in this series, Knight notes the local music community as an aid to her career, despite being fairly new to the scene. “I have been lucky enough to be able to make some very cool connections in the few years that I have been doing this and through that I’ve been able to have some really cool experiences and performances.”
The next performance Rochara Knight and the Honey Doves has on the books will be at a beloved Columbia event, the annual Earth Day Festival. Catch the band perform at 3pm on April 24th (keep an eye on columbiaearthday.org for the most up-to-date information about the location).
Until then, you can check out live performances and rehearsal content on the band’s YouTube channel or stream the band’s brand-new single, a cover of Salt-N-Pepa’s iconic track “What a Man,” on Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp.