Video Interview: Drummer/Vocalist James “Biscuit” Rouse

If your belief has been that drummers ONLY keep time, well for starters you may not truly understand how crucial that is to the vibe of a successful song or live performance. When you check the impressive resume of James “Biscuit” Rouse it’s pretty clear he’s quite adept at setting the “pocket” just right based on the array of notable artists who’ve tapped his talent like Bilal, Chaka Khan, Pharell, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Kelly Clarkson, Talib Kweli, or the recently lost to soon, Prodigy of the famed rap squad Mobb Deep. Some others who are boasted on that lengthy scroll of accomplishments are examples that firmly illustrate how truly pivotal the drummer’s role is and because of how very, very good “Biscuit” is at it, his duties are expanded to include the title of Musical Director as is the case with Lauryn Hill or Vivian Green.

But there is something else a number of fine drummers over the years have been known to do and do well and that is sing. Aside from legendary vocalists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass or Jeffrey Osborne – who few may know were drummers early in their careers, but gained fame known more as exclusively singers – Rouse is more akin to renowned artist Phil Collins or super talented contemporary, Anderson Paak, drummers who often share their vocal prowess from behind the kit.

Oh and there is another thing – Leader. Drummers are often that too! And somehow between the steady stints holding the beat down for A-list artists, Rouse is performing with his own stellar band and putting out projects like his recently released EP, Biscuit Street, a strong offering that adroitly flaunts his eclectic musical palette and ability.

In our video feature ISPYSOUL caught up with James “Biscuit” Rouse to find out about the new project and more

Check out the new EP, Biscuit Street on iTunes  or Spotify

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And for more about James “Biscuit” Rouse go to JamesBiscuitRouse.com 

 

Video Interview: Killiam Shakespeare

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Cheesesteaks, Rocky, and the Liberty Bell aside, the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA is chock full of rich history that rivals if not surpasses many other cities in the good old U.S. of A and that includes its phenomenal legacy of soulful music and incredible artists. It flaunts luminaries and pioneers like Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, architects of the renowned Philadelphia International, key in establishing the Philly sound – As well as legendary talents like Thom Bell, McFadden & Whitehead, MFSB, Bunny Sigler, The O’Jays, Patti LaBelle and so many, many more from its past – To the heralded catalysts of the resurgent soulful scene that exist today like Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, and The Roots.

A crew quickly carving their name into that hefty log of rich Philly music legend, powered in great part by the city’s storied soulful lore, is Killiam Shakespeare. Drummer Steve Mckie and keyboardist/bassist Cory Bernhard are at the helm of what on the face is a multi -faceted unit that’s part extraordinary band and part equally impressive and growing in-demand production team.

But there are other parts. Those that make what they are really as hard to define as their crazy cool, eclectic sound that molds elements of soul, jazz, hip-hop, funk, rock and more together with incredible energy and musicianship that’s off the chain.

With the release of their killer, self-titled debut project, Killiam Shakespeare and equally impressive follow-up, Killiam Season 1, plus a slew of production, performance and collab credits between them with artists that include Philly natives Jill Scott and Bilal, Common, John Legend, Snarky Puppy, Talib Kweli, and Marsha Ambrosia – and made even more stout by being personally plucked by turntable wiz, producer, soul music impresario and another Philly bred star, DJ Jazzy Jeff, to be a part of his noted Playlist Collective which graced us with the incredible Chasing Goosebumps – Killiam  Shakespeare has got the radars of cool music heads humming loudly and is absolutely capable of keeping the Philly rep high.

ISPYSOUL caught up with Steve and Cory at their studio in Philadelphia to find out what makes Killiam Shakespeare tick.

B. Caldwell

 

For more on Killiam Shakespeare go to KilliamShakespeare.com