Breaking / Carousel / Music / June 7, 2016

We’re back for round 2 of The SOUNDCHECK SERIES, Philadelphia’s premier rising artist series and industry mixer presented by none other than Pier Entertainment. THE SOUNDCHECKSERIES highlights eight dynamic artists over eight weeks, showcasing a multi-genre collection of young, buzzworthy acts in an unforgettable concert experience and one-of-a-kind industry event at Pub Webb Live.

After a debut run full of highlights and sold out shows, the series returns for summer 2016! This year’s series includes mentors like GRAMMY-winning, multi-platinum super producer Jerry “Wonda” and closes with a headlining performance by recording artist and songwriter from FOX‘s hit show Empire, Darius Coleman on July 26.

Each exciting installment of the music compilation features prominent music professionals, ranging from label execs to songwriters and media personalities, all of whom have etched their marks on Philadelphia’s brilliant music legacy.

And I’m thrilled to not only return as your host for the series, but to also bring you “behind the music” interviews with the artists here on!

Check out the first Behind the Music interview with two of the band members from Killiam Shakespeare, Ropeadope Record‘s dynamic group that blends “classic soul instrumentation, jazz influence and a modern urban swagger for an undeniable groove full of pulsating, virtuosic riffs.” We chatted briefly about mentorship in the music industry and they offered some advice to fellow artists who are seeking guidance in their career. Kelo Saunders, mentor to the dynamic group, also provided some added insight. His experience as a Producer and Engineer for the likes of The Roots and Common ensures his perspective is worth its weight.

Catch Killiam Shakespeare headlining at Pub Webb Live tonight and experience them for yourself! Get your tickets here and get ready for a great show, including an opener with the talented Lee Mo!

I look forward to seeing you there. 😉



Sincerely Syreeta: What makes a great artist mentor? 

Corey Bernhard: Someone who encourages you to share your music with the world, who reminds you that the point of this thing is to create music and put it out. Also someone who teaches you to value your voice
Steve McKie: A person who’s willing to show the ropes.

SS: What is the best advice your mentor(s) has given you? 

CB: To finish and release our first album!
SM: To create my own environment of sounds and music and partners.

SS: What is the greatest success your mentor(s) has helped you achieve? 

CB: Besides releasing our own album, probably being able to write and produce on other artists records like Bilal, Vivian Green and others…
SM: Being professional, knowing how to work with people.

SS: In what area(s) has your mentor helped you grow the most? 

CB: Not caring about what other musicians or really anybody thinks, just going for the sound we want.
SM: Being a complete musician, knowing all kinds of music and how to produce music and get the best out of the people I’m working with.

SS:  What advice would you give to an artist seeking career guidance?

CB: I love seeing people [get] more into developing their own sound and style whether it’s as a band, singer, producer, engineer, or whatever than people trying to fit into whatever’s hot at the moment or what’s “killing.” Being able to balance that with staying current is the challenge I think.
SM: All the things your mentor tells you, just listen to them and don’t think you know it all.

SS: Kelo, how did you first meet Killiam Shakespeare and what was your first impression of them?

Kelo Saunders: Well, I first met the members of Killiam Shakespeare individually before they were actually a group. I met Steve McKie and Aaron Draper first when I was producing The Roots. Several years later I met Cory when he replaced Robert Glasper in Bilal’s Band. Chris was also in Bilal’s band but singing support. Whenever I came home from tour I would go to Steve’s Studio Pine and that’s where I met DeCarlo and Dre. These guys would always be around doing session work. One day Steve played me a track him and Cory had been working on and it something special. I asked who was this for and Cory just smiled and said our new project. Later they would call the collective Killiam Shakespeare and I knew they were going to be a game changer!

SS: What makes Killiam Shakespeare different in today’s music market?

KS: What makes Killiam Shakespeare different in today’s market is the fact that they don’t follow a cookie cutter trend. Today everyone sounds the same and it’s quite difficult distinguish one artist from the next. They are original and never afraid to let their talents lead the way.

SS: It has become increasingly difficult too differentiate artists. But these guys clearly left an impression with you. What is your most memorable Killiam Shakespeare moment?

KS: My most memorable Killiam moment was finally watching them play live and seeing how in awe the audience was. It was absolutely captivating! It felt like traveling through time on a spaceship. After they were done you could still hear people talking about amazing the performance was.

SS: In a perfect world, where should Killiam Shakespeare be in 5 years?<

KS: In a perfect world Killiam Shakespeare will be a global success and playing huge festivals around the world.

– Sincerely Syreeta

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