Thursday, July 11, 2019 – ATLANTA, GA Zo! + Carmen Rodgers Suite Food Lounge Suite Jazz Series 375 Luckie St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 Doors: 6:30p | Show: 7:30p BUY TICKETS
Thursday, August 8, 2019 – CHICAGO, IL Zo! + Carmen Rodgers City Winery 1200 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 Doors: 6p | Show: 8p BUY TICKETS
Sunday, August 19, 2019 – BOSTON, MA Zo! + Carmen Rodgers City Winery 80 Beverly St, Boston, MA 02114 Doors: 6p | Show: 8p BUY TICKETS
Saturday, October 12, 2019 – WASHINGTON, D.C. Zo! + Carmen Rodgers City Winery 1350 Okie St NE, Washington, DC 20002 Doors: 6p | Show: 8p BUY TICKETS
Past SkyBreak Tour Dates: May 22, 2016 – Silver Spring, MD (SkyBreak Listening Party) • June 15, 2016 – Boston, MA • August 4, 2016 – Dallas, TX • August 6, 2016 – Houston, TX (Houston International Jazz Festival) • August 11, 2016 – Bethesda, MD • August 18, 2016 – Atlanta, GA • August 20, 2016 – Cincinnati, OH • August 21, 2016 – Indianapolis, IN • August 26, 2016 – Detroit, MI • August 27, 2016 – Chicago, IL • September 16, 2016 – Richmond, VA • September 18, 2016 – Raleigh, NC • September 25, 2016 – New York City, NY • October 1, 2016 – Cleveland, OH • November 10, 2016 – Oakland, CA • November 11, 2016 – Los Angeles, CA • November 13, 2016 – San Diego, CA • November 25, 2016 – Detroit, MI (6th Annual Tux & Chucks Fundraiser Event) • December 17, 2016 – Atlanta, GA (Acoustic & Personal) • March 3, 2017 – Philadelphia, PA • March 4, 2017 – Pittsburgh, PA • March 18, 2017 – St. Louis, MO • May 4, 2017 – Washington, D.C. • May 6, 2017 – New York City, NY • July 20, 2017 – Detroit, MI • September 2, 2017 – Toronto, ON • September 22, 2017 – Cleveland, OH • September 23, 2017 – Cincinnati, OH • October 14, 2017 – Richmond, VA • October 16, 2017 – Philadelphia, PA (Kindred Presents) • November 3, 2017 – New Orleans, LA • November 4, 2017 – Houston, TX • November 5, 2017 – Dallas, TX • November 25, 2017 – Baltimore, MD (Opening for Kindred The Family Soul) • December 9, 2017 – Atlanta, GA (Acoustic & Personal) • March 7, 2018 – Washington, D.C. • March 9, 2018 – Philadelphia, PA • March 30, 2018 – Columbus, OH • April 6, 2018 – Charlotte, NC • April 7, 2018 – Raleigh, NC • April 21, 2018 – Seattle, WA (Piano & A Microphone) • April 29 & 30, 2018 – New York City, NY (Piano & A Microphone) • June 21, 2018 – San Francisco, CA • June 23, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA • July 25, 2018 – Detroit, MI • July 26, 2018 – Chicago, IL • August 18, 2018 – Toronto, ON • September 15, 2018 – Cincinnati, OH • September 28, 2018 – Houston, TX (Piano & A Microphone) • September 29, 2018 – Dallas, TX (Piano & A Microphone) • December 12, 2018 – Charlotte, NC • December 13, 2018 – Atlanta, GA • December 15, 2018 – Washington D.C • December 16, 2018 – Brooklyn, NY • December 30, 2018 – Memphis TN • December 31, 2018 – St. Louis, MO • February 23, 2019 – Los Angeles, CA (Piano & A Microphone) • February 28, 2019 – Chicago, IL(Piano & A Microphone) • March 1, 2019 – Chicago, IL(Piano & A Microphone) • March 2, 2019 – Cincinnati, OH (Piano & A Microphone) • April 13, 2019 – Philadelphia, PA(Piano & A Microphone) • May 4, 2019 – Columbia, SC (Piano & A Microphone) • June 7, 2019 – Hanover, MD(Piano & A Microphone) • June 21, 2019 – Richmond, VA •
For booking inquiries, please Contact: Booking Agent || The Empire Agency Zack Johnson || email@example.com
Studio Campfire Stories, an original concert series where songs from Zo!’s ManMade and Carmen Rodgers’ Stargazer albums come alive in an intimate setting via colorful stories behind all of the music played as told by the artists themselves.
May 9, 2014 was no different than any other day that I get prepared to go back home to Detroit to play a show…. While I normally start to feel pumped up for a show soon after soundcheck …when I know i’m going home to play?!?! I’m hyped up ALL DAY. It’s the “big game” for me… HOME. A melting pot of family, folks who I used to play baseball with, grew up with, those who have been in my corner from day one ……….and a few folks who may have no idea who the hell I am, but they scream loud as shit just because I’m rocking an olde English “D” on my hat. But since I moved to Maryland in 2006, every single time I go back home to play, it’s an outpouring of LOVE. And everyone who knows me is well aware of why I get so amped up when Detroit is on the schedule.
We were coming off of a hyped up crowd in Cleveland the night before and a 10-hour drive from Boston just two nights prior, so the actual 2 1/2 hour drive to Detroit was kind of an afterthought. Turnpike, to 280, 75N… We’re there. Simple, right? ….Well, the Turnpike was simple, as was I-280… We merged onto 75 North and coasted into Michigan. As many times as I have driven into MI via I-75, I can usually calculate pretty accurately how much time I have left to drive and at this point, I was getting even more hyped up because we were making great time. Word up… Get to the hotel, check in real quick, iron my clothes, hit the shower and be ready to roll out to soundcheck…………………
Until I looked in my rear view mirror
Normally, I’m pretty good at spotting the cops while on the freeway…. But this state trooper literally came from nowhere. I was in the far left lane and he was following behind me. I glanced down at my speedometer for a quick second and saw that I wasn’t speeding, thankfully… So I did what 98% of folks do when a cop gets behind them on the freeway…….. I changed lanes to the right so that he can pass by me and leave me the hell alone – and he did that. The state trooper rolled by me at a fairly high rate of speed, but kept it moving, no problem………… But I’m no idiot. I kept an eye on his patrol car just as a precaution. Plus, I didn’t know why he sped past me like he did – something didn’t feel right. I even told everyone in the van that I was gonna have to watch dude simply because I know that cops need zero excuse – they’ll pull you over and formulate a reason while they walk up to your car. As I continued driving, in the distance I could see the state trooper pull off of the right side of the freeway and set his car up as if to catch people speeding. Once again, no problem…. I wasn’t breaking the speed limit or any other law for that matter. But what folks fail to understand is that sometimes all you have to do is pass a cop in your car and it’s over for you ……and your record.
So, you know when you pass through a neighborhood you haven’t been in before and the older brothers sitting on the porch follow your car down the street with their eyes trying to figure out who you are and why you’re there? Well, when we passed the state trooper, I could see that his eyes were LOCKED in on our van exactly like that…. and then he merged back into traffic. As soon as I saw this, I announced to the van…..
“Maaaan, he’s gonna pull us over.”
Here’s the scene…. I was driving, Phonte was in the front passenger seat, Carmen Rodgers and bass player, Darion Alexander were sitting in the back. Four Black folks in a van with out of state plates (the plates on the rental van were Illinois)………. traveling. That’s it, that’s all. But sometimes, that’s all you need. Because when I looked up in my rear view mirror again, who do you think was there?…… AGAIN. So, again….. I changed lanes to the right and happened to pull behind a big rig. The trooper remained in my blind spot for about a half mile or so, in which I imagined he was running the plates. Then he also changed lanes to the right to follow me. By this time I was doing about 65 in a 70 and I told the crew, “If I change lanes again and he follows me, he’s gonna pull us over.”
I changed lanes to the right again…. He followed, again……
Lights went on.
I pulled off the road immediately.
The trooper walked up to Phonte’s window and while asking for license and registration proceeded to tell me that the reason he pulled me over was because I was “following too closely behind that truck.” Remember the big rig I pulled behind the second time he was in my rear view mirror? ….Yeah. THAT one. I was quickly reassured how bullshit this claim was when he said…
“Get out of the car and sit in the patrol car, please”
Hold up, go sit in the cop car for following too closely behind a damn truck? So, I got out, went up to the rear passenger side of the patrol car and went to open the door and the officer said, “No! The FRONT seat!” Go sit in the front seat, huh? I was thinking to myself, ‘NOTHING good can come out of this scenario.’ The trooper also got in the car and while running my ID and Phonte’s ID proceeded to ask me question after question…..after question…. after fucking question. Some questions he repeated to see if I would give him a different answer. Man, I had nothing to hide… We were just trying to get to our hotel and if the interrogation lasted any longer………… soundcheck… hell….. the SHOW.
Is this your van?No, it’s a rental. Where are you going?To our hotel, we’re part of a band. You have a show?Yes. Where at?The Magic Stick. Is that in Detroit?Yes. What’s the name of your band?The Foreign Exchange. You ever been to Michigan before?Yes, I’m from here. First time playing here?No. (why would it be my first time playing in my HOME STATE?) Where are you playing? (for the second time) The Magic Stick In Detroit? (again) Yes.
**Looks at my license** How long have you lived in Maryland?Since 2006. Is everybody in the van from North Carolina?No. What does everybody do in the band?There’s two vocalists and a bassist in the van with me. How long have you been in Maryland? (for the second time) Since 2006.
At this point I was thinking… He is just REALLY fucking terrible at asking questions. Notice how none of these questions have anything to do with what he claimed he pulled me over for.
Then the tone shifted as he began asking what he really wanted to ask me from the jump…..
You have any weapons in the van?No. Guns? Knives?No. Any contraband?No. Do you have any crack in the van? *record scratch* No.
Did he just ask me if I had CRACK in the van??!?!?!
Do you have any cocaine in the van? No.
Marijuana?No. What all do you have in the van?Luggage, a keyboard, a bass, and food. Do you have an arrest record? No. You ever gotten a ticket before? Yes, for speeding in January of last year.
Real quick… And may be I’m wrong simply because I’ve never transported drugs before, but uhhh… What trafficker transports drugs while driving four deep in a rental van with out-of-state plates on it?! Then again, four Black folks in a van with out-of-state plates on it traveling through Monroe, MI is usually four too many, so… But anyway, he then says….
“Ok, well I’m gonna let you go… Just wait here.”
I didn’t believe dude. He got out of the car, walked over to our passenger side and instructed Phonte to get out of the van. He then cross-referenced all of my answers by asking him similar questions while standing on the side of the freeway. Even after ALL of our answers matched up he asked Phonte if he could search the van. He then went to go get Darion and Carmen’s IDs. When I saw that shit, that’s when I thought to myself…. We may now miss this show because of this dude. He’s trying to find ANYTHING HE CAN right now. All I pictured was us sitting on the side of I-75N for hours with all of our shit out on the road being run through. He came back in to the patrol car, handed me everybody’s IDs and just like that….. he let us go, finally. The entire ordeal lasted about 30-45 minutes. To anyone who has ever had a cop harass you before, there’s always a few minutes of silence in the aftermath where you’re just kinda sitting there like, “What the fuck just happened?! …And WHY?” Never in the history of anything has being questioned by the police for absolutely nothing made anyone’s day better. Needless to say, I was PISSED and could not get into the right frame of mind to perform until we were actually announced on stage… It helped that the show was sold out and crazy as hell, particularly since my family and friends were all in attendance, but MAN. This has become our reality though – traveling between cities in a van, usually with an out-of-state license plate… I guess this qualifies us as suspects. We were followed behind and had a cop ride up on the side of us for about 2 or 3 miles when we drove to Memphis a couple weeks ago. I also thought we were gonna get pulled over during the final TEN minutes of our 12-hour drive from Denver to damn Brownwood, TX. The cop hit a U-turn and followed us loosely for about a mile before turning off. That would NOT have been a good situation at 12:30a.
So, officers…. If you happen to spot our van riding through your town four deep en route to the next city, there’s no need for alarm…
We’re just touring.
Encore at the +FE show • Magic Stick in Detroit, MI (05.09.14)
Detroit’s Zo! Releases New R&B Album and Prepares For Homecoming Show
DETROIT — Detroit’s own Zo!, a soulful R&B music composer and master hip hop producer, has released a new album and is getting ready for a triumphant return to his hometown with a live performance June 29 at 8 p.m.
Critics and fans are celebrating his newest release, making this show a highly anticipated summer performance.
The show will be at the Elizabeth Theater at The Park Bar, located at 2040 Park Ave. in downtown Detroit.
“ManMade” is Zo!’s latest full-length album, released May 21, following his 2010 release “SunStorm.”
He shot a video for the song “Count to Five” featuring guests Gwen Bunn and Phonte, and the exposure has helped the album reach the Billboard New Artist and R&B sales charts for three weeks, marking the first time he’s been on the charts.
“The response has been great. I’m really, really happy with how things are starting to shape up,” says Zo! “I guess my thing now is I’m curious where the album and where the music is going to take me to. It’s going to be fun.”
“ManMade” is filled with the lush, soulful sounds that are a signature of the Motown experience. Tight bass and drum rhythms create a strong foundation for the keys and vocal melodies, a classic funk sound from an authentic Detroit musician, who now resides in Maryland.
Mrs. Johnson and I after my first piano recital – June 15, 1986
You know, when I really sat and thought about it, I had NO idea why my parents decided to get me started with piano lessons. I couldn’t remember if it was to keep me busy with some after school activities or what the original reason was exactly. So tonight, I sent Momma Zo a text asking her about it. Her response was:
“I guess you showed an early interest in music. I had my piano… You present it, stimulate it, and wait to see what happens. …The lessons gave you a good foundation.”
…She may have had a point..
Me at age 2 banging on the piano at home.
It’s safe to say that I was excited about the piano at this age…
Originally, I took lessons with someone else, but I can’t recall much about it at all… All I remember is that I think the lady lived in Oak Park and overall, I don’t think I took lessons there for a long period of time. Momma Zo told me recently via text that…
“The first teacher didn’t want you to leave because you were doing so well!”
So technically, Mrs. Johnson wasn’t my FIRST piano teacher… But it was her teachings that sustained the greatest amount of impact, by far. She was recommended by the mother one of my 1st or 2nd grade classmates – she taught both my classmate and her older brother. Mrs. Johnson’s house was literally right down the street from us – just a block away. If I remember correctly, we used to go every Monday at 4pm. To my parents, this connection was a multiple win for them because her daughter also ended up becoming the babysitter for my younger sister and I.
I’ll admit it… I wasn’t the easiest student to teach simply because I was a kid who found more pleasure in running around the neighborhood with my friends playing sports, freeze tag, and chasing down the ice cream truck whenever it rolled around. Whenever Moms stepped outside that front door to call me inside to practice on the piano, she was usually met with resistance. It always seemed like she had the world’s most impeccable timing because she used to pick the game’s most intense point to yell out… “LORENZOOOO!!!!”
*throws hands up*
“AWWWWWWW MAAAAAAN!!!! Can we get ONE more game in?!!?!!!?”…….
I would go inside the house angry. All of my friends were still outside having a ball, while I’m having to go inside and practice on this ole dumb ass piano. I wasn’t a fan at all. I would head to the basement, sit down in front of the piano and sloppily go through scales, arpeggios, and the songs I needed to learn and memorize for the week. Now, of course, my 6 or 7-year old logic had me thinking I could get away with practicing for what usually turned out to be 10 minutes, walk back upstairs and Moms would just be okay with that. That same young logic also didn’t explain the fact that through the floor and vents in the house she could hear every single thing I was playing and half-assing on……… Needless to say, she wasn’t buying it at all when I would walk back upstairs, walk up to her and say, “I’m finished!” The moment of truth would always come during the weekly lessons at Mrs. Johnson’s house. I can only imagine how embarrassed my mother was when I would sit down at the piano ill-prepared during lesson time. I get it now… I had not a clue back then. Mrs. Johnson had to have been one patient woman with me because I had more of a hate than love relationship with the piano… I mean, shit…. Some of those songs were DIFFICULT. Plus, at the time, my hands weren’t big enough to reach and play octaves as some of the songs and drills called for. So looking back on it… this era served as a ‘boot camp’ for me on the instrument. Mrs. Johnson challenged me and remained patient through all of my episodes of resistance. She would look at me like…’Alright, cry it on out… But when you finish, we’ve got a song to wrap up.” Thank GOD for her persistence and musical education as well as for my parents’ encouragement to continue because…. well…. now, this is how I make a living.
How crazy is that?
Momma Zo could have let me get my way and allowed me to play outside until that street light came on everyday… Mrs. Johnson could have been someone who simply just gave in to my being hard-headed, but instead she pushed me harder. Maybe they knew something even back then, I don’t know… But whatever it was, today I am GRATEFUL. Not only did it impact my musicianship, but I even utilized some of her “I’m not really feeling any of your excuses” practices when I taught music in the classroom and today while teaching private lessons. While we have since lost touch over the years, but it would be dope if somehow she caught wind of this piece just so she could see how successful she was at influencing her sometimes difficult young piano student.
Someone find Mrs. Jacqueline Johnson for me please as I would LOVE to play for her …I think that’s the least I can do.
A copy of the original program from my very first piano recital.