Visuals from “Acoustic & Personal: An Evening with Zo! + Carmen Rodgers in Atlanta, GA (12.09.17)

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Visuals from…

Zo! Carmen Rodgers
at Moods Music (Soul Village ATL)
Atlanta, GA
December 9, 2017

Zo! – Keys/Vocals
Carmen Rodgers – Vocals
Ladarrel “Saxappeal” Johnson – Saxophone/Background Vocals
Kamau Inaede – Bass
Kristopher “Jahi” Crosby – Keys/Background Vocals
Tim Scott Jr. – Drums

Specialty cocktails provided by D’USSÉ Cognac

Thank you, Atlanta for two SOLD OUT shows …even with Friday’s inclement weather. Y’all made this fourth annual Acoustic & Personal the best one YET.

See y’all next year for the FIFTH one.

Acoustic & Personal: An Evening with Zo! + Carmen Rodgers in ATLANTA, GA – December 9, 2017


A&P 2017 (3).jpg

Saturday, December 9, 2017 – ATLANTA, GA
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
Acoustic & Personal: An Evening With Zo! + Carmen Rodgers

Moods Music (Soul Village)
1131 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

Specialty Cocktails provided by D’USSÉ Cognac

**Get your tickets early… LIMITED SEATING + these shows will sell out**

Zo! Interview in Creative Loafing (August 8, 2013)

Zo! brings ‘ManMade’ tour to Atlanta

Author: Carlton Hargro
Source: Creative Loafing

The North Carolina-based Foreign Exchange Music group – founded and fronted by the hip-hop/soul duo also known as the Foreign Exchange (rapper/singer Phonte and producer Nicolay) – has been dropping some of the indie soul scene’s most acclaimed music for years. One of the company’s most prolific artists is the producer/musician Zo! Coming straight out of the Detroit area, Zo! has dropped a bevy of retro-modern-flavored soul albums, including 2010’s Sunstorm and 2011’s … Just Visiting Three, among others. His latest project, ManMade (which features vocal support by local notables such as Anthony David, Carmen Rodgers, and newcomer Gwen Bunn), hit stores back in May, and he’s currently on tour supporting the album. Zo! makes is making his way to Atlanta for a live chat session on Fri., Aug. 9, and a live show on Sat., Aug. 10. Before passing through town, he hipped us to the making of ManMade and life as an indie artist…


1st Hit Listening Lounge with Zo! at Moods Music in Atlanta, GA – August 9, 2013


1st Hit Listening Lounge with Zo!

Friday, August 9, 2013 – Atlanta, GA
Hosted by James Bing of

Atlanta, come join us as we celebrate the release of Zo!’s latest project, ManMade
This meet and greet will serve as the prelude to his Saturday, August 10th show at Vinyl.
*Note: This is not a performance*
Moods Music, 1131 Euclid Ave NE | Atlanta, GA 30907 | (404) 653-0724
7:30p | All Ages

Studio Campfire Stories: ‘ManMade’ Edition – “Count To Five” (feat. Gwen Bunn)

Gwen Bunn

The story of “Count To Five” begins in my car while sitting at a red light. The music was turned off, as it often is as I drive… As odd as that may sound for a musician, the quiet in the car allows my mind plenty of room to race. Therefore, when I hear something that sounds good in my head I can immediately pick up my phone and record those thoughts into its voice memo. Well, that’s exactly what happened in this case. For some reason I kept hearing a drum pattern in a 5/4 time signature – meaning simply five counts per measure (see The Foreign Exchange’s “All Roads” for example). This was kinda crazy because at that time I had never composed a joint in five before so I was already excited about what the song had the potential to become. So I ended up putting my phone up to my mouth and literally beatboxed the drum pattern I kept hearing in my head so that I wouldn’t forget it and could work with it later. A day or so afterward, I created the drums to sound completely IDENTICAL to the voice memo I recorded in the car (I still have the voice memo in the archives too – I may post it one day). Musically, I had no idea where I wanted to go with it……. So I proceeded to play around on the keys for a bit. No more than five minutes later, I started playing what ended up becoming the intro piece of the song. It was different, but I loved how it sounded. It reminded me almost of some 80’s New Wave stuff. Once that part fell into place, the piece that wound up becoming the verses and the hooks came instantly. Going from that intro to what became the hook sounded craaaaaaazy – the contrast was huge, but it made SO much sense to me. When I laid everything out and began recording, the sound took an even more interesting turn once the different elements were added. Layering the wah-wah guitars at the beginning over top of the keys, over top of the brand new Moog Minitaur synth bass module I picked up a couple of months prior to recording this music in 5/4 gave me a sound that I had never created before. This was a song that even while laying it down felt like creative growth right there in the studio… Now THAT is a helluva thing.

Once all of the music was recorded… I hit up Phonte, then sent him the joint. Maaaaan, he turned that shit around in less than a day with all of the lyrics written and a recorded reference. I can remember him telling me in a brief conversation soon after, “Man, I’ve got something for this one already.” He sent that final back to me and we got on the phone buggin’ OUT – The joint was a WINNER. He already had someone in mind to record the final vocals for us and proceeded to reveal who it was via this track from Darryl Reeves’ ridiculously dope album Mercury (which I attempted to buy in May while I was in Atlanta but Moods Music was sold out of it!!!) with a sweet-voiced singer named Gwen Bunn on it. The song was called “Every Time I See You.” I was like… “Yoooooooo, get her on it!” He ended up sending her the reference track, instrumental and the written lyrics and she said that she would have something within a couple of days. …Sure enough, she returned with a raw recorded version that may have even been done via laptop. It definitely wasn’t gonna be the final version, but we knew that she was what the song needed – she sounded dope over the music. About a week or so later, she was in NC recording the final vocals with Phonte. Then to find out that Gwen is only 21/22 years old?! Sheeeeit man, she’s only beginning!!! At the time that this story was written, I still have yet to actually meet her in person to thank her for acting a fool on this joint, but we follow each other on Twitter and tweet sometimes… In 2013, that qualifies as the same thing, right? ….Maybe not? *shrug*  ……Haha.

Purchase ManMade HEREOr on iTunes

One For the Road: Zo! + Sy Smith in Atlanta (May 5, 2012)

Photo by Angie Keilhauer

I’ma tell you som’n straight outta the gate… See Smeet (Sy Smith) and I were happy as hell to have even arrived in Atlanta on our correct flight being as though we almost missed our 3pm plane leaving from LaGuardia in NYC…………….. *sigh* I took a cab, she was picked up late, etc., etc., Long story. But once we DID land at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport, I was informed that all of the tables for our show the next night were sold out. Now that’s the type of news you like to receive upon arrival to a city that you’re about to play. We got off the plane, rented our cars and rolled the hell out. I dropped my stuff off in my newly checked in hotel room and then stepped right back out so that I could hit up Moods Music in Little Five Points to go and holla at my man and owner of the store, Darryl Harris. Walked up in that mug and saw that +FE Music was a bit deep in there, which is what I like to see… I got caught up a little bit on my CD collection (I am STILL way behind on newer stuff), which I knew would happen because I can never go into Moods without dropping all my damn money in that place…

+FE Music… Stocked up in Moods Music

After leaving Moods, my only focus was to take my hungry ass on a mission to find the nearest Zaxby’s. Normally when I’m traveling in the south, I’ll make it a point to hit up either Waffle House or Zaxby’s. Now, for those of y’all who aren’t familiar with Zaxby’s and their Chicken Finger Plate, this used to be my CRACK while in college at Western Kentucky Univ., the joint changes lives man. Funny thing was, when I finally tracked one down, ordered my usual and sat down to eat… I got to about the third chicken finger, started stalling a bit and thought to myself, “How in the HELL did I used to eat so much of this back then?!??!!!” 33 is NOT the new 21. My body is smarter and has been spoiled with better food… It now has an unhealthy food quota. Honestly, I was just ready to go to sleep after that. Instead, I stopped off at Kroger to grab a few SmartWaters on the way to rehearsal to meet up with Sy, guitarist Brandon Thomas, and drummer Quinton Robinson. We ran through the entire set, Brandon and I linked up on chords and the entire crew synced up changes, breaks, vamps, etc…. Even after ending rehearsal at midnight, I still deemed it necessary to keep going and meet some friends at Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles spot directly up the street from my hotel on Peachtree…. and I did have the sweet potato cheesecake, which was damn RIDICULOUS (I ate it entirely too quickly to take a picture of it…. Sorry).

I decided that I would use the day of the show to finally catch up on some much needed REST. My plan was, well… to do absolutely NOTHING until soundcheck. But first, I found a Jimmy John’s that was relatively close to the hotel and as I walked in, I encountered a man already inside the store attempting to purchase 24 bottled waters, ok that’s already weird………BEST of all, trying to “negotiate” a wholesale price for them. From what I understand, I think they have places like Costco and Sam’s Club for that… No negotiations required. Anyway, I got my food and took it back to the room…………. And fell out for some hours.

Soundcheck was at 6pm, so I headed up the way to Apache and met up with Sy who was already in front of the venue ready to go. Oddly enough, the soundman was there about 10 minutes later (I say oddly enough because this rarely happens). So wait… The soundman was on time? The weather was excellent? AND the chef who was already there let us know where we could park for free and for how long?……Atlanta seemed to be treating us pretty well so far. We went in, set up, did our line check real quick and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the show. While back in the room, I began receiving texts saying that there was a nice sized line out in front of the venue waiting to get in… that was GREAT news. PLUS, the fact that we knew that we had a nice surprise set up for the show…. The brotha Anthony David was set to perform our version of Barry White’s “Playing Your Game, Baby” (from …just visiting three). This was gonna be dope for a couple of reasons: 1. AD and I had not met face-to-face yet. We had worked together, conversed on the phone a few times, reached out to each other via text… but never met in person. 2. We had never performed this song live before in ANY city. The crazy thing is, we weren’t even gonna do the joint!! I hit up AD a couple weeks prior to the show to see if he was gonna be in town so we could get up for a drink or meet up in the studio or something. I was just happy that we were gonna be in the same city at the same time for ONCE. But the Monday before the show he sent me a text… “Wait, did you want me to do the cover at your show?” …And I basically told him not to worry about it because I hadn’t asked kats to learn it and I wasn’t gonna ask him to perform it if the joint wasn’t ready. But AD asked me for the song parts and talked about lining them up in Abelton Live and performing it that way. So I was thinking… “Oh damn, he WANTS to do the joint!!” Sheeeeeeiiiit, in THAT case…!! I hopped on de text to Sy and was like, “Ayo, what’s up with Anthony David doing the Barry White joint for Saturday?”   ………..Sy: “HELL to the YEAH!” ….And there it was. I hit Brandon up and sent him the song to learn and we were then good to go for the show…

We went back over to Apache Café and made our way through a nice crowd who were waiting patiently for us despite the fact that it was Cinco de Mayo and there was the Mayweather-Cotto fight scheduled that night. The chef who took our food orders at the end of soundcheck “cooked up some marvelous shit” (© Raekwon) for us… A brotha had some baked salmon atop of some steamed and seasoned spinach alongside a pillow of mashed poe-tay-toes – ‘Twas quite appetizing. You see, I had to used the word “atop” when describing a meal  that was so eloquently tasty… Soon after we ate, Anthony David came on through the green room and we FINALLY met and got to chop it up for a bit before the show… This time around, the host (Pearl) was completely on point giving a thorough and accurate introduction, which is always appreciated. We walked back through the crowd and applause and got started. Now when I tell y’all that the musical chemistry on stage was on 10 the ENTIRE night….. Maaaaaan, lookahea. Brandon was camped OUT in that pocket. I would turn around and look at him and he would be in a ZONE – concentrating on rhythm riffs that weren’t overpowering the music, soloing when he needed to and locked in so ridiculously that his playing helped you put that “extra nod” in your head nod. Quinton was setting the tone on the kit, that dude was going IN and it gave everyone on stage a boost to where it was almost like, “Oh, you’re gonna play THAT?! Well shit, what you know about THIS then?!” Musical competition at its finest a/k/a Everyone making everyone else play and sound better on stage.

Once we ended the set and finished on up, Apache Café applauded loudly and gave us a helluva standing ovation, which in most cases is always a little crazy to take in because it’s an ultimate show of appreciation after a performance and I’ll never forget it. We came off stage and I got to kick it with one of my homeboys that I grew up with from 2nd grade on, also DJ Jon Doe of Prophetix, Carmen Rodgers who came through after the show to see us, and I finally got to meet a kat who I have been communicating with off and on for damn near 11 years, Count Bass-D. And he introduced me to Dionne Farris who was also at the show… DOPE. Kats chatted it up until it was damn near time for the spot to close down… We walked out of Apache Café in full agreement that this was not only our BEST show, but our SMOOTHEST show in terms of travel, soundcheck, treatment by the staff at the venue, accommodations, performance, etc… UNTIL…………..

I got to my rental car that I parked in a small side parking lot for $3.50 and damn if that mug didn’t have a BOOT on it. Maaaaan, I have NEVER had a boot on a car before… So immediately got pissed because I PAID FOR PARKING via Parkmobile. Now, Parkmobile is an app you can download on your phone for free and it allows you to set up an account where you can pay for parking via your credit card. I actually love the app because it keeps you from having to keep a ton of change in your car for meters, but that night… somebody was on some BS. Sy was waiting in her car for me and I hopped in her passenger seat and called the 800 number that was stuck on my window, gave them the information they needed and they said the person who booted the car would be dispatched immediately – He’ll be there in about 20 minutes. Sheeeeeeiiiiiit. I hung the phone up and dude was pulling up.

I got outta Sy’s car and said, “Y’all don’t honor Parkmobile payments?!”

He said, “Is that how you paid?… Man, don’t tell me you just paid it like a half hour ago!”

Me: “Nah man, I paid at like 9:30p!”

I proceeded to show him a text AND an email that I received with the date, time and license plate no. proving that I paid the parking fee. Dude saw this and took the boot off. I made sure I was good to go without paying anything and I got in the car and headed back to the hotel… The adventures of life on the road are never-ending, I swear… but even that situation was resolved extremely quickly. So thank you Atlanta for a helluva night on May 5th…!!!