Zo! + Carmen Rodgers LIVE in Washington D.C. – March 7, 2018 (2 Shows)


Wednesday, March 7, 2018 – WASHINGTON, D.C.
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
Blues Alley
1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007
*Seated Shows*
TWO Shows at 8pm & 10pm 

Zo! on DC 89.3FM WPFW – Soul Conversations Radio, Parts 1 & 2 (March 24, 2017 & April 21, 2017)


Had the pleasure of stopping by WPFW last night an participating in a “Soul Conversation” …and to be honest, it turned out to be one of my favorite interviews in a long time. I’m sure if there was no time limit, we would probably STILL be conversing now. You can listen to it in full HERE …or by pressing ‘play’ below.


Tour Dates

SkyBreak Tour Dates


Friday-Saturday, March 30-31, 2018 – COLUMBUS, OH
Music Entrepreneurship Workshop with Zo! & J. Rawls
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers Concert: March 30th | Zo! & J. Rawls Workshop: March 31st
The STEAM Factory
400 W Rich St, Columbus, OH 43215
March 30th: Doors: 7pm | Show: 8pm
March 31st: Workshop: 2:30pm

Friday, April 6, 2018 – CHARLOTTE, NC
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
Morehead Tavern
300 E Morehead St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Doors: 8p | Show: 9p

Saturday, April 7, 2018 – RALEIGH, NC
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
The Pour House Music Hall
224 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601
Doors: 8p | Show: 9p

Friday, May 18, 2018 – HAMBURG, GERMANY
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
Mojo Club
Reeperbahn 1, 20359 Hamburg, Germany
Doors: 7:30p (19:30)

Saturday, June 23, 2018 – STUDIO CITY, CA
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
Upstairs at Vitello’s Supper Club
4349 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 – DETROIT, MI
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
opening for Kamasi Washington
Chene Park Amphitheater
2600 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207

Saturday, September 15, 2018 – CINCINNATI, OH
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
The Greenwich
2442 Gilbert Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45206

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


Zo! + Carmen Rodgers “Piano & A Microphone” Show Dates


Zo! on Piano. Carmen on vocals. Intimate venues. Playing jams.

Saturday, April, 21, 2018 – SEATTLE, WA
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
“Piano & A Microphone”
Fred Wildlife Refuge
128 Boylston Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
Doors: 10pm

Monday, April 30, 2018 – NEW YORK, CITY, NY
Zo! + Carmen Rodgers
“Piano & A Microphone”
Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 3)
185 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 | (212) 477-4155
Doors: 8:15p | Show: 8:30p


Making SkyBreak Documentary Screenings


Saturday, March 31, 2018 – WASHINGTON, DC
(‘Making SkyBreak’ selected to the MECCAcon Film Festival)
Film Screening
*This is not a performance*

Blackburn Center
Howard University
2397 6th St NW, Washington D.C. 20059

April 21, 2018 – SEATTLE, WA
(‘Making SkyBreak’ selected to the Langston Hughes African-American Film Festival)
Film Screening
*This is not a performance*
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
104 17th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98144

April 26-29, 2018 – LAS VEGAS, NV
(‘Making SkyBreak’ selected to the Las Vegas Black Film Festival)
Film Screening
*This is not a performance*


Making SkyBreak – Official Selections
Atlanta Docufest (Semi-Finalist)
Baltimore Black International Film Festival
Columbus Black International Film Festival  (*Winner* Best Documentary Film)
DC Black Film Festival (*Winner* Best Documentary Feature)
Denton Black Film Festival
Docs Without Borders Film Festival
Gary International Black Film Festival

Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival
Langston Hughes African-American Film Festival
Las Vegas Black Film Festival
MECCAcon Film Festival
Miami Independent Film Festival
Raleigh Film and Art Festival

2018 Black Reel Awards Nominations
Outstanding Independent Documentary
Outstanding Song (“Starlight” by Zo! featuring Phonte)

Past Making SkyBreak Screening Dates:
March 12, 2017 – Dallas, TX • March 15, 16 & 19, 2017 – Chicago, IL March 29, 2017 – Detroit, MI • June 23, 2017 – Oakland, CA • June 25, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA (MECCAcon Film Festival) • July 8, 2017 – Cincinnati, OH • August 5, 2017 – Columbus, OH (Columbus Black International Film Festival) • August 18, 2017 – Washington, D.C. (D.C. Black Film Festival) • September 16, 2017 – Detroit, MI (MECCAcon Film Festival) • September 23, 2017 – Montreal, QC (MECCAcon Film Festival) • September 24, 2017 – Cleveland, OH (Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival) • October 8, 2017 – Baltimore, MD (Baltimore International Black Film Festival) • October 15, 2017 – Gary, IN (Gary International Black Film Festival) • October 19, 2017 – Atlanta, GA • October 21, 2017 – Raleigh, NC (Raleigh Film and Art Festival) • October 21, 2017 – St. Louis, MO • October 21, 2017 – Toronto, ON (MECCAcon Film Festival) • November 18, 2017 – Pittsburgh, PA • January 12, 2018 – Houston, TX • January 14, 2018 – New Orleans, LA • February 10, 2018 – Atlanta, GA • February 22, 2018 – Philadelphia, PA


Zo! MasterClass Workshops

Sunday, October 22, 2017 – ST. LOUIS, MO
Zo! | Donnie Seals | Eric D. Seals
Sonic Camp featuring Zo!, Donnie Seals & Eric Seals
*This is not a performance*

William A Kerr Foundation
21 O’Fallon St, St. Louis, MO 63102
Sonic Camp #1 with Zo!: 1 – 3p
Sonic Camp #2 with Donnie & Eric Seals: 3:45 – 5:45p

Friday-Saturday, March 30-31, 2018 – COLUMBUS, OH
Music Entrepreneurship Workshop with Zo! & J. Rawls
Concert: March 30th | Workshop: March 31st
The STEAM Factory
400 W Rich St, Columbus, OH 43215
March 30th: Doors: 7pm | Show: 8pm
March 31st: Workshop: 2:30pm

The ManMade Tour Returns to DC/MD/VA!!


ManMade Tour Returns to DC/MD/VA

featuring Carmen Rodgers
Anthony David

Friday, January 16, 2015 – Alexandria, VA
(ManMade Tour)

The Carlyle Club
411 John Carlyle St, Alexandria, VA 22314 | (703) 548-5953
BUY TICKETS (7:30p Show)
BUY TICKETS (10:30p Show)

Behind Zo!’s ‘ManMade’ (courtesy of LilSoso.com)

Next Wednesday, Zo!  performs music from his latest album, ManMade. Featuring Deborah Bond and AB, along with DJ sets by DJ Stylus and Jahsonic. Before the show, we decided to have a sit down and hear from the man himself about his music, his process and his hopes for his sophomore release.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 – Washington, D.C.
ManMade Album Release Show in D.C.
Liv Nightclub, 2001 11th St. NW | Washington, DC | (202) 505-4548
Doors: 8p | 21+

Zo! – ‘ManMade’ Album Release Show in D.C. – May 29, 2013


Zo! – ManMade Album Release Show in D.C.

Deborah Bond & AB

Pre and Post Show Sets by
DJ Stylus & Jahsonic

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Liv Nightclub
2001 11th St. NW | Washington, DC | (202) 505-4548
Doors: 8p | 21+

Inauguration Celebration with Zo! featuring Deborah Bond @ Montserrat House – Washington, D.C. – January 20, 2013


Based on the 1967 film “To Sir, With Love” starring Sidney Poitier, we celebrate and honor President Barack Obama with a creative twist.

Join us for a night of revelry that includes food, djs, live music performances and inauguration-inspired cocktails, all done with a 1960’s mod twist.

Attire: Attendees are encouraged to come in their best 1960’s mod-inspired evening look.

DJ sets:

John Murph
DJ Stylus


Live performances:
Kiyem Ade
Ne’a Posey
Zo! feat. Deborah Bond

Space is limited. Advance purchase and early arrival,
highly encouraged.

Montserrat House, 2016 9th St. NW, Washington D.C. 20001 | Sunday, January 20, 2013 | 8p-12a


I Do Miss Making A Difference… (Part One)

On the bass about to play along with some of my students during a school assembly… (2007)

In order for me to even begin addressing this part of my life properly, I have to flash all the way back to the summer of 2005 to a spot in Washington D.C. called Cada Vez. I was invited to Common’s listening party for Be, which I thought was dope because at the time I wanted to hear what he had to say about this new and upcoming album that was supposed to “bring old Common back” or “bring hip hop back” or whateverthehell…. I can’t remember which one it was supposed to do, but you know how that silliness goes with music. Anyway, I ended up meeting more than a few D.C. kats there, including Raheem DeVaughn and an emcee who I was already very familiar with as I listened to his music while in college… Asheru. We met and immediately landed on the same page after we started conversing about music, in general – then, for whatever reason he asked me out of the clear blue sky, “Man, you ever thought about teaching?” I probably took an awkward pause as the thought of teaching had never entered my mind…. like at ALL. EVER. In LIFE. I think I responded with… “Naaaaaaaaaaah maaaaan…” or “Ehhhhhh, I’m good on that.”  …Or something similar as I had friends who were teachers and NONE of the stories they used to share with me from the classroom were positive. We exchanged information anyway and said that we would keep in touch, particularly since I was planning to move east anyway.

…Fast forward to April of 2006. I had been in Maryland for only two months and was working sales at a gym in Gaithersburg, MD and hating every last minute of it. I quickly got connected with a kat named Omar Hunter who was looking for a keyboardist to play at this weekly joint he had over in NE D.C., a spot called Roses Dream. I soon found out that Omar was tight with Asheru… As a matter of fact, O had just started teaching at the school Asheru was Director of Arts and Education at… AND the two of them were in a group called The ELs – pretty small world. Once the dots were connected on how everyone was affiliated, the two of them damn near started a “Free Zo! (from his wack ass gym job)” campaign to get me working at the school. At that point, I wasn’t caring about the fact that I had zero teaching experience whatsoever. I also could have cared less about the fact that this Level 5 Special Education school was basically the step between a daily educational setting and a correctional facility for most of the kids who were attending – I just wanted OUT of that damn gym. Finally in June, Asheru set up an interview for me at the school… I suited up, went in and got the job, no problem. I would have LIKED to have thought that it was my “accomplished musician with a few credits under my belt” credentials that earned me the teaching position…………………… But uhhhh…. It was pretty much the fact that I knew Asheru. So it goes, so it goes… Regardless, I was all set up to start at the top of the summer semester which began July 5, 2006. One of the craziest things was, I’ve never really been nervous performing in front of large crowds of people before, but I’d have to say I was a bit nervous having to try and teach classes and hold the attention of 5-10 kids (per class) whom I’ve never met or seen before… Oh, did I mention that they were all diagnosed with either ED, LD, ADD, ADHD, ODD, MR, OHI or a combination of a few on that list?

“CHALLLOOOOOOONNNGGE!!!!” © Howard “Sandman” Sims

The dope part about the position was that Omar and I were set-up in the same class – a co-teaching situation. He had a semester’s worth of experience under his belt at the school already and many of the older kids either knew him or knew of him, so that was my open door to step through. We set each class up as a band. Different kids would play different instruments. We had a couple of keyboards, 4-5 guitars and eventually a bass guitar and a drum set. A good number of the kids took to it because hell, who doesn’t like music?! The fact that they were able to play music they were familiar with was usually the icing on the cake. We found that teaching theory to a high school kid with “oppositional defiant disorder” through music originally crafted by The Roots, Jay-Z, and The Isley Brothers, for example, worked much more effectively than passing along the “traditional” training that I received and hated as I was growing up. We had these kids playing together at every talent show, assembly, and school program there was and they took great pride in their performances. Their personal appearance at these shows was just as important as how they sounded. The kids usually agreed to coordinate colors as a group so that they would look like an actual “band” and we encouraged them to do so – it made them feel as though they were a part of something important. With the “new educator”  energy that we brought into the classroom everyday, we also felt personally responsible for not only their performances, but the therapeutic impacts the music was having on them as the music training served as a natural confidence builder for most of the kids. Matter of fact, I’ll just show you what I’m talking about. Here’s a peek at one of my classes from Spring Semester 2008 playing a pretty common R&B chord progression that I taught them… They learned it, practiced it as a class and put their own spin on it.

Ok, let me explain something to y’all, music is powerful… Let me say this again…….. MUSIC. IS. POWERFUL. It is so intensely powerful that it can become life-altering or even serve as a soundtrack to a major change in one’s life – I have seen it occur in many instances with the kids I taught. The same kids who had been kicked out of their neighborhood schools, abandoned by their families, in and out of juvenile facilities and/or jail, always performed at the bottom of their class, been told, “you ain’t worth shit” most of their lives are usually the ones who latch on to music the tightest. Why? Because when that kid finds something they are actually good, or in some cases great at… It will become something they almost obsess over. For example, Omar and I had a student who in his 8th grade year would run the hallways with his boys skipping classes, terrorizing other classes, and leaving school altogether… DAILY. Omar, who as I stated earlier was teaching at the school a semester before me ended up landing him in the music class he was assisting with and put a guitar in this child’s hands. Now, the one thing that was guaranteed to happen at that school on a daily basis was one word: unpredictability. No matter how much a kid said they loved music, or how badly they felt they wanted to be in your class and play <insert instrument of choice here>, the moment of truth came when they physically got on the instrument and started to mess around on it. The kid would either get frustrated and quit right on the spot, or stick it out and continue to work through the early difficulties of learning a new instrument. Well, this particular student caught on quickly by learning his notes and chord placement well before his classmates and even had a fairly nice tone when he played. Needless to say that after a few weeks, the child was hooked. As a music instructor, you know that the ones who are really serious about their instrument are the ones who make the effort to get access to that instrument in order to put in some time to play and practice it home – That’s exactly what this student did. One day, he walked into school with a brand new guitar and gig bag strapped to his back complete with a pair of sunglasses…You couldn’t tell him a THING that day. He told us that when he would get home from school, he would practice the guitar most of the evening and into the night. The results were very telling. Outside of the obvious fact that he became the top guitar player in the entire school, you also didn’t see him running the hallways as often. His grades began to improve slightly as did his overall classroom attendance. Later on, he even gave himself a “guitar influenced” stage name/nickname… The instrument and his newfound talent provided an unlimited amount of confidence that carried over into other aspects of his life and it was such a beautiful thing to witness. It assisted in his overall growth as a young man including coping skills and social abilities. He ended up graduating from high school and enrolling in college and now takes classes at a university in D.C. To this day, he and I continue to keep in touch as he is kid who I want to see WIN.

My students were even making a few waves outside of the classroom for what they were doing in it. One afternoon, I taught one of my classes the music to “Break You Off” by The Roots. After a day or two of practicing the piece, I let them know that I would be bringing my video camera in to record them in action as they loved when I had my camera on me – it let them know that they were improving, or at least good enough as a class to be recorded and posted on up on YouTube. Well, we worked out and agreed upon an intro arrangement and on the first take, they nailed it. I edited the footage and posted it up online and emailed the link to each student in the class (including a parent of one of the students who couldn’t believe that he was even sitting down in class long enough to learn an instrument). I then hopped on Twitter and sent a link in a DM to The Roots’ drummer and internationally known musical director, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson letting him know that my class is playing his group’s song… and playing it WELL. He in turn, tweeted this to his 1 million+ followers…

The link he tweeted directed everyone to check this video…

…I saw the tweet, hit the “Favorite” button and took a screenshot so that the kids could see it too. The following day as I saw each of them throughout the day, I told them, “I have a surprise for y’all when you get to class today.” When 6th period came, I told them all to come around my desk where the computer was located so that I could show them what I had been talking about all day. Now, they pretty much knew who The Roots were just through song recognition. About half of the class knew who Questlove was, so I went into what his exact role was in the group as well as other places they may have seen him (i.e. Dave Chappelle’s Block Party , Late Night With Jimmy Kimmel, various award shows, etc). And I finally showed them the tweet he sent out about them…. They all stared at the tweet on the computer screen…..looked at each other and let out a collective,


I got hit with about 15-17, “OH, that’s VICIOUS, young!!”‘s and “He KNOW who we are, we’re famous!!!” They were hyped up for the remainder of the day off of that recognition. Very rarely had I ever seen my students get that excited about something positive. That class remained one of the most collectively talented and enthusiastic groups I taught…. They were only rivaled a couple years later by a 5th period class I had of all 9th graders who couldn’t WAIT until their lunch period was over to come into the classroom and start playing. Were they rowdy as all hell?… Yes. Did they get on my nerves……AND each other’s nerves constantly? Yes. But they certainly had a drive to improve that I hadn’t seen from any other class that I had ever taught especially since they were all first-time players. The bass player from that class ended up convincing his father to purchase a bass guitar and amp so that he could practice at home. The kid came in a couple of weeks later sounding like a completely different person on that instrument, the improvement was incredible. He was another one who walked into class carrying a bass guitar case on his back with newly found confidence that was through the roof. He would stop by my classroom early in the day to drop his instrument off because he didn’t trust that his classmates could keep their damaging hands off of it. Maaaan, the bright spots in the classroom sometimes felt few and far between, but they shined brightly once shown – YET it’s always the arts they want to cut from education first when money gets tight. Go figure…

Compliments of…. Sheila E.??!

Me, Sheila E., and Sy Smith in Washington D.C. – 08.30.12

I’m a homebody. Rarely do I EVER say, “You know what? I need to get outta the house and go somewhere.” There’s always too much to do right here. But with my musical sibling, Sy Smith singing background vocals for Sheila E. and her incredible band, I wasn’t about to be caught sitting at home reading the tweets of my people who were there. I wanted to see this show for myself and make sure that I was in the house to support Sy. I took my first trip to the restored and revamped Howard Theatre (ironically the same place where Robert Townsend as Donald “Duck” Matthews took his legendary keytar solo in The Five Heartbeats in 1972….Yes, you read that correctly. In 1972. Sorry, I STILL think that’s hilarious). I walked in and parked myself in the front, stage left and observed as Sheila and her crew brought the damn house down. From the first note, her show was exactly that… a SHOW. If there was a weak link in that band, I didn’t hear it… These kats were ridiculously tight and the added bonus was watching Sy up there murdering right along with them. This musical clinic of a performance went on for almost two hours and left everyone in the spot completely satisfied. Now of course, I told Sy a couple weeks before the show, “Ayo… You’ve gotta introduce me to Sheila when y’all get here.” She saw no problem with my request. When I got to talk with Sy after the show she told me the after party was gonna be at Tap and Parlour over on 11th and U… Bet! I’m there.

I headed over to the spot and even lucked up on an 11th Street parking place only a few yards from where I needed to be. ..Rolled up into Tap and Parlour, immediately got up with Sy and started talking about how dope the show was and how hyped up we were for our then upcoming Labor Day NYC show date at the Blue Note. I then decided it was time for a quick draink (yes, dammit… “DRAINK”), so I walked on over to the bar for a rum & coke and also grabbed a water for Sy….. By the time I made it back over to the rear of the place, Sheila was already over there hanging out. I handed the water over and as soon as Sy could, she introduced the two of us… “Great to finally meet you’s” along with a hug were both exchanged. It was dope because Sy has told me on a few different occasions that she was familiar with who I am because of shows and she and I do and my affiliation with +FE Music. I made it a point to let Sheila know that she gives a helluva performance and that they thoroughly shut the Howard Theatre down without question. Now…. when giving a compliment to someone you look up to and highly respect in your professional field, you never expect for them to return your compliment with a compliment….. or two. So imagine how blown away I was when she said to me…

“You know, I’m really diggin what you and Sy are doing…”

Hold up… What?!! Our live performances?!!?? You know, I’m not exactly sure what the expression on my face did in response to what she said, but I’m sure it was kind of along these lines. In the middle of my humbly thanking her about 48 times, she then hit me with…

“Yeah, I look you guys up on YouTube all the time…”


Aaaaand from that particular moment, to about 17 or 18 minutes afterward….. You couldn’t tell me shit. I was damn near on the verge of cussing at Ms. Escovedo out of excitement on some, “Sheila E., what the hell you say to me?!!?” …….In a good way though, in a good way!! The best part about it was, her words were truly genuine as she is about as down-to-earth as they come. The worst part about it was…. Where the hell do you take a conversation after that?! I had not a clue… We did end up chatting a little more and taking a picture with Sy (see above) and after I finished my drink, I was pretty much ready to head on outta there and call it a night………… That didn’t end up being the case. Why? Because as her band began to trickle in one by one, Sheila would pull each of them to the side, “Have you met Zo?… He and Sy tour together!” Maaaaan, lookahea… Somebody get another draink because I’m gonna be here for awhile. I got up with the majority of the band, including fellow Michigan native, drummer Chris Coleman, who by the way was kiiiiillin’ on stage! I couldn’t have asked for a better night – smiles, laughs, drainks and toasts consumed the remainder of it.

Believe it or not, as many times as something like this happens…. I’ll still be in disbelief, so don’t mind me and my excitable ass storytelling. This just completely goes to show that you never know who’s listening, watching, and most of all enjoying your music. Man, I love what I do…