The Mae Simpson band is pure energy and soul. The singer-songwriter Mae who hails from South Carolina, has a huge voice and stage presence. She has brought together a collective of seven musicians who each bring a unique flavor to this powerhouse group. Formed in the fall of 2017, Mae Simpson Band have built a broad collection of original music that refuses to fall neatly into a single genre. Blistering funk and dance music mixed with soul, blues, country, calypso, jazz, rock, and even a little hip hop — bringing the crowd to their feet every time. In the spring of 2018 the band won the Battle of the Blues Bands at Famous Dave’s and opened the Lowertown Blues Festival. Since that time Mae has performed on First Avenue’s main stage in a tribute to Janis Joplin, Nominee for City Pages “Best New Band and Best Live Concert” . Going on to WIN City Pages Reader's Choice Best New Band. The band has played the Dakota Jazz Club on a regular basis, and can be seen at a range of music festivals and venues in the region. The band features a drummer- Aaron Silverstein. percussionist- Ricardo J. Romero, Sax- Keaton Judy. Trumpet - Paul Pederson, bass- David Kellermann. guitar- Jorgen Wadkins.
"Mae’s powerful voice has remnants of Janis Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald, tied together with a rasp of Joan Jett. Brought together by an extremely talented and passionate band, Mae Simpson Music is a ticking timebomb for breaking into the national array of local artists to make it “big.” – Richard Dollarhide (Music in Minnesota)
Ricardo J. Romero: Percussion
Ricardo who goes by Romie was born and raised in the island of enchantment, Puerto Rico. His culture and folklore shines through the percussion he plays today. Music has been by on his side since he was a little boy. It has shown him the light at my most darkest of times. As a combat war veteran of the Iraq War, music has and continues to heal him on a daily basis. What started as a djembe in drum circles, has become aux percussion for one of the most amazing acts he's had the pleasure to play with.10 years has gone by, since he started playing and the music keeps getting better. From drum circles, to music festivals, to bookings, and all of the stages in between. Give thanks for music.
Amór y Paz, Romie
Mae Simpson Music
Jorgen Wadkins: Guitarist
After starting his musical journey at the age of 18, Jorgen quickly fell in love with how music can speak to people on so many different levels. He believes music can transcend language, economic, generational, and cultural barriers, and can move people in ways that few art forms can. Starting out with punk rock, Jorgen’s tastes soon lead him to play and appreciate other forms of music including jazz, folk, funk, blues, country, and bluegrass.
Through this musical journey, Jorgen has had the pleasure of teaching guitar at the after-school program for impoverished inner-city minorities called Urban Ventures, as well as volunteering as entertainment for fundraisers for school programs and food shelves. He also worked with high school students with emotional behavior disorders or autism by starting and running an elective music program that allowed students a chance to practice learning a new instrument in a safe and supportive environment. Jorgen feels honored to use music as a catalyst for social change and enjoys bringing people from a variety of backgrounds together through music.
David Kellermann: Bassist
David hails from Lapeer, MI. He played on and off in rock bands since the age of 13. He initially pursued a Bachelor of Music with French Horn from Grand Valley State University. After 3 years, he transferred to McNally Smith College of Music and received degrees in Audio Engineering and Live Sound Engineering. He spent 3 years as a FOH engineer at the classic and missed 400 Bar, and for the last 6 years has been a house engineer at the Dakota Jazz Club. He has toured FOH with over 25 artist including John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band, Jim Witter, Pert Near Sandstone, and The Abrams.
Paul Pederson: Trumpeter
Paul grew up in South Minneapolis and started playing the horn in high school. He has played a wide range of styles from Jazz, to classical and Mariachi. He moved back to Minneapolis after years of living in New York City, DC, and most recently Los Angeles. In addition to playing with Mae Simpson, Paul teaches privately and freelances, and is a solo cornet player with the Twin Cities Brass Band.
Keaton Judy: Saxophone
Keaton began his musical career at the age of 10 when he started learning the saxophone. After finishing high school, Keaton attended college at the University of Iowa and earned his B.M. in Music Therapy. Once his coursework was finished, Keaton moved to Minneapolis to complete his music therapy internship and earn his board-certification credentials as a music therapist.
Over the course of his career, Keaton has performed in several jazz ensembles and rock/pop bands, and has been in the opening acts for several artists throughout the Midwest, including Daya (with Abby Sevcik), Danika Portz (with Kaitlyn McEowen), and Flatfoot 56 (with Must Build Jacuzzi) Currently, Keaton is an active member of Mae Simpson Music, Must Build Jacuzzi, and well as beginning his solo career under the artist name mt-kj.
Aaron Silverstein: Drums
Hailing from New Jersey, Aaron began playing the drums at the age of 9. After attending college in Boston, Aaron made the move to Minneapolis. There he has been involved with multiple projects as a drummer, bassist, and singer. He has shared stages with such acts as Spoon, Ingrid Michelson, Weezer, Sick Puppies and more while playing stages such as First Ave and the Basilica Block Party.