Originally from Beaufort, South Carolina, Mae Simpson spent her formative years knowing that there were plans to do bigger things in life. Mae set out from the South at young age and began her musical career in Omaha, Nebraska. At the age of 21 Mae headed north to Minneapolis. By November of 2017, Mae joined her vocal and guitar talents with Jorgen Wadkins on guitar and Ricardo Romero on percussion. Influences by blues, soul, funk and folk, the trio quickly realized their collaborative efforts had a sound worth pursuing. The band quickly added Keaton Judy on saxophone, Paul Pederson on Trumpet, Dave Kellermann on bass and drummer Aaron Silverstein. Whether the venue is small and intimate, or raucous and roaring, the band members’ contagious connection draws the audience into each note.
Ricardo J. Romero: Percussion
Ricardo who goes by Romie was born and raised in the island of enchantment, Puero Rico. My culture and folklore shine through the percussion I play today. Music has been by my side since I was a little boy. It has shown me the light at my most darkest of times. As a combat war veteran of the Iraq War, music has and continues to heal me on a daily basis. What started as a djembe in drum circles, has become aux percussion for one of the most amazing acts I've had the pleasure to play with. 10 years has gone by, since I 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. See you at the show!
Amór y Paz, Romie Percussionist
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 Kellermann 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.
Trumpeter: Paul Pederson
Paul Pederson 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.
Saxophone: Keaton Judy
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, sharing stages with such acts as Spoon, Ingrid Michelson, Weezer, Sick Puppies and more while playing stages such as First Ave and the Basilica Bloc Party.