Artist: Killiam Shakespeare

Album: Killiam Season 1

Release Date: 2016-07-29

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about the album

Killiam Shakespeare, led by renowned musical duo Steve Mckie and Corey Bernhard, return with Killiam Season 1, featuring Grammy award-winning artist and producer, DJ Jazzy Jeff. Another release by Ropeadope Records, Killiam Season 1 is the first of the groups three-part mixtape series that features an array of artists including Philadelphia's own hip-hop recording artist Freeway, singer Cody Wise and singer/songwriter, Aaron Camper. Killiam Shakespeare considers this project as a representation of their artistry as a musical unit.

about the artist

Some say you can judge a man by the company he keeps, but when it comes to Corey Bernhard, you can judge the man by the company that keeps HIM. Corey has recorded with Bilal, Vivian Green, and Donald Harrison Jr. - and toured with Talib Kweli, Snarky Puppy, Bilal, and Marsha Ambrosius. He has performed on every continent, always on tap when an artist needs a man on the keys with a full understanding of the soul of music.

Corey Bernhard started as an economics major at Harvard; In his own words he attended because he "had the opportunity to do so". While earning his degree he spent much of his time at Wally's Jazz Cafe, soaking up the sounds of the major players. Yet the fact that Corey is a Harvard grad comes into play, as he cites intellectuals like Cornel West, Howard Zinn, Malcolm X, and Dave Chappelle as influences. This unique background informs his approach to music: "I believe that music is a gift to be used to liberate the oppressed peoples of the world. It is a gift to be used to create social change, and a lot of people are abusing that gift right now. We definitely need to change that."

Fast forward to 2015 and we find Corey in the heart of West Philadelphia. Between the 18th century row homes we duck into a parking garage to a dark side room. The heavy door is padlocked, and inside is the makeshift studio where Corey and Steve McKie are poring over tracks - some as producers, but most the core project: Killiam Shakespeare. Corey Bernhard and Steve McKie come across as quite similar and yet unique; quiet, gentle, and unassuming, deep in their worlds of vibration and creation. In strong contrast to the personalities of today's stars, these two are IN IT, using music as their main form of communication. Occasionally broad smiles reveal their gentle nature, and you get the sense that enlightenment is there, like two modern day musical monks.

The debut record from Killiam Shakespeare brings Corey Bernhard's influences to the forefront; a path from Bach and Debussy to Charlie Parker and Bill Evans, to Herbie and Jimi, to J Dilla and A Tribe Called Quest. It's all there in the mix as Corey and Steve are joined by guests Chris Turner, Jennah Bell, Ebony Joi, Louis Fouche, and Sugar Tongue Slim. Charles River is a Philadelphia record - not the Philly of the last few decades - the Philly of the new millennium.