James Rouse

James Rouse

Official Biography (courtesy of James Rouse)

Born and raised in Philly, James “Biscuit” Rouse came by his love of music naturally. That distinctive Philly sound invaded his mind, spirit and soul at an early age – 5 years old to be exact. It was then that he first started singing… and first picked up a pair of drumsticks. From church to home to even his choice of high school: Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), Rouse was immersed in music. “Growing up in Philly was great; there was always something different to listen to,” Rouse remembers. He credits his time at CAPA as a point that his mind really became open to different genres of music. And from there, he flourished. That open mind has, so far, led him down a potentially never-ending path of working with artists from all genres of music – from house to jazz, funk to rock, hip-hop to r&b/ soul. 

After receiving a BA in Jazz Performance and Music Tech from Temple University, Rouse started expanding his career, which included a move from Philly to NYC. That could have been the biggest turn in his musical career. Not long after making the move, his resume started to read like a Who’s Who of the music industry. Having worked with Nile Rogers and Chic, The Apollo House Band, Lauryn Hill, Dawn Robinson, Talib Kweli, N’Dambi, Bilal, Kelly Clarkson, Jazmine Sullivan, Kelis, Kindred and the Family Soul, Karen Bernod, Chubby Checker, Gerald Veasley, J.T. of  Kool and the Gang, Stevie Wonder, Karina Pasian and a whole host of others*, Rouse has honed his craft and become one of the leading drummers in the business.

Rouse’s musical influences include not only the usual suspects like Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Phil Collins, but he also draws inspiration from his uncle, Kevin Outterbridge, Reverend Randy Oliver, Omar Hakim and EWF. When asked who’s career path he’d like to follow musically, Rouse is quick to drop names like Mint Condition, Lil John Roberts, Cee-Lo and, of course, Amir “Quest-Love” Thompson and Buddy Miles. 

In addition to his prowess on the drums, Rouse has carved out a nice niche for himself as a singer. “When I was a kid and I sang, the way people cried and the attention I received… I knew I loved performing,” he remembers. And today, Rouse’s love of music continues, “I write the vast majority of my own music: I come up with ideas from things that naturally occur in my life.” In 2008 he released two singles – “Money for Love” and “Dance” – on Defected Records. Both are available on iTunes and CD Baby. And, in 2010, another single, “Work it Out” was released as a part of a compilation disc. 

When not onstage or in the studio (“that’s where I live,” he says), James can be found spending time with his violinist wife, sometimes fishing, swimming, cooking… trying to unwind and clear his mind so he can write more songs… “What I have learned,” he says, “is to be comfortable with me and to always play from my heart.”

As a producer, singer, songwriter and musician – who is still early in his career – Rouse is poised to become one of music’s true power players. 

*Others include:  Frank McComb, Maysa Leak, Silk 130 Band, Chuck Loeb, Kim Waters, Steve Oliver, Bobby Lyle, Triad, Lady Alma, Glenn Jones, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Leon Ware, The Village Underground House Band, Derrick Hodge, Bobbi Humphrey, Michael Henderson, and both the Showtime at the Apollo and The Philadelphia 76ers house bands.

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