ABOUT KILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Killiam Shakespeare is a critically acclaimed music collective based in Philadelphia. The band is led by Steve McKie and Corey Bernhard – both seasoned musicians and producers whose status as artists are matched only by the caliber of performers they've collaborated with, including Bilal, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and John Legend. Versatility is synonymous with Killiam Shakespeare, who seamlessly blend jazz, funk, hip-hop, R&B and soul. The band prides themselves on their creative process and collaborations, which in turn translates into their progressive genre blending sound, as also noted “...breeds an eclectic palette that comes more from musical experience and community than outside sources." – Huffington Post
McKie and Bernhard began their musical bond as band members for Grammy award-winning singer, Bilal, during his 2010 tour. The two friendship developed professionally when forming Killiam Shakespeare years later. Their passion and ingenious sense of melodic authenticity is what crafted the band’s fresh sound. After performing in major festivals and venues throughout the region, the band became one of the newest recording artist on revered label, Ropeadope Records. In 2015, Killiam released their self-entitled debut album that featured special guests: Adam Blackstone, Jennah Bell, Ebony Joi, Noel Scales, Louis Fouche, Dwayne Wright, Wayne Moore, Chris Turner, and Dayne Jordan. Later that year, the band released “A Killiam Shakespeare Christmas”, an EP of classic Christmas songs that featured special guests: Chris Turner, Ebony Joi, Alisa Joy, James Poyser (The Roots), Laurin Talese, and Shey McKie.
Killiam Shakespeare’s current project “Killiam Season 1”, in-collaboration with Grammy award-winner, DJ Jazzy Jeff, is produced and arranged by both McKie and Bernhard. Killiam Shakespeare considers this project as a representation of their artistry as a musical unit. The title itself, is a self-proclaimed notion, where according to McKie, “Killiam Season means that we're finally in a space of our own...and with the overall balance of this project we created, we felt good about our chances in having the opportunity to work with living legend DJ Jazzy Jeff!”
“Killiam Season 1” features special guests: Freeway, Aaron Camper, Lana Knight, EST, Noel Scales, Val Strasser, and Corey Wise. Currently available digitally worldwide.
For Killiam Shakespeare, they’re at the prime of their career. The group plans to release two more mixtape projects “Killiam Season 2” and “Killiam Season 3” relative to the seasons fall and winter, both to be released before the end of 2016.
A native of Philadelphia, Steve Mckie is one of the sought after drummers of his generation. He is a graduate of University City High School, and studied under the musical guidance of George Byrd and Lee Patterson. His musical mentors include: Donald Robinson, Questlove, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Kelo Saunders, Garfield Williams, James Poyser, and Junius Bervine. After graduating high school, Mckie began his musical career performing as principal drummer in the house band for the celebrated Philadelphia festival “Black Lily”. This professional platform is where he honed his skills and branded his “in-the-pocket” sound. The experience at Black Lily, led him to perform with the legend Prince in 2002, during his famous jam sessions for the “21 Nights in London Tour”. Mckie has performed and shared the stage with an array of respected artists in the industry, including: Bilal, The Dresden Soul Symphony, Playlist Sessions, Jill Scott, Joy Denalane, Common, Robert Glasper, Musiq, and Joss Stone to name a few. During this time, Mckie began expanding his creativity through production, working with the likes of John Legend to Estelle “Back in Love Again” (Shine), receiving RIAA Gold Record for production on Jill Scott’s “My Love” and “Hate on Me” (The Real Thing), and recently in 2015, produced Jill Scott’s “You Don’t Know Me”, from her #1 album on Billboard Top 200 Albums. Mckie’s inspirations include: The Meters, Stevie Wonder, Prince, James Brown, George Duke, Tony Williams, TSOP, Quincy Jones, and Michael Jackson.
Corey Bernhard is one of the most exciting creative forces to emerge in music of late. The Boston-born, Philly-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer began playing the piano at 5 years old and has continued perfecting his craft ever since. Playing all over Boston and regularly at historic Wally’s Jazz Cafe during his college years at Harvard, Bernhard etched a name for himself in “The Bean” before moving to NY in 2008.
Bernhard has recorded, performed and extensively toured the globe with artists such as Bilal, Talib Kweli, Marsha Ambrosius, Pusha T, Teedra Moses, Snarky Puppy, Ariana Grande, and more. Working with such revered artists, Bernhard has had the opportunity to perform at numerous international and national music festivals (Montreux, Cape Town, Coachella) and has appeared on numerous national television programs, such as David Letterman, Conan, GMA, and MTV’s New Year's Eve Special, TRL, and 106th and Park and he has been interviewed by several music publications, such as Revive Music and The Huffington Post.
In addition to his touring and performing, Bernhard has been increasingly busy in the studio as well: production and writing credits include Bilal, Vivian Green, Kindred, Aaron Camper, and more.
In 2015 Bernhard and production partner Steve McKie formed Killiam Shakespeare. Their self-titled debut record was released in December 2015 on Ropeadope Records and received acclaim from, Okayplayer, HuffPost, Soul Bounce, Gilles Peterson, and more. In July 2016 they released their Killiam Season I mixtape with legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff which has received rave reviews from AfroPunk, philly.com, Hypefresh, etc.