Bryan C. Simmons was born in Vallejo, Ca on September 9. Many assume this talented and dynamic artist with an undying passion and good ear for music would have started playing the piano at a young age. This was far from the truth. Bryan grew up in a musical household and unconsciously developed his ear for music. Mother, Joyce, is a nationally known gospel recording artist, songwriter, publisher, and director of the Gospel Music Workshop of America. Father Barada is an active member in his church praise team. Those accolades meant nothing to the young Bryan C. Simmons. He danced to the beat of his own drum and wanted nothing to do with the music industry. During his childhood Bryan had an innate passion for taking things apart and putting them back together. When he wasn’t going to the famous Sac’s Hotdogs in Vallejo, Ca with his grandpa Joseph he was being bribed by sister Anna to do her school art projects.
In 2001, Bryan developed a passion for wrestling and football from watching his uncle Alfred Simmons, professional football coach. Alfred would often bring Bryan along to practice and to games when he coached for UC Berkeley and the San Francisco 49ers. Alfred nurtured Bryans work ethic that still continues to serve him today. Like many young boys Bryan envisioned becoming a professional athlete until one day his dad sat him down for the talk, the talk that would encourage Bryan to pivot. Bryan’s dreams to become a professional athlete would crumble when his dad said, “ Son, you’re slow,” shortly before he would beat him in a friendly race to prove it.
Uncertain what his future would hold he was listening to his mom practice on the piano and was stuck trying to figure out a church hymnal. Frustrated and confused Bryan approaches the piano and to his mothers surprise plays the exact chord she was struggling to get. Little did the Simmons family know that would be the day that changed Bryan’s life.
From that moment instead of finding Bryan on the field at football games, you could find him in the stands with the school marching band. In 2008, as a senior year in high school with confidence and gumption, he looked his dad in the eyes and demanded he buy him a Yamaha Upright Acoustic Piano because he was certain he would pursue a professional music career. He committed to practicing for 4-8 hours a day for 5 years.
In 2009 Bryan started attending Los Medanos in Antioch, Ca where he would learn from Dr. Michael Zilber (saxophone); Erik Jekabson (trumpet); Jeff Marrs (drums); Sylvester Henderson (piano and voice); and Grammy award winning Trombonist and arranger Doug Beavers. In 2014 he got the call from a dear friend Zack Slater that a Canadian Pop Band named the Evolver International Show Band was looking for a keyboard player. Bryan had to decide if he would put school on hold to leave for Bahrain to follow his dreams. After getting insight from his mentors and family Bryan packed his bags for what would become a 2 year international residency. This opportunity taught Bryan the difference between being a pianist to a keyboardist. Bryan was able to hone in his approach to sounds, song structure, and parts.
While living overseas Bryan landed a collaboration with a childhood friend and respected artist Mani Draper. This collaboration unleashed another wheel-house to this multifaceted artist. There was a need for Hip-Hop artists to clear samples and Bryan could satisfy that need. His mastery of sounds, song structure and parts made Bryan the cheat-code in the Hip-Hop world.
In 2016 Bryan returned home where he met his now fiancé Elasha Marie Racks. Hungry to make an impact in the music industry with Elasha by his side, Bryan would play up to 7 gigs in one week. Tired and wanting more out of his music career Bryan decided he would no longer play cover gigs and committed to only playing original music at music venues. This leap of faith was shortly before he landed a gig in 2018 with three-time Grammy Award-winning artist Fantastic Negrito. This opportunity exposed Bryan to another side of the music industry, the side he was yearning to tap into. Today, you can still catch Bryan C. Simmons today, stage-right with the reputable Fantastic Negrito. Together they have been seen playing at several sold-out festivals at both national & international levels. This includes Glastonbury – UK, AfroPunk – Atlanta and New York, Lollapalooza – Chicago, Byron Bay Blues Festival – Australia. In addition, he has made several television appearances with Fantastic Negrito like Stephen Colbert, The Late Night Show, 2020; CBS This Morning, NYC 2019; Jools Holland, BBC, and UK 2019.
Bryan is deeply influenced by all genres of music, but his love for Jazz and Hip Hop outshines it all. For over ten years now, Bryan has made a name for himself as an accomplished professional keyboardist in demand. He is known for the passionate manner in which he fleshes out his flawless musical arrangements that create memorable, heartfelt rhythms. The reason music-passionate people find him to be original.
As a reputable professional in music, Bryan has landed many opportunities to leverage his talents. He currently works as a studio musician and producer receiving credits with various artists, including Keke Palmer, Rexx Life Raj, Jane Handcock, Mani Draper, Hip Hop Collective Grand Nationxl, Kevin Allen and many more. Asides working as an Producer and Co-owner of The Reef Studios in Oakland, California, Bryan works as Music Supervisor for Keke Palmer’s network KeyTV.
Professionally, his areas of expertise include Music Composition, Music Administration, Music Supervision, Keyboardist, Musical Director, Bandleader, Music Score, Arranging, Composition, Music Theory, Synthesizer, Synth Bass, Background vocals, Logic X, Pro Tools, Sibelius, and Maschine 2.
Currently Bryan is focused on collaborating with artists, compiling a host of music books, and putting out his second solo album that is set to be released in 2023.