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Bio: Skoota Warner, the “Drummer’s Drummer”

Who could have imaged that banging on pots and pans in his grandma’s kitchen would lead three-year old Skoota Warner to becoming known as the “Drummer’s Drummer” by world renown musicians. His start on a dirt road in Newnan, GA paved the way for him to become the much sought-after musician he is today.

At four, his grandmother, Ollie Foster surprised him with a set of drums and his "banging" started to take on a rhythm--the kind you could tap your toes to. By six, there was no doubt in grandma Ollie’s mind that he was destined for greatness. At the very least, she knew he had outgrown her kitchen and needed a real stage. She arranged his first audition that landed him his first gig playing with a local church group on the radio and by age nine he was touring the South with various gospel groups.

At 13, Skoota's grandma became his first manager getting him his first recording session with The Mighty Evangelists for their Amazing Grace album. His pay for the session was 10 albums that his grandmother sold to her friends after church one Sunday.  Skoota honed his drumming skills in high school playing at school social functions and at clubs around town.

After high school graduation, he moved to New York City with high hopes of living his dream and making a name for himself. He started out as a street musician playing for tips in front of The Plaza Hotel. Here, he caught the attention of Pepeu Gomes and Baby Consuelo, Brazil’s top pop artists. At only 18, Skoota left for Brazil where he played live rock shows with Pepeu and recorded several albums with him and other famous musicians throughout Brazil. After two years, he returned to New York with solid drummer creds landing him gigs with blues musicians Johnny Copeland and Johnny Johnson. When he returned to New York from Brazil, he joined the house band for the famed Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night; backing up R & B, funk, and hip-hop talents such as Keith Sweat, Guy, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Doug E. Fresh, and Special Ed.  Skoota became known for his impromptu breakbeat rhythms on stage.

Earns a new title: “The Drummer’s Drummer”

Skoota is an all-around musician that can go from ballads to rock, funk to R&B, pop to Hip-hop, jazz to blues and back with precision and ease.  He is the consummate professional whose ability to adapt to any music genre has earned him a place of honor on numerous stages.

In 1989, Omar Hakim, New York’s premier session drummer chose Skoota to be the drummer for his Rhythm Deep Project. “Skoota nails it,” said Hakim. “He’s a Drummer’s Drummer!”

Since the nineties, Skoota has played for some of the hottest artists of all time--Santana, The B’52”s, Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper, Mary J. Blige, Partick Stump, the Brecker Brothers, Matisyahu, Yerba Buena and Philippe Saisse. He’s shared the stage with many artists including Ron Wood, Nelly Furtado, Roberta Flack and Adam Lambert.  He was a member of Dave Koz & The Kozmos, the house band for The Emeril Lagasse Show. In 2009, he began touring with Jefferson Airplane founding members, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady of Hot Tuna fame.

Criss-crossing the globe and recording his own CD

In 2012, Skoota reunited with his rock band Ra to record their new album, Critical Mass, which was released in October 2013.  He also embarked on another journey--into his own studio to record and produce songs for his latest solo project.  The CD entitled Vignettes will debut in mid-2014.   

Skoota describes his new CD as an eclectic mix of rhythms and genres of music that have greatly influenced him.   “It’s a labor of love composed of snippets of everything I love,” said Skoota.

Skoota is married and resides in New York.