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Bashiri Johnson

Writers Bashiri Johnson
Bashiri Johnson is a NYC-based percussion artist/songwriter/producer whose work has appeared on many records, as well as in commercials, films, television, videogames and concert performances. He is known to be one of the most recorded percussionists in the music business, as well as one of the most visible. He has recorded with such artists as Luther Vandross, Miles Davis, and Patti LaBelle, and has been a part of numerous on-stage performances; he has performed on stage with artists such as Sting, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Aretha Franklin, and Steve Winwood.

His interest in music and percussion started at a very young age, when growing up in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, during the 1960s. According to his mother, his talents in percussion started as early as pre-school with drumming on desks and furniture, occasionally to the extent of disrupting class.

Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, he pulled musical influence from a number of popular movements, musicians and percussionists of the time. Those include Sly, Hendrix, Cream, The Panthers, and artists such as Airto, Big Black, Tito Puente, Ralph McDonald, Bill Summers, Paulinho DaCosta, Miles, James Brown and Bootsy were also strong influences on the young Bashiri Johnson.

Formal percussion education took a number of forms for Johnson, including high school bands, lessons at Jazzmobile, lessons at the Dance Theater of Harlem, and with Olatunji. A three year mentorship with Mtume also served as a hallmark of his early education and career. The time spent with Mtume during the 1970s taught Johnson not only the art of percussion, but the world of the music business and session recording. It led to his first professional session on “Watcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’” by Stephanie Mills, which went gold.

His career grew rapidly in the 1970s and 80s, and Johnson was able to contribute to other gold records by artists such as Luther Vandross, and Madonna. Since then, Johnson has been recorded on hundreds of records, worked with some of the most well-known artists, and performed for some major political figures. Notably, he performed in Whitney Houston’s band for 20 years, was a percussionist for Michael Jackson in the "This Is It" band. He has performed for Nelson Mandela in South Africa, as well as at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. Bashiri Johnson has also performed at the White House as part of two separate "In Performance at the White House" presentations. Once for the presentation of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song and once for "The Motown Sound.

His most recent endeavors include participating in Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour with Cirque du Soleil, while continuing to write, produce, and perform in a variety of media. Among his endeavors and accomplishments are a production company (Bashman Productions), record/media label (Life in Rhythm Media), and recording studio (The Lab-Brooklyn). Through The Lab-Brooklyn, Bashiri Johnson has recorded his percussion for a number of notable artists, including Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand, George Benson, Al Jarreau and many others. Bashiri Johnson also presents percussion intensive seminars, as well as lectures, workshops and master classes to share his knowledge and give back to young people.


Bashiri Johnson feat. Kashif "I'll Be Dreaming"
Bashiri Johnson feat. Kashif
Francis Mbappe "Celebration"
Francis Mbappe
Album: Celebration
Genre: Caribbean Music
Moods: Carefree, Cheerful, Unifying
Francis Mbappe "Wan de We"
Francis Mbappe
Album: Celebration
Genres: Folk, World
Moods: Carefree, Fun
Jonathan Peters & Bashiri Johnson "Yelele (feat. Mai Lingani) [Jonathan Peters Mixes]"
Jonathan Peters & Bashiri Johnson
Album: Pacha New York (Mixed By Jonathan Peters)
Genres: Dance, Tribal, World
Moods: Charismatic, Empowered, Energetic, Festive, Powerful, Upbeat