::: THE SHORT STORY :::
At the age of 19, Drew entered the music industry as the touring drummer with Motown legends, the Four Tops. He has performed on stage with artists including Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Gladys Knight, The Miracles, Dramatics, Contours, Jerry Butler, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes, and many more. Drew's "Back To Class" project is a series of his own original recordings with 50% of profits benefiting Detroit Public School music programs featuring artists including the Four Tops, members of the Funk Brothers, Vulfpeck collaborator Antwaun Stanley, Melvin Davis, Spyder Turner, Pat Lewis, Carolyn Crawford, Dennis Coffey, Lenny Pickett of Tower of Power / SNL, Joe "Pep" Harris of Undisputed Truth, Chairmen of the Board, Willie Jones, James Jamerson Jr., Al Kent, Billy Prince of The Precisions, The Fantastic Four, and Reginald Torian of The Impressions. As a Pre-Production Engineer for Universal/Motown Records, he has credits on projects by Michael Jackson / The Jackson 5, David Ruffin & Jimmy Ruffin, and the Cellarful of Motown series. His audio production has led to work with Questlove of the Roots, CeeLo Green, and Maurice White of Earth, Wind, & Fire. He has worked as a published writer for Modern Drummer Magazine, a Program Manager at the Motown Museum, a Campus Manager for Metropolitan State University of Denver, and a college instructor of drums / songwriting / music industry studies at the Detroit Institute of Music Education through Oakland University.
::: THE LONG STORY :::
Drew Schultz is a music fan first.
Growing up in a musical family, he was exposed early and often to the sounds of Motown, Classic Soul, Funk, and Jazz. While attending the public school system in Shaker Heights, Ohio, he was enveloped in massive music programs that included multiple wind ensembles, orchestras, jazz bands, choirs, musicals, percussion ensembles, and an expansive 300 member marching band. His teacher at the Shaker district was Bill Ransom, a drummer/percussionist who toured and recorded with acts including Gerald Levert, Najee, Patrice Rushen, Beth Hart, and Diane Reeves. Ransom helped Drew become a well rounded drummer and hand percussionist with experience reading music, improvising, and performing in countless genres and studio/stage situations. He also studied with Paul Simon's drummer/percussionist, Jamie Haddad.
While in High School, Schultz was taken under the wing of two musicians who would help shape his career - original Earth Wind & Fire member Ralph Johnson, and Funk Brothers drummer Uriel Jones, who played on countless number one hits by almost every artist on Motown Records in the 60s and 70s. Johnson and Jones acted as musical mentors to Schultz, giving him advice on his playing and career path. The first articles that Drew wrote and published in Modern Drummer Magazine were spotlights on Uriel and Ralph, who continue to inspire him today.
In 2005, Schultz attended a summer session at the Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Prince / Justin Timberlake drummer John Blackwell, and performed in multiple ensembles. In 2006 he was accepted into the jazz performance program at New York University, where he studied and played with artists including Lenny Pickett of Tower of Power / SNL, Tony Moreno, John Scofield, and more. After working as a moderator for the official Earth Wind & Fire website forums, he was flown to Los Angeles to work with EWF founder/singer/songwriter/drummer Maurice White to assist with a web project, recording and facilitating an extensive interview with Maurice about his own career.
While studying at New York University, Drew founded his own 12 member funk monstrosity. The New FAMF would go on to become the official NYU R&B Ensemble before becoming The Drew Schultz Funk Machine (Jent LaPalm on bass, Emilio Tostado on guitar, John Guari on keys, and Chris Ams on vocals). The Funk Machine held a multi-year residency at the legendary Bitter End night club in NYC, and was a featured part of Don Was' All Star Review at the 2013 Concert of Colors Festival. The band is featured on the bulk of Schultz's releases, especially the stripped down "Dovetail Tapes" live EP, and has performed on tour in NYC, Cleveland, Detroit, and even overseas in Prague.
During his time at NYU, Schultz met the legendary Four Tops at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Tops drummer Benjamin "Butch" Corbett and conductor George Rountree allowed Schultz to sit in, and it wasn't long before Schultz played his first show with the Four Tops on hand percussion in Peekskill, NY at the age of 19. This was the beginning of a five year stretch with the Tops where Schultz served as archivist, hand percussionist, touring drummer, and even Musical Director / Conductor across multiple world tours. His work with the Tops opened the door for him to perform alongside countless legends including Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The Miracles, The Dramatics, The Contours, Freda Payne, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Chairmen of the Board, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes, Dennis Edwards' Temptations Review, "Iceman" Jerry Butler, The O'Jays, The Velvelettes, and many more. While alternating between touring with the Tops, performing with other acts, and studying at NYU, Schultz interned under Harry Weinger at Motown/UMe, leading to pre-production engineering credits on projects by Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, David Ruffin & Jimmy Ruffin, Barry White, and more. In 2013 he was the ProTools assistant in a "Classic Albums" course at NYU taught by Harry Weinger and Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson of The Roots. Drew also helped run guest logistics for the Project Harmony event in NYC featuring Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and Paul McCartney, unveiling a refurbished grand piano from the Motown Museum.
In 2012, Drew released his debut album entitled "Back To Class." The CD consists of 16 original songs written, produced, and arranged by Schultz, with 50% of profits benefiting the music programs of the Detroit Public Schools. Featured artists on the album include the Four Tops, Funk Brothers, Melvin Davis, Spyder Turner, Pat Lewis, Lenny Pickett, McKinley Jackson, James Jamerson Jr, Dennis Coffey, Ken Knox of Chairmen of the Board, Joey Kingfish, Rob Carter, and more. The album was featured in newspapers across Detroit, earning Schultz the nickname "Kid Motown" from the Detroit News. In 2013, a series of Back To Class singles was launched to continue the education-advocacy cause of the original album. Entries in the series have featured Funk Brothers' guitarist Eddie Willis, Northern Soul legend Buddy Smith, Detroit Blues powerhouse Thornetta Davis, Mark Scott of The Miracles, and more. In 2014, the Back To Class project was extended to the Chicago Public Schools with the release of "Please (Don't Give Up On Your Dreams)" b/w "Waiting Game," an A-and-B-side digital single paying tribute to Curtis Mayfield featuring Reginald Torian of The Impressions, Cecil Jones of "The Story of Curtis Mayfield," and Lee Goodness of Mayfield's touring band. "Dreams" was performed live with Schultz as a part of Torian's sold out 2015 All Things Mayfield Revue at The Promontory in Chicago, and broadcast on Chicago Public Radio. Throughout this time Drew also served as percussionist for Aretha Franklin at multiple concerts in Michigan and Canada.
In 2016, Drew rejoined the Tops & Temptations on tour for a six month stint as the Four Tops' musical director and drummer, and playing occasional dates on percussion with the Temptations. In 2017, his song "What I'd Do For You" (feat. The Four Tops & James Jamerson Jr.) was featured in the premier episode of Comedy Central's Detroiters TV series. Drew assisted with the 28th Annual Heroes and Legends Awards, a scholarship foundation spearheaded by songwriter and Motown alum Janie Bradford supporting students pursuing college degrees in the arts. The 28th HAL Awards saw honors given to Motown arranger Paul Riser and Singer/Songwriter Bill Withers. 2017 also saw performances with Aretha Franklin and J.J. Barnes, new recordings of a jazz/soul trio led by Schultz, and an online appearance with Vulfpeck discussing tambourine technique. Schultz released a benefit album, Tribute to Funk Brother Eddie Willis, raising funds for the Motown guitarist whose licks and riffs have graced countless hit songs by the Tops, Tempts, Supremes, Stevie, Marvin, Martha, Smokey, and more. The live album features appearances by Motown guitarist Dennis Coffey, Motown arranger Paul Riser, Motown engineer Ed Wolfrum, legendary bassist Ralphe Armstrong, Motown artists Carolyn Crawford and Spyder Turner, the Funk Brothers' touring band, Eddie Willis himself, and more.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, Drew performed primarily with his own band. The group, called Drew Schultz & The Broken Habits, performs a mix of Schultz's original music as well as covers of artists who he has worked with throughout the years. The Broken Habits consist of heavy-hitting musicians including Carlton Washington (guitar), Trish Shandor (vocals), Mike Harrison (keys), Matt Ryan (bass), and Schultz (drums). Together they have performed at multiple festivals in the Metro Detroit Area, toured to several Cleveland venues, opened for American Idol finalist Allison Iraheta, and backed up artists including Melvin Davis, McKinley Jackson, Ramona Collins, Thornetta Davis, Kim Weston, The New Fantastic Four, and Yvonne Vernee of The Elgins. The Broken Habits also performed inside the legendary "Snakepit" Studio A at the Motown Museum, backing up Funk Brothers' guitarist Dennis Coffey. Schultz also performed as a part of the 2018 Detroit Music Weekend Superband, honoring The Jacksons as they received the Key to the City of Detroit, performing onstage with Michael Jackson's longtime musical director & keyboardist, Greg Phillinganes. The Broken Habits were the opening act for the 2018 Detroit A-Go-Go festival, which also saw Schultz performing on percussion with a jaw dropping list of Northern Soul Legends including J.J. Barnes, Melvin Davis, Pat Lewis, Spyder Turner, Willie Kendrick, The Fantastic Four, The Elgins, The Reflections, The New Holidays, Billy Prince of The Precisions, Willie Jones, Carl Carlton, Frank Bryant of The Just Brothers, The Debonaires, The Original Vandellas, Ronnie Nelson & TFO Orchestra, George Clinton & Sidney Barnes, and more.
In early 2018, Drew was connected with Geno Clarke. Geno's father, the late Tony Clarke, is a legendary Northern Soul artist with hits including "The Entertainer" and "Landslide," as well as a songwriter for artists including Etta James, David Ruffin, Aretha Franklin, and more. Together with Geno, McKinley Jackson, and Yvonne Vernee, Schultz was able to complete several unfinished compositions by Tony Clarke. This resulted in co-writing, arranging, and production credits on the first new recordings of Clarke material in decades, and the first releases on the BRUTE record label since 1967. The songs, "My First Love," and "You Can Do It," featuring Yvonne Vernee, were released on 45rpm vinyl singles.
Sadly, 2018 also saw the passing of The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. After seven years of performing with Aretha as a part of her orchestra, Schultz was honored to be involved in the celebrations of her life. He was a part of "The People's Tribute To The Queen" at Detroit's Chene Park Amphitheater (Now Aretha Franklin Park), playing in a superband led by Kern Brantley (Bassist/MD for Beyonce, Lady Gaga, David Foster) performing with artists including Johnny Gill, L.J. Reynolds, Angie Stone, Keith Washington, Regina Belle, Narada Michael Walden, and the Four Tops. Drew was also asked by Aretha's orchestral contractor, Kenneth Robinson, to once again rejoin the Aretha Franklin Orchestra for her funeral services in Detroit. Broadcast worldwide on multiple networks, Schultz played percussion at the funeral service behind performers including Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Fantasia, Faith Hill, The Clark Sisters, Eddie Franklin, Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Paul Morton, Jennifer Holliday, Ron Isley, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder.
2019 marked the 60th Anniversary of the founding of Motown Records. As the Educational Program Manager for the Motown Museum, Drew helped develop and spearhead the Motown Museum SPARK and IGNITE Summer Camp programs for Metro Detroit youth, as well as the Motown Museum AMPLIFY: The Sound of Detroit vocal competition. Schultz also contributed to the Museum's Motown 60 celebration in Detroit, running sound and assisting with logistics for multiple events featuring Berry Gordy, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., and a massive list of Motown alumni. Schultz assisted with talent and location logistics for the Showtime documentary "Hitsville: The Making of Motown," attending the Detroit Premiere and receiving a special thanks in the film's credits. Drew Schultz & The Broken Habits were featured artists for the Motown A-Go-Go festival in Detroit, opening the event by performing at the historic St. Regis Hotel, joined onstage by Northern Soul icons including Rose Battiste, Pat Lewis, Carolyn Crawford, and Spyder Turner. Beth Griffith-Manley, daughter of Funk Brother Johnny Griffith, also joined the Habits for several songs. The Habits also performed at the Motown Mansion backing up Motown alumni Chris Clark and Tommy Good. Schultz performed as percussionist in the house band behind many returning Detroit-A-Go-Go artists in addition to G.C. Cameron (of the Spinners & Temptations), Brenda Holloway, Al Kent, and Scherrie Payne & Susaye Green of The Supremes. 2019 also saw the release a vinyl 45rpm single that Drew produced on The New Fantastic Four for Detroit-A-Go-Go records, plus the album "Drew Schultz & The Broken Habits - Live at 20 Front Street."
Drew Schultz & The Broken Habits ended 2019 on a high note, spearheading the 80th Birthday Party for Motown / Stax Artist Kim Weston at Detroit's Northern Lights Lounge. 2020 saw the release of Drew Schultz and Melvin Davis' cover of the Detroit Proto-Punk classic "Politicians In My Eyes," pressed on 45rpm 7" vinyl as a benefit for the Detroit Sound Conservancy. As the COVID-19 Pandemic brought the world to a halt and protests surged across the country, Drew wrote and produced a music video called "All The Love" featuring a gathering of his fellow musicians and artists from Detroit, Cleveland, New York City, San Francisco, and Germany to benefit the United Way COVID Relief Fund as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. During the pandemic, Schultz continued his teaching remotely for Oakland University, Motown Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts while delivering private lessons and masterclass workshops online. He also continued honing his own craft, taking virtual lessons from Ralph Johnson (of Earth Wind & Fire) and David Garibaldi (of Tower of Power).
Post-pandemic, Drew was featured once more in the Detroit-A-Go-Go festival both with the Broken Habits and playing percussion behind artists including The Contours, The Detroit Emeralds, Brainstorm, Will Hatcher, and the last public performance of soul legend J.J. Barnes. The Broken Habits continued to perform, opening in Ferndale MI for reggae legends The Wailers. Schultz joined talent from Motown Museum's Hitsville NEXT programs as a part of the Rivertown Revue opening for the Commodores.
Drew continued the Back To Class project with the 2023 release of his album "Back To Class Vol. 2" with 50% of profits benefiting the music programs of the Detroit Public Schools. The album consists of 20 of Drew's original songs with featured artists including the Four Tops, members of The Funk Brothers, Antwaun Stanley of Vulfpeck, Melvin Davis, Wayne Kramer of MC5, Joe "Pep" Harris of Undisputed Truth, Spyder Turner, Pat Lewis, Carolyn Crawford, Ronnie McNeir, Harrison Kennedy of Chairmen of the Board, Billy Prince of the Precisions, Willie Jones of The Royal Jokers, Tommy Good, Reginald Torian of The Impressions, Yvonne Vernee of The Elgins, Buddy Smith, Al Kent, the Fantastic Four, and more.
Drew is currently an adjunct professor in the Commercial Music Performance, Songwriting, and Music Industry Studies programs of Oakland University delivered in partnership with DIME-Detroit. He has written curriculum and taught courses in Fundamentals of Record Production, Song Arrangement, Personal Expression, Songwriting Workbook, Repertoire & Hit Song Analysis, Live Performance Workshop, Rhythm Studies, Chart Writing and Notation, Session Styles, Electronic Music Composition, Artist Studies, The Politics of A&R, Copyright & Publishing, Songwriting Methodology, Music Industry Workshop, Event Management, and more. While at DIME, Drew has worked, taught, and played alongside students and stars, with guests to the college including George Clinton, Madonna, Michael Bolton, Mayer Hawthorne, Motown artist KEM, and Usher.
Keep an eye out for more from Drew Schultz!