Brandon Abdullah Powell is a music artist and producer originally from Columbus, Ohio. Abdullah has 18 years of experience in producing soulful hip hop instrumentals and in recent years he has also began to tell his story through songwriting and performance. Through his artistry Abdullah seeks to uplift others, inspire thoughtfulness and creativity and pay homage to those who have been influential in his life.
Abdullah began producing instrumental music at the age of 18 after being inspired by empowering hip hop records from artists such as Nas, Gangstarr and Black Star. While at the University of Cincinnati Abdullah went under the producer name BWill (short for Brandon Willis) and became connecting with Cincinnati’s underground hip hop scene. At the time Abdullah would arrange and manipulate samples from oldies soul, funk, rock and r&b vinyl records with his own original drum patterns using an early version of the music production software called Fl Studio. During this time he produced music for a number of respected artists such as Holmskillet, Moxy, and Infinit Evol. Under the name BWill he would continue to make music with Infinit which lead to their joint album entitled “The Professor and The Mutant” which was produced nearly entirely by Abdullah and distributed by Day by Day Entertainment/Complex Blue Sound Design, an independent label lead by well known hip hop artist MF Grimm.
In 2005 Abdullah embraced orthodox Islam and also took on the name “Abdullah” (which means one who serves God) and also changed his last name from Willis to his fathers surname Powell. During this time Abdullah began to volunteer at a newly established hip hop youth center in Cincinnati’s inner city called Elementz. After obtaining a B.A. in Electronic Media from the University of Cincinnati and music production certification from the Recording Workshop he was hired at Elementz to lead their music production program. Known at the center as “Brother Abdullah” he taught recording and music production to thousands of youth who attended Elementz studios from various Cincy neighborhoods. In 2009 Abdullah became the Program Director of Elementz and his title changed to Creative Director in 2012 as Elementz moved to a new location in Over the Rhine Cincinnati. Through Elementz Abdullah has also made music with a number of highly talented artists including Napoleon Maddox, Mars Shinobi, and DeVonte. He is still active in creating spaces for youth to have an outlet of expression through digital music recording and production both at Elementz and various Cincinnati schools.
Over the years of his work with Elementz Abdullah continued to develop his craft as a music producer. From 2005 on Abdullah began learning to compose original arrangements using a midi keyboard with the music production software called Reason. He would then combine these arrangements with his expanded collection of oldies samples to create his own sound. This lead to the release of his first instrumental album in 2012 entitled, Journey: The Sound of Life.
In early 2019 Abdullah released a solo album entitled Reaching Higher which showcased his progress as a music producer and for the 1st time as a songwriter. Songs on Reaching Higher were mostly inspired by Abdullah’s reflections on growing up, and the experience of witnessing the birth of his four children. With the release of Reaching Higher Abdullah began performing his music for the first time through artist showcases and concerts that were produced by Elementz.
In recent years Abdullah has began to experiment with other music production technology and continues to further polish his workflow. He currently uses Reason as his main production software program but also incorporates Fl Studio and Native Instruments Machine as plugin’s within Reason. Most of his current music brings together his talents in playing out melodies and drum patterns by hand with his earlier talent in manipulating samples. While his music today uses a variety of sounds such as synths and real instrumentation, his style would not be what it is without the vast collection of samples that he has taken time to collect and organize over the years.
Abdullah is preparing to release his latest album entitled “A New Challenge” in early 2020. The album was written and produced entirely by Abdullah and will be available here at abdullahpowell.com