Jacob Hemphill (lead vocals & guitar) met Bobby Lee (bass) in the first grade in Virginia, shortly after Jacob returned from living in Africa with his family. The two instantly became best friends, and in middle school found a common love for hip hop, rock and reggae music. Throughout middle and high school, they met Ryan Berty (drums), Patrick O'Shea (keyboards) and Kenneth Brownell (percussion). Together they formed SOJA. In the formative years the band gigged locally in the DC area while a couple of the guys finished school. All the while making plans to hit the road after graduation...
In 2005 the band hit the road... and they hit the road hard. Often dubbed "road warriors", SOJA has brought their unique sound and stage show to nearly every city in North America, as well as many cities throughout Europe, South America, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean. While touring in Puerto Rico the band linked up with sax player Hellman Escorcia & trumpet player Rafael Rodriguez. These two exceptional musicians earned their position as SOJA's mainstay horn section by helping further develop the band's eclectic sound.
With no signs of slowing down. SOJA is planning a world tour for 2011/2012 in support of their upcoming album release. It's all about the message in the music for this band. "People think we write music about the earth for the earth's sake, but its not really like that. If we harm the earth, it will reject us. For all we know, its happened one hundred times before. This place gets too hot, that's it. Reset button. That's why I sing what I sing - to pull us all in the same direction, the same future. Without that, were finished (Jacob Hemphill)."
There is no doubt about it. This band is on the forefront of a Revolution with hopes to bring about positive change: environmentally, politically and socially. "Maybe we need to WANT to fix it. Maybe stop talking, maybe start listening. Maybe we need to look at this world less like a square and more like a circle. Maybe just maybe God's not unfair, maybe we're all his kids and he's up there. Maybe he loves us for all our races, maybe he hates us when we're all so racist. Maybe he sees us, when we dont care, that its heaven right here, but its hell over there. Then maybe the meek will inherit this earth, cause it was written before... so..." Everything Changes - SOJA.
Riddim House Productions presents their premiere group, Jah Works. Jah Works is a band of brothers based out of Baltimore, MD dedicated to writing, recording and performing original reggae music. While rooted firmly in the tradition of authentic Jamaican roots and dancehall, the band also blend elements of hip hop and popular music into their mix. A heavy dose of drum and bass combined with sweet melodies and catchy hooks are the groups’ trademarks.
Formed officially in the spring of 1993, Jah Works have been blazing up the live music scene ever since. With an average of 200 plus shows a year they have covered a lot of ground in their time together. Though best known on the East Coast, Jah Works has played throughout the US as well as internationally in Jamaica, Canada, Holland, the South Pacific, and the Middle East. The band is honored to have taken part in Armed Forces Entertainment which provides shows for troops stationed abroad. They also recently performed in Washington DC for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
With an independent mindset and a strong work ethic, the band has written and produced 8 albums to date. Through the help of a dedicated fan base, the internet, and their relentless tour schedule, they have sold close to 100,000 records. The band is currently finishing up its ninth album and is planning a tour in support of its release.
Known for their high energy, party style atmosphere, Jah Works’ live shows appeal to both reggae and non reggae listeners alike. Comfortable in any environment, the band has played numerous music festivals, large and small venues, colleges, and private parties. They have been fortunate to share the stage with some notable international acts including Buju Banton, Toots and the Maytals, Culture, Burning Spear, UB40, and Damian Marley , as well as with their brothers in arms, John Browns Body and SOJA. When not on tour Jah Works can be found working on new material at their home studio in Baltimore.