About Stephanie Rooker & the Search Engine
Stephanie Rooker & the Search Engine’s soul-shaking sounds range from saucy r&b, to innovatively revived funk, to jazz-infused ballads.
Drawing from her broad range of musical influences: from folk music of her native Appalachia to her immersion in traditional music of Ghana, from years of classical and jazz training to her distinctive grasp of the cultural evolution of American gospel--blues--jazz--&--hip-hop, Stephanie Rooker’s sound is fresh and cultivated. She sings with the careful phrasing of a soulful Eva Cassidy, the wailing of a young, blues-steeped Bonnie Raitt, and the self-affirmative slant of Stevie Wonder.
Rooker attended historically progressive Oberlin College, where she designed an independent major in Ethnomusicology with an emphasis on West Africa and the Diaspora. This gave her the opportunity to study for 4 months in Ghana, where she conducted field research and recordings to produce a CD of the traditional music of the Ashanti, Dagomba, and Ga people of Ghana. It was also during this time that she began composing her own music and booked her first tour as an acoustic duo with guitarist Chris Eldridge (of Chris Thile's "Punch Brothers").
After graduating, Rooker settled in Brooklyn, NY, where she continued honing her musical abilities and immersing herself in the New York scene. She studied jazz voice & piano and began booking gigs throughout the city. Rooker also joined the ranks of the Riverside Church Inspirational Choir, which led to being selected as a member of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company’s Revelations chorus in 2008 & 2009.
Stephanie Rooker has been performing extensively with her band, recently dubbed “the Search Engine,” in New York City and beyond. In 2008, she released her debut CD, Tellin You Right Now, to a packed house at NYC’s Cutting Room and has since been climbing the music-scene ladder quickly, performing at such high-profile venues as NYC’s Blue Note and the Bitter End, Washington, D.C.’s Blues Alley & Roanoke, VA’s Jefferson Center. Supported by the Search Engine, a group of seasoned musicians—all mavericks on the New York scene, Rooker's songs are ripe with innovation and rounded by expertise. Her unique and alluring music is fueled by an almost tangible passion, creating with it a force for empowerment and social change.
Stephanie Rooker is working on making people listen, on calling us to take a moment to recognize what we have, and what we have to give. She lets her voice loose in the name of the most essential and contagious kind of Love. Rooker hopes that her audiences will reflect, understand and heal, but—most of all—keep on lovin’ one another.
Rooker is currently working with the Search Engine on her second studio album, due out in 2010.