Soul Musician Appreciation: Roger Troutman



He is known as the innovator of early ‘80s funk music. Musician, songwriter, singer, Roger Troutman. He is also known for being the first recording artist to ever use the talk box on a song. Roger Troutman was born November 29, 1951 in Hamilton, OH. Troutman sadly perished from earth on April 25, 1999.




In the late 1960’s, Roger and his brothers Larry, Lester, and Tony (Troutman). Formed the group Roger & the Human Body. They later changed the name to “Zapp” in 1977. Terry Troutman was added to the group, whom in which they got the new name from. They recorded 4 albums under “Zapp” from 1982-1989. While recording Zapp albums in between those years he debuted his solo album, “The Many Facets of Roger”. Roger went on to produce/write for other artists like Shirley Murdock and his Zapp band mates.




Roger Troutman’s Musicality


Prince is considered a musical genius for his ability to play multiple instruments, which he definitely deserves, that title. Roger Troutman deserves that same respect. He redefined a popular sound and made it his own. He incorporated the talk box, which became his signature sound. If you look at the credits of any Zapp record or any of his solo projects, he is literally playing every instrument. Most of his sound came from the keyboard but mostly the bass synthesizer, that really was the magic behind all of his songs. From “Dance Floor” to “I Can Make You Dance” the bass is the heartbeat of his music. That sound became sampled by the most successful West coast hip hop artists, like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre’s hit single “California Love” with Tupac. In which, became Troutman’s career re-emergence in the mid-90’s. The whole West Coast G-Funk Era adapted Troutman’s sound and artists like Teddy Riley, who created the “New Jack Swing” sound implementing the vocoder, similar to the talk box. Troutman’s interpretation of funk music is still prevalent in today’s time and will forever remain a timeless sound. Soul Savviness shows appreciation for the iconic Roger Troutman.