James Poyser

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James Poyser
Poyser at the Black Lily Film & Music Festival 2007
Poyser at the Black Lily Film & Music Festival 2007
Background information
Birth nameJames Jason Poyser[1]
Also known as
  • Soul Glo
  • I Don't Want Any Trouble, I Just Want to Get Paid
  • I Gotta Eat
  • Make Sure I Get Credit For This
  • Y'all Goin to Pay Me, Right?
  • Downtown Jimmy Brown
  • Jimmy Baseball


BornSheffield, Yorkshire, England
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • Multi-instrumentalist
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1993–present
Associated acts

James Jason Poyser (born 30 January in Sheffield, Yorkshire) is an English–American multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, record producer and current member of the hip hop band The Roots.[5][6]

Poyser has written and produced songs for various legendary and award-winning artists such as Erykah Badu, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Rihanna, Lauryn Hill, Common, Anthony Hamilton, D'Angelo, The Roots, Jill Scott, and Big Sean. During his career, Poyser has toured and played live with distinctive artists such DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Cece Peniston, Jay-Z, Usher, Queen Latifah, Elvis Costello, Aretha Franklin, and Hezekiah Walker. An active session musician, he has contributed to the works of Adele, Norah Jones, Eric Clapton, Al Green, Nas, Ziggy Marley, Citizen Cope, Yebba, Snoh Aalegra, and Femi Kuti among many others.

His work in film and television include composing theme songs for shows such as Problem Areas w Wyatt Cenac, Hawthorne, The Break with Michelle Wolf, contributing music to the TV shows The Chappelle Show, Black-ish and the movies Fame, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, and Totally Awesome among many others.

Poyser received a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 2003 for co-writing/producing Erykah Badu and Common's hit "Love of My Life."[7] He was also the executive producer on Badu's highly celebrated albums, Mama's Gun and Worldwide Underground. He also received 2 Grammys, including Best R&B album, for producing John Legend's Wake Up! album in 2010.

A collaborator with the band dating back to Things Fall Apart, Poyser officially joined The Roots in 2009, composing and performing live as the house band for NBC's Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, and subsequently The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He is sometimes used as comic foil, especially for his use of deadpan facial expressions, and is frequently used as the pianist for Fallon's "thank-you notes" after the monologue ends. Poyser also tours with the band and regularly performs at the band's live shows.

Production and songwriting[edit]


Film and television[edit]


  1. ^ "ACE Repertory".
  2. ^ "James Poyser".
  3. ^ Cochrane, Naima (26 March 2020). "2000: A Soul Odyssey". Billboard. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  4. ^ "James Poyser on working with The Roots, Common, Erykah and Kanye". Red Bull Music Academy Daily. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  5. ^ Relic, Peter (October 2000). Keys to the city. Vibe. p. 128.
  6. ^ "Interviews". Alive.co.uk. 27 September 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  7. ^ James Poyser Interview with Soul Jones 2006