"Simien is a Zydeco Master: his voice yearning like Sam Cooke, he delivers soul worthy of Stax greats and shows crossover class" - Rolling Stone
For nearly 30 years, Grammy award-winning artist Terrance Simien, 8th generation Louisiana Creole has been shattering the myths about what his indigenous Zydeco roots music is and is not. Leading his Zydeco Experience band, Simien has become one of the most respected and internationally recognized touring and recording artists in roots music today. He has performed over 7000 concerts, toured millions of miles to over 45 countries during his eventful career.
Born in 1965 (appropriately) into the hippie folk and soul music era, Simien grew artistically being influenced by all of the music that has defined our country’s unique musical legacy, including music from that period. He was as influenced by Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel as he was by Sam Cooke and the Meters. Since his family is documented in history books as one of the first Creole families to settle St. Landry Parish, his musical roots are firmly planted alongside the great zydeco pioneers like Chenier, Delafose, Chavis, Ardoin and that other Simien (Rockin Sidney) to name a few. He counts himself one of the fortunate few who hail from a generation with a direct link to these artists, some of whom mentored him as an emerging talent. He has assumed that same role to a new generation of young Zydeco players. He understands how critical mentoring is to the survival of this indigenous music that has become synonymous with the cultural identity of Louisiana and an important part of the musical landscape of this country.
2011 marks his 26th consecutive year performing at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: yet another testament to his contributions to Louisiana music culture. AAtt the young age of 18 Simien began touring professionally and by 20 he was sharing the stage with Fats Domino and Sarah Vaughn at the Bern Jazz Festival. It just exploded from there and Terrance remains a pivotal part of Zydeco music history. In the early 1980's there were only 2 emerging bands touring nationally; it was simply the young Terrance and The Sam Brothers who were perpetuating the traditional zydeco roots music of their forefathers. He is critical to the "renaissance" of a music genre that was in jeopardy of dying off. Clifton Chenier had passed away in 1987 and by the end of the 1990’s, all of the other influential pioneers had also departed, leaving Terrance as one of the most gifted and knowledgeable artists to carry the zydeco music torch.