Khari Simmons

Khari Simmons is one of the warm bodies breathing life into Atlanta’s hip-hop and soul studio sessions. At work with singer India.Arie for her latest album, Simmons continues to fight the good fight for live musicians in a loop-dominated genre. Working with producers who are mostly drum programmers, Khari has learned how to give them the sounds they need to make hit records. “One way to do that is to lay back but still play with a firm attack,” he says. “When you make bass loops, you get the consistency people want to hear—but I still throw in things that let you know there’s a live player on the session.” While most of India.Arie’s albums are produced using loops, Khari still finds space to lay down his earthy, roots-oriented vibe. “India has an ear for beauty—while the beats are important to her, at the end of the day she is a soulful folk artist. When I’m really sticking to the pocket, it makes the musical director happy, but when I play prettier, melodic lines, it makes India ha