Questlove unveiled his new endeavor, “Questlove Supreme,” a three-hour radio program on Pandora focusing on global music. The show will be a blend of eclectic playlists and music-themed interviews with performers like Maya Rudolph and Kimbra. The show is set to premiere Wednesday, September 7th at 1 p.m. ET on the Roots drummer’s new Pandora station.
The company has also named the Tonight Show bandleader a strategic advisor and its first “artist ambassador,” according to The New York Times. Questlove came onboard after meeting Tim Westergren, Pandora’s CEO/co-founder, who introduced him to the service’s Music Genome Project, which categorizes songs based on specific musical attributes. “I went in there to talk about playlists, and I ended up with a job as an equity partner,” Questlove said.
“I see in Pandora both a deep respect for the craft of music and a commitment to the musicians that make it their living … When Tim introduced me to the Music Genome Project, and explained its origin and how he and his team developed it, I was blown away. Pandora is a company born of a musician’s experience, and I’m very excited to join them in their mission to create a healthy and vibrant industry for artists and fans alike.”
Questlove describes “Supreme” as “the black version of NPR,” with a similar feel to his popular NYU music courses. The first show will feature Rudolph in a conversation about children in 1970s soul songs.
The drummer-producer said he’s prepped for each show by rifling through upwards of 200 songs. “I want a world in which Drake’s ‘One Dance’ can also live with Frank Zappa’s ‘Uncle Meat’ can live with James Brown’s ‘Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing’ and all stops in-between,” he said.
Westergren told The New York Times that this partnership marks the first step of a new chapter, as the company aims to expand beyond its current format and compete with streaming giants like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music. “We are working more directly with labels and artists,” he said. “We really want to invest a lot in that nexus, and having someone like him bridge that and speak on our behalf is really powerful.”