Roland Penny creates all types of music in his home studio in Stuttgart, Germany—hip hop, jazz, neo-soul, R&B, and go-go (the music of his youth in Washington, DC)—even a little electronic dance music. For several years, these creations only existed on “four hard drives with music that no one was hearing but me,” he said.
Then he met a man who used to be the road manager for legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who told him: “You’re holding onto all this music and not sharing it with the rest of the world?”
This remark spurred an online music channel—check him out on streaming platforms under the name “Dafonkydiabetic—and Roland’s first instrumental album called “Heartbreaker,” now available on Spotify. Roland shares his love of music with his 4-year-old daughter Harmony, who has her own guitar and drum pad and often sings along with him in the car.
But music is only one facet of Roland Penny’s life. He’s a well-traveled Army veteran who now works in human resource management and leads diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) activities with Booz Allen Europe. Here are some highlights from Roland’s journey and his current life in Germany.