Maurice ‘Pirahnahead’ Herd is one of Detroit's true ambassadors of music; No matter what genre, he is interwoven into the very fabric of Detroit's musical and historic tapestry. From the age of two, music became his life's mission. At that young age he learned piano (from his mother), then guitar and bass, thus becoming a session musician, which formed a young producer from his observations in those sessions. Though he is a multi-faceted instrumentalist, he is a thorough musical director for acts such as Les Nubians, yet has toured with various acts, including factions of the P-Funk All-Stars; Enemy Squad, which toured with Bernie Worrell, , Bad Brains, Morris Day and The Time, Fishbone, Buddy Miles, and Isaac Hayes. He has performed at Woodstock, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, and Tokyo Crossover Jazz Festival (with Diviniti), and has had the honor to share the stage with high caliber musicians; Don Was, Amp Fiddler, Allee Willis and Kern Brantley.
Among many facets, one for which he is well known is as String Arranger who employs real orchestral musicians who read sheet music - yes, he writes music with pencil and paper, not keyboards or virtual instruments. Although formally educated in Wayne State University’s Music Department by Matt Michaels and Norah Duncan IV, he is the music copyist for the legendary MOTOWNTM arranger Paul Riser (arranger on more hits than The Beatles); which gives him the ‘old school’ edge he offers the current music industry. He also hails McKinley Jackson (M.Dir; The Temptations), Dr. Augustus Hill (Dir; Brazeal Dennard Chorale), the late Johnny Allen (Stax Records; ’Shaft’), and the late Bernie Worrell (P-Funk) for his education which he passes on via mentoring, and as an associate instructor at Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME).
In 2016, Pirahnahead arranged and conducted strings for Hip-Hop royalty De La Soul's album 'And The Anonymous Nobody', which earned a GRAMMYTM Nomination in 2017. Here, he accompanies Jill Scott on the intro and outro of the album, and other cuts with Snoop Dogg, Estelle, and Pete Rock. Also, he arranged strings for Mali Music’s ‘Loved by You (ft. Jazmine Sullivan)’ and ‘Still’ [RCA Records/Sony Music] which earned a GRAMMYTM Nomination in 2018, and recently for the blues femme phenom Joanne Shaw Taylor on the title track for her 2019 release ‘Reckless Heart’ [Silvertone / Sony Music]. He has done arrangements for many notable R&B acts, The Foreign Exchange, Brandon Williams, Shaun Martin (Kirk Franklin / Snarky Puppy), Hip Hop Producer Nick Speed and Carmen Rodgers, and EDM acts Tom Glide, Shuya Okino, Quentin Harris, DJ Spinna, and Clara Hill.
Since the early 1980’s, Maurice ‘Pirahnahead’ Herd has worked toward being the musically driven individual he is today. A record producer/engineer with 30 years experience, he still uses the various techniques and knowledge he gained from many greats. He’s a ‘purist’ having learned the old-school way; threading tape machines, setting up microphones, and making coffee. Learning at the Recording Institute of Detroit in 1990 prepared him to become chief engineer at Studio 707 in Lansing, MI - which led Michigan in the use of Analog/Digital hybrid recording rooms in 1992. Since, he has engineered at the infamous United Sound Systems and currently works alongside Al Sutton’ at Rustbelt Studios which just won a GRAMMYTM in 2019 for Best Rock Album; Greta Van Fleet’s ‘From The Fires’ [Lava-Republic / Universal)
Produced by Pirahnahead, Diviniti’s ‘Find A Way’ became a dancefloor anthem in 2004 and is still a staple. It was even sampled by The Foreign Exchange in 'Asking For a Friend' (Tales from the Land Of Milk & Honey, 2015). Since then, Pirahnahead has remixed for top-notch artists: Kem, Avery Sunshine, and Marva King. Hailed by many DJ’s and tastemakers, he launched the label Whasdat Music in 2006, and released Carolyn Victorian, and many other notables in the soulful house genre. In 2014, he co-wrote the release “Everlasting Love” with Diviniti and Louie Vega which is featured on Louie Vega’s GRAMMYTM nominated album Louie Vega Starring XXXIV. Pirahnahead (also being a multi-genre producer) received a Detroit Music Award in 2017 for ‘outstanding EDM producer’. Pirahnahead recently produced the Gimlet Media podcast ‘Crimetown: Detroit’ and Les Nubians upcoming album, long awaited by world music fans.3