Master Percussionist Ralph Rolle has parlayed his love of baking into a booming Cookie empire. His “Soul Snacks” cookie brand can be found in Wal-Mart and soon in Kroger grocery stores. Rolle talks to The D.L. Hughley Show’s Jasmine Sanders on how he transitioned from a skilled drummer, from performing with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Nile Rodgers and Chic, and more to becoming an entrepreneur.
Read The Interview Below:
Jasmine Sanders: Everybody, please welcome to the show master percussionist, and entrepreneur Ralph Rolle. Hey, Ralph.
Ralph Rolle: Hey, how are you?
Sanders: I’m doing wonderful. What about yourself?
Rolle: Doing well, just out here and making it happen.
Sanders: Let me tell you what to do. And speaking about making it happen, you’re gonna make me gain about 15 pounds before the summer hits with these soul snacks. What’s going on? You sent me a box of cookies. I’m like, Oh, my goodness, I can’t put them down.
Rolle: Oh, thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed them. Its really nice
Sanders: They are delicious. Okay, so I have so many questions regarding this. First of all, my big question is how did you go from being a drummer to a baker? And then how do you find the time to continue to do both.
Rolle: I started out drumming and baking kind of around the same time when I was a kid, I grew up in the projects in the Bronx. And my mother was very strict, like most mothers, she was a straight woman. So she allowed my brother to have a drumset. And I started playing drums because he was the drummer, I did everything he did. He was the male figure in the house, whatever he did, so but my baking started with my grandmother, I used to go to the house, she lived with my aunt, and my cousin Vincent and I were the youngest. And we have the job of cleaning the bowl when she makes a bad part.
Sanders: The best part.
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Rolle: So she was sitting at the table and telephone books. And I just remember that smell. I just remember you know, the whole love for family. So I just continued on wanting to bake. And at the same time I was also drumming.
Sanders: Isn’t it amazing how baking and music are one and the same they both connect people so you have so many memories when it comes to music. But you also have memories like the one you’re talking about your grandmother putting your phone books and, and baking and things like that. Did you ever think that you’d be able to do both the way that you are?
Rolle: It takes family, it takes people that believe in what you’re doing to be able to support you know, I think everyone’s journey in life is never alone. You know you do have people that have helped you throughout your life that if you just take a look back you can see and reflect on those folks that have been essential in your forward motion. I gotta thank my family. I gotta think my wife, you know, and you know, and all the people that’s just supported me through my music career as well as cookies.
Sanders: And the music career. Oh my God, I don’t think I’ve ever had the privilege of talking to someone who’s whose, I guess history and music is so great as yours in terms of all of the people that you played with from you know, Aretha Franklin and Erykah Badu, and of course, Niles Rogers, and Chic can all of that just the amount of, of, of talent that you must have. And then to take that same talent and use it in baking as well. How did you get to a place from when you first started making cookies and just, you know, using them to give to people and sell to people in the neighborhood? How did you get to now where you’re available in Walmart and Kroger and places like that, which, you know, traditionally for, for black entrepreneurs, it’s really tough to break those walls, but you managed to do it, what’s the secret to doing that?
Rolle: Persistence overcomes resistance, you have to be persistent, you have to understand that passion has no expiration date at all. Because if you’re passionate about it, you’re going to work at it for your life. And also, I just don’t look at life as having a plan B. You know, everything that I work at is a plan A, and I put the same amount of time and energy, and emotion into doing the things that I’m passionate about.
Sanders: oh my goodness, I’m sure your grandmother, your mom, everybody’s gotta be so proud that you took something that you had as a kid, right that you used to do, and you turned it into this amazing thing. So tell us where they can find them and then give us a website or some social media info, they can track you down as well and get those cookies.
Rolle: Okay, well, if you go to my website, it’s soulsnacks.com. And on that site, it has all of the flavors that you tasted and more we also have vegan gluten-free cookies. And it has the full list of all of the stores where the cookies are in Walmart. And next month, we will be adding the Kroger list and then there are some other outlets that we just picked up. That will be added to the website as well. So
is where you can find the product.
Sanders: I love it. Thank you so much, Ralph. Continued success to you I’m so proud of you for what you’re doing not only for yourself but also for the community around you. I think that’s so important and a great message to spirit to spearhead in terms of bringing the next generation on so thank you so much round roll the soul snack man. Thank you, guys. We appreciate it. Thank you.
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Master Percussionist Ralph Rolle Talks “Soul Snacks” Empire was originally published on blackamericaweb.com