It’s back! Our friends at Kollaboration NY are putting together their 7th show on September 21 at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
This year, the 7 finalists—Izzy Salinel, Justin Kim, The Mooks, Bea Go, John Quiwa, UFP, John-Flor Sisante—will compete for a chance to win one grand and open up for David Choi & Clara C‘s NYC concert at the Highline Ballroom on November 2. The lucky winner will also get an opportunity to perform at the Kollaboration Global Show and be flown to Japan for the 2012 MNET Asian Music Awards.
Hosted by the very funny Jen Kwok, (comedian, writer, musician, and Kollaboration NY alum!), and featuring guest performers Gabe Bondoc, Mitchell Grey, and last year’s Kollab NY champions, Wanted Ashiqz, this year’s show will feature top-notch performers and talented undiscovered acts. So don’t miss out!
- General Admission: $20
- VIP: $40 (Preferred seating, Express VIP entrance to Show, Express VIP entrance to After Party, Meet & greet with guest performers and finalists) Buy tickets online at http://www.kollaborationnewyork.org/tickets/
Location: Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU 566 LaGuardia Pl (between 3rd St & S Washington Sq)
New York, NY 10012 http://nyuskirball.org/
It’s no wonder that Clara C’s last show of herShakin’ Off Silence tour sold out. Doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and a large crowd filled up NYC’s Highline Ballroom in under 10 minutes. The show didn’t start until 6:30 p.m. and fans were eager to spot a glimpse of Clara C, shouting, “Is that Clara?! Where’s Clara?” Fans chatted about her as if they knew her personally, asking each other whether or not they had watched her newest YouTube videos, commenting on their favorite ones. The lights dimmed, and the show’s emcees—The Jubilee Project—introduced themselves and the opening acts.
Eric, Jason, and Eddie of The Jubilee Project
The Jubilee Project, made up of Jason, Eddie, and Eric, produce and direct videos for a good cause. The group was inspired by the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and began fundraising through their videos. The Jubilee Project’s mission statement: to make entertaining videos that will empower, enable, and inspire others to do good as well.
Wanted Ashiqz, the winners of Kollaboration NY 6, stormed the stage with their signature hip-hop/Bollywood meshed dance style to popular songs by Eminem, and Beyonce, including a tribute to Michael Jackson. Their performance ended as a voice-over thanked the group’s greatest inspiration—Bollywood.
Mree (left), Travis Graham of New Heights (right)
Next up was the 18-year-old indie folk singer/songwriter sensation,Mree. The crowd swayed in awe to Mree’s angelic voice as she played songs off of her new album, Grow. Mree has previously been proclaimed as a “web sensation,” and her single, “Against the Current,” was selected by YouTube artist,David Choi, to be featured on YouTube’s homepage.
After Mree, the action-packed music video for New Heights’ latest song featuring Clara C, “Take Me On,” started rolling—the crowd immediately recognized it and began singing along, cheering as Clara C unexpectedly pulled out a large machine gun in one of the scenes, shooting in slow motion. The band materialized and played tracks off their album, Something to Believe In. During their last song, the lead vocalist, Travis, climbed off-stage onto a fan’s shoulders and the two unsteadily ventured into the sea of people.
At long last, the crowd went wild as Clara C walked out, wide-eyed with the biggest smile on her face, surprised at the amount of people that came to see her perform. Clara was a natural onstage, even with slight microphone issues; she cracked jokes, took her shoes off to play the piano, and showed off her amazing instrumental skills. Throughout the show, Clara had an ecstatic look on her face, shouting, “Wow, I can hear you guys singing!” She made it all look so easy, and she genuinely connected with the audience.
Before the concert, Korean Beacon got a chance to sit down with Clara C to talk about her Shakin’ Off Silence tour experience, her creative process, working with Dumbfoundead and Jay Park, pre-show rituals, and why she decided to no longer be a “closet musician.”
How has the touring experience been so far? Was it everything you expected it to be?
Touring has been absolutely, positively, unbelievably amazing because we have sold out every venue and that in itself is amazing. It’s also been good because typically I just play gigs by myself but this time I have my band traveling with me. If my band can’t make it, we have New Heights backing me and New Heights is like family to me, they’re like my brothers. It’s like being on a road trip indefinitely.
Yeah, I mean there were some curve balls thrown—I learned that you can plan all you want and things don’t always pan out. But everything has exceeded my expectations.
What is your creative process like when writing songs, and where do you pull inspiration from?
I tell people I’m still a fledgling song-writer because I’ve only been doing this for a year and a half. When I started, it’s not like I was like, “Yeah, I think I’m going to do this music thing and I hope it works out.” I was just thrown into the pit and I hit the ground running. You can’t pass an opportunity by. I don’t have a process locked in yet, but typically what ends up happening and what results in my best songs is when I feel a surge of incoming emotion. I sit in front of whatever instrument is closest to me and I vomit my emotions. The vomit is my product (laughs).
What are the five things you can’t live without?
Oh my gosh, let’s see: food—noodles, the interwebs, music, a dog, and God.
Ah, come on, they’re family as well. It was funny how that song we did, “Clouds,” came about because we were having lunch, sitting in Dumb’s room and we were like, “Let’s write a song!” We kind of just canoodled through some tracks and we were like, “It should be about sunny days and life. Let’s make an inspiring, feel-good song.” And then we kind of just split without a word into 3 corners of the room, with notepads. We all scribbled for an hour and came back and said, “Okay let’s record this!”
You’re described as a “closet musician.” What was the defining moment for you when you decided to step out into the spotlight?
I think it was at Kollaboration. I’m a closet musician because I’ve loved music since the womb, but I was with some friends who told me not to do music because it was risky and I wouldn’t make it, and that I wasn’t good enough. As a result I stopped believing in myself, you know. But I found a new group of friends and they helped me believe and boosted my confidence, so I came out of the closet. My friends—the good ones—forced me to get on YouTube against my will, and forced me to enter into a bunch of competitions – Kollaboration was the third one. That was at The Shrine where the Emmys were held—I almost kissed the stage as I walked out. I performed “Offbeat,” and when I won I guess something just clicked and solidified. I was like, “Okay, Clara Chung, let’s do this.”
What’s involved in your pre-performance ritual, if any?
Honey-lemon tea and very, very strange vocal exercises, which will color me different in your mind (to get a glimpse, watch Clara’s ‘Mistletoe’ cover). Me and my band will do something like, “1, 2, 3, WE’RE AWESOME!” And I’ll throw up a prayer just to calm me. Sometimes I’ll start warming up because people don’t know this, but I get cooped up in my dressing room for hours. I can’t go outside because there are fans, and I can’t go outside outside because then I have to come back inside through the fans. I just get stuck here, and I have cabin fever, so I end up kind of like jumping-jacking around to get my energy back up.
What has been your most fulfilling experience since going on tour?
I think it might end up happening tonight because this is the last US tour stop. And this is kind of like my feet hitting the trampoline before I take off; the Asia/Australia tour is a huge thing for me, I’ve never even been to either continent. I think tonight at the end of my last song – you know when you have that moment where your eyes get glazed over and wide and you’re like, “Whoa this is happening”? I think that’s going to be tonight, especially in New York, where I was born—I love the vibe, it energizes me.
Clara C is flying to Singapore at the end of this month to kick off her APAC Tour. For full tour dates and ticket info, click here.
Watch Clara & New Heights perform a mashup of “Wake Up in Neverland” + MGMT’s “Kids” @ the Highline:
Wrapping up its nationwide run for 2011, Kollaboration returns to its flagship city of Los Angeles this Saturday, November 5.
You can read all about this year’s competitors here! Guest performers include Kpop singer G.NA, comedian Paul “PK” Kim, Clara C, and Ensemble Memo. Being based in Los Angeles also comes with the perks of having a star-studded judging panel.
Jin Akanashi – Top-selling Japanese Singer, Songwriter & Actor Ashley Choi – Head of International Business and Marketing for Blvd 34 Music Group David Choi – Singer/Songwriter Ryan Higa – YouTube Star Kelly Hu – Actress
Be sure to party the night away at Kollaboration 11′s Afterparty! Presented by Hite & Jinro, the Afterparty will be walking distance from Nokia Theatre at J. Lounge in Downtown L.A.
Kollaboration 11 @ Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live
777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles 90015
Saturday, November 5, 2011 @ 7pm Buy your tickets here!
The Hite & Jinro Afterparty @ J. Lounge 1119 S. Olive St. Los Angeles 90015
Saturday, November 5, 2011 @ 10pm
Kollaboration NY6, the highly-anticipated annual talent competition show, kicked off at Irving Plaza with an adrenaline-pumping performance of “Bubba Kush” by rapper and co-host of the event,Dumbfoundead (Jonathan Park).
Co-host Roy Choi, Executive Producer and CEO of Kollaboration, joined onstage to talk about Kollaboration’s mission statement—“Empowerment through Entertainment”—and to provide a platform for Asian American artists where there previously wasn’t one. He introduced the judges: Marja Vongerichten(Kimchi Chronicles), world-known executive music producer, !llmind, and music journalist Mikey Fresh, who commented that his top criteria for judging each group would be originality. Mikey also told us that in all fairness, he would remain non-biased towards any rap performances since he’s exposed to it on a daily basis.
Guest Judge Mikey Fresh, music journalist for VIBE.com and Missinfo.tv
There were six groups competing for the grand prize of $1,000, the opening slot for Clara C at her NYC concert in November, and the Kollaboration trophy, along with bragging rights of being the premiere Asian American musical performer in the tri-state area.
The first act, singer/songwriter Elijah Park, got off to a nervous start, it being his biggest show yet. But after slight technical difficulties with the keyboard, Elijah’s ballad and smooth vocals had the crowd in a trance.
Next up was Rooftop Pursuit—Kollab veterans—singing a pop/rock/soul medley called “All I Need.” The band had driven 4 hours from D.C. just that morning, and although they had expressed their exhaustion earlier, their upbeat performance showed no traces of it. The band is originally a trio; however, they were accompanied by an old band-mate, Sam Lee, on the bass guitar. Their musical influences have roots in and across the spectrum, from jazz, R&B soul, to rock and alternative metal.
After singer/songwriter/pianist Cheryl Chin performed her original song, “Flow it Along,” which was a perfect blend of indie and alternative sounds, Triangle Offense, the “electrohop” rap group, took to the stage.
Triangle Offense is originally a three-member group but since one of the members, Pwol, is currently studying in the Philippines, the pressure was on Sci and Bri to put on a great show – which they did, performing their song, “It’s All Good,” and engaging the audience with their wild dance moves.
Roy Choi (right) and Dumbfoundead (left)
In-between sets, hosts Roy Choi and Dumbfoundead entertained and amused the crowd with witty banter and tossed t-shirts across the venue because, “everyone loves free stuff!” They also shouted out Korean Beacon, and talked of how the site has come a long way in an effort to spread the Korean American movement. Thanks guys!!
The quartet, Mitchell Grey, came on next who said that in preparation for the competition, they followed their normal rigorous 3-day practice routine before hitting the stage at KNY 6. Mitchell Grey’s sound is a unique one, incorporating pop, rock, and soul, with musical influences ranging from Bill Withers, Gorillaz, Justin Nozuka, and Coheed & Cambria. Their creative inspiration is pulled from all of their life experiences, interpreted in their own way through music and lyrics. We look forward to their very first full-length album coming out in January!
The last group of the night was the only non-singing act—the troupe of dancers, Wanted Ashiqz, crammed onto the stage in a tight formation and began their performance tutting to Eminem and Dr. Dre’s, “The Real Slim Shady.” Their dance style consisted of hip-hop elements infused with Bollywood moves perfectly set against a fluid mash-up of Beyonce songs—“Crazy” and “Halo,” with one of the members coming out in a “Beyonce” wig and cap. The group did a tribute to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” and then quickly morphed into full-fledged Bollywood-style dancing. They ended their act holding up signs that read, “THANK YOU FOR SHOWING US THE WAY.”
After a short intermission, the guest performers—IAMMEDIC, Smokey Robotic, and Dumbfoundeadtook to the stage and each performed a few of their songs, which were instant crowd pleasers, without a doubt.
And finally, they announced the winners – WANTED ASHIQZ! Congrats guys!!
Following the event, the bands all tweeted each other in a good show of sportsmanship and congratulatory remarks.
We also sat down with rapper, Rekstizzy, who shot his music video at Irving Plaza featuring Dumbfoundead just before the event – watch out for Rek’s newest single off his album, Fake it Till You Naked.
Kollaboration NY 6 was definitely a success with an amazing turn-out, and some of the best up-and-coming musical talents! Great work, KNY fam.
[Justin Ahn contributed to this post; Photos: Deborah Yoon]
To promote her debut album, The Art In My Heart, Clara Chas recently announced her upcoming 2011 tour, Shakin Off Silence. The tour will fire up on September 23 in Vancouver, and will close in New York City on November 12. She will be touring a total of 7 cities with Seattle-based rock band New Heights, who will be opening for each show. Clara will also be performing some of the new songs on her upcoming album, so those attending will get a special sneak peek!
Here are the tour dates:
September 23 – Vancouver @ Nikkei Heritage Centre September 24 – Seattle @ Neumos October 7 – San Diego @ Le Stats October 8 – Los Angeles @ The Roxy Theatre October 9 – San Francisco @ Cafe Du Nord November 10 – Boston @ Metcalf Hall November 12 – New York City @ Highline Ballroom
Watch Clara C’s tour announcement video below:
Each tour venue has a different place to purchase tickets, so visit Clara’s website to get your tickets!
Since 1972, the Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP) has worked for the community “changing lives and saving families.” In a month, on Saturday August 27th at Redondo Beach, Showtime 2011 will be wowing crowds of music lovers with performances featuring Clara C, David Choi, Jennifer Chung, Feats in Inches, and The Bricks.
Led by a great cause to help families affected by substance abuse, these musicians will undoubtedly give one heck of a performance. The event will take place in the evening running from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will include a silent auction and raffle as well as a dessert reception following the concert. According to the Showtime 2011 website, the raffle’s grand prize is a 6-7 night Royal Caribbean Cruise for two! The rest of the prizes include HD TVs, scooters and Las Vegas vacation time. For VIP ticket holders, there will also be a meet & greet with the performers. Parking is FREE, so hurry and grab your tickets to hear some good music and support a great cause!