Kollaboration New York Charity Open Mic
Last night, Kollaboration New York shook things up with its 2nd annual charity open mic at Jebon Sushi & Noodle in NYC. Matt Pana, drummer of the band Mitchell Grey and a previous KNY6 competitor, hosted the event. Proceeds benefitted APICHA, formerly known as the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS. May is also Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Four of the KNY9 finalists – Ivan Polanco, Grace Shay, Sung Lee, and Yut and the Hot Four – along with several other acts, took the stage, sharing their various talents. The audience was treated to musical sounds spanning the gamut from beatboxing to praise song to hip-hop violin, and much more.
First up was Austin Luu, a 20-year-old Chinese-American singer-songwriter, who was a Kollaboration New York 2013 finalist. His debut EP with OneReasonRecordings is slated for release this summer. Expect a pop/R&B/indie sound.
Next, CafeChild (or Kyle Wang) sang a rendition of “Oceans” by Hillsong United, a worship band, while backed by guitar. It’s hard to miss CafeChild with his bright platinum locks. He claims it is his real hair (in jest?).
Rap lyricist WONE performed a trilingual “rap and rocketee.” Although he initially had a rocky start, the crowd was supportive and rallied him through. WONE had the audience join in on a call and response, which added a collaborative element to his song.
Jennifer Tam, a Chinese-American singer-songwriter from Little Neck, Queens, kept the show going with an upbeat original, “Up, Up, Up and Away.” The crowd clapped along at the end. I liked the superhero references:
Are you playing victim again in your own story line? /
Are you your own super villain? Your own kryptonite?
At this point, we took a 10 to 15 minute intermission break. I found some of my friends and chatted with them. They were excited to be there, though they didn’t snag a seat since the basement filled up really quickly – what a turnout!
Sajjan Raj Vaidya, a singer-songwriter who hails from Kathmandu, Nepal, performed his song, “Coming to Easton.” I think his sonorous voice lends itself well to acoustic, folk and indie sounds.
Ivan Polanco presents himself as a “pop/R&B artist of Filipino and Dominican descent.” It happened to be his 21st birthday, so after he played a rousing rendition of his original, “In This Fire,” host Matt Pana beckoned the audience to sing the birthday song for him. Ivan’s parents and younger sister were also in attendance, seated front and center.
Grace Shay, a recent NYU grad, played “On Your Own,” an original song with a Taylor Swift bent that was dedicated to her good friend/roommate at a time when she was homesick. Grace is a classically trained pianist who is now pursuing a career in songwriting and vocal performance. Her voice has a Broadway feel to it.
Up next was Sung Lee, a New Jersey-based beatboxing champ who creates songs from scratch. Sung demonstrated his loop machine techniques, layering a rich grab bag of beatboxing sounds. His second act focused on just his mouth and a mic, showing his raw beatboxing skills without any accompaniment.
Yut and the Hot Four (or “Hot Two,” for the night) weren’t originally on the line-up, but there was time enough for them! Yut, who is violinist and lead, started things off with an exercise that got the crowd stomping its feet. The group’s high energy performance was a great closer to the evening.
I was pretty hungry post-show; a bunch of Kollaboration staff ate (or more like, wolfed down…) a late dinner together.
Thank you to everyone who attended and assisted with the open mic! We plan to have more throughout the year. Please support our finalists at the Kollaboration New York 2014 Showcase on August 30, 2014 at NYU’s Skirball Center! And be sure to stay tuned for more KNY updates on the website, Facebook, and Twitter. 🙂
Full Disclosure: I am currently on Staff with Kollaboration New York as a Graphic Designer. Any opinions contained in this blog post reflect my own personal thoughts and do not represent Kollaboration New York as a whole. I was not paid or solicited to write anything in this blog post.
Please Note: Unfortunately, some of my pictures turned out blurrier than others, which accounts for the varying image sizes.