10 Artists You Should Know, Not Only Because I Know Them Personally…

Hey, what can I say, I know talented people! But really, I’m not just saying this because I have some sort of connection and can leech off their success. In no particular order of course!

1. Boy Brooks- “What Do You Wanna Do?”

This outfit too. Style icon. Photo by Steven Poletta

I did have to come in HOT with this one though. Brooks Allison one of the best dudes I know as well as a hilarious improviser (That’s how we know each other, I also famously do improv). This song makes me feel…so very fuckin cool. I can’t wait for more!!! I would say for fans of The Strokes, as well as Bleachers, but also if anyone doesn’t automatically start bopping to this song in some sort of fashion, well…they can just go ahead and @ me! We’ve got to talk.

2. Mona Brea — “I Wantchu”

This is giving me Ariana vibes in the best way

Her voice is sick (don’t I just use the best adjectives?), the lyrics are just…*chef’s kiss* as they say. I know Mona Brea as Breanna Gladney, who I went to Syracuse University Drama with (Go Cuse!). We didn’t interact too much at school, but I am such a fan of hers. Her other tracks are amazing and you’ve got to listen to her if you love r&b, funk, Janelle Monae, all that good music. Also be sure to check out her song “Pirate Love”.

3. Tovah — “Cryin in the Club”

We all know that person who gets too drunk and starts crying!

Okay let’s get giggly. TOVAH is comprised of Max Ash, a hilarious sketch writer and guitar player, and Taylor Ortega, an actress who is legit playing Shego in the Kim Possible movie (!!!! is all I can say) and of course, has the coolest voice ever like both a rock AND a pop star. This song is so insanely catchy and also hilarious, I actually need to listen to it once a day just to get by.

4. Tasha Solomita — “River”

This picture is *sigh* goals

Out of all the people on this list, I’ve known Tasha the longest. Tasha was a huge part of why high school was honestly…the best. We did theatre together, and thinking back on all of it right now is honestly making me weepy but I’m going to refrain from gushing. Tasha has always had, my god, one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. If you enjoy Andra Day, taking bubble baths, just really feelin’ yourself, you’ll love this music. I’m so glad she’s on Spotify. More Tasha, more!!!

5. La Dynasty

How can you not be obsessed with someone who writes the fire lyric “Fuck me in my mink and put that spliff in the sink”

Your life will be different after you listen to La Dynasty, or Meg Reilly as both I and other fans of hip hop improv sensaysh (sensation) North Coast know her. Both Meg and La Dyna make me feel like the baddest bitch ever and I really do mean that: I feel like I’ve done something bad and I’m obsessed with it! I also am lucky enough to have been a dancer for two of her videos. Watch!

Through doing these videos I learned that confidence is linked to sunglasses.

6. Matt DeCaro — Set Em Up Knock Em Down

This is Matt’s SECOND album if you can believe it (Mostly Sad Kinda Funny is also amazing). Any lineup for a comedy show that has him on it, is a show that you are going to leave having laughed AND tapped into those damn emotions of yours! I always tell Matt that his music reminds me of Paul Baribeau’s, if you’re into that kinda stuff (i.e. man yelling with guitar, and if Matt is reading this I’m sure he knows that this is a compliment). His songs are witty and silly and heart-wrenching and honest to god TRUTH.

7. Black & Blonde

Picture by Jordan Mendoza

Black & Blonde is comprised of Brooks Allison (here is again! the talented lil’ fucker) and former UCB TourCo member now band member of the national tour of Dear Evan Hansen (!!!) Matt Rubano. At the moment I’m really not sure I want to bring children into this world, I do dream of the day these guys are famous and I can say I sang my heart out to all their songs in the front row of their FIRST show at Pianos on the Lower East side. It just feels very cool to say. All of their songs are perfect to chill to on a nice warm day(“You Are Freaking Me Out” is one of my faves).

8. Madi Rindge — Just One

Madi & I went to high school together. We haven’t talked at all since, we weren’t close or anything, but as a person obsessed with pop music, I love her stuff. Her voice is super super good and soulful, and the songs are very catchy! Catchy sounds like a very basic word, but they’re easy listening is all I’m saying. “Summertime” from the good ol’ days of 2015, is a certified bop, I checked with the Bureau!

9. Sara Hennessy — They Know Too Much

I also am so into this album art!

When Sara first came to the mic I co-host, Sup, I immediately was hooked. She’s Canadian, she’s so so sweet, and just makes me laugh so much. Sara has not one but TWO albums (“Trouble in Saradise” is probably the best title of a standup album I’ve ever heard.) and I find stand up specials sometimes hard to listen to, but not with Sara. She’s just so charming and feels like someone who I am best friends with (Sara, if you’re reading this, let’s hang out). Anyways, comedy is art. Listen to Sara.

10. Ryan McCormack- Songs from the Roof

I did save the best for last. I won’t apologize for that.

One of the many reasons 2018 sucked is that Ryan McCormack passed away. When I first started doing comedy after I graduated college, I heard about “Ryan Live”, a late night show he hosted, written and produced a bunch of great comedians who I am now lucky to call friends. This kind of show was and is definitely something I would want to do, so I regarded Ryan as this very charismatic person, someone who brought people together and brought the best out of them. I didn’t know Ryan too well; I would see him once in a while at shows or parties, we’ve had one or two semi-long conversations, but I can’t remember what they were about. The last time I saw him, he attended an after-party for a show I produced, which was pretty cool and nice of him. Because I was kind of one degree separated from Ryan, I didn’t know how to feel when I heard about his passing. Only two days after, people gathered at a bar where there were often indie shows. I went not knowing how uncomfortable I would end up feeling. I just didn’t know how to feel or what to say. I was still in shock and I think everyone else was too. To calm myself down on the bus ride home, I downloaded his album from band camp. Music has always been a way for me to express my emotions and tap into my imagination. The first time I listened to Songs from the Roof I cried. A lot. And then when his close friend posted about the funeral arrangements, I found my gut telling me to go, to be there for all my friends and to show my support. I was so nervous to go, but listening to the album on the train up to Connecticut helped me focus and breathe. I was suddenly on my way to the funeral of an artist whose work I loved and admired. Ryan was seriously talented. I don’t want to put his music into any sort of genre or talk about artists he reminds me of because his work is truly incomparable. The sound is so unique, you’ve got to give it a listen if you love to feel.