Day job: I actually work for [keyboard maker] Korg USA, as a Technology Marketing Specialist. I demonstrate Korg products at trade shows and retail stores, and provide product training for our dealers. Internally, I create Korg’s product videos and audio demos, write EasyStart guides and web articles, and provide Korg help on popular web forums. When possible, I also participate in product development and voicing. I live in Queens, and Korg USA’s offices are on nearby Long Island.
How I got started: I’ve been playing piano since I was six, and have been obsessed with electronic instruments for as long as I can remember. I studied recording, synthesis, and blues and jazz piano in college, while playing guitar in the school’s jazz ensemble, taking sitar lessons, and spinning vinyl in local clubs. I’ve been in quite a few bands, the most memorable being Rubber Biscuit, with some of my best high school friends. We basically covered the same songs the Blues Brothers did, with a couple of originals.
Band: Urban Sun combines various funk, rock, and soul influences, and ends up with some highly danceable, funky grooves. We play mostly originals, but also throw in a few mainstays from Stevie, Sly, the Meters, and so on. We’re eight pieces: vocals, guitar, keys, bass, percussion, drums, plus baritone and alto saxes. We’ve got a growing and loyal New York City following, and we usually draw a couple hundred heads at places like B.B. King’s, Mercury Lounge, Sullivan Hall, Southpaw, and a few others. We’re hoping to branch out and hit the college circuit soon.
Influences: I grew up listening to lots of rock, metal, and industrial, then branched out to blues and jazz, gathering influence from everything I heard. I have lots of reverence for innovators like Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Stevie Wonder. I’m still very green, though, and am always trying to learn more from every player I hear. I have a lot to learn about being versatile.
Why I play: Because I need to. All it takes is a few months of not being in a band or playing regularly, and I feel sub-human. One of the most rewarding experiences for me is helping others have a good time through music. There’s nothing like the high you get when you see people gettin’ down to your own music!
Urban Sun brings the funk to clubs in and around New York City. If you can’t make it to the Big Apple to hear the band in person, their CD Practice Me is available for download from Amazon, iTunes, and other online outlets.