Meet the Kollaboration NY Contestants
Alice Hu: Alice Hu is a singer-songwriter who spent her time growing up in the Midwest and Long Island suburbs playing classical piano and violin. All her hard work in school paid off when she made her way to Columbia University to study biology. During her college years, she discovered the glory of the guitar, both acoustic and electric. She has performed at popular New York City venues, including Pianos, Rehab and the Bowery Poetry Club. Hu is currently a rising senior and hopes her musical talents will sustain her post-graduation. If not, this songful brainiac will resort to her backup plan, to enroll in medical school and pursue a PhD in neuroscience.
Bollywood Axion: Bollywood Axion (BAX) is a professional bollywood and bhangra dance school based in New York City. The first and leading professional dance school for these genres of dance, the school has its own dance company and hosts classes for students of all backgrounds. A troupe representing BAX will be competing in Kollaboration. For those unfamiliar with the terms, bollywood (or Indian film dance) is a mixture of traditional and classical Indian dance infused with jazz, hip-hop and modern styles. Bhangra is a high-energy dance that can be witnessed at parties and has its roots in the Punjab province of India.
COBU: Based in New York City, COBU is a performing arts group that specializes in traditional Japanese drumming (Taiko) and rhythmic tap dancing. The troupe was formed in 2000 by Yako Miyamoto, a current member of the off-Broadway hit STOMP. A fusion of New York and Japanese sounds, COBU's performances have received rave reviews from The New York Times and The Chicago Sun Times. — by Julie Leung
Dylan Schroth: Born and raised in Jersey City, NJ, Dylan Jazztin Schroth currently attends High Tech High School. The high school junior dreams of making it big in the music industry. According to his MySpace page, this Filipino American aspires to be "stadium-status famous." Despite being only sixteen years old, Schroth writes and records all of his music. He is currently working on a CD and on MySpace describes his sound as "the kind of music you fall asleep to in your bedroom at night after some of the best and worst days of your life."
Jen Kwok: Jen Kwok is a ukulele-slinging writer and performer based in Brooklyn, NY. The California native was a national finalist in 2007's NBC Stand-Up for Diversity, and has quickly established herself as one of the quirkiest young comedians working across genres. Jen's unexpected mix of music, stand-up and improvisation has earned her a reputation as a multi-talented entertainer, performing at venues such as Gotham Comedy Club, Highline Ballroom and the Bowery Poetry Club. Kwok has also been featured on CNN, PBS and in The New York Times for her comedic exploits. — courtesy of Kollaboration NY
Kevin So: Kevin So has performed all over the United States for over a decade, gathering admiration, recognition and respect from fans, the media and fellow musicians. Brought up in Boston, MA, So began his musical career with an appearance on the television show "Big Break," hosted by Natalie Cole, and moved on to rack up an extensive list of achievements. He toured the country in 1994 with a cover band. In 1995, So left the band and began booking his own solo gigs throughout the U.S. After being discovered by The Agency Group, he released several more albums. Finally, in 2007, So received the “Overall Excellence Award” (Outstanding Music & Lyrics) for his work in “Victor Woo: The Average Asian American,” a musical loosely based on his life.
Project D: Project D is a hip-hop dance company from Bergenfield, New Jersey. Initially organized by then-college student Bernie Armendi and composed of close friends, the group has since become a burgeoning community of Tri-State college students interested in hip-hop dance. The name Project D comes from a Japanese anime, but according to the group's MySpace page, the letter "D" represents dedication and devotion to dance. — by Julie Leung
Taiyo Na: Born and raised in New York City, Taiyo’s musical roots sprouted at age 13 when his friends encouraged him to write rhymes. With a passion for spoken word poetry, he performed nationally with the New York-based feedback poets collective from 2000 to 2003. By the time he was 19, he was selected as one of the “25 Best Emerging Artists Under the Age of 25” by New World Theater’s Intersection Conference. Within the next few years, Na created a name and niche for himself in New York City’s independent music scene. He has since had two featured concerts at the Lincoln Center, among other accomplishments. He is currently the artistic director of the Sulu Series at the Bowery Poetry Club and the Entertainment Series host for “Asian America,” a weekly TV show syndicated by PBS.
Magnetic North: Magnetic North is a hip-hop duo consisting of band members Derek “Direct” Kan and Theresa “T-“ Vu. According to MySpace, Magnetic North’s sound is about “moving your body as well as synapses.” Known for their lyrics and melodies, they have caught the attention of superstar rapper Nelly and civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama. In March 2006, they released their first album and often collaborate with Taiyo Na, who will be competing alongside them at Kollaboration.
Marie Choi: Marie Choi was singing before she could talk. She began her classical soprano vocal training in high school, eventually entering college as a voice major. She has performed at venues nationwide, as well as international. In the tri-state area, her performance experience includes Carnegie Hall, Korean radio stations, the Bowery Poetry Club, The Delancey, NYU, Columbia, Rutgers, Gama and more. She is currently pursuing a career in music, working on her demo and writing original music. — courtesy of Kollaboration NY
Tim Be Told: The band Tim Be Told (Tim Ouyang, Luan Nguyen, Andrew Chae, Jim Barredo, and Parker Stanley) was born in Charlottesville, VA and maintains a devoted fan base in its home state. Tim Be Told is a mixture of soul, pop, rock, gospel and blues. They recorded their debut album “Getting By” in 2007. After playing their first show only a few months later, they have continued to perform at East Coast venues such as Jammin’ Java, the Knitting Factory and Satellite Ballroom. They were also recently the winners of University of Virginia’s Battle of the Bands in 2008.
Compiled by Angela Lee, unless otherwise specified.
Kollaboration NY will take place on June 27th, 8 p.m. at NYU’s Skirball Center at 566 Laguardia Place (Doors at 7:30 p.m.). Mochi is an official Kollaboration NY sponsor. For information on how Kollaboration started, read our profile of founder Paul Kim here. See our interview and photo shoot with Kollaboration guest judge and Gossip Girl star Yin Chang here. Tickets can be purchased here.