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Kollaboration New York is in FOUR Days!

KNY9 is in FOUR DAYS, can you believe it’s time to almost take the stage at NYU’s Skirball Center on Augus 30th?! You guys are probably super pumped like us, the KNY staff, about the showcase, right?  GOOD.

It’s going to be a fantastic show, and throughout the last couple of months, we’ve been introducing you to the main attraction: our six finalists.

Ivan Polanco, Yut & the Hot Four, Grace Shay, Red Oak Lane, Lionel Yu (MusicalBasics), and Sung Lee have been hard at work perfecting their performances, hoping to impress guest judges Melodee Morita, Ashok Kondabolu, Ellie Lee, and Ted Fu.  It’s going to be a fierce competition, but we have some guest performers for you as well!  I LOVE DANCE, KNY8 Champ IZZY, and rapper Awkwafina will be gracing the stage during our showcase with performances that will surely be unforgettable.

So, let’s get to know our talented finalists once more and delve deeper into our finalists and check out their bios below.

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Ivan Polanco is a pop/r&b artist of Filipino & Dominican decent hailing from White Plains, NY. With his unique blend of soulful vocals, captivating lyrics, and rhythmic guitar sound, Ivan has been catching the attention of audience members in venues and colleges in the east & west coast, and also online through his many YouTube videos which have 80,000 views and growing.

His original songs capture the pop sensibilities of Bruno Mars and John Mayer, but also have elements of classic torch-singers such as Nat King Cole, thus embodying an eclectic musical style that separates him from other pop performers.

Though he is only 21 years old, he’s had a music career that has already spanned 7 years, with his first album “In This Fire” being released on iTunes in 2010, and his 2nd album, “Our Time”, released on iTunes in 2013. As a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer, this young dynamo continues to work vigorously in the aim of sharing his music with the world.

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Yut and the Hot Four are a modern string quartet with percussion that cover the greatest hit songs on their instruments. They live by the mantra: “Real Musicians. Real Music.”  They aim to fuse popular music with classical techniques. They recognize music as a language without barriers and hope to spread their message throughout the world.

Yut first gained attention last year while playing the city’s subway stations, including Times Square, Union Square and Lexington/59th Street.  Their Coldplay and 2Pac covers have been enormous hits on YouTube, and they have been featured in some of the world’s top publications.  Recently, Yut and the Hot Four played a concert for the New York Times at the Times Center Stage.

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Grace Shay is a singer-songwriter based in New York City. She was classically trained in piano for fifteen years. At its core, her music is inspired by the piano: she pairs pop melodies with raw, real vocals. Influences include Billy Joel, Elton John, the Carpenters, Carole King, Queen, and Carly Simon, and newer inspirations include Sara Bareilles, Bruno Mars, and Adele.

Grace has enjoyed performing at New York City events and fundraisers, including Ultraviolet Live at the Skirball Center, where she sang and played a medley of original songs to a sold-out theater. As a dancer and actress, her other New York credits include performances at the Metropolitan Opera House, the Bohemian National Hall, and the Clarion Theatre.

In her spare time, Grace enjoys listening to Broadgrass, drinking chai tea, and hanging out with her family.

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Red Oak Lane is a band from the NJ/NY area consisting of Chris Yacone (vocals), Kevin Lucero (cello), Tim Le (guitar), Abel Tabares (drums) and Rich Alexander (keys/synth/backing vocals).

These guys spent a lot of time discussing what they should call themselves. Originally they wanted to name themselves Prolific, but that didn’t sound fitting.

But on the way home from practice one night, Chris was minding his own business and a bus stop light came up in red saying “Red Oak Lane.” He immediately called Kevin and Tim and they decided that’s who they were.

The first time the band played together was when they wrote the music for “Wasting Time.” They quickly became friends and now feel really close to each other.

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Lionel “MusicalBasics” Yu started his Youtube channel in 2008 after years of studying piano and composition. Since then his channel has grown to 160+ videos, 4.4+ million viewers, and 15,000+ subscribers. Every one of his videos is made with utmost passion and love for piano and classical music.

Lionel’s videos are watched 147,000 times per month, 5,000 times per day, and receive over thousands of likes and comments every month. Some of his most popular pieces are “The Black Star,” “Fires of a Revolution,” and “Water Flower.”

One of the most special aspects about his channel is his dedication to classical music improvisation. A rare form of art nowadays, Lionel brings a thoughtful, nuanced and heartfelt dimension to his improvisations, frequently improvising on the themes of emotions such as forgiveness and courage, seeking to understand the fundamental meaning of what it means to be human.

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Sung Lee is a beatboxer and live-looper from NJ/NY. He was first introduced to the art of beatboxing by stumbled upon a beatboxing video in 2004. He has since built a prolific arsenal of noises and sound effects which he uses to create music live in real-time. Sounds include and are not limited to drums, MPCs, basslines, synths, turntables, strings, trumpets, and much more. With live-looping technology, Sung builds up entire songs by layering sounds track by track and then singing, rapping and scratching on top.

Stylistically, Sung fully embraces beatboxing’s hip-hop roots, but has also began to expand the scope of the art into other genres such as electronic, house, dubstep, and trap. He has remixed hit songs by Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Drake, Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, to name a few. He also composes his own beatbox music.

Sung Lee first began to perform on stage when he was a full-time college student at Rutgers University (Class of 2012) where he studied Psychology. He took advantage of the vibrant college music scene by attending open mics and talent contests. Though eventually graduating with degrees that had little in common with music, Sung attributes a lot of his success to the practice and experience he had performing as a student.

In 2011, Sung entered the 2nd Annual American Beatbox Championship hosted by the World Beatbox Association (WBA) which was judged by the likes of beatbox legends Rahzel and Kenny Muhammad. He soon became known in the American beatbox scene by finishing 2nd place in the nation’s premiere beatbox competition.

In May of 2014, Sung won 2 consecutive “Amateur Night at the Apollo“ competitions at the world renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem (NYC), the same place that gave rise to some of the most iconic figures in entertainment including the Jacksons, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and Lauren Hill. As of June 2014, Sung is halfway through the tournament and will compete in the semi-finals on July 30th, 2014.

Sung Lee has a grand vision for the art of beatboxing as a means to express music in infinite ways. He believes there are endless musical possibilities yet to be discovered with beatboxing and the voice, and is excited to share his journey with the world.

Haven’t purchased tickets yet?  Well, we suggest you do that now to avoid the box office lines at Skirball.  See you Saturday!