Tag Archives: nye

NYELA 2018 Featured Artists

We have an amazing list of artists to help bring in the new year.

Featured Artists

Dexter Story and the All-Star New Year’s Eve Band, featuring Raquel Rodriguez, Jimetta Rose, Kenneth Crouch, Kam Talbert, and more

Dexter Story is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, songwriter, producer, and music director. After earning an undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and performing with a diverse array of musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Ernie Watts, John Stubblefield, Slide Hampton, Jeff Narell, Kamasi Washington, Gaslamp Killer, Nick Rosen, and Les Nubians among others. His latest and most notable endeavors are music directing Summer 2015’s stellar Wattstax Revisited and Summer 2016’s Soy Africano concerts at Grand Performances, and producing Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recording artist Daymé Arocena’s acclaimed album Cubafonia.



Eclectic Soul singer born and raised in Los Angeles, Raquel Rodriguez and crew deliver music with a soulful, gritty groove that people love to dance and party to. Commanding the stage, Raquel’s live show is engaging and a crowd favorite at clubs and festivals across the country. With a potent blend of femme and aggression, she serves up sassy, heartfelt vocals which caught the ears of artists like Nigel Hall (Lettuce), Adam Deitch (Lettuce) and Borahm Lee of Break Science, Moby, as well as LA’s very own, Anderson .Paak. You can catch Raquel with Paak on his Cover Art album as well on his summer ‘Malibu’ tour. You may also recognize her as one of the fiery singers gracing the stage with him everywhere from Coachella to the Late Night Show starring Jimmy Fallon. The LA soulstress has also received airplay and support from music and culture tastemaker Garth Trinidad, DJ at top ranking NPR station KCRW and music editor for LA Canvas.  Her recent release, The 310, produced by Nigel Hall and Sam Brawner is now available everywhere!

Los Angeles native, Jimetta Rose has become a mainstay in the Los Angeles independent music scene while simultaneously digging firm roots into LA’s burgeoning creative renaissance drawing inspiration from jazz, R&B and Hip-Hop. One word that embodies Jimetta’s complex and mesmerizing sound is: SOUL. With her talent, style, and dedication to unfiltered creative expression, it should come as no surprise that Jimetta Rose counts among her friends and colleagues, many of the most popular artists and Dj’s in the Los Angeles music scene and abroad, which include Miguel Atwood Ferguson, Med and Blu, The Decoders, Alice Russell, Talib Kweli, Meshell N’Dgeocello, Erykah Badu, Joi Gilliam, Shuggie Otis, Zap Mama, Seu George, Shafiq Husayn, Dj House Shoes, and many more.

Born in LA, Kenneth was classically trained as a child, and in his teens broadened the range of his keyboard skills by embracing both gospel and jazz influences. Influenced by artist such as his uncle Andrae Crouch, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul and Bill Evans, he embarked on his musical career at the age of 15. As well as recording with Eric Clapton, over the years Kenneth has gone into the studio with many prominent artists, including The Temptations, Toni Braxton, Lenny Kravitz, Nancy Wilson and Vanessa Williams. He has appeared live in concert with Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Babyface.

Kam Talbert also known as “KamPAIGN” is a performer with multiple talents. He has a countless number of projects as a vocalist and singer collaborating with local Los Angeles artist, international artist, producers, and even well-known stars. Kam is also a playwright helping to write and produce an original musical called “The Museum of Living Art”. A project that was a collaboration with Jimetta Rose & Nappy Nation Productions. KamPAIGN is currently a curator of music and video for artist community hitrecord.org, an online production company founded and run by Joseph Gordon Levitt.

You can currently hear Francesca Harding over the airwaves as co-host, producer and DJ on Los Angeles’ 90.7FM KPFK for Soundwaves Radio. Her Dj mixes have been featured on Jay Z’s blog, Life and Times as well as the El Sonido show on Seattle’s 90.3 FM. Francesca has spun internationally for crowds in the UK, Mexico City, Colombia, the Bahamas and South Korea, and regularly works for corporate clients in the Los Angeles area, including Numark and Elle Magazine.

Most recently, Francesca joined forces with L.A. based Dj-duo, the Beat Ventriloquists, to form a production collective called “Wear Patterns”. The trio has thus far released two singles that have garnered worldwide radio play and have graced the pages of LA Weekly, Earmilk, Large Up & Discobelle. “Wear Patterns” is set to drop their self-titled EP in spring 2018. With a broad taste in music and impressive technical skills, it is no surprise that Francesca Harding continues her reign as one of the most sought-after Dj’s in LA and beyond.

Born in Fresno, California and raised in Bakersfield, Mr Choc’s success comes from a lifelong passion for music. In 1995, he was picked up by Los Angeles’ Power 106 and broadcast in three cities and during his seven-year tenure, the station had the number one mixshow for three consecutive years.

In 1996 Choc became a member of the Beat Junkies Crew (Rhettmatic, Melo-D, Shortkut, Babu), one of the most respected DJs crew in the world. Gaining membership in this exclusive crew had a profound impact on Choc: “it showed me that despite everything I had learned in DJing at that point, there was still a lot more to learn. It also made me love my craft a little more because I was finally surrounded by people who understood it and loved it just as much as I did.” Today, as Director of Scratch-LA, Choc imparts his knowledge on to hungry and eager students. He also continues to hold down multiple residencies and parties throughout SoCal.

 DJ Babu – a member of the acclaimed Dilated Peoples and the Beat Junkies, this world renowned DJ is more than accustomed to feeling the expansive power of music at his fingertips. Winning countless DJ competitions in the 1990s such as the DMC Championship in 1997 and multiple ITF titles, Babu has gained the nickname “The Turntablist.” It couldn’t be more appropriate.

Now one of the most respected names in the world of DJs, the battle hardened Babu has set his sights on producing. “I’ve been going through a transition over the last three or four years into the producer realm, the beat making realm. It’s something that I’ve definitely been growing and nurturing over the years. I’m trying to bring my DJ fan base along to realize that I’ve been flipping beats and breaks and chopping up samples for years on the turntables, now I tryin to show ’em I do that in the studio too. I’ll always maintain my Dj career but lately I’ve been trying to flood the scene with my beats to make people take me seriously as a producer.”

D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American actor/writer/comedian whose work ranges stand-up comedy, solo theater, plays, films and music production, poetry and spoken word. He is a co-producer for DisOriented Comedy (mostly female Asian-American nationally touring stand-up comedy showcase) with Jenny Yang and Atsuko Okatsuka.

The documentary by Crescent Diamond based on D’Lo’s life/work, called Performing Girl, won the best short documentary award at Outfest 2013, and he was part of the Emmy-Nominated mini-doc series THIS IS ME produced by Rhys Ernst and Zackary Drucker. His tv/film credits include co-starring in the HBO series LOOKING as Taj, on the Amazon series TRANSPARENT and the Netflix series SENSE 8.

Aside from touring and facilitating workshops on the university/college circuit with D’FaQTo Life (defacto), D’Lo has also been touring his solo shows. His first solo show, Ramble-Ations: A One D’Lo Show (dir Adelina Anthony) received the NPN Creation Fund Grant inclusive of residencies in 9 US cities with additional support from the Durfee Foundation Grant, D’FunQT. His full-length stand-up storytelling show D’FunQT (defunct), directed by Steven Sapp of Universes in NYC (Ken Sawyer in LA), has toured internationally (SF, NY, Manchester, UK and 7-city tour in India and Sri Lanka – with additional funds received by through the Ford Foundation travel grant to host workshops for queer & trans theater artists in Chennai, India).

After a sold out 3 weekend run in NYC in the summer of 2017, D’Lo is continuing to develop his latest solo show To T, or not To T for a world premiere in Los Angeles. His work has been published in various anthologies and academic journals, including: Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asia America and Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic (co-edited by Sharon Bridgforth) and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics.

D’Lo is the creator of the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series which have taken place with South Asian and/or Immigrant LGBTQ Organizations nationally, which provide a transformative space for workshop participants to write through their personal narratives and share their truths through a public reading. These workshops are specifically designed to provide emotional and spiritual support for individuals working through the complexity of their intersecting identities.

The LA County Library Turns the Tables workshop series had its start at the Compton Library in February 2017, as a Library Services and Technology Act grant program funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and administered in California by the State Librarian. Compton Turns the Tables offered teens and young adults the opportunity to learn DJ skills for free. Open to student ages 15 to 21, “Compton Turns the Tables” brought a series of ten DJ classes plus a mobile DJ lab to Compton Library.

Led by instructor DJ Lynnée Denise, a professional DJ and professor at Cal State LA, the workshop allowed students to gain hands-on experience with DJ controllers, while augmenting DJ training with instruction in music history, basic theory, techniques, developing a DJ business plan, including marketing and promotion. The course concluded with a concert and showcase that celebrated the students’ achievements and featured celebrity performers. Its overwhelming success led to the approval of additional funding from LA County’s Fourth Supervisorial District office and South Whittier Turns the Tables, held at the South Whittier Library, finished up workshops with a showcase held on November 18. Next in line is San Fernando Turns the Tables, scheduled to begin on January 12, 2018 and East LA turns the Tables to follow in late spring or early summer. Student DJs from Compton Turns the Tables and South Whittier turns the Tables have been given the opportunity to perform their skills at the LA County Library Staff Development Day, a special event held at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, and the grand openings of LA County Los Nietos and Artesia libraries.



Big Ups On City Hall

Read up to prep for this year’s bigger, better celebration which includes Grand Park and The Music Center. Grand Park + The Music Center’s N.Y.E.L.A. is the flagship West Coast New Year’s Eve celebration and is THE place to ring in the New Year alongside not just all of Los Angeles, but also with the world’s capitols.

Mitchell Colley asks “WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT N.Y.E.L.A.?” Here’s the skinny-minny on the brains behind the operation, why no fireworks, the purpose of public countdowns and the down-low of what makes us tick as the clock strikes midnight.


Julia Diamond, Grand Park’s Programming Director

Garson Yu, Artistic Director of yU+co, GP’s collaborators (and technical geniuses!) in creating Hall’s projections this New Year’s Eve.

Julia Diamond, Grand Park’s Director of Programming. Photo by Javier Guillen.

MC:  How do you begin to wrap your head around countdown celebrations? What do you see their purpose as? 

JD: New beginnings are so exciting. They mean limitless possibility. When we mark the transition from old to new in a festive and communal way instead of alone, it means not only are our new beginnings about intimate personal things, they are about bigger picture parts of our lives. When we celebrate together, we can feel excited about the possibility of what we will achieve and experience together whether that is about a couple, a family, a team, a neighborhood, or a county.

MC: New York has this long-standing event involving a ball dropping and swaths of people gathering in Times Square. How did you begin to distinguish the characteristics of a Los Angeles ‘style’ of countdown? 

JD: L.A.’s countdown reflects its role as the creative epicenter of our world. LA has always been home not only to creative artists but to artists who are harnessing technology to push new mediums forward. We have done this particularly in filmmaking and animation. N.Y.E.L.A.,  with its use of 2D and 3D mapping technology sits at the forefront of what art and technology can create. I like to say that it is a true 21st century countdown. The ball is analog.

MC: How did the idea of video mapping City Hall come to the forefront of your mind?

JD: A video mapping artist approached me in early 2013 and told me that City Hall was a dream for anyone in his world. He planted the seed of interest and the realization that Grand Park was well suited for mapping projects. When we started planning last year’s N.Y.E.L.A., our collaborators were also excited about the possibility. It has just felt like a natural fit from day one.

MC: So I have to ask, why not fireworks?

JD: 2 reasons:

1. We do fireworks at 4th of July so we like to switch it up.

2. Fireworks are not story-telling mediums. They pretty much just go boom. It doesn’t leave a lot of room to talk about L.A. and to customize the show every year.

MC: The event has grown significantly from the first year. What can patrons expect to find that is new? What has the Grand Park team improved upon?

JD: We did a lot of listening and we appreciate that L.A. gave us feedback after the event last year. We have worked hard to improve the infrastructure of the event, those things that really impact the audience experience. So that means:

– More bathrooms

– More food vendors

– More room in the streets for people to stand

– Two additional live music stages so you can really explore the whole event space and pick the experience that suits you

– Added photo booths = shorter wait times

– The projection on City Hall will be on two sides of the building. It will also enable more people to have a great view.

MC: What / Who should I bring with me?

JD: Bring your whole family and all of your friends! Bring your whole block with you. Just bring ‘em all. Except maybe doggies who might get spooked by a crowd.

I would also bring a camera, a jacket, a comfy pair of shoes, a snack, and a smile. Please check the website to be sure about what you can’t bring in so you don’t have any frustrations day of.

MC: Any resolutions on behalf of yourself or Los Angeles you’d care to share?

JD: For me: To keep exploring. As Programming Director of Grand Park, my job is to keep learning about L.A. County and bringing what I find to the audiences that come to Grand Park.

For L.A.: Not to forget that the drought is very real even in winter when we are getting rain. We have to resolve to remain vigilant, adaptive, and resourceful.

MC: Tell us a little bit about your work, expertise, and a bit about yU+co

GY: I am a film title designer with a fine art and graphic design background. I have always been interested in time-based story telling. I design short sequences for the beginning of a film, setting up the tone and mood for the audience to enter the film maker’s world. I also design motion graphics for television show opens, commercials, and new media.

Recently, I have started shifting my focus into multi- media public art projects. A year and a half ago, I created my first large-scale multimedia public art installation at Pier 57 in New York City, called The Interactive New York (T.I.N.Y. Show). The installation was a collaboration with Madrid-based architect Jose Maria de Churtichaga and incorporated projection mapping and interactive sound.

yU+co was founded in 1998. We have evolved from being a title design company into a multi-disciplinary design agency. We have a division called yU+co(lab) that focuses on experiential design and multimedia interactive projects. We have expanded from one office in LA to include 6 offices in China.

MC: How was the experience of working with Los Angeles’ City Hall as a canvas? How has the architecture informed the work?

GY: City Hall is a very unique building. It’s a long vertical tower. There are 18 stories with windows centered vertically between 2 pillars plus another 4-story high triangular tower on the top.  The architecture informed me to design the flow of imagery entering from the bottom to the top. I took advantage of applying my images to the canvas vertically. However, in some cases I break the rhythm, entering horizontally.

MC: What was the process like? (Give us a taste)

GY: It’s been a very creative collaboration with Julia and the Grand Park team. The biggest challenge at the beginning was to come up with the theme and concept. Based on Julia’s direction on what Grand Park wants to communicate to Angelenos, we developed the concept of “The Beat of The City”. Once awarded the project, we free-floated ideas, and we tested each other’s brain waves. I thought, “Should we do what everyone expects — 3D visual tricks and illusions, cool motion graphics? Or should we try something unexpected and give Angelenos an experience?” Julia was pretty keen on the narrative and I knew people would want to see 3D effects. I also wanted to bring an interactive component to the projection mapping medium. The result is a show that gives it all to the people in the park on that evening.

MC: Has your perception of public countdowns changed since taking on the N.Y.E.L.A. project?

GY: I don’t know yet. I look forward to experiencing it on NYE I hope this short-form narrative will touch people at the park when they are watching it. It is a moment that we will all share together, a feeling about our unique city and life. I hope to bring people together emotionally. Taking on the Grand Park + The Music Center project definitely changes my perception of how public countdowns can be different. This will mark a new milestone in public countdowns. I am proud to be part of it.

Messi is the best-i

–Mitchell Colley, Grand Park’s Resident Walter Cronkite