Written by Steve Mosco Friday, 28 March 2014 00:00
Taking a successful step in the music business requires plenty of talent, but also a measure of luck. And for a trio of local musicians, a recent one-off performance sparked a whirlwind of attention and video clicks.
Mikel James of Farmingdale, Carolyn Miller of Massapequa, and David Wong of Huntington Station were on separate musical paths before convening to record a cover of “Say Something,” a song originally released by A Great Big World and then re-released featuring Christina Aguilera.
After recording the song and a video clip, the trio’s effort was featured on the Huffington Post website, catapulting it to close to 30,000 YouTube views in a matter of days.
“I heard the song on the radio and thought it would be cool to do a cover,” said Miller, who knows James and Wong through mutual friends. “They [James and Wong] had never met before, but they were totally down to do it. And while jamming it out one day we realized we really had something special.”
The musicians recorded a crystal-clear version of the song to make it downloadable on iTunes and the response has floored all three of them. Crediting both talent and sheer luck, Miller said the success of the track might lead to more collaborations between the trio.
“People went crazy for the song. It is such a hot and relatable song that I guess it just speaks to people,” she said. “We weren’t expecting the response, it is really a huge honor. But there has to be luck involved in something like this. If it didn’t get picked up by Huffington Post, it would have been just three kids jamming in a living room.”
This certainly was not Miller’s first foray into the performance arena. Her fascination with the arts began at an early age while sitting in the audience of a Broadway theater. From there she performed in local Long Island theaters, in national commercials, recorded voiceovers and booked television and film roles. She honed her craft in college on a scholarship at the prestigious Boston Conservatory, where she was featured in many main stage productions.
Miller continues to spread her talents in theater, film/tv and music. But counting Barbra Streisand and Broadway star Idina Menzel as her heroes, it is no secret where her performance love lies. “My first love is theater, but you look at someone like Barbra Streisand and she is someone who has transitioned into every field. That is a career to emulate,” she said, adding that belief in one’s talents is of the utmost importance no matter where the performer lands. “Of course you have to believe in yourself, but also this career is for those who eat and breathe it. It requires so much time and dedication. You have to literally put everything you’ve got into it.”
Her collaborators are also no strangers to hard work and dedication, but Farmingdale’s Mikel James began his musical journey as a way to get out of writing a report. His teacher gave him the option to instead write songs about various subjects, from the
Constitution to health. And from there, a career was born.
“Writing songs about school subjects was cheesy, but it got me through high school,” said James, who also performs in the three-piece group, Young Atlas. “I just kept doing it and eventually I started writing my own lyrics and stuff. To do what you love for a job and make it into your field, that is the best feeling you can have.”
For his part in the “Say Something” collaboration, James sings and plays guitar. He said the recording’s success came as a shock to the system.
“This thing just blew up. Suddenly people I don’t even know are sharing it,” he said, adding that the success has made all three artists feel that much better about their talents. “It really makes you feel like you should be up there with the best.”
But aside from Miller’s piano, James’ guitar and both of their vocals, the song also features the deeply nuanced work of violinist David Wong. Miller said the violin adds a lot of emotion to the song, something that Wong said he was able to contribute without taking away from the lead vocalists.
“The biggest thing with violin is to not try to do too much and make sure to leave room for the vocals,” said Wong. “It takes discipline and listening to realize when you should come forward and when you should hold back.”
What started as a one-off performance might soon morph into other collaborations, as the three musicians are kicking around hosting a cabaret-style performance featuring the “Say Something” performance, their solo work and many other possibilities.
“We’re totally down for working together again,” said Miller. “What shape that performance will take is still up in the air.”
For more information on Miller, Wong and James, check out the artists’ websites at www.carolyn-miller.com, www.mikeljamesmusic.com and www.davidwongviolin.com.
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 00:00
The Farmingdale Baseball League recently capped off its fourth annual 9/11 baseball tournament with a series of championship games, to ultimately determine which Long Island town reigns supreme. On Aug. 16, teams from 8U to 14U fought tooth and nail for the ultimate prize.
One of the most exciting games was the 12U championship between the Long Island Devils and hometown Farmingdale Greendogs. Farmingdale started off the tournament path by going 6-0 in group play as the Devils went 3-3. In the playoff portion of the tournament, the Greendogs shellacked the Ozone Howard Renegades 11-3, on Aug. 14, while the Devils staved off East Meadow from getting on the scoreboard, beating them 5-0.
Friday, 15 August 2014 00:00
Four years after the Hempstead Town Board of Appeals denied a proposal to construct six T-Mobile transmitters on the roof of the Farmingdale-Wantagh Jewish Center along Woodbine Avenue, a federal district court decision, on July 22, dismissed the case.
“The court’s decision to dismiss this case signifies another crucial victory for Hempstead Town and Wantagh neighbors,” said Town Supervisor Kate Murray. “The proposal never conformed to the character of this cherished suburban community, and we’re thrilled that our preservation efforts have been rewarded.”
Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00
Lacrosse teams from across the region are invited to a major fall tournament sponsored by the 2014 Nassau County Champions, Farmingdale’s Lady Dalers.
The event, scheduled for September 28 at Farmingdale High School, is open to any and all teams ranging from grades 5 through 12. The all-day event runs from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
All levels will play 7-v-7 plus a goalie in the tournament’s format. The team fee is $575.00 per team, with an unlimited roster.
Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00
Throughout the summer, the Farmingdale Observer will feature the box scores from the Farmingdale Baseball League Inc.’s 9/11 Baseball Tournament.
Island Trees 16 - East Meadow Blue 0 (9UB)
Farmingdale Greendogs 9 - LSW Red 4 (12U)