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Local Musicians Take Cover

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.

News

If the Farmingdale Rams are going to get over the top and capture the Skyline Conference for men’s soccer in 2014, it will take some more aggressive play. That’s according to team captain and defensive player Vincent Danetti. 

 

“We don’t have a lot of big guys on our team,” Danetti said. “We need to play aggressive.” 

Bring your four-legged friends—in costume if they’d like—to roam Old Westbury Gardens during ‘Dog Days.’ Twice a year canines are welcome to accompany their (leashed) humans around the grounds of the mansion, and this is Fido’s last shot until spring. On Sunday, enjoy exhibits from rescue groups and animal welfare organizations from 1 to 4 p.m. A dog costume contest and parade takes place at 3 p.m. All activities included with admission: $8, $5 for seniors and $3 for children ages 7 to 17. At 71 Old Westbury Rd., Westbury, Saturday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tel: 516-333-0048.



Sports

The Farmingdale State College Women’s Volleyball team earned a three-set victory of York in a non-conference match on Oct. 8. 

 

Tied 4-4 in the opening set, Farmingdale State freshman defensive specialist Gina Giacalone served for 14 consecutive points to extend the advantage 18-4. The Rams cruised to a 25-8 victory in the first set. 

Farmingdale team wins annual Bethpage Ocean to Sound Race

On Sunday, Sept. 28, the Farmingdale-based Runner’s Edge team earned first place overall in the 29th annual Bethpage Ocean to Sound Relay. The team, representing the Runner’s Edge running and multisport specialty store located at 242 Main St. in Farmingdale, consisted of Boyd Carrington, Andrew Coelho, Nick Pampena, Tim Lee, Shawn Anderson, Ryan Healy, Kevin Galante, and Brandon Abasolo. It completed the 50-mile course from Jones Beach State Park to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay in 4 hours, 41 minutes, 58 seconds. The runners won by a margin of more than 10 minutes over the runner-up team from the Sayville & Smithtown Running Company, with much of the difference supplied by the strong Leg 2 performance by Andrew Coelho. Runner’s Edge Teams also took second place honors in the Mixed Open and Men’s Masters Divisions of the Relay. The Relay was sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union (“Built to Give You More”), with new Race Directors Glen Wolther and Keith Montgomery managing the event for the host Greater Long Island Running Club.


Calendar

Women's Club of Farmingdale - October 16

Board of Trustees Work Session - October 20

Jack O'Lantern Extravaganza - November 2


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com