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From The Navy To Pop Singer

Over the years, Long Island has fostered a wide variety of musicians spanning various genres—including everyone from Billy Joel and Public Enemy to Brand New and Blue Oyster Cult. This trend continues strong today. Currently, there are hundreds of musicians littered across the island. Among them is East Norwich pop singer Steven Rodriguez.

Originally from Brentwood, Rodriguez moved to East Norwich after serving in the US Navy. Upon arriving home from service, Rodriguez’s friend heard him singing and encouraged him to pursue music more seriously.

“When I returned home from the Navy, a good friend heard me singing one day and encouraged me to sing with a band his friend was putting together.”

Since then, Rodriguez has been performing all over the island. Even before his current solo project, he spent time combing the island’s venues, playing dive bars and local gems alike. Since going solo, the pop singer has frequented venues such as Lily Flanagan’s in Islip, Dockside in Port Jefferson, Canterbury Ales and Jack Halyards in Oyster Bay, and even the Steven Talk House out in Amagansett.

Like most artists, Rodriguez strives to refine his craft and establish a fresh sound. While his past experiences help to do this, he also draws from his own well of inspirations and influences.  

“There are many places and people who have helped shape my musical identity, but being the last of seven children and having so much great music handed down to me, I’d have to say my older siblings shaped me most, and beyond my years,” states Rodriguez.

In addition to personal inspirations, the singer draws from musical inspirations including modern artists such as Dave Matthews, Zac Brown and Keith Urban, as well as ‘70s singer-songwriters like David Gates (Bread), Cat Stevens, Billy Joel, and Kenny Loggins. One artist Rodriguez credits especially is Earth, Wind, and Fire.

“My early R&B influences came from music from Earth, Wind and Fire as well as Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, which had changed my life.”

Rodriguez also finds inspiration from books, movies, and collections of photography.

Separate from inspirations, an essential element of music is the writing process. As such, Rodriguez relies on his passion, honesty, and creativity to separate his process from others.

“It usually begins with a melody for either a verse or chorus. Every once in a while I begin with a few chords and start writing lyrics right from the top.”

Ultimately, there isn’t one lone element that defines Rodriguez’s work, but all of these together. As a result, many Long Islanders have been able to connect with the singer and his work.

“Sometimes it’s comparing me to another artist and nine times out of 10 it’s one of my heroes and that makes me very happy. I’ve had a few people ask ‘Wow did that really happen to you?’ which also makes me happy that they’re listening to my words.”

Steven Rodriguez may not be as recognizable as other Long Island names, but he’s hard at work on changing that. Rodriguez released his new album, A Thousand Words, last month and will continue to play the area in support of it. He also plans to continue work on a new album, which he states is now 80 percent done.

His next local appearance will be at Jack Halyards, 62 South Street, Oyster Bay, on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m.

News

“I didn’t know I needed my own Teddy Bear,” said a woman after the first annual Teddy’s Taste of the West dinner and fundraiser at Canterbury Ales on March 19.

Members were given an authentic Teddy Bear as a surprise gift at the end of the evening. As they say, membership has its privileges and that includes a June 11 event when Ken Burns will come to share a preview of his new film on three Roosevelts. Burns’ film explores the political and family ties between President Theodore Roosevelt, President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a Roosevelt in her own right.  

The preliminary 2014-15 school budget was adopted at last Tuesday night’s Oyster Bay-East Norwich school board meeting. The proposed budget, which came in at a figure of $54,578,478, is a 2.01 percent difference from the 2013-14 final budget figure of $53,504,111. With a budget to budget change of $1,074,367, it is the lowest expenditure increase in the last 15 years. No programs were cut as a result of balancing this budget.

“The biggest change in budget numbers is in the area of salaries and wages with a budget to budget increase of $683,428,” said School Superintendent Dr. Laura Seinfeld.


Sports

Muttontown resident and Kellenberg freshman Ceara Ann Conroy has been named an All-League athlete for Girls Winter Track. The title of All-League is awarded to athletes based on a vote of all the coaches in the NSCHSAA League. All of the Girls Winter Track coaches in the league vote based on the athletes performance during the season, and Conroy’s outstanding performance has earned her the title of All League this year.

The Girls Varsity Lacrosse program at Oyster Bay High School is just in its second year and already it is making a difference. Senior defender Danielle Maggi has committed to play Division III lacrosse at Albright College.

Last year Maggi was recognized as the “Most Improved Player,” and this year she is being recruited to play in college.

Maggi said, “We did very well in our first varsity season last year (12-2). This year we are 100 percent going for the conference. I’m excited we finally have a varsity team.”


Calendar

LI Sound Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Saturday, April 19

Annual Egg-stravaganza

Saturday, April 19

Palliative Care

Wednesday, April 23 



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