Lili Añel considers music a calling. This six-foot tall singer-songwriter grew up in New York City, where she discovered her passion for music. As a child Añel remembers, singing along to her mother’s Cuban, jazz and pop standard albums. It was also her mother who supported Lili’s desire to join the church choir. However, it was her grandfather’s recognition of how much joy singing brought to her being, which served to set her feet firmly on the path of a career in music. “My grandfather was very influential and instrumental,” says Lili. “When I sang in the church choir, he would sneak in to the Mass without telling me. I would ask him later, after letting him know that I saw him in the back, why he came to church at all and then left before it was over. His response was: “To hear you sing. I can hear your voice above the others.”
Defying categorization she calls her music a hybrid of “jazz/folk/soul/pop” combined with powerful vocals bringing her to the forefront. Lili continues to win over audiences with her vocal stylings, guitar playing and songs, that while often recalling her many influences (Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Janis Ian, Joan Armatrading) prove her own unique style. She has supported The Holmes Brothers, Boz Scaggs, B.B. King, Raul Midon, Robert Cray to name a few.
Palmetto Records released her first CD “Laughed Last” (1994), following with “Hi-Octane Coffee” (2002), “Dream Again” (2007) and “Every Second In Between” (2009) all self-released. In 2007, JazzTimes Magazine said of Lili “...her songs are consistently excellent...” andproclaimed of her 2009 release “...a cd to blow your mind at first listen...”. “Every Second In Between” (produced by Glenn Barratt) also made the All About Jazz 2009 Year End Writers Choice for the “10 Best New Jazz Releases” list, along with winning 3 NY Music Awards 2010, Best Singer-Songwriter, Best Jazz Album and Best Female Jazz Vocalist. 2013 release, “I Can See Bliss From Here”, Lili celebrates her past on the autobiographical “Something To Do” along with songs of struggle and loss, always in complete honesty and total feeling. Lili's 2017 EP “AnotherPlace, Another Time” brought her continued accolades, with an invitation to record 3 songs on WRTI's “Vu Haus” video series. In 2018 Lili became a PEW Arts & Heritage Fellowship nominee.
The end of 2019, found Lili’s latest recording, “Better Days” released on Philadelphia label Winding Way Records. Lili and has been included in NPR’s Live Sessions Series and has been on Public Radio’s Emerging Artist Spotlight “Station Breaks: The Best New Songs From NPRMember Stations.
What The Critics Are Saying…
“Better Days…the best song on Lili Añel’s new album…what you get on [this] release, is pure, pure feeling over pristine chops on nine heartfelt tracks…her voice rapturous and confessional…” – Carol Banks Weber/Festival Peak-Medium
“…sings with soul and vulnerability while also playing a richly textured guitar…all of the tunes, are intimate and vulnerable, with her vocal flexibility bringing you into her biographical lyrics…she wears her heart on her sleeve, bringing you into the deep recesses of her soul. Not easy in this day of feelings with no emotions” – Jazz Weekly-George W. Harris
“She tells riveting stories in a knowing voice, taking great chances with notes and phrases” - Ken Franckling/Jazz Notes
“…one of Philadelphia's premier singer-songwriters...her vocals throughout are nothing short of melodically—and, more importantly, emotionally—stunning… she writes clever, compelling songs that her soulful voice—sometimes brooding, sometimes beaming—renders with emotional power and grace” – Chris Slawecki/AllAboutJazz
“A uniquely gifted artist that is raw, ethereal and incredibly real. Lili sounds like no one but herself, a rare gift in an industry of clones” – Brent Black / Not Just Jazz
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Maritri is a multi instrumentalist , composer and vocalist who was born and raised in California, spent the last twenty years as a musician in New York and has recently moved back to California. She is classically trained on piano and cello, self taught on guitar and bass. She graduated from Fisk University, where she was a world renowned Jubilee singer with a BA in biology and from Howard University, where she received a BS in music and an MFA in jazz studies. She has traveled the world making music in Africa, Europe the Caribbean and the United States .She has scored movies, composed for commercials, played with artists from Barbra Streisand, Corey Glover, Meshell n’dege o’cello, Michael Amante and her own bands, the Soulfolk Experience and Hue. Opened for Gladys Knoght, the Indigo Girls and Kenwood Dennard. She has written music and soundscapes for Countee Cullen’s Madea and Danny Simmon’s Bombay sapphire campaign called,” what is art?”she was a host on BEt’s Beth on jazz and recently appeared in an Emirate’s airline commercial.She was a staff pianist for the Washington Ballet under the tutelage of Mary Day and Lupe Serrano . She has four albums available on iTunes and various streaming platforms... two with the Soulfolk Experience, one solo and a duo with Nick Cassarino. She is grateful to be a working musician.
Singer/songwriter Holly Long has two hands, and she’s using them. She’s no princess, and she’s no queen. She’s just a straight up, modern-day musical artisan with a genuine love for the work and an impressive track record. Having crafted 6 albums and 2 EPs over the past two decades in her pop/rock/soul hybrid style with a string of top-shelf producers, Long communicates her passion with an evocative sound in league with Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde, and Carly Simon.
Still bearing the better parts of her Chicago-born savvy, she recalls how music first moved her. “I remember how a song could give voice to my moods and change how I felt when I was a kid. It could express the deep stuff that I didn’t know how to get out on my own. It moved me, took me from one emotional place to another.” From piano lessons at age 7 to plays and musicals in high school, and right on through a move to Los Angeles to study Theater at UCLA and pursue a career as an actor and comedian, music transported her and connected her mind and soul. It was during this time that she began reaching for the piano and scribbled sheets of lyrics as a way of being creatively productive while waiting for the gatekeepers of the acting world to grant her admission.
The final push towards music, though, came when she was literally brought to death’s door in her twenties by endocarditis, an often-fatal heart infection. After waking from a week-long coma she began the process of learning to move and live again from scratch, and felt a movement in her away from acting and directly into music. What could have become a bitter and barren creative period was re-fashioned as the doorway to her future as a vital, tough, and compassionate singer/songwriter. Perhaps because of this brush with death, Holly’s songs and performances have a way of connecting the real with the ethereal, keeping one hand at work down here, and the other reaching
up to the sky. “That’s the way I want to live. I want to connect to the divine to make it mean something, but also keep it real in my own neighborhood.”
Beginning with debut album City Girl in 2000, and sophomore record Every Little Seam in 2003, both produced by award-winning producer/arranger Chris Horvath, her career saw a steady ascent of recognition and success. With songs from these two recordings, she won 3rd place in the international John Lennon Songwriting Contest of 2000, Honorable Mention in the 2001 USA Songwriting Contest, and kicked off a string of TV placements including ABC’s Miami Medical, Passions, and the soundtracks to the Olsen Twins films, Winning London and Our Lips Are Sealed. With the subsequent Americana influenced Leaving Kansas, which was produced by one of Holly's closest colleagues, Anthony JW Benson, and engineered by Ian Terry (David Bowie, Diana Krall), Holly's discography really started to grow with the same pace and passion as Holly herself. A few years later came Frequency, filled with sounds of the 70’s, also produced by Benson and engineered by fellow legend Tom Tucker (Prince, Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams.) Together these two albums garnered Holly additional TV placements, an Itunes featured album, and continued critical acclaim in Performing Songwriter, More, and the UK's Maverick.
Most recently, Holly has co-produced two alt-rock albums under the band name Bullyheart a la The Pretenders, Tom Petty, The Cure and U2. Bullyheart is a hugely personal moniker reflecting the ambivalent way Holly has felt about her passionate center, the gift of its deep pulse, and the toll it has taken on her world. The first recording under this name, “Antigravity,” was crafted in 2014 alongside engineers David Boucher (Andrew Bird, Susanna Hoffs, Randy Newman) and Kevin Harp (John Fogerty,The Motels,) and immediately found a place in the world on CBS’s NCIS:New Orleans, which optioned the track No Pleasing You, to open one of its earliest episodes before the record even broke on iTunes. Additionally, the title track had a featured
appearance in TV Land’s Younger just two months later. Holly then partnered with long-time friend and guitar player/engineer Daniel McMains after they mutually received an ASCAP Film & amp; TV Award for co-creating the theme song to CBS’s Necessary Roughness. With Daniel, Holly found a key partner and co-producer in pushing the
sound to increased gothic and lush direction. Traveling down the time line through the 1980’s and into the early 90’s, Holly and Dan took her new batch of songs into a landscape which included heavy reverb guitars and lush keyboard arrangements. This second Bullyheart album, “Queen Mab,” was released in 2018, and also found immediate TV placement with the track “Wanted” on The CW’s The Originals.
Holly and Dan’s most recent recording is the Bullyheart single “The Other Side,” a song which took Holly almost two years to finish writing, and which found its voice during the Covid Pandemic. They set out to create a driving joyful anthem with the now signature 80’s/90’s
Bullyheart sound. This tune has found a home on a slew of international podcasts, Spotify playlists and indie radio stations due to its feel-good vibe and deep resonant theme of resilience in the face of strife.
Even as a veteran artist with a lengthy discography, handful of music videos, and lengthier list of accolades, Holly Long has plenty still to compose and contribute. Work for this woman is never done, because she is never done growing, brooding, exploring how her ever-evolving music might transport her fans and loved ones. There’s no question that she’s got the chops to be around for as long as she chooses. Just as much, though, she’s got the heart. And she’s got the hands.
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Audrey Martells is a multitalented singer/songwriter and actor. She has co-written Jazz/pop songs for George Benson and Randy Crawford, soulful dance music for Billy Porter and is working on a Rock/Reggae project for herself. Follow her on Instagram at instagram.com/audreymartells/ and at AriaLyric.com
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Steve Peckman is a lifelong learner of music, technology and the world, with an eye on the future. The results introduce innovative flavor combinations, which strive to serve a rangy menu of intriguing musical cocktails; sometimes shaken, sometimes stirred. Steve earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Miami (FL), playing in the Avant-Garde Ensemble, Film Scoring Ensemble & the school's Symphony Orchestra. Steve is a founding member of Monkeyworks, a storied electro-acoustic world jazz ensemble and has released several recordings as a leader under the moniker of Unknown Quantity.
Setra means "daughter of the sun" in the ancient Egyptian (Khemetic) language. And this child of the sun lives up to her name. sharing her unique brand of sunshine with the world through her music. Setra didn't take the usual path to music either. This self-taught, self-educated autodidact lives and colors outside the lines, which is why she's been sought after by major labels for her different approach to music. But she chooses to remain an independent artist, answering only to her creativity, writing her own brand of "intelligent songs for people who think."
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reg e gaines is author/ lyricist of the Tony Award winning musical, Bring In Da Noise/ Bring In Da Funk, and is in his ninth year as artistic director of the Downtown Urban Theater Festival in New York. Most recently, reg directed Through The Looking Glass, as part of Center Theatre Group's, "Community As Creators" project in 2016, and Rock WILK's Brooklyn Quartet. He is currently writing and directing two musicals, The 88, and FREE.
Karina Casiano is an actor, director and playwright born in Puerto Rico and based in New York City and London. She has trained in the United States, Peru, Ecuador, Britain and Spain. Casiano has written, directed and performed in her 4 solo plays and 3 full cast shows for her company, La Criatura Theatre, all of which have been staged in New York City. She has also taken her plays to 10 countries across Latin America. She has appeared on TV and film in the U.S., including series such as “House of Cards,” “Daredevil,” “Blue Bloods” and “Law and Order.” For more details, video, reviews and photos, visit www.karinacasiano.com.
Anthony Andujar Jr is a NYC comic illustrator, story teller and musician. When he isn't working a day job, or attending a class, he's often cranking out short stories and comic strips on his blog and social media.
New York based Photographer/Producer with over 25 years of production services including television, movies as well as entertainment events and music festivals.
Bill Dotts has contributed his bass playing talents to so many artists over the years, worldwide, including, but not limited to, The Harlem Gospel Choir, jazz fusion legend Lonnie Liston Smith, and the World Beat Afro-Caribbean group known as “Spirit Ensemble”. Some of the many inspired recordings he has performed on include the soundtrack for Spike Lee’s "Do The Right Thing", "Now That I’ve Got Your Attention" (Lesette Wilson), "Inspirations" (The Spirit of Life Ensemble), and "Broad Strokes" (Roswell Rudd).