I started studying classical music and theory at the age of 7 after my talent was discovered in a talent show. I started writing music for fun at 11 and have never stopped since. I began studying opera at 12 and I plan to make it a career when I am older. I began studying at Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts in 2016 where I extensively learned music history and theory. I participated in the choir’s performances as a chorus member and a soloist on many occasions, I was the school’s jazz band singer for my second last year and played one of the lead roles in the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”. Throughout high school I also participated in Viva Singers Toronto as a main chorus member and chamber chorus member, as well as Beach Hill Choir. I started recording for one of Harrison Fine’s clients at FINE Production studios which was just below the Kensington Sound studio. Harrison and I became friends and have been working together ever since. He’d write the instrumentals and I would write the lyrics and melodies of the songs. When we made “Ouija Board” a couple years back, he showed it to Ben Pelchat who really brought the song to life. I decided to also make some visual art for the cover and music video because it’s always been a passion of mine. Recently this year, I started attending Metalworks Institute to expand my knowledge as an artist and I plan to continue studying and releasing music.
When I was about seven years old, my parents would dress me up in a little suit and send me to first grade with a blue plastic briefcase. I collected notepads, pens, and library cards and was always writing down what people were saying. This made me a target for bullying, but ironically business and communication have been apart of my life. I’ve also always loved to sing. At my core, I am a writer. I think of myself as a visionary–someone with big ideas.
Throughout 2007-2010, I sung in Myspace competition, and got a chance to intern at Power 106 radio station in LA, and also at ASCAP. These were my “official” introductions to the entertainment business. It wasn’t until I published my first book, Views from the Cockpit, in 2019, that I realized I could be a writer per say.
After this book, I got into the studio to record the audiobook and slowly began creating music again. Those two events reminded me how much joy music gives me and how fun it is to develop characters and write stories.
On What Are Friends For, Gabrielle Ruiz & Pallavi Sastry dive deep and revel in all the facets of platonic love. But their friendship wasn’t always secure.
After originally meeting on a summer theatre job in 2007, GxP were mostly colleagues who awkwardly interacted in New York City in audition waiting rooms or once at a street fair in Queens. After genuinely reconnecting over health and wellness in 2012, they learned to get over themselves and carry on vulnerable conversations without the pressure of entertainment industry competition. They knew they wanted to work together again one day; they were simply waiting for the right project.
They’ve tackled issues such as working with friends, race and friendship, building community, recovering from trauma, mentoring, friendship breakups, and what is a “best friend?”
Past episode guests have included Javier Muñoz (Hamilton), Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black), Harvey Guillen (What We Do in the Shadows), Travis McElroy (My Brother, My Brother, and Me), Melissa Barrera (Vida), Karen David (Fear the Walking Dead), Kelli O’Hara (The King and I), Poorna Jagannathan (Never Have I Ever), Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect), and more.
WAFF Podcast releases new episodes on Tuesdays on all major podcast platforms. Exclusive vodcast episodes and the iconic WAFF Live Shows are available exclusively on Patreon at www.patreon.com/waffpodcast.
I started staging investment property that I owned and for other investors. I finally took the leap and began offering full service design in 2018. We are a boutique design firm based in the Kenwood/Bronzeville area of Chicago. We love creating boldly curated and artfully designed homes for clients who want function and style in their spaces.
I’d say I started young, but then took a winding road. I’ve loved making music, performing, and acting since I was little. My dad is a guitarist and works promoting rock concerts, so I got to go to shows from before I could walk. I was at Grateful Dead shows when I was two. I’d see Mick Jagger, Bruce Spingsteen, Prince, David Bowie etc and something about what they were doing on stage made me innately say to myself – “that’s what I want to do.”
So any time I got the opportunity to perform, I would. I jumped onstage singing Tutti Frutti at my grade school talent show, and I performed Thriller at another one (complete with all of Michael’s moves). I also loved movies and acting. I think watching Bruce Lee movies got me hooked (I’m a martial artist too). So I was in my grade school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (love me some Shakespeare).
The winding part of my story really began in high school. I loved playing football and I wanted to get into a good college, so I focused on that. I worked REALLY hard and I got into Harvard University. But once I got there I hit a wall. Some of the things that had been driving me stopped working. I’d chosen to pursue a degree in economics (I was at Harvard – I might as well figure out how to make money, right?). But that wasn’t my passion. I had, what I like to call, a “quarter-life crisis.” Ultimately I finished my degree, but I decided to move to LA afterward and pursue my original dream from when I was a kid.
In LA I started acting and I joined a band and started playing out. I got to be in movies and TV shows (Brick with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, ABC’s The Middle, and The Rookie most recently). And I got to play all of LA’s most historic clubs (The Viper Room, the Whisky A Go Go, the Troubador) as well as some of the biggest festivals in the country (Bonnaroo, the Outside Lands Festival, the Life is Beautiful festival, SXSW). We toured and made a couple of albums. It was a blast, but we didn’t break through the way we’d dreamed of. So, as most bands do, we fell apart.
After the band broke up, I retreated to the studio to get in touch with my next wave of creativity. I got in touch with the things that made me fall in love with music and performing when I was little. I had to decide what I wanted to say that would be more powerful than what I’d been saying to that point. And how I wanted to say it. Also, how I wanted to promote it so that it would have a greater impact in the world. That was the genesis of my new project – AVATARI.
From the time I was a kid till 2013, I wanted to be an artist and change the world. It took that long to realize that I should be in photography. Through my personal experiences, I come to realize that my photography is for a positive social change. I shed positive light on the disabled community, people of color, plus size females, and indie musicians in some way, shape, or form. It is what we need right now in a world of what society thinks what mainstream America should look like in terms of beauty.
My friends and family have been a big influence on my journey of being both an on-camera and stage actor. I went from Bollywood dancing to martial arts, to then acting. I studied in New York City at the Atlantic Acting School, then became a member of the BlueBird Theatre Company. Once the pandemic happened, I went back to Dallas, TX to go back to filming. I am currently the manager of the video production company in Dallas called PenikamFilms, LLC partnered with my talented sister, Priyanka Shah, to direct and give local artists a chance to get the quality video they are looking for.
I was born in Amherst, Ohio. Grew up in Lorain and Vermilion, Ohio. I was raised by my mom and Grandparents. I new my father but never had any type of relationship with him. I’ve always had a love for music for as long as I can remember. I remember when I was about 6 years old standing on my bed performing my favorite song as they came on the radio. Shortly after that I noticed I heard music differently than all my friends, that’s when I figured out I had a passion for music.
I started writing music when I was 10 shortly after moving to Texas in 2000. Cadences, rhythms and just having an ear for music seemed to just come naturally. The whole Texas Culture inspired my word play and vocabulary from Z-ro, Lil Keke, Scareface, Hawk and Lil Flip but the mid-west influenced my rhythm and harmony.
I’ve always felt like music was the best way for me to express myself. I’ve witnessed abuse, drugs and racism all at an early age that continued for years. So being able to open up and talk with people has never been easy but music as always been my way to release my emotions.
I met Legendary Promoter Wickett Crickett after opening up for Lil Keke in Navasota, TX. He took me under his wing and sharpened me up on the the music and business side of the Industry. After a few months of artist development with Wickett Crickett I began to find myself as an artist.
After being apart of three different groups I decided to go my own way and start my own label known as Motion Era Music. While working on more new music I’m also working on branding my clothing line Motion Era and doing more for my community.
I started as a very opinionated and vocal young lady. I was told that I had the gift of gab. I decided to use this thing that I saw as a gift to help someone. I have had the opportunity to teach thousands of students while instilling confidence simultaneously. I’ve used my voice to speak up for youth, wives, and preacher’s kids. I believe that there is still so much to be said and done. I am where I am today because of the special people in my life that push me to do something greater. My family means the world to me and I want them to look up to me and call me blessed. Experiencing my own transitions of life has brought me to a place of helping others. I want to continue to be the voice and GPS to help others navigate through life with confidence. I am now a Transitional Life and Confidence Coach and I am extremely passionate about what I do.
The Jokers are all about their past. Their classic rock skews toward oldies, all favorites from the late 1950s and ‘60s when band members were kids and teenagers growing up. We all loved music. We all wanted to be in a band. We just all wound up in different bands at the time.
Lifelong friends who all went to Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, The Jokers went their separate ways after high school, but were always tied together by their love of fun rock n roll. So after being in various different bands over the years, the time was right in 2019 to finally come together and form The Jokers.
The Jokers include founding member and drummer Joey Bensoua, who chose the name because he is also a stand-up comic. Lead guitarist Eddie Mariscal knows over 500 songs and is the heart and soul of the band. Guitarist Daniel Herrera is blessed with one of the best rock n roll voices in the South Bay and is a true showman.
The Jokers also utilize alternating bass players. Dave Hallgrimson and Phil Gilbreth are both remarkable bassists and well-known in local music circles. Phil was a member of The Twisters, arguably the best South Bay band of the 1970s and ‘80s.
A fun-loving, joke-telling band that can play killer classic rock is a party favorite. In fact, the band bills itself as “Playing the Party Hits You Grew Up With.”
The band leans toward pure fun dance songs, but also specializes in “theme nights.” For example, one of The Jokers’ most successful gigs in 2020 was “A Night of Motown with The Jokers” at the Hey 19 club in Torrance. Other theme nights include “One-Hit Wonders Night with The Jokers” and “British Invasion of the ‘60s with The Jokers.”
Being versatile is just one hallmark of the band’s success. The group prides itself on always performing a successful gig for the host, be it a company or individual. Leaving guests happy and wanting more is a good measure of success.