Which of these undiscovered musical acts should be crowned the Bronx’s best?
The Greene Space’s 2014 Battle of the Boroughs continued on Friday, April 4 with a showcase of the borough’s most exciting hidden musical talents. From reggae to indie to hip-hop, 11 acts representing the energy and diversity of the Bronx’s music scene competed. Now, the votes are in. Here are the five finalists!
UPDATE: Voting is now closed. The Bronx winner will be announced Monday, April 14 at 12pm ET.
Nando Griffiths and Pure Fyah
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The band kicked off the night with its catchy blend of reggae and pop. The judges praised the group for its strong instrumentalists and energetic frontman. “The band was very tight and the bassist laid down exactly the foundation that was needed for everyone else to do their thing,” said judge and producer Nick Sansano. “It was impressive.” Judge and singer Alicia Olatuja gave a shout-out to the drummer, who she said was the strongest she’s seen yet since she began judging the competition last season.
Bryan Durieux Project
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The band grew from a solo project into its current 5-piece arrangement, describing its sound as a blend of alternative, R&B and soul. Once again, the bassist left an impression on the judges. “I feel like tonight is the night of the bass players,” said judge Helga Davis. “Y’all are yummying up the house in a big way.” She praised the band for its skillful build-up of the performance, and noted that not one band member was drowned out. “I could hear every single person on that stage. …[We] weren’t struggling to hear anybody.”
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The second reggae band of the night, Royal Khaoz – whose members all hail from Jamaica – got the audience dancing in an energetic performance that judge Nick Sansano called spectacular. “It was fantastic,” Alicia Olatuja agreed. “You guys were tight. The groove was so thick and I loved how your…energy gave us permission to participate with you.” She said the band got it right in that they didn’t wait for the music to kick in to start their performance. “You were already in the performance zone…you were ready behind stage.”
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The R&B singer is a graduate of the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, but says she didn’t really begin singing seriously until six years ago. Judge Alicia Olatuja – who fondly dubbed Scott “little baby Jennifer Hudson” – said the singer had a powerful instrument in her voice. “And it’s going to be more powerful over time,” she said. Helga Davis said the song was a good one for Scott, allowing the audience to hear “all of the colors of [her] voice.”
Park After Dark
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The alt rock band closed a night of music that inspired frontman Sal Morale to tell host Terrance McKnight, “I didn’t realize there was this much talent in the Bronx – and I’ve been there my whole life.” Helga Davis praised the band’s song and Alicia Olatuja said she loved the band’s energy. “You let us know it was okay to have fun with you.”