Kollaboration LA | Meet the Contestants
  • by Audrey Archives
  • May 30, 2013
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Kollaboration Los Angeles is only one day away! Tomorrow night, seven talented artists will take the stage at the Ford Amphitheater and compete for the title and grand prize of $1000. Past winners include Far East Movement and Dumbfoundead. This year, Kollaboration LA is hosted by comedian PK (Paul Kim) with a special guest appearance by comedian Jimmy Ouyang. David Choi and his father Ray Choi will also be performing at the show. Here’s your chance to get to know some of the contestants better.

Name: Andrew Abaria (alter ego is St. Andrew)
Hometown: Beaverton, OR
Music genre: Pop

Do you have a job other than performing or what did you do before you became a music artist?
I paid the bills with a career in yoga before I committed to my life as a music artist.

What was your reaction to becoming a finalist on Kollaboration Los Angeles?
I definitely felt honored when I found out that I would be part of the competition this year. Kollaboration has had huge successes over the years and to be a part of that legacy is truly incredible.

What would it mean for you to win Kollaboration Los Angeles?
It would be awesome to win this city and move on to the national competition. This would mean that I would be able to share my music with even more people and being of service by sharing my experiences through music is truly what I live for.

What is your go-to karaoke song?
Bye Bye Bye by N’Sync

What song is currently on “repeat” on your ipod?
Well I’ve been listening a lot to various variations of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” but One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” is the one song I’ve heard over and over again recently!

What is your greatest fear?
That I don’t live up to my fullest potential.

What is your go-to comfort food?
It’s a tie between muffins and ice cream.

What is a talent you’d like to have?
I’d love to be able to have an innate business sense!

What I love about being Asian is…
that no one stops me to ask for directions since they all think I’m a foreigner.

Name: Dave and The Cousins (nickname: The Asian Folkers)
Age: 22 to 28
Hometown: Orange County and Murrieta, CA
Music genre: Indie Folk

Do you have a job other than performing or what did you do before you became a music artist?
Dave is a restaurant manager at a sushi restaurant, Lois just graduated as a nurse practitioner, Grace is a student and clinical researcher, and Christina is an order processor.

What was your reaction to becoming a finalist on Kollaboration Los Angeles?
We were shocked! It was a very unexpected phone call. On a whim, Lois had submitted a video of our band performing at our very first gig. The band had only been together for a couple months when we got the call. We had no idea that we would be chosen and the only video submission chosen at that!

What would it mean for you to win Kollaboration Los Angeles?
It would be affirmation that we don’t have to be mainstream pop or R&B to be liked. It would show that Asian Americans, and the public in general, are expanding their musical tastes to include folk. Winning Kollaboration would be an opportunity for us to share our original sound with the Asian-Pacific-American community and the money would go towards starting a west coast tour.

What is your go-to karaoke song?
We actually don’t do karaoke… but one of our favorite cover songs is Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

What song is currently on “repeat” on your ipod?
Obladi-Oblada by The Beatles. We have recently added this song to our repertoire for our weekend performances on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

What is your greatest fear?
This one’s a hard one…honestly, without trying to sound pompous, we don’t have too many fears. We are just grateful to be on this journey, as far as it will take us.

What is your go-to comfort food?
Quan Vy pho (Vietnamese noodles) in Garden Grove… yes, please!

What is a talent you’d like to have?
To be able to dance like Jeremy Crooks! Oh.. and draw!

What is your pet peeve?
Inconsideration of others, slow drivers in expensive cars, and bad Asian drivers fulfilling the stereotype!

What I love about being Asian is…
that we still get ID’ed even ten years after becoming legal age to drink!

Name: Nate Tao
Age: 23
Hometown: Reston, VA
Music Genre: Pop/R&B/Electronic

Do you have a job other than performing or what did you do before you became a music artist?
Yes. I teach American Sign Language at a private high school in LA and I work at two restaurants. I have no life!

What was your reaction to becoming a finalist on Kollaboration Los Angeles?
I was so excited! I hadn’t lived in LA for even a year when I auditioned and it was really by chance that I heard about the competition. So, needless to say, I was ecstatic to be doing something amazing like this.

What would it mean for you to win Kollaboration Los Angeles?
It would mean so much. I get a huge rush by simply performing but actually winning would be crazy. My friends and I have put a lot of work (I’m performing with two bandmates) into this performance and we can’t wait to finally show everyone what we’re made of. I’m getting antsy just thinking about it.

What is your go-to karaoke song?
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder

What song is currently on “repeat” on your iPod?
“Who You Are” by Jessie J

What is your greatest fear?
I am not a fan of large insects/spiders. We should not interact in any situation whatsoever.

What is your go-to comfort food?
Goldfish. I could eat bags and bags of those. I can’t stop and will probably need to start buying the large carton-sized box.

What is a talent you’d like to have?
I’d like to learn how to dance. I don’t mean basic choreography but a hardcore routine like something you’d see on America’s Best Dance Crew. Those dancers always impress me.

What is your pet peeve?
Having to interact with fake and/or arrogant people. That is not fun.

What I love about being Asian is…
THE FOOD! I can’t pass up a great meal and there are so many different Asian cultures with amazing foods and drinks to try. Also, we age well. Now, keep in mind that is a blanket statement. I think once I hit a certain age, I’m going to wake up looking 80 years old. It’ll be nature’s payback.

Name: Jeremy Crooks
Age: 20
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Music genre: R&B/Hip-Hop/Pop

Do you have a job other than performing or what did you do before you became a music artist?
I’m actually a Project Manager at an IT company in Irvine, CA.

What was your reaction to becoming a finalist on Kollaboration Los Angeles?
I was extremely excited! I love having the opportunity to perform.

What would it mean for you to win Kollaboration Los Angeles?
It would mean a great deal to be a winner of Kollaboration. I would love to be a part of the legacy. There has been some amazing talent that has come from Kollaboration.

What is your go-to karaoke song?
Everytime I Close My Eyes- Babyface

What song is currently on “repeat” on your ipod?
All of Frank Ocean’s new album.

What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is not knowing what the future holds.

What is your go-to comfort food?
Salmon and potatoes.

What is a talent you’d like to have?
I would love to be able to learn other languages easily.

What is your pet peeve?
I don’t like laziness and pessimism. I like surrounding myself with driven optimistic people.

What I love about being Asian is…
the fact that being Asian represents my mother’s side of the family. My drive and talents mainly come from my mother’s side, and I love my family and the culture that my Filipino heritage brings. But I’m also half-Irish, and I’m very proud of that as well.

Name: Kaitlin Marie Obien
Age: 17
Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA
Music genre: Pop

Do you have a job other than performing or what did you do before you became a music artist?
Full time high school student; soon to become a senior- class of 2013!!

What was your reaction to becoming a finalist on Kollaboration Los Angeles?
I was in class, and I asked to be excused to take the phone call, and after I heard I was jumping up and down. Couldn’t stop smiling.

What would it mean for you to win Kollaboration Los Angeles?
It would mean the WORLD to me. All I want is for people to be able to hear my music and see how much I love it.

What is your go-to karaoke song?
“Let’s Groove” by Earth Wind and Fire.

What song is currently on “repeat” on your ipod?
“Love on Top” by Beyonce.

What is your greatest fear?
Big dogs that like to attack me when I get to the house.

What is your go-to comfort food?
Fiber-one brownies. Mmmmm.

What is a talent you’d like to have?
A photographic memory…school would be WAY easier. Lol.

What is your pet peeve?
When people chew gum in my ear really loudly.

What I love about being Asian is…
being able to eat all the amazing food.

Name: Brooke Taylor (nickname: BT, Tay-Tay, Brooklyn)
Age: 25
Hometown: Culver City
Music genre: R&B/ Pop

Do you have a job other than performing or what did you do before you became a music artist?
I am a full time musician now, but I used to work at a Fashion Supplier Company where I handled the Accounts Receivable Dept.

What was your reaction to becoming a finalist on Kollaboration Los Angeles?
I was so excited and thrilled to be a part of this show! I really didn’t know if I would make it this year!

What would it mean for you to win Kollaboration Los Angeles?
It definitely means a lot to me because I will be performing an original song that I wrote/composed on the piano. This will only fuel me to continue to create music.

What is your go-to karaoke song?
My favorite is “How Come You Don’t Call Me” – Alicia Keys.

What song is currently on “repeat” on your ipod?
That Good – Glasses Malone.

What is your greatest fear?
I actually live my life as fearlessly as possible. I have found that seeing things in life optimistically I have come to accomplish many goals.

What is your go-to comfort food?
I love French fries!!! Yum!

What is a talent you’d like to have?
I wish I could be a sculptor. I think that takes a lot of talent to be able to produce such amazing pieces of work!

What is your pet peeve?
I hate fake people. In this industry, I have ran across such negative and mean spirited people who will do anything to make you miserable. I am so anti-negative!

What I love about being Asian is…
that in this industry along with the type of music that I sing (R&B), many people assume that Asians can’t sing soul music. I want to break the boundries of this stereotype to show that race does not define talent.

Also competing is Ms. Laney.

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