WYEP's Reimagination 7
Before getting into radio, I had several brief forays into playing music, keyboard lessons in third grade, self-taught guitar in college. One thing I never had was a mentor who could give me feedback and guidance for my music explorations, so I never got very far as a musician. Kids love creating music and want to share that love with others, they just need some assistance getting themselves to the next level. WYEP's Reimagination program is designed to do just that; to help teen musicians from our area to learn and grow by pairing them with an experienced mentor. The teenagers get to record their own original song in a professional studio and soak up all of the lessons and experiences one can only get by doing. WYEP always supports local musicians and we want to ensure that the next generation of Pittsburgh talent can make our music scene even better. Thank you for supporting our efforts to strengthen and invigorate the Pittsburgh music community. We're excited to share with you Reimagination Vol. 7.
—Mike Sauter, Station Manager
Produced by Jenn Wertz
Kate Malley: Lead Vocals
Cilia Catello: Electric Guitar
Alli Staymates: Bass
Nico Kinek: Drums
The Caregivers are a spunky four-piece punk rock band from Pittsburgh. In late 2017, guitarist Cilia Catello and lead vocalist Kate Malley began writing songs for fun, having found a shared passion for creative expression through music. In 2019 Cilia's cousin, Nico Kinek from Plum High School was welcomed into the band as their drummer. Cilia and Kate did some scouting to find a bassist. They happily invited fellow Penn Trafford High School student, Alli Staymates to join the band. With over twenty songs written together, The Caregivers are excited to share "Candy Canes" with the world. With verses and bridge written by Alli, and chords and choruses written by Cilia, “Candy Canes” is one of the band's favorite songs.
Alli's lyrical and instrumental inspirations include Modern Baseball, Of Montreal and Scruffpuppie. Cilia’s lyrics are inspired by My Chemical Romance, Weezer and Bikini Kill. Kate's vocal inspirations come from Aliceband, Destroy Boys and her sister Colleen. Nico’s drumming influences include Travis Barker of blink-182 and Carter Beauford of the Dave Matthews Band.
Produced by Jake Hanner
Nolan Jack: Acoustic Guitar, 12-String Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Nolan Jack plays acoustic folk rock music out of the small town of Ford City, PA. He performs solo and as a part of two rock bands, AndMore and the Sunburst House Band. He is truly an outdoorsy guy having grown up in the country on his great grandfather’s horse farm.
“Management” is a song that Nolan penned a couple of years ago. “It's been sitting there waiting for me to do something with it. It’s nice to finally feel like it is finished.”
Nolan plays a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, drums and ukulele. When he writes and records his own songs, he performs all of the instruments and creates all of the sounds. “I am pretty eclectic and love lots of music genres, but I gravitate toward folk rock. My biggest influences are probably John Mayer, Paul Simon, Matt Maeson, Nathaniel Rateliff and Hozier.”
Produced by Rick Witkowski
Skylar Burkett: Piano, Keyboards, Bass, Cello, Vocals
Skylar is a self-taught pianist and vocalist. She feels perfectly comfortable playing anything she listens to by ear. Her musical influences include Brandy Carlisle, Jason Mraz, The Beatles, CSNY, Nahko and Kacey Musgraves.
“Running” was written by a sad Skylar who went to her piano one night and started spilling out all of her emotions into a song. It’s about the feeling you have inside telling you that no matter how hard you try to fix all the wounds of a relationship, deep down you know it will never work. The chorus, Keep on running, was a huge realization that put all of her emotions into perspective as she was going through a tough heartbreak. Little did she know it would later transcend into such a meaningful song. “Although I wrote all of the music, I received some amazing ideas from my producer, Rick Witkowski, that made my song 100% better,” praised Skylar.
She reflects, “I have such a great musical family, music has always been a huge part of my life! My biggest goal is to connect with people who listen to my music or watch me perform. I don’t think I could go a day without music. Music will forever feed my soul!”
Wild Blue Yonder
Storms on Jupiter
Produced by Sean McDonald
Eli Alfieri: Hollow-Body Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals
Betsy Schmeler: Electric Guitar, Hollow-Body Electric Guitar
Joe Hodges: Rhodes Electric Piano
Dan Sawyer: Hammond B-3 Organ
Liam Kelly: Bass
Benito Countouris: Drums, Harmony Vocals
Wild Blue Yonder is a six-piece ensemble that fuses elements of rock, jazz and funk, with catchy pop melodies and lyrics, to produce a unique indie sound.
What makes Wild Blue Yonder really special is the collaborative focus and drive they share to create songs. They love the feeling of playing music and using it as a language to have conversations with one another. Their ideas are inspired by the things they do away from music, as well.
Eli was inspired to write this song after seeing NASA photos of Jupiter’s surface and reading about The Great Red Spot, a mesmerizing storm that has been active on Jupiter for over one hundred years. He began to think about the energy of the storm and the freeing and liberating feeling it gave him. The storms on Jupiter are blowing my mind/They aren’t held prisoner to the road lines/Unrestrained power elegantly devours the delicate hours of the day.
Wild Blue Yonder would like to thank their beloved manager AJ Prestogeorge, Greg Joseph, Sean McDonald, Dana Cannone, WYEP and most of all, their parents, for all the love and support.
The band will be releasing some more music this summer and a full LP in the fall.
Fly Too High
Produced by Dave Hidek
Gibson Musisko: Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
Madeline King: Rhythm Guitar, Backup Vocals
Zack Wolynn: Piano
Sage Arnold: Bass
Finn Deringor: Drums
Spare Lights have been playing together since October of 2019. They have all been in bands with at least one other current band member, but never together. The lyrics, chords and melody for the song, “Fly Too High” were written by Gibson Musisko with each band member writing their own instrumental part. He was inspired to write a simple song with a simple message, I’m flying too high. It’s up to the listener to interpret. A favorite lyric from the song is, You’re giving me these options/But I don’t get to choose. Band influences include The Strokes and Victor Wooten.
Produced by Dave Hidek
Dylan Riley: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Kenzie Parkinson: Keyboards, Lead Vocals
Roman Backus: Bass
Jake Devlin: Drums, Lead Vocals
Safety Last has been together for five years. In that time, the band has clocked in more than one hundred shows, performing over one hundred songs and creating a number of originals.
Threaded with great variety, Safety Last plays alternative rock with influences of jazz, classic rock, post grunge and punk.
The song “Oh My” is about coming to terms with young love and going through all of the ups and downs of a relationship, it also addresses the self-doubt one will experience along the way. The song's strength is reflected in the lyrics. They manage a great balancing act of telling a story meaningful to the band, yet vague enough so anyone listening can apply the lyrics to their own life.
The lyrics, So now you’re leaving/What is this feeling, are very powerful. It feels like an emotional outburst that has been pent up inside for a handful of years. All at once, the protagonist of this song is feeling rage, depression, anxiety and disappointment.
The song draws from many influences and is reminiscent of 90’s grunge and post grunge sounds.
Produced by INEZ
Na’Chelle Simone: Vocals
INEZ: Piano, Tracks
Growing up in her particular neighborhood, Na’Chelle sees and feels a lot of emotion. The ambitious singer/songwriter wanted to make a song to remind her that she can be anything despite circumstances. “There are people in my life who doubt me,” said Na’Chelle, “they don’t believe in my dreams of music.” But she is fighting to prove them wrong. Na’Chelle loves working in music production and listening to battle rap, R&B, soul and TBH music. She plays saxophone and realizes how important it is to her overall development as a songwriter.
During their songwriting time together, INEZ and Na’Chelle found out they both love Jon Bellion's song, "All Time Low". So, they wanted to pay tribute to that song and tell Na’Chelle’s own underdog story. INEZ played piano in the studio and when she nailed just the right chords, Na’Chelle was already finding inspiring parts she wanted to sing.
“I absolutely love to crochet. I have a small business. I've been making masks for people to wear in the middle of the pandemic. It's so therapeutic for me.”
I Feel Free
Produced by Skip Sanders
Dutch Jordan: Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Dutch is a self-taught musician, singing and playing all of the instruments on this inspiring track. He has a number of great musical influences. The Beatles are an easy number one, but he also appreciates new wave and synth pop from the 80’s. Blues and jazz legends like Herbie Hancock, Robert Johnson, Bo Diddley and Howling Wolf are also among his favorites. “The more I listen, the more my taste in music grows and grows,” exclaimed Dutch.
“This song is about the general sense of freedom one feels in a given moment, whether it be personal or otherwise. My favorite part is the major melody shift midway through the song; I had a lot of fun working with it,” said the singer/songwriter. The lyric that put “I Feel Free” in motion was, I’m dashing through the fields/Like I’m soaring through the sky. “As soon as I wrote that lyric down, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this song.”
Closer to the Ground
Produced by Jon Bindley
Alex Matson: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Donovan Jack: Piano
“The inspiration for this song was actually pretty silly, a friend of mine was commenting on how short she was and said, ‘I'm closer to the ground than all of you.’ When I heard that I knew I could twist those words a bit and put some meaning to them,” expressed singer/songwriter Alex Matson. He wrote the song, then one of his oldest musical friends, Donovan Jack whipped up some really nice piano work. It came together nicely.
Alex started out playing guitar when he was in seventh grade. After practicing for four or five months he got a few friends together to play a talent show for their school. “We just killed it! We even got booked to play a house party right after we got off stage. That first standing ovation is embedded in my mind and I've been chasing the music dream ever since.”
Alex draws a lot from Lukas Nelson’s music. “His lyrics have many times spoken to me very deeply and I want my lyrics to have the same passion behind them.”
I’ll Find You
Produced by Brian Edwards
Steele Mellinger: Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Drums, Vocals
Steele is a young songwriter who gets his inspiration for songs from friends, family, life experiences and God. His biggest musical inspirations include Billy Joel, James Taylor, John Mayer, Frank Ocean, Khalid, Ed Sheeran and Chance the Rapper. He is a youth leader at Orchard Hill Church and plays lacrosse for North Allegheny. Steele will venture on to a career in the music industry by attending the renowned Belmont University in Nashville, majoring in Music Business and Audio Engineering.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Dana Cannone and Greg Joseph
WYEP STATION MANAGER: Mike Sauter
WYEP SPECIAL EVENTS MANAGER: Nick Wright
MUSIC PRODUCERS: Jon Bindley, Brian Edwards, Jake Hanner, Dave Hidek, INEZ, Sean McDonald, Skip Sanders, Jenn Wertz, Rick Witkowski
RECORDING AND MIXING: Dana Cannone at The Church Recording Studio thechurchrecordingstudio.com
RECORDING: INEZ at the YMCA Lighthouse Studio ymcapgh.org/lighthouse-project
MASTERING: Garrett Haines at Treelady Studios treelady.com
GRAPHIC DESIGN: Matt Grey
PROMOTER/HOW TO BOOK A GIG
Jonathan Keilback - Millvale Music Festival
Alex Neal - General Manager, Thunderbird Cafe & Music Hall
Cody Walters - Deutschtown Music Festival, Northside Leadership Conference
FUNDING FOR REIMAGINATION COMES FROM:
The Grable Foundation
The Generous Donors of WYEP
Special Thanks to The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Board and Staff of WYEP and the parents, guardians and families of the 2020 Reimagination student artists, for supporting Pittsburgh’s musical future.