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ConcrtMe is a page where artists can be heard as normal people. We publish a range of heartfelt, funny and sometimes heartbreaking stories that make you feel something real. Schedule your interview here. [http://bit.ly/1wCVbgV]

08/12/2018
Virtual Concert by Danni Ai

Jamaican African / American artists does Virtual Concrthday.

Best Birthday Wish wins a thousand dollars 💰💵😉

The beautiful Kaja Nelson gave her first New York performance to Freddy's Bar and Rockwood Music Hall, arguably the two ...
03/13/2017

The beautiful Kaja Nelson gave her first New York performance to Freddy's Bar and Rockwood Music Hall, arguably the two best venues New York has to offer. At one dramatic point during her Rockwood show, the DJ (who will go unmentioned for this piece) butchered her original music playlist. Standing there to a crowded room, it almost seemed like she would run backstage to cry. Perhaps I, the interviewer, has watched one too many romantic-comedies. Unlike the movies; Kaja powered through the set. In fact, to my surprise, she finished to a standing ovation.

But before she hit those stages, Kaja Nelson had plenty to say in her interview, which mostly took place in a Long Island caffe serendipitously picked by her manager Ryan Boehler.

On her first car: "The first car I was driving around was a 92' Mitsubishi Eagle; which was the biggest piece of s**t as you can imagine. Then came Thomas, which was my sister's car. I called him Thomas because he was ALSO the biggest piece of s**t. The name derives from 'The Little Engine That Could'. The car worked but you could literally hear it from a mile away. All my friends knew when I'd cruise down the driveway. They'd say Thomas is here. Not Kaja but Thomas. "

On Eggbabies, yes!, Eggbabies: "My best friends who I went to prom with are called Eggbabies. Maybe one day it will be a band; Kaja and the Eggbabies."

On love: "I thought I was in love a lot of times before I was actually in love. I'm the relationship type. I've never not been in a relationship."

Kaja is an intriguing character, on one hand excited about everything happening to her at the moment, on the other, completely nuanced about the whole experience. That’s partly down to her wanting to be a singer for so long; now it’s actually coming true, the fire in her belly has been extinguished by years of rejection.

"My name is Kaja Nelson. It's my real name. I don't want to go by anything else."

In Namibia, often people don’t see music as a serious course to study. But things are changing. Hopefully I am making ...
09/03/2016

In Namibia, often people don’t see music as a serious course to study. But things are changing. Hopefully I am making a difference and changing perspectives…

* Come hear her play at Pink Empowerment by Velocity Consulting and Training

Did you have any ill will towards your father before he died?Ciph Boogie We got into an argument the week he died. It wa...
08/31/2016

Did you have any ill will towards your father before he died?

Ciph Boogie We got into an argument the week he died. It was a really bad argument. Later on I was at the studio. I was picking up a song and I see him call me back. So I ignored it. I ignored the phone call because I was so mad over what we were arguing about on Sunday. It sucks that my last conversation with my father was an argument. To this day it still haunts me.

I try not to have regrets. Deep down I know he’s proud of me irregardless of how we didn't see eye to eye. We just never really got a chance to talk as adults about certain things.

Although I have had many opportunities, it’s my experiences in Namibia that most inspire my music. Namibia pushes me t...
08/30/2016

Although I have had many opportunities, it’s my experiences in Namibia that most inspire my music. Namibia pushes me to sing about bigger issues. If not the differences in ideologies with those exhibited in the West, its gender equality, or even the rain. Namibia is a beautiful country, and I wish for people to see that reflected in my music. - Shishani

We started with a coffee shop on Avenue A in the nineties. I was 26 and my brother was 23. We were babies back then but ...
07/05/2016

We started with a coffee shop on Avenue A in the nineties. I was 26 and my brother was 23. We were babies back then but we had ambition. We literally bought lumber at the hardware store and built a counter. The internet was pretty new; with a high speed connection we were able to gave it the vibe of a downtown cyber cafe. People who didn't have internet would come here to check their emails. There's a part of me that feels like 'oh man, I missed the birth of the original tech boom because I was running a coffee shop.' But then again a lot of those tech people ended up being burnt in the first tech bubble. After 11 years it was hard to just run a coffee shop. So that eventually ran its course.

In 2005 we opened The Cake Shop. This was a really big project in the sense that there was nothing here before. There wasn't a toilet. There wasn't a certificate of occupancy; you're usually supposed to get it before you start a business when you sign the lease. It took way longer than we thought it would. And we started paying rent before any sales were coming in. So luckily, my brother and I started booking really solid bands. One technique was to craft bills, meaning; we'll put up a touring band from the west coast with a Brooklyn band so that people can stay not just for one band but hopefully get exposed to new bands.

At the end of the day, we've put a lot of heart and soul into The Cakeshop. It means a lot to me when people say Cakeshop is the only place with a soul. Some people think Manhattan is over and the new thing is Brooklyn. There are some things you can't put into a business plan. So when people pick up on it. It's really humbling. That's the scene we've worked hard to build with our bartenders, our sound guy, and most importantly the musicians.

When I was younger fame sounded cool. But at this point it's fine. I don't need that. When you actually think about fame...
07/05/2016

When I was younger fame sounded cool. But at this point it's fine. I don't need that. When you actually think about fame it gets to a point where you get to see people who become famous, and I'm talking about people who ACTUALLY make it, and I don't know any one of them that are happy. The tour life. The rock star life. That stuff is great when you're 21. But I just turned 31 yesterday.
For me I don't want that. It's not important. Personally, what is important right now is my wife. Professionally, this venue is important. Yea we're not solving any great world problems. We might not be Doctors Without Borders. We're not a non-profit. But if there is one good thing we are doing here at Friends & Lovers, it's creating an outlet for truly good artists and truly good musicians to enrich the culture of New York.

Are we going to lose you to Hollywood one day?Here's the truth. And you can print this. I had a couple friends who were ...
07/05/2016

Are we going to lose you to Hollywood one day?
Here's the truth. And you can print this. I had a couple friends who were moving to California. As they started moving I began to have these doubts about New York; am I really in the right place?
And then it came to me. Of course I am. So that's when I bought the bar. It was like I chained myself to New York City in good way.

We renovated the backroom in hopes to attract better music. I really wanted it to be more of an industry feel here. Where people in the music industry can stop by on say Wednesday night and see some new talent. Another part of it is that I'm an actor. So in the renovations I wanted to have a flexible space. Gradually we've seen plays back here get reviewed in The New York Times, we've had some Burlesque, we've had some Stand Up Comedy but the main focus of our programming is music.

This bar has been around since 1908. Back in those days this room was a neighborhood fencing shop; this is where you brought all your stolen stuff. It was really sketchy. I think they even had tombstone sells back here. Then it was like a wood-shop. Then there's talk about a tunnel in the basement that goes all the way to the river, and apparently that's where they dumped the bodies.
They say this place is haunted. We're in books for it being haunted. We have people come here and talk about how they feel spirits here. A lot of crazy stuff but we're still here.

When I was in college I got involved with the music promotion side of things, some were regional and some were national....
07/05/2016

When I was in college I got involved with the music promotion side of things, some were regional and some were national. After I graduated college I still had bands playing in a house I shared with some friends. Then skip ahead. Some years went by. I got a professional job. Then ended up leaving the real world to stay in the bar world. It was like 'wow this is what I've always been doing' I just didn't know I could still do it as an adult; my life came full circle.

A bunch of us just got together and decided to start a Tiki bar. Tiki bars were a thing way back in the day. They all of a sudden disappeared. I always thought they were kinda cool. The "Otto" part in our name came from one of the guys who helped the whole Tiki resurgence; Otto Von Stroheim. The "Shrunken" part has some rock 'n' roll to it. It's not so cutesy. It has a little bit of an edge. Thus Otto's Shrunken Head.

Nabe Underground - Nabe Harlem  I spent about 6 or 7 years in Japan. And I came back to New York as an adult. I acquired...
06/20/2016

Nabe Underground - Nabe Harlem I spent about 6 or 7 years in Japan. And I came back to New York as an adult. I acquired a new found appreciation for New York and what it offers. For me it was the love of where I grew up and wanting my neighborhood to be better and do better.

The market was telling me to be that little speak easy lounge with no music; get some fancy cocktails, get a fancy menu and make money, that's it! Instead, I pushed the music element. I spent a lot of time in the village going to places like The Groove, and Cafe Wha. I loved the family atmosphere they had with their musicians and was wondering why we didn't have that in Harlem.

The end goal is to be a place where musicians and music lovers can be themselves always. I purchased this property in my neighborhood because I wanted to do business in MY neighborhood. How about we build a pre-school or charter school to teach our young generation the keys to entrepreneurship? Maybe they just start with a lemonade stand. If I can prove it to them with this business then I'm halfway there.

The Shrine NYCTaylor (girl on the left)For the last 8 years I've been craving a family, you know that anxiety of just wa...
06/20/2016

The Shrine NYC
Taylor (girl on the left)
For the last 8 years I've been craving a family, you know that anxiety of just wanting children, just wanting a husband and of course that house on a farm. But then I turned 28. That anxiety has worn off and I've come to realize that I am exactly where I'm meant to be. Kids can wait. I've always dreamed of owning a music venue. But I've also seen that it's so much work from both my parents owning businesses and current experience at The Shrine and Silvana. Being an artist is just as important. I see both of those going hand and hand and I hope I never need to choose one over the other.

Mathurin (guy on the right)
Being here in New York has always been a big dream for me. For most of my family, they wanted to be diplomats but for me, it was music that called my name. So after working in Burkina Faso I came here. I knew it wouldn't be easy. I knew I'd have to do odd jobs. The Shrine is odd in a different type of way. It's the best world music venue in New York City. Ironically it has has become a stepping stone to my future goals but a milestone I can proudly confess to my family in Africa.

Places are extremely important when writing a story because place shapes character. Freddy's Bar and Backroom is unlike ...
06/12/2016

Places are extremely important when writing a story because place shapes character. Freddy's Bar and Backroom is unlike any place I've ever experienced. On Friday The Tiki Brothers, Tom Gavin, Fred Thomas, and 9th WARD reminded a packed house why Donald O'Finn is still the best man in the business when it comes to booking acts!

I was born in Windhoek but grew up in Gobabis. In the beginning, just after my parents’ separation, my mom and my sibl...
05/13/2016

I was born in Windhoek but grew up in Gobabis. In the beginning, just after my parents’ separation, my mom and my siblings were very anti-social. I spent most of my high school days hiding from people, and blocking myself emotionally. At that time my family wasn’t very affectionate. We barely even hugged one another. So imagine the shock when I got to university and got friends that were openly affectionate. In the beginning I was very awkward with affection, but in a way God blessed me immensely with friends that taught me that it was ok for me to let my guard down every once in a while, and that God was in control all the time. I then realized that you have to be adapting your emotions to people as everyone is going through something. Everyone has some form of hurt, so you need to meet them with love. I have a very strong mother who encouraged us to maintain a strong and healthy relationship with my father. She taught me that his mistakes are merely that, mistakes. And that we should foster an environment of forgiveness. - Inesh Dos Ramos

Shishani I was born right here in Windhoek, but moved to the Netherlands when I was five years old. I remember going to ...
05/04/2016

Shishani I was born right here in Windhoek, but moved to the Netherlands when I was five years old. I remember going to a school with 800 kids. There were only two people of colour: an Indian and myself. It was difficult growing up as a “brown child”. In Europe I was seen as black, and in Namibia I was seen as European. I could never seem to belong to one group of people.

Superstars in the Making(Concert Review)Flamboyance, swagger, street cred, and finally, a peek at stars in the making al...
07/24/2015

Superstars in the Making
(Concert Review)

Flamboyance, swagger, street cred, and finally, a peek at stars in the making all came together during Jonathan Levant and Butta Cool's concert, which opened at Manhattan’s Meridian 23 last night (July 22). It was two hours of tightly choreographed showmanship that was timed to the second, and ended on high notes. Jonathan brought a family member on stage. Butta punished the venue’s speakers. The sheer volume of authentic R&B material from Jonathan, coupled with Butta Cool’s cinematic themes & jaw-dropping 12 pack abs made for a highly entertaining and impressive show that gave fans their moneys’ worth.

Special Thanks to:
Monica Peart - Cashier
Chris Strong - Security
Sasha M Fountain - Videographer
Grobby Muleya - Photographer
Lucas Reif - Designer
Travail Donna D - Producer
Sinvula Nalisa - Ceo/Founder

Lydia Caesar We underestimate the power of love because we only associate it to romantic relationships. That’s a part ...
05/05/2015

Lydia Caesar We underestimate the power of love because we only associate it to romantic relationships. That’s a part of it of course, but it's so much more than that, like just everyday loving one another. It may seem cliche but there is not enough of that. There is so much negativity circulating, especially in our urban music. When you listen to the concepts like ‘these hoes ain’t loyal and you can’t trust thots’ etc… I get it, there is a place for that, but there is just so much of it out these days.

With social media and the internet, negativity is also very widespread. It’s almost like love is forgotten. We are so focused on us and ‘me, me, me’ and our 15 mins, that we forget there is a need for love. That’s probably where my heart is the most these days, which is why I sing about it and I go on missions and mentor youth because I think it's so important to know that love is not just about a boyfriend or girlfriend. Love is a healer for all things.

*Share in Support of Lydia and if you agree we all need more Love.

ONE4FIVE [Melee] I always write better when I’m grieving. So after a breakup that's usually what I do. A lot of times ...
04/29/2015

ONE4FIVE [Melee] I always write better when I’m grieving. So after a breakup that's usually what I do. A lot of times it's therapeutic too. One time I did a remix to Justin Timberlake’s 'Cry me a river' about this girl and one day she was by my house and I saw it just so happened to be the next song to play on my playlist and so I walked out the room before it came on and then just let it blast while she was in there.

I waited for her to listen to it and then came back in the room when it was over. She looked at me and said “wow, I didn’t know that, that’s what it was or that you felt that way…” and I was just like, 'yea, that’s what it was.'

*SHARE in support of Melee of One4Five and therapeutic songs. :-)

Gi Major I hadn’t told anyone that I wanted to pursue hip hop and I think that was because I didn’t take myself seri...
04/27/2015

Gi Major I hadn’t told anyone that I wanted to pursue hip hop and I think that was because I didn’t take myself seriously for some time. I remember having a deep 4am conversation with a friend where I told her I was running away from what I really want to do. She asked me what it was and I told her that I wanted to rap. That was the moment I realized that hip hop is what I really wanted to do. At some point you have to realize that if you really want to do something, you have to believe in yourself first.

*Share in support of Gi Major and if you agree :-)

Freddy's Bar and Backroom I started as a bartender at a prohibition era place 25 years ago. Back then Park Slope was dea...
04/25/2015

Freddy's Bar and Backroom I started as a bartender at a prohibition era place 25 years ago. Back then Park Slope was dead after dark, If you wanted to eat after 10pm...you literally had to come see me, because we were the only ones open & we had a tiny oven behind the bar that could do Stewart Sandwiches. You couldn't buy anything in the bodegas back then. You'd point at something behind the bullet-proof plexi and say ‘can I have some milk?’ They'd say "no!" , then you say "Can I have salt?’..NO! ‘Can I have some crack?’..yes! (laughs) It was a crazy time. A different time.

That first bar was were I started doing some bookings. Back then there really wasn't any live music around. It all happened because I gravitate towards artists and they gravitate towards me. Me personally, I don't even like live-music in a bar. I want to hear Sinatra or whoever the bartender is playing, and not some moderately talented guy on a Flying V guitar...But I just sorta fell into it because I know so many musicians and they needed a place to play. Later that conspired with having a bar and needing to fill it.

Being an artist had huge influence on my decisions as a BarMan & a booker. I use intuition not statistics. I try to create a scene not a bank account. I thought of the whole thing as a "social experiment"...an adult play ground. I learned the job by doing it. Experience is the best teacher of all. But there are no guarantees you are doing it right. I expected to make it big as an artist not as a bar-guy. But I did learn that the highest form of art is a 'life well lived.' It is a great challenge and a wonderful journey ...how to figure out how to "be"...and to carve your path.

* Share in support of Donald & if you've ever been to Freddy's Bar :)

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