Kollab SF and Jayne Rio Bring You a Cover of Adele’s All I Ask Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

Need a last minute Valentine’s Day gift? Just show your special someone this cover of Adele’s All I Ask by Kollaboration SF alum Jayne Rio. Problem Solved!

If you like what you hear check out the other 2 videos in Kollab SF’s Valentine’s Day series.

Check out more from Jayne at:
Instagram: @jaynerio

Videographers: Alinna Boonklun, Cathleen Joaquin, Layla Yu, Leonard Chan
Sound: RodneyRock
Editor: Leonard Chan

More from KollabSF at KollaborationSF.org

Get in the Valentine’s Day Mood with this Cover of Christina Aguilera’s All I Want is You by Patrick Wong

The team at Kollab SF cooked up a couple of great cover videos just in time for Valentines Day! Check out &Blue’s Patrick Wong as he covers Christina Aguilera’s Come On Over (All I Want is You), a classic tune that’ll take you right back to your middle school days (just me?)!

Check out more of Patrick at:
Instagram: @itspatrickwong

Videographers: Alinna Boonklun, Cathleen Joaquin, Layla Yu, and Leonard Chan
Sound: RodneyRock
Editor: Alinna Boonklun

More from KollabSF at KollaborationSF.org

Ruth + the Library – The Green Room

“This edition of the Kollaboration Green Room features Ruth + the Library, an up-and-coming band based in Los Angeles, combining funky, jazzy beats with the unique vocal styling of lead singer, Ruth Cho. They are currently in the running for the Grammy Amplifier competition so if you like what you hear, send them some hits at http://www.grammyamplifier.com/artists/submission/songs-balcony-my-love

Hear more from Ruth + the Library at http://www.librarycollective.co/ and visit their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiOzb_3XKJhhAd9UVICuykQ

“”Who Knew that Love””

Special thanks to Zenith Division for their assistance in making this video.

Matt Almodiel – The Green Room

Matt Almodiel is a singer/songwriter and LA transplant by way of the DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia). An alum of the 2011 Kollaboration DC showcase, he headed west to attend UCSD before moving to LA to pursue his musical dreams. A master of the mash-up, his infectious melodies will have you humming and dancing for hours after he’s finished playing.

Hear more from Matt at https://soundcloud.com/mattalmodiel and visit his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/MattAlmodiel/

“Into You”
“Nothing Left to Lose”
“No Big Deal”

Special thanks to Zenith Division for their assistance in making this video.

Sia’s “Alive” Music Video Spots New Wunderkind in Japanese Martial Artist

Over a year after the release of her sixth album, 1000 Forms of Fear, Australian singer-songwriter Sia is back with a new album underway. With her seventh album, This Is Acting, set for release on January 29, 2016, she’s already beginning to promote it with the release of three of its tracks and on November 5th, she released the music video for the lead single, “Alive.”

Similar to her previous music videos, Sia is nowhere to be seen as we are instead treated to a choreographed piece performed by a child in the trademark bob wig. Unlike the previous music videos, the one for “Alive” has martial arts rather than a dance routine, and instead of 13-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler, it’s 9-year-old Japanese karate star Mahiro Takano who dons the bob.

All focus is on young Takano who appears to be alone in an empty room. She is meditating and stirring tea at the beginning of the video, and then performs a number of moves as Sia is heard belting out the song. Conceptually, the video is an interesting take on a song about overcoming struggles and becoming a fighter, especially in the parts where she looks as if she’s sparring an invisible opponent.

I could see this music video as an extension of a listicle I did last year about music videos that respectfully depict Asian culture. There are many examples where Asian culture is objectified in music videos, such as Avril Lavigne’s “Hello Kitty” and Nicki Minaj’s “Your Love,” but this music video is one of only few examples that doesn’t resort to cultural appropriation. Sia, who also served as the co-director for the music video, made a respectable and creative choice of using the Japanese martial art as a symbolic visual for her song by simply having Takano show what she knows.

In addition, it’s also wise to note that a young Asian girl is the star this time around. According to Entertainment Weekly, Sia found Takano online after coming across videos of her on YouTube. In fact, one of Takano’s demo videos went viral last year, where she is seen performing Kanku Dai kata (a karate form), and it has since garnered nearly five million views. Much like the music videos for Sia’s previous album, as author Shannon Carlyn observes in her article for Bustle, the casting of young girls has not only been a way of filling in for her absence, but also as a way to empower young girls and women to not feel limited in what they can or cannot do.


Ziegler, who beforehand was known for being on the reality show Dance Moms, gained wider notice after appearing in the music videos for Sia’s “Chandelier,” “Elastic Heart,” and “Big Girls Cry.” Due to the seldom appearance of Asians in music videos, the fact that Takano might receive similar attention for her performance in “Alive” is a really exciting possibility. It does, however, depend on her deal with Sia. While Ziegler was signed on to do three music videos, it is currently unknown as to whether or not this will be the only one Takano appears in.

The music video does have the potential to be subjective to enforcing the stereotype that all Asians know martial arts. Ideally, I’d like to think that we’re in a time now where people would know better, but if that were truly the case, then the stereotypical roles and lack of visibility of Asians in the media wouldn’t be as significant an issue as it is. But considering Takano’s background in martial arts, I hope that the music video can be seen more as a way of showcasing her talent, similar to how “Chandelier” showcased Ziegler’s. Besides, it’s not that often where martial arts are included in a music video. Unlike mainstream martial art films where they’re made to look flashy with post-production visual aesthetics, Takano makes it real by simply demonstrating the moves she has learned that has led to her earning a black belt.

This past year, we’ve begun to see a turnout in better representations of Asians and Asian Americans in the media landscape. With this music video out there now starring a talented Japanese girl, my hope is that it ignites the move to diversify actors and performers in the future of music videos.


Cover image source: Sia

Judith Hill Goes Back in Time with Funk-Driven Debut Album

Judith Hill has been a backup singer for musicians like Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and was to serve as one for Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” Tour. She was featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom and was a contestant on the fourth season of The Voice. But Friday, October 23rd, marked the beginning of a new chapter for the singer-songwriter, for her debut album, Back in Time, was at long last released.

Back in Time is an R&B/soul funk album from NPG Records. Co-produced by Prince and recorded at Paisley Park, it was originally released as a free download on SoundCloud for a limited time last March.

The album has a retro feel in its overall sound, for Hill, as the daughter of funk musicians Robert “Peewee” and Michiko Hill, really digs deep into the genre. It’s one of those albums where each song—more or less—is going to have you bobbing your head or tapping your foot in sync with the beat.

There are a couple of songs that really stand out. One of them is the opening track, “As Trains Go By.” Beginning with only Hill’s vocals that sound like they’re coming from a crackly record player, the song is a strong kick off to Back in Time; it sets a general sense of what to expect from the sound. Thematically, the song doesn’t shy away from the repetitive police brutality that’s been hitting the headlines over the past year. One line she repeats throughout is, “Might as well be famous, since I ain’t gonna be white.”

The third track on the album, “Angel In the Dark,” is a unique song as far as its sound goes, as it has the highest amount of production value, giving it a more modern vibe. The production doesn’t hinder Hill’s vocals, but instead compliments it. It’s a standout on the album as she briefly takes a step away from her overall retro sound and experiment with the present.

“Beautiful Life” is more slowed down, as it demonstrates Hill’s vocal ability with power ballads. She thrives in this song, as her voice takes its time building up to a chorus about how life is quite beautiful, despite the downfalls. However, after seeing her duet with Jackson on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” in the This Is It documentary, it doesn’t surprise me that she has the capability to sing this way.

“Cry, Cry, Cry” is likely to be the most musically explored song on the album. Hill channels her inner Aretha Franklin on this one, as her vocals are sung in a way where it’s unlike any of the other songs on the album. This song has the most soul of them all, as she pours a lot of it into each passionate line she hits.

As much as Back in Time is a quality record with its 60s and 70s-sounding vibes, there were a few songs that could have been a little stronger; in particular “Cure,” “My People,” and “Wild Tonight.” With the tempo for those songs being very similar, it started to sound a little redundant after a while. In addition, the songs that made up a core portion of the middle of the album seemed to play at a slow tempo for a little too long. In fact, by the time we arrive at “Jammin’ In the Basement,” the song’s sudden pickup in pace is practically unexpected.

While the album is evident of Hill’s soul funk background (and love for the genre as well), it would have been interesting to see her experiment more with the sounds of her songs. The combined elements of both the old and the new made “Angel In the Dark” particularly intriguing.

Ultimately, Back in Time is a love letter to the soul funk genre, and people who are into that kind of music will most definitely enjoy it. Hill’s voice is a sound that, I feel, has been lacking in contemporary music, and given the album’s cover art of her as a toddler jamming on a toy piano, one can imagine how this first body of work—of likely many more to come—has been a lifetime in the making.


Cover image source: www.judithhill.com

8 Life-Threatening Facts About Run River North (that you never knew you wanted to know)

The afternoon sun blazing overhead, I trudged up a set of stairs and, upon entering the foyer, was met with a bubble of voices and laughter, which filled up the cozy interior of House Roots Coffee. It was here where I met Alex Hwang, vocalist of the Los Angeles based band Run River North. Warm coffee mugs in hand, we retreated to a quieter room, where I learned more about the band and the inspiration behind their new album Drinking From a Salt Pond (available for pre-order now).

 1. RRN band members’ entire being encapsulated in three words. Interpret as you desire:

Daniel Chae (violinist, guitarist): “Renaissance, running, tones.”

John Chong (drummer): “Drummer, model-esque, and uh, this is tough. Black & white, is that a word? I’ll use that.”

Sally Kang (keyboardist): “Demure, goofy, and big head”

Jen Rimm (violinist): “Little sister, vogue, and um, incredibly tough. Yea, tough.”

Joe Chun (bassist): “Four arms, four arms, and four arms.”

Alex Hwang (singer/songwriter): “Okay, who am I missing. John, Jen, Joe, myself? Okay, myself. Um… Monsters Calling Home.”

2. If the bottoms of your feet have been itching to know the reason behind Hwang’s lack of shoes on stage, here’s the nitty gritty: It’s just more comfortable.

Hwang on his exposed extremities, “As an Asian, you grow up in your house not having shoes, and I think of all the most comfortable places I’m in – like the shower, the bathroom, my home… I’m the most relaxed there. And the common thread for most of them is, I’m either alone, or I don’t have shoes on. So since I can’t be alone on stage, if I can take my shoes off, that’d be great… I just feel more connected to the ground.”

Growing up in a Korean household in which the shoes stopped where the carpet started, I can completely relate with Hwang’s desire to kick off his shoes for the sake of comfort. I’d hesitate to jump up and down with bare feet on some of the grodier stages that RRN’s performed on, but to each his own!

John Chong (from left), Sally Kang, Joe Chun, Alex Hwang, Jennifer Rim and Daniel Chae of Run River North. Photo by Doualy Xaykaothao, NPR

3. Stories from fans are sources of inspiration for the band.

“We’ve been really lucky to go on tour and travel the country like two, three times now, so we’re meeting people from Iowa, Michigan, Tennessee. We’d never have imagined that people would like our music. And when we do, we show up, and we have time to talk to them and there’s a lot of stories out there that seem to resonate with our stories, and it’s not too different,” says Hwang.

4. Hwang has impeccable taste in music (Subjective, perhaps. Keyword: perhaps).

“I’m really digging this one song off the Fitz and the Tantrums album. It’s called The Last Raindrop. It just came up while I was running, I think it’s just a fantastic song,” says Hwang as he searches through his iPhone. He also loves The Killers, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, and Death Cab for Cutie.

5. Music and food is what keeps the band together. Literally.

With two girls and four very different guys, the band’s been hard pressed to find activities to do together.

“We bowl sometimes,” Hwang jokes. “We eat a lot as a band, we eat out pretty well, but not too much… Daniel and Sally like to drink a lot of coffee or go to coffee shops. Joe likes to climb a lot, and tries to get the rest of the band to love it, but he just loves climbing… John and Jennifer recently got into surfing, so I think we’re going to try to get out and do that more… I think music is what we’re barely doing together.” Making music together may be their only common denominator, but the synthesis of these six diverse friends creates a sound that captivates audiences during their soulful live performances.

Run River North at Kollaboration Star 2014. Photo by John Zhang

6. Fact is, Run River North came about because of Kollaboration.

Hwang had been volunteering backstage during Kollaboration’s live shows, throughout college and during his first two years out of college. “I really loved what they were doing, and I met some of my closest friends through Kollaboration. I loved helping out and I just wanted to see what it was like backstage before I put myself in front,” reflects Hwang.  

In 2011, Kollaboration was having their show at Nokia Theater, and Hwang decided to take advantage of the opportunity to perform at one of their largest venues: “So I just asked a bunch of musicians that I knew. First, I wanted to see if they liked the song [Monsters Calling Home], and if they wanted to audition with me. It wasn’t that we were gonna make a band and just do this. It was more like, ‘You want to play in Nokia Theater on stage? Let’s do this.’ And it became the first five people that are in the band.”

7. RRN’s second album is coming out by the beginning of next year, and it will be starkly different from their first.

Drinking From a Salt Pond is scheduled to be released in late January or early February of this coming year. The album will herald an end to the alternative folk sound that has become synonymous with Run River North, in large part because of the sound of their self-titled debut album, Run River North.

“We’re in this spot where it’s been a really tough year for the band. Just trying to come up with songs, and since this is our full-time job, if we’re not playing gigs, we’re not making money, so that’s a pretty big strain. And after having to tour for three years, you see everything about each other. So, all of that – put into a pot – it’s really easy for all of us to be short-tempered and toxic in our relationships,” Hwang reflects.

Yet in spite of that fact that they’re “hanging around a stagnant salt pond that’s not giving life,” Hwang explains, “somehow we’re able to make some pretty fresh stuff.” RRN seeks to strip down everything to the core in order to be as raw and honest as possible.

“I think that’s what drinking from a salt pond is like. You know this is wrong, and you know this isn’t what it’s supposed to be, but you have to take that sip, and you have to admit that there’s something wrong… just to be honest I guess,” says Hwang. “It’s not, ‘Everything’s going great.’ No, everything kind of sucks right now, and yet, even though everything kind of sucks, things are still growing and things are still fruitful, things are still good. So in the midst of crap, there’s still something going on.”

The music production is also stripped down to the bone, devoid of excessive effects. “We’re really putting a mirror to who we really are, and not trying to put any filters, or cool Instagram filters, or cool reverb, or even my voice in the record,” explains Hwang. “We’ve stripped out a lot of effects… There’s a little bit of delay on it, slap back, but a lot of the times, our vocals, and a lot of the takes too, are just really raw, and it’s exactly what we’re doing. This is who we are as a band. Sometimes it sounds kind of shitty, but I think that’s what we want – to kinda portray that we’re not the most talented, skilled people. We’re a band, and out of what we have together, here’s what we have.”

Watch the music video for the first single from the new album below!

8. And finally, some great news for fans in Asia.

The goals for the new album remain as ambitious as the last album’s – to play wherever they can, and at the biggest stages possible. Hwang also expresses that the band desires to play abroad, particularly in Asia.

Hwang explains that the band’s identity is flexible and cannot be contained into a racial category. “It feels like we’re kind of a world band,” says Hwang. “We’re not this White, Korean band, and we’re not this Asian, Korean band. So I think we can go to both places and be like, why don’t you tell us what we are, when we play?”

And he’s absolutely right. When I first heard “Monsters Calling Home” off their first album, I couldn’t believe that I was listening to a folk rock band composed entirely of Korean-Americans. Ignorant on my part, probably, but my surprise also goes to show the rarity of Asian front men in certain music genres, let alone a band composed entirely of people like me. People who harbored a duality in identity: we are neither Korean nor American, but at the same time, we are fully both. We cannot be shackled into a single racial category, but we embrace this flexibility.

And that’s exactly what Hwang and the band is doing. So kudos to Run River North for breaking racial boundaries, setting milestones, and embracing that complex blend of their identity as Asian Americans.


Feature image & video courtesy of Run River North

The Green Room Opens Next Monday!

We’re excited to announce a new digital showcase series called “The Green Room,” launching next Monday here on Kollaboration.org (and our YouTube channel). The Green Room is a callback to our annual showcases when artists would jam with each other in the green room while waiting for their turn to go on stage.  Every few weeks, The Green Room will showcase an extended live set from an artist from our Kollaboration community. First up is Kollaboration Los Angeles 2015 performers Perry and Danielle. Don’t miss their set next Monday, November 30!

Meet the Kollaboration Star 2015 Finalists: DC’s Audrey Huwae

Audrey Huwae is the finalist representing our nation’s capital, Washington DC, for the upcoming Kollaboration Star showcase, taking place Saturday, November 14, 2015. She takes a moment in between preparing for the show to answet a few questions with the Kollaboration Blog.

What is your self-described style and influences?

I would describe myself as a pop/r&b singer. My biggest influences would be Justin Timberlake and Pentatonix. I have always been inspired by their approach on music.

How did you start playing music and what are your musical dreams?

I started playing music when I was 8 and I’ve never stopped since. All throughout middle and high school I was in choir and an acapella group. My passion for music has moved me to one day become a business manager for artists.


What has participating in Kollaboration meant to you?

My Kollaboration experience has taught me so much. I am so honored that I get to represent the Indonesian community in the DMV area through something I love. Kollaboration has also given me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, which I’ve struggled with throughout my life.

How are you preparing for STAR, and what do you hope the audience will take away from your performance?

Aside from singing in the shower, I’ve been practicing with my guitarist, Gerard Silalahi, and cajonist, Patty Rarumangkay. We’ve been working very hard to make this a memorable performance. I hope that the audience will truly feel how meaningful this song is to me through the performance.


Watch Audrey perform for the chance to win $10,000 at Kollaboration Star, taking place 11/14/15! Tickets are on sale now at star.kollaboration.org


Meet the Kollaboration Star 2015 Finalists: Chicago’s Dhaea

Meet Dhaea, winner of this year’s Kollaboration Chicago and one of the six finalists at this weekend’s Kollaboration Star

What is your self-described style and influences?

You would think I’d have a go-to answer for this question after being asked so many times… I would say acoustic singer-songwriter, though I understand this is a pretty vague description… I picked up the guitar when I was into a pretty heavy classic rock stage (particularly AC/DC and Van Halen) in my early teens, though I can’t say that my writing is even remotely influenced by Eddie Van Halen’s style. I do find myself listening to a lot of strong female singer-songwriters, like Regina Spektor, Alanis Morisette, and Alicia Keys among many others.

How did you start playing music and what are your musical dreams?

I used to “write poetry” in my early teens, which transferred into some of my earliest songs when I eventually picked up the guitar. The first time I performed in front of a crowd was at my sister’s wedding reception when I was 19- from then on, I was hooked! Right now I’m just having fun writing and playing around town.

What has participating in Kollaboration meant to you?

It has definitely pushed me to continue to do what I love- writing and performing! I auditioned for Kollaboration on a whim when I was at a point in my life where I had taken a step back from music and had thrown myself into other work. My experience with Kollaboration made me realize that I need to continue to nurture my creative side in order to feel like my best self.


How are you preparing for STAR?

Other than playing over the song I plan on performing, nothing

What do you hope the audience will take away from your performance?

I hope that they will be able to identify with the song’s theme and that they will be able to connect with some of the emotions I was feeling at the time I wrote the song. The song I plan on performing is one of the first I wrote and one of my favorites to play- I wrote it during a time of transition I’m sure most people can relate to.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals that you do to get ready to sing?

For some reason, more often than not, I feel like I always come down with a sore throat right before a performance, so I binge on tea with honey and lemon and cough drops. Maybe it’s just nerves?

Where can people find more music of yours?

I have some videos and recordings posted on my facebook page at facebook.com/dhaea.music . You can also find recordings at dhaea.bandcamp.com

What inspires you to write new music?

I find that I am compelled to write when I’m going through some sort of crisis or change, be it positive or negative (okay, more so negative!), to help me process the situation.


Watch Dhaea perform for the chance to win $10,000 at Kollaboration Star, taking place 11/14/15! Tickets are on sale now at star.kollaboration.org