Meet the up-and-coming Boulder artists killing the music scene with groovy tunes
Catch them on Coachella’s main stage in a couple years
One truth that can be said about every Buff? We love good music. And, we love everything local. So, local musicians? Yes, please, we'll support you 'til the end. We proudly brag about the South Park creators getting their start at CU, and down the road maybe we'll brag about knowing some of these cool kids.
From DJs to huge bands to solo artists, Boulder is buzzing with budding artists, and The Tab got the scoop on how they got their start, what they're working on now, and how to follow them along on their journey.
Jake Leventhal of The Jive Tribe
Major: Psychology with a neuroscience certificate
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Favorite artist: The Grateful Dead
The Jive Tribe is just that, a huge tribe of like-minded people, coming together to make music that creates a fun-loving environment and a culture for everyone at their shows to experience, not unlike The Grateful Dead, who Jake cites as one of his biggest inspirations, "not just for their music, but for seeing the creation of the culture."
Beyond The Grateful Dead, Jake says they're inspired by psychedelic music and the greatest of the great jazz musicians to create their own, unique, Colorado based sound.
The gang came together in high school, mainly just for fun, Jake says, but since then, they've really taken off, especially within the Boulder music scene.
The Jive Tribe's first album, aptly titled "Jive" was written when Jake was seventeen. Looking back, he reflects on how the thinks they "pushed it out too fast." Now, with their upcoming album, they're "focusing on the details and expect the next album within the next year or so."
Jake's tips for local artists looking to break into the music scene? Focus on the marketing. He says it's way more important than most artists realize and a key part in building your brand. He says that "as much as you want it to be just about the music, it's about getting people to the show, and that's done through marketing." And, of course, Jake says to "stay true to your sound."
Stay in touch with Jake & all of the happenings of The Jive Tribe, and check them out live at the Boulder Theatre real soon.
Follow Jake & all of The Jive Tribe:
Hometown: Newport Beach, California
Favorite song: Fire and Rain by James Taylor
John describes his music as "Pop Folk or Rock Folk" and plays a multitude of instruments, including guitar, ukulele, and piano. He first picked up the guitar at ten years old and "slowly began to develop and become confident with [his] voice a couple years after."
Now, John has come out with his first EP, Chasing Dreams, and has "been writing a ton of music that [he hopes] will be relatable to [his] audience." His current goal "is to continue to write as much as [he] can so [he] can have a solid collection of songs for potential new albums."
John's favorite song on Chasing Dreams? "Fingers Crossed"
And his favorite lyrics from the album? "Sitting here away from everything, my life looks put together finally, I got my friends and I got my family, but there's this one thing that still has me."
John says that creating the EP consisted of "a lot of hard work and [he] didn't realize how tedious it would be, but once [he] was fully immersed into the music it was clear that this was [his] true passion."
When asked about any struggles or doubts he might have experienced, John acknowledge that there a lot in the music industry, but says his "love for music and the enjoyment [he gets] out of playing for people keeps [him] motivated and eager to keep making music."
John's greatest inspirations include Jack Johnson, Ed Sheeran, James Bay, and James Taylor. At the top of that list, is his Grandfather, "who conducted his own orchestra that was based out of San Diego."
What is John listening to right now? Seven by Rainbow Kitten Surprise; Firebird by Milky Chance
Hometown: Rye, New York
Favorite artists: Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse, Naomi "Nai Palm" of Hiatus Kayote, Jethro Toll
Fun Fact: Lucy is currently studying abroad in Wellington, New Zealand, and has "lined up some jam sessions."
Lucy produces music which she describes as "RnB soul, however, [she's] working on writing blues music." Being a singer-songwriter, all her music is original. She can "play the piano a little and [is] currently learning guitar."
Lucy started singing as a child and "performed in choir, high school A capella, and various coffee house jams." She was "vocally trained with early jazz music (40s-50s)" and when she first came to Boulder, created a rap collective called Low Hanging Fruit in a friend's garage "studio."
Lucy's favorite creation thus far? This "short and sweet song L o k a ! and Jinsang put together." She goes on to describe how performing with Low Hanging Fruit "leaves [her] feeling euphoric and inspired to create music that sheds light and soul on the listener." Lucy's goal for her sound is "to create an intimate listening experience." Right now, she's "writing lyrics for some blues riffs written by Will Oberlander."
Her tips for local artists? "Boulder is great city to start up as an artist. The environment and music scene is incredibly inspiring." If you are looking to break into the scene, she suggests "spending as much time as possible on creating a lot of music that you can work with, and then performing at local open mics, such as the Lazy Dog, Laughing Goat, or Owsley's Golden Road." From her experience, she says "the Boulder music scene is highly receptive to new artists and therefore a wonderful place to pursue a career."
What's to come in the future? Lucy is "working on an album with L o k a ! which will be accessible by the new year." She hopes to "focus more on producing [her] own music rather than being featured on others" and would "love to be in a blues rock band" and hopes to turn that dream into a reality once she returns to Boulder.
Listen to Lucy's killer vocals:
Major: Music with an emphasis in music technology and media
Hometown: born in Lexington, Kentucky & raised in Boulder, Colorado
Favorite artist: Illenium
Fun Fact: He played live at CU's Welcome Fest last fall semester with Illenium and played the drums with Said the Sky at Bluebird Theater in Denver.
Jack, who goes by the stage name CONTKT (pronounced "contact"), produces his own original mixes to "expose people to new music and to have them feel new experiences where they can reach out to others and say, 'you definitely need to hear this.'" Essentially, he says he wants "to bring people together to have a great and memorable time" He says his music is "telling a story about [himself] that other people might not know from just meeting [him]."
He got his start at 18 years old after he "went over to a friend's house to mix just for fun and then it turned into a serious hobby once [he] got his own DJ set."
Down the road, Jack hopes to "move out to Cali after graduating and became a more well known artist." Before he made it on stage with Illenium, though, things weren't so ideal. He shared how he "went through depression and bullying as a kid and that was hard to get passed, but with music [he] was able to escape the real world and enter a world where [he] could be himself."
Jack's advice for artists looking to get their start in the industry? "Very cliché, but follow your dreams and don't give up. Anything that interests you, go for it. Don't hold back. As long as you put the effort and time into something that you love, anything is possible and what you thought would be dreams could become reality."
Most recently, and what Jack describes as his "proudest moment so far," was playing the afterparty for Global Dance at The Church Nightclub in Denver. He went through the 2017 Global Dance DJ competition and "made it through all of the rounds and was able to play that night for people going to see Ephwurd on the 21st [of July]."
Stay tuned: New music releases from CONTKT come out soon.
Major: Music Technology
Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
Favorite artists: Illenium, Flume, Krane
Lukas, who goes by Skyvo on stage, has been producing EDM music for six years now. He "started back in high school and never stopped." Mainly, Lukas plays drums, but he also plays piano and guitar. He says he has been playing and writing music his whole life.
The creative process for his mixes actually starts at the piano. He "loves to write songs traditionally so that they have a very authentic outline and feel" and "then [he will] bring it to the studio and produce it." Lukas says his "music brings [him] happiness and that is what [he] wants to share with people."
Lukas cites his latest remix as his proudest moment and says that "within the first week it quickly shot up to almost 10k plays and got support from tons of EDM streaming channels and sites."
Skyvo's sound "combines hard hitting trap drops with uplifting melodic elements." He says that "those more familiar with EDM could identify the music under the genre "future bass" along with artists like Flume an Illenium." He "uses a lot of acoustic instruments, like piano and guitar, and combine the with electronic beats and sound."
Besides Illenium and Flume, Lukas' greatest inspirations at the moment are Krane and Said the Sky, who he says "are really killing it right now everytime [he] listens to their songs [he] can't help but move and feel happy." Within his own music, Lukas says he "wants to emulate that."
As of late, he's been working on "a TON of new original tracks which will be coming soon, but in the meantime [he has] a bunch of remixes that will be coming out."
Lukas' tips for other young artists? "Continue making music, keep doing what you love, keep working hard. Reach out to those who you look up to, build connections, find people who are doing the same, and help each other out. If you are doing that, everything will fall into place."
Hometown: Shelton, Connecticut
Favorite artist: Lady Gaga
Fun Fact: You might recognize Gregory if you lived in Libby Hall during the 2015-2016 school year. He could be found serenading Libby Hall residents in the back stairways during his freshman year at CU.
Gregory attended CU freshman year, but moved back to the east coast "made more sense" for him. Being out east gave him access to NYC and is a "great resource" for his budding music career.
For awhile, Gregory dealt with "a lot of breathing problems with [his] nose and sinuses, and ended up getting three different surgeries to fix what was going on." In the end, the surgeries "helped immensely" and he says he's "so grateful to be in such a healthy condition, not only physically, but also vocally."
Since leaving CU, Gregory has "worked multiple jobs, seven days a week, upward of ten hours a day to save money to build a studio in [his] own house." After about eight months of hard work, he was able to accomplish that goal and get to work.
Gregory says that "it was definitely stressful sometimes to be juggling so many responsibilities when it came to work, life, and his personal responsibilities, but the struggle and adversity that he faced during that time has helped him to curate a much more developed sense of who he is and the life that he wants to create for himself.
Right now, Gregory says he's in a "kind of cocoon period" where he's trying to "learn as much as possible to gain the skills [he] needs to create some really dope songs." He hopes to release music that shows off the best of his abilities, and by focusing on his craft as much as he is, Gregory will definitely succeed.
Gregory got his start with music as a child. He started playing guitar when he was seven, and "around that time [he] wrote a song about [his] sister going away to college and played it for [his] music teacher and she loved it." He says that "basically, [they] ended up doing a concert with the whole band and chorus singing my song and that experience sparked [his] passion for writing and performing." It wasn't until high school, though, when Gregory really got into singing seriously. He says that "prior to that [he] knew music was going to be a huge part of [his] life at a very young age."
Gregory's current fave artists? There's an eclectic mix, he says. His greatest inspirations, though, are Lady Gaga, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Lorde, Stevie Nicks, Jon Bellion, Coldplay, John Mayer, SZA, and Frank Ocean.
Down the road, Gregory is moving back to Denver real soon, so keep an out for any local shows and new music releases!