Friday, January 13, 2012

POP's Guide to Upstate New York

Lake Placid, NY: Home to one of 2012's Rising Stars
As I made the annual drive up north for another Christmas in upstate New York, I admired views that are, for me, so familiar - the rolling Catskill Mountains, the looming Adirondacks, the historic Hudson River.  I thought to myself: this region really doesn't get enough love.  I came home from Christmas with a blog post idea: to highlight upstate New York's contributions to POP music. The following is what I created.

Here are 3 acts from all over the POP spectrum who can call upstate New York home:

1. Gym Class Heroes, Geneva, NY
The group Gym Class Heroes began when Travie McCoy met Matt McGinley in a 9th grade gym class (how ironic!) in Geneva, New York - an area known for its wineries & lakes. Gym Class Heroes as we know them actually formed  when Travie McCoy jumped onstage with his friends to provide vocals at a local shindig.  That's right, the guys behind Cupid's Chokehold & Stereo Hearts were once jamming at house parties!  Over ten years later the kids from the Seneca Lake region are still kickin' it, making upstate New Yorkers rap along proudly.

2. Com Truise, Oneida, NY
Com Truise is synthPOP mastermind Seth Haley. Though he looks exactly like the guy you met last summer at that SUNY Albany party, Seth is actually a sound engineer, visual artist & master-mixer. For music that is lush & funky, check out Galactic Melt, my favorite of his work. (For more on Com Truise read this live review by our friends at; they describe Seth's performance as "one hell of a show).

 3. Lana Del Rey, Lake Placid, NY
Before she was the famed female behind 2011's hit Video Games, Lana Del Rey was Lizzy Grant of Lake Placid, a secluded & beautiful region 6 hours north of New York City. Though Lizzy began her musical career networking in New York City proper (& later in London), as a little girl she performed in choirs & school plays in the Lake Placid area. I've always wondered if Lana's love for articles of faded Americana was  at all inspired by her once great, now defunct tourist hometown of Lake Placid... but I suppose the only one who knows that is Lana, herself.

I wrap up this post with a small sense of pride. Perhaps now a few upstate New Yorkers can hold their heads up high when they listen to music in their cars (or on their tractors)... knowing that some real POP stars hailed from the same region that they call home.



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