By Sebastian Moronta Blanco, Staff Writer
This week, The Torch had the opportunity to speak with the members of NyLo, a jazz/neo-soul band made up of UMass Dartmouth students.
The group’s lead singer is Caiana Luse, a junior Jazz vocals and music education major. Antonio Irons, a sophomore civil engineering major, is the bassist, and sophomore music performance major Joe Boulos plays the drums.
Daniel “DJ” Carvalho and Noah Mangelson are the group’s pianist and guitarist, respectively, and both are sophomore music performance majors: Carvalho for jazz performance and percussion, and Mangelson for jazz guitar.
The Torch spoke with Antonio, Caiana, and Joe in their usual rehearsal spot, a studio in CVPA.
The group performs a mix of jazz, neo-soul, R&B, and funk music. Their lead singer, Caiana, has been involved with music her entire life.
“I started playing classical violin when I was five and I’ve been doing that for about sixteen years now, and I started singing jazz vocals when I came here.” She continued, saying, “In middle school I actually didn’t even make the cut for my [school’s] chorus, so then that kind of crushed my dreams a little bit, but when I got here I got to actually explore who I was.”
Antonio started with the piano at a young age but remembers never quite liking it, until in the sixth grade when his brother didn’t seem to need his guitar anymore.
“I started learning in sixth grade, and I’ve been playing since then. Halfway through high school, the jazz band, my school’s jazz band, the bass player didn’t want to play anymore, and I had coincidentally bought a bass the year before and I didn’t really play it. My band director found out and said ‘You’re going to play bass now.’”
Joe made the biggest instrument leap, after a brief stint with the French Horn.
“Surprisingly, I used to play French horn in the fourth grade, and then my parents saw me tapping on everything and said French horn wasn’t my thing. I was pretty good at it too but they made me switch to drums…so here I am.”
Caiana told The Torch about how the band was formed, and how it started with just a drummer and a vocalist, saying that “NyLo is a combination of my middle name and our former drummer’s name, Logan.”
She and Logan were the only two members of NyLo at first, “but we added other people.” Antonio then stepped in to clarify how that happened.
“It was funny because, I was walking down the hallway, and then our guitarist, who I don’t think was in [the band] yet, had come up to me and said ‘Oh I heard you’re doing that thing with Caiana and Logan’ and I said ‘What thing?’ because they never told me about it” he said with a laugh, “it all happened really quickly.”
NyLo’s next performance will be this Friday, February 24, at the S.P.E.A.K. event in Woodland Commons from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. The event lasts until 6:00 p.m.
NyLo’s Antonio and Caiana will be performing a duet at the Lost In Black Excellence event on March 4 at 6:30 p.m., and sometime in March after that the whole band will join their lead singer during her junior recital, at a time TBD.
Their next performance off-campus will be at Epicure Wine Bar/Jazz club in West Bridgewater on April 14.
More information on the group and future performances can be found on the group’s Facebook page.
Select performances and covers from the band members, with more to come in the future, can be seen on Antonio Irons’s YouTube channel.