Danielle Victoria: Founder of Danielle Victoria Music Foundation

Danielle Victoria, founder of the Danielle Victoria Music Foundation, photographed at the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Danielle Victoria, founder of the Danielle Victoria Music Foundation, photographed at the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Danielle Victoria
www.dvmusicfoundation.com

Danielle Victoria knows the power of music, having played piano since she was only 5 years old and having a strong passion for the art form. The 17-year-old Scottsdale resident founded the Danielle Victoria Music Foundation in March 2015 to help provide music education to Arizona’s underprivileged students, by working with local arts and educational organizations to offer needs-based scholarships for music education.

Victoria talked about why she felt helping kids through music education in Arizona is important, and you can hear her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

After living in New York, my parents decided to relocate to Arizona in 2007.

I was born in Malaysia and switched between London, Hong Kong, and Malaysia for my first seven years due to my parents’ work. My family then moved to New York and lived there for two years before moving here to Arizona. This is our eighth year here, and I currently attend Desert Mountain High School as a senior and International Baccalaureate student. Continue reading

Tim Yokley: Drummer for For the Love, The Wednesday Machine

Tim Yokley, drummer for For the Love, The Wednesday Machine, and Weird Is the New Cool, photographed at his home in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Tim Yokley, drummer for For the Love, The Wednesday Machine, and Weird Is the New Cool, photographed at his home in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Tim Yokley
www.timyokley.com

Tim Yokley is a pro behind a drum set, playing for thousands of music fans across the country and in town as drummer for For the Love, The Wednesday Machine, and Weird Is the New Cool. Yokley is also a tour manager and recently completed a summer tour with big names including Katastro, Dirty Heads, Pepper, and Aer. He heads back out with Katastro, Ballyhoo!, and Pepper this fall for a U.S. tour — find dates here.

The 30-year-old Phoenix resident had a career in real estate for 10 years before leaving to pursue music full-time a couple years ago, and he also plays with cover bands throughout the Valley. Yokley talks about what it’s like to be a professional musician and why he’s so passionate about the industry, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’ve lived here my whole life. I was born in Phoenix and went to Camelback High School. I went to school for Microsoft networking and A+ certification and went to Glendale Community College for business. Just one of the reasons why I love living here and have stayed is because I’m a huge bass fisherman, and Arizona has some great lakes and tournaments. Continue reading

Courtney Cotter King: Singer-Songwriter

Courtney Cotter King
www.courtneycotterking.com

Courtney Cotter King is one of the Valley’s most talented singer-songwriters, with a beautiful soulful voice and adept songwriting ability spanning genres ranging from pop to progressive rock. The 23-year-old Gilbert resident has written more than 100 songs and released three albums since she was in junior high school, and she performs at venues throughout the state when she’s not making polished music videos for her singles.

King is signed to local record label Fervor Records and is available for hire for special events such as weddings. She also teaches piano lessons and plays house parties for donations, which you can read more about below. Keep reading to see her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

My ancestors came to Arizona, and my family has lived here for years. I was born here and went to Mesa High School. After high school, I attended a summer music performance program at Berklee College of Music before I studied audio production at Mesa Community College. Continue reading

Laura Strickland: Executive Director and Principal Flutist of Arizona Pro Arte

Laura Strickland, executive director and principle flutist of Arizona Pro Arte, photographed at Fountain Hills Community Theater, by Nicki Escudero

Laura Strickland, executive director and principle flutist of Arizona Pro Arte, photographed at Fountain Hills Community Theater, by Nicki Escudero

Laura Strickland
www.azproarte.com

Laura Strickland is one of the most talented flute players in the Valley, with multiple master’s degrees related to music and performance chops with several ensembles. You can catch the Fountain Hills resident with orchestra Arizona Pro Arte, where she serves as principal flutist and executive director, and as part of flute/guitar duo SoSco.

Strickland also teaches flute lessons at Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place (SNAP), when she’s not working as a business strategist for the FrameShift Group, a health care quality improvement and change management consultancy. Strickland talked about her passion for music and flute performance, and you can hear her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m from Seattle and came to Arizona to start my undergrad at ASU. I absolutely loved it here, but as a junior, I transferred colleges and moved to Chicago to study with a flute teacher I wanted to study with. I moved around a lot as I went to different colleges but always wanted to come back, so once I got married and had an opportunity to move wherever I wanted, we decided to come here. Continue reading

Harper Lines: Singer for Harper and the Moths

Harper Lines, singer of Harper and the Moths, photographed at The Perch in Chandler, by Nicki Escudero

Harper Lines, singer of Harper and the Moths, photographed at The Perch in Chandler, by Nicki Escudero

Harper Lines
facebook.com/HarperandtheMoths

Harper Lines fronts one of the Valley’s catchiest bands, the pop rock group Harper and the Moths. With singalong lyrics and melodies that are guaranteed to get crowds dancing, the band amps up their live show with chic attire and lighting effects. Lines takes lyricwriting seriously, as he strives to write songs audiences can relate to and even learn from, and the group is hoping people love their new single and video, “Nighttime Tremors,” which also has a remix version.

When he’s not playing music, the 32-year-old Chandler resident works in marketing for the Apollo Education Group and studies at University of Phoenix. Lines talked about why he’s so passionate about music, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I came back to Arizona for music. I was born in Mesa, raised in Phoenix and went to Corona del Sol High School before attending Mesa, Scottsdale and Chandler-Gilbert Community Colleges. I moved to Seattle for a couple years, and came back because the band I was in, Harper and the Moths, was recording records, and I couldn’t come back every month or so to do a show. We were not generating the traction I wanted to, and I missed my friends and family. Continue reading

Mr. P-Body: DJ and Bassist for Elvis Before Noon

Mr. P-Body, Phoenix DJ and bassist for Elvis Before Noon, photographed at his home in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Mr. P-Body, Phoenix DJ and bassist for Elvis Before Noon, photographed at his home in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Mr. P-Body
www.mrpbody.com

Mr. P-Body is a Valley music veteran, playing around town for more than 20 years in various bands and hooking up venues with dance-worthy tunes via his DJ sets. The Scottsdale resident currently plays bass in power pop band Elvis Before Noon, and you can catch him playing music at events and spots around the Valley, including Hotel Valley Ho and private parties.

Mr. P-Body talked about his musical beginnings, what he wishes crowds would keep in mind when it comes to DJs, and what he thinks of the Valley’s music scene. Catch him naming his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents moved out here when my dad got a teaching job in Phoenix. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky and moved here when I was 5.

I went to Alhambra High School. I went to college at Dillard University in New Orleans and ASU to acquire a business degree. I’ve been here since and love the city. It’s nice visiting other places, but I like living here because I like the fact it’s always changing and growing. Continue reading

Josh Montag: Drummer for Scattered Melodies, The Wiley Ones and Ruca

Josh Montag, drummer for Scattered Melodies, Ruca and The Wiley Ones, photographed in his home studio, by Nicki Escudero

Josh Montag, drummer for Scattered Melodies, Ruca and The Wiley Ones, photographed in his home studio, by Nicki Escudero

Josh Montag
facebook.com/ScatteredMelodies

Josh Montag is one of the busiest guys in the local music scene, as drummer for bands Scattered Melodies, The Wiley Ones and Ruca. The 27-year-old Mesa resident works as a server at Pita Jungle, but his true passion is music, as is evident by the myriad shows you can catch him playing around the Valley.

Montag and his Scattered Melodies collaborator, Jake Johnston, are currently working on their second album, which will feature more than 30 musicians and different singers and guitarists on every track. Learn more about why Montag loves the drums, and watch him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was 6 years old when my family moved here from California. I was born in San Diego and lived in San Jose before coming here. I went to Mesquite High School and studied film at Scottsdale Community College before studying music business at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Continue reading

Gardner Cole: Music Producer

Gardner Cole, music producer, photographed at his home studio in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Gardner Cole, music producer, photographed at his home studio in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Gardner Cole
twitter.com/GardnerColeHits

Valley music producer and songwriter Gardner Cole is responsible for some of music’s biggest hits, including Madonna’s “Open Your Heart,” which she performed in recent years at the Grammys and Super Bowl. It’s also been featured on television show Glee, and Cole’s thousands of tracks have been on 100 million albums — yes, 100 million. The prolific songwriter isn’t just a hitmaker — he’s also performed with groups a-ha and ABC, as well as had his own solo album deal with Warner Bros. Records.

Now, the 52-year-old Phoenix resident is producing local songwriters, as well as gearing up for charity shows and work in film. Read on for how he got into the music industry and where he hopes to go from here, and watch him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I bought the house I live in now in ’94 as an investment and met my wife in ’97. I had come out with some friends and loved the proximity to Los Angeles and Vegas. I was living with the Jacksons’ before I moved here, working with Tito and his kids. My wife and I were trying to have this relationship, and it wasn’t working when I was out in L.A. My brother had been living in my house, and I moved him out and moved my wife in.

I was born in Flint, Michigan. I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston, and from there, I moved to Los Angeles. I spent time in London working with some groups based in Europe (ABC and a-ha) before moving to Los Angeles to make albums and write songs for Warner Bros. I stayed there for 15 years. Continue reading

Mark Dix: Founder of The Downtown Chamber Series, Violist with Phoenix Symphony

Mark Dix, founder and director of Downtown Chamber Series and violist with Phoenix Symphony, photographed at Phoenix Civic Space Park, by Nicki Escudero

Mark Dix, founder and director of The Downtown Chamber Series and violist with Phoenix Symphony, photographed at Phoenix Civic Space Park, by Nicki Escudero

Mark Dix
twitter.com/DTChamberSeries

Mark Dix gives orchestral music in the Valley an edgy twist. The violist for the Phoenix Symphony is the founder and director of The Downtown Chamber Series, which pairs orchestral performers with art gallery settings, for a transfixing aural and visual experience. The 43-year-old Phoenix resident won his Phoenix Symphony position in 1995, and then started Downtown Chamber Series in 2000. The Colorado native is also a talented violinist who teaches violin and viola and moderates the Phoenix Symphony String Ensemble Classroom Concerts.

Catch the next stunning Downtown Chamber Series concert Tuesday, June 10 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale. The concert features Ben Sollee, a cellist/singer-songwriter, along with a string quartet and clarinet.

Learn how Dix hopes to contribute to the Valley through his music, and watch him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

Orchestral musicians don’t pick the city we want to live in and then move there, because there are so few jobs. We open the union newspaper, called the International Musician, and in the back are listings of job openings for orchestras. We then fly at our own expense to those cities and take a rigorous audition. If we win, we move.

The year I was auditioning, in ’95, there were openings in Buffalo (N.Y.), Phoenix and another city. I moved here from New York City after going to grad school at the Manhattan School of Music. I also have a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. Continue reading

John Costello, III: Wild Whirled Music and Fervor Records Co-Owner, Producer

John Costello III, Wild Whirled Music and Fervor Records president, co-founder and co-owner, and music producer, photographed at his studio in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

John Costello III, music producer and Wild Whirled Music and Fervor Records president, co-founder and co-owner, photographed at his studio in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

John Costello, III
twitter.com/JC3Music

John Costello, III writes so much music that’s used for TV and film, sometimes he doesn’t even know a song he’s written has been used in a show or movie until he’s watching it. The 50-year-old Scottsdale resident has written more than 1,000 songs and has released 10 albums, and as co-owner, co-founder and president of local label Fervor Records and music licensing company Wild Whirled Music, the songwriter and producer is responsible for creating soundtracks for everything from popular sitcoms to groundbreaking movies.

A collection of some of his remixed tracks, appropriately titled The Remixes, comes out Tuesday, April 29, and you can hear his music in the trailer for upcoming film Walk of Shame. He also has three songs featured in the upcoming Philip Seymour Hoffman film, God’s Pocket.

Get to know the musician, who talks about how local musicians can get involved with the label, better below, and keep reading to see a video of Costello name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents moved out here when I was in 7th grade. My grandparents were retiring, so I got transplanted. I left Chicago kicking and screaming, because I thought it was so incredible, but I’m happy my family moved out here. I had some health issues as a little kid, asthma and allergies, so Chicago was a really bad place to live. I went to Paradise Valley High School, and ASU for a short time. Continue reading