Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Lance Jones, Davy Brown, Kimala and Rawcel

Lance Jones, Kimala, Davy Brown and RawCel

ZupaNova or Super Nova, a stellar explosion in the heavens, connotes birth of stars; In Latin Nova means “New”. So however you want to use the word, literally “Super New” or metaphorically “birth of stars and natural talent” I think it’s safe to say that this group’s name is very suitable since they bring fresh and stellar performance and music.       

At first glance ZupaNova’s style and music was reminiscent of the super pop stars The Black Eyed Peas. In fact, some members of ZupaNova had been hanging out with the latter in their early careers. Group member Rawcel and DJ Poet, the CEO of Listen Deep Records where ZupaNova worked on their music, were collaborating with members of The Black Eyed Peas during their early years. ZupaNova member Lance Jones is the chief vocal producer in Listen Deep. The recording studio collaborated with Apl.de.ap in many projects; the artist and studio still maintain a close relationship. Even though there’s a lot of influence—ZupaNova is ZupaNova—and not a shadow of The Black Eyed Peas.

Lance Jones brought in a lot of the R&B “let’s-get-ready-to-make-love-vocals”, Kimala was the sultry female voice that brings down men to their knees, RawCel contributed the Hip Hop influence and rendered some crazy rhymes and Davy Brown added jazz flavor with his out-of-this-world guitar line. Just check out their song “Need Your Love” from “First Contact” and you’ll understand what I mean.
There’s a lot of love in this group, they spouted mottos like “Team Work Makes the Dream Work”, “Zupa Positive”, “Share, Create and Collaborate”, that even the group’s manager Mike Bajrami told me “I like these people a lot, I don’t work with people I don’t get along with because you can’t maintain the relationship if you dislike your group…there’s something really special about this group”. 

What’s so special about them? Besides their great talent they were genuinely kind and humble people, I saw those attributes during the interview, and they put a lot of tenderness into their music in “First Contact”. RawCel a Los Angeles native with an easy smile gave a lot of the hip hop street flavor remove the real nasty and gritty language. Lance Jones must be one of the most welcoming and humble artist I’ve met. His voice could easily fit in a boy band such as The BackStreet Boys or a seductive R&B group like Boys II Men but I’ve never heard him brag of his talent. I actually met him a month before while working on another story in Listen Deep Records before my interview with ZupaNova. Kimala, who rendered her sensual voice and scorching presence during recordings and video shoots, was a caring and really friendly person. “I’m like their sister and mother put together” she said about being the only female member of the group. “She cooks for us” Lance Jones chimed in happily. Kimala has a special place in my heart since she’s my “Kababayan”, my fellow Filipino from the Philippines, and “Pinays” (Filipino Women) are known for their sweetness. Davy Brown was a laid-back and happy person so like how he played his jazzy guitar or bass lines in their songs. He worked with one of the Masters of Jazz like Bunny Brunel and Baba Elefante, that kind of cred could easily get into the head of shallow musicians, but not Davy Brown.

Their goal is to perform all-over-the-world. Lance Jones wants to hit Japan, Davy Brown wants to see Brazil, Kimala wants to perform in the Philippines, especially in the province of Pampanga, and RawCel’s personal goal is to do a concert in Staples Center in LA. This group has the heart, talent and the charisma and they are ready to take on the world. Watch out for fresh—and ZupaFabulous—music of ZupaNova. 

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RG Los Angeles Stories / Three R Photography

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