This weekend concludes the 40-day Capital Pride Festival in Albany. But, not before a setlist of live entertainment. Photo by Diana Spencer
ALBANY — It’s the largest pride event north of New York City, and it’s here.
The Capital Pride Festival takes off Saturday, June 11. The crown jewel of a 40-day event launched last month features live entertainment, a parade through the city and more. In the 46 years since it first launched in 1970, Capital Pride’s popularity has blossomed into a phenomenon promising as many as 30,000 revelers to Albany’s Washington Park.
“There’s a lot going on,” said Scott Levine, chair of the entertainment committee for Capital Pride. He is among several volunteers rushing to push out advertising and finalize plans for what represents the culmination of six-months worth of work. He said this time of year, everyone holds down two jobs — the festival, and their day jobs. For Levine, that day job is managing Water Works Pub on Central Avenue. Not unlike what he does for the pub, he has been tasked with garnering live entertainment for the festival for each of the past eleven years. In that time alone, much has changed.
“The level of entertainment [and] the number of people getting involved,” said Levine. “As the Gay Rights Movement has progressed in many different ways over the past decade, so has our festival.” At the same time, festival organizers have gathered more “allies,” sponsors and entertainment. “We want to celebrate and focus on the LGBT community at Pride, but also, we want to bring in entertainment that’s going to attract people who are straight allies.”
That mainstream entertainment has included Melissa Etheridge, Taylor Dayne, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson in past years.
The Capital Pride parade steps off at noon in Washington Park, at the intersection of Robin and State streets. The procession will march down State Street, over Lark Street, up Madison Avenue and back into the park at the intersection of Madison and New Scotland avenues.
The Capital Pride Festival follows the parade with live music, vendors and a drag review. For more information, visit capitalpridecenter.org/pride.
“Having the crowd enjoy the artists is what I really look forward to,” said Levine. “When that happens, and things are running smoothly, and the crowd is really reacting, and they’re up there and dancing to the people that we brought in, and they’re listening to the message that we’re putting out, and they’re drinking our sponsors’ drinks, I enjoy that.”
The following is a rundown of each artist expected to perform at Capital Pride 2016.
DEV is an American rapper, singer and songwriter who was discovered on MySpace by the production team The Cataracs after a friend posted her singing to some beat. Six months later, DEV and The Cataracs’ song “2Nite” began to gain exposure on the radio, the television channel MTVU and the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay chart. In 2010, the Cataracs produced “Like a G6” with Far East Movement and decided to use a verse from DEV’s single “Booty Bounce” as the chorus. “Like a G6”, was released in April 2010, and reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song went on to sell over three million downloads in the US.
In August 2010, a music video was made for “Booty Bounce” directed by Ethan Adler, and uploaded it onto YouTube where it has generated almost 15 million views. In October 2010, DEV was signed to Universal Republic and released the hit singles, “Bass Down Low” and “In the Dark”. So far, DEV’s music videos have generated nearly 100 million views on YouTube with over 50 million for the “In the Dark” video alone.
A much-in-demand collaborator, DEV has worked as a guest vocalist on tracks for such superstars as 50 Cent, Travis Barker, Flo Rida, Ludacris, Tinie Tempah, Snoop Dogg, New Boyz, Demi Lovato, JLS, David Guetta, Timbaland, Afrojack, Eric Saade, and Static Revenger. DEV’s debut album, “The Night the Sun Came Up,” was released in the United Kingdom in 2011 and the United States in 2012 and contained the hit single “In My Trunk” and American version includes a duet with Enrique Iglesias entitled “Naked.”
About her second full length album, set to be released this year, DEV said, “I’m using a lot more live instrumentation for this album. … I had such a great time making a very electronic-based album for the first one, but you know, I’m just moving to different things, different sounds, so we’ll see.”
The album will feature hip-hop producers Bangladesh, Hit-Boy and team Dreamlab.
David Hernandez gained national attention with his powerful voice and affable personality as an American Idol finalist.
He began acting and singing at age six, starring in musicals and performing with various theatre companies throughout Arizona. As a teenager Hernandez began writing original music and recording his material.
A Phoenix native, Hernandez recently moved to Hollywood where he is writing new songs, working in the recording studio producing his newest music, and pursuing his passion for acting. He has already completed his first feature film as the lead in the movie Synthetic Truth.
In addition to American Idol, Hernandez has showcased his talents on The Ellen Show, The Today Show, MTV’s TRL, EXTRA, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Teen Choice Awards, TV Guides’ Sexiest Stars 2008, Idol Tonight, Idol Gives Back and FOX-TV.
A once-in-a-lifetime invitation came to Hernandez when he was asked to sing at the Inaugural Kick-Off Celebration ball for President Barack Obama. He was honored to share the stage with Jamie Foxx, John Legend and Maroon 5, along with event hosts Jessica Alba and legendary TV producer, Norman Lear.
Scottsdale, Arizona’s most exclusive restaurant/show club, Barcelona, was Hernandez’s performance home for nearly a year, performing three nights a week with his band Generation. Featured several times on FOX-TV, Hernandez’s high energy stage presence and flawless vocal delivery kept the club packed every night.
During holiday season 2008 and 2009, Hernandez traveled throughout the US, singing for over 250,000 fans, as the star of a twenty-four city tour entitled Idols at Christmas.
Las Vegas was home for Hernandez over the July 4th weekend 2009, where he headlined three sold out shows in the showroom at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas. Vegas called again when he was asked to be the featured performer in a major Las Vegas Casino’s showroom for their 2010 New Year’s Eve Show.
Hernandez recently starred in the national & international-tour of Ballroom With A Twist, which is a spinoff of TV’s hit show Dancing with the Stars. It’s directed and choreographed by Dancing with the Stars’ own Louis van Amstel. This show was a non stop music and dance extravaganza. And if that wasn’t enough to keep Hernandez busy, he also performed in Motown Memories, Jersey Rocks and the Celebrate Motown tour.
Hernandez’s recent single called “What You Do” aka “WTF” (Produced by the Printz Board of the Black Eyed Peas) received a lot of media attention.
2016 finds Hernandez back with a new single he co-wrote called “Beautiful” along with a big budget video for the song directed by Printz Board.
Hernandez counts Stevie Wonder, Ne-yo, Donnie Hathaway, Alicia Keys, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson and David Foster among his musical influences.
Hernandez lives in Los Angeles, Cailf.
Taína Asili y la Banda Rebelde
Taína Asili is a Puerto Rican singer and activist combining powerful vocals with an energetic fusion of Afro-Latin, reggae and rock. Residing here in Albany, Taína Asili performs her social justice songs with the a six-piece band, Taína Asili y la Banda Rebelde, bringing love, resistance, and ancestral remembrance to venues, festivals, conferences and political events across the globe. During Taína Asili’s over 20-year career of creating music for social change she has toured the country many times, toured Europe from Ireland to Germany, and has performed in Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Taína Asili’s voice exudes strength of Spirit, filling its listeners with the fervor for freedom and inspiring audiences to dance to the rhythm of rebellion.
Bell’s Roar began with just a guitar and a voice. Over the years, Sean Desiree has transformed her solo project by fully taking advantage of her skills as a drummer, bassists and ultimately a producer. Her approach to music is “DIY,” not because of its ecstatic sound, but because it’s how she keeps her voice ever-present. The music is rooted in a melodic feel, but the beats transform it into energetic and dynamic electronic compositions.
Margo Macero has been known to deliver bone-chilling performances with aggressive guitar solos and power house vocals of pure soul. Her undying passion and professional integrity from her performances has been described and reviewed by many as memorable and remarkable. Her sound has been compared to the likes of Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge, Joss Stone and Steven Tyler. The energy and uncompromising determination of Margo has been characterized as boundless. Music is not just a job; it is a journey of experience and lessons to be learned. With each environment comes a different crowd and a different culture of audience.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.