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East LA’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of East LA’s gems below.

Sarah Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff

Thomas Kotcheff and Sarah Gibson first met as graduate students at the University of Southern California. Both composers and pianists, their shared passion for bringing contemporary music to life inspired them to form their piano duo, HOCKET, in 2014. Dedicated to broadening the definition of the piano duo, HOCKET began commissioning works by today’s most sought after composers. These works are for all combinations of keyboard instruments: piano four-hands, two pianos, toy pianos, melodicas, and small percussion. Read more>>

Tony Martin

I’ve been surrounded by music all my life. My father is a gospel soloist, so church music was a big influence on my musical development. Every Sunday was filled with shouts, improvisations, and soulful expressions of the divine. These high energy performances, especially from my father who often lead these excursions, have had a big impact on how I personally perform music to this day. Naturally, I was also exposed to oldies, soul, funk, and R&B music by my father as well. I also feel pretty lucky to have heard his shower performances. If only you could have been there… Read more>>

Ryan Whiteley

Drawing has always been there for me. I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t doodling in a sketchbook or in the margins of my school assignments. It was always just something I did. I didn’t realize till much later than I should have that people actually get paid to draw. I was born in Baltimore, Maryland and spent most of my childhood in Raleigh, North Carolina. It wasn’t the most creative or artistic community but I had plenty of time to doodle. After taking literally every art class I could at my high school, I decided art college was the next logical move and spent four years at SCAD studying illustration. My interests in illustration have swayed since, but it gave me the opportunity to figure out what was possible with the profession and what I wanted to do with it. Read more>>

Yaz Ferrada

I was born and raised in Whittier, CA from two immigrant parents (Mexican & Chilean) along with my sibling, Seb. Both of my parents have a history of community organizing- my father during the dictatorship in Chile and my mother who continues to organize locally. As a child, dinner time conversations surrounding compassion, community, and fighting for what is just, were very normalized. These conversations would later shape my choices in where I directed my energy, time and passions. I’ve been a book nerd since I learned to read but high school was challenging for me, I was a class clown and, as some say, a social butterfly, which would be in lots of trouble. I credit me attending college to my older sibling, Seb. Seb sat me down and did every single college application with me until they knew I had given myself every opportunity to continue my education. Read more>>

Mathew Phillips

Prior to my career as a producer and DJ, I played in various bands like yourlastbreath, tiefighter, falco does it dirty and adoration that were signed to labels and have toured nationally and internationally. Eventually it just wasn’t working out trying to convince other band members to be as committed as I was, so I quit music and for 2 years I tried to figure out what I was gonna do with my life because I literally had barely anything on my resume since being in a touring band was all I knew. I started QA testing for video games like the Guitar Hero series and God Of War 3, then decided to move to San Francisco to go to college. When I was out there I met a bunch of people that just went to clubs and listened to dance music. I grew up to house music and later Blog Haus so I was always down to go. Read more>>

Sophia Ortega

How I first fell in love with photography was by taking pictures of my sister’s toys. From that moment, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I then began to shoot landscapes and portraits. I now shoot portrait and still life photography. Read more>>

Rugby Wild

I’m from Newark, NJ & also grew up in Baltimore, MD. I’ve been making music as long as I can remember, from making up raps in the lunchroom from elementary to high school. I moved to NY after graduating high school. I started doing shows there for about three years before moving out to LA, where I learned how to make beats/act. Read more>>

Alex Maes

When I was in middle school some friends and I decided to put a band together based on pop/rock tunes that I started writing when I was 10. I loved sitting down at the piano and putting my emotions to song and soon, we had a steady setlist of original pop/rock tunes. With that band, I was able to tour all around Colorado playing at schools, festivals, and many notable venues which is where I garnered my love for performing and being on stage. Shortly after that experience, I started my own music career in high school creating more pop-based original content that I recorded. In my senior year of high school, I ended up getting a full ride from the Daniels Fund to attend Berklee College of Music where I am currently studying Vocal Performance and Music Production & Engineering. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Camera Accessories

    September 17, 2019 at 03:19

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after looking at many
    of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly happy I stumbled upon it and I’ll
    be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

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