845th Street Entertainment is a group of ten mostly New Paltz and Highland twenty-something year-olds, who grew up together rapping in the locker rooms and after school. These eight guys and two gals have since taken their childhood locker room rap, and put a decisively adult edge on it, that includes a mic.
Every day, at least four artists from the young cooperative of musicians get together to get creative at the recording studio in Highland of 845th Street Entertainment label owner, Anthony Pavese 23, of Arlington, a Peppino’s Food warehouse worker by day. The crew of musically diverse Millenials meet, jam and record, nearly every day, and base their lives around that as top priority. They create everything from rap, R&B, hip-hop, Soul, to pop music. But music is ever evolving, and so they feel challenged to keep up. “[Our musicians and artists] like developing their skills and skill sets,” said Pavese. “There are waves of different types of music, and we have to learn new techniques to keep relevant.”
Anthony Pettway 26, of Highland, a warehouse worker at Peppino’s Italian Food, has been singing since he was five years old in church. He now helps run the children’s choir at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Highland, every other week. Pettway said what makes 845th Street distinct is that in addition to writing, rehearsing and recording music together, is that they also do their own photo shoots, produce their own videos, promote and market their own work. Much of that, they say, is accomplished through their website, YouTube, sound cloud, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
“Normally, an artist has to pay someone to record them, make their music videos, do their photo shoots and album covers,” said Pettway. “We want to do that ourselves. We want to be the ones that other artists come to.” Pettway and the others agreed that they all share the same goal: to make music and everything that has to do with music. Many of the musicians and artists in the group have jobs that enable them to focus on their dream career paths into music. “Once we are established, we want to give people jobs,” said Pettway. “We want to make a label — not just a rap hip-hop label — but all different kinds of music. Our end goal is to have an 845th Street brand. We have a lot of talent in this group that expands beyond music: tattoo artists, skate boarders, painters, all-around artists.” Pettway also contributes his poetry to poems.com.
Bridget “Brigavelli” Kelly, of Highland, works for Mercedes Benz selling cars by day, rushes home from work, then works in the studio all night. “[Kelly] has a lot of natural talent,” said Pettway. “If I had to put her next to someone, I would put her next to Lauren Hill.” Kelly said she has been working on music her whole life. “I know I have always been a song writer,” said Kelley. “I have composition books full of music, emotions turned to melodies and letters transformed into notes. I think I taught myself how to sing by emulating certain artists and mimicking their style.” Pavese added, “[Kelly] has lot of soul, lot of heart, her melodies are very natural.”
Nick “Thickness” Watkins of Poughkeepsie, a security guard at MidHudson Regional Hospital, considers himself to be more of an artist and less a musician. “I write my own lyrics, my own hooks,” he said. “Basically, I bring something to the table with singing, with my voice, I bring a different aspect to the music we make. When everything sounds the same, I bring a twist to it, with a different style.” Watkin’s style, he added, is smooth R&B, soul and Hip Hop.
Jacob “Conflicted” Davis, 21 of Highland, also works at Peppino’s with the rest of the fellows. Davis, considers himself to be an “extraverted introvert” and a poet. The group said his strengths are slick, clever word play. “A lot of times you can tell what’s coming next in a song,” said Pavese. “But you can never tell with [Davis]. His is in a constant battle between his personal life and fiction.” Davis grew up listening to his mother sing around the house every day. And though she was not professional, she had a passion for singing. Davis said his inspirations were Nas and Eminem. “I thought it was amazing how they could reach the hearts of the masses,” said Davis. “As I developed myself, I wanted that. I made a song about people around here doing heroin. A lot of people around here feel like they don’t have a voice, I want to give them a voice, that’s what music gave me.”
“Our backgrounds are all so different,” said Davis. “We all come from different life styles, but we are working on the same dream. The group said they bend the rules to mix their different musical genres together, into one song.
845th Street Entertainment music is sometimes played at Oasis, McGillicuddy’s, P&G’s and Murphy’s.
“For me it’s a way to express myself without being judged; it’s a personality thing, you get to show your personality,” said Watkins, who explained that he likes to sing about his background. “Everybody brings something to the table here, we are using our own styles, but when it comes together, it all sounds so good.”
“Music has a healing power,” said Pavese, who explained that music serves a powerful emotional outlet for his anger that he very much needed once high school football was over. “That’s how I started for myself, but then when I started recording other people, it had the same effect on them. It’s a platform where you can let anything and everything out; whether you’re sad or angry. You are able to get things out through music that you can’t get out through painting or art.”
The artists all compose their own music. “Typically I write spoken words first when I’m really into my emotions,” said Kelly. “Most of the time it is a letter to someone. Then, one day I hear the melody or a beat, and the song I wrote almost instantly comes to my head. I can feel it sometimes in my soul when the two come together. It could be a song from years ago that I wrote, and one day the lyrics come back to me.”
845th Street Entertainment will be hosting a live concert fundraiser for the Highland American Legion this Sunday, June 25 from 1 to 7 p.m. at Tony Williams Field to raise money for the Legion Hall to update its kitchen equipment. The fundraiser will also include a whiffle-ball tournament between the Lloyd and New Paltz police and fire departments, and will include food, music and other activities.
For more information about 845th Street Entertainment and to listen to their music, visit their website at 845thstreetent.com.