The rappers, Nick “Nikko” Taldi and Mike “Kraun” Krau had both enjoyed rapping on their own for years and through friends met one another and started performing together.
“I’ve been rapping since I was 13,” said Krau, who like Taldi is now a junior at SUNY New Paltz. “I did it all through high school, would freestyle at parties and that was my dream -- to become a professional rapper.”
When he arrived at SUNY New Paltz, he was introduced to the New Paltz Slam Poetry Club and utilized his lyrical rapping in a more poetic form. He let up on the rap until he was introduced by a friend, Mike Epstein (one of the group’s two managers), to Taldi.
“My story was kind of the reverse,” said Taldi, who is a creative writing major with a music minor. “I was always a writer. I wrote stories and poems growing up and then joined a poetry slam group at the first college I attended in Long Island. Someone suggested that I put my poems to a rap beat and I tried it and it clicked. It all came together.”
The two amateur rappers began rehearsing together, performing together and their friends, seeing how much talent they both had, began to encourage them to make an album and to perform more.
“We first started with an iPhone recording ap that we loaded onto YouTube, it was nuts!” said Krau, with a laugh. “But we had the most supportive friends. And we look at this not as two rappers, or a group, but a community because each person here has brought a strength and a talent to this process that allowed it come to fruition.”
Epstein and Nick Vitale -- originally from Long Island, where he grouped up with Taldi but is now attending North Carolina State University -- and the rappers’ PR person Harris Wichard, also a SUNY student, serve as managers.
“Nick (Vitale) brings us the business side of things, Mike (Epstein) all of the important administrative work, and Harris -- a phenomenal PR guy that broadcasts us, introduces us, believes in us -- really our greatest fan,” said Krau.
The rappers also noted that they’ve had support from fellow students, who are filmmakers, photographers, artists, sound engineers, who have all stepped in to help them in whatever area they have expertise in. As a rap group starting out, at least this rap group, they have little money.
“We had Mike (Epstein) help us engineer the tracks and then a friend who mastered it through his sound engineering so the quality is unbelievable. The beats, the vocals, everything is crystal clear and absolutely stellar,” Krau said.
Chandelier Dreams is a multi-dimensional album with some rap, hip-hop, club-dance tunes as well as more “soulful and lyrical tracks,” said Taldi.
“Yes we have ‘poppy’ songs and dance/club songs, but we also, the two of us, have some lyrical songs that are deep, angry, sad, reaching a greater audience and what they’ve experienced, we hope,” he said.
The name of the CD is exactly what this band of five have experienced themselves through this almost-year long journey.
“It’s so much easier to be a critic than a supporter,” said their PR man Wichard. “What I love about these guys is that they’re positive. They’re going after their dream -- despite any obstacles or that the odds may be stacked against them. They have a vision, a goal, a dream and they’re doing it!
“That inspires me, friends, fans and other people not only to appreciate their great talent, which is phenomenal to behold, but hopefully, to inspire others to go for their dreams rather than sit back and just post critical messages on Facebook, or YouTube, or the endless blogs. It’s so much harder to commit yourself to fulfilling a dream then it is to criticize others that are attempting to.”
“That’s what it’s all about, and we’re so fortunate to have such great friends and family supporting us,” Krau said. “We’re out there doing what we love to do, on top of working hard at our studies, and Nick (Taldi) is on the SUNY basketball team and yet we find time to practice, rehearse, perform and get this mix where it needs to be.”
“They have tons of fans, and they just slayed the ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition the other night,” Wichard said. “They had the crowd dancing, engaged, excited … it was awesome.”
“Hey, it all starts in a basement on Tricor Avenue,” Taldi joked. “We had so much fun together the other night, jamming during the competition, that we didn’t want it to end! We could have kept performing all night because the crowd was so into it, we played off each other in such a dynamic way. It was a taste of the dream.”
To learn more about the rappers or to hear their music, log onto http://www.mediafire.com/?r08kc4qe7usk2gm. They also have a Facebook fan page you can find by searching for “1 Way Music.”