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WYEP’s Reimagination 10

Album cover by 2023 Reimagination artist Everest Gray

Almost all famous musical artists started out as local artists. It begins as one voice, one instrument, a chord, a melody, a song, and it explodes from there. The WYEP Reimagination Project, now in its tenth year, works to put the best high school-aged talent on the fast track to learning the process of recording, marketing, social media, distribution, radio, streaming, touring, and more. This year’s artists are already incredibly talented. When paired with highly credited local producers, the results are profound. Take a listen to the entire album-hear the future of Western PA’s music scene……and beyond.

-Greg Joseph, Executive Producer, WYEP’s Reimagination Project

Eli Wynn – “Shades On My Nightstand”

Eli Wynn – “Shades On My Nightstand”

Produced, Recorded, and Mixed by Sean McDonald

Red Medicine Recording Studio, (Swissvale) Pittsburgh, PA

Eli Wynn: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Keyboards

Sean McDonald: Drums, Percussion, Programming, Additional Guitars

Ugly sunglasses collecting dust on a piece of bedroom furniture. The sun’s rays hitting a windshield just right.

Such are examples of the poetic eye for detail that informs the songwriting of Eli Wynn.

Having begun piano lessons at the age of 4, Wynn is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist versed on guitar, alto and tenor saxophone, and most recently, upright bass.

Next year, Wynn will study music composition at Temple University.

“I lean on indie and acoustic sounds, but I love to jump around and use a variety of flavors from all over, like punk, jazz, R&B, and escape room,” Wynn said.

Wynn’s favorite part of “Shades on My Nightstand” is a surprise switch-up in the first verse.

Initially demoing the single with voice and piano teacher, Chloe Weicz, who helped develop its structure, “I think this is the first song I have written that really showcases my sporadic listening habits,” says Wynn, who cites Sufjan Stevens, Theo Katzman, St. Vincent and Flying Lotus among the artists he admires most.

The Marigolds – “My Rosary”

The Marigolds – “My Rosary”

Produced, Recorded, and Mixed by Dana Cannone
The Church Recording Studio, (Overbrook) Pittsburgh, PA

Abby Buzzard: Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Cassie Prentiss: Backup Vocals, Drums
Vanessa Prentiss: Lead Guitar
Magdelena Rubenstein: Bass Guitar

The Marigolds are a band inspired by The Bard.

The lyric “broken and bleeding in the nunnery,” from the Marigolds’ new indie-pop/rock song “My Rosary,” references William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

“We are lovers of all the arts and work to combine our many influences into our music,” bassist Magdelena Rubenstein said.

A truly collaborative quartet, where every band member contributes to the songwriting, lead guitarist Vanessa Prentiss and drummer/backup vocalist Cassie Prentiss also proudly draw influence from their father, bassist Jesse Prentiss, who has played with a host of popular Pittsburgh acts, such as Jon Bindley, Paul Luc and Mark Dignam.

“We always had musical instruments around the house to experiment with,” Cassie said.

The Prentiss sisters were performing with their first group at Black Forge Coffee when they initially connected with Rubenstein and her likewise musically inclined friend Abby Buzzard, now the lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist for The Marigolds.

A few months later, the four of them forged a group that keeps evolving.

Shakespeare taught us all the world’s a stage. The Marigolds stand poised to rock it.

Nnenna – “Tomorrow Never Comes”

Nnenna – “Tomorrow Never Comes”

Produced by Tracey Whorton
Recorded and Mixed by Dana Cannone
The Church Recording Studio, (Overbrook) Pittsburgh, PA

Nnenna: Lead/Harmony Vocals, Piano, Rhodes Piano, Wurlitzer
Dana Cannone: Bass
Tracey Whorton: Beat Production

Nnenna has sung for thousands of spectators and been signed by a professional modeling agency, but as indicated in the original song “Tomorrow Never Comes,” is eager to achieve bigger, more exciting feats.

“My song is basically saying how life is staying in one place. There’s nothing going on and time couldn’t go any slower,” Nnenna said. “Every time I think things are about to get better the time just ends up getting farther away.”

Though, satisfying musical accomplishments are surely right around the corner for Nnenna, judging by the talent demonstrated on the singer’s solo-written song.

Influenced since fifth grade by Mariah Carey — “I’ve always pushed myself to be able to do her littles runs and high notes” — Nnenna said this most recent studio experience was awesome.

“The amount of equipment is unbelievable, and the quality is very good. I had a lot of fun working in the studio and my producer has been amazing,” Nnenna said.

Reluctant to be confined to any specific genre, Nnenna said, “I try to keep my style a variety of different styles so that they don’t sound the same and then hopefully there’s a song for everyone to like. This song, in particular, I was going for a jazzier feel. I wanted it to feel slow and vibey. When I first got into music, I was pretty much obsessed with R&B, so I try to incorporate that in all my music somehow.”

Having sung “God Bless America” at a 2022 Pittsburgh Pirates game, Nnenna, who is half-Nigerian adds, “I have an extreme love for afrobeat and rhythm.”

Mallory Bozovich – “Memory Behind Me”

Mallory Bozovich – “Memory Behind Me”

Produced, Recorded, and Mixed by Dana Cannone
The Church Recording Studio, (Overbrook) Pittsburgh, PA

Mallory Bozovich: Lead/Harmony Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer
Dana Cannone: Bass
Tracey Whorton: Percussion

If you dwell in the past, you’ll restrict your emotional growth and hinder the chance to achieve your goals. That’s the important message keenly delivered by “Memory Behind Me” by Mallory Bozovich.

“The first verse details the early stage(s) of a heartbreak, and how even though it hurts, you have to look at reality, and dwelling on the relationship isn’t the way to go,” Bozovich said. “As you move into the chorus, it relays the message of potential ways someone could learn to let go. Just spontaneously taking a drive could be all you need to relax your mind and feel better about the situation. It shows how sometimes you don’t need to have a plan in order to continue your journey and be successful.

“My favorite lyrics would be toward the end of the chorus when it says, ‘I’ll be back, God only knows when, so don’t feel the need to come looking / If you ever get to wonderin’ where I’ll be, it’s with my name in lights and your memory behind me.'”

The idea, lyrics, melody and music were all Bozovich’s own work, with producer Dana Cannone supplying suggestions for the final sound and feel of the country-pop track.

“It has been a great pleasure working with Dana! It intrigued me how he was able to take everything I had done, and only use small bits and pieces or snippets to create the much larger, cohesive, final project.”

Having once opened a show for Pittsburgh blues/soul legend Billy Price, Bozovich started piano lessons in second grade, learned to play flute in fourth grade, and by seventh grade had picked up the basics of ukulele and guitar. After a year or so of learning during the pandemic lockdown, Bozovich started to play at open mic events that soon evolved into larger gigs.

“I booked my first full-length show at 13 years of age and haven’t stopped since then.”

Claire Wahl – “Plastic Cologne”

Claire Wahl – “Plastic Cologne”

Produced by Anne Celedonia
Recorded and Mixed by Alex Herd
Allegheny City Sound, (Lawrenceville) Pittsburgh, PA

Claire Wahl: Lead/Harmony Vocals, Piano
Alex Herd: Bass
Brandon Lehman: Electric Guitar
Joey Waslousky: Drums

Few things beat feeling carefree and frivolous, at least on the surface. Though a desire for deeper meaning, passion and jurisdiction in life also can bring fulfillment. The “you” in the song is more representative of that existential happiness and a version of herself rather than an actual person.

Claire Wahl wrote about the contrast between those two feelings in “Plastic Cologne,” a song publicly debuted at an open mic a few days afterward.

The open mic’s host, Wahl’s teacher Jacquelynn Ware, helped organize the artist’s thoughts and tweak the lyrics.

“My producer, Anne Celedonia, brought my ideas from just playing piano and vocals into a complete idea that is fully brought to life,” Wahl said. “Working in the studio was a great experience and creative exercise. The production is just as creative as the writing process, and it was fun to figure out how different pieces and ideas fit together in the studio.”

A singer-songwriter influenced by folk, rock, indie and jazz — and artists like

Regina Spektor, Houndmouth, Oasis and Hozier — Wahl also enjoys writing piano compositions inspired by film music.

Nadia – “Sound of Love”

Antonio Anderson
Nadia – “Sound of Love”

Produced by Saige Smith
Recorded and Mixed by Amos Levy
YMCA Lighthouse Studio, (Homewood), Pittsburgh, PA

Nadia Commodore: Lead/Harmony Vocals
Howie Alexander: Keyboards
Terry Levels: Drums
Amos Levy: Beat Production

Witnessing an NPR Tiny Desk performance by pop-R&B singer Yebba inspired Nadia to try a new songwriting technique. “There was a part in her performance where she layered her vocals so elegantly and I wanted to see if I could do the same,” Nadia said.

Mission accomplished on “Sound of Love,” Nadia’s hook-laden song helmed by producer Saige Smith.

“I knew from our very first Zoom meeting, when Saige mentioned Alina Baraz as one of the artists she listens to, that we’d work well together,” Nadia said. “When I say, ‘I’m thinking more of a softer dreamy vibe for that part,’ she knows exactly what I mean and how to get there. When she has an idea for a melody, I can take it and articulate it in a way that meets both of our standards.”

An eclectic artist who gravitates toward neo-soul and jazz, Nadia says her favorite lyric in this song, “I’m feeling lost in this old love we never found,” perfectly describes the experience of something not being what you expected it to be.

Nadia explains, “Because I’m so young, most of the things I write about are things I’ve never experienced. Songwriting really requires me to tap into a creative side of myself and find feelings that aren’t entirely real to get the sound I need for the songs I’m working on.”

King Jewels – “Time of Tribulation”

King Jewels – “Time of Tribulation”

Produced by Armstead Brown
Recorded and Mixed by Amos Levy
YMCA Lighthouse Studio, (Homewood), Pittsburgh, PA

King Jewels: Lyrics/Vocals
Armstead Brown: Beat and Music Production
David Gardner: Trumpet

Transitional times yield profound songwriting.

King Jewels certainly relates. The hip-hop artist drew from the upcoming experience of college and the death of his mother almost a year ago to compose a song about spiritual and intellectual growth.

“I’ve gone from making music just to sound cool to trying to make a difference as I’ve realized the impact that media — music, film, social media — has on people and especially children and teenagers,” King Jewels, said.

“Never second guess your essence, because it’s perfect,” says one of the standout lines in “Time of Tribulation.”

Going from the comfortable setting of a home studio to a professional studio took some adjustments.

“It was hard for me to get comfortable at first and sort of hard for me to be vulnerable around new people but I’ve come along,” King Jewels, the artist name for Julian Lynch, said.

“My sound is a mix of old-school hip-hop influence with new-school flows, too. There’s an element of spirituality and education. All the while trying my best to make it appeal to as many people as I can to get the messages across.”

A recording artist since age 14, with enough athletic ability to slam dunk a basketball, King Jewels has seen childhood hoops friends get shot, be put in jail, and become felons.

“It has opened my eyes that what we have been told is cool and what we have been told is normal, is absolutely atrocious. Growing up in the neighborhoods I have, most of the kids didn’t have consistent father figures, so we had to go out and figure out what it meant to be a man ourselves,” he said. “I’ve struggled my whole life to put my pride to the side, but I’ve grown to realize this life is about so much more than what it’s made out to be.”

Leta Carlene & Lizzie Chey – “I Don’t Want Anybody Else”

Leta Carlene & Lizzie Chey – “I Don’t Want Anybody Else”

Produced by Melina Bowser
Recorded and Mixed by Dana Cannone
The Church Recording Studio, (Overbrook) Pittsburgh, PA

Leta Carlene: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass
Lizzie Chey: Vocals, Keyboards
Tracey Whorton: Drums

Identical twins Leta Carlene and Lizzie Chey were making music together before they could talk. Their unique understanding of each other, call it “twin telepathy,” offers a special songwriting perspective. Though anyone who’s been through a breakup can relate to the sisters’ “I Don’t Want Anybody Else.”

Leta wrote the words from personal experience, channeling personal emotions. Lizzie helped shape the folk-pop song’s laid-back sound and tight harmonies. Feelings abound, as the song bravely expresses vulnerability with lines like “When it gets hard, just want to run into your arms, safe in your arms.”

Their home has a small studio, though recording at a prestigious studio, The Church Recording Studio, offered a different experience. They enjoyed getting feedback from professionals, and seeing the song evolve into more than they could’ve done on their own.

Superstar Taylor Swift’s songwriting made an impact, though the twins say their hugest influence was their father, who passed away last year.

“Our dad was a music teacher and he loved teaching us about music,” Leta said. “He started teaching us to harmonize with each other before we turned 2. His love of music lives on through us!”

Nolan Michael – “Couldn’t Be Me”

Nolan Michael – “Couldn’t Be Me”

Produced and Mixed by Dana Cannone
Recorded by Dana Cannone and Nolan Michael
The Church Recording Studio, (Overbrook) Pittsburgh, PA

Nolan Michael: Lead/Harmony Vocals, Synth Bass, Synth, Drum Programming

Somewhere between a formal relationship and a casual encounter lies “situationships,” a realm explored lyrically and with a playful tone by Nolan Michael’s “Couldn’t Be Me.”

“This song is about when someone wants something from you, but you are not willing to give it to them. Intentions can easily be different in a ‘situationship,’ and the song reflects that,” Michael said.

The opening line, “Is this too pop for you?” inspired by an acquaintance who doesn’t like pop music, sets up the song’s tongue-in-cheek bridge with a purposely over-the-top synth-pop sound.

“I love adding a little sarcasm to my music; it reflects who I am and the tone of my work,” Michael said.

Working in a studio was nerve-wracking initially, Michael said.

“I usually produce songs with my own equipment at home, but once I got comfortable, I loved everything about my studio time. Singing in the vocal booth and hearing the song all come together with the help of a producer was amazing. The setting was so inspiring and a perfect place to create music.”

He sang along with Taylor Swift songs since the age of 2, before being able to speak in full sentences. Michael released a debut EP at age 13, and regularly studies current events in search of ways to advocate for societal change.

“I want to inspire people the way that music inspires me,” Michael said.

Jack Rau – “Light Method”

Jack Rau – “Light Method”

Produced by Jack Rau and DJ Shoe
Mixed by DJ Shoe YMCA Lighthouse Studio, (Homewood), Pittsburgh, PA

Jack Rau: Beats and Music Production

“We wanted to produce a soundscape with a modern kick,” Jack Rau says about “Light Method.”

With an inspirational nod to Aphex Twin’s “Xtal,” Rau aimed for “an ethereal beat” relating to his deep appreciation for how different emotions can be conjured by electronic dance music.

“I remember listening to Skrillex on my iPod Shuffle when I was still in elementary school and from then have listened to so much more and started to develop a certain ear for EDM,” Rau said. “I want to listen to more and understand more genres of music so I can continue to experiment.

Recording in a studio was a fresh experience.

“It created a sense of focus and space for new ideas,” Rau said.

Aryana Kapree – “Fly”

Aryana Kapree – “Fly”

Written by Aryana Kapree and INEZ
Produced, Recorded and Mixed by INEZ
Vocal Production: Virgil Richmond
The Church Recording Studio, (Overbrook) Pittsburgh, PA

Aryana Kapree: Lead/Harmony Vocals
INEZ: Beat and Music Production

An aspiring screen actress, trained dancer and musical theatre student at Westinghouse Arts Academy, 16-year-old Aryana Kapree recorded “Fly” under the guidance of one of Pittsburgh’s most acclaimed musical artists.

“My producer, INEZ, helped out a lot with the reconstruction of the chorus, which really brought the project full circle in relation to the beat,” Kapree said. “It all feels much more connected now.”

Working together at the esteemed Church Recording Studio in Overbrook, INEZ, the 2020 WYEP Artist of The Year, imparted professional wisdom beyond the craft of song structure.

“She’s taken this opportunity to really show me the ropes and educate me in any way she can, about music but also just about life in general,” Kapree said.

A Las Vegas native, who moved to Pittsburgh when just 2 weeks old, Kapree said “Fly” was inspired by, “The moment you see somebody for the first time and although you don’t know anything about them yet, you are immediately intrigued by their presence, and how everything has a time and place within space.”

Artists who’ve inspired Kapree include J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Michael Jackson and Marina from Marina & The Diamonds.

Raised by an aunt, who also has a wonderful singing voice, Kapree’s father was ingrained in the West Coast music scene, until being sentenced to jail just before he signed a major record deal.

“This story and the talent I heard in his music is what inspires me to take my skills and work ethic all the way and form a career out of it,” Kapree said. “With my positive attitude and knowledge of spirituality in which I live by, I trust God’s plan and the process.”

drifting – “Like You Always Do”

drifting – “Like You Always Do”

Produced by drifting
Co-Produced by Ryan Tedder
Recorded by drifting
Mixed by drifting and Ryan Tedder
Chalfant Sound Studio, (East Pittsburgh), Chalfant, PA

drifting: Vocals, Bass, Drum Programs and Music Production

A windy, dreary evening ignited the creative spark for drifting to write the New Wave-pop song “Like You Always Do.”

drifting, draws inspiration from artists like Paramore, The 1975, Phoebe Bridgers and Porter Robinson.

“An atmospheric approach to pop songwriting, often with an ear for catchy melodies, but never being afraid to shake things up. I’m always trying to make my songs evoke an atmosphere, as if every song lives in a real place,” drifting explains. “I combine influences of ’80s pop, ambient music, shoegaze, indie, EDM, and more.”

Having sung, played bass, and produced and programmed all the synths, drums and extra layers himself, drifting benefited from the studio experience.

“My producer, Ryan Tedder, helped a lot in polishing the song, taking the individual tracks and diving into them with me, showing me how he would spice the track up and possibly add new transitions and melodies.”

drifting started producing at age 11, dovetailing off a brother and friends’ efforts to create a videogame.

“They started messing around with music software for it, and that’s how I got my start. Making very amateur beats and sending them back and forth with one of his friends,” drifting said. “I wasn’t good at the time, but it felt natural, and over time I fell in love with producing and writing music.”

Everest Gray – “Outsiders View”

Everest Gray – “Outsiders View”

Produced, Recorded, and Mixed by Rick Witkowski
Studio L, Weirton, WV

Everest Gray: Lead/Harmony Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Rick Witkowski: Electric Guitars, Bass, Synth, Drum Assembly

Everest Gray describes her music as “salty indie-girl rock” with a backbeat of irony, underpinnings of satire, and a heartfelt ’90s mixtape vibe.

It’s an intriguing mix as heard on “Outsiders View,” a song borne from the fear of losing a best friend. Sensing that friendship growing distant and unfamiliar, “I started to imagine and worry about what it would be like if we became strangers,” Gray said.

Gray tweaked the lyrics as those initial worries proved true.

“Now we pass each other in the halls at school without so much as a hello, or even a smile. I didn’t realize it was actually happening until she was out of my life and my fears came true. I had no idea why, and never asked. I just accepted it. I think that gave this song the emotionality it needed.”

The lyrics and melody bear shades of sadness, anger, fear and melancholy.

“My favorite part of the song is the bridge, because it was originally intended to be hopeful, and now singing it is almost sarcastic or mocking,” Gray said. “The meaning has shifted especially there, and I think that’s really cool.”

Gray’s favorite line: “And you might be the stupidest person I’ve ever related to.”

Not her original pick for a single, Gray relented when her producer fell in love with the melody.

“I went home that night and immediately wrote a new chorus with the melody we came up with,” Gray, who also plays guitar on the track, said. “After all his help simplifying and making my song catchier, I was able to write a chorus on my own that we both love.”

Gray gained a valuable lesson in collaboration.

“I tend to write songs with tons and tons of lyrics and complicated structures, while Rick focuses less on lyrics and mostly on the hooks, and how to get there faster,” Gray said. “I tend to overcomplicate things. This caused a little bit of tension at first because we had different goals with the song. I was more than a little reluctant to make changes – what can I say, I like my lyrics! – but soon this dichotomy allowed us to complement each other. We had fun working together and even though we sometimes got distracted talking about some music thing completely unrelated to my song, we still managed to accomplish a ton.”

A songwriter since fourth grade, Gray wrote and performed an original musical last year called “The Canary in the Coalmine.”

“I still have half the props in my room. The whole show is on my YouTube channel and my website, which are both just my name.”

Experience WYEP Reimagination 10

Project Team

Executive Producer: Greg Joseph

Executive Music Producer: Dana Cannone

Interim Director, YMCA Lighthouse: David (DJ Shoe) Shoemaker

Teaching Artist, YMCA Lighthouse: Amos Levy

WYEP, Program Director: Liz Felix

WYEP, Digital Content Manager & Project Facilitator: Nick Wright

WYEP, Events Manager: Adam Seifert


Dana Cannone
The Church Recording Studio, (Overbrook) Pittsburgh, PA

Sean McDonald
Red Medicine Recording Studio, (Swissvale) Pittsburgh, PA

Rick Witkowski
Studio L, Weirton, WV

Amos Levy
Armstead ‘James’ Brown
DJ Shoe
YMCA Lighthouse Studio, (Homewood), Pittsburgh, PA

Multi-faceted Musician/Producer, Pittsburgh, PA  

Tracey Whorton
Independent Musician/Producer, Pittsburgh, PA  

Anne Celedonia
Alex Herd
Allegheny City Sound, (Lawrenceville) Pittsburgh, PA

Saige Smith
Independent Musician/Producer, Pittsburgh, PA  

Melina Bowser
Independent Musician/Producer, Pittsburgh, PA  

Ryan M. Tedder
Multiplatinum Producer, Pittsburgh, PA 
Chalfant Sound Studio, (East Pittsburgh) Chalphant, PA


Garrett Haines
Treelady Studios

Biography Composition
Scott Tady

Album Cover Design
Everest Gray

Reimagination Masterclass Series:

#1- Songwriting: Art as Collective Care
AJ Haynes- Singer/Songwriter and Guitarist, Fronting the Acclaimed Rock-And-Soul Band Seratones, Shreveport, LA

#2-Social Media and Promotion for Musicians
Melinda Colaizzi-Singer/Songwriter, Point Park University Professor, Founder and CEO of Women Who Rock, and Pitch Consulting, Pittsburgh, PA
Johnathan Pushkar-Singer/Songwriter, Belmont University Graduate, Owner of Johnathan Pushkar Media, Nashville, TN

#3-Tour of The Benedum Center
Joanna Obuzor-Director of Operations, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh, PA
Katie Colwell – Theater Operations Manager, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh, PA

#4-Touring, Booking and Production
Katie Moran-Freelance Tour Manager, Pittsburgh, PA
Maura Mullen-Ticketing/Marketing/General Management, Thunderbird Café & Music Hall, Pittsburgh, PA
Margot Smith-Booking/General Management, Thunderbird Café & Music Hall, Pittsburgh, PA

#5-Radio Promotion, Distribution and Labels
Kyle Smith-Music Director, 91.3 WYEP
Jordan Montgomery-Owner of Pittsburgh Based Record Label, Driving While Black Records, Pittsburgh, PA
Ronda Chollock-AAA Radio Promoter at Insubordinate Media, Charlottesville, VA

#6-Tour of Stage AE, The Clarks Sound Check
Jeremy Olson-Assistant General Manager, Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA

91.3 WYEP’s Reimagination 10 is generously funded by : 

Additional support provided by:

and the Generous Members of WYEP.

Special Thanks to The Grable Foundation, Williams Coulson Johnson Lloyd Parker & Tedesco, LLC, S&T Bank, UPMC Health Plan, as well as The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Women Who Rock, Thunderbird Music Hall, Stage AE, Presonus Audio Electronics, N Stuff Music, the Board and Staff of WYEP, and the parents, guardians, and families of the 2023 Reimagination student artists, for supporting Pittsburgh’s musical future.