The group fun. got started in New York City in 2008, following the break up of The Format. After the group disbanded, Nate Ruess teamed up with Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff of Anathallo and Steel Train. Dost had toured with The Format, and Ruess met Antonoff after The Format toured with Steel Train. The band recorded their first demo, Benson Hedges, in 2008 — which ultimately led to a gig with Chevy and spot on the 2012 Bonnaroo lineup.
They’ve blown up in four years, and something tells me they’re only getting bigger.
Brooklyn’s Das Racist is composed of MC Himanshu “Heems” Suri, MC Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez and hype man Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu.
Known for their humor and unconventional style, the group made it big with the 2008 hit Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. They produced mixtapes Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man just two years later, after which MTV named it one of the 25 best new bands in the world. Spin named Das Racist one of 50 acts to watch at the 2010 SXSW Festival, and Rolling Stone reported that hahahaha jk? was one of the 50 best singles of 2010.
Das Racist’s first commercial album, Relax (2011), landed on many annual “best of lists” and was Spin’s fourth best rap album of the year.
As a founding member of Wu-Tang, Gary Grice — aka GZA, is hip hop royalty. While he’s released a number of solo albums, he always comes back to the clan, which has become known for its innovative rap-stylings.
The Wu-Tang Clan assembled Staten Island, New York in the early ’90s under RZA, the group’s producer. RZA and Ol’ Dirty Bastard adopted the group’s name after the film Shaolin and Wu Tang, and the group’s debut album loosely adopted a Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang theme — dividing the album into Shaolin and Wu-Tang sections.
As the oldest and first member to receive a record deal, GZA has become known as the group’s spiritual head. Other members include Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa.
Charles Bradley, or “the Screaming Eagle of Soul,” was born in 1948 in Gainesville, Florida, where he lived with his grandmother until he was 8 years old. It was then that Bradley moved to Brooklyn, New York to live with his mother, where his sister took him to see James Brown perform at the Apollo Theater in 1962. And the rest, as they say, is history.
After running away from home — living in the streets and on subway cars — Bradley joined the Job Corps and worked as a chef in Maine for 10 years. While he performed with a band about five or six times, he went solo after his fellow bandmates were drafted into the Vietnam War.
Following the break up of his band, Bradley moved west — hitchhiking across the country and moving to upstate New York, Seattle, Canada and Alaska before settling in California, where he worked odd jobs and played small shows for 20 years.
While he was known to work as a James Brown impersonator, Bradley eventually signed with Daptone Records, where he became known for his funky yet soulful R&B style.
Sleigh Bells originated in 2008, when lead singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Miller crossed paths at a small Brooklyn eatery. Krauss was taking her mother out to lunch and Miller was busy waiting tables when he happened to mention that he was searching for a female lead for a project he was working on.
Since that first project, Krauss and Miller have performed at the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival in New York and Pitchfork in Chicago. They’ve been signed to M.I.A’s N.E.E.T. Recordings and are working on their second studio album, to be released next year.