Oneonta Bands Sweep Music Madness Contest
After a fiercely competitive final round of voting, SUNY Oneonta student rock band Somewhere Up There was named the winner of the first-ever SUNY Music Madness contest today.
Two SUNY Oneonta bands swept the competition to determine the most popular musical artist among the 64-campus student population, and Somewhere Up There defeated alternative pop-rock band Hello, Seattle by a 31-vote margin when voting closed at noon today.
“It was a really hard-fought battle,” said Somewhere Up There front man Nick Squillante, who was taking a final exam during the nerve-wracking final hour of voting. ”I can definitely say that Hello, Seattle kept us on our toes, but it feels great to really take this one away.”
More than 10,000 votes were cast in three rounds of voting. Hello, Seattle and Somewhere Up There bested 10 artists from several SUNY schools in Round 1 in November, and then trounced two groups from SUNY New Paltz to advance to the finals against a New Paltz pop duo.
Competition was fierce in the final round of voting, with heavy social media campaigning by both Oneonta bands. Hello, Seattle lead singer Kim Berg also mentioned the competition during a show at the B-Side Ballroom in Oneonta last week. And this week, band members campaigned in person, walking around campus in Santa hats and handing out “candygrams” — candy canes attached to notes wishing students good luck on finals and asking them to check out the Music Madness competition on SUNY’s blog and vote for their favorite band.
Somewhere Up There formed in fall 2011 by longtime friends Squillante and Rob Farella (drums), with Golding Hall roommates Nick Juliano (keyboard/synth) and Joe Frappaolo (guitar). A few months after the band formed, Farella and Frappaolo hosted an open mic night in Golding, where they met bass player Kyle Sisco. The band has released its first EP, “Northern Lights,” and is at work on a full-length album, which will include their Music Madness single “The End.” All five band members are juniors. Squillante, Farella and Frappaolo are music industry majors; Sisco is an economics major and Juliano is a physics major.
Hello, Seattle is a five-piece alternative pop rock band made up of SUNY Oneonta seniors Berg, Amy Maxwell (guitar/vocals), Andrew Platt (drums) and Jason Psanis (piano) and junior Frank Cicciarello (bass). All five members are music industry majors. The group formed after Berg and Maxwell met in an audio production class in fall 2011. Their debut EP, titled “Writing in Reverse,” launched Hello, Seattle onto the music scene in January 2012. Since then, they performed at OH-Fest8 last spring, released their first full-length album, “Improper Greeting,” and opened for Timeflies and Mayday Parade at SUNY Oneonta’s fall concert in September.
Both bands credited music industry faculty members Joe Pignato and Brett Masteller for supporting them before and during the contest.
“I want to give a shout out to all the teachers in the music industry program,” said Squillante, who submitted his band’s video to SUNY an hour before the contest deadline after Pignato encouraged him to enter. “They’re the people who motivated us every step of the way. They’ve always told us to keep pushing for our dreams, to keep trying.”