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Make Music Champions: Big Stuff aims for their music to evolve over time as they discover what is true to themselves

Big Stuff is an eight-person pop-soul band from New York City. They started as a two-person band and then added musicians to the band over time. Big Stuff was born during the pandemic, which provided a creative outlet that encouraged the production of original music. The process of creating new music includes the participation of everyone in the band. They are one big family! In this opportunity, we had the pleasure of interviewing Grace, who told us all about the band.

We would like to know a little bit about your story. How did you start making music?

Frank and I started writing together about 2 years ago, right before the pandemic. We started working on compilation albums. So, we were having other artists come into the studio and record our songs. Our original plan was to feature our songwriting with other artists. Then, when the pandemic hit, things changed. Frank and I were isolating together and we didn’t have that creative outlet in order to have other artists perform our music. So, we realized that, for the time being, we could record it ourselves and put it out there. Everybody seemed like they needed a little bit of enjoyment during that period of isolation, and we write pretty upbeat songs, so we decided to start recording our music ourselves. As the pandemic kept going, we kept writing and releasing music. We realized we were having a lot of fun being the actual performers of the music. I think that it was going to happen one way or the other that we would start performing the music, but the pandemic actually kind of took us there. The group started as just the two of us, and it’s now eight people. We are still the main songwriters, but everybody is involved in the process of bringing the songs to life.  We are a pop-soul band, with a very laid-back sound. We always say we write very sad content, but we try to make it as funky as possible!

And how did you all meet?

I always make the joke that I just decided that they were part of the band. It was all kind of a gradual thing. 

First, we added a bass player and a drummer. Then, we added our background singer because we had larger songs. Then, we added trumpet players, and then a keys player. So, it was like a snowball thing, where we kept having songs and would think “You know what this could use? Another person!” So, it wasn’t all at once, we kept adding more and more people over time. Big Stuff is big sound! It’s more fun for us to make music with a lot of people, and everybody is very musically inclined and has great ideas. So, the more people we add, the better the music sounds. I wouldn’t be surprised if we kept adding people to the process. Maybe even not to the group, but to the creative process.

What genres do you enjoy playing?

I think that our discography doesn’t fall into only pop songs. Because Franklyn and I started as songwriters rather than artists, I feel that our songs definitely have a few other genres in them. We love to write all different kinds of music. We write country songs all the time, although we don’t always perform them. Our music is evolving all the time as we add people, and it definitely doesn’t fall under just a genre because of our backgrounds.

How did you find out about Make Music Day?

I found out about Make Music Day through an internship. Aaron Friedman taught the class that I was a part of, and the class was actually an internship with Make Music New York. I had never heard about Make Music Day before that. Then, once we became the Big Stuff, I immediately thought of it. I knew it was going to be a great opportunity for us to be a part of this day as performers. For me, it was really fun to perform for the organization that I had once seen on the production side of things. We performed at the Seaport as a duo, the audience was amazing, and I loved seeing the other groups. Everybody was so friendly, and we got to meet all the other groups and follow each other on social media. We not only got to interact with the audience but with the other groups as well. We hung out for the day and saw everybody perform. It was a great experience for us!

What does music mean to you?

To me, music is like my community, and the band is slowly becoming my family. For me, as a songwriter, music has always been a way to express myself and connect with other people. My favorite part of songwriting is being able to take a personal experience and create it into a shared emotion, where people can listen to it, and they can think of their own experiences but connect with you and others that listen to the song. Music always comes from a personal space, but you turn it into something that is more community-based. A song is for everyone!