Close to Success

Close to Success

76th Street performs at Phoenix Festival of the arts, plans EP

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Haley Gold and Spencer Bryant of pop band 76th Street have kept their shows intimate and personable since they began singing together in a Scottsdale elementary school.

That all changed this year. Their personalities are shining through even more, and the venues are growing.

Earlier this year, the duo released its single “Close,” and it helped the ladies earn a spot at the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo. The California event provides aspiring songwriters and composers with networking opportunities, one-on-one feedback and real-world advice from hitmaking songwriters.

“It was definitely a highlight for us, to be around a ton of world-renowned writers and performers like Jason Mraz and Marc Cohn,” Bryant says. “We performed in Los Angeles and had great music industry experiences.”

Gold explains the day after their expo performance, they learned the expo was worth the car ride. “We went to all the workshops and nobody knew who we were,” she says. “After our performance, everywhere we were going, people were stopping us to comment on our performance. We met a ton of people there and now they’re following us (on social media) and keeping in touch.”

“Close” wasn’t the only thing that propelled their popularity. The women, who regularly play the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, say the band’s recent “refresh” did so as well.

“We rebooted who we are as artists,” Gold says. “We amped up what we were doing already. We made our show bigger. The show we’re performing now was inspired by that (ASCAP) performance.

“Our sound is evolving. Before, we would consider our music indie, almost indie folk rock. Now we’re more pop. We have choreography in our performance, and the tracks are definitely more danceable. We don’t have a full band or a history of dance lessons. It’s still great, though.”

The act will show off its new sound on the Phoenix Festival of the Arts main stage for the first time. The expected audience is 11,000. Bryant sees the gig (which takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday, December 9) as an opportunity to introduce “who we are now to a bigger audience.”

“Some listeners are surprised that two people can create such a big sound,” Bryant says. “That’s been one of our goals.”

Gold adds, “We want people to listen, but to watch as well. It’s really, really helped with our fan base.”

Gold and Bryant met in the fifth grade at Grayhawk Elementary School in Scottsdale. It was musical magic. “I was singing and we started singing together,” Gold says. “The rest is history. We never stopped after that day.”

Bryant plays guitar in 76th Street and Gold plays piano and percussion. The Pinnacle High School and ASU graduates (college class of 2017) were told they had “womb-to-tomb” appeal by an entertainment executive.

The duo has worked with heavy hitters. The single “You and I” was produced by Grammy winner Robb Vallier. Rami Jaffee, formerly of the Wallflowers and the Foo Fighters, played organ on the song, which is available on iTunes and Amazon.

The women are adamant about writing songs together – mostly at night. Bryant wants fans to know that she and Gold’s tunes are more meaningful than “mushy love songs.”

“We write about self-empowerment and being independent,” she says. “It’s different. That’s really what ‘You and I’ is about – not settling for less than you deserve and really remembering your worth.

“I think we have a great message with our music.”

This month, 76th Street is planning to release a self-titled EP and they’ll spend 2019 promoting it. Gold and Bryant hope to release videos for each of the songs by the end of that year, too.

“We’re trying to spread that throughout Arizona and everywhere else,” Bryant says. “We have a lot of plans.”

Among those plans is to visit their alma mater in 50 years. It sounds ambitious, but 76th Street put two of its CDs in a time capsule that ASU officials buried in the new student pavilion.

“I already put the date they’re going to open the time capsule in my calendar,” Gold says.

Phoenix Festival of the Arts takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Friday, December 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, December 8, and Sunday, December 9 at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 N. Third St. in Phoenix. 76th Street performs at 1 p.m. Sunday, December 9, on the main stage. Admission is free. For more information, visit 76thstreet.net.

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