The boy appeared from the darkness and shuffled to the center of the stage with the yellow spotlight beaming down on him.
In the silence of the room, someone lowered the microphone for him. It squeaked on its way down to the boy’s blushing face.
He looked out into the crowd, blinking from the bright light and pressing his lips together in a tense line. He clenched his fists, took a deep breath and began.
“I took a walk around the world to ease my troubled mind…” Lyrics from the song “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down rang out from the 13-year-old.
Until he froze.
The silence was deafening.
He ran. Straight off the stage, down the stairs, away from the spot light, away from the music, away from that feeling.
George Romania ‘12 swore he would never perform again, and he retreated within himself, only to play the piano in the secrecy of his room.
Then in his first semester here at Fairfield University, he bought himself a guitar and stumbled upon what would be the beginning of his music career after meeting Chris Love ‘12.
The timid singer and his new found friend would soon become the founders of Forbidden City, Fairfield University’s newest pop rock band.
Love had been playing guitar since his sophomore year of high school, and he said that it “quickly turned into an obsession.” By his third month playing guitar, he had moved on from “Ode to Joy” to “Cross Fire” by Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Love’s knack for the guitar is due in part to his memories of “walking out of [his] bedroom and [his Dad’s] whole band being in [his] living room,” said Love. His father had been a drummer for 45 years and had been in three bands.
Meanwhile, Romania had been playing the piano since he was in second grade. But now he was going to take center stage once again to become the lead singer of their new band.
“I’m nervous as hell, but I don’t show it. I want it so bad [that] I’m willing to put it aside,” Romania said when discussing his past fiasco at 13.
Love and Romania’s first attempt to form a band in their sophomore year was short-lived. Two members graduated and one was unmotivated. In junior year, they had to find all new members.
Love approached freshmen Ricardo Espaillat to play for their new band. He gladly accepted. Espaillat can be spotted drumming in red and white candy cane attire as part of the pep band at the basketball games, but people can also see him letting loose and rocking out in Fairfield’s own underground band.
Espaillat’s experience in school bands, such as concert band and the pep band, make him an asset. Espaillat describes “practicing for hours with the metronome [and] getting really technical.”
“[My] ear was already developed so I could decipher drum [parts] by listening to it, and if it’s complicated, I look at sheet music,” he said.
Even with the addition of Espaillat, a band consisting of a lead singer, lead guitarist and drummer was not enough.
While interning at Anton/Bauer, Romania spotted Ryan Spicer playing around with a guitar. It turned out that Spicer already had more experience in music than many others have in a lifetime.
Spicer, who is also a junior, began playing piano at age 5. “My mom and sister played piano, so I followed suit,” he said. At 7 years old, he attempted to pick up the guitar but moved on to trumpet at the age of 10. He then learned the saxophone and bass guitar and now plays rhythm guitar.
As if all of this talent wasn’t enough, Spicer had the band experience to top it all off. He toured Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey with a band called Out Patient Zero, and he is still a member of a post-hardcore band named Decoy.
Blue Harvest, as they began to call themselves, was quickly forming into a diverse and talented group.
The last element that Blue Harvest was missing was “the impetus to start writing,” which they found in their newest addition, Andoni Flores ‘11, Spicer said.
“Before [Flores], we were playing covers and having fun. We weren’t motivated to do more,” he explained.
Flores was actually an artist before a musician. His family’s inability to pay for art school led him straight into the world of music. His father bought him a guitar, piano and drums set. Music quickly became his newest artistic form of expression.
Along with playing bass guitar for the band, Flores also wrote their first single and is continuing to write the band’s music. His writing, the lyricist explained, is like “a public journal.”
Songs like their single “Keep Me Honest” are written from his memories. “It’s like I’m putting a memory into a jar…It’s my defense mechanism every time someone hurts me,” he said.
The band plans to move away from doing covers and develop their own album, which tentatively will be named “Keep Me Honest.”
With a full cast of members and a planned repertoire of poignantly honest music, the band changed their name to Forbidden City. The new name marks the rebirth of their band, Love said.
Forbidden City plans on making waves at Fairfield University. They recently perrformed in the Multicultural Talent Show and are on the look-out for other opportunities.
“We have the potential to go anywhere; we just need the chance,” Espaillat said.
All the band members agree that they have huge potential for success but won’t lose sight of their passion for music in favor of fame.
“I’m not really concerned with making it big. I’m more interested in the [music’s] effect on the human being,” Espaillat added. “I feel lucky to be alive to experience music.”
Spicer closed the interview saying, “I don’t know at all what the future is, but I know I can’t imagine myself not making music.”