Students from over a dozen of our school and community sites all over Miami-Dade County came together to share the spotlight and show off how far they’ve come over this past year of hard work, teamwork and music-making!
Working collaboratively with local schools and the broader community, Guitars Over Guns provides students a wealth of experiences in the arts. All students in the music program learn to read and write contemporary music, play instruments and perform on stage and/or in a recording studio. Performances and gallery displays are also integral to our arts-based mentorship programs.
We are happy to be serving the following schools and community partners:
Our mentors come from different walks of life and artistic paths, all connected by their love for the arts and a passion to pay it forward.
They are Guitars Over Guns’ heart and soul, implementing and customizing our comprehensive curriculum that uses arts-based mentoring as a powerful intervention tool for young people.
169 E Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33131
Students from over a dozen of our school and community sites all over Miami-Dade County came together to share the spotlight and show off how far they’ve come over this past year of hard work, teamwork and music-making!
“I’m proudest of seeing our kids fulfill a mentorship role themselves. And to see them be able to lead and take charge has been something to be very proud of.”
Being in a position to help Guitars Over Guns give the same opportunity that I have had to others is all I can ever ask for. I love the direction the program is headed and want to be a part of it every step of the way.
Alana Barrett is a multidisciplinary artist and educator that works across a variety of two dimensional and three dimensional mediums, including paint, woodworking, electronics and fabrics. Her work spans a variety of subject matter from robotic sculptures to hard-edged abstract paintings. All of her work, however, is united by playful spatial relationships, whimsical perspectives, and her curious nature and willingness to experiment.
Creative Writing & Poetry
Bertrand Boyd is a creative writer, poet, and actor from Miami, FL. He began writing as an adolescent, though it wasn’t until age 17 that he took the stage as a spoken word artist. After hearing a live performance from notable poet and soon-to-be mentor, Will “Da Real One” Bell, Boyd entered the literary world, where he performed under the stage name “Da Youngsta.”
He shared the stage with comedic greats, including Sheryl Underwood, as part of the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Tour in 2005. In 2006, he graced the infamous Apollo Theater stage in NY, leaving a 2-time winner. He dominated his local literary scene and has since performed nationally and abroad.
Boyd is a literary renaissance man, and since the untimely death of his mentor Will “Da Real One” in 2011, he is devoted to keeping the vision alive. He teaches high school English and is founder of Scrap Paper Inc., teaching literary skills to local students through poetry. He began acting in 2011 and has appeared in over a dozen films, including Avaricious (2016), winning “Best at Fest” at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and he was featured in Kodak Black’s music video Tunnel Vision (2017) & Sir The Baptist featuring Brandy music video. He later appeared in the hit Fall films Murder Gardens (November 2019) and Queen and Slim (November 2019).
He has several developmental projects wherein he will both write and direct. His poetry and screenwriting is an ongoing endeavor and he’s expanded to incorporate live music. As both student to his craft and mentor to his community, Bertrand Boyd is determined to break barriers and defy odds through the power of his creative prowess.
Drums & Production
Ron Don is a seasoned South Florida-based producer, musician, and recording artist. His production is affiliated with projects of multiple local artists. He has also performed at several major festivals and has over 10 years of experience in the entertainment industry.
Ron‘s musicianship began in early childhood when his father, also a musician, introduced him to piano-playing in the form of classical music. In high-school, Ron studied music production as well as joined the marching, concert, and Jazz bands where he became a proficient drummer. These factors combined birthed his production style of 90’s era of hip-hop, R&B, Jazz, and Funk.
Ron has toured in multiple cities across the US. He has also performed in major festivals such as III Points (2016), Jazz in the Gardens (2017), Okeechobee Fest (2018), and SunFest (2019). In 2019, Ron released his single “Die For This” on all streaming platforms which touches on the harsh truths of police brutality and modern racism. Ron ultimately aims to contribute to the culture by collaborating with other artists and spreading social awareness to both the current and upcoming generations.
Juner Etienne is a 25-year-old sound engineer. His love for music started at a young age at his local church, where he learned to play the piano. From then on, he became invested in all things music, from mixing and mastering to recording and composing.
Juner’s love for music intensified when he started his college career in Miami, at the School of Audio Engineering where he learned to master his skills.
After graduating from college in 2014, he went on to open his own recording studio in partnership with Jean Berrouete. There, he has helped artists with a passion for music to hone their skills. He continued his work in music when he opened a production company, Fast Track Music.
Now a member of the Guitars Over Guns mentorship team, Juner invests in his community to prevent heightened hardship and to create a place where the youngest members of our community can have a voice.
Karen Feldner is an instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. She released 4 seasonal albums, The Collection: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, in 2019 and will be releasing Barn’s Burnt Down Spring of 2023.
Karen founded a nonprofit homeschooling group with 2 other women, H.O.M.E. (Homeschoolers of Miami Enrichment) from 2006-2012, which oversaw and developed up to 20 classes for homeschoolers every semester.
Karen is currently a committee member of the North Beach Bandshell, the hub of the Rhythm Foundation, secretary of Gigs Up, Inc., and is a member of Ballad of America, a nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and celebrate America’s diverse cultural history.
Last year, Karen began creating her comfort brand Hugabop, as well as Jammie Jeanz, urban flannel pajama jeans and flannel pillow hugs, which are currently in production.
Karen holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Miami.
Founder, Alumni Vocal Ensemble
Miami native Michelle Forman is the type of artist and person who wears it on her sleeve both on and off the stage. For her work across diverse fields, Mish has been featured in local and national media including CBS Miami, The CW South Florida, Miami NewTimes, Miami Herald, NBC South Florida, Telemundo, Lifestyle Magazine, and others.
Mish is a self-taught singer/songwriter/instrumentalist whose voice can be heard on over 30 albums. She has recorded, toured and collaborated with a variety of talented musicians including Premio Nuestro and Grammy-nominated artists. Michelle is also a longtime member of Miami’s iconic local band ¡Suénalo!, notorious for their high-energy performances and infectious, multicultural grooves. ¡Suénalo! has contributed to the soundtrack of Miami for over 15 years, crowned the Miami New Times’ Best Latin Rock Band (2005), Best Latin Band (2011), Readers’ Choice Best Band (2014) and one of Miami’s Best Latin Rock Bands of all time. Michelle is also the creator of She Said, an eighteen-piece multicultural, multi-instrumental women’s ensemble which galvanized the power of many female artists of our city.
Mish spent many years working in the entertainment industry while exploring multiple paths involving music, advocacy and mentorship. She is a wardrobe stylist with 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, ranging from film, television and theatre to catalog, still photography, editorials, ballet, Broadway and opera. Ultimately, she found a passion in working with early to mid-century clothing while maintaining a Key Costumer position at The Florida Grand Opera. In 2018, Michelle decided to part ways with the production world to focus on better serving her community.
Celebrating over a decade of community service with Guitars Over Guns, Michelle is responsible for making a lasting positive impact on youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in Miami-Dade. Mish began with Guitars Over Guns as a volunteer for two years, prior to the organization acquiring 501(c)(3) status. She has dedicated her time and talent to serving her community, pouring her heart and soul into empowering youth through music and mentorship. Mish’s ability to empathize and intuitively connect with others enables her to forge everlasting bonds with her students. In 2019, she was honored as a Champion for Children by The Children’s Trust, receiving the prestigious Award for Excellence in Direct Service to Children & Families. As the founder and director of Guitars Over Guns’ Alumni Vocal Ensemble, Michelle has empowered a rising generation of talented young artists, guiding them to develop their vocal technique and leadership skills. Additionally, she has served as a Community Coordinator for the organization’s Miami region, helping to implement high-impact programming and leadership coaching for a team of more than sixty professional mentors.
“Justine Garcia is a JAZZ singer. Taking imaginative chances with melody, rhythm, and lyrics. Ms. Garcia had me paying close attention.” –Al Kanovsky, Jazz and Blues Florida
“Funny how an old standard can seem like a brand-new song when sung by the right person” –Tim Fath of Miami Children’s Theatre
“Her rich, velvety voice and unique interpretation of jazz classics will leave you with no doubt that this girl is going places.” –Acme Lounge
Justine Garcia is a Miami-based jazz and pop vocalist. In 2015, Justine received a Downbeat Award for Best High School Jazz Vocal Performance, and another in 2018 for Large Jazz Vocal Ensemble, and was recognized by YoungArts as a Jazz Vocal Finalist in 2016. She has also worked with greats such as Becca Stevens, and has sung backgrounds for Darmon Meader and Ben Folds.
As a graduate of the Frost School of Music studying Jazz Vocal Performance, Justine continues to hone her skills as a musician and educator. She is always seeking opportunities to help the music community thrive, and she can be found at various venues throughout Miami singing jazz, pop, soul, and sharing her love of music.
Director, Alumni Band & Camillus House Hope Choir
Hailing from Miami, Florida, Gene Gayol is an alumnus of Miami’s New World School of the Arts and a musician and plays in a variety of genres. 2015 sees Gene hitting the road with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Terry Johnson, as well as recording his own debut album. Gene has had the pleasure of performing in concert and on television with Latin Grammy and Platinum award winning recording artist David Bisbal, and has worked in the Miami and Los Angeles music scenes. A quote from an author that Gene loves: “We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
Jalisa Faye wears many hats as a singer/songwriter/vocal coach. She released her first project (EP) in 2014. Jalisa Faye has had the the privilege of working as a background vocalist for Grammy-nominated and Stellar award-winning Gospel artist Travis Greene. Currently, along with working on her first full-length album and traveling as a solo artist, she also travels as a background vocalist for Grammy-nominated Gospel recording artist James Fortune and International Gospel recording artist Jonathan Nelson. Jalisa Faye also serves as a worship leader at Redeeming Word Christian Center Int’l of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her goal in all she does is to relate, inspire, uplift, and encourage everyone that is exposed to her music.
Production & Drums
Among South Florida’s legion of live music loyalists and millennial party-rockers, J. HOWARD is already low-key famous. The multi-instrumentalist / singer / songwriter collects new fans faster than his trusty Boss Audio Loop Pedal collects a new crowd-pleasing improvisation. It’s one of the reasons promoters have summoned J. HOWARD as far north as AFROPUNK FEST Brooklyn, and partly explains how an Ohio native could ultimately be tapped to curate the popular MIAMI IN ATLANTA music showcase (Parts 1 & 2). It’s not often that a generation produces an artist whose cosmic sense of style, showmanship and innate musicality transcends culture, genre, and locale; thankfully, J. HOWARD’S time has come.
As the son of Eddie Howard Jr. (Commissioned), one of the busiest multi-instrumentalists in Detroit, J. HOWARD was privileged to watch his father work with artists like Anita Baker, Fred Hammond, and The Williams Brothers. Now, as a veteran live performer in his own right, J. HOWARD wields drumsticks, guitars, loop pedals, keys and vocal runs with the artful precision of a Samurai wielding his sword. He’s won over audiences with electrifying sets on many of Miami’s most notable stages: Faena, Bardot, The Stage Miami, The Stage Wynwood, Wynwood Yard, Piano Bar, Little Haiti Cultural Complex, African Cultural Arts, E11even, and Sidebar are just a few. A consummate collaborator, J. HOWARD’S humble beginnings included playing as part of the house band for events like the Vagabond and SpeakFriday’s, and a stint at Churchills from 2014-2016 where he performed in a band called Black Rock Kills. Since then, J. HOWARD has performed with Latin, gospel, R&B and hip-hop artists, including Tye Tribbett, The Clark Sisters, Domino Saints, EA Musica, Marger, Encore, Entourage, Louis Miguel, and Los Wizards. Recently, J. HOWARD was invited to take up a Saturday night residency at the Hardrock Hotel and Casino playing drums alongside DJ Cardi (Miami Heat). He’s also performed with DJ Vertigo (Miami Dolphins), DJ Peewee and DJ Waytrae. Last year, J. HOWARD was invited to perform at the Wynwood’s Finest Music Festival, and the Okeechobee Music x Arts Festival, where he joined legends Chaka Khan, The Roots, Travis Scott and Snoop Dogg. Most recently, J. Howard opened for neo-soul originator Erykah Badu at the Three Points Music Festival.
HOWARD is as dedicated to the studio as he is to the stage. Original tracks like “Know It” (feat. Ill-logicz, prod. Sean Wright), “Push,” “Without You” and “Out of Space” showcase his heart-melting, four-octave vocal range and songwriting abilities. J. HOWARD’S take on the art of seduction shines through on the vampy “Out of Space,” where he asks “Let me see into your eyes / And see what has compiled / I see some things that I can change for you /….I know exactly what you need / how you think how you breathe / I’m going to be the one that don’t fall through.”
“I been grinding for a long time / People told me give up and I almost lost my mind / Too many times, but I know and God knows / There’s something bigger than me…” J. HOWARD explains on “Know It.”
As a lifestyle brand, J. HOWARD’S influence is undeniable. When he’s not moonlighting as an event planner and host, the artist is busy coming up with new scents for his fragrance line, or new slogans for his J. HOWARD t-shirt line. Bearing his name in swanky script, or signature J. HOWARD expressions like “You Too Sleep,” the J. HOWARD brand has already graced stages he has yet to touch himself. LIVE with Kelly and Ryan, the Late Late Show with James Corden, concert tours with Rita Ora and Baby Cham—all have featured fellow musician friends (and family) rocking the J. HOWARD brand.
“I want to give the Word, love, hope, positivity and perspective with my music and brand,” says the artist soon-to-be-recognized as “The Godson of Soul.” “I’m letting everyone know that they are great. You just got to wake it up in yourself and realize.”
Current J. HOWARD projects include The Freedom Tapes alongside activists The Dream Defenders, an EP, Low Key Famous set to release in the first half of 2019, and Perspective, his first album slated for release in the latter half of the year. A strong advocate of “Each one, teach one,” J. HOWARD also lends his talents to the mentoring program Guitars over Guns, where he instructs middle school students in drums and production.
Tim Jago began performing in jazz ensembles at the age of 21. He completed a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and was awarded the Melville Toyota Scholarship for the most outstanding final year jazz student (2006). The following year he became an adjunct guitar tutor at the same institution. Also in 2007, Tim was selected as a finalist in the National Jazz Awards to perform at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.
In 2010 he was a selected candidate for the Freedman Fellowship in Australia. Tim relocated to the United States in August 2010 to undertake the Master of Music program in Studio Music and Jazz with a major in jazz guitar performance at The University of Miami Frost School of Music. There he held a Teaching Assistant (T.A.) position for the duration of his Masters and graduated in 2012. Tim continued in the T.A. position, returning to The University of Miami to complete the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in May 2015.
Throughout his musical career Tim has performed/recorded extensively across Australia and The United States. He has led and co-led groups at jazz festivals including The York Jazz and Soul Festival in Western Australia (2008, 2009), The Perth International Jazz Festival (2013, 2014), and The Melbourne International Jazz Festival (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015). Most recently he was announced as a semi finalist in the inaugural Wes Montgomery International Jazz Guitar Competition (2015). He has performed and recorded with a host of world-class musicians including Patti Austin, Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Chick Corea, Dave Douglas, Gloria Estefan, Wycliffe Gordon, Dave Liebman, Bobby McFerrin, Vince Mendoza, Steve Miller, James Morrison, Danillo Perez, Chris Potter, and Arturo Sandoval, to name a few.
Tim has released three albums – ‘The Grid’ (2010), ‘Wear More Headbands’ (2013), and ‘The Grid III (featuring four)’ (2015) with his trio, The Grid. He has recorded in the U.S. as a member of many bands, including Troy Roberts’ Nu-Jive, ‘Nu-Jive 5’ (2013).
Songwriting & Vocals
Marley Jane (aka MJ) is a singer/rapper, vocals/songwriting mentor from Harlem, New York City. She was exposed to a lot of art programs and culture growing up, starting with ballet, tap, and modern dance at Dance Theatre of Harlem, summer art programs at Riverbank State Park, and of course, chorus in every school she ever went to. As a young adult, she worked with youth during summers with Harlem Children’s Zone studying music and production, took up Musical Theatre for a year in Middletown, Delaware, and joined a songwriting/production club for students and alumni at Frederick Douglass Academy. As a Vocals mentor with GOGO, she strives to share with the younger generation all that she had the opportunity to absorb over the years, especially the sense of community.
Marley is a performing artist in the New York and Miami underground scene, having graced many local Miami stages, from Smoke Signals Mia to iiiPoints festival, and countless underground events in Harlem (Hang Night, Good Vibes Creative Minds), Brooklyn (SeHiii NYC, iLoveYouFunDay), and the Bronx (Live from Underground). Her latest works are with activists and influencers to bring awareness to causes like prison reform with Dream Defenders Miami (The Free Tape, streaming everywhere) and the LGBT community with Life Coach Octavia Yearwood (Life’s Interludes EP). Her newest single, “Pretty Dreams (We Back Outside)” on the Life’s Interludes EP is streaming on all major platforms, and the video is up on YouTube now! Outside of music, MJ is a social media manager and influencer, entrepreneur (Regal Holistics Sea Moss and Healing Herbs), and co-hosts on a progressive LGBT podcast, “Thee Box Podcast” streaming on YouTube.
“Community is everything to me. If I can change one person’s perspective for the better, I know I’ve made progress because that person will share that perspective with others. The youth is the key to making real change. Let’s pour positivity, love and music into them and build better communities.”
Jefferson Joseph is a multi-genre bassist based in Miami, Florida.
While formally being trained on lower brass instruments during grade school, he is self-taught on bass guitar and acoustic guitar.
Jefferson began his career as a frequent performer within the South Florida open mic circuit. Working as either a session musician with existing groups or formulating small ensembles as a bandleader, he has tackled a wide variety of live performances and recording projects.
Jefferson also acts as bandleader for The UnCanny Reservoir, a genre-bending instrumental project that combines elements of psychedelic rock, hip-hop, funk, jazz, and blues.
Timothy LaRoque is a singer-songwriter born and raised in Hollywood, Florida. Frontman for South Florida favorites “The Summit” and “The Def Cats”, Timothy’s latest project is “Stuck In The Past.” The debut EP features the likes of veteran musicians Shawn Fichter (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill), Will Lee (Late Show with David Letterman), and Rob Arthur (Peter Frampton).
From a young age, music has been a crucial part of his life. As a mentor, his goal is to encourage and empower his students with lessons that will last a lifetime.
Brahm Masla is a professional musician from western Massachusetts who focuses mainly on playing drums/percussion, singing/rapping and songwriting. Growing up part time in JAL, Mexico, Brahm has always valued cultural, social and artistic difference. This has led him to dive deep into explorations of a great variety of different musical cultures, genres, and traditions. Brahm incorporates profound lessons that he’s had the honor of learning from all different facets of the musical world. West African drum and dance groups, South Indian konnakol teachers, Cuban percussion masters, and American jazz legends have influenced Brahm’s musicality to mold a sound that is unique, bold and innovative.
Since he started playing drums at the age of 6, Brahm has been passionate about spreading positivity, healing and love through his music. His artistic vision has brought him across North America, performing with his own projects and working as a sideman to accompany many incredible, world-class musicians and artists.
Some of the artists Brahm has performed or recorded with include Charles Neville, Arturo Sandoval, Glen David Andrews, Nestor Torres, Tony Perez and Peter Eldridge.
Brahm is a part of the future pop music unit JUNE ARC, and he leads his own band, “brahm,” a 3-drummer, all multi-instrumentalist group that performs his original music.
Brahm’s debut EP will be released in the fall of 2021 featuring a small collection of some of the songs that he’s written in the past few years and that he holds very close to his heart.
Leo “DaVincci” Mayorga is a HipHop producer and song writer hailing from West Kendall Florida. A well seasoned underground MC with a wide range of production including HipHop, RnB-Soul, Trap and Reggae as his medium. Credits of production include DJ EFN, Dead Prez, David Banner, N.O.R.E., Sizzla, Bernz, MC Eiht, Ras Kass and Killer Mike. Leo also has been working as a rap mentor for Guitars
Over Guns Org. Since 2015 working in Dade County at Georgie Jones Ayers Middle, Citrus Middle and Brownsville Middle in Liberty City.
Laurah Merisier holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Music in Music Education from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and a Master’s degree in Music Education from Florida State University.
Laurah has served as a music mentor, a general music teacher, Director of Choirs, assistant director of Musical Theatre, and early childhood music educator.
She serves as the Early Childhood Music Director, a Choral Director at The Children’s Voice, a nonprofit children’s music education organization.
Laurah founded Miami Sound Space, a community music education organization, where she directs Miami Sound Choir, an adult community choir, and the Bluebirds, a men’s Choir at the Everglades Correctional Institution.
Laurah is Adjunct Professor of Contemporary Voice at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. She also freelances as a private vocal coach virtually and out of her home studio in South Miami.
Johann C. Muñoz is a visual artist, curator, and educator from Bogotá, Colombia. Muñoz is an interdisciplinary practitioner whose work encompasses drawing, photography, sculpture, aural installations, and pedagogy. Johann C. Muñoz received his BFA in painting from New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL.
Muñoz has been a visual arts educator for over ten years, with experience working with K-12 students and adults. Through a situation-oriented educational framework, he favors active student participation in developing more positive interactions in the classroom. His teaching philosophy fosters community engagement through the arts, to contextualize art objects/performances in daily life, and promote tangible social change. He regards his role as an educator, ‘an extension of artistic and social practice’; he is an advocate of education that is creative, sensitive to social contexts, and expands upon conversations regarding representation. He encourages students to exercise sociocultural awareness in their work.
Throughout his career, Muñoz has worked on a series of community-oriented projects like Concerto on the River, a grant-funded performance at Kingman and Heritage Islands in Washington, D.C. (2019), and Forest (2011), in partnership with the Miami-Dade Public Library System. His curatorial projects include a_part (2020), an international collective of more than 40 artists, DOMESTIC (2019), an alternative exhibition space, and Unfolding: Series I (2016), a co-curated exhibition hosted by Miami Biennale. Muñoz has exhibited work in Miami Zine Fair (2019), Activist Small Press Fair at Exile Books (2018), and the 23rd International Biennial in Gabrovo, Bulgaria (2017). His works are in public art collections, including Miami-Dade Public Library System and Museum House of Humour & Satire, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.
Muñoz is currently the lead instructor at Art Box, Coconut Grove, FL.
Keys & Drums
Jean Petit-Homme and is a piano mentor at GOGO who started his journey with us playing in our Alumni Band. He loves working with kids and believes it’s a privilege to be able to have such an impact on young people to help them grow and learn more about the art of music.
Guitar & Keys
Peruvian musician, born in the summer of 1987s, Alejandra Pizarro began to learn to play the trumpet at her school in Lima. By the age of 14, she became the lead trumpet at the “Orquesta Interescolar Jazz en Lima”, and in 2004 she became part of the trumpet section of the “Orquesta Juvenil de Música Nueva” later touring with them to Europe.
In 2008, Alejandra began to study at the Music Conservatory of Perú where she received her Music degree in 2015. She also recorded the first “Colectivo Circo Band” album called “PAWAWN” and toured through almost every region of Peru with the band. A few years later she became the music teacher at “Sinfonía por el Perú”, youth Symphonic Orchestra of the peruvian tenor, Juan Diego Flores. For six years Alejandra was apart of the Preludio Asociación cultural’s Orchestra, playing in Broadway musicals for 6 years. Also, she was a musician for the National Symphonic Orchestra and Operas and Zarzuelas at the most recognized theatre in Lima and attended to “Chosen Vale Trumpet Seminar”, in 2015. In 2018 she got a Full scholarship to get a master’s degree at New Jersey City University. She also shared the stage with some recognized musicians as: Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Shew, Mariah Schneider, John Benitez, Lakecia Benjamin, Ariacne Trujillo, Eva Ayllón, Susana Baca, Juan Diego Flores, Tito Nieves, Diego Torres, Gianmarco, Christian Meier, Maricarmen Marín and many others. In March 2019 she released her first solo music album called: “Soy Libre” in every digital platform.
At the present Alejandra is attending MDC Kendall for an Associate degree in Music Business, she holds a Master of Music from New Jersey City University, being student of Bobby Shew, John Benitez, Nathan Eklund, Tim Horner, Ariacne Trujillo and Garry Dial.
Jonathan Powell (aka KronikBeatz) was born and raise in Broward county, Fort Lauderdale. He pursues a career as Drummer and has branched out into being a mixing engineer and a producer. First started playing drums at the age of 3 years old learning from drummer before him at Gateway church in Oakland park Florida. He attended school from elementary through high-school at nova high school davie, fl. Recieve da bachelor degree at Full sail university in Recording Arts program. Plays in different bands around his hometown as well in the United States. Has recently Guitar over Guns from a friend and bandmate J Howard And has learn to branch out to teach his skills and gifts with students in the Miami area.
Ryan Rachal is a musician born in Memphis, raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and is now residing in Miami Florida. Grew up listening to everything from the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Chet Baker, Elvis, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Ramones, Dolly Parton, Cure, Marvin Gaye, Metallica, and Louis Armstrong, to name a few. He learned to love all genres, and therefore, has been influenced to perform many genres. Ryan’s talent has been passed down by his grandfather, who was a touring lap steel session guitarist playing regularly at the Memphis Peabody hotel, which gave him the opportunity to play with Elvis before Elvis was a huge success.
Over 10 years of playing live music, Ryan is well known locally in Miami. Starting with a melodic rock band “7 Seas” to acoustic soul-rock band “The Zipperz” and now also as solo singer-songwriter, he has played numerous great shows–from the intimate ‘Sofar Sounds’ music festivals, breweries, wineries, restaurants, and animal sanctuaries Working with 3 music agencies. He also supports the scene by doing volunteer work and booking local acts. Works for ‘Guitars over Guns’ as a music mentor for Madison Middle. Ryan is also the Airbnb intimate concert host- booking travelers and locals together!
Ryan has grown his songwriting repertoire into an eclectic variety that will hit your senses. Ryan has ‘no limit’ to his writing style. One of his best performed songs- ‘Home Again’ (attached)was the top 3 finalist in 2014 Guitar Center Songwriting Competition. As of recently, Ryan has been recording and preparing his new EP!
Guitar & Vocals
Matt “Mateo” Racher picked up his first guitar from a neighbor’s garage sale. It was a classical guitar and had collected a lot of dust, but he was fascinated by the sound of each string. Upon being exposed to the grunge bands of the 90’s, Matt set out to learn the elements that make a great guitar riff and he began exploring the influences of a lot of his favorite bands. At an early age, Matt discovered the blues when he first heard the gritty and raunchy tone of Texas bluesman, Stevie Ray Vaughn. He was blown away and as a result began listening to other blues greats, mainly Hendrix, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton. The blues remains a huge driving force in his style, and as a vocalist and lead/rhythm guitar player, Matt hopes to continue tapping into those deep, burrowing, soulful guitar licks in every bend of the string and vibrato of the note.
Currently, Matt works in the Miami-Dade community as a mental health advocate, combining his love of music with advocacy in a band known as “FogDog.”
Award-winning singer and musician Lula Rios is a veteran of the Miami music scene. During her 12-year tenure as the lead vocalist of the tropical soul band The Elastic Bond, she has collaborated on dozens of songs, and co-produced three albums, helping to earn the group recognition from Billboard Magazine, NPR, PRI The World, and the Los Angeles Times. In 2018, she shared the honors of a Grammy nomination with Venezuela’s world-renowned Latin alternative band Los Amigos Invisibles when their album El Paradise was nominated in the Best Latin Alternative/Rock album category. Rios co-wrote and sang on the album’s track “Esperame.”
When she’s not on stage, Rios is out teaching others what she knows by serving as a private voice and music instructor. It all began as a child in her native Honduras. At family gatherings, her uncle would serenade the relatives by playing guitar and singing nostalgic boleros. Rios learned to do the same for her young neighbors. When her babysitter wouldn’t let her out to play with other kids, she’d lure them to her front door of her house by singing along on a microphone to her dad’s Spanish and American pop records.
Rios came South Florida as a teenager in the early 1990s, and in 2004, she obtained a business degree with an emphasis on creative performance at Miami Dade College, where her project was recognized as Music Business of the Year. In addition to her work as a musician and private instructor, she has participated in numerous workshops and volunteer projects aimed at using music to elevate the community’s quality of life. For her work and leadership in music, the City of Miami presented her and her bandmates with a Proclamation Award for elevating Miami’s artistic and cultural life.
Guitar & Spoken Word
James Valsaint was born in the neighborhood of Little Haiti in Miami, Florida. After graduating high school, he traveled the world, first to Barcelona where he managed a company and then to Amsterdam where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Audio Engineering. Upon returning to the States, he worked with Greenpeace in LA to fight against deforestation and offshore drilling. Back home in South Florida, James got involved with both the Occupy Movement and Black Lives Matter, with a focus on ending the school-to-prison pipeline. James has always been both an artist and an activist who believes in utilizing the power of music and love to overcome social hardships and uplift his community. He now works with Guitars Over Guns as a mentor at North Miami Middle and Senior High School where he teaches guitar and spoken word poetry.
Camilo Velez is a bassist, multi-instrumentalist, and visual artist based out of Miami. After studying Music Composition for TV and Film at the prestigious Frost School of Music, he has performed in a wide range of opportunities around town and abroad. Currently his main focus is in the band Butterfly Snapple.
Camilo is featured on Where’d You Go (2019) by Butterfly Snapple and on the Orden album by Muning (2017).
Guitar & Vocals
My name is Jean Paul Zabala, but I love to go by JP Zabala. I’ve always been super passionate for seeing people achieve their dreams and full potential. I’m very energetic, love making people smile. Eating pastry is my love language.
Colombian born, Miami raised, Mateo Serna Zapata is a lens-based Artist. Keeping in mind the concept of collaboration as civilized progress, Mateo enacts his practice as a collective collaborative conversation between himself and his subjects with the intent of presenting multiple perspectives on a reality that would otherwise go unnoticed. Working with dancers and utilizing anatomy as geometry, the artist captures movement and presents contradictory compositions that invite the viewer to question perception and engage with the compositions. This further emphasizes collaboration as the audience become active participants in the conversation. The environment is an essential ingredient to the artist’s work, as nature is the essence of our human existence. Through captured movement, Mateo aims to unravel new possibilities for collective progress.
His work has been exhibited in MOCA, New World Gallery, Cisneros-Fontanals Art Foundation, Mindy Solomon Gallery and Coral Gables Museum. Mateo received his BFA from University of Florida through New World School of the Arts and has a studio at the Bakehouse Art Complex. Mateo is currently enacting a Project Residency at The Deering Estate researching connections to ancestral energy through movement and sound.