Every member of the collaboration Aizehi and the Funkth Dimension has performed in Spring Sing at least once in previous years, but as a part of a different group.
The six performers will unite on Saturday to perform an original song that showcases the mutual jazz background all of the members share.
Aizehi and the Funkth Dimension is a collaboration of students from the UCLA jazz studies department who came together specifically to perform at Spring Sing 2016. Their original song, “Lost Myself in the Song,” is meant to capture the emotions a person has when words are not adequate to describe such feelings, said Priscillia Omon, a fourth-year ethnomusicology student and vocalist.
Omon said the song evolved to be about what music makes them feel, and how serious they feel about it.
“Music is a second voice and a different language where you can evoke certain emotions,” Omon said. “It’s like a therapy.”
Last year, Omon performed in the duo Priscillia and Alan for Spring Sing, where they won the Rose Bowl Bruins award for best duet entry. Omon said this year was the first time she has worked collaboratively with a band, and the first time she has had to foster a relationship and work closely with each musician in a group.
“Working with them (the group) has challenged me to think more deeply about each person’s role in the song,” Omon said.
As members of the jazz studies department on campus, which is comprised of fewer than 40 students, the members are close friends who have played music together in the past, keyboardist Grant Milliken said. The fourth-year jazz studies student said they chose to form a collaboration with people they felt they were similar to musically.
“Since a lot of us were older and about to graduate, we decided we just wanted to form a collective group with a lot of people we really vibed with and really appreciated as musicians,” said Hugo Shiboski, the saxophonist and a third-year jazz studies student
During their time collaborating for Spring Sing, the group members are still involved in side projects as smaller units, Omon said.
“The more outside projects we work on with each other the better, because the more comfortable we feel with one another,” Omon said. “We’re especially comfortable about being honest with each other and not being afraid to say, ‘No, I don’t like that’ about something musically.”
Although the group members are not directly involved with their past Spring Sing groups, they still work with many of the same people musically, Milliken said.
Milliken said the outside projects the groups are a part of have similar jazz instrumentation, but rehearsing a single song for Spring Sing is unique because it allows them to get critical about one single song and fine-tune the details.
Shiboski said the fact that all of the members have a background in jazz makes their group dynamic more navigable.
“In relation to the group dynamic and jazz, it’s hard to play such an interactive form of music without being good friends,” Shiboski said. “Since the music has spontaneous aspects like improvisation, we have to be honest and able to trust each other.”
Shiboski, Omon and Milliken wrote the song in one three-hour session, and only had one main rehearsal before their audition for Spring Sing.
Erik Shiboski, an alumnus and the bassist, said their performance this year will be more focused on musical spontaneity and representing the jazz department, rather than on the competitive aspect of Spring Sing.
“Although people may be considered rivals one year, we are collaborating the next year and having a great time together, and ultimately it’s all about the music,” Hugo Shiboski said.