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2012 Sounded Good: The Best Breakout Music Acts In The South Bay

There are too many standout acts to count in San Francisco alone. It doesn't get any easier to narrow down the talents in strictly the South Bay either. Out of the many acts out there today, here are just a few bright and shining stars within our midst. They are the singers and artists of various musical genres who have made the biggest impression in 2012. Undoubtedly, we'll be hearing and seeing more of these acts that have blown our minds and caused a stir in the South Bay.


The group Trapt is set to trample the competition with the release of its latest album "Reborn." The band is getting attention from around the South Bay since releasing two songs from the new album. Hailing from Los Gatos, this nu-metal band has been kicking and screaming its way onto stages ever since its first single "Headstrong" was produced a decade ago. Remaining true to its original sound, Trapt recently performed at Musik Ink and rocked the house. Lead vocalist Chris Brown said, "We really wanted to go somewhere different. That really was the point. The electronic aspect of music is obviously growing, I've definitely dabbled in it a lot and it's gotten to the point that I'm somewhat okay at it. I thought that I would throw some of that on 'Bring It' and it was fun." Visit Trapt's website to view upcoming tour dates.

J. C. Smith Band

J.C. Smith Band

This year's Metro Fountain Blues Festival in South Bay caused quite a stir when a talented bluesman by the name of J.C. Smith took to the stage. Smith, known for his high energy and showmanship, has released his best recording to date titled "Defining Cool." In the past, Smith and his band have been listed at the 52nd Grammy Awards for "Best Contemporary Blues CD" and has been the "Winner of Metro Newspaper's 2012 Best Band of Silicon Valley." Funk and blues drummer Donnie Green is part of the band. Robert "Jay" Green plays bass. Abraham Vasquez, known for his solos and arrangements, plays sax. Kevin Marcy, Latin and R&B instrumentalist, plays the trumpet with the band and Todd Reid plays on keys.

Related: A Guide To Stand Up Comedy In The South Bay


Anya & The Get Down
Electronic, R&B, Rock, Funk, Jazz

Born in Moscow, Anya Kvitka came to the US at a young age and dedicated herself to piano and R&B and jazz vocals. Now based out of San Jose, the band plays rock, soul, hip-hop, dubstep (electronic music), reggae and jazz. Comparisons are often made between her talented singing and the voices of Adele and Amy Winehouse. Anya and the Get Down perform both classic and electronic music, with "Gone Baby Gone" being one of the latest off her first solo album.

Kung Fu Vampire

Kung Fu Vampire
Rap, Gothic Hip-Hop

Kung Fu Vampire might sound like a bad horror flick, but this band is said to be San Jose's version of Alice Cooper or Marilyn Manson music. With a mix of hip-hop, brooding theatrics, garish garb and headed by a rap artist who happens to have a killer work ethic, KFV is now on tour again, despite having finished a recent tour doing 41 shows in 46 days. The band has drawn a cult-like following of 'horrorcore' enthusiasts who swarm to the concerts in droves. But, as KFV has stated in recent interviews, "My lyrical content is not shocking." He says, "My shock factor is in the music and the visual — not the lyric. I want my music to bring you to that dark level — (to meet) whatever your demons are." KFV continues to work hard to build momentum for the "Love Bites" album. The vampire thinks his time is now, which is why he's willing to go back on the road after only a few months at home.


Heavy Metal Rock

This metal band's influences come from rock, blues and alternative music, making Mukagee's sound unique and innovative. The band's hard-hitting beats and strong vocals give the group an edginess that separates its sound from other music in the same genre. The band is comprised of five talented musicians whose backgrounds are diverse. The members are Dave Wilson (bass), Robert Lemos (guitar), Tony Oliveri (guitar and vocals), Mzao Waters (lead vocals) and Ronny Johnston (drums).

Maria Marquez
Latin Jazz Vocalist

One of the standout acts during 2012's biggest annual cultural events in the South Bay, the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, was Maria Marquez. The singer, composer and producer is often compared to the great voices of Edith Piaf and Nina Simone. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Maria began her musical career by singing duets with one of the most important influences in Venezuelan rock and pop music: Vytas Brenner. Maria began performing and broadening her world of Jazz and Brazilian music as soon as she arrived to the Bay Area. Marquez was part of the 'new attractions' at this year's festival, which included "Women in Latin Jazz" featuring female-led bands playing on the Castellano Latin Stage.

Related: Best Live Latin Music In South Bay

Kelly Gullo is a freelance writer in San Francisco, CA. Kellys topics are about music and nightlife. Kelly has also written a variety of articles on health and dieting and topics related to the environment. Kelly has a degree in journalism and public relations from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. Her work can be found at

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