Top 10 NYC Must-See Bands and Their Whiskey Personas

by Rachna Hukmani

I come from a family of musicians and love being around them. I find them invigorating, inspiring—and, much like when I’m in a barrel room where whiskey is quietly sleeping and aging—also calming.

These past few months have been such an honor and a treat for me as I’ve rediscovered my love of live music and bands. Not only are each of these musicians immensely talented, their humility and welcoming spirits are one I think you should be a part of. They, in essence, also represent the unspoken magic, diversity and intrigue that is New York. Couple their music notes with whiskey notes and I guarantee you’ll create memories not easily forgotten.

Here is my guide to top 10 must-see local NY musicians/bands and their corresponding whiskey personas. Whether you’re listening at home or attending a show, try this combo and let me know what you think. I love a good music/whiskey chat!

*Note these are not in any particular order. All are equally fascinating to me.

1. Raye Zaragoza

[ Band Members: Raye Zaragoza, Tim Basom, Desmond White, Goh Izawa, Christian Nourijanian. Photo courtesy: Larufoto.]

Raye is a passionate peacemaker and quite possibly the personification of the spirit & strength that is Brown Girl Magazine. Singer, songwriter and standing up for what she believes, check out her song in honor of Standing Rock, “In the River: A Protest Song.” Her mystic allure is the perfect paring with Colorado’s fresh, pure, rocky mountain water whiskey Stranahan’s. Not a bourbon, not a scotch, this whiskey stands on its own right. One of my all-time favorite American whiskies, it tells a fascinating tale of strong dark chocolate notes with a gentle vanilla finish. The purity of the water makes all the difference in this whiskey. Water really is life. No wonder whiskey is called Aqua Vitae (water of life).

2. Huntertones

[Band Members: Dan White, Jon Lampley, Chris Ott, John Hubbel, Adam DeAscentis, Josh Hill. Photo courtesy: Josh Smith.]

I will admit this band is so versatile that, for a while, I was unsure which whiskies to pair with their music. A marriage of funk, jazz, R&B and rock, their zippy music has the welcoming warmth of a big Indian family wedding (good place to mention they also opened for band Red Baraat earlier in March). And if that doesn’t put a skip in your step, their tune “Rumpus Time” surely will. A band as diverse as this deserves a pairing with two whiskies. My picks are India’s very own, heart-warming Amrut Single Malt and the little fighter whisky that is giving Scotch a run for its money by winning awards, Taiwan’s Kavalan Single Malt. Both whiskies are rich, silky and taste like pears and allspice. These whiskies and Huntertones are all you really need for the perfect baraat.

3. Micky

[Band Members: Michael Persall, Tim Basom, Doug Berns, Christian Nourijanian, Goh Izawa, Mike McGarril. Laura Hillard.]

Micky is well traveled and energetically ambitious (he’s even been to Goa and I’ve yet to visit Goa. Color me Bad Indian). That said, there is also a wonderful sense of calming nostalgia in his company because he makes you feel like you’ve been friends forever. To be Candid, experiencing Micky’s music feels the same the way. A familiar, nostalgic influence of Elvis Presley, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, there is also a daring, contemporary edge that is quite unforgettable. Why should his music’s whiskey pairing be any different? Banned in 2006 by the Scotch Association for breaking centuries of scotch making tradition, Spice Tree is remarkable. With hints of Indonesian spices and surprising chai tea end notes, this whisky without the “e” forms its own rules, just like Micky, without the “e.” Micky, we, at Brown Girl Magazine, will have a chai with you any day.

4. DD White

[Band Members: Tiffany Doodle, Chris Agar, Collin Stanley, Zach Simao, Tim Basom.]

What can I say about DD White to do them justice?! I once overheard a close friend of theirs suggest she had crushes on all of them. Go see a gig. You’ll see why. Sensual and sweet at the same time, they draw you in like moth to a flame. A combination of pop, rock, cabaret and a hint of Indian gypsy, their song, “Even a Girl,” is the perfect feel-great-to-be-a-girl song. In fact, you might find yourself yelling “Buck Yeah!” when you hear this song live! What is Buck Yeah!? A seasonal, unexpected American buckwheat whiskey. Deemed a whiskey for badasses, this adventurous spirit tastes slightly spicy and when you least expect it, slightly sweet, like a jalebi. Maybe one of the Ds in DD White stands for Desi!

5. Lindsay Dunphy

[Band Members: Lindsay Dunphy, Goh Izawa,
Mike McGarril, Tim Basom, Christian Nourijanian, Isaac Kaplan, Jeff Koch. Photo courtesy: Timothy Bailey.]

I am convinced that Lindsay was Indian in another life. Her lyrics and passion for love have the makings of the perfect Indian love story. In fact, her song “Can I Take You Home,” spans 5 years, continents and has the patience and persistence that would make many Bollywood movies jealous. I secretly hope this song’s future video involves rolling down a hill with your crush and 5 outfit changes (can I audition, Lindsay?). With Lindsay, the whisky pairing was obvious to me. Born of a love story that spans continents, Japanese Whisky Nikka Pure Malt, may not have existed, if not for the unfaltering love between Japanese founder Taketsuru and his Scottish wife Rita. Combining two cultures, this whiskey has surprising notes of Scotch like smoke and its own twist of espresso, chocolate and hints of Japanese honey. One taste and you’ll find yourself asking, “Can I take you home?”

6. Satellite Mode

[Band Members: Jessica Carvo, Alex Markovitz, Dustin Kaufman, Tim Basom, James Quinlan. Photo courtesy: Yon Dotan.]

The first time I saw Satellite Mode live, they blew me away. Mesmerizing, sultry vocals with mysterious electronic music textures inspired by artists like Sia and Regina Spektor. I’m so happy that my first experience with Satellite Mode was at midnight, at legendary Blue Note Jazz Club. I felt so exhilarated. As adults, we often come up with “Wild Excuses” to rationalize and not do something. But sometimes you have listen to your heart, say, “F*ck it!” and forget about the obscenely early meeting you have the next day. I feel their music pairs perfectly with Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey which tastes of sun kissed orange and other fruit forward notes (watch their music videos and you’ll see why). Satellite Mode, summer and an Old Forester Old Fashioned, I can’t wait to see you again.

7. Kathleen Potton

[Photo courtesy: Shervin Lainez.]

Kathleen’s voice is amazingly soulful and silky. Her lyrics are real, heartfelt and I admire her vulnerability. I may have cried the first time I listened to her song “Games.” I will also admit her music makes me wish I had designed a bourbon with her and called it, “Reckless Heart” (inspired by her lyrics). I already know it would be the envy of all Bourbon Land (if Bourbon was a country). Kathleen, when shall we get together and make our own bourbon? Until we do, readers and fans, have a listen to this song and pair her music with equally silky Angel’s Envy. A bourbon aged in Portuguese port wine barrels, it is born of 200 years of whiskey-making tradition. A toasty, cherry inspired finish this, bourbon teases and plays games with the angels only to leave them wanting more. Listen to Kathleen’s music and you’ll feel the same way. Wanting more.

8. Wool Sucker

[Band Members: Alex Minier, Jeff McLaughlin, Andrew Miramonti, Cody Rahn, Elizagrace Madrone, Photo courtesy: Ben O’Brien Smith.]

Wool Sucker loves it when you leave their gig, feeling, “I just had the STRANGEST night…” Inspired by folklore, personal stories, a fascination for the supernatural and magic, this band’s style feels like an Indian mythology story put to music. A mix of alternative rock, blues and spoken word, spread your “Ragged Little Wings” with this band, get out of your comfort zone and stretch your imagination. Make this experience even better by pairing their music with Ryemageddon, a spicy, edgy, end of the world, malted rye and chocolate rye whiskey. Sounds like folklore, but if the world is ending, you’ll want Wool Sucker, Ryemageddon and a little magic on your side.

9. The Soundwaves

[Band Members: Mike McGarril, Dustin Kaufman, Christian Nourijanian. Photo courtesy: Kara Courville.]

This is an experience to transport you in time. On board a 1920’s style luxury yacht named Manhattan II, this jazz trio is called The Soundwaves. Influenced by jazz legends like Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, each week brings a unique selection that leaves you feeling soothed or energized depending on the tempo. As the weather gets warmer, you’ll want to line up for this cruise and join me in convincing Manhattan II to carry Manhattan Moonshine. It is the perfect pairing with this super talented jazz trio. Velvety with very light malted cashew like end notes, this moonshine also comes in the retro art deco bottle that will look great in your home bar. Until I convince this jazz yacht to carry Manhattan Moonshine, why not throw your own 1920’s inspired cocktail party with this moonshine, take the Manhattan II cruise and catch some Soundwaves.

10. The Big Takeover

[Band Members: Nee Nee Rushie, Rob Kissner, Batu Attila, Kerry Shaw, Andy Vogt, Chas Montrose. Photo courtesy: Michael Bloom.]

This band is extremely captivating. Highly energetic, it packs a punch with reggae, soul and Motown influences. A Hudson Valley band, they tour all through upstate NY and have no problem packing clubs in NYC. Their song “Silly Girl,” is about a diamond in the rough and empowers women to appreciate their own worth. It pairs perfectly with Hudson Baby Bourbon. Don’t let its baby status fool you. First bourbon to be distilled in New York, it is full of flavor after being aged in small barrels that are serenaded with music. Rumor has it the vibration of the music helps the whiskey along its aging process. Notes of spice and ginger, it might taste a little odd when  you first try it. It grows on you though and you start to appreciate its worth.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this list and will join me at more of their shows! I’m hooked and you will be too. Let’s raise a whisk(e)y glass to these musicians!

Rachna Hukmani lives in NYC and is very passionate about writing about her Greek/Indian upbringing. Youngest child of 5 siblings, she has a lot of witty anecdotes to share and loves storytelling. In fact, she is the owner/founder of Whiskey Stories. Having worked in the whiskey industry for several years, she is well-versed in the art of whiskey making, barrel aging, and mixology. Whiskey Stories is more than a whiskey tasting class. It is a sensorial immersive experience that combines her passion for storytelling as well as pairing obscure whiskies with other artists talents ranging anywhere from authors & musicians to actors & comedians. It is unlike any other whiskey class in NYC! (Bio Photo Credit: © Katarina Kojic Photography)

By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … Read more ›

In Conversation with Karan Singh: CEO of the Sunburn Music Festival

Karan Singh Sunburn
Karan Singh Sunburn

From receiving his MBA from Harvard business school to being the CEO of Asia’s largest music festival brand Sunburn, Karan Singh combined his interests to push his passion for music! Singh received his bachelor’s degree in management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He worked as an investment banker for three years at Ambit Corporate Finance before working at Sunburn which is a part of his family’s business. Sunburn started providing the music festival experience starting in the year 2007. The first festival was in Candolim, Goa. The music festival brand has put on over 5,000 events over the past 15 years. In 2022 The Sunburn Festival will be in it’s 16th year. Continue reading to learn more about Karan Singh’s journey with the Sunburn music festival!

[Read Related: Brown Boy Interview Series: In Conversation With Sanjoy]

What does the Sunburn brand offer and what made you have the festival in Goa as opposed to other parts of India?

We believe that Sunburn offers a really unique experience and is a melting pot of diverse people & cultures from not only across India but around the world. Goa is the ideal setting for this as there is something magical about Goa in the winter-time and truly enables us to tap into that global audience.

Safety at live events has always been a concern among concert goers. Considering recent, events more individuals have asked brands and artists to do more to ensure audience safety. What are you doing to ensure safety for live concerts?

Safety is a huge priority for us. We work with the best-in-class security agencies as well as closely with the police and requisite authorities. For anyone in the crowd a Sunburn safety officer will always be close by and easily visible. We also run an awareness drive on both social media and on ground.

What was the first Sunburn Festival like and what did you learn from this experience?

The first ever Sunburn Festival was in December 2007, and I had actually attended it as a fan, not part of the crew. However, it was absolutely eye-opening as the first proper music festival on Indian shores and opened up our minds to a world of possibilities.

As Sunburn houses so many electronic dance musicians who have been your favorites throughout the years?

It is difficult to pick from the list however the favorites for Sunburn, in no order and because of the amount of love they have shown Indian audiences, are Martin Garrix, DJ Snake, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Hardwell and Armin van Buuren.

Do you plan to expand the festival to add other genres into the mix as well as more activities?

We have already expanded into different formats like Arena, Campus, Club, Reload and things like merchandize & academy. In terms of genres, we have been dabbling with genres like rap, hip-hop and pop, however our focus remains on electronic dance music.

What can someone expect from the festival as first-time goers?

Apart from a state-of-the-art production & line-up, one can expect a special experience, meeting interesting people from all over the world, and embarking on a creative journey of the theme for the year.

How does the festival help local musicians from Goa as well as the surrounding areas in India?

This year we had set up for the first time a special stage and village in the festival only for Goa which gave a platform to local Goan artists. But beyond that a huge focus for us has always been to showcase domestic home-grown talent and indeed 60-70% of the line-up each year is locally sourced.

[Read Related: Brown Boy Interview Series: In Conversation With KSHMR]


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Martin Garrix (@martingarrix)

What was the experience like this year in 2022 and how is it different from previous years?

The biggest difference was that this was the first time the festival was back to its full scale since the pandemic hit after 3 long years. It was a fantastic release for everyone there. Our theme was “the future is now” and this was reflected across the festival experience and particularly in the main stage design – termed “Cyberpunk City” which received rave reviews from all.

[Read Related: Jai Wolf: First Bangladeshi Artist to Headline Red Rocks Amphitheatre]

What was it like having the legends Black Coffee and Afrojack this year as well as the DJ duo Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike?

Afrojack and DVLM are both Sunburn & India veterans, it was amazing having them back crushing the main stage after very long. Black Coffee for us was something very new and exciting, to have a special artist and a unique sound like that close the main stage on day 2. However it was very well-received and took our experience to the next level.

As you have had the artist Avicii back in December 2011 how do you feel he revolutionized Electronic Dance Music?

Avicii is one of my all-time favorite artists and his show in December 2011 was actually my first one working on Sunburn so will always be extra special. There is no doubt that he revolutionized EDM by taking massive risks and introducing an entirely new sound which a lot of others then followed, but no one as well as he did.

How does it feel to be in charge of one of Asia’s biggest Electronic Dance Music Festivals?

It feels great, we have a very young but ambitious and hard-working team and our primary focus is to continue delivering the best possible experiences for our fans, artists and partners. India is such a vibrant and exciting market that I cannot help but be pumped about what the future holds.

Do you feel Electronic Dance Music is a misunderstood genre?

More so in a country like India possibly yes, where people who are not exposed to these experiences sometimes have preconceived notions about EDM festivals and the like. Oftentimes those people are also in a decision-making capacity and can directly affect the industry. However, things are certainly improving as the industry overall gets bigger and gets more acceptance.

What does music mean to you, Karan Singh?

Music provides a sound-track to life, it is something which is always there!

How do you choose to react when you receive negative comments about the Sunburn Festival?

Well, you have to be able to differentiate between those which are just trolling and those which are constructive or fair criticism. The latter is very important as it helps us to look at ourselves and continually improve, we are still a long way from where we eventually want to be.

Lastly, what do you hope individuals take away from this interview with Brown Girl Magazine?

I hope it allows us at Sunburn to reach a wider audience of the desi community around the world and hopefully get some more people to fly down to Goa for Sunburn Festival 2023 which I can promise you all will be the best one yet!

Artist Testimonials:

Dimitri Vegas Like Mike

We have had a long connection with India. The first time we played here was more than a decade ago. Going from clubs to being a regular feature at one of Asia’s biggest electronic music festivals which is now an institution in itself. It’s been an exciting evolution to see how Sunburn has grown over the years. The fans at Sunburn are some of the most insane and every show is a special one. We’ve always had an incredible experience at Sunburn.

DJ Snake

Honestly, the energy I feel when I am in India is one of the most amazing things. I would say the culture and energy is what keeps me coming back! India is like a second home to me, just like Sunburn. I feel so comfortable and welcomed here. I’m always excited about coming to India and playing at Sunburn, experiencing new cities, meeting more of the people, hearing more of the music, and seeing more of the country that has influenced me so much.


Sunburn has helped dance music artists world over to tour India and connect with their Indian fans and I’m always excited about performing at the festival.


I’ve a long history with the Sunburn team. They are a great team to work with and they also give the fans amazing experiences. As an artist, I want to be a part of providing fans with lifelong memories and so we all share the same vision.

Alan Walker

Sunburn is one of the pioneers of the dance music festival scene in India and has been instrumental in creating a truly world class platform that supports the dance music industry and all of its stakeholders. I’m always excited about touring India with Sunburn.

Photo Courtesy of DNH Media

By Arun S.

Arun fell in love with music at a young age by way of his middle school music teacher Mr. D. … Read more ›

The Poetry Film Breaking Genres and National Borders

“After so Long” is a poetry film created for Simha’s EP, which is streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. The poem was collaboratively written by Simha, a U.S. native, and Jae, who is based in India, during the 2020 lockdown. “After so Long” was recited by Simha and their parents. In 2022, I directed and produced the film through my studio, Star Hopper. “After so Long” premiered on Nowness Asia in March 2022.

This film is a worldwide collaboration among trans and queer south-Asian artists from the United States, India and Canada. It was recorded, shot and filmed during the lockdown of 2020 and 2021.

[Read Related: Poetry That Reflects the Fire Inside]

[Read Related: A Bengali Muslim Boy’s Poetic Journey Through Himself]

After So Long (English Translation)

Awake at 10 am but out of bed at noon,
I want to be here where I lose myself in these sheets
Glancing through half-shut eyes
At the gold pressing past my window
The glimmer remarks on the ledge of my bed
But the voices are so loud
Like dust collecting in the corner of my room
I am unaware to why I’m still here
With the chilling doubt of the breeze…
I’m swept into lucidity After so long

Mil rahi hoon mein aaj iske saang barso baad,
(Today, I’ll be meeting them after so long)
Koi paata nahi diya tune
(But with no destination sight,)
Kya karu?
(What should I do?)
Kaha jau?
(Where should I go?)
Shayad agar mein chalne lagoon,
(Perhaps, if I keep walking)
Inn yaadon ki safar mein
(Down this road of memories)
Mujhe samajh mein ayega,
(I will find out)
Yeh rasta kahaan jayega,
(Where this road leads)
Inn aari tedhi pakadandiyon pe baarte hi jaana hai,
(Through the twists and turns of this winding roads, I must keep going on)
Mujhe mil na hain aaj uske saath,
(I wish to meet them today)
Barso baad.
(After so long)

I feel like I’m retracing my footsteps
From these concrete stretches
To broken cement walls
Chips and cracks forge their way for new designs
I see the old abandoned buildings
That once held the warmth of bodies
Now just hold memories
Supporting the nature’s resilience
In vines and moss
After so long

Dhoondli shishe mein jaaga leli hai
(These isty mirrors have offered refuge)
Bikhri hui laatao ne,
(To these scattered vines)
Zameen pe uchi ghaas pe
(Amidst the tall grass stretching from the ground)
Lehrati kamsan kaliyaa
(The swaying little buds)
Bheeni bheeni khushboo bikhereti
(Spreading honeysuckle scent through the air)
Phir wahi mausam,
(I lose myself in reminiscing, the same season)
Wahi dil,
(The same heart)
Baarso baad.
(After so long)
Phir bhi mein chal rahi hoon aaj
(Still, I keep carrying on today)
Khudko khudse milane ke liye
(In the pursuit of my higher self)
Inn galiyo se guzarna hain aaj
(I must pass through these streets today)
Chaalte chaale jaana hai aaj
(I must keep going on today)
Kabhi hum milenge kisi mor paar
(Someday, we’ll meet again, somewhere on this road)
barso baad
(After so long)
Kabhi hum milenge kisi mor pe
(Someday, we’ll meet again, somewhere on this road)
barso baad
(After so long)

[Read Related: How to Follow Your Heart, Even When it’s Hard]


Poem by Simha & Jae
Produced by Star Hopper Studios
Directed by Varsha Panikar
Cinematography and grading by Tanmay Chowdhary
Editing by Asawari Jagushte
Featuring Vaishakh Sudhakaran
Music Production by Simha
Hindi editing by Rama Garimella
Recited by Simha, Rama Garimella, Annaji Garimella
English Translation by Nhylar

The opinions expressed by the guest writer/blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Brown Girl Magazine, Inc., or any employee thereof. Brown Girl Magazine is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the guest writer/bloggers. This work is the opinion of the blogger. It is not the intention of Brown Girl Magazine to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. If you’d like to submit a guest post, please follow the guidelines we’ve set forth here.
By Varsha Panikar

Varsha Panikar (they/he) is a filmmaker, writer and multi-disciplinary artist from India. They are the co-founder of Star Hopper, a … Read more ›

Nancy Jay: Meet the Indo Caribbean Influencer Breaking the Mold

nancy jay
nancy jay

In an age where algorithms dictate viewership, Nancy Jay uses her love of dance to propel herself onto TikTok’s “for you” pages. Jay is an Indo Guyanese, Bronx native who began dancing at the age of three. As an influencer and content creator, she amassed a social media following of more than 500,000. Versed in many styles of dancing including Caribbean, Bollywood, urban and Latin, Jay can be spotted in soca music videos such as Linky First’s “Rock and Come in” and “Jeune Femme,” Adrian Dutchin’s “Roll” and by soca king Machel Montano’s “Mami Lo Tiene.”

nancy jay
Photo courtesy of Nancy Jay

[Read Related: HGTV’S Hema Persad on Having the Courage to Find Your Purpose]

Many content creators are typecast into the niche but Jay has defied this norm and proclaims she is more than just a dancer.

“I dance, travel, post lifestyle and beauty content. I’m an Indo Caribbean woman who enjoys being myself and promoting my culture. I like showing viewers it is okay to be who they are and embrace what they look like, despite what they see on social media. I did not plan on being a TikToker. As I started posting videos, the love and support I received from viewers was amazing. I have never experienced anything like that before on Instagram, where I started my content journey,” Jay said.

In conversation with Jay, the following answers have been condensed for concision and clarity. 

Why is it important for you to create content related to your Indo Caribbean roots?

Growing up, I never felt represented as an Indo Caribbean on television, in movies, social media or anywhere else. My goal as a content creator is to promote the Indo Caribbean culture through my content and be the representation the Indo Caribbean community needs.

Are there unspoken rules about being a content creator or an Indo Caribbean woman on the platform?

Being an Indo Caribbean woman on TikTok can be challenging when you are trying to find your identity and do not feel represented. 

Jay explains her frustration with the lack of Caribbean representation and acknowledgment from platforms, as well as her goals as a content creator in this video.

@iamnancyjay Anyone else feel this way? Or understand what I’m saying? R E P R E S E N T A T I O N ?? original sound – iamnancyjay

Do you ever experience a block, similar to writer’s block, when it comes to creating content? How do you overcome that?

I have yet to experience a block. However, I do have days where I want to take a break and just relax instead of filming. As a content creator, it is important to take breaks and schedule days to just relax because being a full-time content creator is a 24/7 business. It can be draining and you may lose your sense of reality when you have the mindset that everything is content. I enjoy taking a day or half a day to cook, watch TV or go shopping with my partner without the worry of filming any of it.

How has your social media presence changed your daily life?

When I am in public, supporters approach me to express their love for my content and sometimes ask for a selfie. When I find people staring at me in public now, it’s most likely because they recognize me from social media and not because I look funny.

In May of 2021, I used my platform to reach out to brands and ask for their support in a project I named ‘Nancy Jay Gives Back.’ I put together care packages, using products donated by brands, and drove around the Bronx sharing them with people experiencing homelessness or those in need. Seeing the happiness on their faces upon receiving these bags was priceless. Additionally, I spread some extra joy through dance. I remember one lady telling me she’d never been to a club or party so I told her I’ve brought the party to her and we danced to her favorite genre of music right there on the street.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Nancy Jay (@iamnancyjay)

Jay plans on continuing this project as her social media presence has grown. 

How has your family reacted to your social presence?

My family has always been supportive of my talents and the path I have chosen. My first public dance performance was at the age of 12. I performed a fusion of Bollywood and chutney music at middle school events. When I got to high school, I participated in our talent show to a fusion of Bollywood, chutney, soca and top 40. I won the talent show three or four times. I also performed for fundraisers organized by mandirs in Queens, the Bronx, weddings, sweet sixteens and other social events. 

My family always came out to support me. They love seeing my content and always encourage me to film and create. My mom in particular tells everyone about my TikTok videos.

While enrolled at John Jay College, Jay founded the first West Indian student organization called “West Indies Massive.” She captained the dance team, taught dance classes and won the talent show multiple times while pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice with a minor in law and police studies.

Any advice for creators who may not have the support of family?

Do not let this discourage you. If content creation is something you truly want to do, stay consistent and eventually your family will support you for doing what you love. Social media is still new to some and the idea of it being someone’s career or business is new as well. I say be patient. Also, talk to them about your social media goals, as perhaps they do not understand the full picture.

What is your dream partnership and why?

My dream partnership would involve acting. I’ve always wanted to be an actress, preferably a Bollywood actress because I know I would kill those dance numbers (haha!). Also, I would love to partner with Sandals Resorts and bring that Caribbean flavor they should be promoting.

Jay has collaborated with major brands like Samsung Mobile, Norwegian Cruise Line, AC Hotels, Disney Music Group, and Dunkin which is paramount for the Indo Caribbean community.

“I am the first Indo Caribbean woman to work with Norwegian Cruise Line as a content creator. Cruise travel is a huge part of my content journey. I love cruising and creating unique experiences and content. While cruising, I connected with the crew while most people typically do not. I treat everyone with respect,” Jay said 

@iamnancyjay It’s not a cruise unless I dance with the Norwegian Prima crew ??? Drip Too Hard (1er Gaou Mix) – Thejokestation0 • Following

“I started a fun series called ‘Cruise Dances with the Crew’ back in August of 2021. There’s a playlist on TikTok with all of the fun dances. Prior to my first video, I had not seen anyone dancing on cruise ships with the crew. I guess you could say I started that trend.”

Nancy intertwined this partnership with her content and further put herself on the map.

Another pivotal partnership for Jay occurred in March 2021 when Dunkin chose her as one of 10 from a nationwide competition to feature her signature drink on the local menu.

@iamnancyjay I love ordering “The Nancy Jay” @dunkin ?? #dunkin #coffee #icedcoffee #dunkinmenucontest #thenancyjay #BiggerIsBetter #EnvisionGreatness #viral #bx ? original sound – iamnancyjay

How has content creation changed in the past two years?

Within the past two years, my content and style has grown tremendously. My gear list has also grown tremendously. I’ve been a content creator full time for a little over a year now. I have had more time to focus on the presentation and editing of my content.

What else do you want your viewers to not know about you or your work?

I stay true to who I am. Supporters who I’ve met in person can attest that I am the same, in-person and online. I like to keep things relatable, fun and authentic. I am working with a lot of big brands. I try to incorporate dance in all my content to capture my passion, diversity and culture.

I started teaching Caribbean Dance Fitness classes and private dance lessons officially in 2016. Since Covid, I moved everything online. Not only have I helped many learn how to dance but I have also helped build their confidence through dance and expression.

Lastly, I love traveling and encouraging others to live their best life.

Jay is more than a dancer; she is unapologetically herself. She maximizes opportunities and is building a brand that highlights her Indo Caribbean roots – a culture often not highlighted in mainstream media. 

You can stay updated on Jay and the community she’s created by following her on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Featured image courtesy: Nancy Jay

By Ashley Ramcharan

Ashley Ramcharan is Indo-Guyanese and the assistant editor for the Indo-Caribbean team here at Brown Girl Magazine. She developed a … Read more ›