Share this article

print logo

Sunny Side Up is proud of its Buffalo roots

"The idea of community will be something displayed at a museum."

No, these are not the lyrics of local talent Sunny Side Up, a band comprised of seven teenage Buffalo natives. They were written by another artist, Enter Shikari, and they happen to have found favor with Sunny Side Up's bassist, Alexander Matos, 18, a senior at Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. But the author of the lyrics is irrelevant; it is their content that is so striking: Those 11 words seem to summarize sentiments deep in the collective soul of the band. Sunny Side Up is a band built from, inspired by and proud of the Buffalo community.

"We just want to stay together and play forever and support Buffalo," says Alejandro Collier, one of the lead singers of SSU.

Collier, Matos, Bella Buscarino (vocals), Johnathan Sales (keyboards), KC Sullivan (guitar), Wynton Reid (drums), Kalif Crutcher (saxophone), Gino Roberson and Aaron DuBenion (trumpet) are the members of the Sunny Side Up family, which has been playing together since 2010. The musicians hail from all corners of the City of Good Neighbors. The boys -- Collier, Sales, Sullivan, Reid, Crutcher, Roberson and DuBenion -- either attended or still do attend Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. Bella, 18, the indispensable "girl in the band" and the last member to join the band, is a senior at Buffalo Seminary.

Cody Naughton, another integral part of the band as its manager, attended Canisius High School. He also plays keys and composed the song, "S-Train."

Although the members of the band are scattered now -- Collier, 20, is studying at the Art Institute in Miami; Roberson, 18, attends the University at Kentucky (where he also plays football); Sales, 19, attends Fredonia State College; Sullivan, 19, is studying at Nazareth College and Eastman School of Music; Reid, 18, attends Onondaga Community College; Crutcher, 17, is a senior at Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing; DuBenion, 18, is a freshman at the New England Conservatory; and Naughton, 19, attends the University of Pittsburgh -- they still play when they are all back in town and are planning a show in May.

The city is not only a part of this band's heritage, it is a part of its music.

"KC and I have gone to the Japanese Gardens countless times to sit and play guitar and write," Matos says.

Adds Buscarino, "A walk down Plymouth or Richmond Avenue is like a reset button when everything in life gets boring."

Following the path paved by the likes of Ani DiFranco and the Goo Goo Dolls, Sunny Side Up seems to be ready to transcend our city streets and enter the metropolis of music and stardom.

"We are a young band making a name for ourselves We want to get out of the local scene and show the world what we're made for," says Collier.

"We're all going somewhere," adds Buscarino. "Everyone is so talented, smart and motivated."

But to be an inhabitant of Buffalo is to be stamped with an indelible mark, and fans can be confident that this band won't forget its roots.

"My dream is to sell out the First Niagara Center," says Matos. "I've seen so many great bands play there over the years, and I've always wanted the feeling of looking at thousands of kids in every direction singing our songs."

If unyielding motivation, incredible cohesiveness and abundant talent are any indication of their future success, then their dreams just may come true.

"Follow the band as well as you can," suggests Sullivan. "Our music won't stop, so we hope nobody else does."

The band members of Sunny Side Up, though relatively young, say they have important messages to impart.

"Everyone has a story to tell," says Collier. And through the band's lyrics, the majority of which he writes himself, he is publishing the story he wants to share.

"I want to tell everyone to wake up; don't sleepwalk," says Sullivan. He wants to help change the world around him.

The band's inspirational lyrics and messages are designed to "hit everyone in the heart," Buscarino explains.

The band members all agree that as soon as their songs were rehearsed and recorded, they were sure they would succeed.

Collier has been singing for as long as he can remember and plans to pursue music for his whole life.

"I want this to be my profession: a writer, a composer, a pioneer of music," he says.

Matos agrees. "When you make your life decision to be a musician, there's nothing that will satisfy you the way music does."

And Buscarino, who has been a jazz singer since she was 9, intends to make music for "as long as she can breathe."

The band's music can be found online at Cdbaby, Reverbnation, Spiderfly, YouTube and iTunes. Additionally, they plan to play every week in the summer, "when fish are jumping, and Sunny Side is up," says Sullivan.


Christina Seminara is a junior at Nardin Academy.