News Column

Simply Three brings cool to classical

July 13, 2013

YellowBrix

July 13--As music students at Arizona State University, Zack Clark and Nick Villalobos wanted to create something funky and different.

Thinking a cello-bass duo was a little too weird, they recruited a violinist, Olivia Lemmelin (also an ASU music student), and became Simply Three -- a classical-crossover trio along the lines of the European duo 2Cellos, performing covers of Adele, Justin Timerlake, The Beatles and others.

In 2010, Simply Three started performing at weddings, corporate events, schools and any place that would hire them. Three years later, they've built a solid foundation in the local music scene, and are raising funds on Kickstarter to break into the live tour and music video business.

Their first music video, a remix of Adele's uber-popular "Rolling in the Deep," aptly communicates the group's personality, talent and Arizona roots. Filmed at an abandoned technology site outside Casa Grande, the video -- available on YouTube at SimplyThreeOfficial -- has an edgy, desert persona that plays well against the natural elegance of classical string instruments and the group's young, hipster vibe.

Clark and Villalobos said they chose to play pop tunes rather than traditional classical music because they like it, and it appeals to mass audiences -- especially aspiring young musicians.

Simply Three, whose members reside in Mesa, Chandler and Tempe, has performed at multiple East Valley high schools, including Corona del Sol, Dobson, Mesa, Desert Vista, Skyline and Perry. They always receive a warm welcome from the students, who are excited to see that being a string musician can be cool, too.

"The kids love it," said Clark. "For me, that's the fulfillment (of playing). Music is good, but it's supposed to be communicated," he said.

With a July 18 Kickstarter deadline, and more than $10,000 yet to raise, the group has been working overtime to get their name out, appearing on KBAQ Radio and Fox 10 News, in the hopes that Valley music fans and patrons will help them fund a fall tour to Utah and Idaho, record three new songs and film three additional music videos. Recording more videos is a must to become a viable YouTube presence, they said.

But, as Villalobos pointed out, if Simply Three falls short of the full $14,000 funding goal, they won't retain any of the money previously pledged. Should that happen, Simply Three won't be deterred, they'll just be slowed down a little, Villalobos said.

They will continue pursuing their vision -- becoming international touring artists -- at a slower pace, building relationships, performing and teaching younger generations how to add some cool to classical music.

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More information:

Listen to Simply Three perform at SimplyThreeMusic.com or go to

kick.simplythreemusic.com to contribute to their fundraising efforts.

Contact writer: (480) 898-5629 or sperrault@evtrib.com

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(c)2013 East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Ariz.)

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