The 'Be Your Own Hero' Interviews.
Episode 1: Ali Culotta
Welcome to our new series of blog posts about kick-arse women we admire and love. Our first interviewee is Ali Culotta, lead vocalist, keyboardist and guitar for Brooklyn-based Ska band 'Stop The Presses.'
1. If you weren’t out being a kick-arse musician, where would you be instead, and what would you be doing?
My husband and I dabbled in community theater and improv when we lived in Miami. Danny actually wrote a 15min musical titled "It's Pronounced Nuclear" that I sang and starred in, and we've always talked about extending it to a full show. So I think if we ever decide to take a rest from music, we would finish writing the musical and try to get it produced. Honestly, that may happen even if the band doesn't take a rest.
2. Most of our customers are pretty weird, and proud of it. What are your favorite weirdest indulgences when you’ve got the time for such things?
Sewing. I love taking old vintage tees and deconstructing them. And practicing classical piano, which isn't very weird, but I do find myself loosing all track of time and space while practicing, when I should be working.
3. Everyone starts out as a student. Who were your greatest influences and what in particular drew you to their sound/lyrics?
The Beatles are probably my biggest influence. They wrote great and interesting songs, lyrics, had incredible harmonies and I love all of the production work from George Martin. It is extremely influential in my musical writing process.
4. What are you listening to right now?
I have a kind of loop going on right now; The Heptones, The Paragons, The Interrupters, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Dolly Parton, Aretha (The Queen), and ABAA.
5. What are your tips for surviving/enjoying the artist’s life: Late gigs, lots of time on the road, being away from family, poor diet etc.?
Tour in an RV, bring your puppies, eat together as a band, and eat vegetables!
6. At Jubly-Umph we are very passionate about a whole host of causes, although we are especially interested in strong women who blaze trails for the rest of us to follow. Do you have any valuable life lessons for other women who want to succeed in your industry?
Be amazing at your craft. In fact, that goes for both men and women. Just practice all the time. I used to get a lot of "You're pretty good (at keys) for a girl." I hated it. So I did some serious woodshedding and learned all of Bob Marley and the Wailers keyboard parts, and then practically the entire catalogue of The Specials so I could be more proficient at two-tone ska and reggae keys (that bubble, baby). Anyway, I haven't heard that comment in years.x And lastly, support other women. There aren't a lot of female artists in my genre, so when I come across talented women, I support them and cherish their talents rather than comparing them to my own. There's plenty of room for all of us to succeed.
Ali wearing the Be Your Own Hero pin and Fur mama pin
7. We here at Jubly-Umph also like making and eating food. A lot. So, what’s your favorite food to make for/give to/share with someone else?
I'm half Greek and half Italian so my specialty is Mediterranean food. Right now, I'm trying to perfect my Greek Grandmother's Pastitsio Recipe.
8. When you find two seconds to rub together in your busy time schedule, do you have a go-to comfort movie or TV show that you can just watch over and over?
I have a few actually ... Arrested Development, Schitt's Creek, Mallrats, anything by Christopher Guest, and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Check out Stop The Presses at