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MEET KNOWN

Soprano Gang

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Meet Celiese Adair, born and raised in Minneapolis. She is an 18-year-old high school student at DeLaSalle. Though Celiese is not just a high school student; she is an honor roll achiever who places a high value on academic excellence. She is hardworking, passionate, and very outspoken. For the past two years, Celiese has been an active member of Known, a group that has become an integral part of her life. Her involvement continues to deepen as she invests more time and effort into the group's activities.

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Meet Nailah Bynum, a 14-year-old singer that has been with Known for about a year now. Nailah is from Minneapolis and is currently in the middle of her first year at Armstrong High school. Nailah has been interested in music since before she could walk; singing and writing her own lyrics at the age of 6 while her dad accompanied her on piano. Nailah also enjoys playing her guitar, drawing, and is just now starting to pique interest in culinary arts. Though Nailah is still growing along the way, she is certain that Known is where she wants to be.

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Meet Lauran Bonner, born and raised in Minneapolis. 

Meet Camaja Byrd, a 24-year-old singer born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. Camaja has been involved with music for quite some time, starting with church. In middle school, she started recording singles with the YMCA under the direction of JT Evans, which led her to sing background vocals for a local artist name Ashely DuBose. Camaja was involved in musicals during her duration of high school at St. Louis Park where she lettered in choir. She is known for her versatility in range from tenor to soprano. She is an original member of Known MPLS when it was created back in 2019. Her ultimate goal is to heal people through the power of music.

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Meet Ahjahlai Cargill, a 20-year-old aspiring songwriter and vocalist. Balancing the demands of college, work, and various commitments, Ahjahlai is now open to accepting gigs in multiple forms, including studio session singing, background singing, show openings, and more. Join Ahjahlai on the next step of the journey and experience the passion and talent of this emerging artist.

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Meet Elsie, a 19 years young Afro-Mexican creative from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is an actress, model, published author, and poet. Most importantly, she is a singer with Known Mpls. She has been with Known Mpls for 3 years. Elsie graduated high school in 2022 and is now pursuing her passion of being an Actress/Plus-Size Petite Model. She boldly shares her faith alongside Known Mpls, and also on her own time. She has used her gifts of music and artistry since she was a little girl, influenced by the love of dance from her mother, and the love of singing by her father. Years later, she matured her skills to perform poems, songs, slays, and speeches around the Twin Cities.

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Meet Arielle Davis, a 20 year old, writer who was raised in Minneapolis, Mn. She is currently a sophomore at the University of Minnesota -Twin Cites, and is majoring in Journalism with a minor is Sociology. Arielle has been singing since she was a child and also has a very big background in music with being from Memphis, Tn. She experienced different music genre’s starting from the blues, country, rap and more which helped influence and lead her to learning how to play various instruments. She joined Known in 2021, and since joining this choir it helped rebuild her passion for writing poetry, singing,  but to also have a better relationship with God though music. 

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Meet Aranne Jones, a 22-year-old vocalist and songwriter from Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a C/O 2019 Patrick Henry alumni, she was a part of the Gospel Choir which was also under the direction of Courtland Pickens and has generously acknowledged her affection for singing and songwriting from that point forward. She additionally is an impending worship leader around the Twin cities area. Aranne continued her education and graduated from Harris-Stowe State College with a bachelor's degree in accounting, along with many other accomplishments like being inducted into the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated. As an original member of Known MPLS, Aranne focuses and endeavors to be an extraordinary leader and mentor to everyone in the community. She has an uplifting perspective and gives thanks to God for her assurance and determination to give her best in everything she does.

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Meet India McKee, an 18-year-old first-year architecture major at Howard University who has been lending her voice to the community choir Known MPLS for the past two years. With a lifelong passion for performance, India has graced stages in musicals, plays, and talent shows throughout her life. Her dedication to music is unwavering, and she aspires to share her gifts and talents with the world. Known

MPLS has played a crucial role in India's journey, providing her with an individualized voice that has not only enriched her musical abilities but also blossomed her confidence. As she navigates her academic pursuits at Howard University, India continues to harmonize her love for architecture and music, creating a unique symphony of passion and talent in her life.

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This is Nadia Niyonkuru, a 19-year-old girl with a passion for music for as long as she can remember. She is a singer/songwriter/writer that has always found the value in each note and word that invokes an emotional response. She was born in Burundi, Bujumbura of Africa and moved to the United States when she was just 6 years old with her family of 12 to Minneapolis. She currently works two jobs at a group home for those with different special needs and a mental health rehabilitation facility for children with Autism. Serving others while learning from others is a recently discovered passion for Nadia. She works every day of the week but has continually made time in her life for music and for Known. She is grateful to have found a community that shares her passion in connecting others through song. No matter where life takes her, she will always consider her time with Known as a defining and life changing.

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Meet Ayomide Ojebuoboh, a dynamic individual from North Carolina, wearing the label of “a creative by day, student at night." Immersed in the world of storytelling, she created her first award-winning film this year and also found a musical haven in Known MPLS as a soprano since January 2023. This choir has not only allowed her to explore her vocal talents but has also become a therapeutic space where her love for music intertwines with personal healing.

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Meet Samara Springer, an 18-year-old singer born in Minneapolis, MN. Currently a freshman at Hamline University studying Criminology and Criminal Justice, Samara particularly enjoys reading, and acting classes, but especially shines in her musical theater talent. She has been with Known MPLS since June of this year. Samara cannot wait for what the future entails and hopes to become an exceptional performer while working alongside Known!

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Meet Anmarie Starr, she is 18 years old and has been a member of the choir for nine months. She is currently a senior at Fair Senior High School. In her free time, Anmarie works at Target and enjoys babysitting her nieces and nephews. As the youngest in a large family of nine, she is also an aunt to a total of 15 nephews and nieces. Growing up in a big family, surrounded by children, has made it easy for Anmarie to discover her passion. She aspires to become a midwife/doula.  

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Meet Monaea Upton, a 20 year old Singer, Dancer/Choreographer, and Actress from Minneapolis,Minnesota. She currently is enrolled at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA and pursuing Dance and Comparative Women studies. Monaea has performed through dance with B2k on the Millennium Tour, Alvin Ailey Dance Company, and more, but the biggest achievement was auditioning for Known MPLS. Monaea is an original cast member of Known MPLS, originally placed as both singer and dancer and has thrived with both talents while juggling school. Known has been a life changing and spiritual experience for Monaea that has helped her mend and make stronger her relationship with Jesus and shaping her into the young women she is today. Monaea is a soprano, and an undeniable talent and asset to Known MPLS and wears it on her sleeve.

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Introducing Joshie Williams, a 21-year-old musical artist and worship leader coming from the vibrant Twin Cities. Amidst her studies at the University of Minnesota, Joshie not only excels academically but also sings melodies that resonate with the soul. From the age of 13, her passion for music has flourished, beginning first in middle school theater and later finding herself as a standout soloist and music leader in her church youth choir. With unwavering dedication and undeniable talent, Joshie is prepared to leave a lasting legacy in the world of music.

Tenor Gang

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Introducing Ty Dowda, a dynamic 24-year-old artist from Minneapolis, MN. A 2021 graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design, Ty now fuels his creativity as a member of the brand creative team at EVEREVE. His passion for fashion intersects seamlessly with his degree in photography, shaping his multifaceted artistic lifestyle. Beyond his visual artistry, Ty's first love was music. With a lifelong relationship to singing, he recently joined Known MPLS, channeling his artistry into a blossoming musical journey. His connection to music traces back to his father, an immensely gifted musician, instilling in Ty an enduring love for the craft. Ty's creative point of view and dedication are etching a lasting imprint on the music scene, promising an exciting future filled with innovation and resonance.

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Meet Andre Dukes II, a 20-year-old creative from Minneapolis, Minnesota and original member of Known MPLS. Andre is not just a name but a rising star in his own right, passionately carving his path as a singer, songwriter, and recording artist. With an innate ability to connect with diverse cultures and people, Andre is not just creating music; he's creating experiences that will resonate with the hearts of many. Get ready to be captivated by the talent and charisma of this multifaceted entertainer.

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High school senior Junie Edwards is a 17-year-old Detroit born actor and emerging playwright. This is Junie’s first year performing with Known and since joining he has heavily improved his collaborative skills with an ensemble. Junie’s love for music and spiritual connection through song is what drew him to the amazing choir that is Known Mpls. Acting credits include: Three Penny Opera, Merrily We Roll Along (SPCPA); Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story, Diesel Heart (History Theatre); Marie Antoinette (Emerging Professional Ensemble); Something Happened in Our Town, Locomotion (Children’s Theatre Company). Writing credits include: 2023 Scholastic Silver Key Writing Awarded play “Afroyo” (published), Staged Workshop with Pilsburry House + Theatre.

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Miles is a 13-year-old student in 8th grade at Hope Academy where he excels academically. He is a leader in his class and is an Honor Roll student. Miles has loved singing and praising the Lord since he was 2 years old. He has been a member of Known MPLS for one year. Miles also acts and has studied under Dennis Spears and Greta Oglesby. He has performed in "The Wiz" and "Once Upon an Island" at the Capri Theater as well as school plays. Miles is just at the beginning of a bright future in the performing arts.

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Meet Maximillion Fountain, a 22 year old singer/songwriter born and raised in North Minneapolis.  Currently a fourth year student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia studying business. As an original member of KNOWN MPLS and the first KNOWN person of the year, Maximillion has been a committed member and a great team player since before the beginning. After college Maximillion plans to work in the business world and network while also on the side pursuit a career in the musical field. 

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Meet Ezra Elias Frazier, a 19-year-old performer from Minneapolis, MN. He is currently attending the University of Michigan pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater. Ezra’s leisure interests include dance, teaching, and being a trusted member of Known MPLS. Within Known MPLS, Ezra serves as one of two section leaders for the Tenor section. Being a part of the choir for 4 years, since the beginning, his

objective is to immensely show growth in performance and execute work ethic. Known MPLS has created a space of care and love that exuberantly exhibits family aspects and for Ezra, that has been a blessing and honor to experience. Also Known MPLS has provided opportunities for Ezra, a diverse repertoire, and most important, growth in his relationship with God.

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Meet Danyelle Joy Robinson, a 21-year-old performer from Blaine, MN. Currently pursuing a major in Communications with a minor in Psychology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, she is set to graduate in January 2024. Danyelle's diverse interests include singing/songwriting, playing the piano, hosting her podcast – Hello Joy, crocheting, and, notably, being an integral member of Known MPLS. Within Known MPLS, Danyelle serves as one of two section leaders for the Tenor section, and actively contributes in various leadership roles. Having been a part of the choir for two years as of January, she envisions a continued journey of growth and success with the group. Known MPLS has proven to be a transformative experience for Danyelle, providing her with numerous opportunities such as assuming leadership positions, connecting with a vibrant black community of youth and young adults, exploring and expanding her passions, and most significantly, deepening her faith in God.

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Meet Daviante Tyson, a 20-year-old singer born and raised in MN. Currently not enrolled in school, Daviante is actively working and has plans to return to school soon to pursue a passion for the tech field. It has always been a dream of his to explore the vast possibilities within technology and to understand the intricacies of how it operates. Daviante has been a valued member of the Known MPLS choir for three months, thoroughly enjoying the experience. With a heartfelt desire to make a positive impact, his hope is to inspire more young people to join this amazing choir and share in the joy of musical expression.

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Meet Dallas Watson, a sophomore at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She currently majors in geography with Spanish and American studies minors. Her dream is to help solve map racial inequalities in the U.S. She strives to tackle the race place and space of Black communities. She joined Known MPLS to be involved in a Black space, and to be with youth her age. Her experience in Known has been transformative, as she has connected wonderfully with the community.

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Meet Isaiah Webber, a 15-year-old singer/musician born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Currently a sophomore at Eden Prairie High School, Isaiah isn’t only a singer and musician, but also takes interest in drawing and mastering several art skills. A new member of Known MPLS, he discovered his love for music at age 6 by taking piano lessons and later found out he was gifted with perfect pitch, which he used fluidly through keys and through voice. With his talents and experience, Isaiah will one day be a well-known star in his community.

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Meet Jordan Webber, a 16-year-old musician and music producer, born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. Currently a junior at Eden Prairie High School, Jordan not only enjoys his musical talents, particularly bass guitar and tenor sax, but also thrives as a car enthusiast. A new member of Known MPLS, he discovered his love for music at the age of 10 through being surrounded by his family who were musicians, where his passion and dedication led him to become a great musician and a one-day platinum producer. With his great talent and persistent commitment, Jordan will one day be on the charts.

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Meet Grant Woods, a 15 year old singer/songwriter born and raised in North Minneapolis. Currently a sophomore at Patrick Henry High School. As an original member of KNOWN MPLS, he's been a committed member of the choir and a great singer. He joined at 11 years old and has stayed since then. After school Grant plans to be a recording artist and possibly a basketball player and business owner

Alto Gang

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Taviona “Tavi” Burnett, a 25-year-old singer/songwriter hailing from Minneapolis, MN, is not only a devoted mother to her gifted daughter but also a seasoned professional with a keen musical sensibility. Currently serving as a manager at Jimmy John’s, Tavi's passion for music is evident in her role as an original member of Known MPLS. Having evolved from a choir member to an outstanding solo artist, Tavi is poised to make a significant impact on the music scene, showcasing her exceptional talents and commitment to her craft.

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Meet Mia Simone, a 15-year-old singer born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. Currently a sophomore at Hopkins High School, Mia is not only an honor student, but she enjoys particularly content and video creation during her free time. She also thrives as an emerging musical talent. Mia Simone has been in Known for about a year and a half. She discovered her love for music at the age of 12 by joining her church youth choir, where her passion and dedication led her to become a young singer in the alto section. She is hoping to rise in her solo singing career. She strives to grow in the music and singing industry more and more!

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Meet Jo’Aria Jones, a 17-year-old singer/songwriter born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. Currently a junior at Cooper High School, Jo’Aria not only excels in her academic pursuits, particularly enjoying dance and math classes, but also thrives as an emerging musical talent. An original member of Known MPLS, she discovered her love for music at the age of 12 through joining the choir, where her passion and dedication led her to become an esteemed alto section leader and an exceptional rising soloist. With her undeniable talent and unwavering commitment, Jo’Aria is on the brink of leaving an indelible mark on the music scene.

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Introducing Shylah Livingston, a 16-year-old highly accomplished vocalist and gifted musician from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Currently in her junior year at Park Center Senior High, Shylah also actively pursues her education through the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program at North Hennepin. Amidst her demanding academic commitments, Shylah has been an integral part of Known

MPLS since May 2023, showcasing her unwavering dedication to her musical pursuits. Her experience with Known MPLS has not only honed her musical journey but has also significantly contributed to the development of her self-assurance.

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Meet Aaliyah Montgomery, an 18-year-old singer/songwriter born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. Currently a preschool teacher at New Horizons Academy, Aaliyah plans to continue school to pursue a career in writing and music. Aaliyah has been involved with Known for going on 2 years. Known has inspired a lot of dedication and development not only in the choir but also in Aaliyah’s solo career.

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Meet Naomi Nichols, a 20-year-old singer born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota pursuing a Speech Language and Hearing science major for a career in Pediatric Speech Pathology. She is an original member of Known MPLS and discovered her love for music as a child which has led her to become a soloist for Known MPLS. Through becoming a soloist, Naomi has grown substantially as a singer and has been mentioned in the Star Tribune for her solo “Peace” at Parsley Park.

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Meet Emily Sillah, a 22-year-old singer born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, who is embarking on a transformative journey in both the world of music and academia. Set to pursue a degree in Social Work in the fall of 2024, Emily's commitment to community impact is evident. Captivated by her lifelong love for music, Emily discovered Known on Instagram, recognizing it as an artistic community she aspired to join. Taking a leap of faith, she auditioned and successfully joined the choir. Emily finds immense joy in singing about her faith, particularly focusing on themes related to Jesus. Her journey with Known has proven to be transformative, and she eagerly anticipates the future, embracing the collective growth and prospects that lie ahead for both her and the choir.

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Introducing Kai Storm, an accomplished 18-year-old vocalist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Enrolled at North Hennepin, Kai is dedicated to obtaining her associate degree. While her association with Known MPLS began in May of this year, her musical journey commenced at the age of 5 within her local church choir. Kai's time with Known has been transformative, providing her with invaluable opportunities for

vocal development and exploration of her artistic capabilities.

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Nila Suttles is a 25-year-old singer/entrepreneur who lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. In addition to working at the passport agency downtown, she founded a start-up called Mental Health Check. She has been with Known MPLS for 3 years and counting. Known MPLS serves as a healthy outlet for her, and she considers music to be a form of therapy. Aside from her love of music, Nila also has a passion for fashion and is proud to be one of the choir's stylists. An individual with many gifts and skills, keep an eye out for this young adult on the rise!

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Meet Kyah Laroy, a 22-year-old neo-soul artist originally from Minneapolis, MN. Kyah's love for music has been a constant in her life since childhood, with singing playing a significant role. During her high school years, Kyah's passion for music intensified, leading her to join choir in school. Even after graduating, Kyah couldn't let go of her dream of pursuing music. This led her to become a part of the community choir Known MPLS, and she has been with them since the beginning. Sharing her creative passion has been a vulnerable yet transformative experience, shaping Kyah in countless ways. Her mission is to create a safe space through her music, fostering healing and encouraging individuals to embrace their true selves. For Kyah, music has always been therapeutic, and she aspires to be a source of comfort and inspiration for people around the world. She wants everyone to always remember, you are loved.

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Meet Kayla Washington, a 18-year-old currently enrolled as a senior at FAIR High School. She has been an active member of Known Mpls for three years. In her free time, Kayla serves as an Administrative Assistant for Known Mpls, where she dedicates her efforts to developing leadership skills and aspiring to become a professional leader in various settings. Looking ahead, Kayla has plans to pursue a business course in college after graduating from high school. Her ultimate goal is to work with the youth in the Minneapolis area, aiming to inspire and assist them in achieving their goals, drawing inspiration from the positive influence of individuals like Courtland Pickens.

Team Known

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Musical Director

Ellington Porter Jr (EJ)

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Admin

Kalia Thompson

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ASL

Sydney Mullen

Our Leader

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Courtland Pickens is a distinguished vocalist, acclaimed music educator, and visionary director based in Minneapolis, MN. He began his musical journey in 2005 and has since shared stages with renowned artists like Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker, Israel Houghton, and Shane & Shane.

 

As an artist, Courtland released his EP, "The Manifested Promise," in 2017, inspired by Hebrews 6:15. His single, "Trust In You," released in 2020, showcases his dedication to delivering spiritually uplifting music.

 

Professionally, Courtland serves as the Worship Director at Epiphany Covenant Church and leads the youth choir at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. He also teaches at Patrick Henry High School, Minnehaha Academy, and the University of Minnesota - Mankato.

As the Creative Director of Known MPLS, a community gospel youth choir, Courtland empowers youths aged 12-25 through Voicez, Inc. Under his leadership, Known MPLS has performed at prestigious venues and alongside notable artists, shaping a transformative music education program.

 

Courtland's mission is to train the next generation of singers and songwriters, using music to heal and unite communities. His passion lies in empowering youth to follow their dreams through the power of music.

 

As an artist, Courtland endeavors to bring healing through his music, believing that it transcends barriers and reaches the core of individuals. With his sultry and soulful vocal technique, he aims to uplift spirits and leave a lasting impact on his audience.

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