Karl Dietel – We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute

Written by: Francesco Vincenzo Iacono

Ash Costello - New Years Day

Have you ever wanted to experience a live performance featuring legendary Billy Joel, the masterful musician, singer-songwriter and composer from New York City? If so, then the We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute band, based in the Manhattan, NY, Philadelphia, PA and New Jersey area, featuring Karl Dietel is a must-see experience for you!

We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute is a band that was born out of a sincere respect, admiration, and love of Billy Joel and his incredible and timeless music. As fans, they started off playing a few shows in which they played The Stranger album from start to finish. As musicians, the band feels passionately about performing Billy Joel’s music with authenticity and integrity.

We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute, a collection of seasoned musicians and performers experienced in both national and international music communities, is committed to providing all the showmanship, power and adrenaline of a true Billy Joel concert while always staying true to the music of his unforgettable songs.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Karl Dietel from the We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute band and we asked him a few questions about his musical influences, his career in a tribute band, their set list as well as their past and upcoming performances.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you become interested in music? And, who or what inspired you to pursue a career as a musician?

Karl Dietel: I started piano lessons when I was 6 years old. My grandmother’s piano was in our living room, and Dad decided to start my older brother and I on lessons because we were banging on it too much. I took lessons until I was 16, when I learned ear training in a high school AP Music Theory class.

Karl Dietel

TCS: Did you think early on that you sounded like Billy Joel or was it something that you discovered over time?

KD: Hmmm. As a singer, it did take some time. In fact, when we started, we just played 9 songs off The Stranger for fun, so I sang everything in my own voice. It wasn’t until the band started getting some recognition that we decided to try to sound a little more like the records. As a piano player, I had been playing his songs for so long, particularly in my restaurant piano gigs, that it wasn’t much of a stretch to play an entire set of his music in his style.


TCS: Can you introduce us to the We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute lineup?

KD: Perry Andrews plays tenor, alto and soprano sax, plus flute and piccolo, with a side of rhythm guitar and percussion. He brings a jazz sensibility to our show and always plays exactly what the song needs at any given moment. We worked in the same high school for a number of years, I remember we huddled around the concert piano during one lunch block and worked out our arrangement for “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.” Derek Davodowich plays a tasty, complimentary guitar and has the perfect feel for this music. He did some touring out of Nashville after he graduated college, and I met him through a mutual friend back when I played keyboards for Sean Kelly and The Samples. Luke Kessel is a road dog of a bass player, he’s played in Europe and China and also toured the U.S. with a few blues musicians. Andy Janowiak was our original drummer who left to do some recording with the late Bernie Worrell in his home studio, but has now been able to rejoin the tribute. It’s a tight band with many years of experience and camaraderie!

Karl Dietel

TCS: So how long has We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute been playing together and how did you get started?

KD: We started off playing a few shows in which we played The Stranger album from start to finish. That had been a pet project of mine, just to say we did it. We kept getting asked back, I think we played it three different afternoons at our local home base, it was really going over, when some other venues asked us to play an entire night at their places. After we accepted the new dates, we realized we had to learn two more sets of Billy Joel’s music!

TCS: Why do you think tribute bands have become so prominent within the last couple of decades?

KD: I’m not sure, to be honest with you. People have been trying to figure this out. I could go into a long speech about the decline of popular music, particularly in terms of live performance, but I’ll just say that I think the music to which tribute is being paid reminds people of simpler, better or even more innocent times of their lives. So, they gravitate towards that. Also, certain albums and sounds and genres are becoming the new classical music, in that specific bodies of work by artists are being presented in full much like classical-era symphonies and operas have been presented in full for centuries. It will be interesting to see how long the tribute scene continues!


TCS: What do you feel sets We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute apart from other Billy Joel tribute bands?

KD: One of our strengths lies in the fact that we’ve had the same lineup since the beginning. Although we rotated two drummers off and on, we have the same four people out front every show. It’s comforting to the fans to see Perry on one side and Luke on the other. Having the same people play night after night really adds to the musical dynamic, particularly as we stretch out and explore a few of these endings of certain songs to shake things up a bit. We have that luxury because we know how each other plays and reacts to musical situations. And, that adds to the fun of the overall show.

TCS: What’s the hardest aspect of re-creating a Billy Joel live show?

KD: If we’re doing it right, it’s all fairly exhausting! Remembering all the lyrics is a challenge in and of itself, not to mention the chord progressions. As musicians, we always push each other on stage, we don’t cut corners or play it too safe. I’m drained at the end of a good night. Of course, that’s the way it should be.

TCS: Have you ever met Billy Joel? If yes, please explain to us where you met and how did that encounter go?

KD: I have never met him, no. I’m only two or three degrees away, in some circles, but I’ve never pushed the issue. I wonder what I’d say.

TCS: What are the most requested Billy Joel songs at your shows?

KD: A woman yelled at me once for not playing “Piano Man.” Shook her finger at me and raised her voice! Truth is, we were outside and ran up against an unexpected curfew, so we ran out of time. She wasn’t happy about it. “Vienna” is one request that surprises me, usually coming from younger fans. Different people gravitate towards different songs. “Goodnight Saigon,” for example.


TCS: Of the songs that We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute plays from Bill Joel’s extensive library which are your most and least favorite? Equally, is there a song from him you or the band loves that is not included in the set? If yes, then why.

KD: I enjoy watching the crowd sing along. Sometimes, they play air drums, it’s a nice connection. As a musician, I enjoy playing the songs that give the band members a chance to stretch out. Perry can play his piccolo on “Rosalinda’s Eyes” and he plays a great flute line on “Get it Right the First Time.” Luke’s walking bass line on “Zanzibar” is always amazing. I’ve been know to leave Derek hanging because I have such a good time listening to his guitar playing! He wanders over to the keyboard, never missing a note of his solo, and gives me the nod that says, ‘Anytime you want to end the song, go ahead…’ and it’s all good, fun, in-the-moment playing. I also like hearing the 3-part harmonies in “My Life” and “Don’t Ask Me Why.” We have a 5-part harmony arrangement for “All About Soul.” That’s fun for us. “Prelude / Angry Young Man” is both my most favorite and least favorite song to play 🙂 “Root Beer Rag” is always a throw down, we love to take that one out when the time is right.


TCS: How many gigs does the We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute band play annually and what and where are among your favorite venues?

KD: We’ve been playing quite a bit these days, eight or ten shows a month, but that will slow down slightly during the colder months. We didn’t play much last year, for obvious reasons. Summer is always the busiest time, and we’ve picked up a few private parties recently, and two weddings, I believe, for 2022. As far as venues go, we can turn any room into a party. We originally cut our teeth in Pattenburg House in Asbury, NJ out in Hunterdon County, so that’s significant to our history. Recently, we’ve had some great shows at Brook Arts Center in Bound Brook, NJ and then Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA is something we look forward to every year.


TCS: What is the most interesting We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute road story?

KD: Well… there was a night when the band was setting up at two different venues…

TCS: What advice do you have for new tribute bands trying to get established?

KD: Good question. We sort of backed up into this, based on playing The Stranger album. What I always tell any bands is that they should take it seriously, but not too seriously. And that your overall sound, whatever it may be, benefits from having a strong musical foundation. Practice. Get your metronome out. Keep at it. And, don’t lose faith.

TCS: What’s the future look like for We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute?

KD: I don’t like to look too far into things, but we’ll have to pick a steady booking agent soon. We’re reaching a larger audience now, and that is allowing us to play in larger venues.

To stay connected, please join us on the following:

  • We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute Website
  • We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute Facebook
  • We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute Instagram
  • We May Be Right: Billy Joel Tribute YouTube

About Francesco Vincenzo Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Since 2012, Francesco Vincenzo Iacono has served as the President and CEO of The Creative Spotlight, the ultimate destination for unearthing a wealth of undiscovered musical talent, reading exciting interviews, releasing new music and sharing exclusive videos.

Every good story needs a good storyteller. And, The Creative Spotlight has truly provided a quality forum for revealing those great stories. Through the years, the online publication has featured national and local musicians such as Ash Costello from New Years Day, Williams Honor, Stacey David Blades, Screaming For Silence, Ages Apart, Roxy Petrucci, Peter Beckett, We The Kings, Everything Falls, Rod Black, Derek Crider, Daniel Mason Band, The Rockin’ Krolik, Michelle Leigh, Jessie G., Karen Mansfield and Hillbilly Vegas.

Additionally, The Creative Spotlight has also focused on historic Pennsylvania-based paranormal venues such as the Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennhurst State School and Hospital, Paranormal investigator Kitsie Duncan, Spirit Medium Tiffany Rice, the Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride, well-known actors and actresses, published authors, professional artists, local businesses, consultants, trainers, speakers and more…

Francesco earned a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he also received a Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

 

Ash Costello – New Years Day

Written by: Francesco Vincenzo Iacono

Ash Costello - New Years Day

Gifted with theatrics, vocal chops and fashion — Ash Costello, the frontwoman from the Orange County California-based band New Years Day, is one of the most prominent rock singers of the American music industry. As the lead vocalist of the band, she is truly the driving force behind their national and international success.

In the beginning, Costello teamed up with lead guitarist Adam Lohrbach and guitarist/keyboardist Keith Drover and they worked on writing a few songs. Dubbing themselves as New Years Day, the group started promoting themselves on the then popular social media networking site, MySpace and soon gained relevance and prominence. Additionally, the band was also featured on the MySpace Records, Volume 1 compilation CD and on the video game soundtrack for Saints Row.

Subsequently, the band inked a deal with TVT Records and released their first self-titled EP entitled Razor in 2006. From there, the band released several studio albums including My Dear in 2007 and Victim to Villain in 2013, which featured their breakout single “Angel Eyes.” Apart from releasing albums, the band also landed several prestigious tours. First, they were a prominent member of the 2010 Vans Warped Tour. In 2013, New Years Day performed at Warped Tour with Andrew Velasquez and the rest of Crown the Empire, a metalcore from Dallas, Texas. Then, in 2015 Costello and her band took the biggest leap in their career, when they became the headliner on the summer’s Vans Warped Tour.

Adding to their already impressive achievements, Malevolence their third full-length studio album, which was released in 2015, became a major hit. It debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard rock chart and landed at No. 45 on the Billboard 200. In 2018, New Years Day released the Diary of a Creep EP and spent a great deal of time out on the road touring with In This Moment and Halestorm. Then in 2019, they released Unbreakable, which featured hits like “Come for Me,” “Shut Up” and “Skeletons.” Loudwire, an online magazine, named the album one of the 50 best rock albums of 2019.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Ash Costello from New Years Day where we talked about her musical influences, her songwriting and recording process, her on and off-stage persona, her love for Horror movies, her memorable night with Marilyn Manson as well as her short and long-term future plans.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician? Was there a first instrument that you learned how to play?

Ash Costelllo: I actually knew I wanted to be a singer at a really, really young age. Probably like four or five. I started doing musical theater when I was really young, like really, really young. But I didn’t know what it meant to be in a band until high school when I kind of joined a band by accident. My high school ska band needed a singer and saw me singing in a high school play and asked if I wanted to sing in a ska band and that’s how I started doing that and just never quit. I started writing my first song when I was probably around ten or eleven years old, but I never really played any instruments. I was always a lyricist and songwriter, though.

Ash Costello

TCS: That’s great. The vocal is definitely one of the key instruments in the band. So, what famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe for us how they impacted and/or shaped your musical style?

AC: Well, you know, I’ve been doing music, writing music and a fan of music from a very young age, so like most people as we mature and grow our tastes change, but early on I was highly influenced by Gwen Stefani and No Doubt. That was my first major introduction to what being a female rocker would be like.

New Years Day Ash Costello

TCS: How would you describe New Years Day’s overall sound and musical genre? And, can you introduce us to the band line-up?

AC: Employing an opulent mix of spirited pop-punk and flamboyant, goth-tinged stadium rock, New Years Day invokes the dark pageantry of artists like Evanescence, Garbage, Alkaline Trio and Motionless in White.

The band lineup consists of:

  • Austin Ingerman − Lead Guitar
  • Frankie Sil – Bassist
  • Ash Costello – Lead Vocals
  • Nikki Misery – Rhythm Guitar

New Years Day

TCS: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with Ashley Costello or your musical career with New Years Day, please describe for us how you started out from Anaheim, California and eventually ended up being this band’s lead singer?

AC: Well, I was in a couple bands before New Year’s Day began. You know, when one band or one sound kind of ran its course we’d start another band. So, I was in a previous band called Face the Fact, which was like a whole 80s new wave and our representative from Chrysalis Music Group who have, like, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Smashing Pumpkins and a lot of my favorite bands at the time happened to be at one of my shows and asked to take a meeting with me almost immediately and I got signed pretty quickly as a solo artist.

After that, I wrote a couple songs with songwriters, some of them being Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy and Justin Pierre from Motion City Soundtrack and Adam Lazzara from Taking Back Sunday and it was kind of this experiment of what if we did a girl solo artist and her songs are written by more prominent rock artists at the time. And so, I played by the rules, I did what they wanted for, you know, a couple tries and then I wrote my own music and kind of planted it on the desk and said what if it was a band. And I turned in our first song called “Ready Aim Misfire” and after they listened to it, they said, “You know what, do whatever you want. Go get band members, make it a rock band and pick a name.” And that’s how New Year’s Day got started.


TCS: How would you describe your on-stage personality and how is it both similar and different from your off-stage persona?

AC: Well, I think if you’re a genuine artist then you’re good at pulling elements of who you are and putting it out on stage even if it is delivered in very subtle ways. You know, it doesn’t have to be very obvious. I’m a big horror movie fan, a big Halloween fan, a big haunted house fan and a big fan of goth and alternative subcultures and it just weaves naturally into the art. How I dress on stage and how the whole band dresses on stage works with New Year’s Day because it isn’t contrived. In fact, it’s very genuine and very natural. The boys in the band get asked a lot of questions concerning makeup, including, “so, was it tough when Ashley, like, made you guys wear makeup?” And that’s all those guys, like that’s all them. They do their own makeup, that’s what they want to do. I’ve actually tried to stop them from wearing makeup, but that’s what they want to do, and I think it’s why New Year’s Day really stands out from a lot of other bands of our genre because it’s very, very natural and very genuine.


TCS: How would you describe your overall songwriting style?

AC: Um, gosh, I have a love-hate relationship with songwriting. I truly love writing music and writing lyrics, I really do, but I also, like most artists my own worst critic and I’m very self-deprecating and I’m very hard on myself. So, the final product you hear took a lot of time and effort in singing and a lot of good moments and a lot of bad moments to get to that point where it’s even listenable and I feel good about even releasing it out to the world for everyone else to hear. So, my style of songwriting is just a lot of trial and error and a lot of time. When I’m songwriting mode I’m songwriting seven to eight hours a day seven days a week and so last record I spent about a year on and off doing that and that’s all I did. So, I think the hitting my head against the wall a lot is my major songwriting style, if that makes sense.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite tracks off your Unbreakable album is a song called “Come For Me” which you co-wrote. Can you share with us some of the background behind your hit and the video?

AC: Okay! I’m actually really proud of the song “Come For Me.” From all of the New Years Day songs that track means the most to me. I had the most say in it because, I don’t want to say it wasn’t a joke, we were just playing around not in a joking way, we just weren’t really thinking about trying to make it anything specific. We were just having fun. And my major inspiration for that song was the song “Hella Good” by No Doubt which is one repeated riff throughout the entire song. So, I thought why doesn’t New Year’s Day have a song where it’s one riff that just repeats the whole time, but maybe the dynamic shifts from verse to chorus to intro to re-intro. So, we made our own version of that which is the initial riff you hear, and I just wanted a fun, heavy dance song like Hella Good. But that’s how “Come For Me” was born.

And then the music video, I love making music videos because I get to play director and producer, and I’m a big movie fan. I’m a big cinephile! So, I wanted to be Quentin Tarantino for a day. So, the music video is a nod to From Dusk Till Dawn, Pulp Fiction, Planet Terror, etc. Even though I know that Quentin Tarantino only directed some of those and produced others, but anything Quentin Tarantino is related in I wanted a strong influence from that. And the character that I play in the music video was heavily based off of Santanico Pandemonium portrayed by Salma Hayek in From Dusk Till Dawn.


TCS: Not being a performer myself, I can’t imagine what it felt like to walk out on the stage for the very first time. Could you tell us about that experience and is it much easier for you today?

AC: There’s really not a big difference actually. I still get really nervous and I still kind of don’t know what I’m doing. Every time I get on stage I just kind of hope for the best but I still get nervous. So, there’s really not a big difference except I have learned a lot. I feel like I learned how to play with the audience and connect with the audience more as I go along, but I’m still pretty much the same.

TCS: Exactly, we learn from each of those experiences and take it to the next one. Over the years, I’ve interviewed a lot of singers and they’ve expressed how they really like being on stage and in the spotlight while performing as it brings out their inner personality which may not have otherwise in other social settings. I don’t know if that happens for you too?

AC: It’s really different every time. Sometimes I love being on stage, but just like someone who loves what they do they’re going to have their bad days, too. There’s some days where I walk off stage and I’m like, “well, that fuckin’ sucked.” And then there’s other moments when I walk off stage and say, “well, that was the best moment of my life.” So, you know, it’s like everything else. You just try and do your best.

TCS: Tell us about the background of your hit single “Angel Eyes” from the 2013 release Victim To Villain as well as your experience in working with Chris Motionless of Motionless In White on both the track and music video?

AC: The song “Angel Eyes” is about the classic internal battle between Good vs. Evil – with the devil on your shoulder while having that angel in your ear when you first meet someone new that you know is trouble, yet you just cannot help yourself.

I met Chris Motionless from Motionless In White during the 2010 Warped Tour, when we played on the same stage. We were the only two goth looking bands and quickly became friends. For the track “Angel Eyes,” we wanted to have a male vocalist perform with us and having Chris join us was a no brainer. We asked him, and he agreed.

When Chris came in to record vocals for the song, it really felt like the last puzzle piece had fallen perfectly into place. Upon laying down his first vocal track, I knew we had something brilliant on our hands. He was a dream to work with and in my opinion, sounds incredible on the song! About a year following the recording, I contacted Chris with a music video concept and once again he agreed to join us and together, we made something epic. “Angel Eyes” remains our most popular music video as well as most requested and streamed song too.


TCS: From a song writing, studio recording and accompanying music video perspective, can you share with us some of the details surrounding the single entitled “Shut Up” also from Unbreakable?

AC: At the time when I wrote “Shut Up,” I was going through some pretty heavy personal stuff. The song was co-written by Chrissy Costanza, frontwoman from Against The Current, and Scott Stevens who has produced such bands as Shinedown, Halestorm and American Authors. This marked the first ever song that Costanza has written away from her own band. From a recording perspective, “Shut Up” came together pretty easily and was completed within a day. The original version was very poppy and was heavily influenced by an artist called Kehlani.

When we recorded the song “Shut Up,” I knew right away what I wanted to do if we were ever to make a music video for the song. In fact, the idea came to me immediately. So, when “Shut Up” was chosen, I was thrilled because it meant that I’d finally get an opportunity to make my vision come to life, which was to recreate one of my favorite horror movies of all-time, American Psycho. Yes, it’s a homage to the 2000 Christian Bale-starring film, and actually features the original axe from the movie. The song’s bloody music video was directed by Galileo Mondol (e.g., Raging Nation Films) and stars Sirius XM’s Jose Mangin.


TCS: Could you share with us one of the strangest experiences you’ve had during the course of your touring career and what you learned from it?

AC: During my musical career, I’ve had so many strange experiences. Someday, I swear that I’m going to write a book. The first encounter that comes to mind is when we were touring with Marilyn Manson. While Manson sang “The Dope Show,” a classic song from his 1998 album Mechanical Animals, he held my hand and together we walked around the entire stage. Even stranger was that I was wearing a t-shirt that said, “Marilyn Manson Is My Daddy!” He changed the lyrics to “I’m Not Your Daddy” as we walked the platform.

With Manson, you never really know what you are going to get. He might be in a very playful mood, like that night, or he could be in a standoffish mood so you kind of get a little nervous being around him. But, for me that was a special night. I felt like I had finally broken through and kind of bonded with him. Then unfortunately Paris, France was attacked, and the rest of our concert tour was cancelled.


TCS: If you weren’t in the music industry what would you see yourself doing instead?

AC: If I weren’t involved in the music industry, I could easily see myself doing something along the lines of set decoration or special effects for horror movies. Perhaps decorating haunted homes or anything with a Halloween-based theme.

TCS: Amid this pandemic, what does the short and long-term future look like for Ashley Costello and New Years Day?

AC: Once everything has been declared safe again, New Years Day will once again return to the song writing process and daily grind. Our short and long-term goals include recording new music, creating videos as well touring and playing for our loyal fans. Although we don’t have a planned release date for our new record, I am scheduled to start writing new music next month.

To stay connected, please join us on the following:

About Francesco Vincenzo Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Since 2012, Francesco Vincenzo Iacono has served as the President and CEO of The Creative Spotlight, the ultimate destination for unearthing a wealth of undiscovered musical talent, reading exciting interviews, releasing new music and sharing exclusive videos.

Every good story needs a good storyteller. And, The Creative Spotlight has truly provided a quality forum for revealing those great stories. Through the years, the online publication has featured national and local musicians such as Ash Costello from New Years Day, Williams Honor, Stacey David Blades, Screaming For Silence, Ages Apart, Roxy Petrucci, Peter Beckett, We The Kings, Everything Falls, Rod Black, Derek Crider, Daniel Mason Band, The Rockin’ Krolik, Michelle Leigh, Jessie G., Karen Mansfield and Hillbilly Vegas.

Additionally, The Creative Spotlight has also focused on historic Pennsylvania-based paranormal venues such as the Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennhurst State School and Hospital, Paranormal investigator Kitsie Duncan, Spirit Medium Tiffany Rice, the Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride, well-known actors and actresses, published authors, professional artists, local businesses, consultants, trainers, speakers and more…

Francesco earned a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he also received a Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

 

Tiffany Rice – Spirit Medium

Written by: Francesco Vincenzo Iacono

tiffany_rice

Throughout the years, Spirit Medium Tiffany Rice has always had a sense of “knowing”. Upon becoming a Reiki Master, a person who chooses to manifest the will of Divine energy here on Earth, Tiffany became aware of her senses and abilities increasing with each life event.

Being able to identify with fellow colleagues, Tiffany realized her gift of being a Medium was accelerating rapidly. At that time, she began to embrace this awareness and studied under her colleague and good friend (Spirit Sister), Maureen Hancock.

Today, Tiffany is a renowned Spirit Medium and former talk show host of Spirit Connections. She dedicates her life sharing her uplifting and enlightening gift with those that are going through various stages of grief.

Tiffany is highly intrigued by the paranormal and takes a very special interest in this field. She knows the paranormal is an extension of the Spirit World and finds this area captivating as it is still a continuation of our loved ones. Spirit simply chooses to have an uncanny connection to certain locations. The subject of paranormal activity spans over a wide range of topics and theories which she loves exploring!

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Tiffany Rice and we talked about her work as an evidential spirit medium, her work on Kitsie Duncan’s new show Paranormal Crossroads, her partnership with Dune Jewelry, her volunteer work with Aruba Animal Shelter as well as her short and long-term aspirations.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: What is your earliest memory where you realized you were gifted as an evidential spirit medium and how old were you?

Tiffany Rice: I’ve always had a sense of “knowing”. I can remember having conversations with people and as I looked at them, I could see information pop up about them around them in my mind’s eye. It took me years to realize that it was spirits trying to come through with information. I thought I was just weird. I took a class that I actually teach now on how to open up your own intuition. That’s when it really hit me with the connection to spirit. It was then when I knew had to continue to provide validations, messages and healing.

Tiffany Rice Spirit Medium

TCS: For the benefit of those who are not familiar with Tiffany Rice or your specific profession, please share with us how you first started out and how you have cultivated your psychic abilities?

TR: I’m a Spirit Medium. That means I’m able to connect to your loved ones in spirit whether it is family, friends and even pets can come through. I started with becoming a Reiki Master/Teacher learning more of an understanding about energy. I started telling people about my readings and it spread quickly. I was giving my friends readings and then their friends readings. I would go to people’s homes and do a reading of their home. The local historical societies started to hear about me, so they would have me go to their locations. I was able to connect the emotional side to the factual side for them. I never said never to an opportunity of connecting to spirit. I had found my passion. The healing modality of being able to connect and bring peace of mind during grief is priceless.

TCS: How did you know being an evidential spirit medium was the right career path?

TR: That’s simple, I had no doubt.


TCS: Please describe for us the different types of readings that you offer? Additionally, can you provide any advice on what someone should do to prepare themselves for a reading?

TR: Mainly people will contact me for my Medium readings which is connecting you to your loved ones in spirit. I also offer intuitive readings as well with a focus on clarity on current situations. To prepare for any reading, be open to the information being provided. Take notes. I can’t stress that enough! There’s always so much information coming through that when receiving the information, we may forget. It’s great to come back to put the puzzle pieces together. Also, it doesn’t hurt to set your intentions on the person you want to connect with or the question you want more insight on. I always say it’s the information that you need to hear not the information you want to hear. Be open!

tiffany-rice-reading

TCS: Besides readings, do you offer any other services?

TR: Yes, I also teach guided meditation sessions to help clients get back to the basics. Today, more and more people are looking to get back to feeling focused and grounded meditation helps bring one that sense of clarity. Additionally, I’ve also created workshops to help hone in on your intuition and align with your own empowerment in order to live your true authentic self.

TCS: In 2008, you investigated the legendary Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts along with members of the then paranormal investigative team named SPIES. What can you tell us about your experience, especially since it was your first paranormal-based investigation and how it impacted/changed your future?

TR: It was my first investigation alright. Go big or go home! I had a group of friends that would go to all different locations whether it was well-known or even residential. They brought me in as their Medium. This experience was my first overnight investigation. I definitely felt a presence in Andrew Borden’s room. I wasn’t scared it was enlightening to actually feel energy that heavy. Since then I’ve done multiple gallery readings at that location. I do feel like I have a connection with Lizbeth since being familiar with her energy all of these years.


TCS: Can you provide us with some highlights from your 2015 appearance at the Rhode Island Comic Con, where you moderated a Ghost Hunters and Ghost Facers panel?

TR: I love being a guest at Comic Cons all over. I was given the opportunity to host the paranormal panel in Rhode Island. It was fun. I love my Ghost Hunter/Ghost Nation family. I’ve known them for quite some time. Ghostfacers was based off of the show “Supernatural” so their take on the Q&A was a little different than the guys that actually do the “hunting”.

TCS: Can you elaborate on your collaboration with our mutual colleague and paranormal researcher Kitsie Duncan on her new show, Paranormal Crossroads?

TR: Kitsie and I have been friends for years. I actually gave her a reading in a hotel room at one of the Comic Cons. I consider her another one of my “Spirit Sisters”. We connected. That girl puts her expertise at work when it comes to knowing her paranormal stuff. I’ve helped her with opening her intuition and we would always talk about our own personal spiritual experiences. She’s done her share of film with Oddity Files, which I’ve helped on a couple of cases remotely. Knowing that spirit comes through regardless of being present in the room together we figured we would put it to the test. She asked me to help with a few of her cases through giving a reading or I would say putting the puzzle pieces together and it seems to mesh really well.


TCS: Can you share some details with us about your partnership with Dune Jewelry and the creation of the spiritual Cardinal Necklace?

TR: I love women supporting women. Dune Jewelry is owned by Holly Daniels Christensen a total no nonsense business woman who knows how powerful keeping the memories alive are. She also has a heart of an angel. That’s all we have is our own personal life experiences. She created experiential jewelry to help keep those memories alive. We collectively are working on multiple pieces of jewelry that are currently in production. They symbolize mind, body, spirit.

The first piece that came out was the cardinal. Why the cardinal? Well, our loved ones in spirit show us signs to let you know they are with us. The Cardinal being one of the most common signs that hold a place in your heart. People have shared that they filled their piece with sand from all over, abalone shells, even roses. It really is beautiful to see how they keep their own personal memory of their loved one alive.

TCS: Do you have a professional or personal mantra? If so, what meaning does it have for you and how does it apply to your life choices?

TR: My trademark is “We Are Never Truly Alone.” I feel like we are connected to spirit all of the time. I also am a firm believer that the Universe will always provide you with what you need for your highest and greatest good. What’s meant for you will not pass you by. You have to remain in a love base of positive mental attitude releasing all doubt. There really is no other option. I know sometimes it might be difficult to see the whole picture at once, however, when you make that commitment the abundance will flow.

tiffany-rice-paranormal

TCS: What is the most rewarding aspect of your volunteer work with Aruba Animal Shelter?

TR: I help give them a voice. There are animals neglected, abused and abandoned. Some countries I work with don’t have the funds to spay and neuter. I help create the awareness. I’ve gone to Aruba on a special mission to help local shelters care for these animals and get the word out to adopt. Most recently I created a fundraiser to help raise funds for food, vitamins and total care for these fur babies. Since posting we collectively have been able to get around 20 dogs adopted so far. I will always have a soft spot for animals. I have three dogs of my own.

TCS: Can you describe for us both your short and long-term aspirations?

TR: I would have to say being grateful to wake up every day healthy being surrounded by some pretty amazing people in my life. As far as career, I want to continue to provide healing and validate that your loved ones in spirit are here with you. It doesn’t matter where you are located, energy is energy. Your loved ones come through regardless. I want to be that connecter. Essentially,  reaching as many people as I can through spirit connections and total inspiration connecting you to your full alignment of mind, body and spirit.

To stay connected with Tiffany Rice, please join her on the following:

About Francesco Vincenzo Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Since 2012, Francesco Vincenzo Iacono has served as the President and CEO of The Creative Spotlight, the ultimate destination for unearthing a wealth of undiscovered musical talent, reading exciting interviews, releasing new music and sharing exclusive videos.

Every good story needs a good storyteller. And, The Creative Spotlight has truly provided a quality forum for revealing those great stories. Through the years, the online publication has featured national and local musicians such as Ash Costello from New Years Day, Williams Honor, Stacey David Blades, Screaming For Silence, Ages Apart, Roxy Petrucci, Peter Beckett, We The Kings, Everything Falls, Rod Black, Derek Crider, Daniel Mason Band, The Rockin’ Krolik, Michelle Leigh, Jessie G., Karen Mansfield and Hillbilly Vegas.

Additionally, The Creative Spotlight has also focused on historic Pennsylvania-based paranormal venues such as the Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennhurst State School and Hospital, Paranormal investigator Kitsie Duncan, Spirit Medium Tiffany Rice, the Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride, well-known actors and actresses, published authors, professional artists, local businesses, consultants, trainers, speakers and more…

Frank earned a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he also received a Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

 

Kitsie Duncan – Paranormal Researcher

Written by: Frank Iacono

Kitsie Duncan - Paranormal Researcher

Kitsie Duncan was born in the Chicagoland area, and lived in several cities growing up. Kitsie now calls Bloomington, Indiana home where she lives with her husband Chris Jay. From a young age Kitsie always loved the spotlight and was always involved in choir and drama. She took a hiatus to raise her children, but now that they are grown she is perusing her lifelong dream of researching the unknown.

Surprisingly, Ms. Duncan lived most of her life terrified of the existence of the paranormal. After losing her father she wanted to know more about life after death. This hunger for knowledge led her to the world of ghost hunting and paranormal research. Quickly she found herself obsessed with proving that the spirit world isn’t as scary as many think it is.

For over twelve years, she and her crew at the Oddity Files have investigated some of the most infamous haunted locations in the world. From those investigations, the team came away with evidence that not only proves those locations are haunted but that the spirits occupying those places have a unique story to tell.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, we caught up with Kitsie Duncan where we talked about her paranormal influences, her research as a member of the Oddity Files investigative team and companion podcast, her first published book as well as her short and long-term future plans.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a paranormal researcher and whom or what would you say inspired you?

Kitsie Duncan: Thanks to the movie Poltergeist, I honestly grew up terrified of the paranormal. However, it wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I finally wanted to learn more about it. At the time, my dad passed away suddenly. There were no official goodbyes, not even a “see ya later!” So, I wanted to know if there was a possibility that he could still be watching out for me and my family. With that, I started watching some of the paranormal reality TV shows, and I quickly became obsessed with wanting to explore further.

In my new book entitled I’d Rather Talk to Dead People: My Journey as a Paranormal Researcher I delve deeper on this topic. If you would like to order a copy of the book it is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Kitsie Duncan paranormal researcher

Photo By Cassandra Michelle Photography

TCS: For the benefit of those who are not familiar with Kistie Duncan or the show Oddity Files on Amazon Prime Video, please share with us how you first started out and created the show?

KD: After becoming obsessed with the paranormal, I quickly found myself participating in investigations with an Indiana Paranormal Team. Sadly, my time with that team didn’t last very long. However, it was a valuable time as it afforded me the opportunity to get my hands on all the exciting paranormal equipment. The whole experience highly intrigued me, so I invited some friends to join me on an investigation where I brought along one of those fancy infrared cameras (e.g., a camera that films in the dark). At that time, I started putting some of our adventures on YouTube. The response was great.

Eventually, we narrowed the team down to Clayton Abbott, my son Carter Jostes and myself. This newly aligned team captured some of the best evidence we had ever gotten before. With that, I submitted the Oddity Files show to Prime Video and here we are 3 seasons later.

TCS: Can you introduce us to the Oddity Files investigative team and describe for us each member’s responsibilities?

KD: The Oddity Files crew investigates notoriously haunted locations all over the world. The team is known for its unique investigative style. We retrieve evidence and tell the stories that the entities want us to tell.

Our team consists of the following:

  • Clayton Abbott: Investigator and King of Drone Footage
  • Kitsie Duncan: Lead Investigator, Editor, Booking Agent and Director
  • Carter Jostes: Camera Man, Tech Guy and Investigator

Oddity Files Kitsie Duncan

Photo by Kemper Enchantments

TCS: In Season 1, Episode 1 of the show entitled “Culbertson Mansion,” you and the team investigated the Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site, once the home of William Culbertson, who was once the richest man in Indiana. Can you please share some insight about the investigation as well as how you and your team utilized a device called the Odd Box during your research?

KD: Our investigation of the historic Culbertson Mansion, marked the first time that it was just the three of us conducting research. Equally, we were one of the first teams to actually do an overnight investigation which afforded us the opportunity to try out a bunch of new things including the use of the Odd Box. The Odd Box is an amplifier hooked up to a spirit box, with some reverb and other ways to adjust the sound to provide better overall quality. The Box also contains a copper wire with some crystals attached to it and a big ole rechargeable battery. To this day, it has become the best piece of equipment I own. Since that first investigation, these devices have made it possible for us to have a real-time conversation with many of the spirits that we encounter.


TCS: In Season 2, Episode 2 entitled “Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum” you and the team traveled to in Cripple Creek, Colorado to experience a taste of the shadier side of life in the World’s Greatest Gold Camp. Can you please share some insight about your investigation in the original Teller County Jail and the lives of the lawmen who were charged with keeping the peace?

KD: This Colorado-based location was odd. Not only were most of the crew suffering with altitude sickness, after landing and traveling straight up to Pikes Peak, but we think we may have also seen a phantom hitchhiker on our drive too.

The evidence from this investigation was truly all over the board, it really left us scratching our heads. In one part of the building, we spoke to a little girl via a flashlight session, and in the room next to it there was an entity that was breathing down one of our guest investigator’s neck.

In the basement, there’s a strong possibility that two of our investigators were attacked by an entity that refused to interact. Additionally, I personally felt like I was being choked in a jail cell. Needless to say, I’m not in any rush to get back there.


TCS: In Season 3, Episode 1 entitled “Octagon Hall,” you and the team investigated Octagon Hall, widely regarded as one of most haunted places in the South with ties to the Civil War and Slavery. Can you please share some insight about the investigation as well as how you and your team utilized specific technologies and/or devices to unearth evidence about the historic location?

KD: This was my second trip to Octagon Hall and the evidence never seems to disappoint. However, the energy had changed for sure in one of the rooms on the third floor since my last visit. When I was there the first time, I was very uneasy in the hallway between the two bedrooms that went out to the terrace. Nonetheless, I never got any evidence that told me why. But this time, it was answered for me, and the whole third floor just felt lighter and less heavy.

Apparently in the years since I had been there the resident team of Octagon Hall had unearthed a wedding ring of one of the slaves that had been there. The team has now dedicated and placed that ring in the same hallway that used to scare me, and in my heart of hearts, I think it’s the reason for the change in the vibration of that hallway.

Additionally, this was the first of many locations where the team and I got to use my SLS camera (e.g., thanks babe for the birthday present) and with it, we think we captured a little girl playing hide and go seek with us.


TCS: Can you share some highlights and memorable guests that you’ve featured on your Paranormal Podcast also called the Oddity Files?

KD: Through my day job, I have so many amazing friends and some of them have some pretty recognizable names. I’m so grateful to have had my friends like, Bruce Campbell, Norman Reedus, Robert Englund and WWE Superstar Paige on some of our earlier podcasts. NOT bragging at all, but it was super cool to hear their personal paranormal stories and to be able to share them with all of our great listeners.

TCS: Who or what inspired you to write your first book entitled I’d Rather Talk to Dead People: My Journey as a Paranormal Researcher?

KD: My dear friend Dave Schrader asked me if I’d ever thought about writing a book, and I was like, well there’s a pandemic going on and I’m out of work, so why not. In all seriousness, I thank my lucky stars for Dave introducing me to the amazing people at Beyond The Fray Publishing. I feel like this was something I needed to do to get me to the next step in life.

TCS: Describe for us the strangest case you and/or your team have worked on to date? And, have you ever experienced anything truly terrifying? If, yes, please explain.

KD: Here’s the thing, my lot in life right now is to prove that ghosts aren’t scary. I’m of the firm belief that they are just trying to communicate with the living. And, sadly the living is afraid of what they don’t understand.

The Oddity Files Crew and I have now gone our separate ways. Don’t worry, there are no bad break up stories, it was just time. And, in writing my book I’d Rather Talk to Dead People: My Journey as a Paranormal Researcher, I realized that I CAN communicate with the dead, and that investigating had gotten me over my own fears of the unknown.

Now it’s time for me to give back, the most prominent things I learned about paranormal investigating I learned from the spirits themselves. SO, I now want to be the bridge between the living and the dead and help them to communicate. And show the living that the things that may be scaring them are just the spirits trying to get their attention.

Now, with my friends KJ and Tiffany Rice, we’ve started Paranormal X Road and we’re hoping to change the public’s view on the paranormal. We are a team of 3 fearless women, who will bring light and positivity into the hearts of those living fearful of the paranormal.Empathy for the living and the dead is what helps acquire the real evidence and solve the mysteries of the paranormal.

TCS: Do you use psychic mediums during a paranormal investigation?

KD: Yes, I absolutely do. I highly recommend renowned Spirit Medium Tiffany Rice. She is the best spirit medium in the business.

TCS: In your profession, I’m sure you are constantly approached by unbelievers so how do you handle the naysayers?

KD: Actually, I am not really approached by unbelievers or naysayers. If I am, I just agree to disagree. More often than not, when I bring up the paranormal to someone outside the field, they generally have their own story of an experience they can’t wait to tell me.

TCS: What does the short and long-term future look like for Kistie Duncan?

KD: In both the short and long-term, I plan to continue being an active paranormal researcher. My mission is to help people who are living with a haunting or are in pain from the loss of a loved. I want to be able to give the living answers and the give the spirits a voice.

View a sneak peek of my new venture entitled Paranormal X Roads:

To stay connected, please join me on the following:

• Kistie Duncan Facebook
• Kistie Duncan Instagram
• Kistie Duncan Twitter
Oddity Files Amazon Prime Video
Oddity Files YouTube

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Since 2012, Frank Iacono has served as the President and CEO of The Creative Spotlight, the ultimate destination for unearthing a wealth of undiscovered musical talent, reading exciting interviews, releasing new music and sharing exclusive videos.

Every good story needs a good storyteller. And, The Creative Spotlight has truly provided a quality forum for revealing those great stories. Through the years, the online publication has featured national and local musicians such as Ash Costello from New Years Day, Williams Honor, Stacey David Blades, Screaming For Silence, Ages Apart, Roxy Petrucci, Peter Beckett, We The Kings, Everything Falls, Rod Black, Derek Crider, Daniel Mason Band, The Rockin’ Krolik, Michelle Leigh, Jessie G., Karen Mansfield and Hillbilly Vegas.

Additionally, The Creative Spotlight has also focused on historic Pennsylvania-based paranormal venues such as the Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennhurst State School and Hospital, Paranormal investigator Kitsie Duncan, Spirit Medium Tiffany Rice, the Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride, well-known actors and actresses, published authors, professional artists, local businesses, consultants, trainers, speakers and more…

Frank earned a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he also received a Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.