For Rich Tuorto, it felt like a dream come true.
The New Hyde Park singer and his band, Oak & Ash — his cousin guitarist Chris Tuorto, bassist Paul Gramigna and drummer Bryan Garbe — didn’t just get to see The Paramount’s members-only Founder’s Room, where legends like Rod Stewart and Don Henley have performed exclusive VIP shows. They got to use it as a backdrop for their new video, “Step Into the Light.”
“I’ve seen so many shows at The Paramount that it was exciting to be there,” Tuorto said. “But to be able to hang out there as a musician? To be there for our music? That was really cool. And it was the perfect place for us. The ambience is perfect for the video.”
Oak & Ash filmed the “Step Into the Light” video as part of their prize for winning Newsday’s Battle of the Bands 2016 contest in August, where their song “Golden Gates” beat out 80 other entries. The video and the single will be released soon as Oak & Ash’s music career starts to pick up momentum, especially after they open Thursday for Andy Grammer at The Paramount.
“At this stage of our career, it’s most important to start playing bigger places and opening for people like Andy Grammer,” Tuorto said. “And to do it in our hometown on Long Island just makes it incredible. It’s just a sign that all our pushing and playing is starting to pay off. We’re trying to catapult ourselves forward.”
With that goal so engrained in their minds, it’s no wonder that it’s the theme of the band’s new single “Step Into the Light,” which marks a more pop-oriented, Maroon 5-influenced sound for them. Tuorto sees “Step Into the Light” as an anthem for bands and other creative people who struggle to explain why they continue to work in such competitive fields. “It came from this idea of having to answer the question ‘Why do you do this?’ so often,” he said. “When you’re in front of an audience, all that goes away for that one moment. The worries immediately vanish. . . . It’s an anthem for every artist really to say, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing. Give yourself a chance.’ I think it’s a pretty powerful statement.”