‘Why we joined the union’

Elissa Carmona

Volume 119, No. 10November, 2019

I joined Local 802 to explore benefits like visas, travel and liability insurance, and a pension plan, and also to connect with professional musicians on a national basis. My musical goals are to continue touring, record a music video, and finally start keyboard lessons. One of my favorite gigs so far this year was Mamapalooza, a Summer on the Hudson event at the Hudson Pier. The beautiful atmosphere and enthusiastic audience made this concert memorable. I’m an Air Force veteran and winner of the 2019 Arts Fund and 2018 Artist for Community awards. I trained at NYC’s famed Music & Art High School and earned a B.A. in social science and an MSW degree with a focus in nonprofit management. Music is important to me because it allows me to soothe and empower audiences. Reared in church choirs with a sprinkle of classical and jazz training, I’ve rocked NYC stages for issues like sickle cell disease, adult literacy, gun violence, and hurricane relief. Distinctive, well-timed riffs take audiences on a spiritual journey. One concert-goer said my voice “keeps the lights on in a dark room.” I’m the founder and lead singer for Morrisania Band Project (MBP), an award-winning musical collective. In 2018, we presented the “Unity Park Concert Series,” a five-concert series in a Bronx city park. Currently, we’re touring “Natural Woman,” a tribute to the iconic Aretha Franklin, made possible through support from the Bronx Council on the Arts and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. I’m a singer/songwriter born and raised in NYC. Once a teen mom and high school dropout, I stopped performing for 20 years, believing that singing professionally was a pipe dream. I returned to music in 2012 and don’t plan on stopping until I’m at least 110!

Elissa Carmona

To join Local 802, call (212) 245-4802 or visit