Cousins Dave Schafer and Pete Vale bore the idea of forming a rock band late in 2011 as a therapeutic release from the pressurized day to day of New York City living. Adding on bass guitarist Andrew Wilkes, drummer Ben Selznick, and keyboard player James Gettinger, the band was complete in early 2012. For about a year, they would get together informally, sing, talk, and enjoy the company of each other’s talents, focused initially only on their favorite rock covers and whatever other melodies happened to pass before their minds. But the energy in the room soon developed into something more, and they began to write songs together: ones they liked so much that they felt compelled to share. In January of 2013 they played their first live show in the basement of a small club in Manhattan. From there, things took off quickly as crowds progressively got bigger and bigger. Denizen soon became a staple on the Lower East Side music scene, quickly moving from mid-sized venues like Arlene’s Grocery and Pianos to professional concert halls like Webster Hall.
Karim is an artist that currently lives in New York City, but has lived all around the world. He descended from the Mandingo tribe in West Africa and actually grew up in North-West DC. Since then he has gained a huge following from uploading Facebook videos of himself singing, which lead to him being chosen to tour the world with Nigerian pop star Korede Bello. While on tour, a talent scout chose Karim to compete in the X Factor USA singing competition, where he received a unanimous “yes” from judges Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, and Kelly Rowland. After the competition, Karim moved to Los Angeles, CA where he transitioned into the realm of acting, quickly securing a recurring role in Sony Entertainment’s episodic TV show ‘Startup.’