Find Your Song in Key West
The Key West Songwriters Festival is the largest of its kind in the world and is situated in the island paradise of our own backyard. The 26th annual festival takes place May 4th through the 8th at various locations including the island’s most popular beaches, bars, and historical theaters. The festival events are mostly free, they begin in the early afternoon and carry on into the night where live musical performances are given the stage to play, but also to place the faces, voices and stories behind the songs front and center.
At Parrot Key we celebrate the island’s own musical talents every Friday and Saturday at The Grove from 4pm to 7pm when we invite you to enjoy the acoustic stylings of Tony Novelly, classic rock and pop by Adam Sikora, and upbeat percussion by Sean Griffin, as well as delicious drinks, tasty bites, and a true taste of island life. To celebrate the Key West Songwriters Festival we chatted with each of our favorite musicians to find out a little more about them, their music, and why they love to live and play music in Key West:
Where are you from?
Sean: New York, born and raised. Been in Miami for the last 7 years.
Tony: Grew up in Pennsylvania. Moved to Jacksonville Beach in 1975.
Adam: Cocoa Beach, Florida born and raised.
How long have you been in the Florida Keys?
Sean: Been here for 10 years now, just creating beauty.
Tony: 5th season in Key West. I’m an entertainer by trade, I’ve been entertaining for 40 years. I sang up in North Florida for about 40 years, and came down here to try it out.
Adam: Four years in Key West
What is your style of music?
Sean: I’ve been playing strings for 30 years. Initially I’m a classically trained string player. When I was 14, in 1994, I started playing Roxy and CBGBs but then I got a scholarship into a jazz school which helped me channel into what I do now. Obviously being from NY is fused into everything I do. Everything I do now is production based. Its electronic in there, but also live instruments, and I perform it all as a solo act.
At Parrot Key I’m doing blues/jazz fusion and a little bit of latin fusion in there. All original electronic fusion. I don’t like to classify it in a genre because there’s a lot of editing and arranging at home and then going there and doing it live with switching up instruments.
Tony: I play the acoustic electric guitar and vocal. The style that I do is a little bit different than a lot of the musicians, I don’t do any loop or electronic. I do old style music, just with the acoustic guitar, ballads, country, reggae, beach music. More of the old school kind of stuff that people like to hear and are familiar with.
Adam: Anything from the 60s to today, anything popular, all covers.
Why do you like playing at Parrot Key?
Sean: It’s beautiful! We’re all down here for a reason. It’s full of inspiration and embellishments, whether creating a mural or a jazz arrangement. Creating the language of music or creating a mural you’re taking in the factors, like shifting light in the room.
Tony: I get a lot of compliments from people that say it’s refreshing to see a guy singing and playing without an ipod or music in front of them. They appreciate that because part of the entertainment is connecting with people, so I memorize all my music. I pride myself in that because I can put more emotion into the song, and I like the connection part of being an entertainer. I like taking requests, I want to hear what people are asking for. I set myself up sometimes, because I don’t know a lot of the current stuff, but I like to ask what people want so I can play something close to it.
Adam: I love playing at Parrot Key because it’s relaxing. You have a great view, the people are always really nice. Nice with the palm trees, not too hot with the cover, really nice people.
What is your favorite thing to do in Key West, when you aren’t playing music?
Sean: It’s a good question… probably hit the beach. Get together with some friends. Eat some fish, celebrations of life. I like the less traveled destinations.
Tony: Well, (sigh) sleep I guess. I enjoy the scenery of the water and being always around the setting of Key West. I just like to walk around and look at the sites. I enjoy the history of the city. I like to ride my bike around and visit some of the restaurants and places.
Adam: I love to go diving. Pelican Shoal is probably my favorite reef.
What is your favorite Key West food?
Sean: Well, you gotta be a fan of the seafood in general. Definitely all about the snappers and the grouper, the blessing to have that here. Plenty of friends that are fishing and coming in with whatevers fresh. Hogfish is great.
Tony: I like the seafood. I always go for the fish and seafood. The freshest around.
Adam: I’m a huge foodie! Parrot Key has great food.
Where can we follow you?
Sean: Putting a record out soon with my drummer, all instrumental. Album will be for sale on a couple different platforms to download.